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LunaTech 3D gets customers inside businesses before they ever step a foot in the door








Douglas Willett used to model his hometown of Plymouth in 3D on Google Earth just for fun, until one day someone from Google contacted him.
 
"They basically said, 'We can't pay you right now but we want you to keep doing what you're doing,'" he says. 
 
Google's "Atta boy" paved the way for a fruitful working relationship, and his hobby turned into a business. First Willett worked with the company to set up training and certification programs for other people, but when Google changed its 3D modeling methods to incorporate aerial photography, that effectively put him out of business.  About the same time, businesses were asking him about showing their interior and exterior spaces. He connected with the Google Maps team to take the street view technology indoors, the impetus for Novi-based LunaTech 3D, which launched in 2008.
 
LunaTech 3D is a Google-certified Geo 3D Developer Program and a Google-Trusted Photographer Program. They use these technologies to bring customers inside their clients' interior spaces such as a car dealership, a restaurant, a movie theater, hotel or a lumberyard. As a trusted Google partner, those virtual tours get published directly on the business's Google page listing. 
 
"We market ourselves as visual storytellers: what's your story and how are you trying to tell that story visually," Willett says.
 
Willett worked in computer science before spending eight years working in the family publishing business, where he learned about marketing, audience engagement and brand-building. He knows first-hand the importance of attracting and retaining an audience's attention with a website. He understands the importance for business owners to see the metrics attached to the advertising products and promotional tools they pay for, which is why LunaTech created InnerAct.
 
InnerAct is an "invisible wrapper" that surrounds the virtual tour, tracking what goes on inside the virtual world and creating interactive "hot spots" within the tour itself, like a video pop-up or a call to action.
 
"We call it the 'customer funnel,'" Willett says. "We've got a tool that can not only get a visitor to the site and get them engaged, but also walk them through the process (up to the point of) picking up a phone [or getting in the car]."
 
He says that InnerAct is taking the company to the next level. Prior to that, all information regarding user engagement and activities was hidden behind Google's "veil of secrecy." Clients wanted to know how many people viewed the tour and how long they stayed, but LunaTech had no access to the information. Now they can, giving them a huge advantage over their competitors.
 
"It was absolutely the missing piece," Willett says. "Anybody can do a spin tour but being able to actually tell them meaningful detail about where [customers are] spending their time [is unique to us]."
 
They are also able to measure the bounce rate, referring to the number of people that visit a website and view content beyond just the main page.
 
"A good bounce rate is 20 to 50 percent, based on the type of page it is," Willett explains. "You want a low number. [The average for all of our sites] is a 0.07-percent bounce rate. It's sticky content that once someone gets [to the virtual tour] they start clicking on things. This is why visual engagement on a website is so important."
 
Willett says the company is interactive service such as taking aerial photographs of a golf course and 360-degree video that allows users to spin around the entire virtual environment.
 
LunaTech partners with a variety of Michigan businesses and organizations, working for various convention and visitors bureaus and downtown development authorities. Travel and tourism-related content is linked to matching listings on the award-winning Pure Michigan campaign website as well as DBusiness and Crain's Detroit Business, which was honored by the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for an interactive feature LunaTech worked on.
 
Willett is working in a training capacity for Google, hosting free marketing seminars for business owners that shows them all the ways they can market themselves for free using Google services.
 
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