LOCAL MARKET MONOPOLY EPISODE 04
Online Walkthrough Virtual Tours with Jared Buswell
Podcast by Clarence Fisher
Online Walkthrough Virtual Tours

About This Episode

“It allows people from anywhere in the world to walk through your business before they visit.” – Jared Buswell

In today’s episode, Clarence talks with Jared Buswell about online walkthrough virtual tours and how providing an experience where anyone from anywhere in the world can walk through your business before they call or visit can boost profits.

Here are some of the fascinating things you will hear in this episode:

  • Why local businesses need online walkthrough virtual tours
  • What types of businesses can benefit from this type of content (Some of these may surprise you.)
  • The best ways to implement this type of content into your marketing system

So listen here to find out why you should spend an equivalent amount of energy on creating this type of content for your business as you do any other type.

author avatar
Clarence Fisher

Clarence Fisher: Welcome back to Local Market Monopoly. Hey, it's Clarence Fisher, and I want you to imagine this. Someone searches on Google for what you offer and your business pops up. And then imagine if you could show them around your office, inside of your practice before they click call or even come by. You can show them the experience of what they're going to get before they take the next step. Imagine if you could do that and imagine if they click through, they went to your website and they just were able to just walk through your building. Do you think that would increase your conversion rate? Do you think that would bring in more customers, more clients, more patients into your business? I believe so. So much so that I tracked down Jared Buswell, who has been doing this for, I don't know, almost a decade. I want to say it's a long time. Well, maybe five years, maybe six years, maybe five or six years. But it seems like a long time because I've seen him around and that's exactly what he's doing and having incredible results, and I can't wait to share his tips, tricks and strategies with you. Hold on.

Intro:: You're listening to Local Market Monopoly with Clarence Fisher, uncovering the tills tactics and strategies the most successful small businesses use to die their local market and own the block.

Clarence Fisher: Hey, Jared, welcome to the show. How are you?

Jared Buswell: I'm doing great, thank you, Clarence.

Clarence Fisher: Great, great man. I'm so glad. I'm excited to talk with you today. And this has been something that when I thought about the podcast and I was going through like, okay, what would help someone dominate their market? And I remember a conversation we had a long time ago when we sat and I guess this service just came out. Do you remember sitting down like years ago?

Jared Buswell: Yes, I do. Yes.

Clarence Fisher: Yeah, these video tours had come out and I did not know that it was a N national thing that was going on and beyond that, someone here locally in my city is doing this. So I've just been intrigued by it, and as I've thought about my clients and our listeners, they're all number one. They're all over the nation, hopefully all over the world, but something that they can use. So could you explain to us, tell us a little bit about your business and how you're helping your customers or clients?

Jared Buswell: Yes, definitely. So I'm the founder of a company called Look Inside Tulsa, and we are a local supplier of online walkthrough virtual tours, services to our area market, but I also service surrounding states as well. And look, inside Tulsa focuses exclusively on creating walkthrough experiences of places. We work exclusively with businesses. I don't do real estate. When I tell people what I do, they say, oh, so you work with real estate and you do homes. I say, actually, no, I do very few homes. But most of the return on the investment comes from businesses who have a recurring customer base as opposed to a home sale with a, you essentially have one customer. So in that sense, what look inside Tulsa does is we provide these online experiences. We are a content provider, so we partner well with your current marketing agency, your website designer, your in-house marketing staff, because we create content.
The one time work for hire service is the typical model that we use for most of our clients. And so what that means is that just like if you were to hire a professional photographer to come to your property to just went through a renovation and you want to get some better content to use in all your products, you would go ahead and hire a photographer. If were to hire a videographer we're basically a third type of media that is, it's a different type of content that more and more businesses are using. And so what this content is is an online walkthrough tour. It allows people to any from anywhere in the world to walk through your place online and they don't leave a mess behind. They can do it at any time of their convenience. So that's what we create our contents.

Clarence Fisher: I love that idea of showing someone around before giving them a taste of the experience that they, of what they're going to experience when they come in. I immediately think of doctor's offices. What type of businesses do you create these tours for?

Jared Buswell: We create tours for a wide variety of businesses. Some of them are ones you would not typically expect, so you would expect maybe a restaurant, and those are a portion of what we shoot, but we shoot a surprising number of veterinarians or dental practices. But the majority of what I photograph are apartment complexes and hotels are very popular. Sometimes you have factories, schools, hospitals, parks, and just pretty much every kind of business has some kind of a use for a walkthrough experience. I could not for a while think of a use for a bank offering that service, but I have done a set of tours for a four location bank, so even a bank has commissioned one of these.

Clarence Fisher: And when you said a bank, I just got it. It wasn't you coming around the corner and then there's someone just making it rain with $20 bills in the bank, right?

Jared Buswell: No.

Clarence Fisher: Ok.

Jared Buswell: This was an experience to show people prospective customers or clients, what it's like to work with that particular bank. So you could see their offices their friendly staff signage, just a typical day in the bank. They did not make it look other than what it would normally be, and for them it was particularly, I think their main value they were getting out of it was to show innovation that they were think a company that thinks outside the box. A lot of times banks struggle with, there's so many regulations, it's hard to differentiate themselves on services and prices from one bank to another, but this particular bank does try to think out of the box. And so when the owner heard of what I did he said, Hey, can you do this for my location? So we worked that out.

Clarence Fisher: I love that idea. And that brings to mind basically there are all types of uses for this. What are some of the, you just spoke about an advantage of showing why we're different, even a bank, why we're different? What are some of the other advantages of having these walkthrough tours? For local businesses?

Jared Buswell: Yes, for local businesses. So a lot of times I ask questions when I get into a conversation with somebody because the advantage is very different depending on your industry and possibly depending on your individual business. For most businesses it is, it's a lot of information and it's transparent, it's authentic. And so when somebody is looking for objective information about your business, something that can't be lied about is the ability to actually walk through your restaurant or your floral shop or your pet supply store as you're walking through the business online it's all photographic imagery put together in 360 degree panoramas. These are joined together into a logical walkthrough tour of the areas that you and I agree on you want covered. And so when people walk through these tours, they're getting a lot of information that they may not have expected to find that helps them make their decision about whether to come to your business or not.
And it may be answering the question that they had in their mind, but they could not get that answer from your website or from let's say any other kind of marketing. So for instance, let's say you had your family visiting from out of town. They want to go out to a nice restaurant, Hey, can my grandmother's wheelchair make it through these booths and tables? And sometimes you just don't want call the restaurant and ask them that question, or you don't want to go down the road and go visit it. You just want to hop on your computer or your phone, just look around at the restaurant, see, hey, can this accommodate my family? It may even be a last minute spur the moment decision. So a lot of people today, they don't want to go through a business or go through a salesperson to get their questions answered so they can hop on one of these tours and get their questions answered about your business. So that's one of the primary uses. It's it's a bunch of information that the business may not know what their people want to know. The people even searching, they themselves may not know what they want to know, but they're getting a bunch of information.

Clarence Fisher: This is really cool. So as I'm looking at the pictures, is there text on there? Is there ever as I'm going through this tour, pictures of the staff or anything like that? Or is it just kind of the fixtures and the walkways?

Speaker 3: For most tours, you're seeing just the fixtures in the walkways as you would see it as you come in person. So the reason for that is that most businesses choose to have their tours hosted on Google Maps. And the way that Google Maps platform works is that you cannot add extra text or thumbnails or buttons on top of the imagery that you're seeing. So it's similar an analogy to let's say you want to have a video made, you would have your video hosted on YouTube so that people can find it organically, and you can also embed it in your website and your other communications and people are watching your video, but it's hosted on Google servers in the same way your tour. Most businesses, when they have a tour produced, they choose to have it hosted on Google Maps, and the Google Maps platform does not allow for extra information. Now, you can get creative, and I've done this with a few businesses as we've planned ahead, some extra signage that we can prominently place at the beginning of the tour or at certain locations in order to point out something. Or you could do a fun extra deal for people who happen to be senior tour, use a coupon code or something. But for the most part, no, you can't add text on top of it unless you do what's called a self-hosted tour. That means that you're hosting through some other platform other than Google map.

Clarence Fisher: That's great that that's a sneaky idea. So it's almost like product placement in the movies or something with that. Yeah,

Jared Buswell: That's exactly what it is.
That's great. Okay. And I was going to ask you that if this with Google Maps, part of the whole reputation piece when we talk a lot here about dominating a local market and part of that is reputation, and in that is included with the, what's included in that is like Google Maps, your reputation, all that stuff. So do these fit in that box?

Jared Buswell: Yes. So typically the people who actually commission me to produce a tour are those businesses who are providing great value to the community. They have something they want to brag about, they want to show off the downside of a tour. If your business is, doesn't really care about your customers that much or doesn't have the features or the abilities or the machinery that stands out from the competition is that your customers as they're researching on their own are saying, your place doesn't look as good as this other one down the street or this other option I have. So with all the information being shown, this is not photography or videography where you can limit the frame and tailor, this is what I want my customer to see. The only limitation on these tours is the limitation of where the camera goes saying, don't go down that aisle or don't show up that room, or don't go into that building. But other than that, your customers who are researching on their own are going to be seeing everything that the camera can see.

Clarence Fisher: This is so cool. I am all these businesses coming to my mind, like we serve a repair shop, auto repair shop. And I'm thinking that that will be so great for people to see the difference between them and other shops. So if you're listening right now, I want to make sure that in the show notes that we put not only a link to Jared's side, but where you can get some examples so you have some examples that people can see.

Jared Buswell: Right? Yes. I've got lots of examples. I keep a lot of examples in my email signature and I can send those your way or update the website. My current website is a little bit old in and not updated in a while, so you'll see my earliest examples, but cool. So yeah, they're right there for you to see.

Clarence Fisher: Great, great. So what are some of the, I'm thinking about this, but some of the myths we were talking before this, that it's kind of almost the wild, wild west. I don't want to say that it's just crazy. But when Google came out with this, and it's been some years, there's still kind of not any governing body around this, right?

Jared Buswell: No. There's not. No governing body that says that you can't, for instance, Photoshop in the imagery or anything like that. No it is a little bit wild west, and it is interesting that after all these years that it hasn't solidified among more common conventions as much as video has or photography. But yeah, there's quite a bit of, there's actually a lot of people think, oh, we're done with virtual tours. I know what those are when the actual fact is that the real advancements, we're still on the cusp of a whole lot of new innovations coming forward.

Clarence Fisher: I believe that. Any other myths or misconceptions that people have about virtual tours?

Jared Buswell: Oh yeah. Some myths about virtual tours that I've heard. One of the most common one is you're shooting video and then people just watch it. So I hear that a lot still in 2019. And so I tell people, no, it's all based on photography. One advantage of that is that during photography is that as your employees are moving around the building, they're welcome to move in front of the camera while I'm working. What that just means is if it were video, any interruption like that, we would have to stop and start over. But with panoramas we can work it out in such a way that people are welcome to move through the camera as long as they don't stay there if we're not showing people. So it depends on what we're showing. But what that means is that the final result is self guided tour.
This is for customers who are ones. If you see that your customers are people who research you a lot without talking to your employees, then this is a form of marketing that you might want to engage in. If your customers are not very self-motivated and researching and they're highly verbal with your people or they come physically in order to see what you have, then this may not be as effective a form of marketing as other. So this is for those people who are motivated to research things on coming. So that's one myth I hear a lot. Another myth is, well, once I get my tour on Google, I'll be able to see detailed analytics of who's looking at my tour and how many people and when and where they're coming from. And the answer to that is that Google has not released those statistics as much as they release about other types of click-throughs and searches.
So that unfortunately we don't have a lot of reliable data on how many people are looking at your tour. And so I really encourage clients to look at this not as a, you purchase the service and then people are going to come to you, but you purchase the service, you get your content and you go out and you promote your content. So if you're already invested in blogging or you're already invested in other forms of reaching out to people, then consider this as valuable content to add to that conversation with your existing email list or your existing, any kind of list that you have. So the reason for that is that Google's organic results, I can go into more detail, but the last few years they've been doing some disappointing things where the professional photography that you've hired is mixed in of equal stature with the unprofessional photography that anybody can come into your business, photograph a panorama on their cell phone, and it gets equal billing with your professional photography and organic search results. So that's been something that professionals have been struggling with for some time. And so we encourage businesses to treat this as content and not as the channel, if that makes sense.

Clarence Fisher: Absolutely. And I think that's one of the things that local businesses are beginning to come around to is it's not this. You can't have this thought of, I'm going to pay and then I'm going to put up a website and people are just going to come my way. Right? Yes.

Jared Buswell: I said, we used to think that way.

Clarence Fisher: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And there's kind of been there or there is this switch that's happening of looking at this long-term and content, content, content. I say it all the time, every business is really in the content business now, if you're going to stand out for sure.

Jared Buswell: Yes. So this is what this is, is a one-time work for hire, and it is a lot of content. You get to recycle it in all kinds of ways for several years to come. Let's say you are a hotel. Let's say you have a special on a certain room type. You can start your tour directly on that room type. You don't have to start people at the front lobby. If you have a special on a certain product that's for sale on your shelf and that product happened to show up in your tour, you can, instead of just sharing a photo of it, you could share an embedded tour of that showing that product where that's showing first and foremost, and when people click it, they're inside a 360 degree experience, not just a photograph. So there's lots of things you can do with it. I haven't seen any other companies do this, but for several years since this became an issue with my client just by default when I deliver the final published tour is I publish send them a customized set of type links. I take the spreadsheet and each row is a feature within that business. So it completely customized that individual location. But let's say there's 25 excellent features that I think would be important to a customer, I will go ahead and deliver those links directly to the business so that their employees can immediately begin starting people at different locations within the tour instead of thinking, okay, there has to be one entrance point. There could be any one of these major features we could start people at.

Clarence Fisher: Man, that's awesome. So as a salesperson or as someone at the desk or anywhere, I'm talking with someone, they have a specific request that I'm talking with them about. I don't have to send them the video and they don't have to go through the whole thing. I can just say, all right, well, they are talking about like you say this feature. So I'm going to, wow, that's great. So I can start there.

Jared Buswell: Yes. You sure? Yeah. It's an excellent tool for an enterprising business that has an internal employee who's a little bit geeky. Some people don't think this way. A lot of people aren't very excited to use it if they're not customers of it themselves, which means that if you personally, you're a business owner and in your own personal life, if you are not frequently looking for these virtual tours on company websites or on Google Map, you're not as likely to be motivated to purchase this for your own business because you don't think anybody's doing it. It's very quiet. There's not a lot of noise, for instance, in today's world, and it's been this way for over five years. If you don't have a website, you're behind. But there hasn't been that kind of critical mass with online walkthrough tours yet. So I think that as more people will begin using in their own personal lives, will begin using more VR applications on their phones, they'll become creators of VR tours and a lot more augmented reality applications are going to become useful in everyday life as this hits more critical mass.
And people will say, I need to have a quality walkthrough experience of my business online, just like you need to have a quality website online. Everybody agrees with that. And some businesses and won't need an online professional tour. There could be some uses for that. But a lot of businesses that want to continue to be in business for a long time and to serve their customers and their communities and to say, Hey, we're part of this community. They're going to want a quality online experience. And that could be something that you create internally. Some business owners choose to, Hey, I'll study this myself and I'll figure it out. Or I've got a family member who says they can do it. So there's that typical line, just like with photography or web design or with VR online tours you can hire the professional or you can try to figure it out yourself.
But yeah, it will be an almost universal thing. It's a little surprising that it's taken this long, but I think it's because there's a significant portion of the population that doesn't use it in their own personal lives, but they don't purchase it either. Or CME port those customers who are out there. And it's hard to, I haven't seen any research on this, what percentage of the American population has a brain and thinks this way, but I'm constantly on online researching. I hate to call a business, and this could be a male thing as well. The notorious a man will never ask for a direction, but instead it's constantly looking at his map. So the more data that's out there, I'm enthralled in living in this world because I can walk through restaurants, I can walk through hotels, I can walk through all kinds of stores before I ever venture to that place.
And so I think that this is going to become a very common, and it's amazing, just a week ago in preparation for the interview, I took a look around my local market, just Googled Tulsa virtual tour to see what businesses were showing up in pages. And it's amazing how in going deep into the results, and you just see page after the page of businesses that have a page called Virtual tour, but the link is broken or the tour is missing, or there's something where the majority of the population isn't thinking and engaging in this way yet. And this is some being Franken and open about this, but there are still a lot of customers I think who are looking for this or wanting this if they knew that it would be there. A lot of it has to do with Google's punishment of the professional tours showing up right away.
If I'm just going around life and I'm am looking for, I'm in a foreign town, I'm just needing to go find a good restaurant, eat at the professional tour of each location is not showing up as prominently as it used to years ago. So in that respect, that's kind of hurting usage. But as soon as Google makes an interface change, and as soon as some other technology innovations happen, we're going to see this explode in the immediate term. The way I would think of it is that this is critically valuable content in your existing communication streams. So whatever you're already doing to reach your customers and engage your customers and give them the information they're looking for and empower them to share about you to others, this is a great form of media to add to their quivers so that they can go out and tell about you to their family and friends.

Clarence Fisher: I would think that it's going to be big too. I don't know the numbers, but I'm sure that at least 50% or more of the population are introverts like myself who would really enjoy being able to get as much information as I can before I call or go in. Yes. And as far as a restaurant, if I'm in a new town, it would be awesome to have a video I think, on the menu page so that I can decide if I want to go in or

Jared Buswell: Exactly, yeah. Cause you're looking for, you don't know what your customers are looking for in terms of that particular thing about atmosphere. Like, hey, my wife and I, we have a special memory from our honeymoon, and even though we're not at that location, we're over here and I want to recreate that experience. And the table has to be a certain color, or the layout has to be a certain shape. And all these little particulars that we're not thinking to advertise by just empowering people to research that on their own you're going to get some customers coming from unlikely places to try out your place for the first time. And that's really exciting. Totally. So if I were to own a physical business, one of the first things I would do would be to have a quality tour of that posted online and on my website and in my communications.
Cause it is, it's a very low cost good return on investment in that you invest in it once and then you can use it for five years or depends on how much your business changes physically. But for the most part, a good example is an early customer of mine, a Kindness Animal Hospital in Bixby, Oklahoma. They reached out to me back in 2013 and they said, Hey, we want to try out this new online walkthrough tour thing that you're talking about. And we noticed from our own current traffic that a lot of our customers have told us that they heard about us on Google. So we know that Google is referring a lot of new customers to us. So we want to increase our presence on Google. When somebody finds our Google search listening and they said, I mean, the only thing that differentiates us that our tour might help with is we think our place is really clean.
And I told them, well, pretty much every veterinarian clinic I've photographed, at least the ones that want to be photographed, they're really clean as well. But what's neat about this is that they knew where their customers were coming from and they said, we want to give these people more information. We don't know how they're going to use it, but we want to use it. And so they hired me to produce a walkthrough tour of the whole facility, including the backend, where the employees work and where surgeries happen and that kind of thing. So that content was out there for many years. They said they were getting good response to it just, and it's anecdotally because back then there were no analytics or numbers at all in the early years of the program. And so they asked, they made some updates to their business, they changed out the layout lobby, and they said back in 2018, they said, Hey, can you come out again and produce a new tour?
And so we went ahead and did that. So they had a good five year run between each purchase of a tour. And so they've been able to use that content. It's been earning them new customers, it helps their customers have a more pleasant experience. You get to, the neat thing about tours is that they have been studies on this on tourist attractions. So let's say if you walk through the Grand Canyon by virtual tour, if you walk through near the Eiffel Tower or things like that, instead of just seeing a photograph, you're actually walking through and getting that experience. The question was, does this discourage people from coming? Because it causes them to feel like, well, I've been there and done that. I don't need to go all the way out to Arizona to go visit the Grand Canyon and go through the heat and the bugs.
I can just do it comfortably here. And studies were done and showed that by actually getting that visceral experience of being there virtually, that people were more likely to actually go than if they had not viewed the immersive experience. So that was an interesting study that was done and that the same applies for our businesses. When people feel they see your place, they're more likely to be go and they're going to be more comfortable when they get there. Everybody has a little bit of a slight fear of something new. And so this technology can bridge that between the familiar and the unfamiliar. When you're going for the first time, I see churches using it for that purpose. It helps overcome that in that inertia, that initial friction of, eh, I just don't want to go somewhere new. And people can tell I'm a newbie, but if you're already feeling familiar with the place, you can walk in with that little extra step of confidence that makes it a little bit more pleasant to go to.

Clarence Fisher: Absolutely. That's a great way to say that. So it has nothing to do with being introvert or extroverted. The unknown. And I totally agree with you. If I see it if people see it, then the next step is to experience it, smell it, be in the mix with it. And so you mentioned one of the fears of business owners, and I'll tell you, you'll get this when you said they don't use it in their daily life. So they kind of feel like, well, why would anybody else? But I'll tell you, that's the exact same thing you might hear a lot of times with email marketing or something. Business owners oftentimes say, Hey, if I get an email once a week, I want to unsubscribe. So we don't send out once a week

Jared Buswell: Like Exactly, yeah,

Clarence Fisher: That's crazy. But I understand that is mean. We tend to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers, our clients, our patients. So what are some of the other fears that may hold a business back from investing in this type of content?

Jared Buswell: The two biggest ones I see are of course related to time and money. So time being, is this going to interrupt my workday? Do I need to pay somebody overtime to come early to the business and open it up or stay late or something like that. So the first, yeah, that's first concern. Is this going to interrupt a normal business operation? And then secondly, how much does it cost? And will I get a return on my investment if I spend $600, if I spend a thousand dollars or whatever the cost is, depending on how much space you want covered. If I spend that much, am I going to see that much return in actual business minus cost of good sold and all those things. So those are the two biggest concerns I see. Most of the time people see the biggest hurdle with time.
Is this going to interrupt my day and can you just do it for me? Like business owners, as you know, are the busiest people on earth. They're probably listening to this podcast while driving or while doing something else. So in that respect, what I do a lot to make this super simple for people where I don't need much of your time, and I've streamlined my operations that way, where you can fill out a form on your own time. You don't need to talk to me on the phone, but there's some information that I do need from the business owner about why they want this tour, about what their customers are enthusiastic about when they come see the business, about which rooms they want shown and which ones they don't. And those kinds of questions so that we can make sure we design the tour before the photographer ever shows up.
We've got to make sure that the coverage area is what you want, that the result is going to be one that meets your business goals. So I do need either a conversation, eight minutes or so with a business owner or a detailed survey filled out. So I provide both options and I've seen business owners use both. But that question at time, both the owner's time and the impact on the business is one question. The impact on the business is minimal. I've photographed thousands of locations now in different formats and done everything from nursing homes where you have to not even show the existence of people or the existence of the wheelchair in a crowded hallways and facilities. So that's interesting. And that's a legal requirement to abide by HIPAA laws to working through busy places, or you're working at an apartment complex and people are using the pool, but you need to show. So we've got some creative ways to deal with that and make it of minimal impact on your customers or on your employees. So that's a message I want to get out. Business owners that don't worry about the photography day smooth as cake, the impact on you setting it up depends on the professional provider you use, but some are high touch, some are low touch, and you want somebody who's low touch, but high results. And so look at by Tulsa has worked that out, but I'm sure some others have as well.

Jared Buswell: I like that you said low touch with high results. Yes. That is a business owner's dream right there.

Clarence Fisher: Yes. Cause you can get low touch and low results. Those are out there. Somebody promises, yeah, just give me 300 bucks. I'll go do your tour. And you get something that doesn't satisfy.

Clarence Fisher: That is cool. So have you noticed, like you said, you could get someone for that says, Hey, give me 300 bucks and I'll make this happen. Or even if you're not in Tulsa, and let's say you're in Washington dc, what are some of the mistakes that you see businesses make when they're either hiring someone to do this or they're trying to do it themselves? What are some of those pitfalls they need to watch out for?

Jared Buswell: Yeah, so the biggest one, if you're doing it yourself, the biggest problem is often equipment. And there's a lot of equipment out there and it's getting better, but there's a lot of equipment that claims this'll look great. It's sharp results, good lighting, good exposure. Simple, simple. But it's not a DSLR camera on a special tripod. That's the tried and true high quality method that's been working since Google did that official to their system. Starting January, 2012 is when Google rolled out their system. I've been photographing Panorama since 2003 and always been working with a camera on a specific tripod head to pull that off. So this was before smartphones obviously, but there are a lot more one shot devices and mobile phone applications saying, Hey, you can create panoramas and even a panoramic tour with these. The results just really aren't the same. You can, there's a lot of details about lighting and color banding as they're moving from light to dark areas.
You get these bands of contrast as you're turning the panorama, things are blurry. If there's plants or people moving, it just looks dull and it might not be the presentation you want to give. So if you're doing it yourself, it's often the equipment. Usually if you're doing it yourself, you don't have $4,000 of camera equipment sitting in your garage, but some people do. But the low cost equipment solutions, maybe in two years they'll be getting better and better. They're gradually getting better. Cause there's a lot of research and development in that area. And that is the direction of the world is we all take our own photographs and then now we take high quality photographs with own mobile phones. And so the direction people want to go is, I want to take high quality panoramas with my mobile phone and be able to join them together into an online walkthrough tour.
And so that is the direction, and I foster that. That's something I encourage. Cause I want people to have this information at their fingertips. So that's the number one mistake would be the quality of equipment that I see. Number two, there's a number two I was going to go to directly, but I thought of another reason there. If you're doing it yourself, there's some awkwardness in camera placement. Oftentimes, if you haven't done this before, the way you would naturally think, well, I'd like to put the camera here and then I'll move five more feet, put the camera here, and five more feet depending on the layout, heights of doorways, materials, lighting. Sometimes you get some awkward distances, either too close, too far moving through furniture or a change of furniture as you moving from one spot to another. So thinking, being able to imagine and visualize the final result as you're producing the tour is something that doesn't come to most people's minds inherently.
Some people get that right away, but if you're doing this yourself, probably your first couple tours are going to feel a little bit awkward until you're like, oh, that's how it feels is I'm using it online. I should change how I do this, if that makes sense. So since I've done this at so many places, it comes instinctively where to place the camera depending on the situation. I see when I come at a place, when I come to a place, you adapt to the environment that's there and create a realistic, pleasurable experience for people online. But that might not come naturally to somebody doing it themselves.

Clarence Fisher: Absolutely. After spending this time with you, I seriously have no idea why anyone would . I mean,

Jared Buswell: Yeah, well, sometimes it's fun. I mean, if you're just into the geekiness of it and you've got the hours, it could be great fun.

Clarence Fisher: This is true if you consider it fun and you have the hours, I can totally see that. I'm just curious, can you tell me about a time maybe that you had some, a business that was really hesitant to do it, but they did it anyway, and how you were able to get them to overcome all these obstacles that we've been talking about?

Jared Buswell: Yeah, I'm sure I could think of one. Let's see. Somebody hesitant

Clarence Fisher: Or is everyone Yeah. Yeah, maybe you heard they were hesitant later.

Jared Buswell: Yeah, after. Well, you guys were so easy to work with. Well, but internally we were really, I'm unsure about it. I see. Yeah. I can't think of specific examples that coming to mind. The experience though of oftentimes getting through the process. And then I see this sigh of relief after the photography day is over where, and this has come to me often where people say, you are really easy to work with and you're friendly, or you're not like other photographers, or, that was pretty painless. I think people were expecting a very painful experience. It could be with a lot of professional photo shoots architectural photography, or with videography. You've got a crew of people come in with their lights and with green screens and lots of cords and tape, and this is not like that. It's all we have by the default, we have to use natural light.
Now, there are some ways we could use artificial lighting and move it in and out of the camera and do some editing, but for the most part, for a normal business who's actually going to do this? We use all natural light. It's one man or woman with a camera on a tripod and a camera bag and it very pain, very painless going through the facility. And so I see people saying, that wasn't so bad. I'm glad I did this. So I see that on the day of photography, hearing about it afterwards, people are excited to, mostly people are excited to have it and use it. So those who have had hesitations upfront, they either fall to those hesitations and don't go forward. Maybe they'll go forward a year later. But yeah, most of the time it's due to the business owner's time where I do not, I'm personally not comfortable going into a place blind, not knowing the owner's wishes. Some other photographers might be comfortable with that, but that I won't go in without explicit permission signed and a plan in place. So that's what I have not had a customer come back to me and say, Jared, that was just not what we were looking for, and I want to keep it that way.

Clarence Fisher: Yeah. Great. So you gave us some examples of how to use it once you have it. Was there, are there any examples that maybe you haven't shared that, okay, we have the video, we have the tour now. How do we use this in our marketing going forward? We've got five years.

Jared Buswell: Yeah. Oh, there's several ideas I haven't shared yet. And I share these with people occasionally, you know, could add it to your standard employee email signature. So as new employees come on board and everybody's sending out emails, there's a nice little, either a text or icon or small funding thumbnail photo invitation to come inside the business. You can use it in printed materials, either using QR codes or short URLs. So as you're handing people brochures or especially, especially if you're in event space, I mean, you have to have this, I mean, because people are constantly reviewing your space and planning and they're talking to vendors and they're any number of things, but there's a lot of people who need to walk through that room when you're closed or it may be far away. So people need to walk through that space. But you can put it on brochures, print materials, you can add in your blogs social media posts.
So you can either by short u url, or you can directly embed into a Facebook post. Twitter's a little bit more difficult with a direct embed, but definitely short U URLs. And so you can invite people, you can just tweet out, Hey, this product is on sale slash sale next 24 hours. And people can see it on the shelf. They can click and they're there on Google Maps looking at the item on the shelf and they can see how to walk to the front door so they know where to go. There's any number of ideas and you can get very creative with it.

Clarence Fisher: That's great. What got you into this ? Like why did you start this?

Jared Buswell: Yeah, I started this back in 2003. I was a university student and there was a crazy new technology professor who had invested a lot of money into a very clunky panoramic tripod head where you could mount a camera and make adjustments to be able to rotate this camera around a fixed point so that there would not be PAX issues between the photos as you're producing a 360 degree panorama. So I was university student when this gentleman asked me to learn this and see if it could be of any use to university. And I found it very useful. So at that time, I could look at university virtual tours. I googled the entire world on this. And back in 2003, the only American universities that had a virtual tour at that point were Harvard University and Black Hills State University in South Dakota. So that was a rather innovative college.
And I said, well, I want Oral Roberts University to be up there as well. So that was one of my first ventures. At that particular time. I immediately, I was in my own personal story. I had come from Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I was raised all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma and getting to Oral Roberts University, I said, this is exactly the education I was looking for. And I know there are other people like me in distant places who would not look at Oklahoma for a college. They just wouldn't consider it. I was not going to consider it except for a certain circumstances that brought me to come visit. But if we could reduce that friction between the cost of visiting and seeing the story of what's happening here, I think more people like myself, their lives would be changed because where you go to college, you determines a lot of things.
So that was my passion for getting this information into people's minds and hearts was that, yeah, you can show photos of the place, but there's something not authentic about it. Not transparent not truthful. Anybody can say anything about anywhere. And so people get bored of it. But if people could walk through places online, that could really change people's lives because it changes which vendors they use for the things that they're looking for. So that got me passionate about telling the whole truth about places. I was very concerned about truth at the time, and this was a new technology that nobody was doing. So I got very passionate about it. Now that more people are doing it and other people can do it, it's still a passion of mine to, but I'm more passionate about the new applications. That's me personally is I, I'd rather pioneer a thing than do something that anybody else can do. The world needs a lot of things, and if something's not being meant, I want to be there to fill it.

Clarence Fisher: Awesome. The whole truth, especially in today's day where transparency is so important,

Clarence Fisher: Whether you give it or you don't, things will come out. So in wrapping things up, let me ask you, what's the most important question that a local business should ask themselves when they're considering? And you alluded to this when we first started, when they're considering having created a virtual tour,

Jared Buswell: Probably the number one question I would ask a provider of tour services is I would ask, how will this tour excite my future and current customers? The reason why I say that question is because if the photographer is not already thinking that way, and you'll know within seconds, the photographer should be coming to you and asking, who are your customers? What about your business excites them? Because there's no way, even though we're looking 360 degrees at everything, there is still a lot that determines what part of your business we're highlighting versus which part we're not highlighting. And that could be even just the time of day. So regardless of camera placement, it could be the time of day we schedule the photo shoot, morning, afternoon, evening, anything like that. And so there's a lot of different ways to go about this. And if I were a business owner, I would ask, how is this going to excite my customers? Mean? How is it going to, they need to be engaged. I want them to come to my business. I want them to recommend my business to others. I want them to share this. How is this going to do it? And that will start an interesting conversation with your tour provider. Ask that question of two different providers, and you'll see a strong difference between them about which one you'd rather work with.

Clarence Fisher: Sweet. Okay. Thank you. So, man, Jared, thank you. You spent a lot of time with us today, and I enjoyed being able to talk about this even further, continuing our conversation. And as I refer people then something that I can give them. How can people in the Oklahoma area, or is it,

Jared Buswell: Yes. I'm located in northeast Oklahoma, but I frequently service northwest Arkansas north Texas, southern Kansas, southwest Missouri, and Oklahoma City.

Clarence Fisher: Okay. Have camera. We'll travel. Yes. How does someone get ahold of you? How do they find out more?

Jared Buswell: Yep. They can go to lookinsidetulsa.com.

Clarence Fisher: Awesome. And we're going to put some links in the show notes also. Jared, thank you so much. I'm going to let you get back to your day. And man, I just really, really appreciate it that you shared all these insights with us today.

Jared Buswell: Thank you for the opportunity. It's been an honor to talk with you. Clarence.

Outro: We appreciate you listening to Local Market Monopoly. Be sure to read through you and subscribe to the show and visit clarence fisher.com for more resources that will help you dominate your local market and own the block.

Resources

Note: Some of the resources below may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

LISTEN ON

NEXT EPISODE:
Episode 05: Giveaway Campaigns: Get More Customers By Giving Stuff Away with Jeremy Friedland