Melissa Neumann’s Long Term Business Strategy
“I think my marketing is a little different than most because I use word of mouth. People find me as much as I find them because I’m an old fashioned family photographer with clients who come back to me over and over again.”
Melissa Neumann talks mainly about her family portraiture, although she also shoots weddings and commercial jobs.
A lot of her family portrait clients have husbands or wives who are corporates, and this translates into corporate portraiture and event photography.
After 20 years, Mel is still going strong and her secret, she says, is ensuring her clients are well serviced and looked after. “When I began in the profession, I worked for studios where service was important. We made people feel special and that’s why they were coming back, to buy that experience.”
Mel takes the same approach and from here, referrals bring in new work. “There’s nothing better than picking up work by word of mouth. If you have clients who referred you to someone, you know the new client is already qualified.”
This isn’t to say Mel doesn’t need to market and advertise herself. rather, when she does go out with a promotion, she has a lot of ambassadors helping.
“I find that within a group of people you will have an ambassador client, someone who really likes what you do, and if they see a new promotion from you, they pick it up and pass it on to their friends. I just have to put it on Face-book and it goes through all these smaller client channels.”
Melissa says she is looking for two to three portraits a week. Of course, five or six would be even better, but in addition to portraiture she has a flow of weddings, corporate shoots and smaller portraiture sessions.
“I don’t directly ask my clients to refer me, but if someone does, then I do something unexpected for them.” For instance, a client referred Mel to three of her friends, so she created a photo book using photos from the client’s earlier shoots, just as a thank you. “She really appreciated it and then she sent me another three clients!”
“I don’t have a referral program as such, but it all comes back to providing great service.”
Mel Neumann AAIPP is an AIPP National Vice President with over 20 years’ experience. She is also involved with a new venture to help photographers - take a look at www.cameralove.com.au