Marketing for filmmakers can be very intimidating. I think it must have something to do with being creative; we seem to be more concerned with creating content than creating new business.
In simple terms, marketing is simply about putting your message in front of the right customers at the right time, so that when they are ready to make a buying decision, they think of you and call.
Marketing is just storytelling. People buy from people and therefore, if you wish to buy from someone, then it makes sense to have a relationship with them. Well executed marketing does just that. It helps you build a relationship with the potential customer, through different means of communicating.
I like to compare marketing with fishing. You’re looking to capture a specific type of customer and therefore you want to be looking in the places that they might be.
Think about it for a second. If you go fishing for salmon, you choose the right river. You choose the correct fishing rod, you choose the correct bait, and you choose the time of year when the salmon are most likely to be there. There would be no point trying to fish for salmon in a pond full of goldfish. Now, I am not a fisherman, but I imagine that the kind of bait used to catch salmon is not the same kind of bait you would use to catch goldfish.
If you take that principle and apply it to your marketplace, what do you get? Sales!
If you are in a business that sells wedding films, then who is it that makes the decision to hire you? I’m pretty certain it’s the bride. Therefore, where is the bride likely to be looking when considering her wedding? Notice I said her wedding! If you’re reading this and you are married, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
A wedding day is all about the bride. In fact, when I used to shoot weddings, I used to joke with the groom that he was the only person in the room who didn’t get an official invitation. So, in terms of your marketing, the bride and the bride’s mother are likely to be the key influencers in making decisions about who to hire.
If you are running a wedding film business, it’s the bride and the bride’s mother who you need to be connecting with. So where are they likely to be looking when planning a wedding? Well any number of places, but more likely they’ll be looking at wedding magazines, going to wedding fayres and probably asking friends who are already married.
(Hint: this is likely to be one of your biggest sources of business: recommendations and referrals.)
I’ve chosen weddings here as an example because it’s a particularly competitive market. If you were to Google ’wedding video productions’ in your area, it’s likely there will be quite a number of sites. This gives you some indication that other competing businesses are already doing some form of marketing online. Now, before becoming anxious that there is a lot of competition, this is a good thing. Lots of competition means there’s likely to be lots of business, and the only decision you need to make is where are you going to pitch your business and price point.
I’ve had many videographers comment on how hard it is to make money in the wedding sector, and yet I have a couple of friends in the US who routinely charge in excess of $10,000 for a wedding.
How? Well, they are exceptional at what they do and offer an exceptional service. Their films are unique, beautiful and epic and are priced accordingly. Don’t forget, a wedding can be a great opportunity for the bride to brag about having the most expensive wedding filmmaker, as this can give her great kudos in some circles.
Human beings rarely make decisions on need, it’s much more likely that they make decisions on wants. By that I mean they make decisions based on an emotional reaction (want) rather than a more logical need.
This is a critical concept to understand when marketing. A bride, for example, who is planning a wedding, has many things to consider; it’s possible that the wedding video is way down the list of priorities. I’m almost certain that for the groom, it’s an almost non-essential part of the wedding, and that is mostly because he knows it’s likely to cost a lot of money. However if the bride decides she wants the wedding filmed, the groom is more than likely going to agree, because the last thing he wants on his wedding day is an unhappy bride.
So what does this have to do with marketing? Well, everything actually, because if you can build a relationship with the bride in advance of her wedding, and she decides that your service is exactly what she wants, then the price almost becomes irrelevant. If you run a wedding film business and you’re not marketing in some form or other, then you are leaving a considerable amount of money on the table.
Now simply take the word wedding out and replace it with whatever sector of video production you are in , Lather, Rinse, repeat…