Let’s face it. There’s never been a better time to be in business than today but succeeding as an entrepreneur or small business owner is still tough. Add to the fact that much of today’s marketing is dependent upon having a strong online presence and many business operators find themselves overwhelmed. Compounding this is the fact that, according to an Ahref study only 9% of all websites and pages get organic traffic from Google web searches and 4.5% get fewer than ten visits per month. All this makes online marketing even more difficult when you consider the realities.
So how do business stand out from the saturated crowd of online marketers? Should businesses spend time on SEO strategies such as keywords, content marketing, and backlink building? Absolutely, but such strategies should not be the only tools in an online marketer’s toolkit. All businesses—particularly small businesses and entrepreneurs—should invest in high-quality, authentic photography for use in branding online and in print.
Think about it. Yeah, I know, I keep pounding the drum about how people are primarily visual beings, but only because it’s true. As with food, people shop with their eyes, which means buying is often based on first impressions, emotional decisions, and gut reactions. This means your branding is all about influencing how consumers think and react to your products or services.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not investing in custom brand photography. The second biggest mistake is underutilizing that investment. Many business people just don’t realize how many ways they could use a library of ready-made images and how using those images liberally can save time and money over the long term. Here are eight ways you can maximize your investment in brand photography and use it in all your marketing strategies for a massive ROI.
1. Use Brand Photography Throughout Your Website
The first, and most obvious place you should use your custom photos is on your own website. Believe it or not, personalized photography on your website builds your reputation and in turn garners trust by showing your brand’s unique value proposition. You should be using your headshot on your site at the very least—people are more likely to reach out and contact you versus a business without a headshot. Increase that likelihood of contact by using multiple, story-telling photos of yourself and your business. Remember, people do business with other people.
2. Use Brand Photography on All Your Social Media
Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook marketers are all increasingly relying upon visual content to gain attention from potential customers and retain that attention. Posts that include images receive much more visibility and engagement than text-only posts. Of course, you can’t and wouldn’t post text-only content on Instagram, but studies have shown that images showing people’s faces get more likes and engagement. In addition, you should not only be using your brand photography on your social media channels liberally, you should also make sure that the images you post on social media are consistent with the content customers will find on your website. Consistency builds recognition, and recognition builds brands.
3. Use Brand Photography in Your Email Newsletters
As with your website and social media, you should be using your brand photography library images in every email newsletter you send out. Why? Again, this builds familiarity so that when readers click through your call to action links in your newsletter they arrive on a website or landing page that looks similar to your email marketing. Over time, both these visual ties between your emails and your website, as well as consistent imagery used regularly in your emails, builds a brand relationship with your customers because they come to know what to expect from you. Stability helps breed that trust you want to build with your customers.
4. Use Brand Photography in Press Releases
Though a somewhat outdated method of marketing due to increasingly low subscriber base, regularly issuing press releases about your business is still a great way to get the word out in the local community. Whenever you issue a press release about a new event or offering, be sure to include relevant imagery from your custom brand library. If the newspaper chooses to use the photo(s) it will go a long way toward helping your press release jump off the page and show the readers what your release is all about.
5. Use Brand Photography to Keep Your Profile Pictures Fresh
Hopefully you’re using a great headshot for your profile picture and avatar all across the internet—from your social media channels to your Gravatar. One of the best ways to gain new attention from your followers is to regularly change your profile picture. I suggest doing it about once every three months or so. You’ve invested in this great library of photographs, so why not use them every way possible. One caveat to this practice: you should change your profile picture everywhere at once. Again, this is for consistency and building familiarity across every part of your brand.
6. Use Brand Photography with Your Bio for Appearances or Magazine Articles
Do you get the chance to speak or present at conferences or other meetings. You should be submitting one of your most-recent photographs along with your bio every time you are scheduled to make an appearance. Think about it. Your photo is potentially going to be used on everything from the event program or brochure to event signage and possibly even event advertising such as posters, web banners, and billboards. Why not send in a fresh, high-quality image that is consistent with your current brand image? Also, if you ever find yourself featured in a local, regional, or industry magazine or newsletter, you should be submitting your brand photography here as well. Many times these printed profiles will only use photographs you provide and rarely—if ever—send out a photographer to take your photo. Control your brand image by submitting photos from your custom library.
7. Use Brand Photography in Your Email Signature
Much like your profile picture online, using a nice headshot or one of your other portraits in your email signature builds familiarity and trust. When someone can see your face in each and every email you send out you instantly seem relatable. Plus, being visual, we all like to be able to pair a face with a name. Trust me, some of your customers have already looked at your website or searched your social media profiles to see what you look like. Why not make it easier on them and simply include a thumbnail of your smiling face?
8. Use Brand Photography in All Your Print Marketing
Regardless of our media-saturated, online-centric world it’s highly probably that you either use print materials in your marketing, or will in the future. I’d be willing to bet money that you at least already have a business card. Quality brand photography will be print-quality photography, meaning you can and should use your custom photography library in all of your printed marketing materials. Here I bang the drum once again. You’re building brand familiarity here, so make sure your print marketing is consistent in style and personality with all your other marketing channels.