Virtual tours are the latest innovation in digital marketing and business listings. By implementing interactive 360˚ virtual reality, virtual tours allow potential customers to discover the ins and outs of businesses long before they ever enter the physical store.
But unlike video tours, a virtual tour is a combination of high-quality still images stitched together to create a 360˚, interactive environment.
Most of us spend our lives attached to technology. When thinking about visiting a store, consumers pull out their phone and “Google it.” Whereas the first impression of a business 10 years ago was in person, the first impression most people get of a business today is online, and most often, it’s not through the business’ website.
When customers search for businesses, Google returns a list of business profiles that can include store and product photos, a map, hours of operation, and even a tour of the inside of the business.
For businesses in this technological generation, a virtual tour of the business’ interior is a key contributor to the success of first impressions and on-site visits. Google reports that consumers use a mapping product to find the business they want 44 percent of the time, with 41 percent of those searches resulting in a visit to the physical store.
With such a critical number of potentially missed opportunities at stake, your business may consider optimizing your presence with a virtual tour. Consider this list of benefits.
- Accessibility: The weekends are when people are the most free, but it’s also when many businesses are closed or staff is more unavailable. The average working man or woman may finally have time to check out a business. If that business has a virtual tour on Google, the individual can still explore the business from where they’re most comfortable – at any time, on any day.
- Engagement: Online success is largely measured by engagement. This virtual tour is a new interactive element that holds people’s attention longer than most posts or other would. It gives the viewer control of the experience by letting them “look around” and explore as they wish.
- Competitive advantage: When it comes to local businesses, 97 percent of people search online before making a decision. A virtual tour enhances the ranking of online presence where that 97 percent are searching, allowing your business to get discovered more easily and frequently. Google acknowledges that “Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest.”
- It’s cost effective: After the initial cost of creating a 360˚ tour, there are no hosting or maintenance fees. The tour lives on Google maps and continues to generate interest long after your initial investment.
- It builds relationships: Consumers can familiarize themselves with your location and envision themselves there before they visit. They get to experience the freedom of a self-guided tour and see what they want whenever they want. Even if your business sells most of its products online, hosting a virtual tour lets your customers get to know you. Inviting potential customers to know you.
- It answers questions customers may have about your business that simple text can’t answer. Plus the tour lives right inside your Google Business Listing, which includes all the pertinent facts about your business, reinforcing everything a potential customer would need to know to do business with you.
- It’s freakin’ cool! Let’s admit it! Having a 360˚ virtual reality search element compatible with VR devices is amazing. It keeps you at the top of the modern marketing game (without breaking the budget) and enables you to connect with future generations.
For a business new to the world of Google listings and digital marketing, a virtual Google tour might seem cool, but overwhelming. It’s true that creating a virtual tour of your business requires a good deal of expertise and professional equipment, but agencies like M. Roberts Digital can make the process nearly effortless.
We’d love to help create your business’ very first virtual tour and launch you into a world of better first impressions. Let us know your interested by clicking the contact us button below.