Pro-Video Blogger

Video Production. Learn how to use video to tell your story. Whether it's a home movie of the kids or a corporate documentary.

Marketing your services

Martin Johnson - Saturday, April 05, 2014

Ever since this blog started, all my posts have been about the 'how' of shooting video. From lighting, framing, camera movement through to editing, music selection and post-production audio, it's all been about how to do it. This post is different in that I want to look at something every freelance video maker needs to do - market their services.

Maybe you're lucky and have regular work from one or more clients so you never have any downtime. In my experience, that's pretty rare and all of us have to do the 'marketing thing' before we can pick up the camera.

Marketing options

These days its easy to show people your previous work. A web site with embedded videos, together with some text about the sort of work you do plus a contact page and you can be seen by the world. Generating traffic to your web site is another matter of course but that's not the subject of this post.

Word of Mouth

Looking back on my client list over the past 12 months, by far the majority of work has come from existing clients telling other people about what I do. I also do a fair bit of pro-bono work for a community organisation which then exposes my skills and story-telling ability to 600 people every week. Fortunately many of those who are regular attenders at these events run their own businesses or are in management and can make decisions about promotional videos. I always make sure my pro-bono work is as good as time (and in most case, no-budget!) allows.

Focusing on Marketing

Whilst word of mouth or pro-bono work is one way of getting known, I want to talk about a focused marketing campaign and give you some tips which will get your message out to more potential clients.

Firstly, focus on your strengths. Look back at the past 12 months of work and look for common themes. For example, I've produced videos for schools, retirement centres and not-for-profit organisations. Now I've done other work as well, but these three 'industries' feature more often in my portfolio.

Secondly, look for other similar organisations, tell them about the work you've done in that area and ask them would they consider a proposal from you.

Here's why this approach works:

1. Because you've already done this sort of work before, you know you can do it again.

2. You've got samples to show a prospective client and give them comfort that you know what you're doing

3. You know this 'industry' uses video, because you've already been successful in generating income from it.

From then on, it's just a numbers game. Find out if there's an industry web listing of these organisations. (Odds on there will be). Use that to create a database of contact information and call them. Ask them who is the person who handles their marketing or PR and get their e-mail address. Ask if you can send them some information about other videos you've done for other schools (or whatever industry you've chosen).

Once you've got a list and e-mail addresses, create an e-mail that highlights your experience in that particular area with links to your on-line examples and ask them to check it out.

Does this always work?

Because this is a numbers game, you're never sure when you'll strike gold! A good friend of mine who is a printer has a 20:10:2 rule. He knows that if he visits 20 businesses in a local shopping strip he'll be asked to do 10 quotes for business cards, flyers etc. Of those 10, he'll get 2 confirmed orders.

From that he knows that to get 4 orders, he needs to make 40 calls.

The one thing about it being a numbers game of course is that you can't predict which 2 (or 4) will place an order and it might take an initial 100 calls before you get the 10 orders, but in his experience, it works.

Sometimes it comes from the sidelines

A focused marketing strategy will always produce results, but sometimes it comes from the sidelines, not the main game. I have many instances when I have worked hard on trying to get business from companies I thought were ideal prospects when I'll get a call from someone I have never even spoken to and the deal is done. But experience tells me that those sorts of calls only come after you put the hardwork in.

Follow up

Have a good follow-up system. Right now I have 4 organisations who want me to call them in 3 months or 6 months because that's when they'll have the time/budget/resources to consider my proposal. Make sure you make these calls. I've done a few this week and every client has said, "thanks for following up - now we're ready to talk". That's a great feeling.

Marketing is time consuming and in my business, I'm lucky enough to have someone who does most of this for me. I continue to be amazed at how successful this can be. It's not rocket science, its simply about identifying leads and approaching them in an organised manner.

What about Social Media?

Having a Facebook page, Twitter feed etc is always a good idea, but don't view these tools as marketing. Rather, see them as channels to make it easier for potential clients to get information about you.

Good luck!



Andrew Stoik commented on 12-Apr-2014 03:26 AM
Good tips! I am just getting into video production. I've got a few projects under my belt, but now I'm feeling a bit stuck on how to get clients. So, these ideas give me something to focus on. I think you make a good point about social media too. It's not the marketing channel I was hoping it would be. I'm going to start looking at my Facebook as a way for my current contacts to stay in touch, rather than a marketing tool per se.
Andrea George commented on 15-Apr-2014 05:54 AM
Becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce is another idea to help market your services. Mine does a lot to expose businesses within our community: newsletters, website, e-mail campaigns, events. I have found it to be a really effective way to market, network, and make contact with potential clients in need of web video services.

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