Whether you are a new filmmaker or a seasoned professional, you can never have enough clients, or the need to grow and expand your business would cease to exist. Videographers know and acknowledge that, but they typically don’t know how to expand their empire.
Here are the steps to score video production clients and grow your business:
The above steps are in no particular order, but all are essential regardless. Most importantly, abide by them only if you are serious about video production or are in it for the long run. If you are a hobbyist, it won’t be worth the time and effort. Keep reading if you are a true professional or want to become one.
The process to grow a video production business is two-fold. It’s imperative to have a reliable entity or “ business “ in place before reaching out to potential clients and letting them know you exist and are doing well.
If you are an individual with no reputation or online presence, you are sure to not get clients, or people will not trust you with your money even if you believe you are the most talented videographer around.
To formalize your interest or make it look like a legitimate business, ensure the following:
All of the above and more help generate trust in potential clients.
If you don’t have a team or are on your own with no actual business structure, clients (certainly the high-profile ones) will be wary of giving their business to you. Therefore, set the fundamentals up before even thinking of growing your video production venture.
Assuming you have a business that you’re ready to take to the next stage, here are things you should or could do to hit milestones after another.
A work portfolio is an essential requirement that any videographer must fulfill. However, it’s recommended you go a step above and create portfolios comprising different kinds of videos. In other words, create multiple video portfolios and ensure each has a theme to them. The themes you choose should revolve around the requirements of specific client groups. This approach to portfolio creation is essentially “thinking ahead of yourself.”
If you do not have anything similar to your prospective client’s requirements, you will likely lose them to a competitor who may have work to show that meets those specific requirements. Even if you have otherwise stupendous work behind you, future clients may hesitate to come on board and do business.
Therefore, customize your portfolio and have multiple trims. The content you present must exhibit the style and look that instills confidence in your clients. Not to mention, use the opportunity to showcase your skills or communicate in the most distinct and creative way possible.
To bag new clients and grow your business, it’s critical to be accessible – both online and offline. If people cannot find you, they are not coming to you.
Online visibility is more important than ever before.
SEO and online advertising would go a long way in helping you achieve that. SEO is free, but it takes time and also requires some solid understanding of the concept.
You could hire people to do SEO for your website. But it’s recommended you learn the concept and implement it by yourself or in-house since SEO is a long haul or not a one-time process. If you outsource the job to a third party, you would be hemorrhaging cash almost indefinitely.
Comparatively, paid advertisements are short-term. You could use them to give your video production business the initial push it requires. Once some traction is gained, and your clients are returning satisfied, your business would be able to sustain itself or no longer depend on paid advertising.
Paid SEO services could also be employed to get the initial push. But unlike ads, SEO tactics or strategies do not guarantee results. SEO is ambiguous. If you do not clearly understand it, you could be taken for a ride by pseudo SEO experts or nefarious service providers.
The offline side of the business is important too and should not be ignored.
Network with key people in the industry circles. Showcase your work during events or festivals, partake in panels and talks, etc. Capitalize on any and every opportunity that helps put your work out for everybody to see.
A channel partner could be a business consultant or marketing agency overwhelmed with clients requiring video production services. They may have in-house staff to cater to their client’s requirements but may not be able to serve them all. As a result, they look to third-party firms that could help them with meeting the demand.
By associating with channel partners, you are almost guaranteed a constant flow of assignments. The channel partner could charge a fee or commission for the business they bring to you. That sum, however, is not a significant cost to pay, considering you get clients without paying for advertisements and doing all the SEO and marketing hustle yourself.
At no point should your business be overburdened with projects or unable to welcome new clients aboard. Any customer that gets a no for a project proposal is most likely never coming back. Because your existing clients are likely not to provide you with work indefinitely, seeing the back of a potential client is detrimental to your business in the long run.
Your video production business is highly unlikely to see a surge in orders overnight or in a few days. It’s a progression that you should be able to estimate or see beforehand. Once you realize your business is doing well and new customers are likely to come on board, hire staff and invest in equipment ahead. It’s better to be prepared than sorry.
If you wait for the clients to show up before springing into action, you could end up scrambling or find it difficult to roll with the new projects quickly or at the expected pace. If it takes time (which is likely, if you are underprepared), your clients will go to your competitors.
Besides fortifying your bench strength, you may also outsource some of your work to manage the demand.
Outsourcing is a much more cost-efficient method than hiring fresh talent, mainly if your business is still not positive cash flow-rich. But make sure you do not outsource the core of your workflow. Outsource certain non-critical aspects of your business, such as accounting and customer service, to free up your time and resources and streamline your workflow considerably.
Your clients need not know about your outsourcing and certainly shouldn’t get a hint of it through your submissions. Not commissioning the core elements of your work to another business will prevent that from happening.
Sales, for instance, shouldn’t be handled by outsiders as the sales personnel are the faces of your company, and the sales tactics you implement go a long way in determining how well you can bag new clients.
If you are not good at sales, hire proficient people since you can directly and entirely manage their actions. When you outsource, you relinquish a significant amount of that control.
While it may seem the most obvious thing to do to attract new clients, it’s certainly not the first thing you must do. Clients are generated from leads. And those leads come by only if you are a relatively established firm, to begin with.
Also, generating leads is all about targeting the right market. Your target market is contingent on your skills, experience, the industry or business types you’d like to cater to, etc. In other words, the market that serves the best interests of your competitor may not necessarily do the same for you. It may just not be the right fit for you.
Once you’ve zeroed in on the right set of clients, start positioning or promoting yourself to grab their fancy. So, how do you do that?
“Growing” your business and “promoting” it are two sides of the same coin. The two terms are so overlapping; you could use them interchangeably at times. However, there’s a thin line differentiating the two.
In the video production context, “growing” the business is pretty much making an active push to net clients. “Promoting” a company, on the other hand, is showcasing what you’re capable of and letting people decide for themselves whether you’re worth the time and money. Educating or letting in people on what goes behind the scenes, for instance, is promotion.
Here are things you must do to “promote” your video production business:
A website is a fundamental requisite, as alluded to earlier. No business – big or small – can afford not to have a piece of virtual land to themselves. Even individuals looking to promote themselves or create a personal brand have their websites.
As a video production business, you just don’t need a website but also a killer one at that. Your official site must showcase how good you are at video production. In other words, set up a website that looks wonderful, works seamlessly, and incorporates videos as an integral element of its design.
Make sure you don’t go overboard or throw the kitchen sink at your site. Keep it minimal yet packed with elements that convey your story the way you want to. You need not be a professional web developer to design a site, as website-building tools, such as WordPress, will come in handy.
If you are not happy with what the different tools offer or want a custom site built from scratch, you can always hire a professional web designer.
After setting up a beautiful site, make sure it’s visible. The website that you so meticulously and painstakingly put together will cover the conversion part once there are footfalls.
As mentioned earlier, make SEO the mainstay of your marketing strategy. Also, promote your site on social media — particularly Pinterest, since it’s a more visual-friendly social network. If you are going the paid ad route, Facebook is ideal. You can incorporate Pinterest ads too.
For someone who has never made a video before or witnessed the video production process first-hand, making videos may seem as straightforward as picking up a camera and shooting away with it. Non-videographers are unlikely to be aware of the level of pre-production and post-production work that goes into churning out videos that span only a few minutes.
If a client with no video production background or understanding approaches you for a project, let them know the amount of effort and time needed to make videos. By being blunt and forthright, you are building trust and keeping expectations real while tacitly communicating to the client that the money they are paying is worth it after all.
To help potential clients learn about video editing and also promote your business in the process, build a presence on video sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
While YouTube is technically “social media,” it isn’t your typical social networking site. And, most importantly, the reach it affords can be comparatively significant, provided you can educate yourself and get atop the site’s algorithm.
For non-videographers, creating videos and publishing them on YouTube is a task. But because you already know how to shoot and edit videos, you’ve got a major head start. And if you consistently post videos and do an excellent job of it, you’ll generate a new revenue stream altogether as video monetization, affiliate sales, brand deals, etc.
Not to mention, potential clients will continue to find you and bring you videography business. Also, you could link to your YouTube or Dailymotion videos from your website or embed them in your blog posts.
A blog or text-based information dissemination arrangement may seem odd or even contradictory when looking to promote a “video” business. The reality, however, is that text-based content is still king, and its status will remain intact until people stop reading. Video-based content is rising in popularity, but it will co-exist with text and not outplace it.
You need not set up a separate website to publish your articles. Create a sub-section for blog posts on your main website and start posting there.
A blog is also a great way to promote your site or make it more visible in the search engines since you will continually update the website with fresh content. And, in case you didn’t know, search engines prefer new content or dynamic sites compared to static ones.
Come across as confident and proficient through your website, videos, texts, etc., — not just about what you’ve already done, but also about things you’ve never done before but could do, if given the opportunity.
While browsing your website or checking out your social media pages, potential clients must get the feeling that you’re ready to seize opportunities — irrespective of how big or ambitious they are. You certainly do not want to come across as someone too small or not ready for a significant project.
As a video producer who has been in business for only a few years, marketing yourself as bigger could seem inappropriate or plain disingenuous. But the truth is you are not misleading anybody by punching above your weight. If you are unwilling to push the boundaries or take up projects bigger than you’ve handled before, you won’t expand and grow.
By staying in your comfort zone, you would only be able to sustain yourself. Your business may not grow the way you would like it to, or it may not flourish at all. And one day, you could disappear from the map because your competitors were busy pushing the boundaries and grinding it out.
Video production is not niche, and there’s certainly a lot of competition. However, unlike the commodities market, wherein you cannot differentiate yourself from the competition, video production lets you stand out from the crowd. If you believe you have an edge over others or even a distinctive perspective to share, you too could be a part of the mix and succeed.
But to grow your video production business, you should be willing to hustle. Being supremely talented is not good enough. People should know that you exist, and you must help them identify you from the sea of service providers.
The above methods and tricks are sure to help you become more visible in your space. You just need to put in the effort and be patient. Just don’t expect results overnight. It could even take a month or two (or more) to generate some real traction. If you keep at it for long enough, you’ll inevitably shine through.