Why small businesses need professional photography for their websites
When you are building a new website for your business there's a risk of focusing on the design and text while leaving the images as an afterthought. There's a good reason why modern website designs feature large image areas as standard and that's the power of visual content. Photographs have the potential:
- to paint a compelling picture of the services you provide,
- to attract traffic to your website,
- to encourage engagement and
- ultimately lead to more sales.
However, this potential can only be fully realised by using high quality images that connect with your customers.
In this blog post I’ll show you:
- why high quality images are crucial to your business in a competitive marketplace,
- the common mistakes you need to avoid when selecting your images and
- tips for commissioning images that will really benefit your business.
The challenge of getting noticed
Before you can make sales, you need to get people on to your website. Regardless of how good your SEO efforts are, your business will appear in Google surrounded by organic and paid for results offering similar services.
You need to take every opportunity to make your business stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s your Google business profile or your social media presence. Each point of contact with potential customers can get you noticed and bring traffic to your website.
When you may be relying on just a single image to catch the eye of a would-be customer, you need something special.
Anything less than a well-considered, dynamic photograph of your business risks being overlooked. This is when getting a professional in can make the difference. More on this in a moment.
Keeping potential customers on your website
The challenge doesn't end once you've got visitors on your website as you need to fight short attention spans and keep them on site for long enough to showcase your services.
A Microsoft survey found attention spans average just eight seconds. Not much of the text on your website is going to be read in those eight seconds before that visitor hits the back button to Google but, thanks to the way our brains process visual information, you can convey a rich array of information through images in those crucial moments.
Presenting your business at its very best
When equipped with high quality images, your website is empowered to both drive traffic and support your marketing funnel to transform visitors into customers. However, not any photos will do the job. You need photography that identifies the values and professionalism of your business and presents them with the impact to get noticed.
Commissioning a professional photographer ensures that you get high quality, bespoke images of your business.
Visitors to your website are looking to build trust with your business but beware of relying on stock photography. Authenticity is key to building this trust and displaying images of your business in action - people, products, services and premises - all help to reinforce this.
A bespoke photo shoot of your business showcases what you offer and its relevance to potential customers.
On the flip side, generic stock photography risks having the opposite effect, showing scenes clearly not of your business and failing to connect with your target customers. Many people these days are wise to the use stock images and their use in place of showing your actual business can sow seeds of doubt about the credibility of your services. Stock photography risks being a false economy that hurts your business in the long run.
Keep getting found
Bespoke images in contrast give your website a whole new way of attracting traffic. Google results include images, and these can account for as much as 60% of visits on the first page of organic search results. Tapping into this with quality images linked to popular search terms can give you an advantage over competitors in your market.
Make an impact on social media
A portfolio of high quality photography is a valuable asset for all business marketing channels, not least social media with its appetite for regular new content. Facebook posts with images perform 2.3 times better than those with text alone, while Twitter posts with images generate 150% more retweets than plain text posts. Professional photography is also found to be more effective than using stock images.
Professional branding for your business
High quality visuals help to strengthen your business’s overall brand. Professional photography demonstrates that a business takes its work seriously. Moreover, you have an asset of images at your disposal to showcase your business across all marketing channels.
Selecting a photographer for the job
The ready availability of digital cameras these days means there are lots of wannabe photographers out there. I often find myself called in for jobs where a previous photographer has failed to deliver to a client's satisfaction.
Here are some tips to help ensure your business gets professional results, first time:
- Be wary of going for the cheapest option available. A full time professional photographer takes pride in their work, the satisfaction of you the customer and they carry out work with all the proper insurance, whereas an amateur could let you down on any of these fronts. As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Ensure the photographer understands your requirements. I always like to visit a business in advance of a shoot, understand what makes it special, what the business needs, and ensure this is captured in the photography.
- Identify where images will be used, such as website banners and social media, and make sure the photographer is able compose them appropriately. A fine art photographer may take wonderful images, but they won’t benefit you if they’re composed for traditional prints and look dreadful when cropped as a header image.