Using Visual Storytelling To Create a Better Website

Picture this scenario. A client or prospect comes to your studio for a consult, or maybe just to look around. They walk in.

The music is blaring and no one is there to greet them, and after what seems like forever, someone wanders in to tell them to find things themselves, and then walks off without saying anything else.

Your prospect has heard a lot of really great things about your studio so they are a little surprised at the appearance – it hasn’t been updated since 2008.

At this point they’re not really sure what to do, so they do one of two things.

They leave – most likely. Or they stick around because they were referred by a good friend that raved about their experience with you so they figure they’ll look around a little. They might look at some pictures, or hunt around for some info in your messy lobby. And when they have a question they can’t find you. So eventually they leave.

Is this the experience you want for clients at your studio? Of course not. Unfortunately I see this far too often with many websites. I see missed sales opportunities – I literally see money going out the window.

Your website is often the first point of contact, the first touchpoint someone has with you, and this is a typical visitor experience with many sites. I see photographers who fuss over every detail of their studio, their images, their packaging, yet neglect their website which is often the first impression prospects have with your studio.

Far too many photographers have a website that does not reflect the exceptional work they do, nor does it help them book clients. In fact many use the same site template that Debbie or Dan digital is using.

High End studios need to do an exceptional job showcasing the experience they offer, connecting with prospects and developing a relationship and then making an compelling offer.

The most effective sales tool for your website and for your studio – is your Story.

The extra edge, the uncontested space that makes the competition irrelevant is to be about something and to have a story. You’re story is what you’re about, what makes you unique or differentiates you from your competition.

Our websites and social media give us an outlet to tell our story. Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube are all places for telling a story through images, words and video. Whether we realize it or not we are creating a story or a perception of ourselves and our brands with every post.

People are inundated with information constantly. We see so much information on a daily basis across multiple social media channels, most of which is copied and repeated. There’s nothing personal to it and we tune most of it out.

That’s why visual content is so popular – it can quickly tell a story. Look at the rise in infographics.

Storytelling can pull all these splintered pieces, all this information, and tie it together in a relatable theme. Social media has become very focused on visual content in the last year. Facebook introduced the Timeline which lets us tell a visual, chronological brand story. Instagram lets us share images wherever we go. When someone comments, like or repins an image, they are telling a story as well, one that relates to them.

Creating a Website Begins With a Story
Businesses that are having the most success with social media are telling interesting stories in a visual and engaging way and showcasing the experience they offer. Before people will buy from you, they want to know who you are and why they should care about what you offer.

I work with other photographers and businesses on their social media and websites, and the ones that are having success are consistent, they have a clear brand identity, and they are telling their brand story in everything they do. They use their website, social media, their studio decor, customer service, packaging to give their brand a personality. Everything they do is consistent with their brand.

A brand is not a logo, a website or social media. Those things are just tools. Your brand is an idea, an experience manifested in your products or services. Your specialty isn’t photography. It is a very well defined target customer that you create experiences for and photography is simply the vehicle in which that experience is delivered.

Many of us think that our website, or our photography is special. It’s not enough. The market is over saturated with photographers, and people are bombarded by hundreds of images all day long. You need more than just images and a cool looking site. Those things are still very important, but alone they are not enough.

So how do you go about creating a story or a website. Where do you start?
Before you start creating a website or an online presence, you need to be able to answer, Who you are, What makes you unique, Who your target customer is and your marketing goals.

If you can’t answer those questions, creating and maintaining your online and social media marketing will be a struggle. Designed to Convert was created to help you with those questions, and create a web presence that works for you. The series of tutorials are ones I created as much for myself as I did to help others. Getting clear about my own brand, improving both my web social media presence and redesigning this site is a major focus of mine.

I also wanted to recreate the steps I go through when working on a custom site, so people could implement these things on their own sites.

Designed to Convert has been updated for All Access SubscribersYou can see a list of what was added and updated here.

A demo site has been added, along with everything you need to have on your site – what pages, what to blog about examples of calls to actions and where to place them.  It also covers things like planning, User Persona’s, Visual Storytelling with your website, Storyboarding your website, content marketing & planning and more.