Sunday, May 30, 2010
WHAT COMES FIRST?
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.
BUSINESS IN PROGRESS!
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.
WHEN YOU DO WORK...
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.
SOMETHING TO SHOW!
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.
Remember: If you market, you will make it! ©Earl Chessher
Friday, May 21, 2010
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