It’s an increasingly digital world we live in. So it’s important to adapt with it so your business can thrive online. The first blog in this series will discuss the importance of visual marketing for your website. Visual marketing is when you take your brand’s messaging and marketing strategies and convey it through images. This is an effective way to highlight what your business stands for, and what your clientele can expect from you. In this blog we’ll discuss why professional photography and 3D virtual tours are important, what you should look out for when selecting images for your website and how ACT Studios can help you showcase your business.
Why does high quality photography matter?
People buy with their eyes
There are a few compelling reasons why visual marketing is vital for your business’s online success. The most important reason, however, is: people buy with their eyes. It’s as simple as that. Consider this, would you rather buy the box of cereal with damaged packaging that looks worse for wear, or would you buy the pristine box? Further consider, the beaten up box’s contents are just as tasty as the others and unaffected by the poor packaging. Chances are you’d still buy the good quality box as that hints towards a better quality product. How does cereal compare to my property you ask? In this metaphor, the packaging is your photography and the cereal inside is your property. Even though the contents are unaffected by the low-quality box, we’d naturally assume that poor quality continues throughout the entire product. This is true for photography and your property.
Visually appealing photography that accurately depicts your beautiful accommodation is pivotal to online success. Put your property’s best foot forward with high-quality images. Ultimately it makes the decision-making process much easier for potential guests.
We’ll keep this short and sweet as we’re going to have a whole blog on SEO in this series (keep your eyes peeled for that.) SEO is short for search engine optimisation. It’s what makes search engines (eg Google) identify your website to appear in the results page when consumers search online. For instance, if I type in “holiday rental properties in Dumfries and Galloway”, websites that have good SEO that meets that criteria will appear higher in my search results. People are more likely to purchase from top search results. Professional photography is super important when considering SEO due to mainstream search engines allowing consumers to search by images. Having high-quality and SEO-friendly images will increase the likelihood of someone booking your property over another.
Referring back to people “buying with their eyes”, having (visually) the best offering on the market allows for easier decision-making for a lot of consumers. Where you have the exact same offering as your competitor, better photography alludes to better quality. This should therefore lead potential guests to choose your property over your competitors’. Further, being conscious of what your competitors are doing with their marketing is vital. If they’re posting high-quality images you should be doing the same, or ideally more. Remember, anything they can do you can do better!
What makes great photography and 3D virtual tours?
Investing in skilled, professional photography is extremely worthwhile. It’s an invaluable marketing tool that can serve your business for years and years. ACT Studios offer professional photography and 3D virtual tours.
Yes, we know that smart phone cameras can capture great images. However, the quality of the images taken on your phone doesn’t come close to what a professional camera (and photographer) can achieve. As the quality of cameras on smartphones improves, so too does the quality of professional cameras.
Also remember, professional photographers go through rigorous training and acquire vast experience. Anyone can point and shoot, and most people can take a decent picture. However, ‘decent’ pictures don’t necessarily drive sales. A professional photographer will stage your property, consider all aspects of your offering and then carefully edit your images to create stunning results. The photos delivered to you should reflect your brand and have your business needs at its heart. The editing process that professional photographers go through can rarely be replicated by someone who is untrained. Remember, the standard of images produced by professional photographers come from years of finessing and perfecting their art form.
Having up-to-date photography is important for a few reasons. Firstly, you should update your photography every time you update your property. Anything that materially changes your offering should be reflected in your photography. This is to ensure your guests’ expectations align with their experience. Especially in the holiday rental industry, guests pour over photos. This is to ensure the property meets their holiday and travel group’s needs. It would be unfortunate for a guest to arrive at a property that looks entirely different to the one they signed up for.
Secondly, it’s important to professionally capture new additions to your property. For instance, if you invest in a hot tub, the photography to promote this should be as high-quality as the rest of your images. Any good photographer treats every project as a story. Adding an extra chapter to a story that doesn’t compliment the rest simply doesn’t work. When you get your photography updated by a professional, the photographer can incorporate your new hot tub (or similar) in your visual storytelling.
Your photography should last you a good few years before you have to update it. Unless you change something major. So your photography should never look dated. One thing you can do is make sure you don’t have any brands on show that could date your photography. For instance, having a specific hand soap brand by the sink doesn’t look out of place in a photo. However, if that company changes their branding, and a guest recognises this, it sticks out in your photography. This also true for other examples like newspapers, magazines or calendars.
Typically you should try to avoid photography that depicts your property in a particular season. Whilst your property looks stunning in winter with a covering of snow, it doesn’t accurately portray your property year-round. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. If your property is on a ski-resort or only opens during certain calendar occasions (eg Christmas), it might be appropriate to involve the seasons and relevant weather in your photography. As a general rule though, your photography should showcase the typical client experience.
So far we’ve mentioned lots about high-quality photography, and you may be wondering what makes it high-quality. There are a few general things to keep in mind when selecting photos for your website:
- It should be bright and clear. Anything that is dark or obscures the room will instantly undervalue your photography. There are a few ways this is achieved by professional photographers. Namely, taking photographs at the brightest time of the day. Further they use appropriate camera equipment and years of training and experience to brighten even the darkest rooms. It’s important to note that photography shouldn’t be too bright either. Getting the angle right is key to achieving bright photography that doesn’t dazzle the viewer.
- Well placed photography can be really effective. Taking photos in the middle of your room will make it look smaller. Conversely, using fish lenses or classic real estate photography tricks can make it look unrealistically bigger. A great professional photographer will use their experience to accurately depict the room without devaluing the space.
- The size of photos is something worth considering too, smartphones typically won’t take large photos. This means when you use them on your website they can appear lower quality and distorted. Smart phone cameras are good for basic social media photos, and often appear high-quality on social media. That same picture on your website will most likely appear much lower quality due to websites requiring larger, optimised photo sizes. Professional cameras take really large photos that can be scaled to suit a website (and other marketing platforms.)
How can 3D virtual tours help?
3D virtual tours are an ingenious way to showcase any type of property. It allows the viewer to digitally navigate their way around a property without leaving the comfort of their home. It’s an invaluable marketing tool that is being utilised by a variety of companies, especially in the midst of a global pandemic where in-person visits aren’t always appropriate. Having a 3D virtual tour on your website instantly increases the quality of your website. It simplifies the decision-making process for potential buyers and offers a key competitive edge on similar properties. 3D tours seamlessly incorporate the advice we’ve offered above (eg quality imaging that sells your brand). 3D tours go one step further to offer all of the above in a contemporary and unique way that your competitors may not.
How can I achieve this for my business?
ACT Studios can help! We have a wealth of industry experience and a team of dedicated marketing experts. As a company, we are confident that we can beautifully capture your property and create a portfolio of high-quality visual marketing tools. We take the stress out of photography and 3D virtual tours. Our photographers create images that drive sales. They are experts at what they do and use their experience to your advantage. Our photographers don’t ‘point and shoot’, a lot of the process involves understanding your business, your property and what you’re trying to achieve. Only when they fully understand what you need and what will drive your profits do they start taking photographs.
ACT Studios create bespoke websites, so we really do understand what drives results. It takes a whole range of things to create the perfect website, and photography and 3D tours is just one of those factors. In future blogs we’ll discuss SEO, CTAs (calls-to-action) and industry knowledge. As a company we offer the whole range of services a business requires to create the best online presence. Our clients have seen fantastic results when using the whole range of services, where they all seamlessly compliment each other.