Do you know how many friends the average Facebook user has?
The number seems to be between 155 to 200.
This seems to support Dunbar’s number. He’s a British anthropologist that realized a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size.
“By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain only 150 stable relationships.”
Why is this important?
For you, it means that everyone knows at least 150 people that can be potential clients.
Clients For Your Video Company
In a hypothetical situation, if you meet Sarah at a bar, then she probably has a boss that is looking for a video company, or has a cousin/brother/auntie/father that may need videos as well.
This means that any contact can become a good resource for clients.
Remember this: Networking with anyone is networking with potentially thousands of people by proxy.
You may be think this is an obvious observation but it took me a long time to realize this, and I only realized it after we started throwing monthly parties.
If you have a wedding video business, then you tell everyone, and I mean everyone that you have that business. You tell the guy that owns the hot dog stand, the donut shop, the lady at the DMV. You must tell anyone and everyone, give them your card no matter how “useless” or “futile” you think it may be.
The odds are in your favor that you will find someone that needs that certain video.
But what if you only want to produce videos for a certain niche? Wedding videos is very general, but what if you want to produce instructional medical videos, or just startup explainer videos, or just Kickstarter videos, etc.
You have specific clients that you want to reach, what do you do then?
You must then become either a client miner or farmer.
You heard me. Being one or the other entirely depends on your personality. I realized I was a farmer only after exhausting myself with miner strategies.
I’ll explain the different strategies below, but first I must explain the Zig Ziglar Rule.
The Zig Ziglar Rule
The rule is that you are not a salesperson trying to sell yourself to a client, you are a service provider trying to only help/advise a potential client. Selling your services is the byproduct.
This is the main take away I got from reading Ziglar’s books.
I was very hesitant and looked negatively at the prospect of selling my services, but my perspective shifted when I realized that my only job is to help the potential client as best as possible. It’s up to them if they would like to hire me for my services.
I highly recommend Zig Ziglar’s books:
So just remember you’re not selling, you’re helping the client decide on the best video strategy to help market their business.
If video is not the best option, then I tell the client so. I may be losing potential money, but I am earning their trust, which may be more valuable in the long term.
So keep this rule in mind.
Alright, back to the main program.
CLIENT MINER STRATEGIES
A simple mineral miner uses a pickaxe to dig deep in his specific rock mine. He chips away at stone, rock, and dirt to find that gold.
If you’re a client miner, then you use brute-force tactics to acquire clients.
The following are client miner strategies:
Warm and Cold Calling
Cold calling is when you open up a digital phone book and start dialing random or very specific companies from A to Z.
I am not against this tactic, but you must be very good at talking on the phone to do such a thing. You must have the charisma of Bill Clinton to get past the gatekeepers to someone that can make video hiring decisions.
My preferred method is warm calling. This is where Dunbar’s Number comes into play.
Let’s say you meet Melissa at a Pokemon Go stop. While talking to her about catching Pikachus, you tell her what you do for a living, and she tells you that her cousin works for a medical company and they’re looking for a filmmaker.
You ask for the cousin’s number and she proceeds to notify her cousin of your imminent phone call. This is now a warm call because you are calling someone from a direct source.
Some of you may say: But that’s blatantly using someone!
Yup! It kinda is, but remember that you are a service provider and you are offering your help to a medical company through the cousin.
Most people like Melissa are glad to help in this way, and it costs them nothing. If you view this strategy as negative, then you must review Zig Ziglar’s books to have a change of perspective.
The alternative is to “wait” for something to happen, like Melissa willingly giving you her cousin’s number without you asking.
About 99% of the time, this will never happen, so you must take the initiative to do so.
Networking at certain events really sucked for me. Most of the people there are only looking to sign you up for something like insurance, insurance, or insurance.
If the event has the word “Networking,” I would run away.
It attracts the wrong people.
At one event, some lady just shoved her business cards into my hand before introducing herself, then moved on like she was a robot. We then bumped into each other again and offered her cards again before she realized she has already given them to me.
It was awful.
Also, while you’re talking to people there, you get the “Is this person useful to me, or am I wasting my time?” vibe. It was very off putting and made me not want to go to self-labeled networking events again.
You’re better off going to certain conventions, like medical conventions if your video niche is medical. Conventions, conferences, get togethers, talks, etc. Anything that has a gathering of people for a specific niche should be on your priority list of events to crash.
Have your business cards ready and have a goal like: “I will give my business card to at least 50 people.”
If you do not, then you are an absolute failure and you should feel bad. This will motivate you to try harder next time or make you cry, either is good.
I’m just joking, but it’s good to have solid networking goals.
You can also try local meetup groups by searching for them on Meetup.com. Sign up for a group and go to their next gathering. If your niche is videos for iPhone startups, then meetups where employees will congregate are good.
For example, a meetup to learn about the new programming language Swift (by Apple) will be a good one to meet current and future iPhone app makers.
Even though you may not be interested in learning about Swift, you will meet people that may be a direct source to a decision maker. By befriending an employee, you may end up producing a video for their company.
As you may already be realizing, this can be an exhausting venture. At least it was for me.
You must constantly mine for any potential prospects because you will not know where your next gig will come from.
That said, after a few months, or even a few weeks of constant client mining, you will taste the fruits of your labor. Like I said, the odds of success are on your side.
However, I realized I had better success as a farmer than a miner.
Client Farmer Strategies
A farmer plants seeds in the soil and waits for his crops to grow. In the harvest season, he reaps what he sowed. As the crop farmer plants seeds, so should a client farmer.
How do you plant these proverbial seeds?
Blogs and Youtube
Potential clients out there know very little about video making. They don’t know what f-stops are, how to edit video, or what After Effects can do.
This is why they hire you, because you’re supposed to know what you’re doing.
However, how do they know what you know?
You have to make videos showing potential clients what you know.
The strategy is creating niche videos that teach potential clients how to make certain videos within their field.
- 10 Ways to Make The Best Wedding Video.
- 5 Things to Look for When Choosing a Wedding Videographer.
- The Best Strategies For Making a Kickstarter Video.
- The Best Techniques for shooting your iPhone App Video.
You must demonstrate knowledge and authority on a specific subject that targets the potential customer.
You must not create “how to” video for videomakers, you are making a “how to” video for your chosen clients.
You may say: “Wait a second! But we’re telling them exactly how to do it!”
Yes and no.
Yes, you’re telling clients how to pick other wedding videographers, etc. But just by producing a video on the subject, you are making yourself the authority on the subject.
Again, clients don’t know how to make videos, so who do you think they would rather hire? Some unknown guy from Craigslist, or the authority on the subject?
If you are local and are affordable, then the client will more than likely hire you.
But what if I’m not local or affordable? I’m just telling my competitors how to beat me!
Have you heard of the saying “A rising tide lifts all boats”? It means that: yes, your video will benefit others, but just by having others view your video, you are rising your SEO ranking on Youtube and elsewhere.
Your increased SEO ranking will be a feedback loop that keeps you as the authority. When someone looks at your video, or links to it, then the ranking for your video increases. When someone is searching on, “How to make the best kickstarter video,” your video will show up first.
This is what you want.
Write Articles to Attract Clients For Your Video Company
This is why I also recommend writing a blog article on the subject.
It’s exactly what you have in a video, but just written out.
The blog article will also help with boosting your website’s SEO ranking. I know that less and less people read these days (especially potential clients that are usually very busy), so that’s why I recommend creating videos instead. They are easier to digest and actually help sell your filmmaking skills if your videos have high production value.
But what if I make the videos and no one is watching them?
Producing these videos will also have the added benefit of sending them directly to the potential client. For example, this is a sample email to Melissa’s cousin:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am an acquaintance of Melissa and she informed me that you are in search of video services.
I have over 5 years experience creating high quality videos for many niche companies. I would be happy to advise you on how to create the best film for your niche.
When you have two minutes, please take a look at our reel:
Also, we’ve produced a video on just the niche you need help with.
10 Ways To make the Awesome Niche Video [3:00]
Thank you for your time and please take care,
Open Grave Studios
This email is short, sweet, and to the point. I have positioned myself as the authority for creating videos in their field and I have left it up to them to watch the 3 minute video.
I wouldn’t recommend making a niche video longer than 5 minutes. If it’s longer than 5 minutes, people will probably tune out or switch to another task, so it’s better to just make it shorter.
Creating these authority videos and articles are just like planting seeds. You won’t see the immediate effects right away, but you must give them time to build up momentum.
Monthly / Quarterly Parties
I highly recommend throwing monthly parties.
Everything for Anchorbolt Studios changed as soon as we began having parties. This is how we were able to land shooting videos for Disney.
I will write an article on just parties at a later date because I learned a lot from throwing them, but the basic premise is to throw get-togethers no matter how shitty they can be.
The first time we threw our official party, only 7 people came. By the time we threw our last party, about 70 people came.
The only goal at your parties is to have a good time. We would always spend at least $200 per party to rent tables and to provide enough food for the first 20 or so people.
Definitely encourage your attendees to bring their own food and beverages and to invite more friends. Just make sure you rent or find a suitable area in case your party blows up.
After having monthly parties for the first 5 months (like we did), we started to realize that the same people would show up over and over again.
If that happens, then either try to invite more new people or spread out the parties every 3 months to make them quarterly parties.
It was a really great feeling to meet new people in everyday life and officially invite them to one of our monthly parties. Taking the previous example, I would invite Melissa and her cousin to our monthly parties to create an easy atmosphere of getting to know each other. It was the perfect excuse to grow a relationship further with someone new.
Either way, this will create an easy and fun way to meet new people, network with the people you already know, and plant the seeds to get more potential client leads.
If there is a local business meetup or business charters/chambers of commerce, you should give a live talk. It should mainly be about “Growing and Marketing your Business with Videos!”
Most business people and owners have no clue on how much videos cost, how long they take, or how complicated or easy it can be to make one.
You can become a video ambassador, filling in the gaps of knowledge for these business people.
I recommend becoming a speaker at least once a month at some event. You’ll have to do it for free, and don’t expect anything right away because again you’re just planting seeds.
A business person may contact you several months down the road because they remembered the talk you gave a long time ago. Just contact the organizer for a local meetup, offer to speak for about 20 minutes, and make sure to have enough business cards and flyers ready on the day of the event.
Mining Or Farming to Get Clients For Your Video Company?
When you first start off you may need to do more Mining than Farming to get results and that’s fine.
However, you must realize that farming is the better long term survival strategy and will get you clients for your video company. You are planting seeds that will continue to grow.
Your niche videos will be on Youtube for a very long time, and I promise you it will bring you contacts from time to time and at random intervals.
Mining can only be done by you or your partners while you’re awake. Farming is a 24/7 growing asset.
If you get busy and stop mining for a month or so, that’s it, your flow of new clients dries up.
However, if you keep planting your seeds, you may eventually stop mining altogether and that sounds really good to me.
I’m Giordany. I’m writing a book on how to start your own video business. Every week, I’ll be releasing exclusive new chapters here on Matt’s site, Filmmaking Lifestyle.
Join me in the discussion – hate it or love it, I’d like to know. Feel free to chat in the comments below.