Show Photos of Real People On Your Website
This blog post explores why you should show photos of real people on your website to connect with more visitors.
The best marketing does not feel like marketing, it feels like a good friend, which is why showing photos of real people on your website helps you to connect with more visitors.
Is it any surprise that magazines, newspapers, billboards and ads love to show real people?
No, because pictures of real people attract our attention and earn our engagement in ways nothing else does.
And yet brands invariably miss this opportunity on their websites.
Why is that? Think about it: Your customers and prospects know what they’re looking for online: Connection. So, show them real people and connect better.
I was with the owners of a financial services firm, browsing through their website and looking at competitor websites, when it struck me how dehumanised most professional services websites are, mostly because they prefer to look bigger, more serious and more corporate than they really are, and hide behind a cold, often clinical and denuded, soulless identity, a million miles from the local down-to-earth customers they are trying to attract, engage and do business with.
Three ways you can show real people on your website to help you connect better with your visitors:
1) Show photos of you, 2) Show videos of you, and 3) Show photos of your business.
1. Show Photos of You
Ideally, you should have your team, individual and group photos professionally shot. You should treat this as “fly-on-the-wall documentary”. Dress as normal, act as normal, do fun things together, and allow the photographer to do a reportage shoot for half a day or a day. Alternatively, if you can’t afford this, buy a tripod for your iPad, download a sequential photo app, and let the app capture shots as you going about your daily business. You need lots of photos to select your best 50. A pro will sort the angles and lighting to make your photos look great. If you can’t afford a pro, read my bonus tip at the end of this post!
The shoot will cost, yes, but remember, the photos can be reused in many ways, on printed marketing materials, slide show presentations, press releases, social networks etc..
My tip is try to show the outside visitor an insider’s view into your business and process, so they can see behind the scenes, you and your staff on your coffee breaks, in corridor chats, conducting real meetings, or client work. This will convey your genuine brand culture and personality. Look at players in and outside your industry who do this well, and make it your goal to do it even better.
2. Show Videos of You
This is harder, but investing in professional video can be a very powerful engagement tool. Studies show that a video on your homepage gives you an extra 8 seconds to compel a visitor to engage with your brand. A video showing people in your company video can have a dramatic impact on engagement. That’s why I chose to show people in my company video. If you are interested in learning about the process I use for creating a video, here is a post about how to develop a video for your business.
Video has a cost, but the immediacy of video and what it conveys when done properly far outweigh the cost of making it. It leaves an impression that is memorable and resonant with your target audience, and helps you to stand out in a crowded marketplace. And remember: We live in a world of smart devices, ultra fast streaming, where Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all offer video upload and streaming. You can even add a link to your company video in your email signature, and offer short, medium and long versions, each for different channels, based on how much time your audience will give you in that channel.
3. Show Photos of Your Business
Photos of your business are a no-brainer if you have a shop, cafe, allotment or factory. This is how your physical location can give you an advantage over a web-based business or pure eCommerce. Add photos of your location to your website photo gallery and remember to optimise them for search engines by filling in the alt tag!
Finally, a personal warning about Stock Photography
This is the fastest and cheapest way to find pictures of people (other than ripping off Google images,) which is why everyone is doing it.
But it won’t make you stand out. You won’t kid your audience. Authenticity means credibility, truthfulness and trustworthiness, which are qualities that win new customers, so even the best looking, smiliest “model on the phone at reception,” isn’t going to cut the mustard with your audiences. Avoid “businessmen shaking hands,” “pen and specs on desk” and “coffee stained paper by laptop.” Everybody is doing this. It does not say who you are. It’s fake and people know it is. Good photos are important. Value them. Pay for them.
Invest in good quality photos and videos of people on your website to connect with your visitors. Use people photos, and opt for professional shots of your team, location and clients. And if your budget can stretch to it, make a video and invite your visitors to really discover you.
My bonus budget tip
If your budget won’t allow for a pro, then contact your local art college and ask for a recommendation. A budding student photographer with a good eye will work for cheap to build their portfolio. If you have no budget at all, then take the photos yourself, or use the iPad idea above, but pay special attention to lighting, framing and focus… and good luck.
What’s your experience of doing photography and video of people for your website, and what is the challenge do you think?
Main image credit shropshire.gov.uk
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