Business Cards – Photo or No Photo

When do you listen to the so-called experts? I’ve attended seminars where marketing Guru’s tell the audience just what to do and what not to do. At one such event, the Guru told the audience not to put your photo on your business card. As a photographer can you picture my head snap around when I heard that statement? Now is that a rule or a guideline? Rules are one thing, but a guideline is just that – a guideline. Actually, photographers believe rules are made to be broken! I know, I know – what a rebel!

Let’s consider this scenario – you are calling on the owner of a large plumbing distributor, how would you dress? Walk in wearing a $1500 designer suit with spit-polished shoes, the plumber’s impression – What do you know about plumbing or manual labor? Wear a pair of casual slacks and a polo shirt, he might think; you actually understand working for a living! That’s an impression that might get you more attention and respect. Ask yourself – What’s appropriate?
How you communicate with your market may not fit a specific rule. Although this rule might apply – “don’t blurt out something that angers your prospect”. You have to tailor your message to suit your intended audience, just like the clothing the salesman wore in the example above.

Ok, back to photos on business cards. I look at this much the same way. As a photographer, I think it’s quite appropriate when prospects see my photo on my business card. Real estate agents are notorious for putting their photo on all their marketing materials. Look at how agents are compensated – they work on commission. No sale – no pay! If a marketing tool doesn’t make them money, you can bet it gets thrown out.

For some businesses, the owner or representative is the product being sold. We are selling our skills. In a case like that, I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to have your photo on the card. Imagine you get a phone call from a customer referral. Your customer gave the prospect your business card. Your prospect agrees to meet you at the local coffee shop for the first time. What if your competitor walked in 5 minutes ahead of you and your prospect mistakes him for you? Wow, that’s bad for business. Your photo on the business card may be just the ticket to getting picked out of the crowd.

Another one of my favorites, does “stock” photography really represent your company? When your prospect walks into your office and it looks nothing like the “stock photograph” used in your brochure, what’s the impression?

So ask yourself: What’s your message to your marketplace? What will you use to communicate that message? And remember that word “appropriate”. Do what’s “appropriate” for your marketplace, prospect or customer. Does your message require text, graphics, photos or all three? That’s what should be on your business card, literature, web site, blog, letterhead or any marketing material you use for your business.

After all, your customer pays the invoice, which ultimately pays your salary! It’s simple, No sale, No invoice, No paycheck. They’re opinion is the one that counts. Not necessarily what the Guru says!

You can learn more about A Thomas Image by viewing the studio web site.

Next time let’s talk about photos on Social Networking sites!


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