Why Your Bio Picture Matters
I have been providing marketing advice to professionals for over 25 years (time flies when you are having fun!). I started my career on Wall Street, advising stockbrokers on promoting financial product to clients, then moved to the accounting world, working with CPAs on marketing their services and now I work with lawyers. Besides general marketing on behalf of the firm, I also work directly with the attorneys on their business development efforts and promotion
The first tool for promoting a professional services provider is their online bio. I started marketing professional services when websites were still the new thing. One of the first websites I designed included an audio component to the CPAs bios; the website later won an award for that unique feature. I wanted to have something “cool” and that made the accountants stand out more and overcome the stereotype that accountants were “kinda boring.” I remember the clients’ feedback that they liked to hear their advisor’s voice and not just see their picture in their bio, that it helped hearing what they had to say and connecting in a different way. It helped prospective clients make the decision to want to work with a particular accountant.
My advice to the professionals I worked with has always been to stand out, to have a unique feature that would make a professional be different than his or her competition. Not to look or sound like everyone else because it was the industry norm or what everyone else was doing. But to try to find something that will help connect to the audience, to the people that were eventually buying their services and to understand what they were looking for and what determined their ultimate decision.
Recently, I had to make the decision to choose a doctor for a delicate medical procedure. I had to move fast so I started doing research on the doctor that was recommended to me and that would soon have my life in his hands. Of course, the first place I landed was the hospital’s website. I liked his credentials, his training and experience but his picture was outdated and didn’t match his personality nor his credentials. Something about it put me off, although he was smiling in the picture and looked handsome. When I choose doctors, it is very important for me to have a connection with the person behind the credentials, to feel comfortable and safe. Probably, similar to how people usually choose other advisors as well but even more important.
My first appointment with him was through a telemedicine/video call to discuss my diagnosis and the procedure he would perform and to schedule it. At first the video feature didn’t work and I thought it was his choice; which I found odd and fed into my initial discomfort when seeing his picture. Luckily, we both realized that it was actually a glitch and he offered to call me on Facetime – a nice touch on his part (as usually doctors keep their personal numbers private). I almost didn’t recognize the person from the picture on the hospital’s website! He looked so different and his personality was totally opposite from the reaction I had to the “professional” picture! He was warm, friendly, passionate about his skill, patient to answer questions and also had a very down to earth air and not the unapproachable demeanor some doctors portray. He was someone I would pick as a friend but also, someone I could trust that indeed he was a good doctor.
I also started digging deeper to learn more about him. I was hoping I could find pictures from his personal life or in other professional instances. And I did! Those pictures, similar to the video call, uncovered a different person than what his “professional” picture on the hospital’s website showed. Somebody I was so comfortable with putting my life in his hands that I didn’t need to go for a second opinion.
This doctor performed the procedure and all is well. Before being discharged from the hospital, I gave him my professional advice: to have his picture on the website replaced with a new one, to reflect his personality and what his patients need to see in him. I told him my feedback, which he was surprised to hear but seemed to really appreciate it. I couldn’t help the marketing professional in me.
I believe the same applies to any professional that relies on a bio with a picture to make a first impression on their audience. It is important to recognize what would connect them to their clients and potential clients.
Your bio picture does matter! It is a small tool in the marketing toolbox but it has a huge impact. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!