Quality text-based content is always going to be an integral part of your online strategy, but quality visual content should play a pivotal role in your online presence and marketing strategy. We all know the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” – but the quality of the images and their targeted message is what will set you apart from your competitors. When implemented properly, images can also improve your chances of getting found through organic searches and also become a valuable shareable commodity.
Images have the potential to elicit an emotional response, they can also communicate information quickly, and they are easier to read than text. Images can be used to inspire, enrage, inform, provoke or entertain. The right targeted quality images can help you tell your story, create desire, help customers connect with your brand and gain trust.
Use custom images.
Stock images have their limitations – both in content and styling. Try not to use stock images on your branded website, wherever you can. Stock images can undermine the credibility of your brand.
With a custom image, you’re in control. Your pictures will say exactly what you want them to say and create a unique look and feel. You’ll stand out from the competition when you use unique images.
People like to connect with other people and using custom images can help humanize your brand. It’s also helpful to be stylistically consistent, try to adhere to a particular photographic style that your audience can instantly recognise.
Showcase your product in use and in context
Before committing to buying a product or service, people want to see how – and in what context – a product is used or a service will help them.
For example, if you’re selling hammers, show them on a workbench. If you’re selling knitting yarn, show it being used.
This is particularly important for ecommerce websites. It creates a better sense of engagement and helps visitors understand issues of size and scale.
On our t-shirt print design website, we use a banner that shows the product which is the print design AND a person wearing a t-shirt printed with that design.
(see example downloadt-shirtdesigns.com).
Show your product from all sides
At its most basic, you can do this with a series of still photos. Again, show products in use and in context.
Step it up a bit by using a tool to create an interactive 3D product image. This used to be a top-end strategy, but today, you can create interactive product photos without a movie shoot. (There are a few plug-in tools out there so look for the tool that suits your needs and budget.)
Show your product in motion
Bandwidth is getting bigger and video is getting easier. It could well be worth showing your product actively in use.
Online dress shop Pretty Little Thing uses videos of their clothes being modelled catwalk-style. They’ve done this in detail, with a video in every colour the dress comes in. A big investment, but worth it for a better customer experience, so they can see how the clothing fits.
Show the promise, not just the product.
Everyone strives to live what they believe to be their perfect lifestyle. Visual content can help represent the lifestyle that a brand is trying to sell to its customers. Many consumers would rather purchase an experience than a product, so it’s important for to position your products or services as part of a desirable, aspirational lifestyle.
For example clothing brands want you to feel attractive and fashionable, a car manufacturers want you to feel like you deserve luxury and travel companies sell you the freedom of escaping the everyday.
How to save your images to increase your search engine rankings
Having a quality custom images and website design is a great way to contribute to SEO. There are around 200 factors in Google’s algorithm for ranking websites these days. The images that you use impact the rankings – so be web-smart in how you use them. Here are some ideas to help you…
- Make sure your web pages load quickly by using highly compressed jpgs for your images wherever possible. The key is to compress them “just enough” so that the quality is still great and the file sizes are small. We recommend using Adobe Photoshop to optimise your images, and ‘saving for web’ with compression of around 60 – 70%.
- Only use png files if the image is an irregular shape and needs to move independently from the background it sits on, to suit various screen sizes. Otherwise use jpgs because jpgs can be reduced to smaller file sizes.
- Name your images with keywords related to your business. Be sure to update the alt-tag descriptions too.
- Make sure your site and images are designed to suit all screen sizes. Google will penalise your website if it’s not responsively designed to suit all screen sizes.