Land Schools With Cloudpano
Cloudpano is the best virtual tour platform for schools. Cloudpano is the perfect tool for passive income. A lot of people have an aversion to this idea. Which is understandable- it’s too good to be true. At least on paper. However, with hardwork and dedication, passive income can be a reality for anyone. It’s important to bring up at the very start- it’ll frame and contextualize everything else discussed from here on out- and we’ll conclude on how to end your tour with a recurring invoice. It’s also worth mentioning that I have nothing to sell you. I am a Cloudpano Pro Plus Member. I use these tactics myself and it’s worked phenomenally for me. We’re going to be talking about a very niche vertical- school.
There are 130,000 schools in the United States. We’re coming out of a pandemic. All of them are going to want tours eventually. Also, this isn’t the only vertical. You can scale this very same kind of thinking into different verticals. Which ultimately, is the next magnitude to step up to, in order to grow as a virtual tour agency. But for now, let’s focus on schools, and make you the authority on school virtual tours with cloudpano in your area.
First Step: Figure Out What You Know About Cloudpano
We’re going to assume you know what Cloudpano is. To recap, it’s the most versatile virtual tour platform available today. In fact Cloudpano has several features that are vital to the value proposition, so be mindful of how this may or may not transfer to other software.
Take some time to read up and ensure you really understand cloudpano. Ask questions, make tours, toy around with examples. Push yourself to understand and develop your style of shooting and try to make a consistent style that you can market. Establish post production workflows and other channels, so you can rely on output and consistency for marketing. Obviously each school will look different, but you don’t want to reinvent the wheel with every school.
Second Step: Figure Out What You Can Repeat
The most impressive panoramic images you’ll take are bracket images on a full frame camera with a special tripod head. But that is a rigorous workflow, and one that is hard to scale. Can you make school virtual tours with cloudpano this way? Sure. But it’s not practical for what the ultimate application is. It is possible to take immense, well placed pride in a tour and use a dual lens 360 camera like the Z1, without a doubt the best possible choice.
Using a Z1 or similar is the best choice for several reasons. First, speed. Schools don’t have several days to keep the hallways clear. Administrators more often than not want to do them on a holiday or weekend- time they would rather not be at work. Speed isn’t something the customer knows they want regarding this offering.
360 Cameras also have the added benefit of being very simple to operate, and have a simple workflow. There is no reason to conflate a long and confusing post production process with a quality virtual tour. It is possible to get phenomenal and engaging results from a 360 camera. Ricoh Theta even makes some cameras as low as a few hundred dollars.
Third Step: Fill Out Cloudpano Offering
Adding drone panoramas to a project is a really quick way to add serious value to a virtual tour. You can add several hundred dollars for a single drone panoramic that will take about 5 minutes to procure. Obviously it’s critical that you fly with Part 107 licenses and TRUST certificate, as well as any other appropriate approvals and insurances. We are building a professional brand here. It’s up to the industry to make sure we are going off on the importance of using licensed and insured pilots, with permission.
Now, not everyone is going to have a drone, or further still their Part 107. This is an important time to reach out to some local drone pilots and see who you can partner with. This is a fantastic addition to any school virtual tour.
Being able to show off the ground from the sky will contextualize and help frame a tour. It will also drive the “wow” factor, something that will not only help sell a tour but help make it an effective asset for the client in attracting and retaining students and faculty.
Fourth Step: Get Cozy With Google
One massive component of selling to schools is utilizing the built in tracking extensions that Cloudpano put in for us. We can use Google Analytics to track who visits the tour. It is hard for me to undersell this aspect, and it CANNOT be skipped. The reason why is that the biggest value of these school virtual tours is upselling hosting- which we’ll get into in a bit. A chunk of what justifies that cost is the monthly reports from Google Analytics.
You can check out other blogs and videos regarding GA, and how to use it in other areas of your business. But for now, if this isn’t something you are very comfortable with- congratulations, you found your next things to start reading up on, when you are done with this blog. Push yourself and become an expert at Google Analytics. You on a beach in Mexico sipping fruity drinks will thank you for it.
This is a good point to also mention becoming a Google Trusted Photographer. Not only does it give you instant credibility- but it’ll help strengthen your skills and comfort level with Google overall.
Step Five: Start Calling
Ok, so in all honesty, this part is the hardest. Selling isn’t easy, and most things that actually and honestly sell themselves are illegal and/or highly regulated. So we’re going to need to put in some uncomfortable hours here. And honestly, that’s the hard, very much true part no one wants to hear about building passive income. It takes a lot of setup. You will spend a hundred hours making calls before you get $1,000/month inbound in hosting. A rough estimate but a qualifier of expectations. It’s possible, but you have to work for it.
Schools are fortunately easy to sell too. They aren’t business people. Setting up a meeting or a virtual demo is relatively easy. But how do you go from cold call to kick off call? We’re going to quickly go over some reasons schools would want virtual tours. We’re going to break them up into public and private schools, or free and paid schooling.
The authorities in the public school that would want a virtual tour might not be the principal. And public schools don’t traditionally have marketing departments. So how to break in? Don’t call the schools directly, call into administration buildings. Try to find out how to get on approved vendor lists. This is a step most school districts will need you to be on, and most people can be cleared to be on the list. So starting any approach being available will help tremendously. This is important for school safety and fair sourcing practices.
Public school administrators might want virtual tours to show off the condition of schools, in order to secure more funding. Often, school districts will be mandated by the state to show how they are educating kids and what steps they have done with funds previously awarded before they are granted new taxpayer funds. Considering how comprehensive a cloudpano virtual tour is, a virtual tour could be the silver bullet in some situations.
On the other side, teacher unions and other interested parties might be looking to document school conditions. There are several different entities and reasons someone at a public school would want a virtual tour. The important thing is to open up conversations, and try to find out ways you can help. You will pick up on different aspects and realities of the schools and school districts around you, and eventually you will truly be a leader on virtual tours in your region.
Almost everything that would apply to the private school would apply to the public school. However, private schools are easier to actually sell too. These people often have some kind of business background, be it educational or real world. Private schools can charge tens of thousands of dollars for a single year. The national average comes in at just over $16,000/year per child. So the math is fairly easy. Missing ten kids shy of capacity? That’s $160,000 less a year you are collecting. They still have to hire and pay the teachers, keep the lights on, and more. So there is a little extra edge when selling to private schools.
There really isn’t too much to be said here, so I’ll try to keep it simple. I assume that, when one pays for cloudpano, that cost can basically be broken down into two parts. One is access to the dashboard/editor. The other is that the tours are being actively hosted on the internet on Cloudpano servers. You are being charged for that storage. You are allowed to pass that cost off to the customer. You are allowed to make a profit on that transaction. It’s just that simple.
For some schools, hearing that they can have a 24/7 open house online, ready to fill that admissions gap for only $30/month? Not an issue. And this is the ideal position. The ideal position is to have the hosting on the tours be written into the annual marketing budget of a school. Now for the public school it might not be called a marketing budget, but you can adjust your terminology however you want. One will want to be included on an ongoing basis, as an ongoing fixed cost. You can bill quarterly or yearly, most will prefer yearly. Offer yearly discounts.
This is where the tracking we mentioned earlier comes in. You can embed the tracking information into the tour, and sell/include the reports in the hosting fee. This then gives the school tremendous insight into who is suing the tour. This gives them demographic information they can use to maximize their ad spend in other areas. Or to better understand the community around them.
Adding monthly/quarterly hosting reports combined with keeping the tour ad free and open 24/7- usually sells the value proposition of hosting in full. Boom, you’re in the annual budget. Every tour will count. Eventually you’ll be in a position where you are repairing handsome monthly fees. Depending on the scope and scale- and how much effort you put in, this recurring passive income can be a sizable amount.
Objections To Hosting
It’s important to introduce hosting properly. I like to start with “regarding ongoing hosting, keeping the tour live and ad free, customer service, and all other incidentals, we assess a $10 monthly or $100 annual hosting fee”. You can write it into a quote with similar language. Make sure to include the option of turning tours on and off, or making them seasonal. You will experience pushback to hosting, try to drop costs. Even $1/month. People can remain firm- but this brings possibilities to exchange and trade. It is indeed possible to embed the tour on a landing page with ads.
“I understand the hosting would be a deal breaker; can you make three email introductions to other administrators at other schools who might be interested in a virtual tour, if you are satisfied with the tour?”. Or, you can substitute other ideas. Get an endorsement for your website. Angle for an advertising spot in the year book. Go for a guaranteed in depth review.
Objections to hosting should be seen as an opportunity to structure the deal in a way that you walk away with as much as you can. You may not get monthly cash payments for the tour, but you can make sure it has a maximum positive impact on your brand.
Hosting should be contextual. There is no hosting in real estate. Schools, dealerships, and other “long term” tours are certainly on the table to have hosting attached.
Step Six: Close Sales
As mentioned, it is easy to land demos and meetings with school officials. We’re going to touch on some common objections, and how to overcome them. Generally getting the deal with a school to go through can take up to a whole year. It’s important to start and get as many irons in the fire as you can. Luckily conversion rates are high.
One common objection is safety, and it’s one we take very seriously. Schools will worry about malicious actors getting an understanding inside the school. This can be simply thwarted by not capturing most hallways. This leaves classrooms explorable spaces outside of context. Windows can be frosted in post production to further confuse orientation.
Another flexibility you might need is terms. Some institutions pay on 30, 60, or even 90 day terms. It’s important to be flexible. Remember, the ultimate goal is to be collecting hosting many years from now. And these school administrators and their staff operate in small circles, so reputation matters.
Step Seven: Live the Cloudpano dream
In conclusion, Cloudpano is the best virtual tour platform. So it’s easily the best for schools as well. From live meetings to student athlete recruitment, Cloudpano is the secret tool many school administrators and staff are just waiting to hear about. So don’t be shy! Develop your offering, and start making calls. If you go in with an honest heart and mind, you can bring great value to not only the school and the community, but yourself as well.