Real Estate

Inman Review: Produce Local Videos With Explore My Town

Opening an account with Explore My Town means gaining access to a wide array of tools and resources, including a very sleek, simple script-creation tool; shot list; and high-end editing and marketing services.

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Explore My Town is a media company focusing localized marketing for real estate agents.

Platforms: Browser, mobile responsive
Ideal for: Community-focused agents, smaller teams and indie brokerages

Top selling points:

  • Professional video editing and content services
  • Included scripts and coaching
  • Shot list, video structure advice
  • Shareable everywhere
  • Helps build YouTube accounts

Top concern:

A couple issues. Video pages are hosted under an “Explore My Town” subdomain, which impacts agents’ SEO and to some extent, branding credibility.

Also, EMT runs targeted Facebook ad campaigns under its own account on behalf of its clients that don’t have to abide by the FHA settlement reached with the social media company in 2019 because it’s not a real estate company. Agents should be wary of this aspect of the service.

What you should know

If you’re familiar with Parkbench — a reference that provoked the team at Explore My Town to call me “condescending” when I brought it up in a Facebook post — then you know the general concept behind this product.

For those who don’t, the idea is that agents use the tools and resources of Explore My Town to create and market videos about local businesses. A typical video involves the agent acting as a host, interviewing business owners, discussing products and generally creating a very upbeat, news-channel story.

Naturally, that intimidates a lot of people, both technically and personally. However, that’s exactly why Explore My Town is in business — to help you overcome the fear of becoming the star of your own show.

Opening an account with Explore My Town means gaining access to a wide array of tools and resources, from a very sleek, simple script-creation tool and shot list to high-end editing and marketing services.

The company excels in hand-holding, in a good way. After all, as the local presence of its agents grow, so does its own bottom line.

Agents are provided a very detailed shot list to get them off and filming. They offer suggestions for how to film your intro, how to create a hook and how to describe your subject business.

Everything can be captured on a smartphone, but it’s totally acceptable to have a professional shoot for you and use EMT’s editing and marketing features.

When all your b-roll, stills and interviews are in the can, so to speak, they can be uploaded to Explore My Town’s editing bays.

Finished videos are returned usually within a week, and the examples I saw looked great. There was a very authentic, Travel Channel vibe to the examples I watched, and even though I knew the person wasn’t a broadcaster, the structure and professionalism made me forget that.

Company team members will work one on one with agents to step through the filming, perfect their script and return a shareable, marketable video.

Granted, even the best films in the world need distribution deals to get seen, so Explore My Town helps agents run ad campaigns on Facebook.

As mentioned above, the company runs agents’ campaigns under its own account, as every town featured lives under the greater Explore My Town domain. This helps them scale, of course, but it also puts the agent at some risk because Explore My Town isn’t restricted by the “15-miles radius” standard put in place to prevent advertisers from creating geographically and demographically narrow audiences, or lookalike personas to propagate messaging to a specific group.

Given that Explore My Town is designed to promote small businesses within specific neighborhoods while elevating the presence of an agent, it could be argued that targeting those proximal to the video subject is essential to the success of the product. Plus, they’re not advertising a specific home. There’s some nuance here, and I advise agents to open a dialogue with Explore My Town about it, and clear it with your broker.

Explore My Town also creates a YouTube channel if desired, but it’ll live under Explore My Town’s channel.

It also replicates your content and links videos in newsletter campaigns, and even produces QR codes for agents to use in table cards and point-of-purchase promotions.

I worry a little that Explore My Town’s distribution services don’t sync cleanly with agents’ existing marketing resources, letting valuable content live in multiple places.

Also, how does one reconcile Explore My Town’s email list health and delivery metrics with what’s in the agent’s CRM? Remember, too, that your videos live on Explore My Town’s sub-domain, not your own website. A possible workaround is using YouTube embed code to make sure the videos have a place on your own domain.

There’s not much Explore My Town doesn’t do to make sure its agents’ videos get seen. And again, the production is very well done, and creative agents can take their show in multiple fun, effective directions.

I’d like to see Explore My Town relinquish some control over its final product. Agents are super sensitive about remaining in control of their business data and content (just ask Zillow), and as of now, the distribution deal is very studio-centric. It’s as if the director wants to be the actor, and not the other way around for once.

Overall, there’s a lot to work with here, and my concerns are by no means deal-breakers. Have fun with it. Go break a leg.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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