Pick Up the Camera and Ramp Up Your Sales

photographer-455747_640-300x168  Last week I wrote about the importance of hiring a talented copywriter. As I mentioned, nothing hurts a business quite like sloppy copy. It makes you look unprofessional, it can cost you potential sales, and it can really make it difficult for you to advertise successfully. Continuing in that same vein, I’d like to address something that’s (idiomatically speaking) of 1,000x more importance to your business: high-quality pictures.

That talented copywriter that I recommended you hire can only do so much. They can write attention-grabbing ads and churn out informative blog posts with ease, but all their efforts will be for naught if you fail to integrate powerful imagery into your company website.

Good pictures have always been an important part of commerce, but they’ve become absolutely vital in an age where more and more customers are foregoing “brick and mortar” retailers in favor of buying online. Anyone who has shopped on Amazon can attest to this: more often than not, the product you end up buying is the one whose images jumped off the screen to lure you in. Quality photos of your product can be the difference between making a sale and losing out on one, and if you haven’t yet invested in a good photographer (or at least a good camera) you had better do so. Fast.

“But I’m selling a service, not a product – this clearly doesn’t apply to me!”

Wrong. For a lot of reasons.

No matter which industry you’re in, your website needs to be filled with high-quality images. Why? Because pictures are the easiest way to make your company relatable and human. You don’t want people to think of your business as a faceless conglomerate – you want to show that you’re a highly skilled team of real people who are willing and able to solve a potential buyer’s problems. The easiest way to do this is by posting pictures of who you are and what you do.

Are you a commercial roofer? Post a picture of your crew installing a beautiful new skylight. Own a real estate firm? Snap a pic with the happy buyers outside of each home you sell. It doesn’t matter what your company does; what matters is that you show the smiling faces that make the magic happen. This allows potential customers to see who you are and what your company is all about, making them infinitely more likely to entrust you with their business.

There’s another very important reason you need to include pictures on your website, and again it has everything to do with building trust – except this time, it’s Google you’re trying to influence, not potential customers. Adding pictures and videos to your website is a basic part of every SEO checklist. Google’s search crawlers (bots that decide which results to display when you Google a given query) love websites with pictures, and tend to rank them more highly than sites without them. This has to do with Google’s goal of creating the perfect user experience: their algorithm is centered around returning results that users will be satisfied with, and more often than not this means including pictures.

Think about it – if you’re looking for the perfect homemade buffalo chicken pizza recipe, are you going to prefer a page filled with pictures of every step of the process or one that’s simply blank text? My money is on the latter, and so is Google’s. Adding pictures to your website will make it more user-friendly and likely to show up in search results, and doing so gives you an extra opportunity to be discovered via Google Images.

I could write a Tolkien-length post on the importance of loading your webpage with quality images, but the essential takeaway is that pictures give you a better chance of being discovered, and a better chance of generating a sale when you are. Don’t ignore their importance, and don’t hesitate to consult with a marketing professional if you’re unsure what pictures to post or how to optimize them for the search engines. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the more of them you have, the better business will be.

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