Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Business Opportunity

I need about a dozen video production professionals to participate in what is going to be a HUGE world wide business brand opportunity. I need either professionals seriously looking to expand beyond their current specialized business focus, or newly-established video business people who have invested in equipment and education, and are committed to creating a viable business - expand their knowledge and skills.

I am NOT going to simply divulge my business strategy to anyone who casually responds. This branding, service and product concept is FAR too big, and way too solid to simply give away the farm. But for up to a dozen people who are willing to invest time and energy, support and promotion for making a huge potential prove out, I WILL be virtually giving away the farm.

I'm NOT looking for casual inquiries. I'm NOT looking for folks who want to rip off an idea.

I AM looking for honest, professional, personable and energetic enthusiasts who are driven to develop their current business and expand into a broader, brand-recognized, scope. Those who qualify WILL find a unique opportunity to expand their market and their exposure, reaching a demographic that in the U.S. alone will reach 100 million by 2029. On a world wide scale that figure will increase ten-fold.

If every independent video producer in business today, and every new independent professional video services provider who starts a business in 2010, came on board with this brand, service and product TODAY we could not collectively reach market saturation.

E-mail me at and tell me WHY you MIGHT be intrigued or interested, why you were compelled to reply, what your general business goals are, why you want to diversify and not specialize, where you are, how long you've been in business, or if you have just invested and hung your shingle, and your video business URL.

If you compel me to respond, I will. And if you qualify for inclusion in this ground-floor opportunity you WILL be glad you agreed to participate. This is going to be HUGE for us all.

Upon fulfillment of the "chosen few" participation in this program will cost money, but still at an incredible entry-level investment that stands to boost your image AND your business beyond anything you can imagine.

So, You Want to Make Money Doing Video


Get a camera, any camera. You’ll need lights, mics and a tripod. And it wouldn’t hurt to have an editing system you feel you can be comfortable with. When you DO get a computer platform and operating system/editing software you’re comfortable with - work diligently to become as proficient with it as you can.


Study, work hard, pay your dues and learn as you go. By no means do you have to wait until you, or others (those pesky mentors ;-) think or decide you’re ready to work for money. This business and pretty much everything that goes with it will always be a work-in-progress.

Looking at doing business as an independent video services provider any other way will make you a frustrated artist at best, a quitter at worst.


Dress appropriately for every meeting every gig, every session spent with other persons. The way you look and present yourself truly does make a serious difference. At minimum a nice skirt and blouse with sleeves, or women’s business suit for the businesswoman and slacks, shirt, tie, and POLISHED SHOES for the guys. (If you have NO idea what “appropriate” might be, do a search on Google for “business attire”)

Learn to listen to what people are saying, what they want, then learn to be honest with them about what it costs to create their vision, and what you can create using their budget instead.

Deliver quickly, with quality and affordably - people no longer have to settle for two out of three.

Move as quickly as possible from a price-based competitive structure to a quality-based, or turnaround-based or some combination that mostly includes price as an incidental.

Do your research - the competition, the current trends, your demographics, packaging and marketing.


Focus next on having something to show when your most important “next step” takes hold - a demo reel, or sample clips.

What's this about my "most important next step" - uh, that would be direct mail and whatever other marketing strategies you need to gain eyeballs, visitors, callers, potential clients and people who use your services or help you develop video product.

Of course if you build it they will come - but ONLY if you let them know you built it.

The single, most important element of getting business is not advertising.


It is not running 30-second radio spots or cable or broadcast ads. It is not building a website and doing all the things you've read about search engine or social site optimization, posting videos on YouTube, or blogging in the hopes that people will FIND you.

Identify the market, and demographic, that interests you most. Find good addresses and design an eye-catching 5 1/2” by 8 1/2” page postcard - not too dense, good basic information and complementary graphics - and start mailing. This is the most affordable, effective and rewarding (if you’re consistent and persistent) strategy for gaining eyeballs to your website, blog or business location.

Yes, you want to develop a solid referral base business, but first you need people who use you and hopefully become referrals. You are NOT going to get that by print ads, radio and/or TV ads, spots ads, phone book ads, or even your website - tell me again, what's your URL?

People do not (on average) find YOU. There are exceptions, but not enough to make your new video business take off. YOU have to take the necessary steps to HELP them find you. YOU have to FIND them FIRST! How? Direct mail. Direct mail focused on a specific area of service or production. Do it constantly and often. Repeat as needed.

THIS drives traffic to your blog, to your social sites, to your websites, to your business.

Oh, and don't forget business cards. Also, return your inquiries in LESS than 24-hours (folks won't wait THAT long anymore - in fact, as soon as they hung up from leaving YOU a message, they're dialing the next number in line) trust me on this.

Most have already waited until the last minute to try and find you, and now that they're convinced they actually DO want video services for tonight's event, they're going to dial or e-mail and chances are the first responder gets the gig.

This concludes your "Make Money Doing Video" mini-seminar.

Any questions?

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

Friday, May 21, 2010

Focused Direct Mail Gets Gigs

I've hammered on this before, but it bears repeating: A focused and consistent direct-mail marketing strategy will get you video business. I will say that a strategy utilizing virtually all marketing approaches is best, but the single, most effective and affordable way to get business, establish branding and gain eyeballs is through "focused" direct-mail marketing.

By "focused" I mean selecting the specific area of interest you want to pursue and developing an attention-grabbing visual marketing vehicle (a postcard specifically) that addresses that need and how your services or products provide the solution.

Depending on your studied focus area you can be more general with your address resources, or tighten it down to ONLY graduations, grad nights, specific youth sports events such as soccer, baseball, t-ball, football, basketball, swimming. I might rotate my images to reflect specific sports, mixing soccer and basketball photos for example, and going with a more general postcard that might appeal to ALL youth sports groups.

On the other hand I'll research via Google and identify all the youth basketball or soccer groups/clubs in my service area and hammer down only on them.

What is effective, and what works, in using focused direct mail strategies is consistency and persistency. Mail a minimum of one piece every day, or seven a week, 30 a month - you get the idea. Set a budget of $40 to $50 a month and do it consistently for one year.

If you only send out ONE piece a day for 365 days, you've spent less than a buck a day (counting ink, supplies and postage, on average) and you WILL get more traffic, more name recognition, more calls, responses and replies, a higher brand recognition...

...and, most importantly, you WILL get business.

This approach is accumulative. It will bring eyeballs to your website. It can be used in conjunction with a Twitter/Facebook and LinkedIn and other social strategies, as well as your blog (You do blog about your business and your clients and the resulting productions, right?)

One postcard a day. Even if only one gig a year comes of it you've likely broke even. Not only that but you've gained visibility and linkage, name (brand) recognition generated traffic to your website and blog.

Take it one step further. When you keep, maintain and utilize an ongoing direct mail list for focused areas of interest don't let it rest. Don't send each address a postcard then never use that address again. The whole promise of a focused direct-mail strategy is developing traffic, eyeballs, recognition and business. You achieve this by rotating your lists - direct mail a minimum of every 90 days to every good address you have.

Don't let them forget you. Keep a soft, general (but focused) information only approach and you will upset fewer people by far than when using e-mail blasts, SPAM, marriage or junk mail, hard-sell approaches or telemarketing.

I've had clients call a year later and ask if I still specialize in youth soccer, or whatever, telling me they kept my postcard(s) on file in the event a need developed. That is a GREAT shelf-life for your relatively cheap postcard mailer.

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

Monday, May 17, 2010

Overlooked Money Maker

Anyone in the video business who isn't taking advantage of the available montage business is overlooking a solid money-maker, especially during downturns in regular wedding and/or other event production work.

In spite of the multitude of photo montage services, drug- and discount-store photo booth offers, do it yourself software often included free with a computer purchase and even on-line website montage creation services, only a small percentage of the potential client base is into creating their own. Many have concluded that the above-mentioned options are not always as easy as they say, and do not generate the desired results easily and quickly.

The economy may still be slowing down a lot of service-oriented production work, but quality montages can be created easily, relatively quickly and affordably, generating cash flow on those slow days when the phone isn’t ringing and the info@ incoming e-mail basket remains empty.

In my association with many video services providers around the world I have come to realize that many of them have no desire to “deal with” photo montage work, going out of their way to discourage it from their wedding and event client base. They will charge exorbitant prices per image, restrict images to puny 25-35 limits and clutter up GREAT montage production potential with all sorts of distracting moving backgrounds and/or cheesy graphics and overlays, often making the image itself a stepchild of the project.

I have seen production work using entirely automated actions and additions that wind up with decapitations, missing body parts and truncated framing - all because the do it “yourselfers” as well as many self-proclaimed professional service providers are too lazy to put in the time to do manual adjustments, avoiding these all-to-frequent poor results.

This is where YOU come in - the independent professional video services provider who is willing to take the time to create a unique, quality-driven product that doesn’t have to cost the consumer a ransom. How?

Take advantage of your scanner’s auto editing that compensates for some degree of color correction, red-eye removal, scratch or dust removal, etc. Set it on automatic and let your scanner software do its (limited) job - often good enough for a basic service price.

Gang scan: put more than one image on the scanner plate at a time, hit preview, then select, crop and scan each image. The time you save having multiple images per preview, keeping you from raising the cover, removing the single image, replacing and centering the next, then previewing, cropping and scanning really adds up.

When you gang scan, be sure to not place pictures of multiple grades together. If you place four-to-six images on there, make sure they’re close in coloration, quality and exposure. Of course, if you individually crop and select each image from your preview scan, and use the scanner software auto functions, that isn’t as much of a concern.

Take advantage of the plethora of software available to you to automate such things as movement, square-to-rectangular pixel conversion, even high-energy creative elements. Many of these programs also allow you to shrink or stretch the images to accommodate the length of your music selections.

But, do not use the “auto” settings of ANY of these programs as they are NOT 100 percent accurate. You MUST commit to going in and perusing each image, making necessary hand adjustments to ensure a satisfactory outcome. In time your familiarity with the programs will help you speed up this process and keep the perceived production value of your montages high.

Double check, render and burn. Package your DVD professionally, using a custom color insert in the plastic library case sleeve, and custom or personalized graphics on the DVD itself. Sure you’ll use a bit of ink and paper, but the end result will get you something else...


Clients might well be able to copy your production after they get it home, making copies for friends and family, but they often cannot duplicate the packaging. And if that packaging is quality, color, personal and unique, they’re going to come to you for additional copies. They often prefer to hand out your GREAT looking packaged DVDs as opposed to paper sleeves with silver disks and a back marking pen label. Just price your duplications reasonably, based on your actual costs for ink and paper.

Keep in mind that those extra GREAT looking copies are high quality business cards, and will impress the eyeballs that fall upon them, bringing you additional business opportunities. I’ve even developed what I call a “Party Package” giving event clients additional copies if they go with my production and projection services, knowing that if those copies are handed out or used as prizes for games played during the party, celebration or what-have-you, I will get more jobs.

Watch for more on this and many other video opportunities in my upcoming video marketing and production book, coming to market in 2010. It will have updated information from ALL the E.C. Come, E.C. Go blog articles and a huge amount of useful material never before published - here or anywhere.

Remember: “If you market, you will make it!” © 2010, Earl Chessher, CorElAnn Video Productions. All content of this blog is © Earl Chessher, and may not be used, reprinted, distributed, published or sold anywhere in any form without my express written permission.