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How to choose a video production partner?

So you want to make a video, and you’re looking for the right production partner.  How do you decide?

Get recommendations from people you trust.  Do an online search for video production companies in your area.  Once you have a bunch of candidates, look at their reels.

The Reel: Video Portfolio
Look at the portfolio page of several production companies.  You want to not only gauge the quality of the productions, but also the style and type.  Some video companies focus on a single or group of verticals–making videos for dentists, for example–while others focus on a single type of video–animated explainer videos, for example, which work great on a website homepage. Your question: Is that the type of video I want?  If not, you should look for a company that handles many types of video including the type you are looking to make.

Client Roster
Once you’ve found a company which produces the type and quality of videos you’re looking for, it’s time to look at the production company’s client list. Who are the company’s clients–small businesses or large brands? Do they have experience with your industry? If they don’t, it’s not a deal-breaker; there can be advantages to working with a company that can take a fresh look at a dusty subject.

Reviews
Next, look for social proof that the company can not only do good work, but is also good to work with. Check out reviews on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other sites like Yelp or Merchant Circle. Ask for references and follow up, asking for details about the production experience.

The Quote
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few candidates, get a price quote from each. Have a clear idea of the type of video you want to produce, so each company will be bidding on the same project with the same understanding of your project parameters. Some companies will want to meet and discuss the project in detail, while others will ask a few questions over the phone. Notice how much time they spend listening versus talking. If they’re listening and trying to understand your business in order to develop a proposal that will fit your needs, that’s a good sign. Some companies sell packages and will try to fit you into a box rather than customizing the production based on your goals. While this approach can save costs up front, it can be more expensive in the long run if you don’t end up getting what you truly need.

Once the bids are in, note how long it took each company to respond. A long wait time is an indication of how you might be treated later.

You may want to start with a smaller video to explore the company’s production process and customer service style. Once you’ve made your choice, stick with it—the best production companies are interested in long-term relationships, not just one-off projects. If you apply these simple strategies, you’ll have found a valuable marketing partner for years to come.

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