Recently I’ve been trying to figure out how it’s possible to grow this business, or if that’s even advisable. In these changing times where people have great video cameras on their iPhones and where high school students graduate with the skills and professional technology to edit video — Is it worth it to invest more effort into growing? Should I continue on the same path? Will people need us? Where is it all going?
Over the eighteen months, we have been able and motivated to produce better quality work and we have started using the work to attract customers who see the quality and who are willing to pay more. This has caused me to change the way I view helping and billing customers. We can be tougher in qualifying potential customers. Now I wonder if I change my marketing channels and sales techniques, could I get more of these qualified customers who are willing to pay for the results we can produce and support our growth?
So I question if we could, or even should, take WPRNY to the next level. Should I put effort into transitioning from that lone producer into more of a real production company with a studio in Westchester and staff to support the growth? Should I take on that risk?
The first WPRNY customer was the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, who hired us to live stream video presentations from Columbia Medical Center, Yale Medical Center, and Hershey Medical center. Since then we have helped hundreds of business with small video service — filming conferences, editing promotional videos, CEO message videos, quarterly report videos. Live streaming remains part of our service offer.
However, the internet has put this industry in flux. New technologies and faster computers mean more and more small production companies put pressures on the larger production companies. This pressure is on everyone all down the food chain.
On the other hand, with the advent of social media especially, every business has the potential of broadcasting video. And it has become easier and easier to do so. Youtube, Ustream, skype, iPhones, Vine — there is no end to new medium. Almost all of our work these days is for web delivery, intended to be streamed over our customer’s web sites, their youtube channels, or their blogs. Many businesses feel like it’s important for them to have video in their web site, blogs, and social media.
So in 2015 we will continue to move away from a sort of bottom feeding strategy as it seems like there will always be videographers who will match the lowest budget, no matter how low that budget is.
We have tried specializing further and we have had some success in medical marketing videos, Continuing Medical Education, and livestreaming medical discussions. We also have helped the financial industry with CEO messaging, hedge fund marketing videos, etc. We also have been able to market to legal firms, helping them edit depositions for court, filming people as they are served legal documents, or documenting damage or inspections of damage. We have been unsuccessful so far in focusing exclusively in one specialty.
At this point in Q1 2015, we have changed our target market from merely “businesses” to “businesses who are willing to pay a premium for quality work and services”.
Here are our Marketing Goals Q3 & Q4 2015
It is fairly easy to get set up as an independent videographer. We have a long list of professional videographers, whom we can call to help us, and therefore we know their prices. We know that we can be competitive in pricing and even undercut many of them. So I know how low I should bid if I want to be the lowest professional bidder.
There is also a point where a potential client will decide to hire & staff their own — particularly for ongoing development.
Here is our list of Video Production Companies advertising in the NYC area.
In 2015 ~93K in revenue was generated by sending out 66 estimates. Each lead that results in an estimate is worth 1.4K.
Historically, our sales pipeline has been almost entirely from people who have found our web site on the internet. Originally from organic searches, however, more and more from paid listings in search engines. This has given us a trickle of new leads from a very diverse group of potential customers, projects and clients.
Our target markets are:
- Marketing directors, typically 25-45 year old female professionals who are looking for a team to help them accomplish a specific communication task.
- Small business owners or CEOs, typically male 45-60, who are interested in ways to drive sales.
- We have targeted specific industries that use video in specific ways: Legal, health & finance.
We have positioned WPRNY as the “better quality at lower costs” option and we have tried to distinguish ourselves by being open and upfront with pricing and offer a quick easy no-obligation quote. For a long time we published pricing openly on the web site but recently moved away from that strategy because each situation was in fact different and only after hearing all of our prospective customer’s needs, could we determine a fixed cost.
We get 2 or 3 leads from the internet every week and typically one will turn into a customer. 70% of our customers offer repeat business if they have the needs.
Short term marketing goal: Reach out and keep in contact with our old customers and with leads who did not become customers. Show them our new work, give them opportunities or incentives to reffer us to their colleagues, or just to remind them that we are here and easy to work with.
Here are some cold call scripts we use:
Basic Good morning Ms XXXXXX, this is Kevin Lydon from WPRNY in New York. The reason I’m calling you today, specifically, is to let you know how we have been helping people engage their customers, their staff, and their business partners with video. You’re probably always looking for new ways to engage your customers or staff, right?
Great Ms XXXXXX. How about we get together for a brief face to face so we can show you examples of how we’re helping people do that with video. How about Thursday at 10am or is 1pm better for you?
Conference/Live stream Hello Ms. XXXXX, this is Kevin Lydon from WPRNY here in New York. We recently helped American Express engage their Leadership Academy Partners using live internet broadcasting their conference keynote. The reason that I’m calling you today specifically is so I can show you all the different ways we are helping companies like American express to produce content from their meetings to engage their remote staff, their business partners and their consumers. I’m sure that you, like Amex, are interested in engaging customers, right?
(wait for positive response)
That’s great, Ms. XXXXXX, I think we should get together to discuss it. How about Thursday at 2pm?
Finance Companies Good morning Ms XXXXXX, this is Kevin Lydon from WPRNY in New York. The reason I’m calling you today specifically is so I can stop by and tell you about how we have been producing video to help our business like LTAM and ETF Securities to engage their investors in their financial products and funds. I’m sure that you are interested in engaging investors, right? (Positive response.)
That’s great Ms XXXXXX, let’s get together to discuss. How about Thursday at 10am or is 1pm better for you?
Corporate Good morning Ms XXXXXX, this is Eric Wolfram from WPRNY. The reason I’m calling you today specifically is to show you how we’re helping enterprises like Unilever and American Express to engage their staff and business partners with video. I’m sure that you are probably similar to American Express and Unilever in that you also are interested in reaching your employees and business partners in new and engaging ways, right? (Positive response.)
That’s great Ms XXXXXX, let’s get together. How about Thursday at 10am or is 1pm better for you?
We’re using Havestapp for our estimate & invoicing software and we can take credit card payments via paypal integration. Our terms of service is tied to our estimate and first payment. We take signature electronically when the customer fills out a form to accepts the terms. Email is handled by Google docs and our web hosting is at 1&1.com.
Everything is run out of the basement. We have no permanent staff and instead staff up for each customer using a short list of trusted independent contractors.
Desomd Lyons helps with legal
James Barbec helps as Accountant 1255 Post Street San Francisco, CA w: 415.928-5570
Bank: Sunnyside Federal in Irvington
- This quarter year WPRNY should restructure as an LLC, fully owned by Eric.
- Start marketing to our former clients and prospects and ask former clients for referrals
- Daily outgoing sales calls to marketing directors.
- If we are successful in marketing to a new customer: Move out of the basement and into a low cost studio somewhere near Irvington.
Exit this plan as before it becomes unprofitable.
You can request an Excel File of invoices sent and paid in 2015
The table below represents a typical monthly statement from 2014:
Estimated Jan 2015 Number of customers: 4 Revenue 12000 Sales and Marketing 1000 Miscellaneous costs 1000 sub-contractors 1250 Net Profit: 7500 per month
Here is what we would would like our growth plan to look like. In general, we want customers who see the value in more and better services on each project:
December 2015 Number of customers: 4 Revenue 22000 Sales and Marketing 1000 Miscellaneous costs 2000 sub-contractors 6000 Net Profit: 13000 per month
April 2016 Number of customers: 6-10 Revenue 35000 Sales and Marketing 2000 Studio rental 3000 Miscellaneous costs 1000 sub-contractors 8000 Net Profit: 21000 per month