Figuring out how to get clients (or how to get more clients) is arguably the biggest challenge faced by any freelancer or small business. And as modern day clientele becomes increasingly media savvy, the best way to get new clients isn’t necessarily the traditional way of getting new clients.
In this post, we’ll focus on getting clients for video production. We’ll discuss how to find them and how to get repeat clients while, in the process, learning how to grow a video production company. We’ve chatted with a few working producers in the industry to get the scoop, and now we’re ready to dissect one of the most important questions in the entertainment industry:
How can I get clients for my business?
Let’s dig in.
While figuring out how to get new clients for your production company might seem like a matter of life or death, it actually shouldn’t be your top priority. Knowing ways to get customers for your business is secondary to understanding how to find them in the first place.
And that, in turn, begs an important question:
While there are undoubtedly many ways to find new clients, what do they matter if you don’t know what kind of clients you’re looking for?
That’s why the first step in getting clients for video production is all about self-reflection.
Before you begin worrying about how to get more customers, you need to take a long, hard look at your business goals and decide what kind of people you want to work for.
Of course, direct client research might understandably not appeal to every producer’s operational instincts, but it’s important to consider the benefits of reflection for individuals or companies working at any level. While client identification may seem irrelevant to a fresh freelance producer chasing bids or an established production company who attracts clients with its own gravity, both ends of this spectrum (and everyone in between) can work with more focus and efficiency if they’re aware of how client-types relate to their larger goals.
Building a profile that describes your ideal client type will help you narrow down potential ways to find new clients and hone in on how to find video clients who are interested in buying the same content you’re interested in selling. A detailed study of your ideal customer profile will inform every marketing move your brand makes and will, therefore, help you decide exactly how to get more clients.
Beyond the abstraction of brand strategy, knowing your target audience also has practical implications for getting new clients.
The ideal size, age, funding level, and other demographic data points of your potential customers can help determine the best way to get new clients. Searching databases with this information is one of the most accessible methods for finding clients in the digital age. Depending on your goals, you can use such data to filter results within databases like CrunchBase, Twitter search, and everything in between to generate leads for getting new clients.
In any case, it’s important to remember that the question should not be, “How can I get clients for my business?”
Instead, always start by asking yourself, “How can I get clients that are right for my business?” Pursuing the wrong clients will inevitably lead to wasted time and money, but it may also lead to the pollution of your brand identity and subsequently devastating long-term effects to your bottom line.
Pursuing the right clients, by contrast, is a cornerstone of healthy growth.
In figuring out how to get video clients, it’s only natural that the work itself be a key ingredient.
Establish a track record attractive to them.
This is particularly true of getting new clients in a creative industry.
If you’re figuring how to grow a video production company, you have to begin by proving that you can produce videos. Likewise, if you’re a freelance photographer figuring out how to get more photography clients, you have to begin by proving that you can take professional photos.
Rinse and repeat for any other freelance endeavor.
We’ll talk more about how to get clients through positive word-of-mouth later, but, for now, let’s focus on how to get new clients by positioning your creative output.
The riddle of how to get more clients through the quality of your work can be answered in many, highly variable ways. Each of these separate answers, however, boils down to two basic components:
1. Put your work into a presentable form (reel or portfolio).
2. Put your work in an accessible place (website or social media).
When it comes to getting clients for video production, putting your work into a presentable form is a relatively straightforward process. The modern-day clientele will generally expect you to maintain some form of a video reel and may occasionally ask to see separate reels devoted to specialized shooting or product types (i.e. tabletop product reels, fashion films, animation, etc.).
Simply put, those reels are your presentable form. They’re your calling card.
Of course, reels only apply if you’re figuring out how to grow a video production company. If you’re instead figuring out how to get more photography clients or clients for some other creative business, you’ll need to craft some other document designed to showcase your work in a clear, compelling manner.
Once you’ve created your reel or portfolio, the next step in how to get clients is to put it somewhere accessible.
The most basic point of access for reels is usually a company website. Websites don’t have to be complicated in design or content, but they do need to communicate professionalism and brand identity. Placing your company’s work front and center will go a long way toward accomplishing exactly that.
Beyond the website, you may choose to present your work through more specific platforms. It’s not uncommon for production companies to maintain profiles on Instagram, Vimeo, LinkedIn, and even YouTube.
Let’s talk more about why that is with our next tip.
By creating a strong reel, you’ve given yourself an essential tool in figuring out how to get more clients, but it raises a secondary question:
I may have quality work, but how can I get clients for my business to notice that work?
While having a strong body of work may open new doors in how to get new clients, the reality is that its presence does not solve the conundrum of how to find them. Yes, there are indeed many ways to find new clients, but merely hoping that they approach you totally out of the blue is likely not the best method.
And that’s where promotion comes in.
Limited only by your budget and imagination, promotion can take many forms, but the concept itself represents one of the most important ways to get clients for your business, regardless of type or industry.
In looking for ways to find new clients, the best way is often to help them find you.
As mentioned above, social media now presents powerful promotional methods for how to get clients in general and how to find video clients specifically. By using visually-oriented platforms to showcase work on a job-by-job, post-by-post basis, production companies may be able to take algorithmic advantage of how they disperse their content. With social media, they can attract clients they didn't even know existed. And this can happen at almost no extra cost.
Production companies may also choose to promote their brand through traditional forms of advertising. While targeted ads are unlikely to be the best way to get new clients for commercial production companies, they may prove valuable for organizations dealing in specialized productions or shooting methods.
But what if your company has grown too big to see meaningful growth from social media or ad buys? Past a certain threshold, commercial production companies have to engage in more specialized forms of promotion to figure out how to get new clients, usually involving professionals with a unique skill set.
Larger commercial production companies almost always rely on sales reps to help them decide how to get new clients. These reps specialize in connecting the needs of brands and agencies with the capabilities of production companies. They’ll use your reels and other materials to pitch your directors and production company for opportunities you may not have had a shot at otherwise.
In short, a rep’s entire job is figuring out how to source new clients so that you don’t have to.
But what if you do have to?
The only tried and true method for how to get more business is to simply meet more people.
In figuring out how to get clients, the slow and steady process of networking may not seem like a profound recommendation, but the reality is that it’s the bedrock of business in the service economy, because connections create opportunities.
While you may be able to forge meaningful relationships with potential clients, your networking efforts are more likely to lead to sources for referrals. Network referrals are easily the best method for how to find video clients and how to get clients that would otherwise be inaccessible.
You can expand your network by any means, from meeting professionals on the job to making new contacts through mutual acquaintances to running into interesting people at the grocery store and everything in between. It all matters.
You can expand your network by any means, from meeting professionals on the job to making new contacts through mutual acquaintances to running into people at the grocery store. There are a million possibilities.
But if you want to expand your circle more actively, organizations like the AICP exist. Famous for many things, but you might know them for their annual awards and their industry-standard commercial bid form, the AICP frequently hosts networking events designed to help producers forge new connections.
When it comes to getting more business, networking will always be a hot topic. But there’s one critical element of networking that’s just as important...
While kindness should be considered a basic requirement for humans in general, it can also be a powerful tool in how to get more clients, particularly in the entertainment industry.
Crew members and other production professionals are constantly shifting their jobs and responsibilities. You never know who will end up where in the future.
That production assistant currently cleaning up your trash could very well be a client five years from now, (yes, this has happened before), so do yourself a favor and kill ‘em with kindness.
When it comes to getting clients fast, the only method is to get them yourself.
And how do you do that?
By asking, of course.
Once you’ve built up a network, your best bet for getting new clients will be to reach out to that network with specific needs. Believe it or not, most people want to help when they’re able to do so, particularly if they’re helping someone who might someday return the favor.
Actively leverage your network. By doing so, your production company’s access to resources, knowledge (and yes, even customers) will increase dramatically.
But reaching out isn’t just a matter of utilizing your network. You might find that figuring out how to find video clients is about the action of seeking them.
Emails and cold calls are not a recommended method for getting more business. But when it comes to larger production companies, those methods can be a smart (if not efficient) way for smaller production companies of all types to expand their client base.
The bottom line is that if you don’t ask, you cannot receive.
So don’t be afraid to reach out.
Figuring out how to get repeat clients is essential to the growth of any production company. Fortunately, this subject isn’t a big mystery. In fact, there’s only one answer.
In order to secure repeat clients, you have to do your job well.
While making sure that your production company delivers the utmost quality won’t help you decide how to find clients, it will tell you everything you need to know about how to get more clients to come to you.
In an industry defined by performance, a positive reputation is the most valuable asset a production company can possibly possess.
Keep in mind that impressively executing a job for your clients means more than delivering what they ordered on time. Because it’s a service industry, the key to figuring out how to get video clients into your network is to immerse them in a compelling experience.
Of course, exactly how you do this is entirely up to you and your company.
You may want to focus on building warm, personal relationships throughout the process. You may want to exceed expectations by providing services like 3D pre-viz. Or perhaps you’ll want to go out of pocket to provide them with the best accommodations.
As discussed in our guide to acing the creative call, a positive performance from you and your crew can be profitable even if a client does not provide you with immediate work. Strong execution will cement your position in a client’s mind for the long term, which may, in turn, help you discover unexpected methods for how to source new clients.
But there is one catch.
It goes without saying that budgets are a critical part of a producer’s success or failure, but that’s never been truer than it is today. For better or worse, clients are increasingly setting financial stipulations upfront, so much so that budgets now often drive creative.
And when it comes to deciding how to get new clients, this is an important piece of information to keep in mind. You’ll never figure out how to find clients if you don’t first learn to respect their bottom line.
Successful producers and production companies know how to prioritize budgets without neglecting a project’s creative or human needs.
Our final tip for how to get clients is very simple:
Always follow up.
The key to landing video clients is taking up real estate in any potential client’s mind and memory. You can do that with your work, your promotional materials, and your network.
But the best method is to simply talk to them.
After every call or meeting, think of a reason to touch base with the client in the near future. This will help you keep lines of communication open, which has many practical benefits, but it will also help you form casual relationships with clients and their staff. These casual relationships, in turn, will give you a major advantage when jobs are awarded.
Simply put, if a client feels like they know you and can trust you, they’re much more likely to give you their business and future business.
A production company can combine all of these above ways to discover their own, unique method for how to get clients. Because ultimately, there are many ways to get more customers and grow your business.
But the next step is just as vital---impressing your clients. To go a little deeper, check out our next post on How to Ace the Creative Call & Impress Your Clients.
At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice. You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.
Sign up for the Wrapbook monthly newsletter where we share industry news along with must-know guides for producers.