As a marketing manager, I’m always trying to keep the self-storage operator I work for, STOR-N-LOCK Self Storage, one step ahead of the game. With so many studies showing the power of video marketing and many storage customers wanting to see our storage facilities before coming in and renting, I knew video presented a great opportunity for us. The only problem was we, like most small businesses, have a limited marketing budget so if we wanted to create these videos we had to do them as cheaply as possible. We figured out a way to create a series of videos for our locations for only around $1,000.
What Videos Did We Want?
We were looking to create a series of site video tours for our self-storage locations that showed viewers a visual tour of each property and told them about some of the main features of that site. We wanted the videos to be a mix of these two self-storage videos we had seen previously. We liked the drone shots in this video and we liked the way this video highlighted specific features of a facility.
What Was It Going to Cost?
We got quotes from a few video production companies like Duetto Video Productions but it looked like it was going to cost a minimum of $10,000, not including paying for the travel to our 22 locations which are spread out in Utah, Colorado, California and Idaho. Because of the understandable high estimated costs of paying a professional production company to create the videos for us, we also looked into the possibility of me personally creating the videos.
I had a regularly scheduled visit to the stores coming up anyway so the idea was if I could use my limited film experience to create the videos, knowing they would look much less professional, we could do them for a few thousand dollars less but still get pretty close to what we were looking for. We also liked the idea that if we bought the equipment we could keep it and use it for future video projects we came up with.
Before my visit to the stores, we did a few test videos at one of the facilities to see what quality of video we could make just walking around with a smartphone camera and doing our own voiceover work. These tests informed us that we needed to purchase at least some video equipment and voiceover services to help our videos look a little more professional. Here’s the list we wrote down of estimated gear and services we thought we would need to produce the videos ourselves which we were estimating would cost around $800:
- DJI Spark - $400: Entry-level consumer drone for the drone shots we wanted
- DJI OSMO Mobile 2 Gimbal - $130: Smartphone gimbal for steady walking shots with a smartphone camera
- Fiverr Professional Voiceover Artist - $150: After some early DIY tests, we decided it was best to hire a professional for the video VO
- Music Licensing - $30: To cut down on costs we decided to buy the rights to just one song and use that on every video in the series
- Adobe Premiere (Monthly Plan) - $30-90: Depending on how long it took to edit the videos we’d pay for either 1-3 months of Adobe Premiere with Creative Cloud
How Did We Make the Videos?
We started by writing an 800-word script with 1 site-specific introductory line per store and the rest of the lines describing site features that could be inserted into the different videos depending on the features of that specific facility. This was mainly to save money on the voice-over work because the professional charged per word spoken so we needed a script general enough that it could be chopped up and fitted to each individual store’s features. Once we had the script it made it easy to film the videos because I knew what lines we needed shots for as I was visiting each store.
How Much Did the Videos End up Costing?
Reviewing our estimated costs above, the DJI drone, DJI gimbal, music licensing and Adobe Premiere all ended up being what we estimated them to be. The voiceover work from Fiverr ended up costing closer to $250, though, because we made several revisions to our script. So in total, the videos cost us about $1,000 in video equipment and services to produce.
The biggest cost we didn’t anticipate was the cost of my time filming and editing the videos. Each video took several hours to film and many hours to edit and this cost of time would have been even higher if I didn’t already have some, albeit limited, film experience.
How Did the Videos Turn Out?
So far we consider these videos a success, we posted them on various platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Google Maps and across these platforms, we’ve gotten over 3,500+ organic views since August of 2018 and have gotten positive feedback on them from customers. If we had any advice for other small businesses looking into video marketing it would be to strongly consider hiring a professional production company to do them for you especially if you want to make them as professional as possible and don't have the time to dedicate to making them yourself.
But if you decide to go the DIY route, we recommend following what we did in buying some video equipment but still doing them as cheaply as possible. You definitely can do video marketing even as a small business with a limited budget!