Book it: This is a simple booking protocol that I HIGHLY advise you to follow. It keeps the entire process very organized and it WORKS.
Now that you have all of your ideas in mind and on the calendar, it's time to book the dang thing!
1. Plan the details
Make sure you write down the details of the session - the location, the style, the vibe, and even how you envision your clients. If you are looking for a particular location and you don't have any samples, then go out and get some taken!
Mini sessions will always be more profitable if your clients know EXACTLY what they are signing up for. And this is easiest to accomplish when we have a sample image(s) or even full gallery of photos to share and show.
If you don't have any photos of what you have in mind for these sessions, then go out and take some!
Refer to the profitable portfolio protocol to make some $$ while simultaneously creating images to use as samples.
2. Share the details
This is where you put your offer out into the world. I strongly recommend creating a landing page or blog post to direct any traffic or interest BEFORE anyone contacts you.
You should lay out all the details on this page BEFORE you make your offer and start booking sessions. This helps answer any questions that they have ahead of time and also helps keep communication to a minimum (and with minis, you will be busy working with more clients - so the more info you give upfront, the less you will be responding to questions and emailing clients back and forth)
Things you could include on your landing page:
- type of session/ mini session offer
- date and times available - be specific! (I like to keep all the times and dates on the landing page and cross them out as they are booked. This displays urgency on the client part and makes you book faster since they won't want to miss out!)
- what the session includes (and what it doesn't include)
- PRICE & packages available
- what to expect after the session (will you send them the photos or meet in person so they can choose their final image and purchase more?)
- HOW to book with you
- further pricing information (you don't have to share your full up-sell pricing, but make sure that they know a good starting point or the average of what a typical client spends)
- first come, first serve booking process. Take full payment upfront to weed out wish-washy clients and to fill your mini session event
- be firm and give ALL the details on what you'll need from them in order to get on your demanding schedule
Be as detailed as you can and make sure you don't glaze over the important things like what's included and further pricing. Your sessions will NOT be a positive experience if your clients end up feeling like they didn't know all the details and what exactly they signed up for.
I have found that when I place direct & clear booking information and what I expect of them, I get clients who follow my instructions without any tugging. You can refer to how I lay out my mini session offer here.
Helpful tip: If you have past clients who have booked your mini sessions, consider reaching out to them first BEFORE offering them to the public. They will be thrilled that you thought of them first, AND you will most likely start off the booking process with some filled up spots (making it even more enticing for others to book!).
3. Take payment
Without a doubt, my BEST mini session events happen when I take FULL payment upfront.
When you are working with so many clients, it can be such a time-suck to keep track of split payments and retainers, so I like to simplify the process by making the full payment mandatory - no exceptions.
I easily do this by sending them an invoice through Square so that they can pay with their credit card quickly. They have 24 hours to pay, otherwise, I will not hold their session time.
This might sound stern and a little bit mean, but this is business and you don't get on my calendar unless you pay up buttercup! (and I'll have you know that I noticed a huge shift in the type of clients I started to attract when I got serious about my business policies, especially regarding money).
Once the payment has been cleared, then you can officially add your client to your calendar and cross that spot off the list!
RINSE AND REPEAT.
4. Call or meet ahead of time
Now this solely depends on you and how you prefer to run your business, but I like to get my clients on the phone before a session. And more times than not, I even meet them in person.
This helps to break the ice and it also gives me a good idea on how I can interact with them at their session, how many people to expect, and all of the ages of who will be participating. Knowing this information ahead of time helps me plan ahead so I can be fully prepared (even for squirmy kids) and run these sessions in a timely manner.
For some people, it's super easy to talk to and everything just flows, but there are others that can make it tricky (and need I say awkward) to hold a conversation with. So by talking to them ahead of time, it's better prep for me and makes the session run even more smooth.
Plus, a 5 minute phone call is way easier and saves much more time than emailing back and forth for days.
Whatever you do, make sure that the both of you are on the same page. Go over the date, the time, location, wardrobe, etc. and get everything nailed down. This is also a good opportunity to run through your contract and model release forms to get signed.
Other than that, planning these sessions with your clients should be very similar to what you typically do with your normal sessions - just on a quicker, smaller scale.
Helpful tip: If you're pressed for time, consider creating a landing page with a recorded video of you introducing yourself and going over the session details. Once your client books with you, you can send them the link to the video to run through everything they need to know, along with any other information on the page (session guide, event day instructions, paperwork, etc.). This will save you time if you don't want to talk to everyone on the phone or answer a hundred emails.