Professional Photos - Websites
What do the images you use on your website and social media platforms say about your business?
The importance of that first impression
It only takes 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person, and websites are no different! Within 0.05 seconds, a visitor to your site will determine if they like it or not, and whether they will stay. If you have the ability to track your website visits, have you checked the bounce rate, i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the home page without interacting with the page?
British research has found that 94% of a user's first impression of a website is based on the visual design elements of that website, with only 6% relating to the actual content. That is not to say that your content should not be well written and engaging, but you do need to entice people to stay on your site with good quality design and photos that reflect your business.
What photos to include
More than 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. Because of the lack of face to face meetings with your potential customers, as a small business your website needs to demonstrate your brand and what you do/offer, with a personal touch. You can achieve this by:
- Including photos of your premises
- Showing your customers who the people within your business are
- Using photos of the services you offer
- Giving your customers a look behind the scenes, e.g. how your products are manufactured, the chefs cooking in your restaurant etc
Who are the people within your business?
What does your profile picture say about you? If you want your potential customers to take you seriously, the chances are they won't even pursue their enquiries with your business if they come across a 'mobile selfie' as your profile picture on Linked In, Twitter, Google etc.
Getting professional headshots of you and your team can be a sound investment. They need to reflect your brand and appeal to your target market.
Bear in mind that your potential customers want to get a 'snapshot' of what your company is like, and this is true of headshots too.
- Is yours business a traditional company that would benefit from formal shots with suits and ties etc
- Do you conduct business in a more informal way, perhaps no ties and standing with hands in pockets might suit you better
- Does your team wear a uniform? Perhaps they could be photographed 'doing' their job
'Real' photos vs Stock photos
Stock images can have their place but a few points to consider
With the constant need to update social media, it's not feasible (or necessary!), to have professional photos taken all the time. With a bit of forward planning, thought about light, composition etc you can achieve some great images that will make you stand out from the crowd. Just make sure you are providing your customers with a consistent image of your brand and business.
- Who else is using that stock image, your competitor, another product that may have negative connotations for your customer?
- It can take hours, and we all know, time = money, searching for the right stock images
- You must ensure you have the correct licenses to use the images
- Would it be quicker/easier to have professional photos taken, or for you to take them yourself?
- Research shows people respond better to people who look like 'real people', whereas obvious stock photos are generally ignored.