When creating engaging marketing, whether a social media ad or an email, there is an incredible amount of power in using photography to drive your message forward. In fact, according to data, when you hear a piece of information, three days later, you’ll only remember 10% of what you heard. However, if you add a picture to the experience, you’ll remember 65% of what you heard.
This statistic reinforces that humans find photography more engaging than static copy alone. And while many small businesses are already using photography in their marketing materials, too often, they rely on stock images, which lack the powerful effect of unique photography.
In this guide, we’ll cover how you can obtain quality photography that can be turned into a powerful method for engaging with customers.
How to Obtain Quality Photography for Your Small Business
If your small business relies on stock photography for your marketing materials, it is time to obtain your own quality photography that is unique and showcases your company. Too often, service businesses, such as HVAC, plumbing, electrician, and auto repair professionals, are prone to using stock images rather than their own custom shots. However, these photos are reused across the web, making it easy for customers to quickly scan past the images.
As you transition toward the use of unique photography, the following are all methods you can use to acquire quality photos.
Hire a Professional Photographer
One option is to hire a professional photographer to put together a portfolio of images for your company. A professional photographer can help ensure that you have high-resolution images that can be used for a variety of marketing materials, including print materials. For businesses that currently have zero professional photos, hiring a professional for at least a one-time shoot can help create the perfect foundation for building a library of photos.
If you decide to go this route, make sure you take the time to create a list of images you want. The following are all ideas to consider adding to your list:
- Staff member photos
- Photos of your team at work
- Photos of your physical location
- Before and after photos of your work
DIY With a Quality Phone Camera
The good news is that with the quality of most phone cameras today, you can snap a lot of your own photography. Photos taken with your phone are a great choice for uploading to your social media channels and your website. This is a low-cost, easy way to add a personal touch to your marketing strategy. If you have technicians out in the field, you can even ask them to snap photos of their work as they go.
If you and your team plan to snap your photos, follow these basic tips to ensure the highest quality image possible:
- Pay attention to the lighting. If possible, snap images in well-lit areas or use a portable phone camera light to illuminate the image.
- Keep your phone stable. You can even purchase a small portable phone tripod for less than $10 online. This can help ensure that photos are not blurry.
- Focus on one subject at a time. Rather than trying to snap a wide photo of multiple items at once, center your focus on a single topic at a time.
Spend a Day Shadowing a Tech
You can gain a lot of incredible photography simply by shadowing a technician at their job site for a day. This is particularly beneficial for service-based businesses. Look for opportunities to snap before and after images and photos of service technicians at work. These photos can be helpful in showcasing the work your team does and adding a visual element to service information. When a customer sees the work you have showcased, they can more easily envision the same work being performed at their home or business.
Encourage Customer Uploads
One of the best ways to source more images for your company is to encourage customers to share their own photos. Through social media, ask clients to upload their photos of a recent interaction with your team, such as a completed project. You can then request permission to reuse those photos on your own social media channels. This not only earns you more photos at zero cost to your team but also encourages ongoing engagement with happy customers.
Ways to Put Your Photos to Use as a Marketing Tool
Once you have a library of images, it’s time to put those photos to use across your marketing strategies. The following are five effective ways to turn photos into a powerful visual aid.
Tag Photos With Alt Image Text
When Google crawls your website, it needs a way in which to interpret the images embedded in your web pages. Through the use of alt image text or alt descriptions, Google can understand what is contained in a photo. Think of alt text as a quick explanation of the visuals contained in a photo. While this is primarily of importance for accessibility reasons — alt text enables those with visual impairments to understand your webpage — it is also used by Google as a ranking factor.
While you can add alt-image text to stock photos, there is more power in using your own custom photography. As you upload new images to your website, be sure to add relevant keywords. Make sure you describe the image accurately without overdoing it on keyword use.
For example, if you took photos of your technician installing an AC unit, the following are two illustrations of a bad alt text description versus a good alt text description:
- The bad: “AC technician from HVAC company installing air conditioning unit for A/C customer.” This alt text is attempting to implement too many keywords into one description. This can be flagged by Google as spammy.
- The good: “ABC HVAC technician installing air conditioning unit at customer’s home.” This alt text explains the image adequately. It still incorporates important keywords, but it limits its use to a natural description.
If you aren’t sure how to go about adding your images to your website and adding alt-image text, be sure to ask your webmaster or the marketing agency that runs your website.
Create an Online Gallery
In addition to swapping out stock photos throughout your website with custom photography, you can also use your photos to build out a visual gallery. Before and after galleries are particularly helpful in converting warm leads. If a customer can see your work in action, they are more likely to trust your team.
Make sure that you not only add your new gallery of photos to your website but also to your social media pages. Once your galleries have been built, you can drive traffic to the pages by inviting customers to see the work your team has done.
Add Your Photos to Emails
Whether you are sending a newsletter or an email to market an event, photos can help drive your message in a powerful way. The following are all ideas of how you can use photos to create more engaging emails:
- Showcase an event: Next time you host an event, whether it is an employee volunteer day, a customer appreciation event, or a special service sale, use photos of the event in your next newsletter to tell a visual story.
- Illustrate a service promotion: If you plan to email your customers with a promotion for services or products, use photos to help showcase what you are offering. This is far more impactful than simply inviting your customers to try out your service.
- Demonstrate a before and after: For service businesses, a before and after email can be the social proof needed to convert a warm lead. Use this to showcase your best work.
Upload Photos to Social Media Channels
Another excellent use for your business photography is to add it to social media posts. Posts that use images have 650% higher engagement than those that use text only. This is particularly important when you are paying to boost a social media post.
Ideas for using photography with your social media posts include the following:
- Customer appreciation: For customers who are willing to have their photo taken, snap a quick picture of a customer as they leave your shop or after you complete services. Post a shout-out to that customer on social media. It is an added bonus if they share their social media handle with you, allowing you to tag them. This is a great way to build customer engagement and long-term brand loyalty.
- Examples of services: Each week, rotate through different images that showcase the work your team does. This is a great way to remind customers about services they might not know you offer.
- Seasonal posts: Throughout the year, take time to add photos showcasing your seasonal spirit. A team photo of everyone sporting ugly Christmas sweaters can help personalize your brand while you wish your community a happy holiday season. Be creative and keep seasonal content fresh.
Highlight Employees With a Bio
Both on your website and on social media channels, use photography to help showcase your employees. You can snap a quick photo of employees across job roles and add a short snippet about who they are and why they are passionate about their work.
This serves as a powerful method for personalizing your business, which can be particularly impactful for small, local companies. People want to interact with other community members, and seeing the smiling faces of your team can help create a connection between your brand and your customers.
Make sure to also add information about the leadership of your business. If your company is locally owned and operated, include photos of the owners on your about us web page.
Talk to J&L Marketing
If you are looking for an effective way to use photography in your marketing strategy, talk to our team at J&L Marketing today. We can work with you to acquire quality photos that showcase the best of your business. From here, we can help you leverage your photos to engage with customers meaningfully. Our goal at J&L Marketing is to help you design a robust marketing strategy. From updating your website to launching a social media marketing campaign, we can help your business drive more leads while spending less. Reach out for a free consultation today.