Dan Parker makes it look easy like Sunday morning.
For 2022, every hour he spent on YouTube marketing earned him $1150 in commissions. That was only his second year creating content.
Plus, that payoff doesn’t include leads generated by referrals from YT-driven clients.
During that year, he had $25 million in home sales, leading to $625,000 in commissions. 63% of those leads came directly from YouTube, leading to about $400,000 in commissions.
In the 2 years he’s been on YouTube, he’s gained 7500 subscribers and almost 750K views. Those numbers are phenomenal. There are plenty of realtors getting multiple leads per year with less than 100 subscribers.
He also wins the award for most expressive eyebrows on YouTube.
If you’re an experienced real estate agent Youtuber looking to take your game to the next level, there are few models better than Dan.
If you’re a beginner, I encourage you to check out our spotlight on Bern and Courtney’s Perfect Fundamentals. If you’ve got all of those strategies nailed down, you’re ready to make the most of this article.
Let’s talk about the finer details and advanced strategies of a well-branded, powerfully-optimized real estate YouTube channel.
Channel Intro Video
Dan’s channel intro video is deeply optimized on a level you won’t notice at first glance. It’s only 30 seconds long, so take a look before we break it down.
Intro Video Script
“Welcome to my channel about living in San Diego. I’m Dan Parker, a local real estate agent, and this is a place where you can get genuine insight about the good and the bad, along with all the local insights about living your best life here in San Diego.
[Attraction Cutaway] I would say probably my favorite thing about Pacific Beach is that you have so much beach access. It’s 3 miles of white sandy beaches.
Let me be your guide as we explore living in and moving to San Diego, along with neighborhood tours…
[Homes for Sale Cutaway] So currently there are 63 homes for sale in all of Encinitas.
…And all things coming soon.
[Food Cutaway] This is absolutely killer.
So check out some of my videos down below. Subscribe to my channel. And if you ever need help buying or selling a home in San Diego, my team and I would love to help.”
1. Target Keywords
The first thing I want to draw your attention to is the amount of valuable keywords packed into this 30-second script. They are bolded above and listed below.
YouTube analyzes the Closed Captioning (subtitles) text to help determine your channel content and expertise. It places special importance on your channel intro video text.
Here’s a checklist of the phrases Dan uses to target keywords:
Wow, chef’s kiss.
When creating your channel intro video, copy Dan’s strategy by packing your script with relevant keywords.
While YouTube uses speech recognition to auto-generate closed captioning, it’s smart to manually enter subtitles for your intro video. That’s especially true if you list target geographies with unusual spellings (like “Encinitas”).
The image below shows you where to add subtitles on YouTube Studio.
2. Topic Breadth
Dan Parker’s YouTube branding strategy revolves around living your best life in San Diego. As branding “themes” go, it’s right in the sweet spot of covering topics that have a strong chance of generating leads, while remaining broad enough to get significant traffic.
One of the strengths of Dan’s intro video is that it communicates this clearly to both the audience and YouTube’s algorithm.
3. Video Length
A 30-second video is an ideal length for a short-form video. The brevity ensures that your audience consumes the entire video, and the vast majority will hear all of your Calls To Action. Often, CTAs appear at the end of a video. If your audience clicks off halfway through a 2-minute video, you miss the opportunity to warmly invite them to get in touch.
Alternatively, you can do long-form intro videos, which have a different advantage. The introduction video I use on my website homepage is almost 20 minutes long.
A substantial portion of my clients warmed up immensely after viewing that video. It’s one of the most important pieces of marketing content in my arsenal.
People are often more curious about your story than you expect. Long-form introduction videos of at least 5 minutes have a powerful effect in converting leads.
Another area where Dan shines is his YouTube video descriptions. This is an area where I see many established real estate agent YouTubers miss an opportunity.
Video descriptions should be full of enticing links that encourage viewers to continue their journey with you apart from watching more content. Check out these examples from Dan Parker and Malcolm Lawson.
Dan Parker Video Description
Malcolm Lawson Video Description
Video Description Link Options
That said, I want to note that it’s important you put your email and phone number at the top of every video description. This ensures that your basic contact info is viewable on every video without the viewer clicking the dropdown box to see the full video description.
If you’re interested in SEO for your website, it’s extra smart to include links to your website blog, articles, free resources, etc. These backlinks will play a very minimal role in terms of “link juice”, or how much authority they confer to your website.
However, the referral traffic will be helpful. Typically, referral traffic from a YT channel is going to interact with your website more than the average visitor. Those stronger user behavior signals are going to boost your SEO efforts.
I want to draw attention to the elements of Dan’s channel banner. It’s another area where he hits a homerun. Here’s a checklist of all of the important aspects to his banner:
The last aspect is particularly strong. If you don’t offer Zoom meeting consultations connected to a calendar schedule, I encourage you to consider it. Much of my own business comes this way.
Dan’s thumbnails may be the best real estate YouTube thumbnails I’ve ever seen. I’ll leave a several examples below. But if you want more info, I encourage you to read my YouTuber Spotlight on Bern and Courtney, which includes a detailed section on nailing your thumbnails.
Amazingly, Dan creates his own thumbnails using PicMonkey. A subscription costs $8/month.
You can also read my 50 Best Real Estate YouTube Thumbnail Designs. There’s more info about thumbnail design there, but it’s also a perfect resource for finding model thumbnails to send to your graphic designer.
To make that task easier, you can download the image pack below.
Click the thumbnail below for several more design examples.
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Perfect Thumbnail Checklist
Keywords, Transcripts, and Closed Captioning
Take a look at Dan’s video on the Best and Worst Neighborhoods in San Diego. This video is arguably Dan’s most successful. It’s generated 42K views in 7 months, and I would be shocked if it hasn’t generated some fat leads.
Let’s look again at the script.
That’s 10 seconds of content. Hopefully I don’t need to point out that those 10 seconds are packed with killer keyword language.
Now, I can’t be 100% certain about this next claim. But I promise you that Google pays special attention to the keywords in the first 100 words of an article. I would be deeply surprised if the same wasn’t true for custom YouTube transcripts and subtitles.
That means you want to find a natural way to fill your intro with relevant keywords. It shouldn’t be too hard. It’s just a matter of expressing what the video is about using language that people search for.
Back to the script.
Ok, you see the pattern. Is it worth your time to plan out every sentence of the video with keywords in mind? Probably not. Should you plan the first 100 words with keywords in mind? Absolutely.
Beyond that, it should become second-nature to include keywords in your natural flow of language as you develop as a YouTuber.
For now, I would simply suggest that you keep that in mind as you continue creating content.
Auto-Generated vs Custom Subtitles
The decision to opt for custom transcripts and closed captioning over YouTube’s auto-generated subtitles can be a tricky one. It can be a matter of timing, audience, and/or cost-effectiveness.
Auto-generated subtitles are usually around 60-70% accurate. If you have professional audio recording equipment and enunciate extra clearly, that number can increase.
But more to the point, Google and YouTube do not consider auto-generated CC in their SEO algorithms. They do read custom transcripts and subtitles to determine the nature of your content and search for keywords.
That’s why custom transcripts and subtitles can increase your view count from 7-15%.
How To Create Custom Transcripts
Shorten the time it takes to make custom transcripts by downloading the autogenerated subtitles and correcting them.
It’s highly likely that you can edit the subtitles within YouTube Studio and achieve the same effect.
I’d recommend letting someone else do this busy work, which probably isn’t worth your time.
Perfectly Spelled Place Names
For real estate agents, much of your YouTube SEO is hyperlocal. Place names like neighborhoods and counties are essential to many of the best lead-generating keywords.
For that reason, misspellings can easily spell missed opportunities. It’s essential that whoever writes the custom subtitles ensures every place name is correctly spelled.
When To Include Transcripts & Closed Captioning
Here are the situations you should definitely include custom transcripts and subtitles.
- For every video appealing to seniors (For example, Best Retirement Communities in San Diego)
- For every video if your client base includes non-native speakers (In this case, include CC in English and your second language)
- For every video that will be featured as a blog post on your website
- For every video once you generate 5 YouTube leads per year
This last point is a guideline, not a rule. Remember that custom transcripts and CC can increase your view count 7-15%, which hopefully leads to an identical rise in leads and commissions.
Creating transcripts and CC comes with an added expense. The time-consuming nature of the task means you should almost definitely outsource it to a freelancer or personal assistant. In other words, there comes a tipping point where the additional expense becomes cost-effective.
Let’s say your average commission is around $12,500 per home sale. That’s $60,000 in commissions for 5 YouTube leads. Increase that by 7% as a conservative estimate of how much transcripts and CC can boost your commissions, and you get an additional $4,200 annually.
That cost should certainly outstrip the additional investment needed to generate custom texts.
Keep in mind, there will be additional benefits to custom scripts. Higher view counts increase your authority for the YouTube algorithm. But more importantly, custom subtitles lead to longer watch times. That metric is crucial to the algorithm.
For that reason alone, you may want to create custom transcripts once your videos start hitting 1000 views.
YouTube channels snowball. The sooner you can hit that critical mass, the sooner you’re going to start pumping up that GCI.
So if you have the budget or time, you may decide custom transcripts are worth the cost from the first video, even if they won’t generate a short-term ROI.
If you’re also creating blog-post style landing pages for your YT content, the transcript will be instrumental for Google SEO. Plus, transcripts may halve the time it takes a blog writer to create a full-fledged article, leading to additional savings.
- Create keyword-dense, 30-second channel intro videos.
- Write link-heavy video descriptions with your email and phone number at the top.
- Design a well-branded channel banner with faces, CTAs, and Zoom-meeting links.
- Bookmark our checklist for perfect thumbnails.
- Include custom transcripts and CC as soon as they become cost-effective.
- Pack your script’s first 100 words with naturally-flowing keywords.
Real Estate YouTube Spotlights
This article is part of a series on top agents using YouTube to leverage insane traffic, leads, and commissions. For more, check out the articles below:
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