“A picture is worth a thousand words” per the age-old saying—this is especially true for your digital marketing. When promoting your PT practice online, the branding (logo, images, and photos) that you use to depict your clinic are often the first time a potential patient is “seeing” your business. What type of first impressions are online viewers developing?
Let’s look at ABC Physical Therapy. The clinic has an OK website—it’s not the latest and greatest. But it works well, provides relevant information, and is performing well in SEO or search engine optimization. ABC PT’s logo is prominent in the header and footer and corresponds to the site’s overall design colors and scheme. When the user starts to look beyond the homepage though, things take a downward turn. There is a large image that relates to the treatment described at the top of each service page, but the photos are self-photographed and look “grainy” or pixelated. Since the clinic has fluorescent lights, the people in the pictures look blue/orange and have a lot of shadows on their faces. When the user looks at clinic photos, the equipment looks washed out and has flash marks in the reflections. The staff photos look more like mug shots than professional headshots. Ultimately, the user keeps ABC PT on their list of potential clinics, but keeps researching to see if other clinics look more promising.
What could ABC PT have done to make the “hard sell” and get a new patient through their website and online branding?
Let’s look at a Practice Promotions client, Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, who successfully redid their website using a great mix of stock photos and high-quality self-photographed images.
Good for: homepages and services pages
- Stock photos make the best use of staging, models, lighting etc. Practice owners can have a graphic designer hand select images that work well with the clinic’s patient demographics and PT treatments offered.
- Stock photos can still look “real”. Potential patients will respond to the service illustrated. Additionally, with the right mix of diversity and ages, they can identify with the stock models.
Best for: about us and staff pages
Good for: facility pages or galleries, high specialized or specific treatments/equipment
- Clinic photos should be either professional and/or high-quality.
- Professionally styled, shot, and edited images are a timeless marketing asset for your clinic. A professional photographer can shoot staff photos in the studio or in the clinic and can stage and light your facility to highlight its features.
- High-quality photos can be taken by a staff member or friend who has some photography knowledge and a high-resolution camera, such as a DSLR. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, Dee Bills has a knack for photography and shot fantastic staff photos using a natural setting. Check them out on the staff page!
How to take your own high-quality photos
Get a “photographer” who has a working knowledge of how to set and shoot portraits and who owns a high-resolution camera
Plan for the shoot
- Set a date for staff photos (and a rain date for outside shots). Schedule a time in the morning before PTs start seeing patients.
- Style your “models”. Have the staff wear your PT clinic’s polo or other branded shirt. We don’t recommend t-shirts because they look wrinkled in photos. If you don’t have branded shirts, ask the team to wear solid colored tops with either collared shirts or modest necklines. Block the office calendars to allow everyone time for their photos and some extra time to do hair/make-up that morning.
- Set the stage. A few days before the shoot, try out different test locations and lighting. Check out the test images on a computer to see the coloring and styling. Some recommendations:
- On overcast days, outside settings can work well. Find a bench near your office that has a nice tree or plantings in the background.
- If you have to be inside, find a room with lots of natural light (even try turning off the fluorescents) and a clean, solid colored wall.
Lights, Camera, Action
- Start taking the staff photos. Don’t hesitate to have the team member adjust their clothes or hair to photograph better. Also shoot in a variety of poses to see what looks best.
- Allow 10-15 minutes per staff member. The first few might take longer depending on how well you prepped, but once things are rolling the process should speed up.
- Once the photos are taken, spend some time going through each frame and choosing the best one for each staff member.
- If you want, you can use photo editing software (ie. Adobe PhotoShop or iPhoto) to improve the overall image quality. Or, if you are working with a marketing company, you may be able to have their professional art director or designer edit the images for you.
Whether you choose to use a professional photographer or DIY, high-quality photos of both your staff and clinic are an invaluable marketing asset especially for online marketing. Prospective patients and referrers often feel more confident about their healthcare decisions when they are able to see the staff and clinic that will be providing services. You also can use these images to enhance and revamp print marketing pieces and programs.