You are the strength in your business, the central point that customers will interact with, connect to and buy from.

Last week I was looking for a call answering service for my husband’s osteopathic practive. This is the first time he has thought about doing anything online, he’s always had a receptionist complete with paper diaries and biros. But things have changed in the business and it’s to,e for different solution.

So I set off to find him a remote receptionist. Somebody friendly, knowledgeable and smily who can greet his patients who call in, book appointments and take messafes. But above all, he wanted somebody who he could trust to make a fantastic first impression for his business.

Brilliant, I thought, I know lots of VAs and there are some well rated award winning call answering services out there.

But the more I looked, the more confused I got. Many of the first links I clicked on took me to websites that just looked the same. Similar businessy branding, plain logo, a website name that was created to capture more traffic from the search engines and the same stock photos again and again. You’ve seen them … the pretty young smiling woman talking on a headset (to show they are happy and friendly), the goodlooking businessman with a newspaper and a strong handshake (to show they are for businesses) and the standard office white clock (obviously signalling the time saving element of the service).

Nowhere did I see the real, welcoming and personable receptionist I was looking for.

And then I hit website gold, a REAL PERSON!

This call answering company had taken the time to photograph their team at work and had dared to put a real life friendly face to their brand. The colours were welcoming and comforting and the copy invited me in as a value and important client, not just one of the many successful accounts they run. Our business needs were at the centre of their offer.

Needless to say, I gave them a call, had a chat and left the other call centres well alone.

So take a step back and take a good look at the imagery you use for your business.

Take a look at these 3 top tips to welcome your ideal customer to your brand through your business images

1. Your smile is worth more than any stock photo.

Customers are more likely to connect with you and your brand if they can see the passion you have for your business. You are business gold – so say cheese and head up your marketing. Worried that you have no good photos to show? Don’t make do with a quick shot on your mobile with dodgy lighting that makes you skin look yellow.

Consider investing in some professional shots, or for the more budget conscious find a friend with a good camera or even ring the local college and see if they have any budding photographers who want to practice in your office.

2. Choose supporting business images that will appeal to your ideal customer.

Don’t think about your competitors imagery, create your own and stand out for what you are best at.

Look at your ideal customer’s lifestyle – what shops do they love, what do they read, watch, how do they decorate their house. Even if you are offering business services to large corporates, you will be appealing to the head of purchasing or the head of HR – what are they looking for and what gets them excited? Looking like everybody else will do you no favours.

Take an element of their life, their problems and illustrate it.

For example: Say you are a VA who works with busy female mumpreneurs. They work at home, love to create a family space but feel the pressure of everything being a mess and not having enough time to sort it all out (this is SO me!)

You might want to show her how her business life is looking, how it could be and how you can help her.

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From this

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To this

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And you’re the friendly face that makes it all possible

I found all of these very down to earth, genuine images through Photopin www.photopin.com.

Just type in some ideas in the search box – I typed in messy desk, tidy desk and smiling woman to get these shots. Just make sure you tick fine for commercial use on the left hand side and you are free to use the photos in your marketing. (NB: some photos might require accreditation, in which case Photopin gives you a handy link to attach to your posts.)

3. Set the mood and create a brand look using filters

This is a great way to tie your imagery together. There is some fantastic online editing software out there that makes it a doddle to create something very professional for your business. Take your images and pop them into Picmonkey, Canva or Pixlr and have a play with the filters.

You can create soft relaxing glows, give your images a hint of your brand colours or create something modern and edgy just by the press of a button.

I chose a lovely rose coloured ombre filter in Picmonkey to make the star face of the business look warm and friendly.

I chose a lovely rose coloured ombre filter in Picmonkey to make the star face of the business look warm and friendly.

 

The darker green / grey onmbre hue makes the messy desk seem even more depressing

The darker green / grey onmbre hue makes the messy desk seem even more depressing

All sorted! The rosy Ombre hue links the result to the rest of the imagery on the website

All sorted! The same rosy Ombre hue links the result to the rest of the imagery on the website

So don’t be afraid to be yourself, have fun with your business images and let your beautiful character shine through.

 

photo credit: Bright Meadow
photo credit: simon.carr
photo credit: Nina J. G.