Case Study: On-Demand Real Estate Photography

Case Study: On-Demand Real Estate Photography
May 11, 2016 lemonsqueeze

Author: Skyler H. Hathaway

Intro                                                                                                                 

Lemonsqueeze was approached in late August, 2015, by a real estate photography service that provides in-depth photos at HD resolution along with 2D and 3D floor plans, 3D imaging, HDR slideshow videos, and virtual staging. The company was based in Denmark and had a insatiable curiosity for entering the United States. The company had been growing exponentially in their home country with fast turnover rates, a proven product, and a bootstrapped position in the real estate industry of Denmark. Their customers were small to large scale brokerages and those brokerage’s corresponding real estate agents. Their success in Denmark drove them to do some research on what it would take to enter and scale in the U.S. The company did some networking with a few brokerages within the U.S. and asked integral questions in regards to the process of doing business in the U.S. What the company came back with was a feeling of over-encumbrance. The U.S. market was altogether drastically different from the real estate market in Denmark. The opportunity potential of market entrance was there, but the company felt as if they might not have the time, capital, or knowledge to seize this potential opportunity.

This real estate photography service introduced themselves to Lemonsqueeze, explained that they wanted to enter a new market in the U.S., and had heard that Lemonsqueeze could assist them in doing so. The challenge that this company brought to Lemonsqueeze was to enter the market in the U.S., establish this company in the real estate industry, create a foothold, begin to bring in revenue, and create a process that could be scaleable so that this company could repeat this exact process to other locations in the future. Lemonsqueeze immediately realized the same potential opportunity that this company had realized on their own and agreed to accept the challenge.

The Assignment

The company’s product had been proven in the Danish market, but had absolutely no traction in the U.S. This meant that Lemonsqueeze’s first goal would be to create validation for the service. This validation would be in the form of proving itself as an integral and innovative way of doing real estate modeling and photography. Lemonsqueeze needed to educate the real estate industry on the benefits, services, and existence of this company and, therefore, create a disruption in the industry in order to promote the importance of  this company’s services in relation to the industry. Lemonsqueeze came up with a 6-month plan to enter and setup this company in the U.S., and more specifically, New York. The 6-month plan would begin with a 3-month trial period that would lead to a 3-month validation period. Once this basic plan was established, the questions to ask became “how could we position a company with a new product in a market that is so old and dusty and how do you let the industry know that this is how real estate should be done from this point forward?” The answer began with recruitment.

Lemonsqueeze had never been involved with the real estate industry, so it knew that it would have to recruit a person who knew the ins-and-outs of everything real estate. The person Lemonsqueeze brought on was very proficient with real estate and was able to help network with others within the industry. This hire was integral to the success of the real estate photography company because it is what allowed the company to begin to build it’s relationship with the U.S. real estate market. This new employee saw the value and potential in the innovative service that this company provided and realized that there could be a need for it, so the employee provided the real estate photography company, as well as Lemonsqueeze, with insights into how real estate worked and how a company like this should be positioned. Once the right candidate was hired and fully introduced to the scope of the company’s expansion goals, a slew of research had to be done to figure out what would be the best way to validate this new product in an old market.

Research was done through paying careful attention to market trends and faults. With this new research, Lemonsqueeze was able to decide that the market entrance should begin with the 3-month trial period where this company would contact real estate brokers and offer them free-trials to the real estate photography company’s service. But before Lemonsqueeze could initiate that, everything from the website to the branding of this company needed to be changed in accordance to what would be most effective in the U.S. market. It was clear that the service had been perfected because of the success it achieved in Denmark, so there was no change needed there. The strategy was then to hook American real estate agents to the service by letting them see how effective it really was.

After the trial period was well under way, it was time to work on tracking conversion. Conversion tracking was done by looking at how many people Lemonsqueeze and the company had outreached compared to how many bookings for the service were made. The turnout was terrific and encouraging! It was at a point where free trials were no longer necessary and brokerages were using the service consistently. This marked the transition from the 3-month trial period to the 3-month conversion period. Further research was integral to the progress of this period. Data needed to be tracked and collected on what parts of the service were being sold, what prices worked best for customers, what customers returned to use the service again, what customers did not return, if inside sales or face to face sales worked better, if there were other services that should be added, and many other things that would clearly define the scope of success and structure moving forward. Lemonsqueeze needed to figure out where they should focus their promotions efforts at this point in the process. First came validation, then came looking profoundly into the sales and, therefore, the analytical data that came from every sale.

Once the right research had been tracked and collected, Lemonsqueeze and the company were able to compile a list of 10,000 real estate agents for a unique email promotion expansion. Contacts were made and the real estate photography company started to create partnerships with some of the largest real estate companies in the U.S. In the later parts of the 3-month conversion period, Lemonsqueeze had elevated the company to the point of doubling revenue exponentially every month.

Results

Lemonsqueeze had successfully built the foundation. It now needed to expand and build upon that foundation. Lemonsqueeze’s goals are now to expand in NY with the current setup we have and really see how well this setup works. This company, under Lemonsqueeze’s management, is now at the point of sending out newsletters based on the market and current events within the market as a Public Relations promotion. Over the course of 9 months (an additional three months of conversations and creating an elaborate plan with the client’s chief executives before making actions), Lemonsqueeze was able to validate the product/service, establish the company within it’s target industry, prove the quality of the service, create awareness of the innovation the service brings, establish major partnerships, land major blue-chip clients, and double the company’s revenue in the U.S. from month to month. Going forward, Lemonsqueeze’s next goals for the company will be to find more third party partnerships, determine if this expansion process is scaleable, and expand to other cities within the U.S. In short, Lemonsqueeze expedited what might have taken a company 2 to 3 years down to 9 months.

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