5 Reasons Why Your Mini-Sessions are an Epic Fail (and How to Fix It)
Mini-sessions for family photographers: either you love them or you hate them! Some family photographers make a killing several times a year on their mini-sessions, while others put hours of work and lots of money into their mini-sessions only to have a few measly bookings.
If you are in the latter category, I’m here to help. In order to start hosting successful mini sessions, you need to know why your current mini sessions aren’t successful. You have to understand the problem in order to fix it! Here are the top 5 reasons your mini-sessions are an epic fail — and how you can turn them around to a real success.
- Ineffective Marketing
When preparing to book your mini-sessions, your most pressing concern is finding the clients who want to book with you. So many photographers spend hours gathering props, taking a sample photo, and creating an advertisement, then post it on their Facebook page once — only to be disappointed when no one is signing up for their mini session. While Facebook can be a great source of clients, it should not be your only source. You should also be building an email list by collecting email addresses from your past clients and anyone that visits your website. Start by advertising your mini session to your email subscribers and frame it as a special offer, exclusive to those on your email list. Another effective way to market your mini-session is to partner with a local business and tap into their client list. Maybe host the event in their space, use some of their products in the sessions, or have the business owner assist you at your event so that you are both engaging with the client base. For your mini sessions to be successful, you need to be utilizing multiple marketing strategies — not just Facebook!
- Boring Events
Mini-sessions can’t be a “standard” offering. These sessions need to be unique, special events that are only offered for a limited time. This is why themes work so well for mini-sessions. Many photographers host a mini-session event during the holidays, in the spring, or when students start going back to school. These times of year offer a built-in theme and time-frame for the mini-session, which makes it interesting and exciting. Find something that will contribute to the “wow” factor, other than that fact that mini sessions are shorter and/or cheaper than a full session. Whether it’s beautiful props or an unusual theme, you need to add something irresistible to your mini sessions. This will attract your ideal client and encourage them to brag about the experience to friends — which is great for your business!
- A Bad Pricing Plan
One of the biggest misconceptions about mini-sessions is that they are just a less expensive version of a full session.Why would you do this to yourself? Mini sessions should require less work from you if they are costing less for your clients. The best way to structure a successful mini-session is to host a single event with several back-to-back sessions in one day. This will maximize the sessions for the most exposure and profit in a single day. When pricing your mini-session, you need to consider all expenses, including props and your time. It is also important to limit the number of different products you offer as part of your mini-sessions. It is better to provide a small percentage of what is included in a full session, so customers are just getting a sample of your work and are encouraged to sign up for a full session if they want specialized products.
- A Lack of Upselling
The entire motivation for hosting mini-session events is to entice clients to book a full session with you at a later time. The mini session gives new clients a chance to try your services. It also gives returning clients a “special” session when you are using a theme. But the best way to make your mini sessions work for you is by always offering interested clients a full session. This pitch should be made first thing when someone contacts you about a mini-session. Some people would rather have a longer, private session instead — which is a win for you in terms of profitability.
- Poor Communication
This mistake can cost you both referrals and returning clients. All information should be clearly communicated to your clients throughout the process. Many people might be unfamiliar with mini sessions, so it’s extra important to explain what this special event includes for them, and what it doesn’t include. It’s better to over-explain than under-explain: include information about location, time, confirmation, back-up plan, parking, bathrooms, what to wear, etc. One way to improve your client communication during mini sessions is to hire an assistant on the day of the sessions. Problems always come up, and your assistant can handle anything that arises so you can continue photographing and interacting with clients without interruption.
The most important thing to remember with mini-sessions is that they should be a shining example of your work. Give clients a small-but-special experience that will inspire them to come back to you for full sessions for years to come.
Mini sessions are an amazing way to gain new clients and inspire old ones to book again. Because this is such an awesome strategy for landing new clients and growing your business, I’ve put together a Mini-Session Planner on the topic of developing a successful mini session. This course will help you plan, market, and execute a complete mini session event that will leave your clients impressed and wanting more. Check it out below!
I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Tracy Houston for allowing me to use her images for this post. Her photography business in Naples, FL is www.letmebecandid.com