My wife and I launched our video production company, Prime 312, in Chicago back in May 2017. Fast forward five years and we created a production company from the ground up, quadrupling our revenue in the process. We’re a small production company compared to competitors, but we’ve managed to surpass our wildest dreams in an incredibly competitive field.
While it’s easy to say the success of a production company is attributed to what happens behind the camera lens, it’s just as important to understand and build your business through a marketing perspective.
So for all the video production experts looking to go solo, here are our tips to market your production business to attract and grow your customer base.
6 steps to marketing your video production business
1. Create your website
The first step to a successful video production business is building an effective website.
It takes time and effort to create a site that represents your business. And it takes even more work to refresh and re-optimize your site over time. Just know that extra work pays off.
Think of your website as your elevator pitch. You want your visitor to understand what you do and why you’re the right fit within the first 30 to 60 seconds visiting your website. Once someone hits your landing page, make sure you messaging and branding is succinct, memorable, and clear.
When building your website, ask yourself:
- What does my business believe in?
- What level of quality do I deliver in my work?
- How do potential customers contact me?
Our website answers these core questions and consistently helps fuel our success.
2. Focus on relevant, targeted website content
Optimize your website for search so that it can be discoverable and visible to the right people. Take the time you need to write and publish relevant, quality content that speaks to your audience. Stay away from middling or mediocre content and instead curate your site with high quality work samples and important information.
It can be tempting to sink your time and resources into driving as many visitors as possible to your site. But your time is better spent producing more work that demonstrates your skills and helps attract your target clients and customers. When presented with a choice, lean into creating more amazing content that shows people what you’re capable of.
3. Reflect the work you want to do
Remember: clients hire you for projects that are similar to the samples on your site. So, if you want to get hired to produce music videos, you’ll want to have good music video work samples.
If you’re struggling to get hired for the types of projects you want, try independently producing a proof-of-concept sample of that type of work.
Also, be mindful of work samples that show the types of projects you aren’t looking to take on. When building your portfolio of video samples, be strategic about the projects you’re willing to take and how your samples reflect that. This will ensure your project inquiries align with the work you want to do.
4. Cut your sales pitch in half
How do you attract the right clients without relying on huge swaths of web traffic? The simple answer is to communicate with people who are in the market for our services. When you find a company or organization that has a need, you’ve cut your sales pitch in half.
For example, my first client initially rejected my sales pitch. He didn’t see the value of video work for his organization. I was eager for work samples to build out my portfolio, so I offered to do a project for free. I completed that project, he rolled the video out, and suddenly he had an abundance of applicants. His opinion on the value of video quickly changed, and within a month agreed on a year-long contract to create a variety of video content.
That first client holds a yearly fundraiser and part of my contract included making a video that would play right before the key fundraising moment of the program. Serendipitously, someone who attended that fundraiser contacted me with a similar video need. Suddenly, one client became two, and securing the second client didn’t require selling the “value of video.”
When building your production business, consider your ideal customer and look out for similarly profiled clients who may value what you do. Take the time to do outreach, provide background information on your business and samples of relevant work, and see where the conversation leads you. That method, paired with the power of good word-of-mouth, helped us build a roster of clients over two years.
5. Serve your clients well by understanding yourself
Knowing and spotlighting your strengths is always essential, but being able to flip perceived weaknesses into strengths might be even more important. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!
A good example of this is how I positioned and marketed my preferred production style. The way I operated during on-site production dictated every decision made moving forward. My production kit was built out to be lean, agile, and efficient. I favored smaller cameras, compact lighting solutions, and strived to fit my entire production kit into a backpack.
Now, this lean kit strategy isn’t for everyone. When you walk into a shoot with a client who is expecting cases of equipment hauled by an expansive crew, and all you brought is a backpack and yourself, well, that might have them checking back on their invoice to see what they’re paying for in your services.
Addressing this up front from a marketing perspective can be a huge help. I spent a significant amount of time championing that strategy to my potential clients by positioning myself as a lean and efficient alternative to the “three ring circus” that many of them experienced with past video production projects that they had taken part in.
It’s important to note that the success of this strategy hinges on delivering a top-notch finished product. Your final deliverables need to reach or exceed the level of work they’ve gotten from the “three ring circus” in the past. If your deliverables pale in comparison, then they will point to your production style as the culprit.
6. Evolve and pivot organically
Once the pandemic hit in 2020, my sales pitch about a “small footprint” was much less relevant when everyone was looking for “no footprint.”
So as we listened to customers during that time, we noticed a common theme with feedback was, “how much easier [we] made [their] projects feel.” Making video production easier and more seamless resonated with our clients, so our philosophy as a business began leaning more into that.
No matter what circumstances your encounter or market changes that impact your business, strive to listen to your customers, stay flexible, and adjust to changes. Being receptive to changing circumstances will help you wade through uncharted territory and grow your business over time.
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In conclusion, the most effective marketing happens when you understand who you are as a company and attract the people and organizations that value that. Knowing your audience is key. It may not always be easy, but doing your best to apply that idea, coupled with doing the very best work you possibly can, will give you the best opportunity to succeed.
To learn more from production experts around the world, check out our community of Vimeo Experts. Connect with creative pros, hone your craft, and strengthen your client relationships.