by Jessi Burg
This week, we’re starting with one of my favorite questions from service providers: Do I really need a project gallery? The answer is yes! If your business offers any kind of service, like house cleaning, graphic design, or HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) installation, you should have some kind of project gallery on your website.
Why? Let’s break it down. There are a few reasons why I believe that a project gallery is one of the most important tools in your sales kit.
- Do More of the Projects You Love
Depending on your business, there are probably some projects that you like doing more than others. A good project gallery highlights your favorite projects – which means that clients who want those types of projects are more likely to contact you for work.
Think about it this way: What recent projects did you really enjoy? What did you like about them? What parts got you excited? Show these off! Remember, it’s your business, so you get to decide what kind of work you want to do.
If you haven’t already, start taking before, during, and after photos of your work. The more photos you have to choose from, the easier it will be to find examples of jobs you want to highlight. As a bonus, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from if you want to change up your gallery.
- Differentiate Yourself from the Competition
For most people, there are other businesses that work within your area or industry. What makes you different? Do you handle smaller projects? Do you excel at logistical management? Do you leave your job sites extra clean? Are you focused on sustainability or using locally sourced materials? In effect, your project gallery should display what it is that makes you stand out.
What’s great about your project gallery is that it’s yours. Tell the story of your business through the images you choose. Take jobsite photos to highlight your safety protocols or your diverse crew. Show off that textured wall repair that you did as an add-on for a house painting job. How can you present to a client the things that set you apart?
- Educate Potential Clients about Your Industry
You might be thinking, “But my business doesn’t lend itself to pretty pictures, so how am I supposed to highlight jobs?!” This is where your project gallery summary comes in. In this case, pictures are only as good as the explanation that goes with them. Clients look at project galleries for two reasons: they want to know what you do and who your client base is, and how much you charge.
So be sure to explain your projects – including pricing. This is your chance to discuss how your business works so that your clients are prepared during a future estimate.
For example, if you’re an electrician who works mostly in single family homes, you might have a project gallery that shows the before and after of a re-wired breaker box with an explanation of why a homeowner might need to replace their old breakers, and how much this type of project costs in labor and materials.
What do you wish your clients knew about your industry and how you work? You can demonstrate that through explaining a common project type.
- Allow Clients to Qualify Themselves
If you are in an industry that first requires an estimate, you want to know that you’re what a client is looking for before you spend time with them. Clients will have a clearer idea of what you do and how you do it through your project gallery. If you’re a commercial HVAC company focusing on new builds, a gallery will help you avoid getting calls from residential clients looking to have a humidifier installed.
As a bonus, if you include pricing in your project gallery (recommended), this will give clients a ballpark idea of what to expect cost-wise. Whether you’re a photographer or a dog walker, most people won’t know what a job costs. If clients can budget accordingly, you can avoid sticker shock during the estimate.
- Show off Your Work/Publicize Yourself
Lastly, you want to show off your work! Tell your clients that you’ve included their project in your gallery, and they’ll show their friends and neighbors. Include a link in your e-mail signature, on your Facebook profile, or in your response to a Next Door post. This way, more people will hear about your business – leading to you landing more of your targeted clientele.
For more information on the specifics of putting together a project gallery, check out our free course on Teachable here! And if you need support while thinking through which projects to promote, come check out our twice weekly co-working sessions where we encourage accountability and productivity while you network with other small business owners.