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Marketing legal videographers

NCRA’s Certified Legal Videographers Council leaders Bruce Balmer, MBA, CLVS, Columbia, S.C., and Brian Clune, CLVS, San Anselmo, Calif., were joined by Jason Leven, CLVS, Washington, D.C., to present a conceptual overview of how and where to market legal video services during a session held at the association’s recent TechCon conference held April 11-13 in Atlanta. The panelists shared their experiences, practices, and insights with session attendees about an array of aspects related to successfully marketing a legal videography services business.

Define your geographical market

According to the panelists, professionals need to define where they plan to provide their services, for example, only in the downtown area of a single city, surrounding cities, one county or more, statewide, national, or international. In addition, they should determine their fees for other aspects of doing business including travel reimbursements, job referral fees, and cancellation charges at the same time as they determine their general service fees.

Determine what services to provide

Legal videographers have a wide range of areas where they can offer their services so it is important to identify the services and specialty areas where they plan to focus, such as depositions, day in the life videos, settlements, site visits, courtroom playbacks, or duplication and edition. They should also consider non-video services such as court reporting services, trial presentations, providing conference rooms, and a new trend called audio/videotape transcription where authorities want surveillance tapes transcribed.

Identify your competition

Striking out on your own can be exciting but to ensure you set your business up for success, it is important to identify your competition. Spend some research time to determine whether there are similar businesses in your area, how many there are, what areas they serve, and how healthy they are. In addition, determine what the standard rates are in your market area for the services you plan to provide and price accordingly, making sure you are not the cheapest guy in town or the highest, agreed the panelists.

Identify your customers

Among potential customers to target include local court reporters and court reporting firms, as these are who typically schedule depositions. The panelists suggested visiting local firms and asking if they have a videographer on staff and if so, letting them know that you are available if they need additional assistance. Other potential customers include fellow videographers, national court reporting firms, legal secretaries, and attorneys themselves.

Effective marketing tools

Effective marketing doesn’t always have to cost money, especially when it takes the form of networking. The panelists suggested new business owners take advantage of the opportunities and benefits of membership in professional associations related to their field of expertise including legal-related groups. Other cost-effective marketing tips presented included making yourself a resource by providing articles to professional newsletters and speaking at association meetings, civic organizations, and schools. Also, submit formal announcements to local and legal media outlets about new hires and new services you might now offer.

Direct marketing tools

According to the experts, direct marketing pieces such as postcards are an effective and cost efficient way to create name recognition within your market place. In addition, they recommended maintaining mailing lists of both existing clients and potential clients and use different messages when marketing to them.