Advertising and finding your first client

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    • #42767
      AvatarLaughingDuck
      Participant

      I put a small advert in local paper and created a website – that has no video samples. I would love to get my own videography business up and running so I can persue it full time. Anyone here able to suggest ways to get my first few clients?

  • #179201
    AvatarEndeavor
    Participant

    First you should probably look for a few weddings and offer to do them for free. I don’t think anyone on the planet will pay for a videographer who has never shot a wedding. Once you have 1-3 (or so) under your belt, you can use the footage to show what you are capable of, then people will be willing to pay for your services. After that, the best way to advertise (way better than an ad or website) is to get talking. Mention to everyone you meet that you are currently doing wedding videos. Get your friends/relatives to talk about you as well. People like to hire someone they know personally.

  • #179202
    AvatarAnonymous
    Guest

    Another good option for getting started in the wedding video business is to offer your services to more established wedding videographers. Just about everyone needs a 2nd or 3rd shooter from time to time so it’s a great way to build experience and a reel. If you develop the right kind of relationships, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting copies of your footage so you can at least show people that you can shoot nice images. Just be honest in your intentions. DON’T attempt to promote yourself when working a wedding for another videographer and DON’T attempt to call someone you met at the wedding to pitch your services. That’s bad Karma and it will come back to haunt you!

  • #179203
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    LaughingDuck,

    Since you’ll probably need at least one wedding video to create a demo reel, why not go to your local craigslist page (www.craigslist.org) and post a classified ad in the services section advertising a free wedding video? Explain in the ad that you’re a new service in the area, and say that in exchange for free videography services, you’d like to set out a few business cards and/or brochures at the reception to help you spread your name.

    Another great source of leads are Wedding Expos. Expect to pay good money ($300-$800) for a well-established expo, but every larger expo I’ve ever been to, I’ve landed at least a couple customers right there at the expo, and a good handful after the fact.

    Those are a few ideas. But like I said, you’ll need to have a demo reel before you can expect anyone to hire you, so you need to seriously consider donating at least your first wedding.

  • #179204
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    One more thing,

    I’ve long since given up on Newspaper advertising. It’s about as useful as throwing fistfuls of money in the air. No, it’s less useful, since eventually someone will probably pick up the money.

    I’ve spent thousands on newspapers, and I’ve never had one person find me through that. I’ve had more leads by sticking my business cards up on community bulletin boards.

  • #179205
    BrianBrian
    Participant

    Anyone can get started in this business. The hard part is getting known.

    Bottom line: you’ve got to expose yourself to every aspect of the field. Dive right in and get your hands dirty. Join a video club, volunteer your time producing videos for non-profits, get involved with your local cable access station, take classes, attend conventions and expos.

    The best promotional tool you have is the standard of your work. If you make good videos, you will find that people seek you out. Make sure you include your contact details on the end credits and DVD cover! And have business cards ready!

  • #179206
    AvatarEndeavor
    Participant

    On a Roll Wrote:

    One more thing,

    I’ve long since given up on Newspaper advertising. It’s about as useful as throwing fistfuls of money in the air. No, it’s less useful, since eventually someone will probably pick up the money.

    I’ve spent thousands on newspapers, and I’ve never had one person find me through that. I’ve had more leads by sticking my business cards up on community bulletin boards.

    Same here. I once had a half page ad in a bridal section of our cities largest paper and never got one lead or even one person even mention they saw it. Big waste of money.

  • #179207
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    You’ve got to give them what they want first and what you want last. I would take a few months and go to different companies and offer a free video. Explain to them that you are competant but are looking to upgrade your demo reel. This may happen with weddings, corporate videos, family events or other sources. I wouldn’t put any ads in the paper. The more you market yourself and services the more it will return to you. I would start the free route and then work up the ladder.

    Try going to a Chamber of Commerce networking event. They have monthly events where you can meet other people from companies that may want a video.

    Go to a Business or Wedding Expo and set up a booth or walk around and give out your biz card.

    Work for another video production company and get experience. Or, ask them to do an internship with them in exchange for footage to make your demo reel.

    Get creative and have fun with breaking into the video produciton market. It’s a lot of fun and has great pay…a win win.

    Jeff

    http://www.ImproveMyVideo.com

  • #179208
    Avatarbirdcat
    Participant

    Got my first paying customer from a combination of two things:

    1) Craig’s List

    2) Having decent samples of my work with reasonable prices

    Most folks on Craig’s List are Uncle Morty who has a video camera and some software to edit with – Not very professional looking samples or websites. I highlighted this fact in my ad and made sure my website (while still under construction) looks good and the samples I posted were very good – Also made sure there were no typos or bad links in the ad or the website.

  • #179209
    AvatarEarlC
    Member

    The responses here to your post have been informative and spot on, as well as typical. There are other ways, and other things, you can do to get into the independent professional video services provider community. Initially, as a part timer, I began, as usual, in persuit of wedding production but quickly learned that there are many, MANY other event production that lend themselves to a person with flexible full-time position hours, and especially those who bite the bullet and jump into this business on a full time basis.

    It took me nearly 4 years of working more than 40 hours a week at both my daytime position, and evening and weekend work doing video, trying to grow that business to the point I could jump ship. I finally realized that getting back that 40 hours from my day job would give me time to promote, market and do work beyond the wedding segment.

    In ANY of this it is important to spend some money to develop a decent demo reel, to develop marketing materials like business cards and a brochure, short business card DVD (try for a “less is more” approach in your graphics and quality leaves a better approach – avoid what I call PTA looking designs that are wordy and full of silly graphics).

    Then, sign up for and participate in as many local/area bridal fairs as you can handle economically and physically over a one-year period. This may, or may not, get you a host of clients, but it certainly WILL establish some visibility and linkage, name/brand recognition, and experience in dealing with both sides of the industry – from the professional service provider arena as well as the consumer.

    Talk your new business up EVERYWHERE YOU GO! In the beginning I had NO problem walking over to a table at a restaurant and handing the couple I overheard talking about wedding plans my business card, apologizing for the intrusion but noting that I couldn’t help but appreciate their apparent excitement about their upcoming event.

    Initially I also used a pushpin and attached my business cards, sometimes even a brochure, onto all those public corkboard spaces that used to be virtually everywhere.

    ASAP you MUST have something on your web site that MOVES. Video, right? A demo clip, short and sweet bits of pertinent information (not gobs of rhetoric like “you’ve waited your WHOLE life for your prince to show up…” yech!” Avoid the “I’m a sweet guy with a desire to create wonderful video art for people, and love it so much I’d do it for free…” Yeah, right.

    Direct mail is another GREAT way to generate contacts. You get mailing lists from bridal fairs, or by spending SOME of your marketing dollars in a local/regional bridal publication – this again is for name recognition, brand development, visibility and linkage, not direct sales. Never works out that you’ll get a bevy of contacts via your magazine ad, but what you WILL get is inclusion on their web site, mailing lists from their respondents and many of these publications are freely distributed at most public/private bridal events.

    I’ve said enough for now.

  • #179210
    AvatarFDEditor
    Participant

    “Most folks on Craig’s List are Uncle Morty who has a video camera and some software to edit with – Not very professional looking samples or websites. I highlighted this fact in my ad and made sure my website (while still under construction) looks good and the samples I posted were very good – Also made sure there were no typos or bad links in the ad or the website.”

    Birdcat is correct. Remember; everything you use to promote your business becomes associated with what you do as a video producer. If you don’t know web design, spend the money on a professional designer who knows how to build a web site. If you only know Word and maybe Publisher, hire a professional print designer to do your print ads instead. The nice thing is, once you establish relationships with those people, you can use them for referrals. As a web designer (who has had video editing dropped in his lap), nothing drives me more crazy than a poorly designed site, with blink tags, etc. My first thought is “If this person made this (sloppy) of a web site, what makes me think their other skills are any good?” I’m a designer, not a developer, so I farm out my heavy-duty backend stuff with no regrets. The time and aggravation I saved more than made up for any money I spent on subcontracting someone else.

    Also, never overpromise. Ever. If you can’t do something, admit it beforehand.And put EVERYTHING in writing.

  • #179211
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Another suggestion is to contact local non-profit groups and offer to make some public service announcements – for free. This gives you practice and gives you connections. Non-profit groups are supported by the pillars of the community. I’ve done a number of videos for the local Lions Club, Salvation Army, and local mission. As a result, I have picked up good paying jobs from its members and supporters.

  • #179212

    Please do not work for free, this hurts all of us.

    Start simple, jumping head first into doing weddings, and to boot doing it for free is a bad idea. First of all, the number one rule of weddings, is that you can never, ever in a million years, please a bride or her mother no matter if it is the best work you have ever done. I would steer well clear of them for at least a year, that and childrens birthday partys. and when you start doing them hire a lawyer to write up libility forms and get libility insurance.

    Best place to start is localevents as a freelancer. look in the paper or craigslist for an event localy and go there with your camra. Depending on the event you may or may not need the permission of the people putting it on. If it is a paided event you do and if it is free to the public you do not. record the event, do interviews of people there then use it to build your demo reel. The first event I did this at I was approched by 2 people who bought rights to my footage, I didn’t even have to advertise. Don’t forget to ask for permission and have them sign a release form before you do an interview with anyone.

    Another way to build your reel is to get a friend to either act or run the camera for you to record a demo. In this video you are showing off the quality of your camera, sound, and your technique. Interduce yourself and what services you offer. Do not metion pay or money in this video or you will find yourself redoing it when your expences goes up. plus you may be short changing yourself.

    I know you are just starting out and are willing to work cheap or maybe for free to build a reel as many do. but remember, after you make that reel someday you will want to start making money and if all new comers are out there working for free, you may find yourself going hungry. Don’t sell yourself short, there’s plenty of places where you can film and build that demo without doing it for free.

    The folks above are right, advertisment in local papers are a waste of time and money. Word of mouth, A good web site, and a good Demo DVD is the best way to go.

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