Ways to expand?

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    • #43295
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hello everyone!

      This is my first post, and I am going to begin by telling you a little about myself. I have been doing video production (in some for or another) since I graduated college in 2001. Two years ago, I got laid off of my job (along with the entire video team) and decided that I wasn’t the biggest fan of “working for someone else”, and I, along with 1 partner started our own production company.

      The first year and a half, as could be expected, was soul crushingly slow and unproductive, but as time progressed we were fortunate to get some work here and there. We are now producing 3-4 :30 second commercials per month. While that is MUCH better than when we first started, it is not nearly enough to survive. Let me explain how we got this work. We were on a listserv, and as far as we could tell were one of the most inexpensive companies around. We were not getting work, I think, because the agents selling the work had never heard of us. We decided to cut our prices in half for the last quarter of the year, and, as we expected the calls began pouring in. But now, as our rates are expected to rise to normal in JAN, we are a little worried the calls are going to stop.

      Now for my question. I am looking for different ways to either gain more clients, advertise our services, etc. Is there any advice people who have been doing this for some time can give? I will be grateful for any tidbits of info.

      Thank you in advance!

      Matt

    • #181584
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez
      Participant

      Earl Chessher, a Videomaker member, has an excellent blog with tons of resources about the video business. Feel free to check out his blog at http://www.eccomeecgo.blogspot.com/. You will probably find most of the answers you have on that blog and be sure to check his latest post “Plan Now for 2011”. Another great way to find clients is Linkedin. If you are not there I strongly suggest you make an account today and start using it pronto. Here is a recent discussion in Videomaker forum “Using Linkedin?”, check it out to see how other community members are using it. There is also Video StoryTellers, a great way to expand your business, earn some additional income and have a lot of fun doing it. You can become an associate of Video Storytellers for a small entry fee. In the video business world there are so many things one can do, is up to you to get up and look for the jobs. Right now I’m concentrating my efforts on video internet marketing, which is a pretty under served area. There are a lot of opportunities there and is not rocket sciences to learn internet marketing (is way easier to learn than After Effects)

    • #181585
      AvatarXTR-91
      Participant

      It’s good for starting business.

    • #181586
      AvatarCharles
      Participant

      Check your area for an association called B.N.I, Business Networking International. You can see if they have a chapter in your area at http://www.bni.com It is all about networking.

    • #181587
      Avatarfjclaus
      Participant

      Matt,

      You seem to be doing a great job so far, but I think Luis is right on the money. I subscribe to Earl’s blog and he has a recent post that talks about other forms of video production you can do. I am also the New York Franchise dealer for Video Story Tellers. If you want to gain some more clients, I would definately suggest VST. Let me know if you would like more information. I sell Franchises in New York, butI would be willing to sit and talk with you about the program. Also Earl is a very active member of this board, he can answer questions himself as well. Check out the site at the links that Luis posted, I’m sure you will find a bunch of information that would help you out.

      Fred

    • #181588
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      Thanks, Luis & Fred, glad to hear two of Video StoryTellers! very active associates talking up this awesome global branding and marketing program. I’ve been behind the scenes here a bit, posting a little, but mostly moderating and cleaning up garbled forum posts for others πŸ™‚

      Doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy, working with promotion of my funeral and memorial video marketing and production book: “They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They” of which Artis White of Flex Media had some nice things to say elsewhere on these threads.

      Also, check out the post on planning for 2011, with some decent pointers for moving into the New Year and NEW BUSINESS! But I have to say that one of the primary sources for ANYTIME video production is through VST, where one interview can grow into several, and group social sessions can expand to fill hours, if not days. As you all can see there are a number of Videomaker Forum participants who are onboard with the program and proud to be a part of a strong marketing potential based on the fact that EVERYBODY has a story to tell, save and share.

    • #181589
      AvatarJackWolcott
      Participant

      Matt

      The suggestion regarding BNI is excellent. If that group has a chapter in your area, join up. You’ll meet lots of business people and have an opportunity to network with them. Ditto for the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. Networking lets people know what services you provide.

      Go talk to people who might have a need for video — people who do training: hospital continuing education departments and building contractors who do large scale industrial installations for example. Both have an ongoing need to train their employees and clients.

      Do you have a company in town that does film transfer? You can create a symbiotic relationship here in which you bring film in
      to be processed and the processor in turn sends people your way for
      follow up, creating photo montages that incorporate the film with family pictures and video.

      Also, and perhaps even more importantly, look to your web site. I looked at the source code for the various pages and found you had NO key words listed. Consequently, when someone looks for “video editing” or “video shooting” on line, for example, Google won’t find your site. If you’re not sure how this should look, go to a videographer’s web site, click on “VIEW” on the tool bar and select “Page Source.” You’ll see a number of meta tags at the top of the page, one of which will be “Key words,” followed by a string of words someone might use when looking for video services. Providing key words will greatly enhance the effectiveness of your site.

      Most of our new clients find us on-line, either directly at our web site or in the on-line “Yellow Pages” and it’s the key words that drive the site.

      Good luck.

    • #181590
      AvatarJayson
      Participant

      There is an awesome way to promote your business! You might have already heard of it! Its called Animoto

      It allows you to make Promotional videos in under 10 minutes and will send the videos to youtube and facebook.

      Its a great way to advertise and promote your business!

    • #181591
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Wow,

      Thank all of you for the replies. I have to be honest, this is the first forum that had any useful information to give to me. Hopefully, I will be able to help others like you all have helped me. Thanks again. I will keep you all posted on my progress.

      Matt

    • #181592
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hi Matt,

      These are all great suggestions. I have written several articles related to growing a video production business. You can check them out on my blog at http://www.mindyourvideobusiness.com/?page_id=24. Good luck!

      Kris

    • #181593
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hi Kris,

      I am actually on your email list, and I read your blog frequently! Thanks!

      Matt

    • #181594
      Avatarvid-e-o-man
      Participant

      Matt, I would have to add another vote for going to Earl’s blog because they are running a seriesfor beginning video business. I know you are not new tovideo but there might be some ideas that might help you along with the business end of it.

    • #181595
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hi Matt,

      Just thought I’d add a few things here. First off. How’s your 2011 going so far? Did you experience the slow down in business after raising your rates? If so, here’s the deal.

      There are so many videographers out there right now willing to work for next to nothing so it’s hard for those wanting to build and run a successful video business. However, the only choice is to either figure out how to beat them or to perish.

      Here’s what I’m saying.

      When the calls were flooding in at the half off price point, were you staying busy 100% of the time? If so, raise your rates 25% and see what happens. You’ll still get plenty of business but you won’t be behind the computer all day. This gives you more money to work with overall and more time to get out there and market your business.

      Secondly, what are you doing to up sell this flood of commercial clients to other services you provide? A client who produces a TV Spot is also a candidate for a web spot or several web videos that they can post on Youtube, Facebook, etc. At the very least, offering to encode their TV spot for the web can generate an additional $100 to $150 per project and about 5 extra minutes of your time. The value in the client’s mind is being able to share the spot with everyone online. It’s worth a hundred or more dollars for them to have that capability.

      You won’t get rich with such a small up sell but it can add up to a thousand or more dollars extra per month in sales just because you asked the question.

      How many of your TV spot clients are candidates for trade show video loops? If they have a booth at an industry trade show, they need a loop of some kind. Offer to take footage, graphics, etc. that you’ve already created for the spot and repurpose them into something they can display on a large screen at the trade show. Offer to do it all on Bluray and you can generate some real excitement.

      The trade show loop videos I create generate anywhere from $900 to $3,500 depending on complexity. The lower price is for clients who already have all or most of their materials in order and the higher price is when I have to go out and shoot some things before putting it all together.

      You said you have a partner? Who is responsible for producing work all day and who is responsible for marketing/sales? If both of you are locked down in the edit suite all day or out on shoots all the time, your business won’t grow. Some of the most successful two-man operations I’ve seen have been those who split responsibilities this way.

      It doesn’t mean the marketing/sales partner won’t get their fair share of creative work. It just means that you should allocate at least 16 hours (2 days) to marketing and selling each week. Basically, one markets and sells the jobs, manages the account from a producer level and the other partner handles the direction, shooting, editing and delivery. Both partners can handle shoots if it’s more cost effective than hiring a production assistant to help but I think you’d find that the more time one is marketing/selling, the more money the company makes overall. The $150 to $250 a day it would cost to hire an assistant for shoots will pale in comparison to what you’ll bring in with the extra marketing effort.

      Overall, the issue with this economy right now is that we can no longer think that growing our businesses will come as a result of charging higher prices. This is a losing strategy. Instead, we must find price points that most clients are willing to pay and figure out how to run our businesses smarter. How can you get more work done in less time? How can you leverage creative templates for lower budget projects that make them look great but won’t take more than a day or so to produce? There are a lot of tricks to the trade out there that can help you develop a great product without blowing your budget.

      If you haven’t see it already, you should watch my comments on the state of the video production industry at http://www.thesixfigurevideographer.com/stateofourindustry. It’s a free video and i think it will open your eyes to what’s going on in the marketplace and how to adjust your business plan so you can succeed.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any questions. I’d be glad to help any way I can.

      Kris

      http://www.mindyourvideobusiness.com

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