The 6 phases of a massively successful campaign launch


In episode 488 of the Business of Photography Podcast, Bryan guides you through the nuts and bolts of building and launching a successful promotion.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build a meaningful, timely promotion
  • How to choose the right market
  • How to select and use the appropriate communication channel
  • How to develop monetization strategies that speak to your audience
  • How to plan and execute your promotion using Sprout Studio

Links and resources:

This podcast is sponsored by Sprout Studio, the first all-in-one business software made by photographers for photographers. Sprout Studio combines studio management software with online galleries, wall portrait sales tools, design proofing, bookkeeping and more!

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The 6 phases of a massively successful campaign launch

Named best of iTunes, The Business of Photography is a weekly podcast where we interview industry experts and business specialists who share high-value, no-fluff, concrete business ideas for professional photographers.

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Welcome to The Business of Photography podcast, powered by Sprout Studio, a studio management suite built for photographers by photographers. Here’s your host, Bryan Caporicci. Welcome to episode 488 of The Business of Photography Podcast. My name is Bryan Caporicci. In today’s episode, we’re going to be doing a follow up on the last episode, episode 487. If you haven’t already listened to that episode, I definitely encourage you to pause here, go back and listen to that episode. If you are watching this on YouTube, we have it on YouTube. We also have this on all of the podcast apps that are out there. Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, so on and so forth. If you’re listening there and you want to listen back to that episode there, then go find it. Otherwise we are on YouTube as well. And we also have an article that we’ve written that corresponds with that last episode, episode 487, where I basically take the episode and break it down in text form for you so that you can read through it, you can skim through it, you can see the notes, so on and so forth. This episode is going to build on it. We’re going to talk about creating a marketing campaign. And in this episode, in specific, I’m actually going to run through a sample. One, I’m going to run through actually creating a marketing campaign with you based on the principles that you learned in the last episode. So it’s important for you to go back and listen to episode 487 or watch 487 if you’re on YouTube because it’s going to give you the context for what we’re going to run through today in this episode. And this episode is going to be very timely based on the time of the year. And you’re going to learn more about that in just a moment. So let’s really quickly run through and recap the steps of planning a successful marketing campaign. Now, we go into more detail on this again in that last episode and in that article. So I do encourage you to go back and listen to that and watch that. The six steps are this number one, planning number two, promotion number three, booking number four, the session number five, post session and number six, delivery. So those are the six steps of creating a successful campaign and then marketing around it with strategy, with intention, and with great purpose so that you can actually make the most of your campaigns and the work that you’re doing there. Now, let’s run through an example and as I’m sort of thinking of the time of the year that we’re in right now, it’s middle to end of August and I’m thinking about what’s happening on our calendar. And we actually put a list of suggested campaigns that you could be running for different times of the year in that article and in the podcast. Also in the Seeds to Success email that we send out, we’ve put these things in a lot of different places. But I’m thinking through right now, middle of August, what kind of campaign could I be running through? What kind of promotion could we be running? What would be the reason? And again, you’ll know this if you watch that last episode or listen to that last episode, what’s the reason that people should be booking now? What’s the reason that we want to be creating a campaign or a promotion now? Why now? Why not five weeks from now? Why not five weeks ago? Well, I had the idea of doing sort of a back to school thing. And so my thought process was this idea of summer coming to an end and thinking that now would be the perfect time for families to sort of, like, say goodbye to the season, to the summer season, and to capture some moments, some memories to create those opportunities before transitioning into the next season and for many folks, into the next chapter. Whether that be going back to school, whether it be first day of school for kids, whether it be a new chapter and you’re sending kids off to high school or a new chapter and you’re sending kids off to university or to college or whatever the case is. I thought, again, the whole point of this episode is to kind of give you some insight into thinking through this kind of campaigning. But I’m thinking this would be a great opportunity to create that for families and to create a reason for why now. So sort of end of summer, transitioning into school, back to school, new chapter, new milestones, sort of like marking the end of this season, the end of the summer season, the end of the long summer days, the end of the routine, the end of beach days, things like that. It’s a transition. A lot of folks, a lot of parents obviously look at back to school as a transition in a rhythm, a transition in a routine. And so I thought, why not give parents an opportunity to celebrate that, give them a chance to remember that, give them a chance to get involved in that transition, to sort of like freeze that moment in time? So that was the idea. That was the why now? Now, let’s run into some ideas, some specific campaign ideas that I had that we could sort of start to play with. So I have five campaign ideas that I came up with that we could use. And you could use all of them. You could use one of them, you could use a couple of them, or you could use them to inspire, to create your own, but just, again, kind of sharing the behind the scenes thinking of what this could look like for you and five different campaigns you could run based on this timeliness. Campaign number one, first day frenzy, mini sessions. So this is where you would offer these sort of like fast and fun mini sessions, like 5-10 minutes to capture that excitement and that anticipation of kids as they gear up for their first day of school. So that would be one reason to take advantage of this opportunity and to create a promotion and to create a campaign right now. Number two, teacher appreciation. So this is where maybe you could show your appreciation for educators and celebrate the way that they bring value into the world and create an offer that’s exclusive for teachers so you can kind of create something for them. Number three best friends forever session. So this is where you would basically encourage clients to plan a session for their kids with their closest group of friends for this season in this summer, where you can get together and do something fun with them and capture that laughter, the adventures, the connections, as they all sort of like return to school together. Just create this moment in time and the best friends that they have right now during this season of life to capture that for them and to give that to them. The fourth campaign that you could run would be the Summer Farewell Family Portraits. This is where you offer clients the opportunity to bid farewell to summer in style with an outdoor environmental family portrait session where you’ll get together, you’ll capture this warmth and the joy of the end of the season. Document this now and allow families to create those memories that they can have forever that sort of commemorates this season for them. And then the fifth opportunity that you can create for them is a back to school home refresh. Now, this one’s going to be all about decorating your home and refreshing your home and updating your home decor and getting into this new routine and this new rhythm. And maybe you offer something that’s more focused around a print sale or a wall art sale or a small print sale or a gift print sale or prepping for the holidays, like things like that where it’s all about. This home refresh. You’re taking advantage of this time, this season as we transition seasons and get back into a new rhythm and say, hey, let’s get your home refreshed. Let’s get things sort of looking nice looking new give you a new opportunity and breathe some new life into the space that you live in every day So those are the five reasons. Again, you could run all of them, you could run one of them, you could run multiple of them. But the idea is that you’re thinking of why now? And then you’re creating a campaign, you’re creating an opportunity, you’re creating a promotion. That sort of answers that question, why now? And you can see with all five of those, it was very obvious why now versus a month ago versus a month from now. So that’s sort of the first objective that you want to be really thinking of is why now and then giving a reason and making it timely. Now, the next part of creating a campaign, again, if you go back and listen to episode 487 or you read that blog post or you watch that video, is to really get into the psychology and the thinking and defining the motivations of the people that you’re actually speaking to. So the audience so for any of these campaigns, or for some of them, some of them more obvious, again, I’m sort of like just spitballing and trying to give ideas here. I’ve come up with three different audiences and I wanted to share sort of like the level of detail that I think is important for you to go into. And this is, again, just even a starting point. I think you can go even further detail wise with creating these audiences. But these are three different audiences that I’ve created that would be taking advantage of these promotions and that you would want to be targeting with your marketing. The first audience is parents with young kids. So these parents are acknowledging and recognizing that this summer has certainly flown by. I know myself, I have three young kids with my wife and so I can acknowledge that as well.I can relate to this one very much. And these parents are having kids who are now going to be heading back to school and so they want to capture the warmth and the joy and these carefree moments of this season as summer comes to a close through family portraits to preserve memories and to document their children’s growth. So that is sort of a definition of that first audience. That would be one audience that you could speak to, that you could talk to, that you could create your language and your marketing and your graphics and your samples all around to create this promotion. The second one is going to be parents with kids who are transitioning seasons. So these parents have children who are about to embark on a significant transition. They’re maybe starting high school for the first time or they’re going away to college or they’re in their last year of university. They basically want to capture their family as it is in this moment of transition and cherishing the snapshot of their family today and the dynamic that they have with their kids today before they embark on that next chapter. And then the third audience is parents with kids who are in bigger transitional years. So again, these are maybe, perhaps, maybe I sort of mischaracterized the second one, transitioning seasons versus big transition years. I think of that as, hey, you’ve had your kids at home for 17 years of your life and this is the first year that they’re now going away to college. So these are like sort of big transition years. So it’s almost like two and three are sort of a little bit closely related. But I do think that from a marketing perspective, it makes sense to distinguish them and to keep them separate because you could even have a whole marketing campaign around this idea of, hey, your kids are going away to college, to university for the first year. They’re moving away from home. There’s a lot of big feelings, a lot of transitions happening here. That would be one thing, as opposed to you’re transitioning from grade seven to grade eight. That’s still a big transition, but perhaps not as big as going away to college for the first year or from grade eight to now starting high school. That’s, again, big transition, but not as big as going away to school for the first year. Another big transition year might be you’ve had your kids at home with you and now they’re starting JK for the first time. That would be a big transition year, I’d imagine. So that kind of just gives you some context of the level of thinking that you want to go through to define these audiences, to define their motivations, their thinking. What are they valuing? If you are speaking to them, how can you speak to them in the most relevant way, in the most appropriate way? So they’re going to read it and be like, oh yeah, this person, this photographer is talking to me. That’s definitely me. You want them to identify themselves in your marketing. If they can’t identify themselves in your marketing, in your language, in your samples, in your landing pages and your social posts, anything like that, then they’re going to be less likely to want to engage with you, and they’re going to be less likely to see the value that you can add to their lives. The next step in creating a successful marketing campaign is to define and to share the communication channels and sort of to figure out how are you actually going to talk about these things. Now, I’ve sort of got like a laundry list of things here that I want to talk about, but I just think it’s important to think about this idea that a marketing campaign does not exclusively revolve around an Instagram post or a social media post. Certainly it can have that, but it does not define a marketing campaign and a promotion. Just because you find a fancy graphic, update it with your own branding, and then throw it on Instagram doesn’t mean that it’s a successful campaign. So let’s kind of think a little bit more holistically about this. Let’s think a little bit more from a 360 degree perspective about this. So some things that you can be thinking about is to create a dedicated landing page for the promotion. So you got somewhere to send people to no matter where you’re sending them from. Number two would be to look at social media. Of course, I think it would be silly to not mention social media here, but certainly it’s one of many. Number three would be email marketing. What can you be doing from an email marketing standpoint both to cold leads. So what can you do from a lead magnet standpoint or from a cold lead standpoint, but also what can you be doing from an email marketing standpoint to existing clients to promote this campaign to them, those that would actually fit the filtering for this kind of audience? Could you use a pop up on your website? You probably already have a lot of traffic coming to your website or at least some traffic coming to your website. Why not draw attention to folks that are there perhaps exploring your website for other things or perhaps they’re looking at family portraits. Why not have a pop up saying, hey, if you’re interested in this thing, if this sounds like you, click here to learn more. So you could have a pop up on your website, you could do collaborations with local businesses. This is where you start to use the sort of like social part of social media but outside of the internet age. This is what we used to do back in the day before social media was a thing. This is how we used to market is we would collaborate and do partnerships and do co-promotions and do joint venture things with other local businesses to promote each other and to run promotions that celebrate together, that work together, that collaborate together. So think about that. What could you be doing? Maybe, perhaps I’m just thinking out loud here, like a local farmers market. Could you get out there and do some advertising there, do some promotions there, have a stand there, do an art fair, do something like that where you can get out physically, locally, in your community to promote these things to your clients. Now what about the last one I’m going to mention here in terms of channels is word of mouth. What could you be doing to specifically create referral programs that are going to work well for this specific promotion? Again, moms know a lot of other moms, dads know a lot of other dads. Maybe you could use that here in this example to get more business just from existing clients that you have and say, hey, if you know anyone like you, I’d love for you to mention this to them because this would be a great value for them. Here’s how you can help them and here’s how you can help me. So those are the communication channels that you can be using to run through these things. Now the next sort of part of creating a successful campaign here is to come up with the monetization strategies. Now this one is often overlooked and oversimplified by photographers but I think it’s something that is really worth pouring a little bit of intentional energy into and that is how are you going to more or less exchange what you’re offering, the value for what you’re getting, which is the money. So what are the ways that you’re going to Monetize. This campaign, in my opinion, every campaign shouldn’t just be, hey, here’s a promotion. It’s 10% off. Here’s a promotion. Here’s my session fee. Here’s a promotion. You get a free print. I think that it needs to be a little bit more thoughtful and a little bit more purposeful. So I’ve come up with three different example monetization strategies that you could be using for this specific campaign just to kind of get your wheels turning a little bit, to get those gears going and to sort of start thinking about how you can think more creatively about monetization strategies. And they are this number one is what I’ve kind of kind of got fun names for these, the seasonal storyteller. So this is a package that might offer sort of more like a day in the life type session or type experience where you will capture the essence of a family’s routine, their activities. Again, you can think about how this would work with some of those promotions I talked about earlier. This is where you would spend a day with a designated family and you would document the moments of laughter and connection and everyday adventures, the things that happen in summer for a family. And the package the monetization would include a custom designed coffee table book showcasing the highlights of that day. Having this nice, beautiful day in the life keepsake, giving them this tangible keepsake and heirloom of their summer story. So that would be the seasonal storyteller. Package number two would be a gallery wall ensemble. Now, that would be where you would choose to offer maybe a family portrait session or some kind of session itself. But then you would include either complimentary wall art to enjoy in their homes or you’d offer some kind of package or promotion or grouping of wall art. So an emphasis on canvas prints and framed prints or metal prints or whatever makes sense for you and what you want to offer to your clients, but really focusing on the gallery wall art, this idea of having beautiful, large art in your home. And then the third opportunity for monetization would be what I called the Summer Moments mosaic. So this is where they would get a coffee table book or like a nice portrait book, as well as some of the images as a mosaic in their home. So you can kind of design it and give opportunities and show examples of having like a bunch of eight by eights and ten by tens and smaller prints that you kind of use to create this beautiful mosaic in their home. And so the whole idea here is about storytelling and about moments and about triptychs and diptychs and things like that. And you can kind of really use that in your language and talk about it and planning it and all of that. So those are just three different examples. You can see how we’re thinking outside the box here. We’re thinking more than just, okay, well, let’s book me for a session and you get 10% off. It’s just so much more meaningful than that, especially when you compare the monetization with the ‘why now?’ Of it. And that’s where you really can come up with a campaign that feels well thought out and really beautifully designed and one that really just makes sense to offer to your clients and really answers that question, ‘why now?’ Let’s get into the last part of this, which is sort of planning out the timelines we mapped out earlier, the six steps of creating a campaign planning, promotion, booking session, the post session and then delivery. Those are the six steps. And let’s kind of run through what those might look like specifically for this campaign, for the summer frenzy, summer promotion, end of summer campaign. So the first step is planning. Now, this would be three weeks before the promotion period ends. And it’s really important for you to this is why in the last episode, we talked about creating a marketing calendar because it’s important for you to map these things out. So everything kind of starts from the session. And so maybe it actually would be smart for us to go right to the session and then work backwards from there. And then work forwards from there. So if we started the session well, let’s say that these sessions would happen the last week of summer before the back to school season begins. So you want to make sure that you build time for multiple sessions a day, or one day of sessions if you’re doing mini sessions, or maybe it’s two weeks of sessions, if you want to be doing four or five sessions a week, whatever that looks like for you. But start with that. Mark that in your calendar and say, okay, the last week of summer, that’s when the session is now let’s work backwards from there. Two weeks before that period is when you want to have the booking period. And it’s especially important for things like this to not be booking sessions now. For six months from now, you want to be creating this short, tight window that is all encompassing for this specific promotion, this specific campaign. So we have the session in the last week of summer. Let’s work backwards from there and say let’s. Two weeks before that is when the booking session begins. That’s when you have your booking page opened up. If you’re using Sprout Studio, that’s obviously super easy to do. So you open that up, that’s when folks can pick your availability. Again, if you’re using Sprout and you’re using our scheduler, very easy to do, and that way you don’t get double booked. Everything is super simple, everything is super streamlined, and you’re fully hands off on this whole process. All you do is build a booking page and press Go. So that’s the booking phase of this whole thing. Working backwards from there is promotion and that is two weeks before the booking period. You need to be talking about this and promoting it for the two weeks that lead up to the booking window. That’s when you’re going to be getting into the various channels. You’re getting into social media, you’re doing email newsletters, you’re updating your website, you’re doing local community collaborations, all of that kind of stuff. You’re promoting it for that two weeks leading up to the booking period itself, and then therefore, working backwards from there, two to three weeks is when the planning begins. So that’s when you need to start putting together the ideas and thinking of the monetization strategies and thinking of all the details and the nuance and getting the language together and building the landing page for it and picking your pricing. And all of those kinds of things need to happen for two or three weeks before the promotion period happens. So you have planning, three weeks promotion, two weeks booking, two weeks session. So you can see, I mean, working backwards from here. You’re almost needing to be working on these things for an end of summer campaign in like the middle of summer right now, if you’re looking at something like a Thanksgiving campaign or and again, in that last episode, episode 487, and also in the article for it, we have a full list. I think we have like 50 ideas of different things you can be doing throughout the year. You can see why you can’t just start thinking about a Valentine’s Day promotion on February 1. It’s way too late at that point. So you need to be really intentional about planning these things. Now, working from the session forward, that one perhaps is a little bit now more intuitive for us as photographers right now. This is the post session phase that’s going to happen obviously the week or the week after the session. And then from there it’s delivery. That’s when you actually get the products into their hand, the finished pieces, whether it’s galleries, whether it’s wall art, whether it’s a book, whether it’s digital files, whatever the case is, you do all that then. So those are sort of like the phases of creating a campaign. And again, you can see why you need to be mapping these things out on a calendar so that you can plan these really appropriately so that you don’t find yourself rushing through anything or launching it too late or not having enough time to promote it the way that you want to promote it. That’s probably one of the biggest mistakes that most photographers make outside of just not planning it at all, is that those that do plan it are just planning it way too late. And then it just feels sort of like half put together. It’s not well thought out, it’s not thorough, it’s not fleshed out, there’s not the same level of care and the amount of time that can go into promoting this appropriately. Now one of the things that is really interesting that I want to just transition and talk a little bit about Sprout for is that in Sprout Studio you can do all of these things really easily. You can build out a lot of this stuff and then you can even replicate these things really easily so that it makes the work a lot less every time you go to run a campaign. So for example, you can use Workflows in Sprout which is basically an entire client journey with emails and questionnaires and tasks and reminders and all of those things that you can use to sort of guide your client through these things. You can build a workflow in Sprout, build it once and then just apply it for every single session. You can even have it automatically applied for certain sessions. So every client just gets the exact same experience, the exact same emails, they have the exact same expectations, they get the same questionnaires, so you get the right information at the right time. All of that stuff can happen automatically in Sprout. So when you’re running successful campaigns, having consistency and having as much hands off from those nuance and those admin things are really important because it allows you to focus your energy more on that CEO work, the planning of the campaigns, the promoting of the campaigns. And not like the nuance of building each customer journey one by one, individually. Instead, with workflows, you do it once, you don’t have to think about it again. Something else that you can use Sprout for is an email campaign. So you can use email campaigns to create filters with existing clients. So you can go in and say hey, I want to find all of my family portrait clients that booked me between this date and this date and I want to send them an email to promote this thing for, or I want to send them five emails to promote this thing for. And you can do that kind of filtering and email campaign launch in Sprout Studio because Sprout Studio has email marketing built right into it with all of your CRM functionality sitting right beside it. And the third thing is that you can use email campaigns to drip to cold leads. So you can create in Sprout Studio pop ups that you put on your website or banners that you put on your website that folks can sign up for to receive emails that you then send them email marketing through Sprout Studio. And that way it all is like fluid, it’s all in one place. So you can do all of those things in Sprout Studio. And actually, one of the things that we’ve built for you that I want to just point your attention to here, if you’re using Sprout Studio, we’ve built one of these promotions, one of these campaigns for you in Sprout Studio as a bundle that you can copy into your account right. Now for a very low price. I don’t have the price here in this podcast off top of my head, but we’ve built the First Day Frenzy Mini Session bundle for you. So we’ve built out the entire workflow with emails, questionnaires, everything you would need to run that campaign successfully. We’ve built an email marketing campaign for cold leads with tips. So we’ve actually built a lead magnet for you that you can then just launch, put on your website and have people sign up for this thing that you then transition to, to promote your campaign into. And we’ve also built an email campaign that you can launch for existing clients to promote to existing clients to sign up for this First Day Frenzy mini session. So we’ve built this bundle for you that you can buy for a very low price. That was one of the things that I had said when we built this is that I want this to be very affordable. We want to have something in there because we want you to have some skin in the game. We want you to actually have to pay for it so that you’re like, okay, I’ve paid for it, it wasn’t free. I’m going to actually implement this thing. So if you’re interested in using that, even if you don’t want to launch this for the First Day Frenzy mini sessions, if you’re thinking in your head by the time you’re listening to this, it’s maybe too late, that’s okay, you can just do some small tweaks and launch this for Thanksgiving. Do some small tweaks and launch this for Halloween. Do some small tweaks, launch this for Christmas, use this next year, whatever the case is, there are small tweaks. That’s the great thing about Sprout is that you can duplicate these things and make small changes and it’s really easy to do. So I’d love to have you go and check that out again. It’s a very small fee to purchase that and then you can copy it right into your account in Sprout studio. Use them as is or customize them however you’d like. So I hope that this was helpful for you. Would love to have you come on over to Instagram and connect with us because we’ve been putting a lot of effort into creating these videos, into creating these podcasts, into writing the articles. We have Seeds to Success that is going out in your inbox every single week to share these kinds of tips with you as well. We’re promoting all these things on Instagram, on TikTok, on Pinterest, on Facebook, in our Facebook group, everywhere. We’re just trying to help you make a living doing this thing that you love to do, and we would love to hear how you’re liking this, what you’re finding of value. We are listening, we’re there. We’re a very small team here at Sprout and we talk all the time. And so send us a DM on Instagram and tell us what you’re thinking. Tell us what you’re loving about this new content. Give us some feedback. Maybe if you have some suggestions of other kind of content or other struggles that you’re having in your business, maybe we can help you out. We’d love to create some content to help you specifically. So come on over to Instagram. We’d love to connect, we’d love to help you, and we’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, happy promoting, happy running your campaigns and we’ll talk to you in the next episode. Thanks for listening to the Business of Photography podcast powered by Sprout Studio. A studio management suite built for photographers by photographers. You can do it all in one place with Sprout Studio. Stay organized, give your clients a seamless experience and get more done faster. Visit getsproutstudio.com to learn more about Sprout Studio.


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