Virtual Tours for Small Businesses
(7 min read)
In this week’s blog, learn about Virtual Tours for Small Businesses to answer the following most Frequently Asked Questions.
Watch this video for more information about Virtual Tours for Small Businesses.
- What is a Virtual Tour?
- What are common uses for Virtual Tours?
- What are the main benefits for small businesses using Virtual Tours?
- Will a Virtual Tour help my business rank higher on Google?
- How do Virtual Tours work?
- Why should my business get a virtual tour?
Are you a small business owner? If so, listen up as we’re going to explain how a Virtual Tour can help grow your business.
What’s a Virtual Tour?
Simply put, it’s a visual 3D representation of the inside of your business, allowing customers a 360° walk-through experience.
Here are some Virtual Tour examples on our portfolio page. Click the tour you want to view then click the play button.
What are Common Uses for a Virtual Tour?
3D Virtual Experiences are most commonly used for brick-and-mortar or retail businesses, like restaurants or venues, to accurately and vividly showcase their internal commercial space to customers.
Most businesses use virtual tours for the following reasons:
- Showcase their beautiful interior space to potential customers
- Add virtual content to their Google My Business
- Publish a 360° view to their Google Maps Page
- Add to their website and social media
- Outrank and outperform their competition
These are very common and popular for restaurants as you can see this virtual tour of South Jazz & Kitchen in Philadelphia.
What are the main benefits for small businesses using Virtual Tours?
Virtual tours are still rather uncommon and unknown within the small business community. However, many businesses using Virtual Tours have realized a few of the main benefits, even to their bottom line.
- Ranking higher in Google local search results
- Increasing visibility on their Google Page & Website
- Developing trust and familiarity with potential customers
- Overall increase in consumer demand and traffic
- Better Customer Reviews & Ratings
According to LCP 360, younger website visitors ages 18-34 are staying on website 5-10x longer if they have a virtual tour experience.
This brilliant piece of content allows potential prospects to virtually take a tour of your work space. Whether that’d be your brick and mortar store or a multiple-floor office building, viewers can “walk-through” your space and see what it has to offer!
Other benefits include:
- Increased rankings on Google
- More calls to your business
- More visits to your website
As you can imagine, this is great for real estate. But what about all other niches in the small business world? Well, that’s what we wanted to find out.
Case Study Example:
We started with restaurants in Philadelphia. The case study that we’ll discuss in this blog is none other than the great jazz bar, SOUTH, mentioned above.
We first completed their virtual tour in 2017, and they’ve been loving it ever since. To this day, SOUTH is still benefiting from the content and SEO this virtual tour offers.
One of SOUTH’s problems at first was that they weren’t ranking for any prominent keywords such as “jazz bar philadelphia” or “jazz in philadelphia.”
Since completion in January 2018, this virtual tour has accumulated the following reach and awareness (see screenshot below).
Total = 28,100+ Impressions
Visits = 23,100+ People
So now you have proof that both businesses and customers appreciate virtual tours, but does it help with SEO you might ask?
Will a Virtual Tour help my business rank higher on Google?
Many business owners ask us, ”How does having a virtual tour increase my rank in Google?”
First off, great question! Secondly, SEO is very complex, but Local Search isn’t nearly as complex as trying to compete with companies all over the world.
Local SEO focuses on a couple key ingredients that you can read in a previously written Monday Monday article, “Top 6 Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses”.
To answer your question, we have witnessed these 3 key reasons that businesses rank 10-20% higher with a Google Virtual Tour on their Google Maps (Google My Business) listing in overall search visibility and traffic ….
- You’re actively using and participating in what Google cares about
- Google is trying to compete more with Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and countless others. By continually increasing their service offerings and product integrations they believe they can regain market share and ultimately make more money — therefore they want people using their updates product features.
- Virtual Tours provide rich content to engage viewers
- Google cares about showing customers helpful and relevant information, not only text based, but also visually with images and video. The virtual tour feature has existed for over 6 years now, but is only recently being featured and promoted by Google.
- Get A Leg-Up on the Competition
- The more businesses actively use all of Google’s products and features the better. The feature is actively recognized on Google maps and is easy to embed via Google 360° imagery or Matterport software. The more robust your Google Maps listing, the more relevant and accurate the representation of your business is on Google.
You will of course need a completed and optimized Google My Business Page along with adding the Virtual Tour. If you need help just contact us via email or comment in the blog below!
Example & Case Study (continued)
South Jazz & Kitchen
As you can see from this Google search, SOUTH now ranks 1st for the phrase “jazz bar Philadelphia,” which gets over 500 searches every month! So, we were able to get SOUTH a potential monthly increase of 500+ customers, just from the virtual tour!
For all this success, we have to thank our virtual tour partners at Matterport. Matterport is an all-inclusive virtual tour company that provides hosting and cameras to third-party companies like us. This platform allows us to embed keywords and truly help with local SEO.
To strategically place these keywords inside of the virtual tours, we use what Matterport refers to as “mattertags.” These mattertags as seen above are neat little tools that guide tour viewers through each location.
We utilize these mattertags by attaching prominent keywords all along the virtual tour to ensure Google’s algorithm will help it rank. For SOUTH’s tour, we included videos, articles, keywords, any content that we could fit in to add value. The great thing about mattertags is that it links out to websites!
Not only did we implement a keyword strategy for their virtual tour, but a backlinking strategy to boot. We used these local SEO tactics that helped grow SOUTH’s tour.
After we made these changes to their tour, we published everything to Google. Normally, it takes Google 24-48 hours to track this piece of content and then rank it. We were stunned to see that just after a few days, SOUTH was now ranking first for the keywords we put in it. We hadn’t done anything else for SOUTH in terms of SEO, so we pointed to the virtual tour as what helped us rank! Fast-forwarding to 2019, SOUTH still ranks first for a number of terms and keeps getting new business.
So How do Virtual Tours work?
It’s honestly not that complicated, nor do we even have our clients worry about it. All they need to do is have their business ready and beautiful to be captured by our photography equipment. Depending on the size of your business, most projects only take 1-2 hours to shoot on average.
However, here is the process, just so you have an idea ….
- Approve quote and project (15 minutes)
- Schedule shoot date (5 minutes)
- Prepare your business (1-2 hours)
- Clean interior, swept, organized, prepped, no people.
- Typically before or after business hours and with good lighting.
- Photographer arrival & set-up (15 minutes)
- Shoot the tour (1-2 hours)
- Edit and Tag (1-2 hours)
- Produce and publish the virtual tour (1-2)
- Promote & market (ongoing)
Essentially all you need to do as a business owner is approve the quote and contract, then have your business or location setup and ready for capturing content, just as you would hiring any other professional photographer.
Please have your location or venue ready by having it cleaned and organized, just as you would with a professional event or photoshoot. The entire photography capturing process depends on the size of your location. Any 1 building commercial space typically only takes 1-2 hours based on the square footage. The time necessary for the shoot is negligible, and dependent completely upon you being ready, and the size of your space.
To give you a time reference, as seen on the Matterport FAQ page, it takes a minimal amount of time to shoot.
On average, it takes about 38 minutes to scan a typical 2,000 square feet (186 meters squared) single-family home with the Matterport Pro2 3D Camera.
Anything visible to the camera (360 degrees) will be visible once published for customers to see — so please keep that in mind.
After we shoot the venue, it typically takes 2x that time to edit, tag, optimize, and publish it online. If you want it published to Google it’s an extra fee, and we will need your login. The same goes for YouTube and your website. If you want it live and published to those, we will need those logins and access, plus another small fee as well. We recommend doing everything you can to get maximum exposure on the virtual tour!
Why should my business get a virtual tour?
Alright, the million dollar question … “Why should my business get a virtual tour?”
To our team, and many photographers and marketers, the answer is simple: YOU NEED IT. You just need it. We would never pitch anything we don’t have and use ourselves, nor would we sell anything we don’t believe in wholeheartedly.
Statistically speaking, 90% of your competition doesn’t have one, and 60% of which don’t even know it exists.
Unless your business is online or never has customers inside (or is just downright unattractive), then we highly suggest a virtual tour. These valuable pieces of content will rank your business higher on Google, drive more website traffic, engage potential customers, and provide valuable visible context about your space.
We believe in our product so much, that if you don’t witness a 10% increase in traffic, impressions, or visibility, then we will refund your money!
It just works, and its beautiful …. And to be candid, in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not that expensive (yet). So, before this product gets more competitive, give us a call, or fill out our Free Quote Calculator online.
Thanks for reading!!
Ever since our successful case study with SOUTH, we’ve moved on to other niches such as spas, treatment centers and many others! Our clients have loved our new spin-off of these virtual tours and the value we’re able to provide them.
Momentum 360 is a full-scale virtual tour provider in Philadelphia. We also offer photography, videography, editing, drone, and digital marketing.
Our owners Mac Frederick and Sean Boyle have over 15+ years of digital marketing experience and are ready to help take your business to the next level! Our team members have also worked at Google and Facebook before, so we have the most up-to-date knowledge in the business. All to help your business rank at the top of Google and kickstart your journey to be a future lead generation machine!
We hope this blog informed you on how to correctly publish your tour to Google Street View and the neat features that comes along with this!
If you have any questions or concerns, leave them in the comments below! From everyone at Momentum 360, thanks for the love and until next time, build Momentum!