In this episode of Capture The Chaos: Grow Your Newborn & Family Photography Business I’ll share my favorite ways to promote mini sessions. I’ll tell you 3 ways to market your mini sessions outside of social media so you can book up your fall photography calendar.
If you want more tips for pricing and marketing your family mini sessions check out Cut The Chaos: A Guide To Mini Sessions. Use code CTCPOD15 for 15% off the course.
Thank you for being here mama.
Today. We’re talking about the fall season. It is upon us, you guys, it is upon us. And if you’re a family photographer, that means family photo season. Maybe you have seen a lot of other photographers booking out their mini sessions and at this moment it’s only August, maybe that has you feeling down because yours aren’t booked out yet. Maybe you don’t think you’re ever going to book out your minis?
Now, first of all, stop.
We are all in different seasons of our business and I promise you just because another photographer in your town already has a fully booked calendar, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed. If you actively market your fall minis and you continue to talk about them, I have no doubt that they are going to be booked.
Ask me how I know; because every year I’m like, what if I don’t book this year? What if no one wants to book with me? And you know what? Every year I am so booked that I wanna pull my hair out by December. So, I know that this is going to happen for you because we all go through that same feeling. You’re not alone.
It is still early and even when it’s not early anymore, there’s still going to be clients who are looking for a family photographer well into November and December. I promise there’s some people who have dropped the ball and are going to forget about family photos until later. Until they’re like, “oh no, I didn’t send a Christmas card! Let’s send a New Year’s card!”
Keep your eyes in your lane and don’t worry about other photographers.
I’m gonna share with you three ways to market your minis this fall, and all of these tips that I’m gonna share with you and more are in Cut the Chaos which is a guide to mini sessions.
Kayla who took the course said, “I loved that it was broken up into digestible sections. I am new to the photography business and have never offered fall or Christmas minis before. Brittnie’s guide made it so easy for me to transfer the skills to my own mini sessions.“
In the guide I take you through every step of the process from planning, marketing, and shooting your mini sessions, you also get access to the student community where you can ask questions and get answers directly about the course. Michelle said, “thanks to email marketing and automations my mini session was fully booked in less than an hour. Six slots were offered.” So grab a pen and paper because you are gonna wanna take notes on this one, friends.
All right, three tips to market your mini sessions and book your fall calendar tip number one, create hype, get your audience and your clients excited for your session! You want to share videos or photos of really cool locations that you plan to use. If you’re planning to use a cool setup share Instagram stories of you prop shopping and setting up the image or setting up the props for the image. Tell them that if they wanna be notified first when the signup goes live to join your email list. We’ll dive into email list a little bit later.
You also want to take your own promo photos. I cannot stress this enough. Stop using other photographer images for your promo photos. They worked to get those images and you can’t swoop in and leach off their hard work. So, grab your kids, ask a friend, or do a model call, go out and get those promo images. You can offer them for free and in return you can ask that they share it on social media. You want to make sure that whoever you use for your model though actually uses social media. Because if they don’t, then that’s not going to be a very good trade off for you. Have them share your website or your booking page also. Word of mouth is going to be the best form of marketing for your photography business.
Clients are really visual and they need to see the outcome that they’re going to get. Using your own promo images leads to a higher booking rate, and you can also take behind the scenes videos to share on social media to further create hype around your mini sessions! In the mini session course, Cut the Chaos, I share a calendar of prompts that you can use to hype up your audience and get them excited for your sessions. You want them to be looking forward to what you’re offering before you ever open the booking.
Tip number two, email marketing. I know that you know that there are benefits to email marketing. You hear it all the time, “we own our email list.” If something were to happen to social media tomorrow, do you have your email list to fall back on?
The algorithm is always changing and it is impossible to compete with. There is no competing with an email inbox. Your email list is a compilation of people who already want to work with you. They’re considered warm leads versus someone who randomly sees you on Instagram. Like an Instagram Reel. That would be considered more of a cold lead. If you only have one hour a week to market, where do you want to be spending your time? I say I want to be with the people who I know want to work with me and I know are gonna wanna see what I have to say. So start building your list now.
Give people an incentive to hand over their emails. Consider how businesses get you to give your email. A few examples of incentives are; you could tell them to get on your email list to get first dibs, you can offer a discount for being on the list, give them a free posing guide, a location guide, or a style guide in return for signing up for the list.
You can also grow your list with a giveaway. What you’ll do is you’ll post on Instagram that you’re doing in giveaway for a mini session in order to be entered to win they sign up for your email list and then they share the post in their stories. Now you have a growing email list of people who clearly are interested in working with you. That’s awesome. Right? You can also put an opt-in form on your website asking them to join. You can offer a freebie, like the posing guide style guide or location guide that we talked about, and then you deliver it once they sign up.
Once you have the list, nurture it, don’t get all these emails and ghost them. You want to at least try for one time a month. That’s your bare minimum. One time a month, two times would be even better. Maybe your list only wants to see you once a month and that’s fine. Maybe do a poll on Instagram and see how often they wanna see emails from you. Make sure you aren’t always selling to them though. What they’re going to do is they’re going to start to associate spending money when they see your email and they might stop opening them. You can share your latest blog, post tips for a smooth session, or share a fun anecdote/cute story from a recent session.
Thinking of your ideal client, what are some non-photo related topics that they might be interested in? Duo Collective has an awesome email list; I suggest signing up to get an idea of some things that they share. You could also join my email list for tips. I use Flodesk and I love it. I linked the discount code in the show notes. So if you’re interested in Flodesk, check the show notes and sign up using my discount code. If you are just starting out and you need a free option MailChimp, I used that one for years, and it’s good. If you want to do some of the more advanced things on it, you will have to pay. And I would suggest instead of paying, to just switch over to Flodesk, speaking from experience.
Tip number three is the scarcity principle. The scarcity principle is: the rarer or more difficult it is to obtain and offer, the more valuable it becomes. Because we think the product will soon be unavailable to us, we’re more likely to buy it than if there were no impression of scarcity.
You can do this by releasing a limited number of spots when you first open your sessions. So instead of opening 12 mini session spots, you only open four. When they see there are a lot of options, there’s no rush for them and they need to think about it or talk to their husband about it. Then they get busy with life and they just forget and never book. But, when they see there are only a few options available, it becomes a priority because if they don’t do it soon, it will be booked and they lose their chance.
So you can also create a scarcity principle by closing your booking at a certain date. I do this more so with my full sessions, rather than my mini sessions. I will close off my calendar at the end of September and if they haven’t booked, then I’m not taking any more full sessions. You could do it with your mini sessions as well if you wanted to. You could also offer early bird discounts if a session is booked by a certain date. Then, they get a certain amount off or after that certain date, the price goes up. That is another way of getting them to book sooner than later.
I have a bonus tip for you. Your website; send everyone to your website for booking. You want to link your booking calendars to your website. By doing this I’ve actually become ranked number three on Google for Dallas mini session photographer.
This is a super simple way of improving your reach on Google. What you do is you post all of your mini sessions on a page in your website and then direct everyone to that page to book the mini. You’ll have an image, preferably of the location that you’ve taken, not from another photographer. You’re going to have information about the mini session like the price, date, and location. And then you’re gonna have a link to your booking calendar, whether it’s Iris, Session, HoneyBook, whatever booking calendar you use. The webpage is going to be your homebase for all of your mini sessions. Once they click it, they will be taken to a booking calendar. And if you want to check out and see what I’m talking about with mine, you can it’s https://brittnierenee.com/minis.
I will leave you with one final thought. Instagram and Facebook should not be your number one form of marketing; it should just be a filler. You need to focus on your other means of marketing first, because your ROI for social media is not great. It disappears after a day or two, and you’ve put in all this effort and then it’s gone after 24 hours. But when you’re using your email marketing, your website, and things that last a little bit longer, it’s less work. So stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be present on Instagram and Facebook all the time, because it is not the end be all end all.
Learn how to plan, market, & run Your mini sessions. I’m on a mission to make your mini sessions more successful. I want to teach you how to increase your profits without having to work more. Have you ever planned a mini session only for it to flop? In 2021 I made nearly half of my yearly income through 14 days of mini sessions. Over the years, I have come to find mini sessions as the perfect balance of value for my clients and income for me. Mini sessions are a great opportunity to give clients a high quality photo experience at a more affordable rate. Are you ready to change your life?
Join Cut The Chaos: A Guide To Mini Sessions. Use code CTCPOD15 for 15% off your purchase.