In Oh Shoot! episode #78, Cassidy Lynne and Alesia Films chat about how you can create the BEST wedding client experience, and practical ways for you to break into the destination wedding industry. Aleisa is a destination and elopement videographer based in Portland, Oregon.
How Alesia Got Started in Videography
Alesia was always that friend with a camera. On her personal Facebook, you can find old middle school albums with hundreds of photos of her and her friends taken on a flash point and shoot camera. In college, she was really into travel and wanted to travel the world. She saved up her own money and went all the way to Italy. On her iPhone she made a fun little music video of her travels for a two week backpacking trip.
During college, she bought a $400 Nikon camera on Amazon and a GoPro Karma drone. She traveled to Mexico and Hawaii and created travel videos that were blowing up on YouTube! Unfortunately, those videos were with a guy she was dating then, so when they broke up she deleted all those travel videos.
Starting Wedding Videography
Alesia’s mom actually got her started with wedding videography. Alesia’s mom has worked three to four jobs her entire life, and one of those side hustles was wedding photography. In the spring of 2018, she asked Alesia to come along with her to film some wedding videos for her couples. A lot of couple’s were asking Alesia’s mom for a videographer, but she didn’t have anyone to refer. So she offered her couples, Alesia. These couples didn’t have a big budget, so Alesia started by doing a two to three wedding videos that summer for free. Those first few wedding videos were rough, but after diving into Youtube she knew she could do it!
In September 2018, Alesia’s mom got married to her wonderful stepdad. The morning of the wedding Alesia’s mom asked her to make a wedding video for her. She was a bridesmaid and didn’t have her camera. Her mom said just to do it on her iPhone. So Alesia videoed her mom’s wedding on her iPhone. When she went to edit the wedding video, it hit different. She could finally see how important a wedding video was. To hear those toasts and see the ceremony was such a core memory. It was that moment while making her mom’s wedding video that Alesia decided she wanted to do this. She saw how special and amazinging it was for families and that’s when she went full throttle into it.
Going Full-Time with Wedding Video
Alesia went full-time in 2019. But then 2020 happened and she went back to a part-time job. Then she officially went full-time again in 2021. She left her part-time job and was back to consistent bookings.
Indicators of Ready to Go Full-Time with Wedding Videography
Alesia is a big math and numbers girl, so every year she sits down and projects her salary and income. With going full-time, she knew she needed something very consistent. As a wedding videographer, you really only get booked for weddings, unlike photographers who can photograph engagement sessions, maternity, newborns, etc.
Because Alesia only focused on weddings, she wanted to break into the education space and have that be her consistent income. So she started doing mentor calls. She never thought of doing education until her direct messages were overflowing and the demand was really high. In Oregon, weddings are really only May-October. So doing 4-5 mentorship calls a month covered her monthly expenses along with her wedding video income.
Getting Into Destination Wedding Videography
When Alesia started wedding videography, she knew she wanted to do destination because she loved traveling. In 2020, half of her weddings got rescheduled due to Covid. The other half kept their date, but eloped in a National Park or beautiful location and took Alesia along with them. With her couples eloping in beautiful places, she was getting the destination content she needed to prove that she was a destination wedding videographer. By 2021, her bookings were more destinations because people were seeing her 2020 films and knew they wanted to hire her.
Tips for Getting Into Destination Wedding Videography
Alesia shared some great tips on how to book more destination wedding work!
#1 Set up styled shoots in destinations you’re already traveling to.
If you’re already booked for a destination, extend your stay and set up styled shoots. This is a less risky approach than if you book a trip just to get destination content. If you’re already traveling to a destination for work or a workshop, set up some shoots while you’re already there.
#2. Utilize hashtags and tag nearby venues.
Alesia is all about utilizing hashtags and tagging nearby venues on Instagram posts. In January, Alesia, had a wedding in Hawaii that canceled. However, she had already extended her stay and had set up styled shoots. She had a very specific plan with her Hawaii locations, and when she started posting her content she used very specific Hawaii hashtags. A 2022 bride, found her on the #mauiweddingvideographer hashtag and booked her. She also tagged nearby venues in her Instagram post. When couples book their venue and look at the tagged posts for a venue, Alesia’s posts pop up.
#3. Build relationships with destination planners and vendors.
Alesia established a great relationship with a planner by creating a BTS video of the planner setting up at the wedding and working with the couple. Since connecting with that planner, all the bookings Alesia’s gotten from her have booked her top package in beautiful destinations. Other vendors and photographers she’s connected with also refer her for destination work.
#4 Google SEO & Blogging.
Instagram is such a short-term thing if that’s only what you’re focused on. People who are booking destination stuff are using Google more to plan their wedding than Instagram. They want articles and if you’re blogging more destination content on your website they’ll see you as the expert. Google will push your stuff to those couples and they’ll see that you know the area. Alesia started blogging a year ago and she’s already been found through Google. If Instagram makes you feel like you constantly have to post and you can’t keep up with it, then blog.
Alesia’s Wedding Client Experience
Alesia created an entire course on client experience for wedding vendors! She uses a lot of psychology principles she learned in college in her wedding client experience. Alesia says experience is first and foremost really targeting your ideal client. Alesia has a very personal brand that shines through everything from her pricing guide, website, and emails. She wants to go beyond the professional relationship to really get to know every single couple and make a unique film for them. She wants it to feel like they’re actually friends to help her couples feel more comfortable in front of her camera.
With the wedding client experience, you have to fully understand who you are because we’re the people showing up on the wedding day. You need to have your brand and personality meshed together. So even if you’re not a bubbly, extrovert, enneagram 2 like Alesia, but are more moody, intimate, about the quiet moments, you have to zone in on that.
In Alesia’s wedding client experience, every single touchpoint with her is her brand. From the initial zoom call, emails, questionnaires, through the final gift she sends them, it’s all on brand for her.
Creating Client Experience with Touchpoints
It’s different for everyone because everyone’s ideal client is different and your ideal client has a different amount of touchpoints. Like elopements, they might need more or less. It’s a matter of reading how much they have planned and who they are.
Alesia’s touchpoints start with the initial consult call and into the “thank you” present they get when they book. Based on the consult call and how much help they need, she’ll automate touch points in her CRM software. For example, she’ll schedule a questionnaire to send six months before the big day to see if her clients need help with anything. She likes to stay on top of their mind.
This questionnaire is to help her clients find vendors, locations, or help with any problems her couples are coming across. Her questionnaire includes:
-Checklist of vendors they need recommendations for.
-Questions on the video guide she sends.
-”What the one thing you’re most worried about going wrong?”
-Instagram accounts so she can send them helpful posts.
When thinking of client experience, your number one goal is to not have crickets after they book you, but to stay on their mind.
Automating Wedding Client Experience
Alesia’s secret sauce is automations! You don’t have to be making those touchpoints yourself every single time. After your consult call with the couple, you can set up those automations in your CRM so you can set it and forget it!
The one thing with client experience is that it shouldn’t make you more stressed. You should be doing these things because you want to. We’re in the wedding industry because we want to help people and give them memories. Alesia wants to do those things, but doesn’t want to burn out so automations are it! Explore your CRM and get to know it! The automated work flow functions are going to be you best friend! Less work, but providing an elevated experience.
Creating Guides and Courses
Passive income isn’t as simple and easy as people say. It takes a lot of money and time to start out. You have to buy your email list subscription, new website page, etc. It takes a lot of tech. She hired someone to help her set-up her Shopify page on her website to sell her wedding video guide. She also hired someone to help her fully set up her course in Kajabi. It’s a lot!
Alesia has one wedding video guide and one pricing guide template both on Canva. She wanted everything to be user friendly and know a lot of people are already using Canva. Alesia suggests getting the pro membership to be able to fully utilize what Canva offers.
Alesia made her first course this year with Kajabi. Prior to her launch she did a lot of coaching, memberships, and free webinars. She took a long time to decide which program to go with because courses are a whole other ball game. You want your course to have a great looking dashboard, be on brand, and not just send a private YouTube link. Kajabi is definitely expensive, but once she launched the course it was very worth it.
Using Email to Sell Guides and Courses
Alesia does a little bit of marketing on social media. Instagram is where she lives so she talks about new products, guides, and templates on there. However, the majority of her sales come from her email list through Flodesk.
With email, you’re getting the most direct communication and warming up people to your sales. A lot of people in the passive income world say that every time you launch something, you should have at least a minimum 10 week warm-up like through emails. During the months she’s not selling anything, she’s providing free education to her email list. She’s keeping her email list warm whether that’s through sending a free wedding video questionnaire or doing a series on the best drones for wedding video. She keeps building the know, like, trust with her subscribers. Alesia has a big philosophy that if you’re going to be selling something, you should be giving them something for free as well.
Alesia, thank you so much for coming on the podcast!
You can find Alesia here:
Website & Education: https://alesiafilms.com/shop
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