Why is that picture of the beach is doing a disservice to your business?

Sitting on a lovely beach gives you some great time to reflect upon your navel and contemplate some of the finer aspects of your business (G&T in hand of course).

ErinPimmPhotography - Cabo San Lucas Beach Business Image
Cabo San Lucas Beach

I love travel photography. And it seems glamorous (until you realise that you are dripping onto your eyepiece and fogging up your lenses) but what I really love is emotionally connected to the places I go. I sit back and absorb it all, and then try to imagine how you would see it, and then start to create the feelings, compositions and elements into the compositions.

This lead me to consider what aspect it is about travel & environmental photography we love, and why it’s use (and misuse as stock imagery by businesses) is so prevalently for websites. It’s a feeling, a desire, an emotion, sentimentality, daydream material, state of being, or a look into the future. When you see that gorgeous white sand beach things that might come up are: romance, relaxation, peace, calm, escape etc. You identify and engage with that image on a creative emotional basis. Why do you think doctors and dentist offices often have tranquil, relaxing images on their walls? It helps to calm you, creating an emotional connection to their business, either overtly or subtly and subconsciously. But saying that – when you are creating images for your business environment, cliché, non-committal and irrelevant images do the exact opposite for your business. It takes the client AWAY from what you are offering. Instead of them seeing the services and environment, they are off dreaming on the beach somewhere and NOT engaging in your offerings.

Businesses often turn to cheaper options of stock imagery for websites and marketing materials. What is stock imagery you might ask? I’m sure you’ve been on shutterstock, istock and the other myriad of websites and paid for generic images to fill the gaps in your website, blog etc. Stock imagery can be REALLY useful in getting a specific message across quickly, easily and cheaply, but if you are truly ready to share your brand, you’ve got to consider the unique creative aspect that will identify your brand – you. These images will be a huge distinction point between you and your competitors, And lets face it. Don’t we want to STAND OUT rather than blend in? These images will complete your brand identity. They are your company.

How to create images that connect without relying on the beach?

Stories, People, Touchstones, Emotions, Life Events.

I love creating images for your business and your personal profile that connect you to your customers – helping you tell your story – creating engagement.

This requires some digging.

How do you personally engage with your clients? How do you create an authentic image that sells you – your values, your demographic, and hit your target audience? How do you create trust, authority, professionalism – in other words, your brand promise.

There are some key elements that go into both personal profile images and business images that are successful in helping you create and convey the feeling and understanding about what your brand is.

Your key words, your brand promise (service, product, understanding of what you are about to receive), values,  confidence, strength, empathy, and sometime even vulnerabilities. All play into who you are and what you deliver.

Head-Hunters Photography Corporate ImageNow. Take a moment to consider what the images you are using for your business are selling – You or the beach?

How you can use strategically created images for emotional connection to your brand?

Consider how you can improve engagement with clients, customers and potential employers.

You are selling YOU.

Create. Engage. Connect. Convert.

You are the brand. We make the images.

Do you think Your Website Images Need an Update?

Ideas, Images, Infographics, Style and Design are rapidly changing, and you are trying to keep up with a market segment that is pouring more resources and time and digital energy into their website every day.

website restaurant image for business

So how does your website keep up let alone compete? Why do consumers choose your business  over theirs?

With incredible, creative, relevant images. And its not as hard as you might think!

As a small business where can you effectively put your limited resources into the get the best bang for the buck or for your larger entities your ROI?

Great images can help you drive sales, grow your business and build your online community.

For the uninitiated photography newbie, there are a few little tweaks that can help you retain your clients and start to get longer stays and better more qualified conversions for your business.

What are the best images to use for your business and how do you get them?

THE best images that you can use for your business are images of – you guessed it  – YOUR business! People want an experience. They are BEGGING for it! What better way is there to sell yourself and business than showing them what you do, and how, and why? From a spa style dentist office to boutique restaurant to florist, show what you do best. Have a professional photographer come and bring LIGHT to what your business is about. A second option is to use stock images (istock.com, shutterstock.com, getty.com). They are great. They can supplement your personalized images, but don’t make the mistake of using the same image that the dentist office down the street is using of the girl with the pearly whites…these types of images are overused, impersonal and not representational of your business.

How can you use photographic images to create some buzz?

yelling man image

Its a great reason to announce on all your media platforms that you have relaunched your website. Its free PR! And YOU will be top of mind next time they need a wax, a haircut (before and after for beauty services), financial service, or their car fixed. It’s also a great way to announce that you are committed to improving your business, offer new services, and a reason for them to come back and check you out again. A few more things to consider using images with: newsletters, mailing list, direct mailings, and emails are all great ways to use images to enhance all your fulfilment procedures.

Where to use images to get the best ROI and conversion rate?

Front page of your website and landing pages would be the key ingredients here. When you figure out where people are landing and where you want them to go…you leave them a trail of breadcrumbs (images) to lead them around…

Environmental images and services will have the greatest impact on retaining hits. Great images will bring people to your website from social media, online listings, associations etc. When people are doing their snooping and investigating, their eye will be drawn to the pretty picture, and light spaces first, so plan your media images to draw the eye.

It has to be said. Responsive websites and devices are what you need to be working towards. There is no point in having a great image on a poorly designed mobile device that wont scale properly. Goodbye customer – immediately, and never to return. Experience is everything on mobile devices and 45% of us use them for surfing these days and this is growing rapidly. So there is no point in building a site that sits statically on a mobile device.

Use Infographics!

Coolinfographics.com has a great list of Infographics. Lets make statics EXCITING! When you need to use numbers in your business presentation, Infographics are a great way to go.

tall_infographics

 

 

 

 

(The Tall Infographics design from Randall Munroe at xkcd literally made me laugh out loud.  As he mentions in the text: “‘Big Data’ doesn’t just mean increasing the font size.)

Images that kill your experience and send them running

There are lots of great examples of things that dont work well, and here is the far end of the spectrum that need no explaining: cigarette packages, surgical procedures, awkward family shots…well I think you get the ‘picture’. When it comes to medical services, people are nervous enough, so less is more. Think END product.

Some other things that dont work well would be irrelevant imagery. People want to see pictures of your business. Not a picture of the outside of your building thats located in an industrial park, or a stock image of a pretty smiling face with a head microphone. It feels fake, and Im sure your not in the business of selling what you are not.

Consider that your images need to work well with your website as well. That means color tone and crop work for your banners, pages are places relevantly and they are consistent within your messaging in site.

There are multitudes of things to consider when chosing how to design your business images. But know that a consistent, well designed message and images help you meet the coherent message that you want your viewers to see and conversions will go from a trickly to a pour.

See you online!

Erin Pimm

www.head-hunters.com

 

 

 

Why Should You Use Images, Infographics and Videos on your website?

Images get your website noticed and create conversions

shutterstock_159657941

I’ve recently been asked to work with several small businesses in the Melbourne area that have asked me forthright – WHY do we need to have images on our website? Why do we want to have video? What are Infographics, sliding presentations and movement?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Lets go back to basics.

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

(Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco) 

It’s an immediate impression that you are making on your client. It’s a feeling, an understanding of experience your clients will receive from you. Are your images professional? Do they represent your product, your environment, and your distinctions?

 

40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)

Catch them with a stunning visual then lead them down the path. They will spend more time on your website which in turn leads to more conversions. They feel comfortable now; Let’s throw in the HOOK!

Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts.

(Source: SEOmoz)  

images for websites

We want to be entertained. YouTube is the best example of this, not only for the best funniest videos, but what you probably DONT know is that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Do you have channel? Are you creating interesting videos that you can now imbed on your website about your companies infomercial? Do you have a fabulous behind the scenes video that will entice further, relax, and invite clients to you?
And here’s the biggie: What are you offering for learning and engagement that will lead your customers down the path towards your business. Videos are a GREAT way to build your expertise, give people information, allow them to trust you, and then set in hooks. People are searching for free information. So many people learn online and if you want to guide them into your company, providing free information to get them through the door is an incredibly valuable resource to your future clients.


46% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)

images for websites

Say no more. Images build trust.

On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments, and shares as compared to text, video, and links. (Source: Dan Zarrella) 

Facebook’s algorithm (aka Edgerank) is dead. Keep it relevant, timely, and often. You’re post can be buried in seconds.

“Facebook is improving on its ability to detect high-quality content. In order to best optimize for Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, marketers need to think of social comments the same way we think of content meant for Google and other search engines — in other words, if you want your content to be visible to your target audience, it must be timely, relevant, trustworthy and valuable.”

(source: http://marketingland.com/r-i-p-edgerank-how-to-optimize-for-facebooks-newsfeed-algorithm-61226)

25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos) 

mobile images for web design

Your website HAS to be mobile ready. Estimates are that 75% of web traffic is going to be mobile over the next few years. People are moving away from landlines, network cables. Today it’s all wireless and mobile. So if your site isn’t responsive, and mobile ready you are going to LOSE people, dropping like flies if they cant access what they want, when they want it, how they want it. You must be up to speed and designed for ecommerce and complete functionality by mobile, tablet, ipad etc.

Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer) 

This is self explanatory on the surface, but also consider your services. Perhaps for something that is a little less understood, or intimidating, or downright scared. Being able to familiarize and becoming comfortable with your products will leave your clients feeling safe in your hands and again leading towards website conversion.

Now go get some GREAT images from your local photographer. It will make a difference.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well.

Erin Pimm