Last modified: December 29, 2016
Mini sessions offer your clients a more affordable opportunity to enjoy your work.
They also help you get more referrals from them and, perhaps, even full session bookings.
Nevertheless, despite the “mini” in their title, they don’t necessarily require fewer efforts on your side, especially when it comes to promoting your services and attracting the right clients.
Since fall mini sessions happen to be the start of the most busy season for a lot of photographers, one cannot ignore the importance of planning and making the most of it .
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be very complicated.
With the following tips for marketing your fall mini sessions, chances are you’ll be able to plan things out much easier.
After all, it really is a matter of doing your homework and deciding, in advance:
What exactly do you bring to the table?
Who should rush in and take advantage of it?
When would it be the best time to make it happen?
Where will you do your magic?
What motivation should you put a spotlight on?
Now let’s take them one at a time:
1. What exactly do you bring to the table?
The more of a detailed image you have on the mini session packages you intend to offer, the easier it will be for you to know how to advertise them. Ideally, you should come with:
- Several different packages
- Various angles
- Diversified final products
- Adjusted prices
Whether you only include the proofs and a few small items or you’d like to throw in some digital files and larger items, you have all the freedom to decide what every package will include.
Just make sure that when you promise a particular delivery time frame, you also take into account the revisions and the design time that will most likely slow you down a bit. In the end, you should know specifically what you are offering and what would imply extra costs, in the event that the client will really ask for it.
To make your life easier, you could:
- Soft proof all your photographs and let the client choose a maximum of 10 or so;
- Limit the number of photographs to 5 or 6 for personalized cards;
- Set a straight policy for letting customers choose images or asking extra revisions;
- Establish a rain date and make sure that the clients will be available on both dates;
- Let them know whether the deposit is transferable or refundable, should anything unforeseen come up.
Always stick to your promises, without giving up or being tempted to offer more, in an attempt of convincing them to book a full session after that.
2. Who should rush in and take advantage of it?
When you have a clear profile of your ideal customers, you will be able to personalize your marketing message and make it even more convincing. You will know what buttons to push and what benefits to promise and offer so that your ad will sound more enticing.
One of the first calls would be whether you target first-time or recurring clients. If you’d like to give a heads up to your loyal clients, be sure that they know you’re giving them priority. Imagine what an interesting newsletter topic this news would make!
And just so you will avoid creating false expectations of your target audience, make it clear with what persons you intend to work and what persons you exclude, like: “Fall mini sessions for families with maximum 3 children!”.
3. When would it be the best time to make it happen?
Fall is full of events that will inspire your mini sessions. Whether you want to connect your services with the school start, the Labor Day, the navy or air force day, the Halloween, the Rosh Hashana, the Yom Kippur or other religious holidays, you’ll have plenty of options.
Aside from the theme, however, be sure you also consider:
- How long will you need to edit the photographs?
- What other events that will make it harder for you to deliver products in time could overlap with the actual shooting or the processing time?
- What other holidays will follow, so you can encourage your clients to use these photographs on those occasions? For instance, mini sessions held at the end of autumn could make a great topic for their Christmas cards.
- How much time will you allocate for each session?
- How many mini sessions could you handle in one day?
- Would you prefer to shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon?
Also, this “when” that you are considering, depending if you plan to shoot indoor or outdoor, could tell you what kind of weather and what kind of landscapes you should enjoy. The changing leaves, for instance, always make for a fairytale décor in gold and rust shades.
4. Where will you do your magic?
The location is another essential aspect, mostly because it will allow you to anticipate any aspects that need to be taken care of:
- Will you shoot outdoor, in a park or any other public space, or indoor, in a rented apartment or even in a fully equipped studio?
- Is natural light going to be enough to offer you high-quality photographs or will you have to pull some tricks?
- Do you need to work extra on setting up the decor or you will go as natural as possible?
- Will you have power sources at your disposal in case that some of your equipment will require backup power?
5. What motivation should you put a spotlight on?
The motivation you need to focus on can target not just the benefits that clients will get from your fall mini sessions, but also what makes you give your best on this occasion. A message such as “Photographer, women and mother sets up heart-melting mother & daughter back-to-school mini sessions” says a lot on how the photographer and her target audience have so much in common. They’re basically on the same page, there’s no one better out there to immortalize such a special moment…
The entire above make the essentials of a successful mini session marketing plan. With all these in mind, you can craft ads that will speak your audience language and make them wanna book you the moment they hear about your fall mini sessions.
Just to show you how some of these aspects can be presented or just suggested through your ads, I’ve compiled some inspiring examples:
- Crystal, who runs CrystalLowzinski Photography, tells her clients that she knows how busy they can be at autumn and how much photographing those special moments would help them cross holiday cards off their list. Pretty clever, right?
- Hint Of Whimsy Photography goes all autumnally announcing the season of cozy knits, pumpkin spice and their special fall mini sessions. They do a great job at detailing their offerings up to the point of how much they charge per extra mile, should the client ask them to go out of their regular travel area!
- Heather Elizabeth Studios makes its fall mini sessions even more enticing by sharing photographs from the last year and promising to keep its services just as great – kind of hard to resist booking a session when looking at those gorgeous photos…
- Michelle, who runs Michelle Ma Belle Photography, lists an entire offer with all year round mini sessions, her chances of booking customers in advance, even if not for the fall sessions, being considerably higher.
- Hannah, from Hannah Mann, advertises her fall mini sessions with a sense of urgency. Those who already know her or who fall in love with her photography will hurry up and take advantage of “what will very likely be my only mini session date this year!”.
- Kristin, the eye behind K Boyer Photography, does an awesome job at motivating what inspires her to shoot mini sessions in autumn.
Do you see the pattern?
In the end, it all comes down to having a strategy in place. And just like with any good strategy, you must have a clear image of what are you willing to offer, who’s going to benefit from it and, essential for your business success, why would those clients need your fall mini sessions. Otherwise said, what’s in it for them?