Video Production Business Tip – Setting Your Priorities

I often feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities that go hand in hand with running a successful video production company. In fact, I think many videographers fail to find any true level of financial success because they struggle with how to prioritize tasks on a daily basis so they can move the business forward by that “critical inch.”

Several years ago, I was having major issues with keeping it all straight so I developed what I call THE PRIORITY PROCESS which in its simplest form, helps me refocus my efforts with a simple glance any time I feel like the train has derailed and the cars are flying off the track.

If you have followed me for a while or participate in our weekly live group coaching calls, you may recognize this process because I refer to it often.

When I arrive at the studio each day, I follow this priority process to determine where I need to focus my efforts.

1. SALES – Is there anything I need to do in order to move a potential sale forward? (Send an email, make a call, write a proposal or submit an invoice for the deposit payment.) Many people wonder why I put sales in front of production and the reason is because the people I sell to only work during normal business hours. For the most part, we can do project work at any time of the day so it’s important to handle the sales activities first.

-if all Sales tasks are completed, I switch focus to-

2. PROJECTS – Is there anything I need to do to move a project (or projects) forward today? (Write a script, book a shoot date, hire a narrator, edit, etc.)

-if all Project tasks are completed, I switch focus to-

3. MARKETING – What can I do to market my company? (Email newsletter, blog post, video marketing, networking, etc.) As you have probably experienced, our industry is very cyclical in that you’ll be slammed one month and have nothing to do the next month. There’s no reason to get overly stressed about this reality so that’s why I just choose to focus on marketing when there aren’t isn’t any project work going on. It all seems to work out in the end.

-if all Marketing tasks are completed, I switch focus to –

4. ADMINISTRATIVE – What needs to be dealt with regarding everything else required to run my business? (Accounts receivable, payroll, accounts payable, errands, etc.) Keep in mind that even though I have listed this category as the last priority, you can’t wait weeks to pay your bills or collect money from clients. I mainly have it listed after sales, projects and marketing because I handle a lot of my administrative work on my laptop while watching TV at night.

I have found that by sticking to this process, I get the most accomplished in my video production business each day and I leave with a sense of fulfillment which makes it easier for me to turn off the work engine in my head and spend quality time with my family after hours and on weekends.

Video Production Business Tip – Marketing Sales Funnel

If you are a student of marketing, you probably know what a “sales funnel” is. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s basically the business system you put in place that illustrates how you will attract new prospects and the path they take once they enter your “funnel” until they become a paying customer at the bottom.

Instead of labeling it as a “sales funnel,” I prefer to call it the “success funnel” mainly because the success of my video production business is determined by the effectiveness of this process.

At the top of the funnel, I have networking, video marketing, social media and emails. These are the tools that I use to get prospects into my funnel so that I can eventually move them down the line to become a paying customer. The reason the funnel is in the shape of an upside down triangle is because you’ll have a lot of prospects who enter your funnel but will never become video production customers.

I won’t use this post to go over the merits of networking, video marketing, social media marketing or email marketing but just know that I believe all four of these tools are vital to bringing prospects into my success funnel.

The next section of the funnel is labeled “Drive Traffic to Website.” I believe that if I can get prospects to visit my website, they will see within a few seconds or minutes why I am qualified to handle their video project. My website does a great job of selling a prospect on my quality, capabilities and credibility so it’s by far my greatest marketing tool. (I’m not saying it’s a perfect website, just that it’s very effective.)

The main marketing goal of the website is to get an interested prospect to do one of three things.

1.) Sign up for my email newsletter so I can stay in touch with them over a long period of time.

2.) Fill out the contact form if they want/need to request a quote for a video production.

3.) Call me directly if they want to request a quote for a video production.

I get a handful of inquiries each week through my website so I know it’s doing its job. In order to get more inquiries, I’d need to be more aggressive in the first section of the funnel by networking more, posting more videos online, interacting via social media more often and by building a larger email list that I can stay in touch with on a regular basis.

The next stage in the success funnel is labeled “Prospect Requests Quote.”

If the first stage is getting leads into my funnel and the second stage is working to get prospects to look at my website, there should be plenty of people emailing or calling to request a quote. If there aren’t a lot of requests at any point in time, I need to analyze where the problem is higher up in the funnel.

Do I need more leads or do I need to tweak something on my website so that more of my leads will request a quote

Once a prospect has requested a quote, this is where you can make or break the deal based on how you write the proposal.

Writing a solid proposal will increase the number of deals you close but no matter how good they are, you’ll be lucky if you win more than 50% of the deals you quote.

If I’m getting plenty of quote requests but haven’t been closing enough deals, I know that I need to examine my pricing and/or the quality of prospect I’m bringing into my funnel.

So, if I bring 100 leads into the first stage of the funnel. Thirty of them go to my website, 10 of them request a quote and only 3 of them hire me for their project. I know there are a few things I can work on to improve my results.

The first thing I would look at is how to close more of the 10 quotes. I might try to reduce my pricing a bit over the next month or so until I get fully booked. If after reducing my pricing a bit, I realize that I’m still not closing more deals, I know that it’s time to look higher up in the funnel at the quality of prospect I’m attracting or the information I’m providing on my website.

Since I’m pretty confident that my website is doing its job, I would make the assumption that my success (or lack of) is directly related to the quality of lead I’m attracting with my current marketing efforts. After careful analysis, I might notice that a lot of my leads lately have been from smaller businesses or non-profit organizations instead of medium to large corporations – which is what I prefer.

With that in mind, I may change up where I’m networking or the kind of prospect I’m targeting with my social media efforts so that I can start bringing in more prospects who can afford my normal prices and who won’t be scared off by my proposals.

The Health Products Business

With a large portion of Americans reaching retirement age, the health products business is larger than ever before. The people of the Babyboom generation are strongly concerned about their health and don’t mind paying extra money for vitamins and natural supplements as long as they are confident in the products’ ability to make them healthier. The advent of the internet has magnified the availability of these products and has made it easy for anyone to get into the business for themselves.

There are countless business out there that offer affiliate programs and franchises that allow you to get into the business immediately by selling their products for them. When starting your health products business, carefully look at all your options and go with the company that has been in business the longest and has the most credibility. There are new health products businesses springing up everyday and some are simply fly-by-night operations meant to take as much money as possible from you and then disappear.

Perhaps you’re not looking to start your own health products business, but are simply trying to buy these products wholesale and save money. Most of the businesses out there offer discount programs where you can get the products you need for less money just as long as you purchase a certain amount each month. You may even enjoy the products so much that you find yourself telling other people about them and trying to convince them to buy. If this is the case, why not take the next step and inquire about the affiliate programs that the company offers, you might as well make money for it if you going to do it anyway!

If you have never taken health products such as vitamins and supplements before, you should definitely check them out. The food we eat contains fewer nutrients that it did in previous years because the soil is being used so much that it doesn’t have enough time to regain the nutrients that are absorbed into the crops. Therefore, while it wasn’t necessary to take these products in past, it’s becoming increasingly important. Do yourself a favor and check out a health products business and see if there’s a product that can help you with your current needs.

Video Production Business Tip – Developing and Launching New Strategies

Michael and I get so excited about developing and launching new strategies. In fact, we get so fired up that we often want to change the direction of the new strategy within 24 hours of putting it in motion. What the hell is wrong with us?

Obviously, we won’t know if the new strategy will benefit us or our members until we’ve given it a chance to work. The big joke in a recent conversation was that we weren’t even allowing enough time for the paint to dry on a new strategy before we were trying to change directions.

The same holds true for many of us in the daily efforts of running our video production companies. A lot of us have so many ideas that we want to implement the next thing as soon as we’re done with one of them.

When’s the last time you printed 500 business cards just to immediately want to change the design before handing out the first one? What about the last time you put together that kick butt sales letter but before you sealed the first envelope, decided to scrap the entire effort?

The truth is you have no way of knowing whether or not a marketing effort will work until you try it. Then, once you try it, you have to do it long enough so you can get a good sampling on whether or not it actually worked to generate new business.

One of the old advertising greats (can’t remember his name) said that we get tired of our marketing messages long before our prospects and customers do. I have found this to be true in running my video production company.

In fact, I’ve learned that the real results don’t start to come until you’ve been pushing one type of marketing effort for at least 6 months to a year. That can seem like a long time when you are staring at the same demo, business card, website, etc. but you MUST give it a chance to work. It’s tempting to change strategies whenever you think of another way that you believe might do the trick.

That doesn’t mean you can’t make subtle improvements over time, just that you don’t want to do a complete 180 turn every time you worry that perhaps your marketing isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. The key is to give your marketing strategy a timeline to let it prove its effectiveness. You just have to be patient enough to wait so you can make a good assessment in your video production business.