Product Creation – How You Can Use Your Mailing List to Build Your Information Product Business

There are many ways to harness the power of your opt-in list, and you should be able to think of at least one every month with a little lateral thinking. Here are a few to get you going:

Offer a free product.

In much the same manner that you attracted your subscriber to your mailing list in the first place, you can duplicate this process from within your list too. When you have another product ready for your market, set up a strategy exactly as you did for your first one. The difference being, is that you write your content, and a link to the opt-in page and freebie, in you next email bulletin – or in a broadcast message.

Ask questions.

Upload a web page into which you’ve written a survey. Now this survey can be fielded in several ways. For example, you could import a script for a multi-choice drop-down menu-type survey into your web page. Or you can send out a pertinent question that asks each member for a specific example of what’s holding them back. With this type of question always ask them to be as specific as possible, because the more focused their answer is, the more you can tailor the answer you give them.

Use Internet partner relationships.

If you have a medium to large sized list, and I mean a list of at least say 1000 subscribers, other experts could be interested in offering your product to their list too – in exchange for you undertaking a similar favor for them. Contact the experts who occupy the same niche as you. You should use this contact with them to your advantage and look to building future business relationships with them.

Video Production Business Tips – How to Effectively Pitch

It took me years to figure out a full proof way to sell corporate video production services to high level executives. I used to think it was all about the pitch or all about how eloquent my writing was in the form of a brochure or letter. What I realized after a lot of frustration (and money) was that it’s not what you tell these people that makes a difference. It’s first, what you ask them, and then it’s what you show them.

A couple years ago, I met the Human Resources Manager for one of the largest trucking companies in the world (seriously) at a networking meeting. She heard me talking to another person about the type of work we do and it piqued her interest. She invited me to set up a meeting with her do discuss how our services could help her train new hires upon entering their company.

A couple weeks later, I arrived at her office and she looked very distracted and a bit frustrated that I was there. I thought to myself, “You are the one who asked for this meeting to take place so don’t get mad at me for being here.” When she finally turned her attention towards me, she said, “So, what do you want to tell me?”

At this point I made a huge rookie mistake even though I had already been in business for more than 10 years.

I began to give her the laundry list of services we provide for human resource departments. As I went on and on it was as if I knew in my head I was talking way too much and wasn’t really saying anything. All I could think of was how the teacher sounds in the Charlie Brown cartoons, “Wa, Wah, Wah, Wa Wah Wah Wa.”

After I finished what seemed to be an hour long lecture on all the things we do, the look on her face was even more frazzled than before I started running my mouth.

She was speechless and it wasn’t because I did an amazing job. It’s because I bored her to tears and didn’t say a single thing that “spoke” to her.

After an awkward moment of silence, I remember getting more nervous by the second until I blurted out, “You know, I got bored listening to myself as I droned on and on about what we do. You look stressed out so really what I need to be asking is how I can use my talents to make your life easier.”

When I finished that statement, a glimmer of hope came across her face as she perked up in her chair. She said, “That’s the problem. I’m so stressed. I don’t even know what I need help with.”

That’s when the magic started to happen. For the next hour, I asked her about every question I could think of that related to how her job responsibilities were hurting her personally as well as hurting the enterprise because she was having a hard time keeping up.

I asked her questions like:

How often do you have to train new employees?

Where do you train them? Here or all over the country?

How do you train them?

How much time does it take you and your staff to deliver this information?

Would your time be better spent doing something else if we can help you automate much of the training process?

That last question (or similar question depending on who you are talking to) is really the turning point in the selling process. You’ve helped the prospect identify her issues or pain points and how you are introducing the idea that there is a solution that can make her life easier.

Once she answers, “Yes” to the “Would your time be better spent if we could help you automate this process” question, that’s when you start explaining how your services can help make that a reality.

Back to the meeting… I had identified her pain points and indicated that I may have a solution. She was all ears and eager to hear what I had to say now. At this point, my laundry list of ideas and/or services made sense to her and I was excited to frame them in a way that I knew would help her.

We ultimately decided together that the best approach would be to produce a new employee orientation video that would be shown to every single person that entered the company at any of their 80+ locations across the United States. She calculated that this alone would save her and her staff at least two hours a day in physical training time which would help them stay on track with other human resource responsibilities.

Because I had helped to identify her true stressors (or pain points), offered solutions using our services that could solve her problems (or make her life easier), she gladly signed a contract for almost $20,000 for us to produce this video.

I’ve sense labeled this style of selling, “The Roller Coaster Method.” Not because it’s wild and crazy, but because there is a logical beginning, middle and end. Just like in the selling process, there is a period of time when you have to climb the hill. This is when you have to ask as many questions as possible so you can start to uncover needs that are causing the customer unnecessary stress.

Then, just like on a roller coaster, there’s those couple of moments when you are perfectly balanced at the top of the steepest drop just before the action really starts! In the selling process, then is when you ask the question, “So, Mrs. Customer, what if I can show you how our services can make that pain go away? Would you be interested in exploring it further?” When the customer answers, “Yes!” that’s when the roller coaster tips over the edge and starts hauling butt down the first slope.

This fast and fun process is when you start to match up your video production services in a way that will absolutely make their life easier. The only thing left is to get their agreement that your solution will help them accomplish their goals and to agree on a price.

Video Production Business Tips – Make More Money on Low Budget Video Productions

I was offered to produce a video project which consists of four 5-minute videos with a budget of $10,000. A few years ago, I would have fallen out of my chair laughing like a hyena because there is no way I’d ever be able to produce that much content for only ten grand. Well, I figured out a while back that instead of turning down a low-budget project, I should think about how I can turn the client into a temporary producer, thus reducing the amount of hours I have to spend on the project.

Now, when I approach the client about my plan for having them contribute to the project so that I can still produce the video with their proposed budget, they often agree. It’s not always a cake walk though.

Here’s what you can do to make such low- budget video projects more profitable.

1. Develop a budget for what you would charge them retail if you produced the video under your normal rate structure.

2. Figure out which project tasks you can have the client perform so that you can remove those elements from the budget.

I have found that having the client write the script and plan the shoot days is a great place to start (with your help of course!). You can take it a step further by having them log the footage and select the shots they want to use in their script. Just remember that the more you delegate things to them, the longer the project will take to complete. Strike a good balance so you’ll arrive at a budget that makes the client happy without overwhelming them with video production responsibilities.

3. Once you figure out what you’d like the client to do, develop a proposal and share it with them.

Tell them how much money they will be saving by handling those tasks and be sure to give them as much advice as you can prior and during the video production process. Even the most inexperienced client will be able to do all or most of the tasks you have assigned them, especially with a little hand holding. I give them templates to work with so that what they give me will be congruent with my work flow. Explain to the client that by you not having to do those tasks, you’ll be able to spend their budget on making the video spectacular. In the project I referenced above, the $10,000 will be spent shooting and editing, not in planning, coordination, scripting and logging.

4. At this stage, one of three things will happen.

The client will either agree to your plan and sign your contract, they will not agree to your plan and will sign the contract of one of your competitors, or they will appreciate the fact that you tried to figure out a way to produce the video with their proposed budget and will ask you what the cost will be for you to handle the entire video project. If the latter happens, simply quote them what it will take for you to do the entire project and remember to repeat everything you have done up to this point with the next prospective client/project.

5. Let’s assume the client agreed to help produce the video in order to keep costs down.

You have to educate them about what exactly needs to happen and when it needs to happen. Whether they mean to or not, they will often try to put the tasks you have assigned them back in your hands. When this happens, you simply have to tell them what still needs to happen per the plan outlined in the agreement. Most clients will understand and will proceed until they have completed their tasks for the project. Other clients will realize that they have bitten off more than they can chew and will ask you to quote the fees required for you to take over the entire project instead of them doing it. When this happens, jump on it! Get a quote back to them right away when they are ready to approve the additional budget.

6. If the client remains on task, you have to make sure they aren’t writing a script that will cost more for you to shoot and edit than what was proposed.

Remember that they don’t have any idea about the impact of what they wrote in the budget so you have to guide them along the way. For instance, they’ll want to shoot 5 interviews in 5 different locations. You’ll have to convince them that it would be better for the budget to do the 5 interviews in one location over the course of one day. If they agree, you’ve just preserved a lot of your budget. If they disagree, you can explain to them how their decision will cause you to go over budget based on your agreement and supply them with a quote for the additional work. They will either agree to the additional charges or they will simply schedule all interviews in the same place on the same day. You win either way.

7. After the footage is shot, burn time code DVDs and give them to the client for reviewing and shot selection purposes.

If you negotiated it properly, it will be their responsibility to choose the best takes and to record the time code into the script. Once they start this process, they will either do it all with no complaints or will realize how time consuming this process is and be willing to hand it over to you (for an additional charge of course).

Making your client a producer/director for the video project not only helps you make more money, it helps you to develop a great working relationship. Clients will see you more of an expert after you have walked them through the video production process. Assuming you did justice to the finished video, it will be VERY difficult for them not to hire you for future projects. You have proven that you are an expert, they are happy with your finished product and they know you will do whatever possible to help them stay within budget. In their minds, you offer the best value for their investment. That’s a great place to be as a videographer.

So, how did my low-budget project work out?

I had the client write the scripts and coordinate the interviews. Her scripts were longer than 5 minutes each and she approved an additional $3,800 in fees to complete the project. Plus, she is ecstatic with the finished videos and has already expressed an interest in producing other videos in the near future.

If you are smart about approaching low- budget video projects, they will no longer be considered low- budget. Remember that the only thing that really matters is that you meet the client’s goals for the project and the hourly revenue meets or exceeds your video business goals.

Promote Your Video Production Business For Free

It’s a fact, Jack. (Or Jill.) You need customers; customers need your production and duplication and packaging services. It’s definitely a win-win situation. But -if your potential buyers aren’t aware that you exist, or they can’t find you…you’re certainly not going to have a roaring success on your hands. People won’t benefit from your services, and you’re not going to be collecting any money from them. No doubt about it that marketing is an absolutely necessity to keep your name on the tip of their tongues, and at the top of their minds. And don’t worry if you’re on a very limited budget -or even a very very very limited budget. There are still quite a few ways for you to promote yourself and your services. Here’s a few ideas you can use to get started.

1/ Take the time to redo your logo, business cards and anything else that carries your logo. Make certain that your use of of colors and words and images represent the image you want to convey. If you’re a lousy print designer, resist the temptation to do it yourself. There are several low-cost logo design services online that will do a reasonable job for next to nothing. Regardless of the price, you should never skimp on the materials that convey your image; after all, your business card or letterhead is often the first impression a prospect will get from you, and it has to reflect your quality and professionalism. So also resist the urge to go buy microperf business card stock from your office supply outlet and print them yourself on that cheap inkjet printer.

2/ Contact a handful of your previous customers to thank them for their business, and ask them for an honest evaluation of your services. Be honest; tell them you’re in a slump (call it a ‘lull,’ if you wish), let them know they’re a key part of your business-building program. Then, listen to what they have to say. If they have suggestions for improvement, thank them for the input, and act on the input.

A side benefit; I’ve found that if you’re brutally honest with your good clients and tell them you’re dead in the water, occasionally someone will come forward with a paying gig to help tide you over. And why not? If you’re a good supplier, it’s beneficial for their business to help keep YOU in business.

3/ Form alliances and informal partnerships with suppliers, colleagues or (even) your competitors to offer a combo package that neither of you could offer alone, and share the marketing expenses. For instance, get together with a graphic designer to offer some great must-have packages, including website design with streaming video. Who do you know that would make a great team member?

4/ Take a critical look at everything a prospect sees or hears when they do business with you. How do you answer your phone? Does your van or car need washing? Does your shirt need pressing? If you have an office or a client meeting area, is it attractive, tidy and comfortable? Is your desk a mess? It’s all in the details, particularly when you’re meeting a prospective client for the first time

5/ Write up a news release, and use the power of the free press. Announce a new program, a new product or service you offer, your new hours or new policies. As long as it is real and improves the quality and level of your service, this is news that your customers, prospects and the media will want to hear.

There are more great ways to promote your video business for little or no money right here.