Why you NEED to use a photograph of yourself in business-to-business marketing - By Dave Pannell

Super excited to be featuring another great guest blog post from The Design Mechanics & Dave Pannell who have 20 years of website design, branding, growth and digital marketing – they're not just the experts, they're the industry-leaders in experience too. I've attended many of the Growth & Marketing bootcamps run by Dave and the Design Mechanics and I would highly recommended to any creative business or any business owner for that matter! Let's get straight into Dave's expert blog post: 

"I learnt a long time ago that people buy from people.  People especially buy from people they know and like.  The problem with this is the majority of business communication is now done digitally instead of face-to-face: it’s not unusual to have suppliers and even clients that you’ve only ever spoken to on the phone or by email.

With this lack of physical interaction, it can be hard to build up an emotional connection with a client – how can you make someone really like you (and therefore be more likely to buy from you) if they don’t even know what you look like?

This is why I insist that all my colleagues have professional photographs taken of themselves (and even on occasion a few unprofessional ones!) to help people make that personal connection with them.  For instance with this website, my photo is at the top so you know who you are talking to; you can get a good look at me and decide if I look a trustworthy soul or not.  It doesn’t matter if I look like a bag of spanners, as long as I’m smiling, friendly and look a genuine kind of guy you make more a connection with me when reading this article if you can see a photo of me.

You should use your photograph on any communication that isn’t face-to-face.  Having a friendly photograph of yourself on the footer of your email makes people more receptive to your message; putting a photograph of you on your business card helps people retain whatever connection they made with you when you handed it over in person.

So how do you get over your discomfort of having your photograph taken?  This is the main resistance I get from clients because the problem is when you look at a photograph of yourself, you see different things to other people.  You see your double-chin, your crooked nose and (for men of a certain age) your receding hairline. Other people don’t see these things, they see your smile and friendly twinkling eyes.

As such, you need to get other people involved.  Don’t try and take a “selfie” of yourself with an iPhone, book in with a local photographer who has a studio or a good mobile lighting set-up.

Choose someone you feel comfortable around and get on with. A photographer with a sense of humour and a good rapport will likely capture better photographs of you and make it feel less like you are having a police mug shot taken.

Because almost every commercial photographer is now shooting digitally they don’t have to worry about burning through film, so get them to shoot lots and lots of photos.  Take a couple of changes of clothes with you and try a combination of very formal and less formal set-ups.  Try moving around, and do a few silly poses pulling faces and strutting like John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John to make yourself less-uptight in front of the camera – the outtakes will make great social media posts in the future!

Once you have your photos, get other people to help you whittle them down to a handful of shots then post these on your Facebook or Twitter page to get people to vote on their favorites.  I’ve done this on a number of occasions with my own shots, and am always surprised that the shot I thought made me look cool, sexy, knowledgeable and professional all in one photo proves to be people’s least favorite.  Instead, the friendly and fun photos win over every time.

So, what are you waiting for?  If you haven’t got your photo on your website, business card and email then you are just making it harder for your clients to develop a connection with you."

More about Dave Pannell and The Design Mechanics:

Dave Pannell is a Member of the Chartered Institute of marketing and the creative force behind The Design Mechanics.  Dave has worked with both national and international brands including Harrods and the BBC.

Dave has helped hundreds of businesses with their branding and marketing campaigns and is also a regular keynote speaker on the marketing and creative industries.

Working with Wakefield University Centre, Dave has won awards for setting new standards in education for the graphic design industry and is the co-writer of what has been acknowledged as one of the best web design courses in the UK.

For more information visit The Design Mechanics Website