Businesses involved in the design and fit out of property often consider whether they need professional images of their completed projects for their portfolio, case studies and their wider marketing.

In the property and construction industry, a significant proportion of business can come through business connections and referrals. This can make documenting project

s be viewed as a nice to have; something to sit on the website and show off good work, but not clearly driving business.

There’s a cost to commissioning professional marketing visuals, so is it worthwhile for property design and fitout businesses?

A means to an end not the end itself

First off, it’s important to keep in mind that visual content is a resource that will help you achieve business goals. The goal is not to get some photos of a project. Plonking some photos on your website might impress some visitors but it’s not by itself going to have a significant impact on your business. In contrast, savvy use of content at the heart of your sales and marketing can achieve some major results. We’ll come to this in a moment.

Marketing: Ignored by some in the industry but essential for others

Before we go any further it’s worth addressing the elephant in the room, that of the many businesses in the property industry who get by just fine without marketing. Property and construction is full of job referrals and for some businesses they’re in sufficient demand and have the sort of projects coming to them via contacts that they want without the need to market their services.

That’s great for some, but for those in more competitive or challenging markets with ambitions for this business, action is needed, and it’s here that visual content can play a crucial role.

An investment in your business goals

Like with any business investment, there should be a clearly defined goal that photo and video content are going to help the business achieve. The common challenge for businesses is being able to make this connection and understanding how the visuals are going to help realise positive results.

Let’s start with your business. Perhaps your business goals include:

  • Growth
  • Higher value projects
  • More profitable work
  • More rewarding briefs
  • Recognition amongst peers and the industry
  • To reposition itself in the industry

All of these goals can be supported by using professional photo and video content, when applied in the right way.

Return on investment

Too often, businesses regard professional visual content as an expense, detached from the business processes of securing future work. Consequently, the perceived value is limited and budgets are similarly minimal.

Commissioning a photographer or videographer, involving planning or pre-production, some hours on site, at least as many hours in the editing does of course cost money.

Yet, what is rather than an expense with limited benefits, the content created actively drove prospective clients to your business. Whether by creative awareness, building trust, showcasing services and team and creativity involved, visual content can, when placed at the heart of sales and marketing, make a tangible difference to the business.

Once visuals become a valuable customer acquisition tool, the investment and potential return on investment is transformed. When viewed within the prism of acquiring just a single extra project, the outlay of visual content shrinks dramatically and the potential gains for the business can look impressive.

The challenge

Businesses find themselves in a world that demands and expects visual content; a far cry from just a decade ago where businesses could get on with designing and delivering great projects. Today’s customers demand more, tailored to them, presented up front and throughout the sales process to provide a satisfying experience.

For design and fitout businesses, especially those with limited marketing capability in-house, this change can feel unsettling. Experts at designing and delivering outstanding projects, taking a more visible role towards customers can be a shift beyond the normal comfort zone.

However by realising the potential of visual content to attract and drive business, the potential benefits are considerable.

If your business can benefit from visual content, ensure that content is used to its absolute maximum. If your photographer or videographer is solely providing content, ensure you’ve got the know-how to understand when content to commission for the results you need. Alternatively, commission a content creator who can provide both.

About the author

Daniel Atkinson is a commercial photographer and videographer with 20 years experience of content creation and marketing. Daniel specialises in visual content for design and fitout businesses of commercial and residential spaces, serving London and the South East of England.