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$10k to spend on marketing

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Jason Jenkins
$10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 26, 2007 at 10:17:22 pm

Alright! 2008 is the year to really kick my business into gear. When I started in 1998 with a Sony VX1000 and a Fast Dvmaster Pro, I knew exactly nothing. After 10 years of practice (and film school), I'm finally starting to get good at it. Here's a few clips to let you know where I'm at:

All work is mine except where noted.*

http://www.flowmotionmedia.com/ads/Seldens_Design.wmv
*Edited for an ad agency (Destination Marketing)

http://www.flowmotionmedia.com/ads/Health_Tips_Sneeze_v4.wmv
*Written by an ad agency (Hydrogen)

http://www.flowmotionmedia.com/promos/Abbotsford_Promo_v3.wmv
*Video wall clips supplied by client.

http://www.flowmotionmedia.com/promos/VRI.wmv
*VHS video supplied by client.


http://www.flowmotionmedia.com/ads/Luxury_Granite_v1.wmv



I brought in $65k this year, which isn't bad considering I haven't done a lick of marketing. I do have a website, but it's one of those


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Steve Wargo
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 27, 2007 at 1:39:25 pm

[Jason Jenkins] "But, I figure if the agencies I've worked for can bill out my work at $250 per hour, I should be able to bill my work at $125."

A lot of people think that they won't get the work unless they're the cheapest guy on the block. If that were the case, we'd all be eating at MacDonald's.

We service a marketing company and they said, at a conference we were shooting "Double your prices and watch your bottom line grow. Ignore those who leave to go somewhere else". Scared to death, we did just that and lost 40% of our business overnight. That means that 60% stayed on and we were doing half the work for the same money. Duh! When my clients ask why the guy down the street is cheaper, I reply "Because they're worth it."



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
Sony EX-1 has arrived and it's fascinating.


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Bruce Bennett
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 27, 2007 at 2:47:18 pm

[Steve Wargo] "When my clients ask why the guy down the street is cheaper, I reply "Because they're worth it.""

Steve, you started out my day right:) I'm going to have to remember this one!

Bruce

Bruce Bennett,
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC - http://www.bmmp.com


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Jason Jenkins
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 27, 2007 at 9:12:46 pm

Hi Steve,

I'm not trying to be the cheapest on the block, just somewhere in the middle. If I lost 40% of my clients, I'd have about 3 left! Going from $75 to $125 per hour would be a good move upward for me. If I were to start charging $250 per hour, I would literally lose 90-100% of my clients. So, I guess the real question is; how do I attract the high end clients?


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Bruce Bennett
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 27, 2007 at 3:05:56 pm

Jason,

First off, congratulations on your success. Ten years and $65K this year is something to be very proud of.

Most people who regularly read this post know my position on marketing our type of businesses. I think mailing DVDs to potential clients is a waste of money. And if your local ad agencies are like the ones here in Madison, WI, they are very loyal to their existing production companies and breaking those relationships is very, very tuff to do.

My biggest suggestion for marketing has been (and always will be) is to increase your meals and entertainment budget. I would consider a


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Jason Jenkins
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 28, 2007 at 6:15:23 pm

Thanks Bruce,

At the very least, I will be doing some lunches with my clients, which I have never done before --except when they took me to lunch!


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Brendan Coots
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 27, 2007 at 5:59:09 pm

Here's my input:

1. Don't focus on price competition. This is a race to the bottom, I assure you, and it also limits your future options. Once you find the need to raise your rates, all the customers you roped in with your "cheaper guy" value proposition will no longer be interested. It CAN be valuable to point out that your prices are affordable, but think long and hard about how to phrase this without making it the core of your VP.

2. Spending $500/month on SEO (purchasing inbound links, directory listings, paying someone to tweak your site text etc.) is a good start to getting your web site out of the shadows, but it takes time to reap the rewards. In my experience, an equally important step is to set up an account with Google Adwords. While it doesn't improve SEO, it will bring you a lot of potential customers while you wait for your SEO efforts to pay off. You can choose how much to pay for each lead, tell Adwords to only show your ads in the cities you want, and you can use exclusion words to ensure the "wrong" people don't see your ads (such as students or people looking for freebie animated GIFs). You could easily spend $500/month on Adwords alone, depending on how stiff the competition is in your local market. As such, you may want to tweak your budget to allow some $$ for this.

3. You are wise to allocate some funds to your web site. I visited the site, and while the design is clean it doesn't really tell your eye where it should go, so it clearly needs a facelift. It also needs some serious redesign for it to ever come out of the shadows and show up in the search engines. $6k should get you a comprehensive redesign, just make sure that the person you hire knows and understands SEO so that they employ those principals in the design so that you don't have to hire a separate SEO expert.


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Randall Raymond
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 28, 2007 at 2:49:59 am

[Brendan Coots] "an equally important step is to set up an account with Google Adwords."

Probably the most important step. Most people think Google ads are about searches - but the lion's share of click-throughs comes from your image ads and video ads on their content network. I'm an adwords agent for a number of clients - and create image and video ads for them - and track what's working - typical day for one of my clients: 3 clicks on searches, 66 clicks on image and video ads on Google's content network. The thing is made for video-guys!


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Jason Jenkins
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 28, 2007 at 6:13:11 pm

Randall,

It's really good to hear some real world stats. I'm going to research Google Ad words since everything I know about them I learned from your post!


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Jason Jenkins
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 28, 2007 at 6:10:15 pm

Brendan,

Thanks so much for your input. The problem with my website is that I made it! It's totally graphical -pretty much straight out of Photoshop. I'm on the lookout for someone who can revamp it and give it the SEO help it needs as well.


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Randall Raymond
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 28, 2007 at 6:18:19 pm

[Jason Jenkins] "I'm on the lookout for someone who can revamp it and give it the SEO help it needs as well."

I can do that for you - video web sites are my specialty - let me know.


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Bruce Bennett
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Dec 28, 2007 at 6:26:29 pm

Jason,

Template Monster has some really nice (and inexpensive) ones that you could get some ideas from (or to purchase and have some one


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George Loch
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Jan 2, 2008 at 9:16:39 am

Couple of thoughts:

SEO- Be sure that this is the right approach for the clients you are trying to attract. I am guessing it's not. SEO is designed to provide you with a different type of traffic flow than companies from your region. I would put more emphasis on your website as a central location to send potential leads/referrals to. Also, there are multiple levels of SEO. You may find that a minimal amount will be the right balance. I can tell you that my best clients come from referrals and not SEO. The main benefit of SEO for most media production companies is making it easier to find your website if they forget the address. This is a relationship business not a one-off shop.

Web Templates- Please don't. Take the time and investment to show the world you care about your company and image. Contact a professional to create a site that will reflect who and what your company is. Templates represent hypocrisy in our industry and should be avoided when it really counts.

Budget- While I appreciate the value of having a budget, don't go into this with the mentality of "What can I afford to do?" rather, think about who you want to attract to your company and how you can best present your case to them. Start with the end in mind and work your way back. chances are, you will find adequate money in your budget to cover it.


-gl

Prologue Media
http://www.prologuemedia.com


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Brendan Coots
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Jan 3, 2008 at 12:53:39 am

"SEO is designed to provide you with a different type of traffic flow than companies from your region."

Maybe I am just completely misreading your comment here, but I absolutely disagree with this statement as I am understanding it. First of all, the beauty of SEO is that it is whatever you want it to be. You can use it to target local mom and pops or multinationals based in other countries. You could even use it to try and target your next door neighbor. Totally up to you. It's also not "designed" to be anything or provide any type of traffic, it's merely a process of using specific keywords, links and relationships with other web sites to give spiders a hint as to who your ideal audience might be. Many webmasters have totally different approaches and techniques, all yielding different results.

"The main benefit of SEO for most media production companies is making it easier to find your website if they forget the address."

Again, I completely disagree. While many media production companies don't see their web site as a powerful sales tool and essentially treat it like a virtual business card, those who DO maximize their site's potential end up reaping big rewards.

My studio gets about 90% of our leads via our web site - about 60% are high quality leads and we convert about 70% of the high quality leads. As many of these turn into long term customers as from our non-web originated leads. Most of these conversions are for jobs in the $40k range, so not huge but certainly not "floor scores." This is only after spending a good amount of time fine tuning our site, honing our SEO and allocating marketing resources to the site.

I believe this is one of those areas where people's opinions differ drastically based on their own results, based on their own particular setup. For example, your "Prologue Media" web site, while very clean and attractive, is a single page, single image design that isn't much more than your phone number and email address. This is NOT the ideal setup for using your site as a sales tool, and therefore it sounds as though you haven't received many sales through it. This has probably skewed your perspective on what a web site can and cannot do.


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Randall Raymond
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Jan 3, 2008 at 2:51:10 am

[Brendan Coots] "The main benefit of SEO for most media production companies is making it easier to find your website if they forget the address."

Again, I completely disagree."


I do too. See all those ads on either side of my post? - Ron, rents the space to those companies displaying their ads - they get the exposure and the Cow provides the traffic. That's what google serves up on their 'content network' - image ads, text ads and video ads. If Ron had signed on for google's 'ad sense' google would be sending him a check every month for the traffic. He can, obviously, do better with his own ad program.

Search engine optimization SEO is such a hit and miss proposition that the time spent doing it is practically worthless. Besides, 95% of searches is done on either Google or Yahoo and their robots are reading your pages, not what you say are on your pages. But it ain't about searches anyway, at least for Google, it's about traffic and that means their 'content network.'

As one of my profs said "Marketing is about buying, Advertising is about selling." The average person doesn't know the difference - they think they are one and the same.


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Mike Cohen
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Jan 5, 2008 at 4:46:44 am

Good job in growing your business.
As others have said, your website need updating. That huge graphic F is distracting. I am wanting to click on Conceptualize, Edit, Script, etc. Each of those keywords should be tabs on your services page.

While Craigslist is a mixed bag, I have had great luck posting ads for freelance designers and getting some good applicants. It should be easy enough to find local talent in most cities.

You may be able to find someone who can, for a few thousands dollars, design a style for your whole operation - website, letterhead, print advertising/brochures etc.

Do you have a local advertising club or other such organization? If so, get yourself into their events.

Direct mail for selling services probably isn't the way to go.

Surely you know some people who work for large businesses in your area. Find out from them what agencies they use - take a grassroots approach.

You can always make friends with someone at your local ad agencies to try to get a meeting with an account manager.

Don't set a budget until you know what it is you need to be spending money on.

The website should be the first thing to do. And use Flash video - when I see Windows Media on a website I find a different website.

Good luck, let us know what you decide to do.

Mike Cohen




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Bruce Bennett
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Jan 5, 2008 at 5:47:35 am

[Mike Cohen] "And use Flash video - when I see Windows Media on a website I find a different website."

I disagree with this advice. It might make a good topic as its own thread. I have had absolutley no problems using Windows Media on my Website (technical issues or from my corporate clients who are vastly made up of Internet Explorer users).

Bruce



Bruce Bennett

Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC

http://www.www.bmmp.com


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Mike Cohen
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Jan 5, 2008 at 3:39:15 pm

My rationale for not using Windows Media (streaming anyway) comes from corporate IT departments blocking streaming video on their firewalls.
I guess it depends upon the type of clients you have.
Ad agencies certainly will have fewer technical limitations.

Mike


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Jason Jenkins
Re: $10k to spend on marketing
on Jan 5, 2008 at 7:26:18 pm

Thanks Mike,

I've found someone who will be starting on my new website next week. Should be launched by the end of January. I'm pretty excited! The video content will all be Flash this time around. I'm going to be reworking/updating my reel this week.


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