Transcript: WGAN-TV Virtual Tour Pro Creator Ben Claremont | Top 10 Tips...10489
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|WGAN-TV | Virtual Tour Pro Creator Ben Claremont on Top 10 Tips for Starting a Virtual Tour Business | (Wednesday, 13 November 2019
This is a transcript of the WGAN-TV Live 5 show that aired Wednesday, 13 November 2019:
✓ WGAN-TV | Virtual Tour Pro Creator Ben Claremont on Top 10 Tips for Starting a Virtual Tour Business
Ben Claremont Links
✓ Virtual Tour Pro
✓ Virtual Tour Pro: Expansion Pack
✓ Virtual Tour Pro: Ultimate 360 Bundle
- Hi all. I'm Dan Smigrod, founder of the We Get Around Network Forum. Today is Wednesday, November 13, 2019 and you're watching WGAN-TV Live at Five. Our guest today is Ben Claremont. Hey Ben, good to see you.
- Hey Dan, good to see you as well.
- Thank you for being on the show. I appreciate it. Ben Claremont is a 360 subject matter expert and he is a mentor as well. Ben has over 100,000 social media followers, including if you watch him on his YouTube channel, Ben Claremont, he has 61,000 plus followers including me.
- Oh, stop.
- Super excited for you to be on the show today, Ben. For those who are just the tuning into the show if you're thinking about buying the 360 camera, if you just bought a 360 camera, if you're thinking about getting started with virtual tours or if you're struggling with getting new clients for your virtual tour business, then you're watching exactly the right show today.
Ben, before I ask you about your process of which 360 camera should our audience buy and maybe do your top 10 tips for starting a virtual tour business, I thought I'd first ask you about the new course that you just started. Virtual Tour Pro.
- Tell me about Virtual Tour Pro.
- Yeah, cool. So Virtual Tour Pro is what I call kind of the A to Z virtual tour. So for someone that has never even bought or used a 360 camera before, it basically teaches you everything from beginner level to pro level. So it covers pre production, production, editing, posting, and then doing business.
Because I would say one of the more common issues I've found that people have had as virtual tour photographers is they have certain elements of this plan in place, but not all of them. And the biggest one is actually the business side. Like formulating a proper business strategy and so many people just don't have it.
So I wanted to create a guide that covered not only all the technical stuff like how to get great photos, how to edit them together into a really professional virtual tours, but how do you actually make money from it? How do you grow a business out of it?
Because it's nice to be able to take nice photos, but if you can't find money from your work, it makes it hard to become a sustainable longterm thing. So it's something where having a business mindset and understanding how business runs is actually gonna help you turn that into a full time job.
And that's what the course aims to do. So teaches you all the technical stuff, how to get great shots and then step by step, how to build a business, how to get your first client, your first five, 10, 15 clients and make ongoing money with virtual tours, shooting for businesses in your local area, starting with small businesses, moving up to medium and then large size. Once you get good enough, once your gear gets good enough and your skills get good enough, like how do you scale up business and become a virtual tour pro. So yeah, it's very exciting.
I've been working on it for quite a while and yeah, it's received really fantastic feedback so far, which is really cool. Lots of people are getting value from it and already earning money from the techniques in the course. So I'm super excited. Yeah, it's basically a nine-hour course that teaches the A to Z virtual tours.
- Awesome. Can you take us through just maybe the top subjects within each of the categories of Virtual Tour Pro?
- Yeah, sure. I mean there's so many. So there's about between 60 and 70 lessons. So I mean I guess it probably all starts with planning.
So the first section is planning, and this is an extremely important one because planning is like fully understanding the subject matter. Like the fact that virtual tours actually do add a lot of value, and so many people don't quite realize that, especially when they're pitching businesses, that they do add a lot of value. And you need to understand the kinds of businesses that you're pitching to.
How the virtual tour actually does add value to these businesses. Because virtual tours are another form of marketing for a business. So you need to know how these tours are actually going to help the business achieve their objective in the form of the virtual tour and the marketing.
So just understanding how to plan that out. Like firstly choosing your niche and finding the right businesses to target to begin with. what kinds of tours you might make, whether it's a photo, video, a 3D tour, 3D, 180 or 3D, 360, understanding the medium that is best for them, but then also the gear. What gear are you going to need to use? What kind of cameras? What kind of camera accessories do you need? There's so many things you need to decide before you actually step out on set. So the planning section, it's about 11 or 12 videos goes over this kind of stuff.
Next is shooting. So all the technical stuff you need to know about shooting great-looking virtual tours. So yeah. Things like how many shots should you take? How do you get great-looking shots? What are the shooting techniques? We've gone through different exposure techniques like inbuilt HDR shooting with roll, roll plus bracketing. Just how to get really good interior virtual tours using our point and shoot 360 camera like Theta Z1.
So that's my featured camera in the course that I use because it's my current favorite for virtual tours. That might change soon. I'm sure it will. But for now the Z1 can deliver really good options. So basically, something interesting I've learned, Dan, is that almost no matter which 360 camera you have, you can get an awesome result with it if you know how to use it. And even with a Gear 360 or a really old 360 camera, you can get really good results that you could even shoot virtual tours with.
I wouldn't recommend using them on one or $200 360 camera, but you can actually get them with the right technique. You can get great-looking results. So yeah, the shooting section comes with everything you need to know about shooting photo virtual tours.
We've got a section on video virtual tours, 360, that sort of 3D 180 virtual tours and a few other things like outdoor virtual tours, how to shoot of tours really quickly, shooting time-lapse mode and so on. And then the editing section is the middle section.
So that's all that editing and Photoshop, how to edit for 360 photos using Photoshop, how to get really good colors in your shots, in Photoshop, how to edit out imperfections. So things like the tripod, obviously it's going to go. It doesn't look good in a published virtual tour having a tripod there. Then getting rid of all the imperfections. Anything from the same that's detracting from it, how to get rid of that in Photoshop. There's a video and editing 360 videos and then preparing to upload your photos so you don't have any issues uploading to your hosting platforms. Next is the hosting section.
So this is all about virtual tour software 'cause there's so many. And honestly, I would say this, when I put the course together, this was the most intimidating element to put together 'cause as you know, I've seen a list on your site. There are so many platforms and it can be so confusing about which is the best, which ones should I use? I don't have time to test out like 100 different platforms and I found myself in that position as the subject matter expert I have to go out there and actually do it.
So I forced myself to, even though it took a long, long time and yeah, I learned the best ones. So basically, what I did was I held a poll in one of the virtual tour Facebook groups. I said, which virtual tour platform are you currently using? Which do you think is the best, basically. So just to get an idea of which ones people are using, which ones bring the most value right now in 2019.
And I chose the top 15 off of that list. So 15 virtual tour platforms ranging from beginner. I have like three beginner ones, don't have to pay a cent to pay beginner ones then intermediate and advanced ones where there's like 1,000 steps and it's costing you a bit of money to buy them, but they give you such a beautiful high-end result. So I went out on one of these virtual tour platforms and yeah, some of them have just totally blown my mind.
This has been a really enriching experience to be able to go out and do something like this because I learned things I never even knew about by trying some of these softwares like 3D Vista and Kolor and Pano2VR and krpano is another one that's so confusing. I can't say I'm like krpano expert, but maybe one day in about 10 and 20 years, once I read all the manuals on their website. You are going to take up coding? No. Not enough time in the day, unfortunately.
- Okay, so maybe not even in 20 years.
- No. I think I'm gonna have to give that to you, Dan.
- I don't think so ;-)
- Damn it, okay. Well forget about krpano then. But yeah, so basically the hosting section. And so once we compare all of these, all of these virtual tour platforms in a big epic video, we're gonna go into the best ones and have in depth tutorials for all of them.
The best free virtual tour platform, the best beginner platform, the best intermediate, the best advanced. And then basically, we're going to break down elements of virtual tours. Like how do you put them together, what looks good how do you use sound music interactive elements. And then once you've put your entire tour together, things like what do you do with the client? Like how do you deliver the tool?
What's the process looking like? What's the feedback process look like? And then finally there's a bit on Google Street View in the hosting section and how to become a Google Street View Trusted Photographer. How Google Street View works for those people who truly are coming from my beginners background and need to know that.
And then finally, we have the business section which is the section I'm most excited about because yeah for me, this is the most satisfying because it takes all that hard work that you've put in to make this amazing virtual tour and it gives you a reward for it, which is payment from a client.
And this is something that is lacking unfortunately, from so many virtual tour photographers is they have all of the other things mastered. They know how to shoot and edit and put together a tour in a hosting platform. But they don't know a thing about business and they just hope businesses will contact them for virtual tours and then it goes nowhere and then it becomes their side job and then it becomes their hobby and they start offering jobs for free, which I would not recommend doing by the by way.
But it's just because they don't have a full understanding of business that they're not able to go out and actively make money on a regular basis with virtual tours, which is why I made the biz section biggest section by far. In the course, it's about 20 to 25 videos.
All like five to 20 minutes long. And yeah, it basically breaks down the business process step by step. Like how much should you charge and how do you package your virtual tour services? What kinds of things do you put in each package? How do you pick a niche?
How do you start from scratch? Like what literally one of the steps, one, two, three, four, five, six. What are the steps when you're staring with nothing, yore starting a business from scratch, what do you do? So yeah, that was really important for me to cover because it's a situation so many of us are in it at some point. We're starting from nothing and we want to create something that hopefully turns into a profitable business.
Then we have a whole bunch of videos about how to acquire leads, how to handle those leads, how to persuade businesses to get a virtual tour to invest in you, how to find them, basically. How do you find new businesses? Well, it's actually quite easy. I'll go into that a bit more a little later in this call.
And then finally, once you've sold to the business, then how do you interact with the client? Invoicing, payment. When do you consider dropping a client, because they're not paying? Clients most of the time of good and they're giving me money and there'll be a good client, but sometimes they're not.
I've been freelancing for a long time and unfortunately I've come across a lot of good clients and a few bad ones. So yeah, you've gotta brace yourself and prepare for those few clients that give you issues. Like do you use a contract for example? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
And then finally to wrap it up, I have a talk, quick talk on social media using social media to grow your virtual tour business. And then we have a few bonus videos about other cool things like selling tours in person and big platforms in the future that will be big for virtual tours and yeah, and then that's it. So I know that was a lot right there, but that was my aim to make it basically, the A to Z of virtual tours.
What I did before making this course was I basically asked everywhere I possibly could, on my social media channels ... what do you want to know? What are your burning topics about virtual tours?
And I wrote down every single question. I got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of questions and I added them to what I already had. And then I laid them all out chronologically and I answered them all in depth one by one. So right now in the course Virtual Tour Pro, it answers every question I've ever been asked about virtual tours.
I can't think of a question that hasn't been asked that isn't in here. I mean I'm sure there's lots of them, but that was basically the idea. To create a collection of all the answers in one place, put them out chronologically. So you just follow, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and then nine hours later, once you finished the course, you've got the full blueprint of what to do, where to start, where to finish and then hopefully, how to turn it into a scalable, profitable business.
- That's an awesome summary. Ben I'm exhausted actually hearing that because there's so much content that you've covered and I guess I know that firsthand 'cause I've only made it through 80% of your course so far. So it's been out for about two weeks. I've been watching. I guess what I should say, Ben, is I started out doing 360s about seven plus years ago using a DSLR camera.
And I felt like I was kind of lost in the woods and I was, or maybe the Amazon or something and I was trying to create the path to get through the forest. And I wish I had Virtual Tour Pro seven plus years ago to get me on the right path to excel quickly, to succeed faster. I've been doing this a while.
I am learning so much from your course that that even though in our We Get Around Network Forum I think there's been something like 62,000 posts on nearly 10,000 topics. I read everything that's written, so I don't necessarily need to be smart.
I just need to read what other people are writing to absorb that information. And even seven plus years later or five plus years, five and a half plus years with the We Get Around Network Forum, here I am watching your Virtual Tour Pro course and I'm just learning a ton from it.
And I love that you went really deep into the business. I think that a lot of photographers, a lot of 360 3D photographers were all kind of geeky to begin with. We don't really have any trouble picking up, understanding our cameras, our gear, our workflow. What we all have trouble with, what we all have trouble with is business development. And I thought it was really great that Virtual Tour Pro goes way deep in helping a Virtual Tour Pro succeed faster in business.
- Yeah, thank you. So that was basically the aim and I add to that, that business is done in a very different way in 2019/2020 than it was in 2012. It's done so much differently. Technology is getting better and better and better and our ability to market ourselves is becoming so much easier and to reach customers is so much easier. That's why I've been able to build up following of something crazy, a hundred and something thousand followers completely for free. I'm not paying a cent for it.
I'm just using my time and I'm posting on these social networks, but I'm able to build a profitable personal brand completely for free because of the technology of 2019/2020 that I'm able to utilize to build my business and things are changing so much, not only with personal brand but the way we do business, the way we advertise our services. It's all evolving and you know what, It's going to be different again in 2028. Like I'll have to remake the course then in teaching you strategies.
But it really is evolving the way we market ourselves and you need to be up to the date up to the year. You can be marketing yourself from 2012 or 2005. You can't be using 2005 tactics 'cause they're not going to work in 2019 and 2020. So it's really important that you stay up to date and understand how we do business. Realizing that social media is such a big part of everything we're doing right now and such a big part of business and marketing.
Like I'm getting the same reach right now on my personal social media channels that other companies are paying hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars for. I'm doing it completely for free because I understand how to use the social network really well. So there lies an opportunity to reach a massive audience without having to go knocking on doors. You knock on their digital door.
The difference is online, you can knock on 10,000 doors at once instead of just one. So things are evolving so quickly and then they're going to get even better. It's going to be even easier. But the tactics are going to change. So it's important that you stay up to date with the lightest tactics and yeah, a lot of the techniques in the course are targeted towards how we do business now, which is different to how it used to be. And look, I've got no doubt that there are so many photographers out there that are better than me, that can make better virtual tours, shoot better 360 photos.
But where I stand out is I'm a better marketer and I'm a better entrepreneur. So even if my work doesn't quite hold it up to their standards, I'm still able to reach my ideal clients and they're not. So I have the advantage. And of course I've want to deliver high quality work as well. But the thing is, like I said before, you need all of those five things to be able to have a well rounded business that generates leads and then delivers really good quality work. So yeah, it's just so important that you get them both down and that your marketing for 2019, 2020 and not 2005.
- And I have noticed even in the two weeks that I've been watching Virtual Tour Pro, you've been adding content. So it seems like that I'm going to guess that's something that's just going to continue.
- It is. Yes!
- So it's amazing to have kind of a living, breathing course that's evolving as our space is evolving. I know when I, again, when I started with my DSLR and then eventually moved into, let's call it automated process for creating 360s, about five and a half years ago, there was kind of one solution in the space, and today there are more than 50 3D/360 cameras. And just checking today on the list that we curate and that We Get Around Network Forum, we're up to 130+ virtual tour platforms.
How crazy is that? 130+. So it's really helpful, I think that you've curated 15 of the best to help someone who's actually starting a business so that maybe they don't have to go look at our list of 130 they can really begin with your list of 15, and then understand whether they're beginner, intermediate, or expert, and then where do they fit in the ecosystem of what's appropriate for them.
So I mean, I think even, I haven't had time to go look or research or deep dive, so I just loved watching your course. Here are the 15 platforms that I took a look at and compared and contrast on I think it was five or six different points that you felt that needed to be rated and then gave your score for best beginner, best intermediate, best expert, and then some other categories that you picked.
Again, I think photographers starting out today could either figure it out on their own and take forever or find a mentor. Maybe somebody that's got 100,000 followers as a 360 subject matter expert might be the right mentor to follow. And I imagine if they said, hey, Ben, could you do one-on-one training? You'd have some bazillion dollar rate in order to do one-on-one training. Yet you have a course of nine plus hours that literally it's as if they have a one-on-one mentor taking them through starting a business and helping them succeed faster, helping me succeed faster.
- Yeah, that was definitely the idea because there's so much information out there and I think it's really worth spending the time to consider what are the best questions and what are the best answers to those questions. And that's what I did. I did so much research into this course.
And if I were to talk to somebody one-on-one say on Skype I'm going to cover some basic things, but not in this much depth and not with as perfect of an answer. So for me, I found it actually turned out to be better both for me and for people watching the course is I get to give the perfect answers for everything and cover everything I want to cover. And the people watching don't miss anything at all.
They could see every step, every point of value throughout the entire Virtual Tour Process. And it's actually better than hanging out with me in real life. If you came to my house here, this is my front room of my house. You'd probably come and I'd be busy working and we might have a chat, I'll tell you about some basics of virtual tools and then I'd go out and play some Pokemon Go and then I'd get distracted with something else. It literally like is better than hanging out in real life.
Of course, it'd be cool to hang out in real life as well. But in terms of getting value and understanding about a topic like this, that does have the potential to become income stream and a job for you, and not just that, but in a relatively short amount of time. If you really understand the process and you know how to take really good photos, which I teach in the course, you can do it pretty quickly.
So while I know a nine-hour course can seem intimidating, once you watch it and fully absorb the information in it, you'll be up and running pretty quick. Like you'll be earning money I'm confident within a week or two if you'd go out and implement it and you can shoot good work. And I know your audience can already shoot amazing work already. So they've got half the battle won.
But the business side I've found has been something that's probably been a bit lacking from a lot of the pro community that I've noticed. Unfortunately, like I'm of, I guess you'd call me one of the new kids on the block because I use point and shoot cameras like the RICOH Theta Z1 and the Insta360 One X. But I've met almost everyone in the pro community that goes to a lot of the events, the 360 photography events and VR events. And you still see so many people struggling to bring in clients to earn money from their work because they're photographers, but they're not entrepreneurs.
They don't understand the process. And unfortunately that's a massive flaw in their strategy is they focus too much on the technical. So yeah, I mean you can shoot amazing DSLR photos and that's great. Like these, I love those 360 photos are amazing.
But if you're missing that vital step in the process, which is monetizing those, then you're really significantly missing out on a great business opportunity. And some of them and don't get me wrong, some of them are doing really well as well. I've just found it rare that people are charging to their full potential.
They're not charging what a DSLR photographer with a high skill level should be charging. They're charging what's someone with an Insta360 One X should be charging like just $100 or $200 for a tour and that to me, I just find that ludicrous given their skill level and the value they're actually able to deliver to their clients. So I've found this for the pro community to be the biggest hurdle is finding clients and charging appropriately to those clients based on your skill level.
Because it's an open ended question. Like how much should you charge? So many people ask me that question and there's no clean cut answer. But basically, I guess I would put it down to value. How much value can you deliver? The most of the value you can give you a client, the more you should charge. If you can't deliver much value, then you can charge like a few hundred bucks. But if you're delivering seriously high end work, you need to be charging the thousands both for professional high-end tours.
- Well I thought your ... lectures on bundles and Add Ons, I think just that whole topic alone would show a professional photographer how they can make more money. I suspect if I polled the We Get Around Network Forum community and ask the question, are you making as much money as you like, there is not one photographer that would answer that question, "yes" ...
So all of us are looking for how, what are the processes and procedures and ideas of how we can more money. And just in your simple lecture of hey, let me just show you how to put together three bundles and what features you might include in each and then how you might do Add Ons and then how you might move people up from paying what they are now to paint something more. Anyway, I love your course. It's really super.
- Thanks Dan, I appreciate it.
- And I suspect it's probably, forgive me. But it's probably better to watch you in your course than it is to come visit you in Sydney, Australia, in your apartment, have a one-on-one conversation because you do such tight editing that you now have the voiceover of your of what it is that you're demoing and showing and illustrating. And so it's a very fast pace of being able to absorb content quickly, because you're a master storyteller.
I think in my opinion, if it was one word that described you, is you're a visual storyteller on Steroids. I guess that was four words, three words. But you're a visual storyteller on Steroids and so you really know how to put together content, programming/content to help the viewer succeed faster. Anyway, I probably--
- Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate that. And I would just add to that, that's firstly as because of my social media background, because this is what I do. I'm a full time content creator, but also I'm a student of learning I guess I would say. So I'm big on business and entrepreneurship and learning like how to do things better, how to learn better.
And I've found that punchy social media-type content is how you learn better. You don't learn by listening to a 10-hour long lecture. This is me in a whiteboard explaining complicated principles. It's by having that engaging content with the fast-cutting with getting straight to the point. Like seriously, something as simple as that. Get straight to the point is something that is lacking from so many content creators.
So many courses out there as well. In my research for making this course, I literally bought and watched every single course out there on virtual tours and there's not many by the way, but I did watch them and they were just like that. It was just a guy talking to a camera for 10 hours about long boring technical concepts and while I'm sure they delivered an incredible result, if you followed every last step of the 10 million steps, I'm not retaining that knowledge. I'm just not. Simple as that.
For me to retain the knowledge, it needs to be highly engaging. It needs to capture my attention. I need visual references of what is actually talking about. Like for me to learn, it's actually really hard process to get people to learn and genuinely take in information. Like an interesting one I like to compare it to is reading versus listening. So everyone's different.
So say it's a book, you're reading a book. Some people prefer to read the book and they absorb knowledge better that way. Some people prefer to listen and they absorb knowledge better that way. And some people prefer to watch visually through the form of the video. But I'm embarrassed to admit I have read so many books where I've not retained a single piece of the information.
I'm literally reading the words on the page. I'm thinking my own thoughts like,"Oh, what I'm going to have for dinner today or should I buy this 360 camera," and so on and I'm not retaining anything. So knowledge is retention is so important and understanding that and yeah, like I said, some people are good at reading. I wish I was. And some people prefer listening. So for me, I like listening.
So if I'm listening, so if it's a book, I like audible. I love audible because for me, it forces me to pay attention. Whereas with a book I can still think my own thoughts. But with video, it's the next level engagement you get again, because not only do you have audio or you've got video as well to match it.
So it's two things commanding your attention and the lessons are designed to be short and attention grabbing. So basically it will grab your attention and hopefully, help you retain the knowledge because it's in bite sized chunks, it's broken up lesson by lesson no longer than, I mean on average the lessons are around 10 minutes, five to 10 minutes. There are some longer ones like the software comparison video, but I designed them in a way be in one, the social media type video where it commands your attention and helps you retain the information.
'Cause that's the most important thing. I don't want people to watch the course and not retain the single thing. That would be a failure on my part if that happened. It's my duty to make sure people retain the information and I found the YouTube type video presentation really helps facilitate that.
- Yeah, I think you've nailed that because it's different than if you say, well, let's just listen to a podcast. Let's just look at a slide show. No, you are a master storyteller that knows how to take both visual and audio and put the two together. So it's not one plus one equals two.
It's one plus one equals 10. And I think in the short stories, it certainly worked for me because every moment that I've tried that I have a free moment, I've been trying to watch your course. And the good news is I can say, I got five minutes. Okay, here's the course.
It's three and a half minutes and so I don't have to watch them in order. I can watch a course when I got, and then I would just add one tip to our viewers that purchase Virtual Tour Pro get the Teachable app. The Teachable app, that's the platform that Ben uses. You can take Ben's course with you on the go. And so when you do have five minutes or 10 minutes, you can be watching it on your smartphone. And I found that helpful to me. Not only watching it on my desktop, but be able to take the course.
- Yeah. Teachable is a really good platform for that, definitely. It's good for mobile viewing. I see we've got a question here in the chat. How long is the course license? Are the lessons downloadable to multiple devices? So firstly, the course license, so when you buy it, it's a lifetime forever.
If you want to watch it in 50 years, you can watch it. If you want to watch it next week, you can watch it. If you want to watch it today, you can watch it. And downloadable to multiple devices. So you can log in on any device. So the Teachable app at the moment, it's compatible with iOS devices.
So iPhones and iPads. If not, you literally just go into a browser window. So if you've got a Samsung tablet and you just go to teachable.com, you log in with your login details and the play up displays exactly the same way. So yeah, it's compatible on basically any device.
- Yeah. So just terrific. To get Virtual Tour Pro, VirtualTourPro.com
- VirtualTourPro.com and later in the show, for those watching, we're going to have a special WGAN, a special, We Get Around Network Forum offer for 12 months free WGAN-TV Training Academy. Our course has 45 courses, 30 plus instructors, covers a lot of platforms including Matterport Cupix, GoThru, iGuide, Google Street View, RICOH Tours, a lot of content. You can get 12 free months of WGAN-TV Training Academy when you buy Virtual Tour Pro. VirtualTourPro.com But you got to know how to do that, stay with us to the later in the show and I'll tell you how to get that special offer only for WGAN-TV viewers. And Ben, before we move on, I want to ask you about a couple other topics. Is there anything else you wanted to tell us about the course?
- No, I think that's it for now. Hit me with the questions.
- Okay, cool. So tell me about your process for which 360 cameras our viewers should buy.
- Yeah, that's a good question because there are so many options out there. Like you said earlier. It's just getting more and more each year.
And yeah, I'm finding that that's a good thing from the consumer's point of view because you don't have to get a say a video/photo camera. You can get just a photo camera or you can get just a video-oriented camera. I'm just going to give you a little peek of my shelf here. So this is my camera shelf. All of my 360 cameras in all of their glory.
- That's all you have.
- These are my cameras from downloads for the years. This is just a few of them. I still got quite a few more elsewhere.
- That's it? ;-)
- That's it, unfortunately. It's a very small collection. And then I've got probably like five to 10 more elsewhere around my house. But it's just funny seeing how much they've evolved over the years. So yeah, just, I don't know. Camera's like this, here's the essential, this is the Essential 360 camera that clips on an essential phone. That came out probably three years ago. And then we've got so many old ones like the Gear 360, 2017, 2016 here, the Madventure.
And this is probably three years worth of cameras, I would say the last three years or so. And this is, yeah, literally like such a short amount of time to have that much innovation. And these are all cameras in the past. Like although those cameras didn't show you a close up, but they had dust on them. I will never use them again because they're the old cameras and they're not even that good for 2020 standards.
So basically the process of choosing one, like I said, you're going to have a lot more abundance of choice. I've found the number one thing that determines people's buying decisions 'cause this is the most common question I get asked. Like full stop everywhere on social media and YouTube and stuff. So which camera should I buy? The number one question people ask and the number one thing I've noticed that determines their decisions is the price. So what's your budget? Because you can get decent options for all price ranges. So yeah, that's ultimately it.
It really shouldn't be the number one if you can afford more, I think it's better because the more you can spend on your gear to begin with, the more you can make from it. So if you shell out enough for say a Theta Z1 which is one that the top cameras right now, you're going to be able to--
- The RICOH Theta Z1.
- Yes, that's it. You're gonna be able to charge more straight away because you're able to shoot really impressive raw photos, do bracketing and so many cool things in it that you can't do with all the cameras on that shelf. And therefore, you're going to get a much better result for your clients and you're going to be able to charge more. So for me, it's important that you choose a photo-oriented camera. So, for example, a lot of people I've noticed are shooting tours with the Insta360 One X and while I think yes you can,
I wouldn't really recommend it to be honest because it's not a photo-focused camera. It's more video-focused. So while it is acceptable at $400 it's not going to deliver that good result especially compared to photo-oriented cameras like the Z1 and this and you KanDao camera coming out soon. I'm sure you've heard of it.
The QooCam 8K looks like a really good one that would deliver really good video and photo quality. Announced, but not yet shipping. Yeah, I think it's December . So this is so important that you choose a photo-oriented camera for the virtual tours.
Unless you're doing the video virtual tours, but otherwise needs to be photo-focused. It needs to have a really good dynamic range. You need to be able to look at samples, basically. That's something I always go to is I'll be like, show me a photo that was taken with this camera before I buy it. Well, I mean I have to buy every camera, but I still like to see the samples beforehand.
Because you need to know it's going to perform well in mixed lighting because virtual tours and mixed lighting, you've got dark interiors, what relatively dark and then really bright highlights coming in through the windows. So it's always a challenge. You need to be able to expose that correctly with the least amount of steps to do so.
So cameras like the Theta Z1, even using the inbuilt HDR, a camera like this is an amazing feature because it exposes them all correctly. You just press the button, you literally just put it into HDR rendering mode, press the button and it takes a properly exposed HDR photo. It won't be as good as a bracketed RAW shot, but it's going to be pretty good for a lot of situations if you don't have a lot of time or you're working with a low budget. So factors like these, like dynamic range, I think people can obsess a little bit too much over resolution. Resolution is important, 1000%, but it's not the most important factor because there's cameras like, let me show you.
This one here, this is the Ultracker Aleta S2C. It's got lenses. I think it's like five lenses. This shoots, I think it's 100 megapixels or so, but the dynamic range is really lacking and I would not as a result, I just wouldn't use this for virtual tours 'cause technically it has the resolution and surely you think that would make for a good virtual tour right? Well, no it doesn't because it needs more than that. Resolution doesn't matter if your highlight's completely blown out.
If you have lights filling in through the windows and ruining the shot. Suddenly resolution doesn't become as important. So I'd much rather use a camera like this. It exposes the shots correctly than a camera like this. It's just purely resolution-focused. So basically, I would say dynamic range over resolution, but you also need just a base level of resolution to make sure your shops are sharp once you've finished editing.
- Cool. Any other factors for 360 camera?
- Well, I'd say the market is changing so much. So the best place to go would be my YouTube channel because I post up-to-date reviews and comparisons of all the latest cameras. But I mean, it ultimately depends on the photographer. But I would say get a good camera with dynamic range, photo-focused features and obviously has to be in your price range and it has to have a fast workflow as well.
Because having two steps in the workflow compared to 10 is going to save you three hours every time. Every time you make a tour, you got three hours back. So that's a really important thing. So those are the main features. I couldn't mention specific camera names now. Like I said, that the Theta Z1, that's my choice right now but that is definitely going to change in the near future.
- Yeah, you mentioned your YouTube channel and I think that's a great idea. So I think for our viewers, which maybe today is Wednesday, November 13, 2019, you could be watching this show two years from now and the camera de nos jours is as unlikely to be any that that Ben has showed or talked about. So go to his YouTube channel. It's YouTube.com/BenClaremont and 61,000 followers can't be wrong that are following Ben watching his reviews of new cameras, new platforms, new gear.
And that's if you're probably to say, "well but I too find out which camera that I should buy for virtual tours." The answer is really, this is the methodology that Ben looks at to evaluate cameras. But if you want to know a specific camera and how it compares to yet another camera go to Ben's a YouTube channel. YouTube.com/BenClaremont ...
Hey Ben, I would add just a couple of other filters for our audience. I would say one would be helpful to know is which platform that you probably plan to use because not all platforms support all 360 cameras. So if you start your search and say, oh, I'm going to end up on this platform, that might help determine which 360 camera that you end up getting, which 3D or 360 camera. And I think the second thing for We Get Around Network Forum audience, I would say, an API might be important.
Now, I'm not saying you're going to design code to build out to that camera. But if there's an API then there may be seamless integration between the camera and the platform that you plan to use. And so your workflow now becomes way faster and easier and not all 360/3D cameras have APIs and SDKs. The tools that are needed for a developer to write the seamless integration between the camera and the platform.
And I still would have like one other bias which would be how easy is it to use that camera to publish to Google Street View? I think of Google Street View as being a gorilla in our space and really wanna be able to have the ability to publish to Google Street View.
And part of that is going to depend on the camera and part of that's going to depend on what platforms you're using. So it may be that the camera is already Google Street View ready and it's easy, fast and simple to publish from the camera to Google Street View or that you're working with a platform that has integration to Google Street View and therefore it's easy, fast and simple from the virtual tour platform or virtual tour software to be able to publish to Google Street View.
So I think, and again, in terms of our audience for the We Get Around Network Forum, those are three things that I would add to Ben's process of how to help make a decision. And I think one of the things that's kind of exciting in this space, it seems like not a month goes by that there's not another 360 camera announcement and there's not another month that goes by that doesn't seem like there's a price reduction.
So as 360 cameras continue to get better and the prices keep coming down, stay tuned to Ben Claremont's YouTube channel to find out what is the latest camera and what does he think of it and how does it compare to the other cameras? At least now have his thought process. You've got Ben's thought process and how he evaluates 360 cameras in context of virtual tours.
- Yeah, I'd also add to that really quick that my channel covers mostly pointing shoot 360 cameras. However, that doesn't mean that's the only option.
As your audience will know, there's a Matterport camera as well and as well as DSLRs. DSLRs, I'm not disputing this at all are the best way to shoot 360 photos. They are because they have the best dynamic range, the best RAW ability, they have the highest resolution.
So it is the best. The thing is the workflow is a little bit complex and it does take learning. It's more of an advanced thing to do.
So once you've used 360 cameras for a while, then you want to graduate onto DSLR 360 photography. That's when you're starting to get your medium to large size clients and you need really high resolution photos for your tours. That should be the goal. But for now, for small to medium sized businesses, then 360 cameras are perfect because they're very easy to use and that can deliver a very good result if you know how to use them.
- Awesome. Ben Claremont's top 10 tips for starting a virtual tour business.
- Yeah, cool. So I mean I've of covered little bits of some of them already in our talk. But yeah, I want to go through a list of key takeaways that I think will be really valuable to your audience when considering starting a business, what's important, what's not important, because I think there's a lot of misconceptions out there about how to do it and how complex it is. And newsflash, it's not complex. It's actually very easy. So let me just go through a whole bunch of points I have here. So the first one is qualifications. What qualifications do you need like to start a business. Do you need a business degree?
Do you need to go to business school or do you need to go to college and get us some kind of photography diploma? Well, no. No, you don't. Degrees don't mean anything in the virtual tour industry in the 360 industry. This is something that is paramount in so many other industries, but no one is going to ask for your diploma when you've already pitched them on a virtual tour and you've proven you can deliver good work to them. They're not going to be like, okay, you need to show me your diploma now and then we can go ahead with the job. They're just not gonna do that.
So any kind of qualifications, traditional qualifications, are not necessary. So forget about that. Don't need them. A potential customer is always going to choose a photographer that can deliver an amazing result for them as opposed to somebody who has a lot of qualifications or anything traditional that you might think might be necessary to start a business or to have success in the industry.
If you can deliver good work, and I found this across multiple industries, actually. It's not the most qualified person that is best. It's just the person that can flat out do the best job. So that's definitely something. Don't let that discount you. You don't need any kind of degrees or anything like that to start a business. I mean for me personally. You know what, how I got good at business listening to a lot of audible books, listening to a lot of podcasts and YouTube videos.
That's it. Just social media type stuff, audio books, books. That's how I learned how be an entrepreneur and I've scaled my business up really high to this point that I've got an automated full time income and beyond from the stuff I learned for free or very little money. You don't need to pay $50,000 for a degree. You just need to accumulate all the information that will give you success. So that's definitely a really important tool.
- Virtual Tour Pro.
- Yes. Virtual Tour Pro. And if you watch the course, take the courses, the lectures I would say that your first job should pay for your investment in Virtual Tour Pro. How cool is that?
- Yeah, exactly. And that was the aim for me was I want to create a course that is so good that it's going to earn back each student the cost they paid for the course on their first job.
That was my challenge and I think I've been able to fulfill that. So many people are out there making money with that tools already 'cause it really, like I said, it is the most important step, which is also the most commonly missed step, which is business. How do you do business as a virtual tour photographer? So my next thing would be, my next point is about a trading name. Do you use a trading name?
What do you do? Do you need to start a business and Ben Claremont Photography, Ben Claremont 360 and Virtual Tours or is it just Ben Claremont or is it something else? So again, this is something that isn't as big of a decision as you think. Because again, you're delivering value, you're delivering a high value product to your potential clients. And what you're called doesn't matter.
Like it literally doesn't matter. You could call yourself like Billy Bob BlackSmith if you want, I don't know. Just think of random names off the top of my head. But again, potential clients are going to choose the photographer that delivers them the most value. It doesn't matter if it's Billy Bob Blacksmith or Professional Virtual Tour business name. It doesn't matter. What matters more is your portfolio.
What you can do, the value you can deliver. So personally I use just my regular name. Like that's it. It's fine. Your name has value. You build your reputation through your great work and that's fine. Yes, you can create a business around your virtual tours and you can start a business and if you want, that's totally fine.
There's nothing wrong with that. It's just non-necessary step to get started. In fact, it's almost, I would say it's too much complexity too soon. You just don't need to be involved with like starting an official business, registering the business and setting up business infrastructure when it doesn't help you make better virtual tours and it doesn't help you gain the leads. It really doesn't. So again, this is something that this comes second to the quality of your output. So trading names. Yeah, it's good.
And it can actually help with bigger clients. So if you're approaching Hilton Hotels and you're trying to convert them, then a business name is probably gong to help convert them a little bit more than having a personal name. A little bit, not a lot, but for those big kinds of clients you should consider it. Next one would be obviously your website. That's going to be an important one. Having a good attractive website associated with you.
And as a photographer, it's important that your nice visuals also translate across to your website. And this is another thing where you need to market for for 2020 and not 2005. You need to have an attractive photography-based portfolio/website. And style in 2019/2020 is minimalist one-page websites. So it's literally one page. If you're showing your portfolio. You can do it one single page. Yes, you can have links to other places, but you want to show everything, if you can on one single page.
That's important because remember, people online have short attention spans and they're getting shorter and shorter and shorter. So you need to be able to try and communicate everything about you, your work, your business information and you want to encourage them to contact you if you choose to have that on your site. But if you have too many menus and stuff, then it's going to make the process more complicated. They may not make it to those menus to contact you and they're not going to convert as highly.
So it's important that when putting your website together, you keep this in mind, that businesses also have short attention spans. It's not just people on YouTube and Instagram and Facebook, it's businesses as well. So you need to build a minimalist one-pager website, and the best way going to my next point.
Then the best way to do this is through a simple drag and drop website builder. I'm sure so many of you already know how to do this, but platforms like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, there are so many of them and they have such beautiful templates there where you can just literally drag and drop your own photos, your own information and within 30 minutes or less, you have a professional-looking website. It looks like a several thousand dollar website and you're paying like $20 a month for it.
And that can be enough because that appearance is going to portray professionalism, that you care about visuals and that's what is going to help sell them on a virtual tour if your entire visual experience is consistent and consistently good. So you don't need a WordPress website. Yes, it's nice and if that's what you prefer to do, then awesome. But you don't need it.
You can use a drag and drop website builder. The most important thing is you're able to display a portfolio because it's impressive work. It's going to convert the clients the fastest. So yes, it should definitely focus around the work. Like what are your best tours? Put them at the top. Yeah, don't post your bad ones. Simple as that. Don't have hundreds of samples either.
I don't know, maybe three to five. I wouldn't put more than five unless you have more than five really impressive virtual tour samples but five is enough. Even three or two or one can be enough if they're really good. So yeah, it's important that you display them really nicely and only post your best work. That's really important because that gives your future customers confidence that you're going to do that for them. That's quite a powerful thing. So next would be just building on from the portfolio.
I know a lot of your audience already have some kind of portfolio, but for anyone out there that's really starting from scratch and doesn't have one, it's really easy to put one together. And I think the best way of doing this is firstly, targeting your niche.
So choosing, okay, what kind of tours am I aiming to make? Like do I want to make tourism-based tours and hotel-based and real estate-based and so on? And what you need to do is just go out there and find that thing and make a tour of it. It doesn't have to be a paid client to begin with or your portfolio piece. I'm not suggesting you go out and offer a business to make their tour for free.
I'm saying if you want to target hotels, you literally go and stay at a hotel. Make a virtual tour of your room, put it together make it look really nice and put it in your portfolio because that's your ultimate dream client is going to be a hotel.
- By the way, as you point out Virtual Tour Pro, let the general manager know, ask for the card because now you may be, you are paying for that hotel room, you still might have an opportunity to pick up some business while you're in the hotel even before you check out. I know that happened to me. And the general manager wouldn't let me check out until we had a deal.
- Nice. Just ... Asking for the manager on duty. "Hey, I'm staying at your hotel. Just want to show you what I do, creating tours. I'd like to send this to the general manager once I finish shooting my room." Oh yeah, okay. Here's her email address. Boom, shot it, sent it and it wasn't long before I got an email back said you can't check out of the hotel until we have the deal.
- Yeah, that's awesome. Congrats. And it's so funny because I think that's just what 360 does to people. When people haven't seen 360 before, see 360 for the first time, they're like, "Oh my God, what?" "How was that done?" "That's amazing!" "That's incredible!"
I'm sure you will like that and I know, I was like that when I first saw my first 360 photo. I remember when Google Street View started back in the early 2000s, I think it was. When I first saw Google Street View outside my house, I dragged a little man onto the map and I saw it in 360. I thought, what? Am I being spied on? What? How? What? How? That's amazing. That's the coolest thing I've ever seen.
- But just to pick up again. You have a lecture that goes into great detail about this combination of I'm checking into a hotel, I might as well shoot some content while I'm here.
By the way, I should really ask the general manager before I check out of the hotel. And so you literally have a lecture on this topic and it's two things. One, you're creating great content, a beautiful space for your portfolio, but at the same time, it's still an opportunity to generate revenue.
- Yes, exactly. And it makes it even more real for the business owner because they're seeing of their property. So if you can step into any business, just walk down your local main street, step into any business, and take a 360 photo. I'm not actually suggesting you do this by the way, but just as an example.
You could do that and show it to them and that would be blown away. And they would think, hey, well what if you did that professionally? What if we had like multiple photos like this? And what would lead to that happening is it's real to them because it's in their business. They've just seen literally a 360 photo was taken inside of their business. It's real, they can see it in front of them, they can flap around it and it's real. It's like, wow, we could actually do this.
- You can do that today with a 360 camera. Literally shoot it, show it on your phone and say, hey, this is just a quick proof to show you what your business could look like. Now imagine that we linked together a number of these 360s and annotate it with text or video or audio or photos.
So there is a really quick, easy way to do a demo in a business today. It was wasn't positive when I started out with the DSLR. It take a lot of post production. Today with the 360 camera and your smart phone and your iPad or tablet, you can literally do that kind of demo today.
- Yeah, exactly. And I think that's probably the missing link when trying to convert a new customer. The reason they're reluctant is they can't visualize it. If you visualize it, it becomes real, because I can describe to you all day long what a 360 photo is and what a virtual tour is, and you might be like, oh yeah, okay. Sounds cool, whatever. But if I show it to you, if I give you a VR headset or show you on my phone, suddenly it's real.
It's a real possibility and it becomes so easy to convert customers that way. Get nice as headset. Yeah, seriously. It makes it real and that is such a convincing thing. It's one of the most convincing things you can do to convince a new client is give them an example.
Show them what you're actually talking about. Again, I talked about engagement before in regards to putting the cost together and just having visual examples to help people learn better. Same thing applies when selling to a new business is you need to make it real. You need to show them physical examples instead of just describing it because then they think, okay, well if that's what it looks like, that's what it could look like on my website. Therefore, maybe I should actually consider spending my marketing budget on this 'cause I really like what I'm seeing.
- Cool. We're up to four, five.
- I've lost count. I think I'm at five or six. So the next one I would say would be well becoming Google Street View Trusted and showing your [Trusted] badge. So any way you can to do that. Look for me, being Google Street View Trusted is again, one of those things that I would probably compare to a degree. It's like, on Google Street View Trusted. I'm like all important and stuff.
But if you have a Google Street View Trusted photographer with an average portfolio and you have a non Google Street View Trusted photographer but with a really impressive portfolio, the non-Google Street View Trusted photographer is probably going to win the clients.
So being Street View Trusted is good. You should display it. It's not going to be the most important thing basically. It's just more of an Add On it. So probably a two or three or 4% thing that adds to your credibility because if Google can trust you and surely they can too.
- And you go into some detail in one of your lectures about how within one day you can qualify to be Google Street View Trusted. I don't think we just need to talk about that today, but get Ben's course, Virtual Tour Pro, look for the lecture on Google Trusted photographer and learn how within a day you can get those credentials.
- Yeah, so the next thing I would say is the next point would be choosing your rates. So this is an important one. We brushed on it earlier, but this is an essential step. You need to choose your rights and you can't undersell yourself. This is another really common thing I see is people charging under $100 for virtual tours.
- To me, that's unacceptable even for the worst virtual tour, you shouldn't be charging under $100 because virtual tours add value and when you charge a low value, it devalues the virtual tour and devalues the experience they'll get and how seriously they take it.
Because companies are spending millions and millions and millions if not billions of dollars every year on their marketing campaigns. And if you're charging $50 for a virtual tour, it's nothing and it completely devalues and trivializes what you're doing. You need to charge properly. And even for an inexperienced person, you shouldn't charge under $150 for a tour because you're delivering that value and that value is going to help that business bring in more customers and more money.
So something I like to think of whenever I'm asked to quote for anything at all, whether it's virtual tours or something else, is how much value is this genuinely going to deliver? And then for what kind of result are they going to get from the value I give them?
So are they going to make double what they're paying me? Are they going to make five times, 10 times? Even if they're making their money back, it's worth charging what you're thinking of charging. But in most situations, something like a virtual tour is gonna help convert much more overall customers. Say there's 100 customers and 50 of them are convinced to buy from X business, then those customers see the virtual tour. That 50 suddenly becomes 55 or 60 depending on whatever the product is. So that's pretty significant actually. And if you're charging $50 and they're charging, say $500 for whatever it is they're charging for, then they're making $5,000 from your $50 that you're charging. Like does that seem fair? No, that's not fair.
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And that's why it's important that you charge fairly because you can't make a sustainable business down the street you still have jobs. You just can't, unfortunately. So you need to be charging a bit more. You need to figure out your rates and we do have a big video in the course about this. I also have an Add On which is a virtual to a pricing calculator where you can essentially just put in all of your factors like about your tour. So that you put in the amount of photos, the cost of your gear, your experience level, a whole bunch of stuff and it gives you an exact number for how much you should charge.
But as a rule of thumb, like for one to 15 virtual tour it can be anywhere between about $250 and $2,000 depending on so many things like the camera you're using, the software you're using and how complex are you going to edit the tour, how high resolution is it going to be.
There are so many factors that go into it and I've just seen too many photographers now, way undercharging for their services and to me, it just comes across as a real shame because I'm even seeing Matterport Service Providers. So people shooting Matterport tours and they're charging $100 for the tour for 10 of 15 or 20 photos.
And I just think you're delivering so much value for these customers and they're going to make potentially tens of thousands of dollars more on their listing from having the virtual tour there to begin with, getting more people to go to the auction, if it's a house and they're going to make say $20,000 more because they had a bigger pool of people show up to the auction and you're charging $100, $200.
To me, that just blows my mind because you're adding so much value and you're not crediting yourself. You're not giving yourself any value back. So to make it sustainable, you need to think about that. It's important you don't undercharge.
- You have some great lectures on how to charge, how much to charge, how to figure out the process of charging. And I think you probably said the keyword and you expand on this in your lecture is value, value, value. You really have to understand the value you bring to the business.
And by the way, I would probably just say anyone who's probably starting out is probably thinking about charging too little. And I don't think there's anybody that you're going to say hey I charge $100 for that who's going to come back and say, "No way, I'm going to pay you $500 for that." So it's likely whatever you're thinking about charging, you're charging too little.
And it's probably just another reason to take Ben's course, Virtual Tour Pro is because you won't undersell yourself, you won't undervalue yourself because you will understand more about the business of selling or more importantly, understanding that the problem that you're solving for the business and what the value that is to the business and therefore you'll better understand the value that you're bringing to the company, to your client, your potential client and the lecture goes into quite a lot of detail of the process of putting together a rate card.
- Yeah, exactly. And interestingly, it can actually have the opposite effect. So if you're charging too little and the company has lots of debt to begin with, they'll say no because they'll think you're too cheap and you're not going to be able to deliver for them. Like literally, they will think that.
And I think that too. Anything that's too cheap, no matter what it is, I'll probably say no because to me, that's an indication of what I'm going to get. I don't want a cheap anything. Like no matter what it is. If it's a 360 camera, for example, I'd rather pay $1,000 for 360 camera than $100 because I know a $1,000 360 camera is going to deliver $1,000 worth of value.
I mean most of the time, yes, that's the case. Very occasionally it doesn't, but that's the thing. People want as much value as possible so you need to price accordingly because that gives them confidence they're going to get the value. If you can't be able to bring $1,000 worth of value for $100.
- I'll add one pricing tip that I didn't see in your course. Which is if your target audience are real estate agents, real estate agents are salespeople. All they do all day long is negotiate. And the first question you're going to be told or heard is that's way too much.
So you might as well prepare for that you're gonna be told it's too much and I don't care what price you set, it's going to be too much. If you set it at a dollar, it's going to be too much. If it's $100 is too much, if it's $500 is too much, if it's $1,000, it's too much.
All real estate agents do all day long is negotiate on behalf of their clients and they are really good at it. So you better figure that you're going to be in if you're dealing with real estate agents, you're going to be in or estate agents, wherever we are in the world, you're going to have a discussion on price. And I promise, there is no client, no prospect that you're going to talk to who's going to come back and say, no way. You're charging way too little. I'm gonna pay you double what you ask.
And you're gonna take it. Ain't in a happen. We talked about rates was one of your top 10 tips for starting a virtual tour business.
- Yeah. So next I would say you need to decide on what businesses to target. So you need to actually go out and find the businesses. That would be the next step. What do you do? Where do you go? How do you find them? That's really important and it's easier than you might think.
Like there are so many businesses out there, and this goes back to the planning section of the course. It's genuinely understanding the value of virtual tours because when you know that when you seen them used in so many different contexts, you understand what the pool of potential customers is, what kind of business that you should target. And it probably a lot more than you might think.
So basically, I've done any business with a physical store front at any kind of physical location that's important, that's paramount to the customer experience, with their customers is going to be a good option.
Not every business would be appropriate for virtual tour, but I would say it's around 50% of most businesses could gent genuinely benefit from a virtual tour. You don't want to try and convince a business they need a virtual tour when they really don't, because that's not doing the best thing for you or them. So it's understanding who those people are. And more often than not, you can find businesses in your local area.
Because 50% of all businesses, no matter if you live in a big city or a small town, there's going to be a few businesses that can benefit from virtual tour and having that online representation of their physical business in the form of a virtual tour.
- If you're viewing this show and you're totally new to try and figure out where to begin, Ben's got a whole section within Virtual Tour Pro of outlining here are the verticals, the industries, the spaces that you might want to begin with and why. So without going into it here, you have a ton of content that helps a Virtual Tour Pro succeed faster by understanding some different verticals.
- Yeah. So next I would, my next point would be about contacting the business. Like what do you do? What's the best way to contact a business? What's the best approach? What do you say?
There's so many ways of going about it. And again, I would say it comes down to value again because you need to learn how to be a salesman. Simple as that. You need to learn how to be able to convince someone to buy something and the wording to use. And for me, it comes down to value.
Again, how do you communicate that they're gonna get value from doing business with you? That's really important. So basically when you contact them, it's important that the essence of your message is, hey, I want to give you value. Would you like value? That's it. Not oh please, will you hire me? I'm a local poor Google Street View photographer. I need the work now. I think it'll be pretty good.
But please, would you hire me? Like no, people aren't convinced by that. People are convinced by getting and getting value. So understanding how to portray that. Like you just need to be giving value. Simple as that. Value makes the world go around. So yeah, I think value is a really important one. You need to communicate that wherever you happen to be advertising, whether it's knocking on doors, whether it's flyers, whether it's calling businesses, whether it's showing up in person door knocking or emailing them.
- And again, a note for our viewers, you have lectures on each of those things that you've just mentioned. So if you have a bias towards the email or door knocking okay doing events. Ben's got lectures on each of these different tactical ways to develop business.
- Yeah. And essentially, they all have a very similar thing in common, which is what I said. You need to really know how to talk to a business and solve their pain points. That's it. Like solving problems is how you become a successful business person.
You need to be able to solve their problems, and often all businesses have marketing problems no matter how big and successful they are, they have marketing problems 'cause they wanna sell more of whatever it is they're trying to sell or promote.
And so you need to help them get more customers and you do that by offering them media and content and virtual tour is a form of content for them to display it online to attract people to their business. So you're essentially solving a problem for them in helping them get more people coming into the business, which is a problem almost all businesses have. Even McDonald's that has people lining up out the door still needs people during the dead periods and during public holidays where it might be quiet and so on. So even the most successful businesses still focus a lot on the marketing techniques, on marketing campaigns.
They put in billions of dollars into marketing. I'm talking to really high end businesses, but even small local businesses put some money into marketing. So you're solving a problem for them because if they're doing that to begin with at all, if they're putting any dollars into marketing, and that's usually easy to tell by going to their website and seeing how professional it is and they have any marketing content there.
But if they're investing any at all, any money at all, it's likely they have that problem of needing more customers. And that's the problem you're solving for them. So therefore when you approach your business, you need to word it that, hey, I'm here to solve your problem. Knock knock.
Hey, it's the problem solver here. I'm here to solve your problem. Would you like your problem solved? And which business is gonna say no to that? Who doesn't want their problem solved? So it's important that you orient your wording towards that. Giving value, solving problems.
That's what sells. So next is my final point I have on my list here is that everything we've talked about so far, none of it matters. None of it matters. You don't need to build a website, you don't even need a portfolio. None of it matters. And that is because the most important thing you need to do when contacting businesses is visualize the virtual tour experience for them.
Pitch them the value. So you don't need to say, hey, I'm a world accomplished photographer. Even if you've got an amazing portfolio, you don't need to even show it to them. And I mean, ideally it would be good if you can, but if you don't have a super impressive portfolio, it's okay.
You can use other virtual tours when you contact your business. You can say, hey, here's an example of a virtual tour. This is similar to what your business could look like. So if it's a gym, for example, you want to make a virtual tour of the gym, show them a really impressive virtual tour of a gym, and then visualize it for them because it makes it real. It's their type of business and so type of media that could benefit their business. So if you can write convincing emails or talk on the phone on convincingly, like you can start with nothing.
You don't even know, you don't even need to know how to use a camera or the software, even though I would strongly recommend doing that, but you don't need to because you're solving their problem. Like I said in the last point, you're solving their problem, you're adding value, and you're able to describe the value you're giving. So you need almost nothing. So many people think, oh, I need this fancy tripod, this fancy camera, this fancy software. You don't need any of it. You need to solve a problem.
Yes, image quality is important. Software is important. So many things are important but they're not as important as solving problems. So basically, you need to get good at solving problems. You need to get your potential customers excited and that doesn't even have to be in the form of your own work.
I literally contacted a business and I didn't tell them a thing about me, didn't send them to my website or anything. I just showed them a sample of what they would potentially get, sample virtual tour of another gym and my wording was highly valuable in the email I sent them. Like I said before, I'm here to give you a value. I'm here to solve your problems. Would you like those? Here's an example of how I can have the type of result I can get to solve your problems. Are you interested? Straight away, they forwarded to the marketing manager. Marketing manager said yes, and I had a client instantly.
So that's all you need. You need to be able to get them excited about virtual tours. 'Cause if you can do that, you're going to convert clients and they're going to pay you a decent amount even with very little to show for it initially, you don't need years of experience.
Even though as I said, it does help and you will get that, but you don't need it. So many people think, oh no, I'm not good enough to shoot virtual tours professionally. But that's total BS. Like anyone can start from the get go. As long as you understand what you're doing, you're able to convince people on getting a virtual tour and you're able to deliver the value that you're promising.
That's obviously important as well. This is why you need to master all of these things equally because if you master just business, yet you don't have these other things, then you become a con artist. Then suddenly like you know how to sell people but you're not delivering on that. So that's also really important. It's important to become a good photographer and a good business person and then combine them together into one unstoppable thing that will bring you success as a Virtual Tour Pro.
- Awesome. I heard 10 tips for starting a virtual tour business. I'm going to add an 11th tip.
- All right.
- You're writing this down.
- Buy Virtual Tour Pro.
- Okay, so how do you spell that?
- VirtualTourPro.com Truly, that is the 11th tip is Ben is a wealth of information, he knows how to tell a story and he has put together this amazing course. I'm 80% through it. It is really ... I'm learning a lot.
I've kind of been in this space for a while and yet I'm learning so much by watching Ben's course. It'll help me succeed faster. It'll help you succeed faster. You get the course, you watch the course and shoot one tour and it's going to pay for your Virtual Tour Pro. I noticed we had one of our viewers, write in messages is what kind of is there a sample lecture? A sample lecture. I guess what I would ask is, if I get the course and I'm not happy, then what?
- Yeah, so basically we offer 100% money back guarantee. So if you don't get the value you were hoping for from the course, yeah, we'll refund you on the spot. So yes, 30-days money back. So if for whatever reasons you don't like the course, just simply email us and yeah. No questions asked. All good.
- I think that's probably even better than the sample course is just get the course and if you're not happy, there's satisfaction guaranteed or your money back within 30 days. Earlier in the show I mentioned that you can get 12 months free, WGAN-TV Training Academy.
It's 45 plus courses, 30 instructors. We cover a lot of platforms. We talk about cameras as well. It's a lot of content. We charge for that, but if you buy Virtual Tour Pro, you'll get 12 free months of WGAN-TV Training Academy. But in order to get that, find out how to get that. Special offer, you have to Private Message me in the We Get Around Network Forum.
So if you're watching on our YouTube channel or someplace else, come to the We Get Around Network Forum, WGANForum.com ... WGANForum.com ... Join the We Get Around Network Forum. It's totally free. You'll automatically get an email back from me that has a special link to use and its special information to tell you how to get the 12-month free WGAN-TV Training Academy. Forgive me, I've actually said that incorrectly. You need to Private Message me because this offer actually is only for WGAN-TV viewers.
So join the WGAN Forum [WGANForum.com]. It's totally free. You'll get back an email that does have 50 plus membership benefits, but then you'll be able to private message me in the Forum and say you know, "Hey Dan, I watched the show. How do I get 12 free months, WGAN-TV Training Academy when I buy Virtual Tour Pro?"
And you've got to do that BEFORE you buy Virtual Tour Pro 'cause I'm going to give you a special link and some additional info so that you can get that special offer. So it seems to me, Virtual Tour Pro on its own is an awesome thing to buy. But we're kind of sweetening it to make it just that much more incentive to buy.
- Extra sweet.
- Extra sweet. And again, I think I just want to take one more moment. Well, I actually, I have just a couple more questions for you, Ben. You touched on, you had some options, extras. You have a pricing calculator. What other special content for someone; I want everything. Ben, I'm in. What else you got?
- Yeah, so basically we've got three packages on the Virtual Tour Pro website. And the first one is the Basic Virtual Tour Pro course, which is an eight to nine-hour course.
And it's ever expanding. So there'll be new lessons added all the time to that. Then we had the Virtual Tour Pro Expansion Pack, which is option two and it comes with three really valuable bonuses. One of them is a virtual tour pricing calculator that I talked about before.
How do you calculate your rates with specificity to the number? And so you basically, adding all of your details about your shoot, your experience, your client's info. It's quite simple. It's just it's a spreadsheet and it will give you an exact number for how much do you charge each individual.
Shoot your own. Next we have a Virtual Tour Pitch Email Pack. So if you decide you want to email businesses as your way of reaching us then, which is my preferred method actually because I know I'm good at talking to you online, but in person, I get a bit nervous and stuff like. Oh, hi, my name is Ben and I'm... So I actually much prefer to send emails as opposed to talking in person.
So basically what I've done is I've written whole bunch of template emails where you just insert your name and the name of the business that you're contacting and it's copy that's written specifically to convert highly new businesses that you've copied and paste into each new business you contact.
And the third one is a virtual tour contract. So if you decide you want to use a contract with your virtual tours, I had a legal expert write out a contract where you enter in your own details and your client's details and it's an officially legally binding contract that you can use if you want to use. I don't always recommend using a contract, but if you do, you've got one there.
So that's the expansion pack, which is the middle package. And then the biggest package is everything I just mentioned as well as all of my courses I've done previously. So I have another course about 360 video called A Beginner's Guide to 360 Video. It's a three-hour course about how to master 360 videos starting from scratch and creating really nice-looking, 360 videos as well as selling them.
I've also got a course on personal branding. So sharing all of my best tips for growing your personal brand through social media, how I got to 100,000 followers and beyond. It basically breaks down all of the key techniques I've used to build that, which I've then now turned into my customers and it helps my business. It's helped me scan like business to six figures and beyond.
So the main social media is such a powerful tool, for doing that and in that course, it's called A Beginner's Guide to Building a Personal Brand. You get all of that. So it's a course that breaks them down, breaks down the social networks one by one, and it gives all of my best tips for each, for growing that personal brand. And then finally you get my ebook, which is about Tiny Planet Photography which was the very first thing I ever did back in, I think it was 2015. Yeah, just sharing all of my best tiny planet techniques for getting photos like this, this background you see behind me. These are my very first tiny planets I ever did. It's kind of like it's like a probably two-year like a collage, I guess you could call it. [Virtual Tour Pro: Ultimate 360 Bundle]
And it's sequential. So you have my very first photo up there in that corner. Yeah. This one up here. It basically goes over, I would say that's about three years. So I chose the highlights and my best tiny planets that I posted to Instagram. But this was essentially what I first became known for was tiny planets. I was the tiny planet guy. So I ended up writing the book about that and about how to achieve effects like this.
And yeah, that's the book. It's called "The Beginner's Guide "to Tiny Planet Photography," and that's the final thing. So it's basically everything I've ever done in one entire package. There's so much content in there that it will keep you extremely. So I hope you have time for all that important 360 knowledge.
- Ben, thanks for being on the show today.
- My pleasure. Thank you for having me and yeah, looking forward to chatting again soon. Hope everyone out there is doing well and you go out there and crush it with your virtual tour business.
- Thank you. We've been visiting with Ben Claremont. A Tiny Planet Pro among other things but actually, Ben has an army of die-hard fans. I'm one of them, 100,000 plus social media followers on his various channels, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube et cetera. On YouTube, you can catch Ben Claremont, 61,000 followers. Ben Claremont, YouTube...
- Just search my name. Yeah.
- Search for Ben Claremont or literally it's YouTube.com/BenClaremont ... Ben is the 360 subject matter expert, a mentor in this space. His new course, his latest course, Virtual Tour Pro, you can find it at VirtualTourPro.com If you've missed any portions today, sure we have recorded it, publish it in the We Get Around Network Forum by tomorrow. Thursday November 14, 2019. Just simply go to WGANForm.com ...
Just search for Ben Claremont in or search box. And Ben Claremont from Sydney, Australia. I'm Dan Smigrod, founder of the We Get Around Network Forum. You've been watching WGAN-TV Live at Five from Atlanta.
Ben Claremont Links
✓ Virtual Tour Pro
✓ Virtual Tour Pro: Expansion Pack
✓ Virtual Tour Pro: Ultimate 360 Bundle
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Virtual Tour Pro Course by Ben Claremont | Save 15% with Coupon Code (WGANVTP) and also receive a bonus of 12 free months of WGAN-TV Training Academy Membership
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Ben Claremont is my guest (again) on WGAN-TV Live at 5 today (Wednesday, 16 December 2020):
✓ Ben Claremont's Top 10 Tips for Building a Profitable Virtual Tour Business
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