I usually get this question at a networking event when I'm introduced as a "video producer," but before I have a chance to explain very much about my particular niche. It's the dreaded money question: "So, how much does it cost to make a web video?"
It's perfectly natural to ask the price of any service when you're thinking of buying. You want to see if you can afford it. We do it at the grocery store, when buying airline tickets or booking hotel rooms online. We don't hire a plumber without first asking the price.
But it's a difficult question to answer when it comes within the first few minutes of meeting someone. While it seems like they want to know if they can afford me, it also implies (since they know very little about what makes me different) that they're simply price-shopping. If you cost X to make a video, can I get it cheaper somewhere else?
Well, sure you can. In service businesses, especially in the arts, you can always find someone cheaper. As I describe in my seminars, there are 4.4 million video producers on the Front Range. That's how many people live on the Front Range, and all of them have some way to record a video. If you don't have a budget to hire a producer, do it yourself. It probably won't do much to market your company, but hey, it's free.
Price-shopping before you know very much about a video producer is a lose-lose for everyone. Here's why:
Producers do different things
I know lots of great producers, here in Colorado and in Los Angeles. If you're looking for a wedding video, or to produce a live event, or animation, or even a TV show, I know who can help you. Determine your marketing goals for your video before looking at prices.
Some producers stink
Unfortunately, I also know too many average-to-bad producers. Guys with cameras who'll shoot anything for next to nothing. Plenty of students who may be technically proficient, but have no clue how to tell a story. And sadly, internet marketers who have jumped on the "video is great for my web site" bandwagon and offer video without any experience in what makes a good visual message.
I tell stories
My niche is somewhat unique: I tell stories about my clients that their customers like to watch and share on social media. This might include a web video, a series of FAQs, a video blog or even a web television series. I've learned that a story-driven video campaign will bring in new and returning customers. Your audience is searching right now on YouTube and Google Video and they expect to find content that proves you care, that they can trust you, and that demonstrates you understand their problems and can solve them. ARE YOU THERE?
No, I'm not the cheapest. Not at all. But I have customers who will tell you I'm the most effective at bringing them customers.
Sucky videos will hurt you
Ever heard of "garbage in, garbage out"? It's a computer programmer's term, which applies wonderfully to video. If you hire the wrong video producer simply because they're cheap, you're hurting your company. Your audience has grown up watching broadcast TV and feature films and will not tolerate watching garbage on YouTube (other than for mindless cat-piano entertainment). They will associate a poor-quality video with a business that offers poor quality service.
If you don't have the budget to make a good video, then don't make one. You're better off having NO video than using a poor video to represent your company.
If you aren't sure about your video marketing goals, give me a call. Brainstorms are free, and I love to show people that effective videos are never that expensive. It's the cheap ones that cost a fortune.