You are listening to episode 23 of the Level Up Your Wedding Film Business Podcast. Right now, as I’m recording this podcast episode, we’re in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are all staying home, doing social distancing, and weddings are being postponed or cancelled. These are some hard times, I’m not going to sugar coat it. But there are a few things that we can be doing right now that will make a difference in our businesses, and in our lives.
I’m not going to sugar-coat this: what the world is going through right now is hard. It’s scary. It’s causing unmeasurable amounts of uncertainty, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, fear, and sadness. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve been wracking my brain on how I could possibly be a resource for this community. How can I help? What can I possibly say or do that would make a difference? And this is what I’ve settled on this week…
I want to bring a bit of distraction to all of you. We’re all [hopefully] in our homes, isolated. That can be draining. Emotionally, physically, creatively.
So in order to bring some distraction to all of us, I’m hosting a challenge.
The Isolation B-Roll Challenge.
The rules are simple: create a 30-60 second video of creative, cinematic b-roll of whatever represents your version of isolation during these times.
Are you spending hours playing with your dog? Film it.
Are you getting creative in the kitchen? Or maybe you’re spending your time organizing your closet. Are you getting creative with home workouts, doing arts and crafts with your kids, or just taking this time to relax and watch movies?
Any of these activities could potentially make for a fun opportunity to get creative with your camera and stretch those creative muscles.
Here are the details:
Create a 30-60 second video representing an activity you’re doing right now during this time of isolation.
To enter: you must be following me on Instagram (@thelevelupco), upload your video to your own Instagram account and tag me in both the post and in the caption. (please note: your account must be set to public, otherwise I won’t be able to see it)
All entries must be uploaded by 11:59pm PST on Sunday April 5.
There will be 1 winner, and that person will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
Just a quick disclaimer: This is purely an effort to bring us together as a community during these uncertain times. This is meant to be a tiny break from the seriousness of what’s going on in the world right now, and to bring us a bit of joy, creativity and fun.
I hope that my intentions are coming off as positive and true. I’m not trying to be insensitive to this situation, or to anyone.
I can’t wait to see what you create.
So like I said at the intro of the episode, there are a few things we can be doing right now, during social distancing or quarantine. Some of these things will help you make a bit of extra money during these uncertain times, and some will help in other ways.
1. Run a Sale
The first one is something I’ve been seeing circulating on social media, and it’s something I do every spring in my own business, pandemic or not. And that’s to run a sale. This can be whatever you make it to be. You can offer discounts on raw footage only, or you can even offer discounts on additional edits like ceremony and speeches. Or even full-documentary edits, just as long as you have all the footage you need to make that happen.
If you don’t typically shoot your weddings with the intention of some day, your couple wanting additional long-form edits, hopefully this will trigger you to start that practice. Always shooting the ceremony in full with multiple cameras, and always shooting toasts in full as well will help you offer add-ons or up-sells after the wedding, but those precious memories are a one-time thing for our couples, and it’s an amazing service to offer to capture things in full no matter what they order from you before the wedding.
You can also offer this sale to your 2020 clients whose weddings haven’t happened yet. Offer them discounts on add-ons or even discounted package upgrades. This will put a little extra cash in your pocket right now.
2. Offer Video Services to Small Businesses
The second thing you can do to make a bit of money right now is to reach out to local small churches, small government bodies like your town or small city, or even to small businesses and offer some sort of video service. Just because we are all staying in our homes, and physical storefronts are shut down, doesn’t mean that businesses, churches, and government programs are completely closing.
I’ve been seeing gyms take their workouts and training online for their clients. I’ve been seeing libraries streaming story times and music classes for kids, and I’ve been seeing tons of businesses using this situation as a jumping-off point to future-proof their businesses and create passive revenue streams.
The closest thing that these businesses and programs have to being in-person with their patrons is video. And we just happen to be experts in that field.
So you can reach out to small businesses, small churches, and your local city or county government and offer your video services to them. There’s a big chance that they don’t really know what they’re doing, and you being able to perform video services for them would be a huge help to them, and would give you a bit of extra income right now.
3. Ask for Reviews
The third thing you can be doing that will benefit your business is to ask your past clients for reviews. You can post on social media or send out an email to each of your clients who have yet to leave you a review and just ask them nicely to support your business in an easy and free way – by leaving a review on whichever website or platform you prefer to collect reviews.
The wedding industry runs on reviews. Couples are constantly looking for that social proof as to whether or not you are a good choice for them and their wedding. And couples often get distracted or just forget to leave you a review, even if you asked them to shortly after their wedding. Now’s the time to reach back out to them and ask for that review.
While you’re at it, this can go both ways. For every review you ask for, aim to give a review to 1 local business that you enjoy. Coffee shops, your hair salon or barber, restaurants, your kid’s daycare…all of these places are small business, too, who would absolutely love to receive positive reviews supporting their own businesses. Put a little good out into the world, and chances are, it will come back to you.
Number 4 is a good one, and one that I’m currently doing whenever I have a moment to myself. For all you parents out there, this might be easier said than done. But this tip is for you to go through any of the educational resources you’ve collected in the past, or any courses you’ve purchased, and to freshen up on what you’ve already learned or to keep learning. I know that a ton of people, myself included, get so excited when we buy a course online that we watch the first 1/4 of it the first day, then life happens and we never finish it. Or we skip around the course and watch the videos out of order, so we never really get the full effect. You can take this extra downtime to complete the online courses you’ve already purchased, freshen up on the material you’ve already learned, or even invest a bit of money in that course you’ve always been interested in taking, but just never pulled the trigger. Now’s a great time to do that.
I’m going to quickly plug my own course here. I have an Instagram masterclass for wedding filmmakers that goes over my 5 step process for booking clients on Instagram. For the next month, I’m going to be offering 10% off that course. Just use the code “instagram10” at checkout to take advantage of that. That code will be good now through April 30.
5. Plan your content.
Whether you use Instagram, Facebook, or even Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy, now is the time to plan out your content for the next few months.
You can do this old school with a pen and paper, or you can do what I do and use an app like Later to plan out and schedule your posts. Instagram is my social media platform of choice, so that’s where I spend the most of my energy. I aim to post on Instagram 3 times per week in order to reach couples in my area who are searching for a videographer.
6. Update email templates.
If you’re anything like me, each time I get an inquiry, I tend to type out pretty much the exact same thing in my response email. It’s usually something along the lines of – “Thanks so much for reaching out about your September 1st Wedding. First off, congratulations on your engagement! Blah blah blah…”
Putting in some extra time on the front end to craft well-worded email responses is going to get you back so much time down the road. Sit down and work on an inquiry response email that can be easily tailored to fit each potential client that reaches out.
You can do the same with other canned-emails as well. I have pre-crafted email templates for sending out my questionnaire, the day after the wedding, and for my film delivery.
You can just think of each touchpoint you have with your clients that you tend to initiate, and write out email templates for each one. If you use a CRM like honey book or dubsado, you can save those in the canned-email section. But if you don’t use a CRM, you can save them as a note if you’re an apple product user, or in another cloud-based word document service.
This will save you time down the road, and it will make sure you never type out another rushed, half-hearted email ever again.