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The key takeaway for Successful Mini Sessions
I investigated mini sessions for you and created the perfect workflow that will help you run mini sessions like a pro. Follow along and learn why I integrated certain tasks and emails. At the end of this post, you can download the full workflow for free, or better yet, sign up for ShootZilla and get access to the workflow ànd the email templates![/thrive_custom_box]
Tips for doing mini sessions
I learned a lot from Nicole Begley over at Photography Spark.
After doing mini sessions for three years she shared the biggest learnings with doing mini sessions. The difference between being:
exhausted and not having much to show for it money wise
doing mini sessions effortlessly and seeing her bank account soar!
Her first tip is to be cognizant of your time. Protect it like a mad lion! That also means using tools to help you automate the administrative side of things.
Get online contracts and collect online payments so you can rest assured everything is taken care of well before the actual shoot date.
And if you are shooting with consistent lighting outsource the post-processing!
She also emphasizes to make your sessions profitable. If you can have in-person sales sessions, do it! They will generate higher sales every time.
The workflow that you can download at the end of this blog includes all the in-person sales sessions tasks.
Automating mini session bookings
An easy way to get your bookings scheduled is by using a calendar booking software. You can even collect the session fees or retainer fees with those tools. I have used Acuityscheduling, Calendly, and Booklikeaboss and they all work perfectly. Acuity scheduling at this moment is my favorite since it has slightly more options like being able to make them check your terms for acceptance via the booking form before they make the payment and being able to set different availability for each calendar invite that you create.
Basically, when you get the hang of it and schedule mini sessions year-round, a booking tool is a must-have! (Check out the download with this blog post for year-round mini session ideas).
Guide your clients towards the mini sessions
Ashley Pesata over at sixth bloom emphasizes the importance of informing the clients beforehand, setting all the expectations right so that mini sessions on the day go smooth!
I have included a couple of her tips in the email templates that come with the mini sessions workflow inside ShootZilla and in the free download with this blog post.
She also shares some very relevant tips on mini sessions packages. In short: stick to your pricing and keep it simple!
Check out her blog for more in-depth tips:
Biggest mistakes with doing mini sessions
Finally, one last blog I want to mention here is the modern tog website from Jamie Swanson.
Always a valuable vault of information and in the case of mini sessions, she mentions the biggest mistakes you can make. Especially valuable when you are drafting your packages and follow up marketing materials are mistake nr. 4, 5 and 6.
4. You’re giving away too much for too little. Don’t underprice your mini sessions since even if you only shoot for 15-30 minutes, you still go through your whole workflow. Jamie advises to keep it at 2/3rds of your normal session fee.
5. You don’t give them a reason to book a full session with you. This one is key! I always talk about over-delivering as does Jamie. However, if you over-deliver with mini sessions (giving them extra photos or extra surprises) you limit your chances that they will ever book a second full session with you. Keep it to the promised mini session package so they really get a taste of what it is to be working with you.
6. You don’t give them an opportunity to upgrade. Big one! They already committed to working with you. So when you did your pricing right and kept your fees at 2/3rds of a full session, upgrading to a full session is not a huge step for clients. Plus you can list all the other benefits of having a full session.
Of course, all these steps are incorporated in the mini-sessions workflow in ShootZilla and in the download via this blog.
[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=”All the Mini Session Tips”]Having read all there is to read about mini sessions a few tips come back over and over again:
- Automate the booking and payment process so you keep your time involved in that to a minimum.
- Get your contracts in order. Make sure cancellations and rescheduling is clearly outlined in your contract. When you do mini-sessions of 15 minutes, you don’t need any hassle in that. If you feel bad when someone says they can’t make it, refer them to the terms and say that they are free to give or sell their session slot to someone else.
- Make your mini sessions profitable. Have your costs straight and create packages that are simple and worth your time. Decide upfront if you want to do full out sales sessions or if you sell digital. Either way, give incentives for quick deciders and create upsell options that are hard to resist.
- Make your mini sessions different from your regular offering. Don’t undermine your brand by just lowering costs. Instead, offer something you usually do not offer. Think of special print products as well as themed shoots or different packages. Clients should not be able to book these mini sessions year-round with you, the time limitation and theme scarcity is part of why mini sessions can be selling easier than normal sessions.
- When you do outdoor sessions, have a backup plan in case it rains and have that of course mentioned in your contract. You don’t want to reschedule all those mini sessions or worse, refund all the fees.
- Streamline the mini sessions during the day. With 15 or 30 minute sessions, have a schedule that makes sense. For example 9:00, 9:20 and 9:40 for three 15-minute sessions with a little slack around each session. Inform and prepare the clients upfront with scheduled emails and hire an assistant for during the day.[/thrive_text_block]
How to market your mini sessions
- Create a landing page or dedicated blog post to inform people about the theme, dates, packages and how they can book one of the slots.
- Promote on social media. Always show them the date + name of the mini sessions in the graphics and where they can find information to book.
- Email your list and past clients with the offer.
- Collaborate with other businesses (props or location) and make arrangements to promote through their channels as well.
- Send updates as slots and time run out. Send updates when all mini sessions slots are sold out and inform users to book faster next time you do mini sessions and that you still have slots available for regular sessions.
- Create cards/flyers for your local community and ask to put them up in stores & restaurants where your ideal client shops or eats.
- Change your Facebook cover template with the mini sessions promo + dates.
- Mention the mini sessions promo + dates on your homepage with a link to the special landing page.
- Mention the mini sessions promo + link to the landing page in your Instagram bio or use a tool like linktr.ee to show more than one link in your bio.
I hope you can’t wait to get started with mini sessions. They are a great way to book your calendar full year-round. And with these tips and the workflow guidance in ShootZilla, managing them will be a breeze.
As an extra bonus with the download, there is a list of mini sessions ideas like pumpkin patch sessions, valentines sessions, Christmas sessions, etc. So no matter what month it is, you never have to search for an idea to increase your revenues.
If you found this valuable please leave me a comment on what your biggest take away is from this blog! Thanks and have fun!