Running a small business is no easy task. It's messy and thrilling, and terrifying all at the same time. But no matter what, it's definitely a journey worth taking. As a mom of two littles, I know the daily struggles, and I'm here to walk this journey with you. If you're ready to feel empowered, encouraged and on fire for the things you truly love, then you're in the right place. I'm Rebecca Rice, a pizza loving hot chocolate drinking family photographer and educator. And this is the business Journey podcast.
Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of the business Journey podcast. I'm your host, Rebecca rice. And today we're talking about one of my all time favorite topics, and that is mini sessions, we're going to talk about Christmas in July, what that is how the campaign works and how you can implement it in your own business. Before we get too far, I did want to let you know about a free class that I have just for you guys, that is all about marketing your mini sessions. So if you've never run mini sessions, or you have but maybe you've struggled to book or whatnot, then this is for you. So you can head to we've got it linked in the show notes, but just in case you'd like to type it in, you can head to Rebecca rice And you can sign up for this free class. I know it'll be helpful for you. And it'll just really get you in the mindset to get started with planning for fall and for Christmas, because the season is upon us. So don't wait. Be sure to register for that class. And I know it'll be helpful for you. Okay, guys. So what is Christmas in July? Great question. It's one of my biggest campaigns in the whole year. When I say campaign, I basically just mean, it's a big marketing push that we make to book out our mini sessions. And so here's what this looks like for us. Starting July 1, we open up bookings for a specific set of Christmas minis, it's our most popular one. So for us, it's our red truck mini sessions. That's especially in the Dallas area, that's like huge. I noticed we did it in Nashville a couple times. And I think more people have access to red trucks. So it's not quite as in demand as in Dallas. But either way, they are really fun. We get a vintage red truck, all the things. So July 1,
we open up bookings. No, we don't shoot these in July. We shoot these in October. But because you know, Christmas in July is like kind of a thing. We play off of that. And we opened up bookings. And every year we fully book all of our retro Christmas minis in about two days. So it goes really, really well. And you wonder if like, are people going to actually book their date in October back in July? Absolutely. They do bucket if anything, it helps them so they can plan around it for their fall plans. So it goes really well. But we always open to our email list. First, we give our email list 24 hours, sometimes 48 hours to book their spot. And then we hit Facebook groups and run Facebook ads for if needed. A lot of the times are Manny's book fully just from our email list at this point, just because we've been doing it for so many years. Occasionally, we still need to go to Facebook groups. And if they don't book out in Facebook groups, then we run ads for it. I mentioned that these minis are in October. And we have actually done this campaign a couple of different ways. The first like I mentioned is we give dates and have them booked like normal. We've also done it a different way we try it where we didn't give dates and we just had them pay their retainer to reserve a spot. And then they picked their date later, when it was closer to October. I think we opened them up in like August, September maybe. So they were able to choose their date. It worked. Okay, I found that I actually prefer giving them the actual dates in October that way, I don't have to have so much of the back and forth of Okay, now it's time to pick your dates. And you know, dealing with people that pay retainer and never pick their date and trying to reschedule and all the things it just gets really complicated. So my preference is to give them dates and book like normal. And just don't worry that it's so many months out. It'll be fine. Occasionally, we have somebody that needs to reschedule because like sports schedules came out or whatever, and there was a conflict. And so we'll just move them to a different date of minis that we already have. And usually it works fine. That's like the outline of Christmas in July. So we market these really, really hard in email and in social media. And so it's a very focused campaign. It's already talked about for the pretty much the first week of July. I've had students ask well, what if I don't book out all my spots? You know, in the first week, you have all of July. That's the beauty of it is it's Christmas in July. And so you can spend as much time during the month as you want marketing these. And then as soon as our spots are fully booked, we switch to fall. And so we usually book about 30 spots in just a couple of days of marketing. And so obviously the campaign works and not just for me, but a bunch of my students have run Christmas in July specials, and it always goes well. So you may be wondering, like, when should I prepare to do these Christmas in July minis? Well, now, you should be preparing now. Absolutely. If you haven't already, look at rentals, reserve your rentals and set dates, even if you just do one date. And it doesn't have to be red truck Christmas minis. You could do indoor studio Christmas minis or like pajamas, or pictures with Santa or tree farm or whatever it is that you want to do. But set your dates and reserve your rentals. The next step would be to prepare your emails. So there's this like misconception I feel like with photographers that we don't want to send too many emails because it'll overwhelm our clients. What I've found is within the last year, we started really ramping up the number of emails we send whenever we are launching something like this like Christmas in July. So we actually send an email every single day for about five days. So the first day we send an email and it's now booking Christmas in July, get your spot just introducing the idea of Christmas minis and what what our campaign is, then the next day, we send an email that looks very similar, but it's more like hey, just in case you missed it yesterday, we announced Christmas in July, here's the all the details, blah, blah, blah, day three more of an update email of like, Oh, my goodness, I can't believe this many sessions booked. If you want your spot, you just have a couple more days to book and you know, putting that deadline on them. Before we go live to the public, you're a VIP. And so now's your chance to book. And then emails four and five are very much like, hey, last chance, don't forget to book your spot before we go live to the public and all the things. Now if you book out in your first two days, you don't need to send the last three emails. But if you don't book out, I highly suggest sending all five emails for five days in a row. Because you're always gonna have people that Miss, you know, your first four emails. And then on day five, they're so thankful that randomly they saw it in their inbox. For some reason, they just didn't see the first four. So you always catch stragglers. And, you know, like I said, when we first started sending that many emails, I was really nervous that we would annoy people that we would get people unsubscribing and whatnot. And what I've learned is that for one, if people unsubscribe, it's okay. They're helping you out. Because that's not you know, your ideal client that you're wanting to serve. Because the people that stick around are the ones that are all in for you and appreciate and are so thankful that you send the emails that you do because at the end of the day, it's about serving our clients well. And so by emailing several times, we're serving them, well, we're giving them opportunities to book, we're making sure that they don't miss it. There's a lot of different reasons that I really love doing that. But you can be prepping your emails now. So that they're scheduled and ready to send, you know, July 1. So I love using Flow desk for my email delivery system and we'll link it in the show notes for you, you can get 50% off using our link flow desk is like the Canva of email systems. It's
so beautiful and so easy to use, they have drag and drop templates. It's just a really elevated experience. I've used a lot of other email delivery systems, I've done MailChimp, I've done Mad Mimi back in the day, I used ConvertKit and flow desk who is absolutely my favorite. And so if you want to check that out, you can but it's great because you can set these emails to schedule so that they send out at whatever date and time that you choose. And so you can write all your emails now schedule them and not have to worry about it. After you prep your emails, then I would look at prepping your CRM, automations and workflows. So my preferred CRM is dubsado because I just feel like the automations are unmatched compared to most other CRMs a lot of people like honey book or session, I have discount codes for all of them. And so here in the show notes if you are looking at a CRM, you want to try them out. You can check them all out my favorites dubsado. But there are others available and I do have discounts for all of them. So those are in the show notes. But what we do is we prep the automations in the workflows so we have it set up so that when When somebody books, they are then added to this automation that sends them a set of emails automatically leading up to their session. So obviously it sends their contract and their invoice, it sends their client questionnaire, which is available in my shop, if you want to check that out. The purpose of that is just to get to know our clients a little bit better before our session. So we can serve them well, our system automatically sends their client experience Guide, which is just a PDF guide that they get in their email that walks them through what to expect before, during and after their session tips for getting the kids to cooperate tips for styling for the whole family. Like it just gives them everything that they need. And that also is available in my shop, if you want to check it out. It's a Canva template, Our system automatically sends our final info email, and so that, again, available in our email templates, I try to like make everything that I use available for you guys, because I want to make it as easy as we can for you. That final info email is automated as well. So it gives our clients everything they need to know, right, you know, the week before their session, how to get to the location, parking, last minute reminders, everything like that. All of that is set up in dubsado for us. And so once you do it once, it's really easy to set up for future mini sessions. And so you really just duplicate and swap some things out. And so once that's all set up, then you're ready to go for Christmas in July. If you're the kind of person that like gets overwhelmed with timelines, and you always feel like you're behind, I was recently at my mastermind retreat, you don't know I have a mastermind that is specifically about marketing. It's a six month program, I was at our beach retreat at the beautiful 30 A, in Florida. And we were talking about Christmas in July and prepping for mini sessions. And so many of the girls were saying that they really struggle with always feeling behind with their mini sessions that they say, Well, you know, I when I see the first person post about it in Facebook groups, then I'm like, Oh yeah, I should do you know, fall minis or Christmas minis or whatever. And by that point, honestly, you're almost too late to the party. And so you want to be one of the first ones really like out on the market doing it. And so I actually have something it's called a mini sessions playbook. It's available in my shop. Basically, it walks you through Week by week, starting, I believe eight weeks out from when you're wanting to do your minis. And it tells you what you should be doing every single week, so that you're prepared. And you're ready and launching this thing with plenty of time to fully book, but also so that you're not like doing the last minute thing. And so that may be helpful for you if you feel like you're always behind in your mini sessions. So definitely go check that out. All of that to say Christmas in July is upon us. So right now when this episode is publishing, you just have a few weeks, or I guess a couple of weeks before July 1. And so take advantage of the next couple of weeks. And try it give it a try. Because at the end of the day, if your minis don't fully book in July, you still have so much time and the good news is everything for prepping it is done and ready. And then you know later let's say in August or September, you can start booking these again, you can stop in July and then start back up. Because that's how my team usually does it. We will do our Christmas in July campaign. And then as soon as those book or when July ends, we switch to foam minis and we market our fall minis really hard. And then in about August, September, we switch back to Christmas minis after our fall minis are booked. And so you have plenty of time, but it's worth a shot. Because if Christmas minis like Who wouldn't love having your Christmas minis fully booked months in advance to do it in July. So I would just like love to hear how it goes for you. So
if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a DM at Rebecca rice photography and we can chat there or just you know, update me with a win if you try the Christmas in July thing and it goes well let me know I want to cheer you on and just be an encouraging voice for you. It really makes my heart happy hearing how you guys implement these things. Especially stuff you hear from the podcast or my YouTube channel so I can't wait to hear how it goes. Definitely let me know and get to planning. That's it for today. We will see you this time next week. Bye guys.

73. Christmas Minis... in July?! When to start preparing for Christmas Minis!