How to run a successful Christmas mini-session campaign

What’s the secret to a successful mini-session campaign? It’s not your set, it’s not your props, it’s not even your promotional image.

We spoke to newborn and family portrait photographer, Amy Knowles to find out:

“You need to sell an experience to people.”

“Photographers tend to obsess about the promotional image, the set that they’re using, the props they’re using. For your clients, I don’t think the actual image matters all that much.”
Amy Knowles, Slinky Photography

Amy’s been running her photography studio for thirteen years, specialising in newborns, babies, and families

Christmas mini-sessions have always been part of her business, which now make up about a third of her annual turnover. 

Amy runs her mini-sessions in a very particular way, which has provided her with consistent and reliable results. She now shares her approach with other photographers within her very popular mentoring group.

Read on to discover Amy’s tips for making your mini-sessions a success.

Giving your clients a great experience

“You need to surprise and delight your clients at every turn. And that goes from the very start of the process, through every communication you have with them, and the day itself.” 

Amy uses Light Blue’s automated emails and texts to deliver important messages at the right time.

“If I’m seeing 120 or 150 clients with these sessions, there’s no way I could manually send out all the information they need.”

“Everything looks slick and professional to the client”

She keeps important details about each client in their record so she can give a personal service to each one.

“They are delighted when I greet their children by name, or ask how big the new puppy, Fred, has got since last year. None of this would be possible when seeing 30 families per day without a quick glance at Light Blue before I welcome each family in.”

For Amy, the experience for everyone at the session is critical.

“When your clients arrive, obviously their children are going to be wowed, but it’s about the parents and their experience as well. If they remember standing there and having a lovely time, then they’re going to tell all of their friends about it.”

Little touches with big impact

The smallest and simplest things can massively improve your clients experience.

“One of the things I did one year was have a hot chocolate bar set up on the side. Everybody was coming out of the studio with takeaway cups, with gorgeous looking hot chocolates. They were taking selfies outside my studio and uploading them to their socials, and tagging me in them. “

Delight builds hype

“I see 30 families a day on these sessions, if that happens 20 or 25 times from somebody in your local area, you can bet that everybody’s gonna see it. And everybody’s gonna want in on that.”

That generates demand and interest for the next year.

“By the time that happens, I’m long since sold out. So by the time the socials are full of people in the local area saying what a great time they’re having, there’s absolutely no chance anybody else can come that year. That only makes them more determined to want to book the following year.”

How important are scheduling calendars to the success of a mini session campaign?

“It would be absolutely impossible to do it any other way.”

Amy builds excitement for the sessions and announces when they’ll be going on sale.

“I tell my clients that the sessions are going to launch on a specific date and time, and that they’re going to sell out super fast.”

“Using a scheduling calendar means that my clients are able to click through and book in the moment, there and then.”

It’s not just about income

Mini sessions don’t just generate revenue, they also generate leads for other shoots later.

“Not only does it do really well for me at Christmas, but it then fills my diary for the rest of the year with really great clients who’ve come and experienced studio for the first time during those Christmas minis.”

Top tips:

  • Start your marketing campaign early so you can start building hype.
  • Announce a launch date.
  • Use a scheduling calendar for clients to book the sessions.
  • Keep in touch with your clients with a series of delightful messages before their session. Keep them informed and excited. Use your CRM for photographers to automate that process.
  • Add little touches to your session that give everyone a great experience .
  • Remember that the experience itself is the most important thing for your clients.
  • Create moments that are shareable on social media to build hype for next year.
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