6 Marketing Tips For Profitable Mini Sessions
Mini Sessions can be a big success or a huge flop. Many photographers have a love-hate relationship with them. Some feel frustrated with people showing interest but then not booking. All these feelings and thoughts are so common and I’ve surely been there. The thing is mini sessions can help grow your business and show your value. I know for a fact that mini sessions can work. Some photographers have made $4000 in a day doing them. So despite the hard work of the actual day, there is a golden path, a secret sauce to marketing mini sessions successfully. In this blog post, I hope these 6 marketing tips for a more profitable mini session will help you to really see the results you want.
1. Have A Marketing Plan. Mini Sessions should be on your marketing calendar at least twice a year. If you have been in business for a while you know a bit about your slow and busy seasons. Using a calendar to plan out when you will roll out your mini session allows you to Ramp up. Do this with content & post that connect with both your theme & ideal client. This is so important for you with any marketing that you do in your business. Some photographers feel that when it’s slow they need to put something out there. So they throw something together to market the mini session and expect it to work. Since there was no plan it usually does not work out well. Even if you are planning mini sessions to be seasonal or during the holidays, you need to ramp up. When you use social media, blog post, and email to serve valuable curated content that your ideal client loves they will "hear" you later. Having a marketing plan allows you to give, before you ask them to buy.
2. Pick Your Ideal Client. If there is one thing that I have learned as a marketer and working with other creative entrepreneurs, knowing who you want to serve is so important. Many photographers are advertising to anyone and everyone. If you are a consumer it sounds like noise unless the message directly connects to you. We have all seen those commercials or ads that say or read like something right out of our own head, right…. Well I know I have and it’s kind of creepy but it grabs my attention and I tend to investigate or pay more attention. The advertiser really had to know their ideal customer, Me. So the easiest way to do this is to create a client avatar, aka a real person. You can create a few client avatars, I’d say 3 at the most. Write down whether they are male or female, their age, family or no family, pets or no pets, loves target or Walmart, enjoys the beach or the mountains, and so on. You can not get too specific I promise, we never do. Feel like you have no idea where to start... look at past clients or people you wish you could work with in and around your life and use them as a model. Once you get the specifics give your client avatar a name. What this does is help you in choosing the right words and images in your marketing. This will especially help when using online ads or social media.
3. Have A Theme. When you choose a theme it helps you with your marketing. Many photographers do their theme based on a holiday or season which is totally okay. If you pick a theme that appeals to the audience you serve all the time then you don’t lock yourself to specific times of the year. For example, If you are a family portrait photographer a theme like “Family At Play,” you could market this in the winter, summer, fall, or springtime. That way you can set your marketing design materials based on the theme and not have to change it every time you want to run a mini session campaign. Doing this will save you time and money.
4. Create Urgency & Scarcity. “Wait, what scare people, Nikita?” No shutterbug! What I mean by this is getting people excited but letting them know that the offer is coming but won’t last forever. Think about any sale at any retail store online or offline. It is very clear as to when, what, and how long the deal will last. What this does is provide excitement with meaningful motivation. So how to do this? Include how long the offer is good for, how many time slots you have available, and tell them what they get when they act. Share videos and images of the location on your social media and in your newsletters. If you have a unique set-up for the studio get your audience involved. Use social media post and blogs to create engagement and interest in your promo. For example, this or that images. When people feel involved and you share your story they are more likely to say YES. Why? Because they feel a part of the process before the session even starts, they become invested in you without paying a dime. Finally, make it easy for folks to book with you. Create a landing page or a page on your website where they can purchase the offer or get on the phone with you right away. If you don’t make it easy for them the urgency and scarcity you created won’t work because it's not easy enough for them to book with you.
5. Create a Compelling or Irresistible Offer. What does that mean? It is an offer that your ideal clients will melt over and be oh so very sad if they miss out. A good way to measure this is if you have excitement by the offer. So are you really excited over a 30-minute session and a print release? Mini Sessions should be an introduction to you and your brand. You want to offer something that your ideal client is going to love and rave about to all their friends. They'll be looking for opportunities to book a Full session with you. So how do you that? You'll want to learn what your ideal client wants and love. Research products that your ideal client would love but would most likely never buy themselves. Make a strategic partnership with local creatives or small businesses and include them in your offer. Keep in mind that mini sessions should not be a loss to your bottom line if anything you should break even or have a profit. Don't miscalculate the cost of your time! Doing mini sessions right means that you are building a funnel for future business, a long-term relationship. You don’t want to be the cheap date.
Here’s an example of a compelling offer:
Family at Play Mini Session ($275) Includes :
30-minute interactive playful session at a private Beach
1 8 x 10 acrylic Print, 1 8 x 10 Framed Canvas Print or $70 print credit
Private photo gallery with 4 to 6 images to share with friends & family
$25 Gift Card to (local pottery class)
The beauty of this is this that if you are not giving them everything. If they want more images it gives you an opportunity to up-sell them. You are setting expectations. In the private portal allow them and their family to be able to buy prints if they want them. What you don’t see here is a print release to all the images with a cd of images. Remember you want to offer value, your uniqueness. If you choose to offer a print release do something different like delivering it like this.
6. Follow Up! The magic of this offer or anything you put out there is all in the follow-up. If you post a tease about your special offer and people comment and engage on your post or blog post… reach out and follow up. If people in the past have shown interest in your post send a personal message to let them know what is new. The best way to do Follow up well is using email marketing, messaging, or the phone. Whether you create a monthly or weekly newsletters or send occasional messages on Messenger about your recent blog post, or whether you make it a point to call or text past customers to see how life is going... It will make it easier to follow up if you are already staying in touch when you're not selling them anything. We are all afraid of being too Salesy but this feels that way when we don’t follow-up even in the little things. If you are creating value and building a relationship with folks, then letting them know what you have to offer is just a service to them. If you don’t follow up you are doing yourself and them a disservice.
Alrighty, all this may seem like a lot but honestly, it can be set up and scheduled in a day or two. I’d call this an income producing activity. So let’s recap the 6 marketing tips for a more profitable mini session. Tip 1: Have a plan, Tip 2: Know who your ideal client is, Tip 3: Have a Theme, Tip 4: Create Urgency & scarcity, Tip 5: Create a compelling offer and Tip 6: Follow-up!
If you feel like this is a plan you want to try but don’t want to DIY it. I got you😉. I am offering a Done For You Mini Session Marketing. Learn more about it here or just, Leap into Mini Sessions and Click here to book a Free discovery call.