Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 Steps to Keep Your Company History Current

During our years in business we've met with a lot of companies around RI and Southeastern MA.  Some have been around for decades, others over a century.  We commonly see old framed photos around their offices and it's always interesting to us to get a glimpse into the past and see how it was done "back in the day".

As we start a new project we're excited to have all this great photography to work with... and then it happens.  It turns out that many of these companies have not done a good job of documenting the past 10 or more years of their history.  There is little to no photography for us to work from.

Digital photography has come a long way in the past decade.  A point and shoot camera, even the camera on your mobile device can capture an impressive photo.  You just have to be on the lookout for things to photograph:

1. Things that are New
  • Employees or key personnel
  • Products and services
  • Equipment, vehicles, capabilities
  • New location or facility remodel

2. Events that are Timely
  • Recently completed project
  • Company outings / celebrations
  • Special sales or celebrity appearances
  • Employee training sessions
  • Exhibit at a tradeshow

3. Achievements that are Recognized
  • Awards & certifications
  • Employee recognition
  • Speaking engagements

If you get yourself in the habit of taking photos on a regular basis, you'll soon have a treasure trove of recent happenings that you can use to market your business online, in print, or through social media.  And you will give someone 50 years down the road more interesting photos of the past to learn from.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Choosing Between Commercial and Stock Photography

To effectively market your small business, you need eye-catching photography front and center. Two excellent options can load your marketing strategy with images that pop; high quality stock or commercial photography.

Commercial or Stock; You Win Either Way
Both commercial and stock photography convey a tone of professionalism and pique customer interest. A powerful stock image on your brochure cover or a homepage slideshow of commercial photography engages readers and visitors.

Commercial and stock both draw attention to your marketing collateral, but they have their differences. It comes down to your small business’ wants, needs and budget.

Controlling Your Company Image
A key advantage of commercial photography is control. You determine what the camera lens captures:
  • You control your company’s unique image and portrayal
  • You control exactly how your brand is built going forward
Commercial photography is more expensive, but you own the photos free and clear. If the money isn’t there or you want to invest elsewhere, stock photography is the ideal alternative.

Your Company Image is in-Stock
Carefully chosen, compelling stock images can give you the same results as commercial photography. Among many factors to consider in the stock selection process is relevance. Choose stock photos that tie in to your company, product or service.

Services like iStock boast a catalog of millions of photos by category. You don’t need to be an expert photographer. Simply browse the libraries and ask yourself; “Do I want this image representing my company?” Trust your judgment, instinct and keep an eye out for:
  • Out-of-date or general poor quality photos
  • Photos featuring “overposed” or stiff-looking people
  • Similar photos being used by your competition
Stock photos come with a lower cost, but there is a price spectrum. Spend on the higher end of this scale. These photos are less likely to have been purchased by competitors, making them more exclusive.

Mix and Match Commercial and Stock
Stock-only or commercial-only strategies might not work for you. Not a problem; simply combine the two.

Lead your direct mail with a customized commercial photo, then fill out the piece with corresponding stock images. This stock/commercial team-up gives you budget flexibility and a commanding company message.

Choose YOUR Best Option
Your photography is on the front line of your company’s sales efforts. You know your business and industry. You know what works and what turns potentials away. Whether you hire a commercial photographer, utilize the boundless supply of polished stock photos or unite the two, just apply your expertise to the process for a strategy that sells.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Marketing is Easier with Quality Photography

Marketing is Easier with Quality ContentYour marketing materials are the first impression your small business makes to potential customers. Visitors literally make a 50 millisecond visual assessment of your company website. Printed collateral and advertising have a similar small window to impress. This fraction of a glance will determine if they will call you or move on to a competitor.

To pass this visceral test, your marketing campaigns need quality photography. This includes professional digital images of:
  • People
  • Products and services
  • Business locations

Get Your Team In Frame
Stedman & Kazounis Plumbing & Heating - People Photography by Terrapin Art & Design

Get Your Team in Frame
You greet customers with a smile and welcoming introduction. Your business marketing materials need to make the same human connection, meaning photos of people. Smiling people on your brochures,direct mail and other materials deliver the same impact of a friendly, in-person reception. 

Professional and Positive Photographs of Yourself & Your Team
White Cross Pharmacy - Portrait Photography by Terrapin Art & Design

Once you’ve established this human connection, you must reach the next level with a personal connection. Professional and positive photographs of yourself and your team in action make customers feel like you’ve already met upon that first handshake.
Customers want an idea of what they’re buying. Detailed, educational photos allow customers to experience your service or handle your product digitally.

Feature team members producing or handling your products, or delivering services to a customer. Effective photos bring customers to your door for that closer look at what your small business offers. 
“This is the Place”
Your facility, store or office needs to convey the same productivity and professionalism online as it does in person. Get some outside shots of your business, making it recognizable to new arriving customers who viewed it online. 

Interior Photography of You Business
Benjamin's Restaurant - Location (Interior) Photography by Terrapin Art & Design
Encapsulating, wide shots of the inside of your facility show the scope of your company. Team members hard at work at their desk or workbench displays your dedication and the benefits of partnering with your company. 

Your small business has years of experience, highly-skilled employees and markets with well-written,informative content. But poor quality photos might scare off potential customers before they can learn about your company’s capabilities. Give customers the true experience of your small business using professional custom marketing photography.

Check in with Terrapin and our next Shout Box installment, a breakdown of stock photography vs. customer commercial photography in small business marketing.