The Good, The Bad and the Beautiful: When the Customer is Your Product
Our previous article in this series focused on visual product marketing strategies that work- and those that don’t. But what happens when your product is the customer experience? Cosmetic and beauty professionals, financial service industries or even dry cleaning businesses all share the pain of marketing a service that is a little trickier to capture behind the lens. So how do these types of businesses hold their own in a visually stimulated marketplace? With lots of creativity! Let’s dive in to the Good, the Bad and the Beautiful of visually marketing your not-so-visible product or service.
This week’s topic is best handled first with the Bad. You can only go up from there. Your first instinct when thinking of promotional images for a business like yours will be to gravitate toward stock images of an item that represents your service. The Dry Cleaner will run to stock images of freshly pressed business shirts. The Nail Artist will start scrolling through thousands of images of glistening, neatly filed fingernails. But hold your horses. These are all things. But wait, you say, aren’t we talking about product marketing? We are, but when your product is what you do for the customer, then your product becomes the customer. You have squarely landed in The Bad category of visual marketing when you rely solely on cookie-cutter stock images to sell a potential client on a service based in human interaction.
This provides a nice transition on over to those image marketing strategies that will land you in the Good. If your business is based on the quality of the services you provide for the customer, rather than a physical product, then your business is based largely on human interaction, and you must market accordingly. Occasional stock photos here and there may fill holes, but your bread and butter will be images that feature real smiling faces. A good starting place that I’ve mentioned before are professional owner headshots. A picture of a happy owner proudly displaying a freshly pressed shirt will say so much more than a simple stock image of a freshly pressed shirt. Throw in a couple of headshots of satisfied customers along with their testimonials and now you’ve got a strategy. When you capitalize upon the human experience with real human faces, you win.
So, how can you create images that market your business beautifully? By taking your pictures of real humans one step farther with the addition of interaction. This will be no small feat, but when done correctly you’re guaranteed to see major payoffs for your extra effort. Professionally-done action shots will highlight the actual experience real customers will receive once they set foot in your establishment. When you partner images of your current dry cleaning customers, with the action of them grabbing their hangers full of professionally pressed garments from your friendly desk attendant, you’ve struck gold. Their kind testimonial about your service will be bolstered immeasurably by the real image that goes with it. And nothing sells like real life in action.