5 Sales-Generating Photos for Service Websites
Noted author and marketing guru Harry Beckwith said it best.
“A product is tangible. You can see it and touch it. A service, by contrast, is intangible. In fact, a service does not even exist when you buy one. If you go to a salon, you cannot see, touch, or try a haircut before you buy it. You order it, then you get it. In most cases, you buy a service taste, touch, and sight unseen.”
So while it’s commonsense for a product page to offer plenty of photos, photo-free service pages and service websites are sadly all too common.
The web designers and businesses themselves just don’t know what to take photos of. So they either omit them altogether, or use cheesy clip art, low-grade stock photos, unpersuasive graphs or technical charts.
Instead of using any of those, invest the time and effort to get and use the following five photos and you’ll inspire greater confidence and conversions on the part of your online visitors. Here’s how to stop requiring them to buy sight unseen.
Photo 1: The Before and After
Nothing captures our attention more than transformation and change. “Before” and “After” type photos are the kings of all persuasive photos. The only thing better is a video demo.
A prospect may not be able to try on a new haircut before buying, but she can look at the transformations your stylists have done to other customers and imagine the same for her. The before and after helps make an intangible service a great deal more tangible — or at least visible. And seeing is believing for a lot of prospects.
Likewise, if you build decks, you’ll want a photo of the back yard before you built the deck and one showing your newly built, expanded outdoor living space. This applies to kitchen remodels, air-conditioning coils pre- and post- cleaning, weight loss, and so on.
Not only will before and after photos make the benefits of your service visible, but they help establish that the photos in question are your photos and not stock. So in addition to having the before and after style photos, it helps to identify the client, location, and/or date to further establish the legitimacy of the photos or demonstrations.
Photo 2: The Quality Comparison
The quality comparison is a close cousin to the before and after. It is designed to make differences in service excellence visible to the prospect before she buys.
The need for these photos comes from the simple, undeniable fact that most consumers simply cannot pick out quality differences without having them pointed out.
Absent price or indications on the bottle, we can’t tell a mediocre wine from a great one. In fact, if you swap out the labels, our enjoyment of the wine will likely follow the labels and not the wine. And that’s for a product one can see, smell, and taste.
This inability to distinguish slight differences is worse for services. You have to be the one to point out the differences. If you’re a dry cleaner, you’ll need to show them the difference between your process and the lower-price competition, not just by showing them the equipment in action, but by showing them the end results side-by-side with the competitor’s.
Attorneys could well point out the differences between a professionally drafted contract and an inexpensive legal form purchased and downloaded online. Yes, this could be explained without pictures, but the actual photos will make that explanation much more tangible.
At the end of the day, if you’re the one providing a premium service at a premium price, it’s up to you to substantiate the benefits, and almost nothing will do that better than quality comparison photos.
Photo 3: Precision Equipment, Both Still and In Action
Providing better service often means investing in expensive, specialized equipment.
A printer, for instance, is providing a service through very expensive printing presses. Showing pictures of the equipment — sitting in your local printing plant — helps solidifies your commitment to excellence in the mind of the prospect.
If you equip your plumbers’ vans with lots of equipment and parts, show people the inside of those vans. Show them the lengths you have gone to ensure that the plumber will be able to fix the problem in one trip. Show them, in effect, how different you are from the cheap-bid-charlie who’s operating out of his beat up pick-up truck.
These kind of photos are essential if you’re competing against lower-priced competitors, resellers, out-of-towners, and so on. This leads me to “Photo 4.”
Photo 4: Your Local Premises
You’ll notice that those companies offering the most intangible of services — i.e., banks, investment houses, and insurance companies — all house themselves in impressive of buildings, complete with imposing facades.
Because no one would trust a bank operating outside of a converted garage.
Having a nice office and physical location says certain things about you, namely that:
- You’re successful enough to be able to afford an office outside of your home;
- You likely have more multiple employees working for you;
- You’ve invested in the ability to do a professional job;
- You’re committed to still being in business a year or several years from now;
- You can be tracked down — either physically or by phone — for addressing any problems or issues that need to be rectified.
Pictures of your office can convey all that with a power and an immediacy that text copy just can’t match.
Photo 5: Your People
A lot of service businesses balk at this for fear of giving employees the visibility and platform that would allow them to go into business for themselves, or to be hired away by competition.
Just selective about who you show, and make sure these key employees are well compensated, well treated, and loyal. But also, get over your fears, as they are likely exaggerated and the potential upside is worth the (slight) risk.
Why are pictures of your key people so important?
Because consumers understand that services are only as good as the servers. Individuals deliver service, and if those individuals aren’t up to snuff, then the service won’t be either.
Also, because prospects assume that they probably won’t be interacting with the owner most of the time, but with some employee of the company, and a big part of dispelling prospect anxiety and allowing them to buy “sight seen” instead of “sight unseen” is allowing them to see and read about the people they will be dealing with.
Also, with the state of computers today, most service businesses rely more on individual skill and expertise than the equipment that can be photographed.
For example, a film editing service that used to require a roomful of equipment can now be rendered on an Apple laptop. The same could be said for sound production, architectural design, and so on.
So if the real excellence and expertise in your business lies in your people, that’s who you should photograph.
Even if it’s a group photo — which reduces the importance of any one employee — that group photo still shows that you’ve invested in the manpower to get the job done in a way that a photo of the building can only suggest.
Good Photos take Much Effort
The problem with most of these photos is that you likely don’t have them lying around, ready to use.
In other words, you’re going to have to take them yourself, or hire a professional photographer to take them. And that’ll take time and cost money.
Do it anyway.
Do some math and see how much a few extra leads per month or year is worth to you. Then look at the expense of creating these photos, and you’ll see that they are well worth the cost, even if you have to hire a professional, and even if you have to arrange with your clients to get the before and after photos, or search for the right photos of competing services.
Buying “sight seen” vs. “sight unseen” is a big deal. It is well worth the effort to get these five photos in your website service pages.