A Question From A Reader On Pictures In Advertising

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Author: Troy White

Troy White is a top marketing coach, consultant & direct response copywriter based in Calgary, Canada. He has a powerful approach to growing small businesses and entrepreneurial run ventures on a budget. His free Cash Flow Surges blog shares tons of great strategies at his main blog.

I received this question from a reader of this blog and want to share with you my comments. This is a VERY common question - and just as common as the mistakes that are being made.

Here was Deborah's question:
I'd like to hear what your thoughts are on using still photos - head shots of sales people in ads. I was surfing trying to find information on this topic and found this information (attached below) on your website. I totally agree that testimonials from clients can be very powerful. Several of our product lines think it's their sales people's pictures that sell. Thank you for your feedback.

My reply:

Hi Deborah, Great to hear from you. An interesting subject you picked up on as well.

"Several of our product lines think it's their sales people's pictures that sell"

What is important here is your comment above. It is never just the sales person’s picture that sells. In itself, a persons picture will not sell a single thing - unless it is a celebrity endorsement and picture - or a before and after picture - or product/service in use picture - or a great picture with an even better caption underneath the picture.

One of the biggest mistakes people make in their marketing and advertising is actually believing the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words".

Absolute bull in marketing today. How many ads do you see in a day? Emails in your inbox every day?

Would a picture of a young baby sell you on buying new tires for your car?

It wouldn't on it's own... but as soon as you ad some text to it that tells the story on what a baby has to do with tires... you get the headline "Michelin. Because so much is riding on your tires". The ad then goes on for 200-300 words describing how important the tires are and how much really does depend on those 4 rubber things on your car. If you have young kids - this REALLY hits home. Even without kids, it makes you take serious consideration for what shape your tires are in. The entire ad is focused in on protecting what you love most with the finest quality of tires - regardless of the price.

This was their most successful campaign that they attribute to the dramatic increase in their tire sales.

The reasons I mention this ad are fairly straightforward. They used a good picture - with an even better headline or caption - and a compelling story that hit on some very emotional subject matter.

You need to find ways to address this for your business as well.

In the financial industry - what would sell even better than just a photo of the sales people is a picture of the sales person next to actual clients - telling the story of how their financial advice and help got them their new home, or new car, or allowed them to finally buy that cottage by the lake so they could take their kids away every weekend. Joe Girard used this to be the number one car sales person in the world (even breaking a world record). Numerous businesses and sales people have used this idea to see drastic boosts to bottom line sales.

It is not about your sales people.

It is all about what your sales people can do for the customer - how they make them feel - fix their problems - help them achieve their dreams, etc.

In your type of industry, you would be MUCH better off using your customer’s photos with testimonials, rather than your sales people.

The problem in this situation will be - is your business more concerned about their "image" (which is typically the image in your own minds) or are they more concerned about how the actual customers perceive them?

Most businesses go after their own image first and customer perception second.

Those who truly want to dominate their market though go after customer perceptions first, and their own image is created in the process (not as an expenditure on 'image branding' rather as the result of the effective marketing).

So, pictures DO make a big difference - as long as they support the purpose of the marketing material. They should provide a compelling sales case by themselves... if not, find a way to make it so.

There is a chiropractor in the US in a small town who sends out monthly newsletters to his clients - each one shows a picture of either his staff doing goofy things (with, of course, captions underneath) or he shows a picture of a client of his who he helped and he tells a story about them, their profession, the before and after effects of using his services.

This chiropractor owns his market with a 80-90% market share. All with using great copy, powerful pictures and captions - and ALWAYS using a call to action in everything he does.

To your success, Troy White PS: Discover how to make your cash flow surge with the street smart marketing tools at my blog http://www.blog.smallbusinesscopywriter.com You also get one of my favorite case studies of marketing done exceptionally well, The Million Dollar Lobster Report when you sign up for updates on my blog. Discover how two young twenty-something year old brothers turned a simple lobster sale into a million dollar business in just 3 months! http://www.blog.smallbusinesscopywriter.com

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