Sunday, August 8, 2010

Marketing Mishaps: Using an Old/Poor-Quality Headshot

Marketing Mishaps: Using an Old/Poor-Quality Headshot

A real estate client of mine recently told me that he’d been advised by a veteran REALTOR® that “only rookies put their photos on their business cards. It’s just not professional.” I couldn’t disagree more. Granted, you need a professional headshot to convey a professional image, but in this day of two-dimensional marketing mayhem, a photo of you with a warm smile and an approachable look can go a long way toward setting the stage for the next step: creating the relationship.

I have a real-life example. Several years ago, I walked into an event and, on seeing one of the vendors, had the feeling, “I know this guy. Where have I met him before?” Turns out, I hadn’t ever met him – but he’d been advertising regularly for months in a newspaper I read, and he used his photo in his ad. A small, black-and-white photo in an ad that might have measured 4 inches by 1.5 inches. And still, on seeing him in person, I felt like I already knew him. That’s the potential power of a good headshot.

A few tips for making the most of your headshot:
  • Make sure to drink lots of water and be well rested on the day of the shoot. Nothing will diminish your natural glow faster than tired, saggy eyes or pale skin. If need be, use a disappearing concealer to minimize bags under your eyes.
  • Ladies, your makeup should be clean and natural looking. Overdoing it can make you look garish or clownish. You want to enhance your natural beauty, not attempt to hide perceived flaws.
  • Avoid getting  a new haircut right before the shoot. Wear a style that is flattering and comfortable for you.
  • Wear solid colors that are neither too bright nor too pale. Avoid white. Choose colors that compliment your skin tone, as this will help accentuate your natural features. Make sure your clothes are well-pressed and in good shape, as a stray thread or missing button may be more noticeable than you realize. Wear items that make you feel great and naturally relaxed.
  • If you usually wear glasses, keep them on for the photo shoot. A good photographer will be able to adjust the lighting to eliminate glare.
  • Limit the jewelry, making sure it is not distracting or overly shiny. You want the focus to be on your face, not the accessories.
  • A warm smile is important – but be yourself. Open eyes and an honest, real look are better than a forced smile.
Most importantly, your headshot should LOOK LIKE YOU! How often have you seen a picture on a card, Web site, or other piece of marketing material that looked like it must have been 20 years old? This is not honest and it’s not helpful. Give people an honest impression of who you are by using a current photo that best represents you.

·        Spending the time and money on a quality headshot is easy to put off. Rather than hiring a professional, we get a friend to do it in the front yard, with our prize rosebushes as a backdrop. The problem is that the shortcuts show. According to Tiffani Smith of
The fact is that the greater the value of products or services that you offer, the better your image needs to be. Grainy, dark or outdated photographs tell prospective clients that you're not operating at the level of excellence that they are looking for and your business loses out on potential profits.  It's time to take your business brand to the next level and seek out a professional headshots photographer.

And for some final words about your professional image, read Seth Godin’s blog, The Power of a Tiny Picture.

This is Day 19 in the 60-Day Content Challenge. See you tomorrow for the next post!

Sign up today for Laura's next workshop, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! Or e-mail your questions on making the most of your marketing strategies - to Laura.

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  1. Realtors are beginning to use high definition video as part of their marketing portfolio.

    The typical flat or static web site is skimmed quickly without much regard to the realtor trying to get their brand implanted into the memory of their audience. A marketing video changes things a bit since the realtor who is being touted in the video is becoming more known to the web visitor and more likely to be remembered when the time comes to sell their home.
    Writing a marketing script can be a bit overwhelming for those who rarely market themselves.

    Much like a resume creates a picture of a candidate looking for employment, a marketing video is your 60 second commercial to the prospective client seeking services you are offering.

    Essentially the three areas of a video constitute the opening, the hook and the close. The opening sets the stage for presenting the agent in a favorable manner and creates an instant impression of market experience and customer focus.

    I put together 3 Agent marketing templates in a flash format if interested in seeing what can be done fairly easily to differentiate a real estate agent from the rest!

  2. Great feedback - the only thing I would add is "smart Realtors," as I still see plenty of static sites that are simply very minimal brochure sites.