A picture tells a 1,000 words….

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…

ABC VA

VS siteWhich one are you most likely to buy from?  I’m guessing the one with more information about the person behind the brand?

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.

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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:

  1. Increases leads from your website by creating a connection with the person behind the brand.
  2. Acts as your personal brand on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn etc.
  3. 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.
  4. Good for blogs – photoshop in headlines or speech bubbles to create eye catching teasers.
  5.  You own the image.  No sneaky charges for usage!!
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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?

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