The Ask Amanda Show | Episode #4

Creating a personal brand – one that showcases your personality, skills and beautiful face – is one of the most engaging and effective ways to capture the attention of your digital audience. But for many of us, it’s hard to step in front of the camera to create photos and video content that puts us in the spotlight. What most people don’t know, however, is that it’s totally possible to create high-quality visual content that showcases your brand value and makes you feel good.

That’s why Amanda Benson-Tilch, host of The Ask Amanda Show, recently sat down with the business-minded photographer Lindsay Schlick, co-owner of the Santa Clarita visual marketing company, SchlickArt Photography and Video.

Together, Amanda and Lindsay discuss the importance of visual marketing in a digital world, how consumer behaviors are changing, and how you can grow your business with the same simple strategies SchlickArt used to build it’s lasting local brand.

Let’s dive in.

What’s Visual Marketing?

Visual marketing is a segment of marketing that has grown rapidly over the years, and it includes the visual elements of a brand:

  • Logo
  • Website
  • Graphics
  • Marketing Materials
  • Banners & Signage
  • Photography
  • Video
  • And more …

“These pieces are so key when it comes to marketing in today’s world,” Lindsay explained. “So much of business is conducted online, and it’s predominantly a visual experience. That’s why it’s vital to create a consistent and professional visual brand if you want to remain relevant.”

At SchlickArt Photography & Video, Owners Brian and Lindsay Schlick are a video/photographer team who specialize in visual marketing for small businesses in Santa Clarita. When it comes to marketing photography and video, they have a few tips on what to create first.

Marketing Photography

When it comes to visual marketing, your photography should be as professional as possible. Yes, it’s great to have those candid moments to add personality and spontaneity to your digital presence – to add rawness when appropriate. But the foundation of your photography should be professional, branded and as engaging as possible.

Not sure how to capture your brand? These classic and versatile shots are a great place to start:

  • Professional portraits (headshots) of each team member
  • Group portraits for the executive team and entire staff
  • Location photography of the interior and exterior of your offices
  • Lifestyle portraits of you working in the office, in the field or with clients
  • Lifestyle portraits of your team collaborating
  • Lifestyle portraits of you in your day-to-day routine
  • And more …

Marketing Video

The same general rules apply for marketing video. Yes, you want some live video, as well as some candid clips, to create variety among your visuals. But the majority of your video – especially the foundational pieces – should be as professionally produced as possible.

This is especially true if you’re uncomfortable on camera or overly critical of your performance. The right lighting and editing can make all the difference when it comes to building on-camera confidence, and after all, without confidence, you’re much less likely to stick to it.

To get you started, here are a few foundational marketing videos we suggest for any small business in Santa Clarita:

  • Introduction – Tell your story
  • Your Why – Why you started your business
  • Your Services – What you do and how you do it
  • Your Unique Value Proposition – Why they should choose you over the competition
  • FAQs – Answer your most common consumer questions
  • Testimonials – Let others do the talking for you
  • And more …

BONUS: Check out The SchlickArt Blog for a comprehensive Visual Content Strategy.

How Consumer Behaviors Are Changing Visual Marketing Practices

We live in a world where everything is moving so fast. Life and business happen online, and the digital world is updating quicker than we can keep up with. Today, nearly all of our communications with leads and clients are conducted through screens.

Then 2020 happened. And overnight, we evolved five years. Digital marketing is not going away. It has become increasingly more common and important throughout the pandemic, and it’s not going to take a backseat as the world opens up again. Our behaviors have changed.

You can no longer ignore the move to digital because it’s already here. Every brand must have a strong, consistent and engaging digital presence to remain relevant in today’s market.

Here are the consumer behaviors we’re noticing – and how you can expect them to affect the visual and digital marketing spaces.

From Convenience to Qualification

Before business was digital, there were fewer choices, and most day-to-day purchasing decisions were based on location and proximity. Today, however, consumers have the ability to do extensive research into products, services and brands before they buy. They want to make sure they’re going with the right brand, one that aligns with their values and needs.

“People are looking for answers online,” Amanda explained. “They’re looking for information and solutions that are the best fit for them. That’s why it’s so crucial to have branded, helpful visual marketing that engages your customers and keeps them on your website and social media longer.”

From Stock to Personalized

Even a few years ago, small businesses could get away with using generic or stock images to fill space when they needed a photo for social media or an email blast. Very few brands had personalized, authentic marketing photography and video of their business.

“You can’t get away with stock photography anymore,” Lindsay explained. “You’re misrepresenting your brand.”

If you own a boutique hotel, for example, and post a stock photo of a pool area, your guests are going to expect that exact pool area. That may have been the reason they booked with you in the first place. Right off the bat, your brand did not deliver on its promise.

From Sales to Storytelling

“Marketing has changed drastically over the years. The in-your-face ‘buy me now’ approach to marketing doesn’t work the way it used to – because people don’t want to be sold to anymore,” Lindsay explained. “We’re almost immune to it now.”

Telling someone’s story, however, speaks volumes. As people and as consumers, we love to listen to a good story.

“Think about how many stories you hear about a small business owner or a large corporation with a philanthropic mission,” Lindsay continued. “We listen to these stories all the time, and we love them – how their business works, how they got started, their professional experience, their challenges and victories. It’s how we get to know, like and trust a business through visuals.”

Get the Most From Your Visual Marketing

Once you have a clear understanding of visual marketing and how the latest trends might affect your market, it’s time to start producing excellent visual content. Here are our top tips for visual marketing that captivates.

Stop Hiding From Your Brand.

“Some of the most common fears we hear are: ‘I’m not photogenic.’ ‘I hate the way I look on camera.’ ‘What if I sound dumb?’” Lindsay shared. “But most people don’t realize that it’s bigger than that fear.”

In a world where content is king and digital is queen, business owners and professionals can no longer avoid the marketing spotlight. Effective strategies now require that you put yourself out there. That’s why the task of creating visual content for your brand is bigger than your fear about being on camera.

“We’re so busy with running the business that we bury ourselves and hide away from the world, thinking that it’s ok,” Lindsay said. “But if you don’t put yourself out there, you’re not adding anything to your brand – you’re invisible in the marketplace.”

Proudly Represent Your Brand.

“What’s the number one thing that’s missing from most brands today? YOU,” Lindsay shared.
Personal branding – adding you to your marketing – is a huge part of doing business online and in person. You give your brand personality. You make it memorable.

“You are your brand, and when it doesn’t truly look and feel like you, you’re discounting your brand,” Amanda explained. “If your potential customer can’t recognize you from looking at your visual marketing – either because it’s 10 years old or it’s off brand – then that could be a missed connection.”

Embrace Video.

“You can’t avoid video,” Amanda stated. “83% of marketers who have used video said it helped with lead generation and led directly to sales. That’s huge, you guys!”

The beauty of video is that it solves a lot of common problems in a very powerful way. It’s extremely engaging. It’s versatile enough for all your platforms. And it’s an impressive, polished way to share information with your team or your customers.

Video marketing remains one of the most powerful, engaging and effective uses of your marketing dollars. When one of the few ways to communicate with your customer base is through a screen, you might as well give them something good to look at, right?

“By hearing someone share their own story, you learn so much about that person,” Lindsay explained. “You really get to understand a professional’s depth of knowledge, and it creates a lasting sense of authority for a brand or professional.”

Meet the Experts

Lindsay Schlick – Visual Marketing 

As the Lead Photographer and Co-owner of SchlickArt Photography and Video, Lindsay Schlick’s eye for beauty is only matched by her mind for business. After leaving her hometown in Lancashire, England, Lindsay got her start as a photographer aboard Princess Cruise ships, where she met her future husband and business partner, Brian Schlick. In 2012, the lovebirds launched SchlickArt, a boutique media company in Santa Clarita. From that moment on, Lindsay has been dedicated to growing a community-driven business that makes people feel good. And the community has recognized her efforts. Lindsay has been awarded the Entrepreneur Award by the SCV Business Journal, the Ultimate Photographer Award by élite Magazine, Santa Clarita’s Best Photographer by The Signal and more.

Need to update your headshots and create visuals that make you look as good as you feel? The first 20 people to contact Lindsay at SchlickArt Photography & Video – and use the code AskAmandaSchlickArt10 – will receive 10% off a headshots purchase.

Keep up with Lindsay on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Amanda Benson-Tilch – Small Business Consulting

While you may notice her first by her wit and second by her infectious sense of humor, the next thing you’ll learn about Amanda Benson-Tilch is: She’s a problem-solver. Owner and Growth Strategist of Ask Amanda Consulting, she offers the skills, tools and network it takes to get the job done — no matter the task.

Working with each client differently, she helps identify blocks, present solutions, implement them, and execute. And if she can’t execute, she’ll connect you to someone who can. She’s helped past clients improve their branding, operations, customer service, marketing, company culture, and more. She’s organized a company-wide rebranding and restructuring after it was bought out. And she’s helped local small businesses increase their growth without increasing the headache. From consulting to full-scale project management, Amanda steps in to help your business level up with ease.

In addition to her work with Ask Amanda, she’s also the Director of Business Development for Thomas Realty Co., a property management company in Burbank, where she oversees the growth of select tenants. Currently, she’s serving as the Managing Director of both Burbank Fitness Club and Burbank Center Apartments. Over the last year, she helped completely rebrand, renovate and rebuild the gym, and she recently started the same process with their luxury apartments.

Follow Amanda on Facebook and Instagram.

About The Ask Amanda Show

On any given day, small business owners and entrepreneurs spend most of their time putting out fires, solving problems and asking themselves questions like: “How do I brand this? How do I reach more people online? Why can’t I break through my revenue ceiling and reach the next level of business?” They often feel like an island – holding it all together without support, clarity or feedback they need to finally achieve their vision. That’s exactly why Amanda Benson-Tilch created The Ask Amanda Show. As a small business consultant, not only does she have the answers to the questions you keep asking, but she’s also created a podcast community that reminds you: You’re not alone in this journey.

Tune in once a month to get access to small business experts, nuggets of inspiration and answers to those burning questions preventing you from growth. Enjoy powerful guest interviews as Santa Clarita small business experts share their stories and provide actionable steps to help you grow your business. Whether you’re a business owner, aspiring entrepreneur, or someone looking to get more involved in your community, this is your show!