How Portraits Can Save Your Business

For the first post on the new PCI Studio blog, what better topic than letting you know just how a professional portrait can save your business? In this day and age, as commerce moves online, it is increasingly more important for small business owners to connect on a personal level with their customers. Particularly if you provide services or will be meeting your clients in person, you absolutely need to ensure that they can see you first - and start to get to know you.

Just as a blog is often pointed at as a great way to engage your customers and build yourself as an expert in your field, so a portrait can help you to build a relationship with them before you even meet them. Particularly for customers who may feel more vulnerable - young people, older people, women, those who are disabled or ill - it is important that they can know what to expect before launching into a business relationship with you.

This really applies to all small businesses - and many larger businesses too, who may feel the need to reintroduce a personal touch to avoid losing a point of contact with their customers. Consider the images below: each of these women appears approachable, friendly, and warm. They are, in short, the kind of person that you would feel comfortable meeting with, even if you had to do so on your own in an unfamiliar place, because they look as though they are trustworthy.

A professional image for a mature business owner can be sober, but with an injection of personality to ensure that your customers feel comfortable with you

Now consider the alternative. Imagine you were, for example, a locksmith called Gary Smith. Any visitor to your website could read about your services, your many years of experience in the industry, and your rates. Without being able to see you, however, they might start to worry. Is Gary an older man, or a younger one? Will he be physically fit enough to climb a ladder and fix the lock on the door to their loft? Suppose the client is an elderly woman whose husband has passed away recently, and who now lives alone; can she be sure that Gary will be friendly and do the job well, or would she worry about being on her own in the house with him? A friendly, smiling image on your website will introduce you to your clients for the first time, giving them their first impression of you and allowing them to relax now that they know who you are.

Of course, only a good and professionally taken portrait will have this effect in full. If the image is hard to see, if you look stern and unwelcoming, if it is badly lit, or if it is very clearly an old image, then you may find that visitors to your website are put off instead. This is why it is important to keep your professional portrait up to date, and review it from time to time to make sure that it is still working for you.

What makes a good portrait? That’s a very big topic for a future blog - but keep in mind these three simple rules if you want your portrait to boost your sales: smile, be welcoming, and don’t be afraid to invest. Just as you will be judged by the image on your website, remember to assess the portfolio of your chosen photographer before going ahead with the shoot. If they have examples of the kind of image that you would like, chances are that they can do the same for you.

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