You’ve heard that video is popular. You’ve read the stats that say video converts better than anything else. Your clients want to use video. Are you equipped to give them what they want?
If your agency is new to video, you might be overwhelmed by the prospect of figuring out how to set a price— let alone sell— video marketing services. The Ad Agency’s Guide to Pricing and Selling Video Marketing is here to help.
The marketing world can’t stop talking about video. That’s because Internet users can’t stop watching it. Seventy-five million Americans watch online video every day, and Cisco predicts that by 2021, 82 percent of all Internet traffic will be video.
Video is popular, but it’s more than that. It also leads to higher conversion rates, increased engagement and improved retention of information. It’s so compelling that it can increase conversions on landing pages by 80 percent.
This effectiveness has led to an increase in ad agencies developing their own video marketing services as well as subcontracting with video producers to provide their clients with increased value. After all, if you’re not using video in 2018, you’re missing out on a substantial opportunity.
As an ad agency that’s new to video, though, it can be confusing to figure out how to price, market and sell video marketing services – especially if they’re being completed by a 3rd party vendor. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you get started with providing the benefits of video marketing to your clients.
Eventually, potential clients will need to know how much you charge for your video services. As you might expect, determining the right price for a video project isn’t always straightforward. By choosing a pricing approach well ahead of time, you can avoid any possible confusion.
You can use two primary methods for pricing your services: fixed package pricing or a model that’s variable according to project costs.
1. Fixed Price: A fixed price: provides more predictability. Clients may appreciate the straightforwardness and ease with which they can budget for their video. However, if costs exceed what you expect, you can end up losing money.
2. Variable Approach: A variable approach gives you room to adjust the price depending on your costs and the time, effort and resources used to make the video.
Although it would be nice to charge one straightforward price for your services, the cost of making a video is rarely so predictable. In reality, video production includes fixed costs as well as expenses that vary considerably depending on the project. To figure out a final price, you’ll often have to take your fixed costs and then estimate your other expenses to come up with a total price.
Many video production companies provide an estimated per-day rate that includes all associated costs. Simple video concepts can take just a few days, while more complex videos will take longer and, therefore, cost more.
NextThought Studios’s commitment to transparent pricing means
that we share our pricing up front,
ensuring that you avoid nasty surprises when you get the bill for our services.
To get an accurate idea of how much your video will cost and how much to charge, you’ll need to figure out your budget. Several factors play into creating a budget and subsequently pricing third-party video production services.
Some big, overarching factors that impact costs include the length, quality and type of video you make.
Longer videos, of course, cost more since they take more time to complete. A longer and a shorter project might have similar fixed expenses, but the dynamic costs will be higher for the longer version.
The type of video you’re making impacts the complexity of the project and the amount of time it takes to complete. A project with one still shot, for instance, is much simpler than filming an action scene from multiple viewpoints. Some common categories of videos include:
1. "Talking Head" Videos: Talking head videos involve someone sitting in front of a mostly static background and talking to the camera like you see on the news. They only require one camera, a small crew and relatively little pre- and post-production work. You don’t need to hire many actors. This style works well for informational and educational videos, announcements, testimonials and product descriptions. Because of their simplicity, they take a relatively short amount of time and are comparatively low-cost. And while they might be simple, they don’t have to be boring. A professional team can help create a talking head video that’s engaging and entertaining.
2. Dynamic Vidoes: Videos that feature multiple shots, movement and various scenes are more complicated. These films put more emphasis on the visuals. They might feature a scripted story, a video tour or multiple interviews. They work well for commercials, “about us” videos, stories, documentary-style clips and more. The cost of these videos depends on how complicated and lengthy you need them to be.
3. Animated Videos: Animated videos require a different skill set and process than other types of videos. Rather than (or, sometimes, in addition to) shooting real-life footage, you need to craft drawings and animations to tell your story. They may not require finding and setting up a set or using multiple cameras, but the animation process can take a long time. An experienced animator will take less time, but it can still take anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the complexity of the animation and the amount of back-and-forth that occurs between the client and the agency. There’s also a lot of emphasis on voice-over and script.
4. Event Footage: A client might also want footage of an event, if they want to record it for posterity, live stream it, or both. Event footage doesn’t require scripting but does require an extensive amount of filming because you need footage for the duration of the event. Depending on the type of video product the client wants, it could also require significant editing in post-production. You might also need multiple cameras and even equipment like drone-mounted cameras, depending on the type and scope of the event.
You can break your costs down further into more specific categories. You’ll need to do so to get a more accurate picture of your expenses and determine how to price video production as a marketing agency. You can break your costs and process down, no matter the type of video, into three phases: preproduction, production and post-production.
For each stage of the process, track the fixed costs involved, the amount of time it took and how many people worked on it. Here are some of the steps involved in each part of the process of crafting a video.
Pre-production involves planning and preparing for filming the video, including:
Initial planning: This step includes your initial meetings with the client and the time you spent conducting research. It’s the time you spend finding out about your client’s needs and how you can best help them.
Concept creation: Once you’ve figured out the basics of what your client wants, it’s time to start planning the concept of the video. This step will often include brainstorming sessions with the client.
Pitch and proposal: Next, you’ll come up with a more detailed plan for the video and present it to the client for their approval. If needed, you’ll make adjustments based on the client’s feedback.
Scripting and shot listing: This stage is where you move beyond the planning and start creating the video in earnest. Track the time and resources it takes to write a script and map out what exactly you’ll be shooting.
Logistics: Pre-production also includes extensive logistical work, including finding a set and potentially hiring actors and crews and renting equipment. You also need to schedule times for filming.
The production phase involves actually shooting the footage you’ll use for the video, including the following expense categories:
Time spent: Be sure to track how long you’re on set. Include all the time you spend working, whether you’re preparing shots, filming or setting up and breaking down equipment.
Equipment used: Take note of the equipment you use. If you have to rent equipment, add the fixed cost into your price. More complex projects require more equipment.
Personnel: Keep track of what you’re paying everyone involved in production — including actors and crew — and how many hours they work.
Travel expenses: The cost of getting to the set or moving between sets is sometimes forgotten. In some cases, these costs can be substantial, especially if you have to travel a long distance or transport a lot of equipment.
Once you have all of your footage, you enter the post-production stage, where you turn the raw footage into a final product.
Ingest and conversion: You may spend a considerable amount of time going through your raw footage to find the shots you need and complete any required transcoding and logging.
Sequencing: Once you find the clips you want to use, you’ll need to put them in order and make sure they flow together smoothly.
Sound design: For most clips, you’ll also have to engineer your sound to make sure it comes out clear and highquality. For some projects, this step will also include voiceover work.
Graphics: You might also need to add in motion graphics such as titles and lower thirds, the bylines that identify who’s speaking in the video.
Color grading and finishing: You’ll also touch up the visual aspects of your work, including color and any other finishing requirements.
Media licensing: If you’re using music or stock footage for your project, you’ll have some fixed costs for licensing to add to your budget.
Delivery: Processing your final product and delivering it to your client can take substantial time and resources.
Edits: After you send your client the first draft of the video, the may come back to you with requested edits or questions. Many video production companies include a certain amount of editing in their pricing package. If the client wants to expand the scope of the project in the editing phase though, you may need to charge extra.
For a video project to be profitable, of course, you need to mark up your price above your expenses. The amount of markup can vary widely depending on experience, quality and where you’re located, but an example of a fairly standard markup is 25 to 30 percent.
Be sure not to undervalue your services, and be wary of charging low prices just to beat out the competition. Dropping your prices too low can make potential clients think that your services must be of lower quality. Of course, you don’t want to overcharge either. With a little experimenting, you’ll find the right balance.
Maintaining ongoing relationships with clients you’ve done projects for can be beneficial for your video production services since it will likely bring you a steadier flow of work. You might come up with an agreement with a client to complete a certain number of projects a year or just check in with them periodically and pitch them ideas. If you spend a lot of time and resources on these endeavors, you may want to recoup your costs.
Maintaining such a relationship might include developing a long-term video marketing strategy, drafting documents and resources describing this plan and pitching these ideas to the client. Once you and the client agree on a plan, you’ll have ongoing costs associated with reporting your progress to your client and distributing materials to them on an ongoing basis in addition to your actual video production costs. You can potentially recoup all of these costs.
Many marketing companies white-label all or part of their video presentation services. Doing so means that an ad agency will subcontract with an existing video production company and offer that video production company’s services under their name as part of their marketing offerings.
This strategy enables an ad agency to provide their clients with high-quality video production
without having to make an extensive upfront investment.
Because they offer video services as part of their package,
the client still gets a seamless experience.
If you’re taking this approach to offering video marketing to your clients, you’ll have to get a quote from the company you sub-contract with and then add your expenses to that quote. The video production company will likely go through a process similar to the one above to create a budget. All the marketing company has to do, however, is add their costs to that quote to get a final price. These costs might include research, meetings, travel, concept development, pitch and proposal. The amount of work handled by the ad agency depends on their agreement with the subcontractor. They’ll also need to determine how to mark up white-labeled video production, which they should do according to their business goals.
NextThought Studios’ agency partners are given pricing sheets from the start; this sheet calculates price and margin for them, ensuring that they’re never caught off guard by the final cost of their planned video.
If you haven’t done any video projects in the past in which you’ve tracked your budget, create a video and pay careful attention to your costs along the way. Doing so will provide you with a baseline budget. During every project, keep close tabs on your expenses and eventual profit. As you complete more projects, adjust your estimated budgets and prices. The more work you do, the more accurate your cost estimates will get.
Based on this experience, you can offer your potential clients estimated prices for various types and lengths of video and more detailed quotes when you obtain more specifics about each project. Offer each client three pricing options. Present the most expensive one first, then the middle one and lastly the least costly option. Most of the time, the client will go for the middle option, so make that one your target. It should be a price that will allow you to recoup all of your costs and make your desired amount of profit.
For you to start selling your video marketing services, people need to know about them. As an ad agency, you already understand the importance of marketing. So what strategies work well for promoting video?
Here are a few market video production services:
The most important part of your marketing strategy is building a video portfolio that showcases the value you provide to your clients.
You have videos?
If you already have videos you’ve produced, this step will be easier for you. You can start creating your portfolio by adding in your best work. Make sure that your selection of videos shows the full range of what you can do. It should also clearly demonstrate how your video services can meet clients’ marketing needs. Choose videos that might make your potential customers want something similar.
You don't have videos?
If you don’t yet have any or enough videos to choose from, you need to start creating ones that you can put in your portfolio. Again, these clips should show the variety of your capabilities and demonstrate the value of what you offer.
You can start by creating videos that market your agency and its video services, which accomplishes two goals at once: starting your portfolio and directly promoting your company. Consider creating commercials, “meet the staff” videos, office tours, educational clips and more.
You might also do a few low-markup videos to form a foundation for your portfolio. While you won’t make huge profits from these projects directly, you’ll get videos you can use to show future clients what you can do. You could even consider doing some work for free by volunteering your services to a non-profit or at a local event. You won’t make money, but you’ll get to help someone out, build your portfolio and build up some positive PR.
Another essential method for getting started in video marketing is networking. Talking with potential clients and fellow video producers face to face can make a huge difference in helping you get work early on. You’ll find that there are industry groups you can join in your local area full of experts who can give you advice, lend you a hand and maybe even send some of their excess work your way.
Talk with everyone you can, and show genuine interest in them. You never know what opportunities a relationship will lead to.
Here’s the good news: you can turn to many of the same strategies you use to promote your other services. If you have less experience with advertising, marketing may prove more difficult but will still certainly be doable.
The first step, as with most marketing initiatives, is market research. You should get a clear idea of competition and their capabilities. You can use that information to make yourself stand out. You also need a good understanding of your potential customers as well as some knowledge of the customers that your competitors are currently serving. If you already have clients you provide other services to, ask if they’d be interested in video as well. This knowledge will help you define your target audience. Then, you can reach these customers through social media, paid digital advertising, email, blog posts and other channels.
Once you’ve completed some projects for clients, ask them for testimonials. If you get a good one, post it on your website. Feedback directly from your customers adds credibility to your site and holds a lot of weight among potential clients — often more than information that comes directly from you.
Once you have your pricing set and have figured out how to attract clients via marketing, it’s time to sell your video production services. Whether you’re selling video to marketing agency clients who may white-label the videos, or you’re an ad agency selling video services to clients, these best practices can help you sell more of your video production services
To appeal to your client, you need to find out about their goals and then explain to them how you can help them meet those goals. Some objectives might be pretty standard, such as increased sales, but it never hurts to ask about potential client’s business targets.
When explaining your video services, relate everything back to how your services will help achieve outlined goals.
Keep the conversation focused on your client rather than your company’s capabilities.
Don’t forget to explain how the video will appeal to the potential client’s target audience. They want content that will appeal to their future customers, so make sure you know who those individuals are and how you can engage them. This tactic is crucial for ad agencies selling video services to clients.
If you’re selling third-party video services to marketing agency clients, focus on how being able to offer your video services to their customers will make them a more appealing ad Selling Video Production Services 15 agency. Also, you can discuss how working with you will, in turn, provide more value to the ad agency’s customers.
During the selling stage, you can start to present an initial plan. It doesn’t need to be incredibly detailed yet, but you do want to give your potential client an idea of what you can do for them. You might present them with an idea they hadn’t thought of that makes them see the value of your video production services.
This step is part of the pre-production phase mentioned earlier. Although you haven’t closed the deal yet, you should still track the time you spend on this initial plan so that you know how much time you spent on the project in total if you get the contract.
As part of this plan, discuss the type of video you think would work best, and present a distribution strategy that ensures the video reaches the appropriate audience. Make sure you have explanations prepared for why you’re making those suggestions.
It’s also helpful to talk about the benefits of video marketing in general. Make sure your potential new client understands that video can increase web traffic, online engagement, brand recognition and conversion rates. Mention stats such as the fact that including a video in an email can increase its click-through rate by as much as 300 percent and that 64 percent of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it. Fifty-one percent of marketers report that video has a better return on investment (ROI) than all other content types.
If you successfully convey these potential benefits of video to your client,
the chances are high that they won’t want to miss out on the opportunity.
NextThought Studios is a full-service video production house that provides clients with high-quality videos at a competitive price. We offer pre-production, studio production, onsite production and post-production services and can create a range of video types, from commercial and marketing videos to corporate and training videos to animations. We have a variety of packages available and also offer custom packages. To learn more about our services, including our capabilities and pricing information, contact us today. You can also request a free consultation or free quote.
The NextThought Studios Team specializes in creating learning video that adheres to research-based practices for optimizing information acquisition and recall. We believe each video is a unique learning environment that requires the right balance of narrative, visual, and audio inputs to achieve specific learning goals.
We begin the process by mapping project learning goals using a custom, visual learning language. We then integrate the overall project vision with the right content strategies and technologies to ensure learning success. The NextThought Studios Team blends decades of professional development and curriculum design expertise with a deep commitment to instructional innovation.
A good place to begin would be a consultation with one of our video experts. They can help you hone in on your goals, the type of video that would be most effective for you, and more.
We hope that this playbook has offered you value and that you’re inspired take the next steps to making learning video part of your program.