Back when I first started the business, I got my website online using stock shots – you buy an image from a photography broker and pay a small usage fee. In return you get a smiling shot of a model with bright white teeth, wearing a suit and a headset, which you can use to project a corporate image on your website. You can buy these from http://www.istockphoto.com, http://en.fotolia.com or http://www.shutterstock.com. Sorted!
Except… they don’t look very genuine. And when clients are looking for a personal service, they usually want to know a little bit about the people they are hiring. There’s enough uncertainty about hiring a virtual assistant and handing over your personal details to someone off site without there being a query about their background. After all, that stock shot and 0845 number could be based anywhere couldn’t they? Is there a mailing address on the site? Does that look like a serviced office address?
Okay let’s do an example…
We track all our incoming leads, and back when we started with the stock shot website we used to get 2 x leads per month from the website… As soon as we switched to using real photos and putting a geographic number on the site, that went up to 5 x leads/month – an increase of 250%! The only things we changes were the photos and the phone number – everything else remained the same. This was back when the website was only generating perhaps 50 unique views a month – which is well within the reaches of most VAs, even newbies.
People like buying from people – so show yourself to your potential clients!
The original photos I had done were about £100 and took about an hour in the office. But you needn’t spend any money at all on photos – get a friend to take a headshot against a blank background, snap a few photos of you working… If switching those photos can earn you an extra couple of client leads a month, surely it’s worthwhile?
Now 10 years on, I don’t think I look much like the photos on the website. And the way I use photos has also changed with the advent of social media…. Which is another reason to get a good strong image to use – it’s your personal brand.
To that end, a couple of weeks ago I hired Ian from http://www.aesthetica.today/ to get some new shots for the website and some publicity I have coming up… I love the results, and working with a professional made it easy to get good shots without too much painful posing – I am not a natural in front of the camera! Here’s one we did – there will be other pics appearing on the site soon!
Top 5 reasons to get good photos for your virtual assistant business:
- Increases leads from your website by creating a connection with the person behind the brand.
- Acts as your personal brand on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn etc.
- Hi-res shots are a bonus for publicity – it means they don’t need to send out their own photographer or use a stock shot, so they are more likely to use your article.
- Good for blogs – photoshop in headlines or speech bubbles to create eye catching teasers.
- You own the image. No sneaky charges for usage!!
Share your experience of using photos – have you had coverage in the local paper because you could supply a fun image? Did you notice a difference in enquiries when you switched to using a picture of yourself? Do you hate having your photo taken?