By Steve Marsh
How much do you think a customer wants to read when scanning for consumer services? In most cases, consumers make marketing decisions in a matter of seconds, often without reading a single word. To effectively reach consumers, we must clearly state in a visual way that we provide the solution they need and the level of service they want.
Today’s digital marketing cries out for good photos to help make this possible. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In our current digital age, it costs almost nothing to add clear, sharp photos to a printed piece, website, or digital ad. Photos can make or break the success of marketing projects. You are wasting a huge portion of your marketing potential if you do not use good photos.
Creating powerful, effective, and message-filled photographs is one of the easiest marketing projects any company owner can take on. Everyone carries a high-quality camera with them 24/7. Imagine turning this cell phone camera into a marketing tool for your business! Just a handful of strategic photographs can encapsulate the entire marketing message you want to convey.
Every photograph used should have a specific reason for its placement in the marketing project. Knowing why photographs are needed will help you create better pictures. All photos should help you achieve one or more of the following three strategic purposes:
Clarify that you can meet consumers’ needs: Use photographs to show that your company actually provides the particular services they are looking for.
Demonstrate the level of service provided: The quality of the environment you work in is the indicator consumers use to determine the level of service you provide. For example, the home used in the photographs should be slightly nicer than the house of your target consumer. Nicer homes indicate a higher level of service.
Keep the customers’ interest/ attention: Consumers want to know who is coming out to their homes, so showing photos of your technicians will grab their interest. Clear, sharp, and professional-looking pictures hold a customer’s attention.
Branded company pictures have far more impact than purchased stock photos. The following is a list of high-impact action shots you can effectively use:
- Your branded service vehicle parked outside a target client’s home;
- You or your technicians greeting a customer at the door;
- A conversation with a customer during a pre-inspection;
- Your company collecting payment and leaving the invoice;
- A head-and-shoulders shot of you or your technician in uniform, smiling and looking the way the customers will see you when you arrive at the door;
- Shots of your company performing each service offered;
- Demonstrations of steps of the processes performed such as measuring, prevacuuming, preconditioning, using various cleaning tools (cleaning wand, stair tool, and power tool), applying protector, placing plastic tabs under furniture legs, grooming, etc.;
Services being performed in different rooms.
Arrange a photo shoot
The easiest way to capture these photos is to arrange a photo shoot. Find a friend, relative, or good customer who lives in a house that would represent your target market well. Ask them if they would allow you to take photos in their home for marketing your services. I suggest that you offer to clean their carpet for free in exchange. If appropriate, ask if the homeowner would be willing to pose as your customer; otherwise find a friend to act out that role. You will also need a person to actually take the pictures.
Prior to the day of the shoot, assemble a list of the photos you want to take. Share this list with the homeowner so they know what to expect. On the day of the shoot, be sure your equipment and work vehicle are sparkling clean and that you and your techs have fresh uniforms.
If you are prepared and organized, the photo shoot should last about two hours. The secret is to take lots of photos. Shoot from many angles and include the surrounding room. At the end of the photo shoot, review the list of pictures you wanted to take and carefully check that the photos turned out the way you wanted. Generously thank all of the people who helped you. I suggest that you arrange a separate day to clean the carpet for the homeowner.
Review all of the photos taken and select the best of each category to use for your marketing. Have someone who is familiar with Photoshop, or a similar program, crop and touch up the photos to make them look the best they can.
Your new collection of marketing photos can immediately be put to work. Incorporate the appropriate photos into your website, Google account, social review sites, blog, printed materials, and any social media you use.
Enjoy the rewards of your work
By investing just a little time and effort in doing a photo shoot, you will acquire a valuable collection of company-branded photos. Expect these photos to dramatically increase the impact of your marketing.
For more photo examples, visit www.singletruck.com/photos.
Steve Marsh is a 40-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry, an instructor, and a Senior Carpet Inspector. He helps home-service companies quickly establish profitable clienteles and then progress to serving higher-quality customers. To help companies achieve these goals, Marsh created the step-by-step programs Single Truck Success and Be Competition Free. For more information, visit www.professional-