As a photographer, you’ve heard a million times that a picture is worth 1000 words. According to recent research, one sixty-second video is worth 1.8 MILLION WORDS. Think about that for a moment. That means that, in order to communicate a message to potential clients, you could either share with them 1,800,000 words – which could be spread across an average of 3,600 web pages – or you could show them 1,800 photographs. OR, you could communicate all of that information in a one minute video. I don’t think it will come as a surprise to you that video marketing is the way of the future, especially for a business that markets to teenagers. These kids are literally using two electronic devices at a time, bombarded with up to 5,000 ads every day. The trick is to get them to stop for a moment and pay attention to your message. By marketing with video, high school seniors will not only take notice of your business, but are more likely to remember you – plus, watching a video is way more fun than reading words!
I originally got into video to market my own business, and I was blown away by the results. Creating a video had been on my “business pipe dreams” list for quite a while, and it took a big push and a LOT of information before I finally stepped up and got it done. I’m hoping that this article will inspire you and give you the knowledge to start marketing your senior portrait business with video right NOW. Did I mention that, by 2014, 50% of all internet traffic will be video? Yeah, no more excuses! Let’s get this done!
I’ve started by giving you some background information so you know WHY you need to use video to market your business, and now we’re going to dive into the HOW. As a senior portrait photographer, I see two big ways you can use video to gain clients: by creating videos specifically as marketing materials, and by adding video to your senior sessions as a unique competitive advantage. Let’s start by talking about creating videos to use as marketing materials. The possibilities are really endless here, but there are three types of videos in particular that work amazingly for senior portrait photographers: behind-the-scenes videos, informational videos, and about me videos.
BEHIND THE SCENES
For many seniors, this is the first time they’re being professionally photographed all by themselves. It’s scary, and they have no idea what the experience will be like. A behind-the-scenes video is all about the client and how hiring you will make them FEEL. A lot of this happens subconsciously – they watch as a happy client of yours gets help picking out the perfect outfit, laughs and smiles naturally throughout their session, and is amazed by the final result of their images. The viewer has just been instantly put at ease and become excited about working with you, without any cheesy taglines.
This is a very easy video to create. It works best if you have an assistant shoot the video, capturing multiple angles of the preparation, the client, and you with your camera. For a video like this, setting it to music works perfectly. Huge disclaimer here, though – USE LICENSED MUSIC! The latest Beyonce song may relate well to seniors, but, unless you have a few hundred thousand dollars to license it, it’s not happening! I actually see this as a benefit; a video with an unfamiliar song will keep viewers from missing the content because they’re too busy singing along with the music. You do have to pay to license a song, but it’s a small investment with a huge return. Plus, it’s better than getting sued by Beyonce!
An informational video is not about your business at all, but about giving away free information that will help your potential clients in some way. Why would a video that’s not about your business help market it, you ask? According to Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing, the number one factor that influences purchasing decisions – before even quality, service, or price – is CONFIDENCE. Seniors will want to hire you when they realize that you’re an expert at what you do. An informational video also works wonders for SEO – search for nearly any “how-to” on Google and a few videos will likely be at the top of the list.
An informational video is a bit tougher to make because it usually involves speaking to camera. You want to make sure that you come across as natural, so see if you can talk from bullet points as opposed to memorizing a script word-for-word. As far as content for your video, think about questions that your seniors ask in preparation for their sessions. If you’re still stumped, think about what you may be planning as your next blog post and see if you can turn that into a video instead!
I don’t know about you, but I really despise writing the “about me” section on my website. No matter what I say, I feel it comes across as super cheesy. Creating an about me VIDEO, however, changed everything. It was infused with real personality and showed more about my business than words ever could. Remember that first statistic up there, that a video is worth 1.8 million words? I absolutely see this play out when I watch my About Me video. There are so many branding subtleties included that I’d never be able to communicate verbally.
A really great way to get this video done – or any idea discussed here – is to trade shooting with another local photographer friend. Give each other the footage and edit your own to fit your brand! Again, setting this video to music is perfect, but don’t forget to USE LICENSED MUSIC! If you’re wondering what to include in your about me, just remember that it’s all about what you want your ideal client to know about you in order for them to get excited about hiring you!
ADDING VIDEO TO YOUR SESSIONS
Whew! Are you inspired yet? We’ve got one more section to go, and this is something a little different – instead of marketing your business directly with video, consider adding video to your sessions as a unique competitive advantage! There are multiple ways you could go about this. One of my favorite suggestions for photographers looking for visual inspiration for their own brand is to think about their ideal client. What brands would your ideal client be connected with? Is he a Nike guy or an Abercrombie guy? Does she wear TOMS or Jimmy Choos? While video marketing is new to small businesses, the big names have been doing it for a while and have spent quite a bit of time and money on market research. Go online and find recent commercials, website intros, YouTube channels, anything VIDEO put out by these companies. It’s perfectly fine to be inspired by a big brand, just don’t be a copycat! Once you have an idea of what styles your ideal client might be attracted to, consider what you’d like to offer them that can only be accomplished through video. Perhaps you could interview your seniors, create a “day-in-the-life” video, or just put together a behind-the-scenes of their session.
Something to remember when adding a video option to your packages is that it must be purchased in advance. For those of you who charge a sitting fee and do in-person sales, it’s a little too risky to spend the time and money on shooting and producing a video if your client elects not to buy it. The paradox here is that, since video is so new, most clients won’t know how wonderful, amazing, spectacular, and tear-jerking their video will be until they’ve actually seen it. This is why I think it is SO important to utilize video as a marketing tool, to ensure potential clients are familiar with the quality of video you can create before they book you. It’s also a great idea to produce a sample video as a way to show off the possibilities. Cast a former ideal client in the starring role, and they’re bound to tell their friends about it – see, you can market with video before you even pick up a camera!
Okay, deep breath time. Your mind is swimming with ideas and you’re ready to get started marketing your business with video! I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to see what you come up with. I can guarantee that, although navigating your first video may be a challenge, it will definitely be worth it! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me personally with questions and ideas. I hope that this article ignites a beautiful relationship between you and video marketing! 🙂
Leanne Miller, of Leanne Miller Photography, is a portrait and wedding photographer based in Portland, OR, who has recently become passionate about what video marketing can do for small businesses! To view one of Leanne’s videos, click on the link below.
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