When you’re starting out in business, it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of not wanting to spend extra money and also, wanting to do everything yourself. Entrepreneurs naturally want to keep startup costs to a minimum. So, you figure that if you can set things up yourself, you’re saving money by not hiring an extra person.
But the problem with this thinking is that, in the long-run, by doing everything yourself, you can easily be losing money. For one thing, you can’t possibly be an expert at everything. More importantly, if you’re busy doing behind-the-scenes tasks for your business, then you’re taking your focus away from your clients and other money-making ventures. It’s time to outsource.
One area that people think is so easy to do themselves is their website. Between “drag-and-drop” website builders and user-friendly WordPress, it’s easy to think you can create your own website; but without that special web design talent and natural artistic talent for pairing colors, you’re website will look elementary, and will lack the panache your target clients are seeking.
Because your website is often the first glimpse people see of your business, do you really want them to think you’re too cheap to invest in a well-designed website? Like it or not, people will judge your business based on your website; one look might prevent visitors from calling you, even if you may be the perfect coach to help them. So invest. Hire a qualified web designer to overhaul your website with a modern, clean design and unique branding elements.
Insert Your Branding Throughout Your Website
Think about when you visit a new website; what page do you start on? What elements catch your eye first? How do these elements portray the brand message? Even if you’re not consciously thinking about these things, there’s always a concrete reason why you click away from a site to continue your search, and the same is true for your visitors. So, start at page one of your site and take notice of elements that need updating. Here are some suggestions:
1. Your header. A website designer can integrate your brand colors and design elements to make a professional, eye-catching header that will (subconsciously) encourage people to keep reading your home page.
2. Your headshot. Whether it’s included in the header or used in a sidebar, visitors are more at ease seeing a person’s face and knowing that you’re a real person. A professional headshot adds a personal touch to the site. Your visitors will see you as approachable and know that they can actually reach you if they call, instead of being put into a vicious voicemail cycle.
3. Your opt-in box. Don’t be stuck with a boring old sign-up box design. Your web designer can easily integrate a design to make your opt-in stand out even more. (A word of advice: if you’re not building your list yet, you need to start!)
4. Your author’s signature box. Utilize the end of every blog post to include both your author information and a call to action. Insert your brand colors and/or a different headshot photo that still conveys your brand message. Convince your readers why YOU are the coach they’ve been searching for. The key here is to keep the verbiage to a minimum but also include a link: to the opt-in offer, a waiting list, or to your signature product or book. Use a varied version of your author’s box, too, when you write articles for other companies, such as a guest blogger.
Is it Time to Outsource Your Branding Photos?
When was the last time you changed your social media headshot? How about the header on your website? If your headshot photos are older than 18-24 months OR if your style or outward appearance has significantly changed, then you need updated photos. It doesn’t matter that you look like a super model in this photo from the 90s. Chances are you don’t look the same this many years later. But perhaps it’s more important to clients for you to look more experienced! Keep up to date.
Social media and website photos are just two of many areas where it’s important to have updated photos and design elements so visitors and followers know that you’re still in business and that you invest in your business image. We’re talking about your BUSINESS image: the image you show to the world; the image that represents YOU as a coach; the image that will earn you a full time living; an image that has the potential to earn enough to send your kids to the college of their choosing. Why on earth would you try to tackle these important images by yourself, even if you have some photography experience?
Think about it… if you’re on social media to catch up with your college buddies, it doesn’t matter that your profile shot is a little fuzzy and that you’re wearing a tank top while drinking a beer. But if you’re promoting your business on social media, looking to gain more clients, then a fuzzy photograph wearing unprofessional attire just won’t fly.
Ditch the Blurry Photographs and Hire a Photographer
Smart phone cameras have really advanced in recent years and some of the photos posted online are amazingly clear. However, just because you have a great cell phone camera doesn’t mean you should take your own professional photographs.
First, any decent photographer will have the latest and greatest camera that will surpass the quality of a cell phone. Second, experienced photographers will know how to set the lighting so you’re not covered in shadow. Third, professional lifestyle or portrait photographers have a way of putting their models at ease and will know which poses are most flattering for your body type.
Save Yourself Time and Let the Experts do Your Photo Editing
Photoshop is an amazing tool and we see those results on the magazine covers in every supermarket checkout line. But do you really have time in your schedule to learn a new program? Even once you learn the basics of Photoshop it takes a lot of practice to hone your skills. If you’re already wishing you had 18 more hours in your day, then hire a photographer who has killer photo editing skills to perfect your look in a fraction of the time it would take you to learn.
Photographers Add Creativity
Good photographers are artists and can add creative suggestions to your photoshoot. You are ultimately in charge of your brand image but professional photographers will offer suggestions for poses, locations, wardrobe, or props to use. Some suggestions may seem really wild while others might just make sense. So it helps to keep an open mind when consulting with your photographer because you may stumble upon a wonderful idea that will improve your brand image significantly.
Now it’s Time to Update Your Branding Images
Updated branding images go hand-in-hand with an updated website, so let’s get your photoshoot booked! If that’s a foreign concept to you – or you didn’t have the best experience the last time you had a photoshoot – the Branding Photo Shoot Planner is the tool you need. I’ve laid out a step-by-step plan for staying organized and for hiring a photographer. Simply follow the steps, take lots of notes, and ask lots of questions of your photographer candidates and you’re sure to have a hard time choosing images because they’ll all look so wonderful.
In Summary: When YOU are the face of your business, it’s imperative to portray yourself in the best light. Professional photos help attract high quality clients who are willing and able to spend money with you.