When the economy took a turn, David Winans, broker, and Mark McDonough, vice president of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate David Winans & Associates in Dallas, wanted to do something to inspire their sales associates. “Many were feeling like the world was coming to an end. So, we put together a PowerPoint presentation about all the positive things about Texas,” says Winans. It was so well received, that they turned it into a video (with the help of a local production company) and sent it out to real estate professionals across the state of Texas. The unbranded video is now up to 180,000 YouTube views, was featured in “The Economist” and Texas Gov. Rick Perry used the video in presentations. “We received thousands of emails about the video,” says Winans.

In fact, Winans coined the term “Texaplex” to describe the triangular area of Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin. The name stuck and now major media has adopted the term. “This video got me hooked and made me realize the power of video,” says Winans.

Here are some tips from Winans and McDonough on building a video marketing campaign:

  1. Branded vs. Unbranded. Winans and McDonough made the decision not to brand the first video and that worked in their favor. “Our names were still on it, just not our company,” says McDonough. “We did brand another video on just the Dallas-Fort Worth area but that didn’t go as viral,” says Winans.
  2. Go Local. Winans and McDonough hired a public relations intern to write scripts for community videos, which they plan to start shooting in the next few months. “We’ve got 10 scripts done and in another month we’ll have eight more,” says Winans. These are videos that they’ll offer to their agents, who can then brand them to their name and the company. “We like that it makes them look like professionals and experts in the community,” says McDonough.
  3. Find Talent. While the real estate executives used a production company for their first few videos, they found that local college students and recent collage graduates were just as good but less costly. “We are getting the videos done, script and production, for about $400 a piece,” says Winans. “It maximizes our investment.” They simply put a notice out on Craigslist and interviewed the top four candidates. “The candidates had to have their own professional video equipment,” says McDonough.
  4. Host Them on YouTube. To save on hosting costs, Winans and McDonough chose to host the videos on YouTube. “It’s the No. 1 video site, so our videos will get noticed,” says Winans. They also get the videos out via social media and through the agents.
  5. Have Fun. “We love to shoot fun videos,” says Winans. A recent involved the agents in his office doing the Harlem Shake. “We had a blast and it’s has over 1,200 views on YouTube,” laughs McDonough.

However, the real estate executives don’t measure success by number of views. “We measure success by how helpful these videos are to the agents,” says McDonough. “If we can make out agents more successful, then we’ll continue to be able to recruit successful agents.”