There are a ton of ways to promote your virtual tour. To help decide on the best way to market your virtual tour, below we show you some areas of promotion and strategies you should consider:
- Organic promotion through owned channels
- Promotion through earned or paid channels
- Printed material
- In-person events
1. Organic promotion through owned channels
Marketing using channels you own is the easiest place to start when it comes to promoting your virtual tour. You control this outlet so you can (and should) choose to feature your tour organically. Typically, someone searching for your company on Google will find your website and social media. This means they may be the most heavily trafficked tools you can use to reach your customers, but don’t forget the effectiveness of including your virtual tour on digital materials and email campaigns. Get creative about where you can include links to your tour on channels you own, like some of the examples we have below.
Link or embed your virtual tour on your websites
Share a direct link to your virtual tour or easily embed Circuit tours and scenes into web pages that allow it. By adding it to high-traffic web pages, customers will fall right into your tour content. They’ll also be able to interact with it right on the page! Coordinating areas of your tour with complementary information on your website can help customers visualize themselves in your spaces as they learn about your offer.
Should you embed a tour or just a scene?
If you can't decide whether you should include a single scene or tour embed, consider the context of the page and how your embed will add to what users are learning on the page. Depending on the destination page, a single scene might be sufficient, while other times a simple link will do. Here are a few general suggestions on where you can link or embed your virtual tour:
- As a feature on your homepage
- On specific program, services, or location pages
- On internal company pages or news feed
- On your about us page, bonus with options for guided virtual tours or information session
- See the following examples
Featuring the virtual tour on your main homepage is a great way to get the most eyes on your virtual tour. For example, on launch, the University of Windsor added a link announcing their new virtual tour on their homepage news feed, so it was the first thing visitors to their website saw.
Adding the virtual tour to other high conversion pages on your site can help create added value for the customer, for example, Cape Breton University has a link to the virtual tour on their personalized and interactive viewbook.
Another way to add value is having a link to the virtual tour along with links to events or webinars. For example, Durham College has an option for booking a guided virtual tour right beside it allowing visitors to choose for themselves what kind of tour they’d like to experience. This way, users can choose to visit campus in a way that works best for them.
Promote on social media
Posting to social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google etc. on a regular basis helps to remind visitors that they can access it. Share your tour in the places that your audience spends time on so they will come across it. If different departments have separate social channels, encourage them to highlight the tour for you to their audiences.
Don’t be afraid to get creative in your promotional efforts. Using outside-of-the-box thinking can lead to more engagement on your posts and increase your social reach. Here are some great examples from our customers:
Contests are a fun way to promote events or have users engage with your virtual tour. In your post, include details on how to enter, how long the contest is running, prizes, and a link to the full contest rules in accordance with any contest regulations.
Durham College used imagery for a “Spot the Difference” contest to promote virtual tours at their Open House. Participants had to identify differences in the photos and reply in the comments with their answers for a chance to win gift cards.
Red Deer Polytechnic hid their mascot, Rufus, in a scene on their virtual tour for a scavenger hunt! Participants were asked to find Rufus and fill out a form saying what scene Rufus was hiding in for a chance to win tuition vouchers to Red Deer Polytechnic.
Upload your virtual tour imagery to your Google listing
People use Google for practical reasons such as getting general business info, directions, and reviews. Google also has a feature where anyone can contribute photos, including 360 panoramas for Street View. You can take the panoramas on your virtual tour and upload them to your Google listing to increase visibility and to help drive more in-person visits.
Cross promote your virtual tour on resource pages
Are you sending welcome packages full of valuable information or do you have monthly newsletters that your customers can sign up for? Send what you usually do to customers and consider including a link to your virtual tour. The tour can live as a link or embed in viewbooks, videos, webinars, guides, resources, PDFs, and anything else you currently use for digital marketing.
Include in your email campaigns
Email marketing has a huge impact on conversion. According to Hubspot, email generates $42 for every $1 spent, making it one of the most effective options available to companies. These campaigns engage interested customers and keep them moving through the buying journey. Look at your customer lifecycle and think about when it would make the most sense to highlight the virtual tours according to your project or marketing goals. For new leads, it can be great to include your virtual tour as an interactive way to explore your brand story. Once people have converted, you can push the tour to help get them excited to be in your spaces and boost retention.
TIP: Add links in your email signature - If you’re regularly in communication with your customers, you can add a link to your virtual tour and other important links in your email signature. This can easily drive more organic traffic to your pages. It’s free real estate!
2. Promotion through earned and paid channels
Sometimes your promotional efforts may need an added push. Most often this comes in the form of earned or paid marketing. Earned content can be featured on other websites, blog pages, or even media channels. Paid content includes anything promotional that, as the name suggests, you’re paying for. By utilizing partnerships and some budget, you can continue to expand your promotion to new and wider audiences to drive even more traffic to your virtual tour.
Link or embed your virtual tour on third party sites
Consider third party sites that could feature you and reach out to them - essentially if there is a company that covers similar content to you or makes sense to partner with, you could ask to do a guest post or feature your tour on their site. The goal is to have them link your site or tour on their site, this will build your SEO (essentially increasing your value to Google which will eventually add to your own organic reach) and will expose your tour or company to a new audience. You could also do this with media pitches if it makes sense, it’s a HUGE reach opportunity and draws large audiences. For example, if you have a media team and they are announcing a new program - they could share the tour link to the space within their content for the media.
Consider paid ads
To dial up the promotion of your virtual tour, consider paid ad campaigns. Be strategic about your timing so that you can make the most of your ad spend. For example, look at your customer lifecycle and plan ads around when it makes the most sense for people to be taking tours.
- Generic ads targeting different groups - you can target the demographic of your audience. For example, a post-secondary institution marketing to high school students may want to consider targeting an older audience if they notice parents book a lot of tours.
- Retargeting campaign - make the most of interested audiences by retargeting people who have already interacted with other ads from your company. This approach can be effective to push tours after Open House events, webinars, or at certain times within your funnel when customers are ready to learn more about your space.
3. Printed Materials
Don’t be afraid to try more traditional techniques! Brochures, posters, guidebooks, flyers, or other print resources are a great takeaway to remind customers about your tour. Highlight the link or use a QR code to help users access your virtual tour. Once these are printed, you can use them for on-site signage, hand them out in direct mail campaigns or as takeaways at in-person events.
4. In-person Events
Have people on-site? Use your face-to-face time with them to let them know your tour exists so they can check it out in their spare time.
Show at open houses, orientation, or informational events
Showcase your virtual tour on a large touchscreen for visitors to explore at live events. Viewers can explore the tour in a group setting with others, or your staff can pull up specific tours or scenes for visitors to answer questions about specific spaces.
Supplement in-person tours
While running an in-person tour, there may be off-limits or occupied spaces you can’t take your visitors into. One way to solve this is to use your phone or tablet to virtually take the group inside. When your tour ends, following up with a link to the virtual tour can encourage visitors to revisit spaces they were interested in.
Get new employees oriented with your location before they start! Use the virtual tour internally to familiarize new staff members with your space. You can add the tour to welcome emails, include it in new employee resources, or present it in employee training sessions during their first days.
Showcasing and promoting your virtual tour through your sites, social media, and other channels helps nurture current leads and future prospects as they go through your marketing funnel. It will also ensure that you are getting the most out of the virtual tour and help increase your return on investment (ROI) to all the hard work you put into building the experience.