Using your clients in the photos and videos you use to market your business is a good idea. Why? Because showing real people using your goods and services helps to build trust with potential new clients. And it gives your clients the perfect excuse to talk about what you do with their friends and followers too.
But it will only work if you do it well. So here are my top tips on successfully incorporating your customers into your business visuals:
1. Choose clients who represent the people you want to work with
Potential new clients like to visualise themselves using your goods and services, so help them do that by selecting existing clients who match up to your ideal client. e.g. If you’re a hairdresser who wants to attract 30 something mums with classic tastes, photos of teens with extreme hairstyles aren’t going to appeal to your target audience.
2. Warn them beforehand
They will be more likely to say yes to appearing on camera if they’ve had some advance warning so they’ve got their hair done the way they like it, they’re wearing their favourite outfit, they’ve thought about what they want to say, etc. And they will be more likely to share the results with their friends and followers too.
I’ve had people pounce on me for a photo or video testimonial at the end of meetings or training sessions, often when I’m in a hurry to be somewhere else and usually when I’ve not had time to do my hair properly or reflected on what I want to say. Consequently, I’ve not been overjoyed with the result and haven’t shared it with the rest of the world, which is a lost opportunity for the businesses concerned.
3. Find a way of saying thank you
You’re asking them to give up their precious time to help you promote your business, so it’s only fair to show your appreciation. For some people, the fun of having their makeup done and taking part in a professional shoot is enough but you may want to consider offering them a complimentary session with you or a discount on their next purchase to say thank you for giving up their time. You know your clients best so think of something that’s appropriate to them.
Bear in mind that if you’d like to offer them their own copies of the photos, you need to check with your photographer that the copyright licence they’re giving you permits you to do that. You’ll usually find there is an extra fee so agree it up front.
4. Brief them well
Be very clear on what you’re looking for, what’s going to happen on the day, how much time you need from them, what you’re offering in return and what you’re going to do with the finished results so that they know what they’re committing to.
5. Get them to sign a release form
You don’t want to invest time and money in marketing materials and adverts then have someone insist you stop using their photo. A correctly worded signed release form will give you permission to use the images and video footage for your business for an unlimited time period and without having to pay fees to the people featured.
6. Give them tips and hints on how to be their best on the day
7. Be clear on what you want them to wear
Unless you’re providing the outfits, you do need to think about what clothes you’d like them to wear. I don’t advise being very specific about colours as different shades and tones suit different people. But do think about the type of clothes you want – classic office wear, smart casual, outdoor jacket or coat if you’re going to be filming outdoors, etc. It’s worth asking them to bring a change of clothes so, if you don’t like their first choice, you’ve got something else to consider. That’s especially important if you’re planning to do a group picture where you want all the styles of work together.
Do ask them to avoid clothes with logos as many companies will issue you with a cease and desist instruction if they think the use of their logo is implying that they’re endorsing you.
8. Allow more time for the session than you would with professional models or actors
Professionals know how to come over well on camera, but your clients may not be as confident so you need to allow plenty of time for them to relax into the shoot or recording session. E.g. If you’re recording testimonials, you may find that you need to spend 10-15 minutes with one person just to get a few seconds of usable material.
9. Book a few more clients than you need
I often find there are cancellations at last minute when people suddenly can’t get the time off work, or they’re ill or they simply get cold feet. Inviting an extra client or two will help to ensure that you still have enough people for your shoot to be viable.
I hope that’s helped you think about how you could incorporate your clients into your visual marketing. If you’ve got any questions or you’ve successfully or unsuccessfully used customers for your business photo shoots and videos, do leave a comment below – I’d love to know how you got on.