How Much Should You Budget for Your Business Video?


If you haven’t read the blog “How much does video production cost” I suggest you read it FIRST and then come back here, as this blog will make more sense if you already know how budgets are affected. So given the knowledge that your video will largely be determined by how complex the filming and editing will be, then how do you determine what you should spend on your production? It is largely dependent on two things that are very interrelated:

#1 The ROI (Return On Investment) you hope to achieve, and

#2 The best way to showcase your business based upon your audience.

A video should give you a return on the money you spend on it, known in the business world as ROI or Return On Investment. It should build sales, train your employees, provide leads, and yes, even win awards. No matter what is does, it should do something for you worthwhile. You will find, however, that ROI goals are quite varied. Compare the ROI of an independent accountant looking to gain five new clients, versus a huge accounting firm wanting to represent Fortune 500 companies. They are very different.

Similarly the way you showcase your business differs depending upon your business, clients, and market. Take the example above. Both are accounting firms. But the video targeting small businesses and the one aimed at large corporations will definitely not look the same.

Let me give you some examples. I have a client, David Walker, who is a business attorney. He spent $1,500 on his website video. It’s not flashy, it’s very simple. Yet, he tells me it nets him several leads a month and it has paid for itself many, many times over throughout the course of a year. That is a fantastic return!

Now take Stateside Capital. They are an investment firm that wanted to convince large company CFOs that investing in Low Income Housing Tax Credits did not amount to supporting government slum-like projects. They needed to show that these communities were safe and wonderful places to live. We spent several days shooting with crane jibs, Steadicam shots, on-site interviews and much more, to showcase the several properties created using the Tax Credit program. It was a significant project that cost well over ten thousand dollars.

The result? Stateside President Rick Beacham tells me that the video convinced a major logistics company to invest a significant amount (let’s just say the number had a lot of zeros) that resulted in a huge profit for Stateside. And that wasn’t the only client the video netted. Would a less expensive $1,500 video project like David’s have done the same? Not according to Rick.

“It was the beauty of this fantastic video that won these clients.” He says. “The shots are just awesome. I show it to everyone and they are just awed that this is public housing and they are convinced straight away. It paid for itself multiple times with the very first client, and there have been many more clients since!”

Stateside could have done a simpler project. But it would not have had the punch that the cinematic images of the properties had. They simply would not have had the same success with a small budget production because the message they needed to convey and the audience they were trying to reach demanded a production of higher value.

But for David’s small practice those types of shots just weren’t necessary. A higher budget would not have made a significant difference. His target market were startups and small businesses. A fancier production could even have scared potential clients away because they might think they can’t afford him. However, had David been looking to attract large corporate clients that would literally be spending millions of dollars a year, his simple video would not have been appropriate. He would have had to present his company differently to impress those companies, and a higher production value would not have only suited him better, it absolutely would have been required.

How do you know what to put out to your audience? One easy way is to see what your competitors are doing. Your successful competitors that is. Another barometer are your products or services themselves. High tech, for example, better be accompanied by a high tech presentation. If you have luxury items, your production value better match the tastes of your audience. If you are in the bargain basement? Then lower standards of production may be ok, and in fact necessary.

So, to recap, you need to consider:

#1 What ROI am I looking to achieve, and

#2 What is the best way to deliver my message based upon my audience and that ROI?

Then decide how best to showcase whatever it is you do. Since you may not have a clue how simple or complex your ideas are, talk with your video production team. Tell them your ideas. Get feed back. Sometimes what you think is complex is easy and vice versa.

Another helpful thing is to tell the video team what you would like to spend. I know this is tough for a lot of people. They think if they give out a number they will be taken for suckers. But you would never tell a realtor that you want a home “But I am not going to tell you what I want to spend!” The realtor needs to know your budget. Video production is the same. By telling the production team what your budget is, they can tell you what can be delivered for that amount.

That’s a wrap for this issue. Stay focused!