Struggling to find your niche in the overcrowded marketplace?
This is a difficult task in general, but even more so for the millions of small businesses throughout the country.
Often small businesses suffer in the marketplace because they get “out marketed”. Larger, better
financed marketing platforms provide broader-based programs across multiple media that are
consistently updated. Many small businesses struggle at matching this marketing effort either because
they are understaffed and do not have time to service social media, service it poorly if they do have the
time, or simply don’t understand the options they have to market themselves.
Mistakes of amateur photographers
While some amateur photographers can produce a usable photograph from a cellphone, most cannot. A
great example of this is the current red hot real estate market for which every agent is their own small
business. Agents will often use their cell phones for images of a new listing.
Most of those images are too dark or do not show a wide enough image of a room for a buyer to see
what is going on in the room or house. This poor representation defeats the purpose of the
photography, therefore wasting precious selling time.
This is applicable to nearly all businesses – flower arranging, Etsy offerings, landscaping, bakeries, etc.
Poor lighting, over/under exposure, poor angles and many other mistakes will rob your photos of the
message you are trying to promote.
This cell phone issue also applies to images of the business owner. People do not do business with
unprofessional people, so the first impression you make as a business owner comes from your
professional photo. It is an investment in yourself and your future to hire a professional photographer to
create a BRAND for your business with a professional headshot tailored to just you.
How a professional photographer can help your small business
Often small business owners do not realize how creating a BRAND is essential to their business. Who
you are, what you stand for, what is your product, and how are you different from other businesses just
like yours really does matter to the selective customer you are hoping to attract.
Attraction is a keyword in small businesses.
Your goal is to attract customers, make them want to know
more about you and your product. How can you do that? Many ways come to mind.
I have been a professional photographer for over 45 years. I have been published thousands of times, in
books, magazines and have created SPECIFICALLY BRANDED professional photo sessions to help
business owners create a visually appealing business persona that creates a lasting impression.
You want to look your best, display your business or product at its best, and deliver an attractive
message so customers select your business over others. That does not happen by using unprofessional
photos that may be too dark, unfocused, and too ordinary in your marketing.
Let’s review what to do to build your brand and target your market
Building your brand:
- Differentiate your small business.
- Use professional photography to show yourself, your product or your place of business at its
- Utilize a BRANDING experienced photographer to help you achieve this.
- Hire a professional to utilize your images for social media differentiation and any marketing you
- Develop a consistent messaging program.
- Ensure that your website, social media outlets, and printed materials are up to date with professional images, creative use of color, and consistency in design and messaging
Targeting your brand:
You must consider your target market with every decision you make. Targeting your market will also
help narrow the focus for your small business and help you make a statement about your business that
truly focuses on the customers you are trying to reach.
- Focus on the demographic you are trying to interest in your business. Once defined, you will
gear your marketing toward that age group, income level and geographic area they represent.
Depending on where the target group resides (close to your geographic business location or broadly
dispersed) will determine the type and breadth of marketing you need to deploy.
- Delve deeper into your target audience. Do you market to a rural audience? If so your
marketing has to look like their lives, not slick like a city, more down to earth or hometown looking. This
needs to be reflected in the photography style you use by hiring a Brand photographer.
- Conversely, if your target audience lives in the city a different style may be appropriate. What is
the economic status you are targeting – low income, middle income, high income? What kind of
lifestyle does your product target? All of these answers will factor into your BRANDING PRESENTATION.
This is an ongoing process that you should become more and more adept at as your business grows.
Each client you work with provides an opportunity for you to dig a bit deeper and uncover the
motivators that led that individual, family, or company to you and encouraged them to hire you.
Over time, your target audience and, thus, your branding, may need to change to reflect your growth
and the feedback you receive from your customers. This is the type of thought process and action plan
that hiring a BRAND ORIENTED professional photographer can guide you through.
WHICH PHOTO IS MORE APPEALING?
The amateur version or the professional?
Let’s summarize what we are saying so far:
- Marketing is the key to differentiation.
- Establish a consistent look to your business through professional photography and targeted
- Focus on your customer market by understanding their demographics.
- Understand the lifestyle of your ideal customer and make sure your branding reflects this.
- Present an appealing look to your customers with a stunning website, social media posts, and
printed materials with up-to-date professional photography?
Choosing the Branding professional photographer for your small business.
Many business owners tend to think twice before spending money on professional photographers. Some
prefer to simply use stock photos or ask one of their employees to take photos of their products.
While it is understandable for businesses to closely follow financial spending, it is also important to
emphasize that getting help from a professional photographer is an essential branding investment. Your
company will benefit a lot, especially in terms of product/service awareness and consumer engagement.
Stock photos will not be able to deliver the message you want your consumers to understand. The
photos you choose may be used by other businesses and therefore are not unique to your business.
Depending on the product, they also may not show your specific demographically defined area so
everyone knows they are not original photographs from your business. The quality may be lacking,
reflecting poorly on your business.
They cost money anyway so hire a professional photographer that will create unique photography to
represent your Brand.
We all want to be successful in our small business. A lot of success comes directly from our effort and
from representing a great product or service.
When selecting a Branding photographer:
- Interview the photographer to understand their experience, ask questions on how they see your
business and how they perceive achieving the distinction your need.
- Ask them to critique your current approach to marketing, how they would see it changing, ask
them to explain how that would be a better direction.
- Are their ideas original, creative, imaginative or do they seem too rote? The way that they communicate to you is important. Don’t base your choice on lower costs alone; understand their expertise and their delivery.
Once you have developed a professional image to represent your business, use it in all forms of
marketing. Then refresh your images on a yearly or more frequent, perhaps seasonal, basis.
You love your business.
You want it to be successful.
Then invest in it with a Branding photographer to establish the absolute best, beautiful and clear
communication of your business with images that are distinctively different.
You need to build trust in your business, start by showing your trust in your business and care about the
vision it represents.
Sally Ullman Photography specializes in Branding Photography for Small Businesses.
Contact her for a FREE consultation about creating unique Brand Photography for your specific Small