Any business lives or dies on its investment in its marketing. That is a simple fact of business life. No marketing? No growth. No growth? No long term business viability.
But what is marketing?
Marketing is the process of presenting your business to potential clients. It is about giving people the chance to opt in to your products or services. This has always been the traditional challenge for all businesses - putting yourself in front of enough potential clients so a viable percentage will buy.
Marketing and the senses...
In the last couple of decades, a revolution, called the internet has taken place. The way information and ideas, products and services are shared has been revolutionised by the Internet. The marketing efforts of businesses of all sizes are now being concentrated through this channel. This is because people are using their computers, their tablets and even their phones to find things that matter to them. Traditional media is dying off. Have you seen the size of the Yellow Pages lately?
Nearly everyone is connected and nearly everyone is looking... Note the word looking. Lets examine that for a moment. The internet is a primarily visual experience. The sensory device that plays the strongest part is the eyes. All that information is processed through the eyes. It is measured by the brain using the eyes (with some backup support from the ears). There is no sense of smell, there is no sense of touch with which your customer can connect with you. The primary sense that is used is the sense of vision.
So, it's all in a glance...
Your potential customer will experience their first contact with your business through a visual process. And the human brain can process visual information at an incredible rate. It can take an image and extrapolate incredible conclusions in a very short space of time. They will look and they will decide... So lets slow that process down and watch what happens. Let's use the example of a potential client who is looking for a service provider.
Let's use a LinkedIn profile portrait image as an example. In a short space of time, they have seen your image. They have decided upon the quality of that image and whether you have something they are interested in. So what type of images produce favorable reactions?
- You in a bar in sunny Spain, drinking a cocktail with a paper umbrella sticking out of the top of the glass, with a slight red tinge to you eyes
- You at a wedding, possibly in your wedding dress, happy to share with the world your new lifelong partner
- A blurry Iphone image with a tree growing out of the top of your head, taken by your daughter at the family picnic
- You in professional attire presented in the manner a client would expect (you wanted to look professional?).
Now which one of these is going to encourage your potential client to do business with you? What did the potential client see in that brief moment where you were accepted or rejected?
- Someone sociable or possibly drunk?
- Someone who believes in long term commitment or who mixes their private life with their business life?
- Someone who is not serious about their imagery, and therefore not serious about their business? (Although you really liked your smile in that one)
- A professional portrait, that is reassuring an credible?
That instant data gathering and processing through the potential clients eyes would have produced something along the lines of the above. And it may have just lost you a potential client, unless of course you chose to present yourself along the lines of the fourth example. Portraiture is used as an example here, but this principle applies to every image you put out there. People will judge your business, your products and your services by the image which is why we call photography the cornerstone of your marketing.
When gathering data your images are the very first thing people look at, before they look at the text, and before they look at the price. People like to look at pictures, they like to see pictures. Images therefore are the cornerstone to your foundation. Your foundation is your marketing which supports your building. Your building is your business. So the question is, how stable is your house? How good is your foundation? How good is your cornerstone? How good are your images?
To be successful with your marketing and therefore your business, you will require a strong investment in all aspects of the way your business is presented to potential clients. We believe that starts with the quality of your photography in your business. If you want to market successfully, take some time to invest in your imagery. Invest in a specialist commercial photographer, who knows how to communicate and market to your potential clients. You owe it to your business.
If you want to perform an experiment and test these principles, start to consciously but randomly examine the quality of imagery that successful businesses present as the cornerstone of their business. Look at advertising. Look at websites. Look at portraits. Look at product shots. Now compare them with your own images.