Thursday, August 27, 2009

Marketing Video to Schools

September 2009 is upon us. Already students in many districts have returned to school - some love it, others hate it, but by next week all will be back in the groove. This includes administration, staff, students and parental support groups.

It also means that NOW is the time to promote your video production services to grade, middle and high schools. Google is a great place to begin your research, both for the schools located in your service area, and the names of those whom you need to reach regarding video production services that will do something for them, their special interests, or school programs.

And their students, their schools, the parents and various support groups involved. Think PTA and related associations, flag, football, band, choral, dance, drama, grad night, graduation and the many other fund-raising and organizing booster or student-body structures. These groups focus on fund-raising and other beneficial academic, sports, social and other extra-curricular activities INCLUDING VIDEO that contribute to their events, students and goals.

That being said, it is NOT too late to put together a one-page direct-mail letter, basic postcard and/or even a relative specific or general-purpose demo DVD and get these marketing tools into the hands of the people who matter at your area schools.

This is, of course, if you are interested in diversifying and/or expanding your focus beyond a singular video production interest - wedding video, for instance. Nothing wrong with, provided you are free to offer services beyond Saturdays and Sundays, or holidays, introducing your business to a highly lucrative second-tier profit structure.

• Start with a one-page letter addressed to a specific department and individual:
Patric Stwewart, activities director, Spamburger High School; Coach Ted Patterson, SHS Athletic Dept.; Ima Twitter, Drama & Dance Dept., SHS. And so forth.

• Be specific in your offer, not general: Dear Ima, My Video Company specializes in productions of high school drama, dance and choral performances of two hours or less, offering opportunities for the parent support group to raise funds, or utilizing direct sales to parents, resulting in no cost to you or the school for professional video production services.

Give them a price range, in one or two sentences outline your approach to "fund-raising" or "direct sales" opportunities. ALWAYS find a way to make it obvious what's in it for them, their benefits and opportunities.

Sure, it's all about wanting their business and making money for your production company, but find a way to make the benefits to THEM sparkle like a diamond.

• Follow up with a postcard, either one of your own creation and design using decent quality card stock and a decent quality color printer; or check out a professional service like America's Printer where you can get unbelievable service and product quality for great prices and fast turnarounds.

Tell America's Printer you got their name from this blog. It might count for nothing. They might slam the door in your face, just kidding. Or, who knows, maybe they'll toss in something extra. No guarantees, but it doesn't hurt to name drop.

There are many other professional print sources but I have had personal satisfied service and quality products from America's Printer. You can find a host of other on-line, or location print services offering competitive quality and professional product in the back of pretty much any computer, video, photography or writer's publication on the magazine racks. Or, do a Google search for postcard, brochure or promotional printing services.

Your direct-mail post card should be short and sweet. Don't cram a bunch of copy on that two-sided space with the thought you HAVE to say it all. Simple, straight and to the point. For example...

Provide your choral department, students, their friends and family with professional video production of your school year productions.

An introductory price of 20 orders @ $25 will get you professional video production and DVDs for performances of two hours or less at no further cost to you, the drama department, or your school.

Check us out as (not a real URL, to my knowledge) for more information, or call today (phone number here).

• Follow the one-page direct marketing letter, and the postcard with another short and sweet cover letter accompanied by your short specific, or general interest demo DVD.

If you do not yet have school event coverage you can use for this, then skip the demo DVD until you do, or until you identify resources that will allow you to provide representative examples of the coverage and production values you are capable of giving them. Always, however, be honest and up front regarding whether the samples provided are YOURS, or "representative" of what you are capable of delivering.

DO NOT offer up a wedding demo DVD or production sample in an effort to represent your production and editing capabilities, or product quality. If the market you are approaching is not a bride-to-be, or interested in wedding video production services, they WILL NOT make the link to production quality - only the huge gap between their potential video interest and your wedding sample will stand out.

Kiss THAT one bye-bye. Next!

It is important to go beyond a one-shot approach. Multiple direct-mail tools used over a six-week, or more, period of time are effective. A one-page letter, received but perhaps not even read or kept on file, will not make for success in acquiring money-making gigs.

Repetition, visibility and linkage, name recognition are important elements of a successful and effective marketing strategy. Only a consistent presentation of video ideas and services, combined with reasonable prices and an offer they cannot refuse (a get-acquainted special, for example) will get a foot in the door. Raise your target market's awareness level, and keep it high, by using a multiple-times campaign approach. You will eventually get their attention and gain valid name recognition.

Oh, and money-making gigs as well.

Remember: If you market, you will make it! ©2009 Earl Chessher

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A Fantastic article, some very useful advice. I am going to use this method of marketing soon. Being in Edinburgh is a great thing for me after reading this as it's a satellite city with 50 towns and villages scattered from the main city centre. It has three colleges, four universities and hundreds of clubs. I know there are people out there who would love this service as already occasionally some have approached me but getting the word out require something like this. Thanks for this.