Multi-award winning filmmaker, author, lecturer and guru John Goolsby made a return trip to BAPVA this Monday to share his hard-learned lessons on how to keep your video business thriving during these challenging and rapidly changing times.
John was introduced with a quick testimonial from event planner Mindy Weiss and launched right into a montage of events he has filmed from around the world. With over 3000 weddings and a serious roster of corporate clients, John has pretty much covered every type of event you can imagine. One of the questions that came up was how does he stay so fresh and engaged after all these years. The answer is as simple as it is profound: maintain your passion for your profession. John is often heard saying “I love this job”, and the stories he has about life changing events can fill a book.
One of those life changing events was his own. After his car was hit by a drunk driver, an MRI revealed that John had undiagnosed stage 2 cancer. Recovering from this fundamentally changed John’s outlook and lead to his recurring motto of “enjoy life”.
John shared a story about his persistence in asking for his first job as a grocery store clerk. After hearing “no” over and over, he discovered the secrets that he still practices today:
- Relationships. Ultimately, it was his mother (a good regular customer of the grocery store) that changed the mind of the store manager and led to John’s employment.
- The Science of everything. Even the most menial of tasks has a proper or efficient way of being performed. In John’s case, it was learning how to mop the floor properly at the grocery store.
- Nobody can do everything. Learn the value of outsourcing to professionals to free up your time and finish with a better product
When the economy was booming, John’s businesses (including a bridal dress shop) were peaking at $1 million in sales. Then the economy tanked, and Orange County suffered a tremendous blow. John couldn’t run with a business as usual mentality and had to regroup with a new strategy. Despite the tepid growth of our local economy, we also face the same challenges. So John shared his secrets for continued success.
- Pricing. Some people assign a value to price figuring you’ll get more than what you paid for. Charging too little may price you out of a great potential market
- Reasons to hire. People hire based on many factors (quality, style, value), but confidence is key in instilling trust.
- Learn the psychology behind why people buy. There are plenty of great sales books on this topic, and you should refer to the BAPVA library for a few titles.
- Keep your videos handy. John is never without his iPad or iPhone, preloaded with recent demo videos (corporate and event). Sales have been made on airplanes, at dinners and wherever John overhears an interest and need in his services.
- Be social. Never underestimate the value of social networking. This is where the younger brides will find you. The old ways of putting up a web site and waiting for business to roll in is dying. You have to engage with your clients wherever they are. As an example, John has a successful promotion based on his travels called “Where in the World is Godfather Films?” The FB campaign engages his online friends, and they are rewarded with a Starbucks gift card (that John customizes with his logo).
Market quickly and constantly. By putting up SDE’s on Facebook right away (and educating the clients on tagging their friends), his work gets seen right away, and by a much larger audience than those in attendance at the wedding.
- Peripheral marketing. John also makes a point of doing quick and free promos with the wedding coordinator during the wedding (usually during dinner). Asking them a few leading questions about the couple, the venue and the vendors and then assembling a quick promo that can be easily shared online.
- Email blasts. With a list of 3200 connections, John finds it easy to reach out to a large network with a single click.
- Promotions with legs. John recounted a story of paying for his occasional script-writer’s haircut when they were both at the same barber shop. 15 years later, that person still shares the story (and John continues to do the same for other people he recognizes at the barber shop). John also has custom coffee mugs with his logo on one side and a toungue-in-cheek saying on the other “I’m the professional. Shut up and write the check”. He gives these to industry professionals. He also wisely barters service for advertising. The effect of these promotions might be hard to measure on a pure sales number, but they keep the name “Godfather Films” in people’s minds.
- Choosing your name wisely. John has rebranded from his early “Cannon Video” around the time web searches grew in popularity. When he made the switch to “Godfather Films” it was a conscious decision to go with films instead of video. Film connotes storytelling, while video connotes the physical capture process. An online service Logotournament.com helped with the design.
- Web coverage. John owns almost 200 domains (non mirrored, geo specific and with relevant titles and text). These help his SEO by providing incoming and outgoing links. The content should be different enough so that the search engines recognize them as unique, but they should still maintain a unified look and feel. A PR company can be invaluable help in getting your rankings higher.
In between all these nuggets of wisdom, John shared some very special client videos, including rock stars and a $3 Million dollar Mexican Riviera wedding. (Confidentially agreements mean I can’t name names here). Needless to say, John is having a blast and ticking items off his bucket list.