Increase Your Sales Conversions With Arresting (And Relevant) Images
The IMC Team
The Internet is a visual medium, so it makes sense to load your website with lots of colorful and entertaining images, right?
Posting a raft of pictures and other graphics on your site can actually HURT your sales, because they distract your visitors from the single most important thing you want them to do: buy something!
In fact, an image-heavy website is pretty much a GUARANTEE that your visitors will spend a lot more time looking at the pretty pictures, and a lot less time reading the salescopy.
And let’s face it… it’s the words, not the pictures, that close the sale.
As well, without a single strong focal point on your site, a user’s eyes will roam ’round and ’round the page, looking for something — anything — to latch onto. And not finding anything in particular to draw their attention among all of those competing images, they’ll often feel disoriented, and subsequently leave your site.
Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t use images on your website at all. You’ll definitely want to include some quality pictures, but make sure each one serves a particular purpose.
And what would that purpose be? Well, each image or graphic should contribute to your sales process, by highlighting important passages in the copy, illustrating the main benefits of your product, or leading your visitors through your site.
At the same time, adding interesting images will actually reduce your bounce rate (visitors who leave your site without looking at ANY other page than the one they landed on).
So before you jump in and upload your favorite pictures of your dog dressed in goggles (don’t laugh — we’ve seen it!) here’s what you need to know about effectively using images on your website or landing page to increase your conversions.
Use Images to Put Your Product in Your Visitors’ Hands
In a “bricks-and-mortar” store, customers can get up close and personal with the product, and as a result, can picture themselves actually using it.
They’ll feel good about making the purchase, because they’ll be confident that the product will perform as promised.
Online, you don’t have the luxury of placing your product in your visitors’ hands, but you can do the next best thing, by including a detailed, quality image of each product you sell.
This is particularly important if you’re selling something that’s delivered electronically, like an eBook, as it makes the product seem more tangible.
And a recent report by Marketing Sherpa concluded that a product shot got as much attention as any other element on the page… and in many cases, it got MORE!
But don’t go overboard with your product images! One strong product image is typically more successful than multiple images that feature the product from every conceivable angle.
Your visitors will stay more focused on the purchase if they’re not bombarded by a series of different images at once — even if those images are related.
And make sure that the surrounding text is still as easy to read as possible, by placing your images to the left of any corresponding copy.
The typical online reader will struggle to read text that’s displayed to the left of the image.
Include Pictures of “Real People” With Your Testimonials
Everyone knows by now the value of including testimonials from satisfied customers on websites, but far fewer people actually include images of happy customers on their sites.
So make sure that, whenever possible, you include a picture of your happy buyers.
And while we stress using good quality images on your site, here’s where you have a bit of leeway. That’s because studies have shown that a basic “snapshot” of a person can be more persuasive and powerful than a fancy, studio-produced head shot.
People tend to view these more casual images as more “real,” and therefore more credible.
If You Sell a Service, Include an Image of Your Main Product: YOU!
If you’re using your website to collect leads for your service-based business, don’t be shy about including an image of yourself (and your team, if applicable).
As above, the rule of “real people” applies…
Don’t sweat it if you don’t have an 8 x 10 glamour shot you can include with your copy. A more casual — even “amateur” — photo will actually add to your credibility (and you’ll save some money on a fancy photographer, too!).
Ready To Add Some Images? Follow These Simple Guidelines To Maximize Their Impact
If you’re ready to add some images to your website — or you’d like to make your existing images pull their weight — there are some simple tricks you can use that will take just a few seconds, and will help you make the most of every picture.
And they’re so easy, even a non-technical person can follow them…
- Make your images “clickable”It’s a natural impulse for people to try clicking on images when they browse a web page, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to capture your visitors’ attention.Is it a product image? Link to the page where your customer can actually buy the product. A thumbnail image of your staff? Link to a larger version of the image, so people can see more detail.One warning: avoid actually sending your visitors off the page completely when they click on an image. A pop-up is usually best.
- Include a caption with each imageMarketingSherpa, in their recent “Landing Page Handbook,” discusses how, in a print ad, the photo caption is the second-most read element on the page, beaten only by the headline.So it makes sense to use captions on your website images, too.A photo caption is the perfect opportunity not just to identify what’s in the image, but to actually squeeze in one of the main benefits of your product, site, or service, too… to say nothing of a good keyword!
- Consider designing a special “thumbnail” version of your eBook cover One challenge with using a product image of a book, report, or other information product is that the cover can be difficult to decipher in a reduced image.So when you create your image, consider making a special “thumbnail” version with enlarged text that’s clearly readable, even at a greatly reduced size.Here’s an example of an eBook cover we produced recently that features this ” thumbnail-friendly” design.
- Bigger is never better when it comes to site imagesIf your web pages don’t load quickly, your visitors will lose patience and click away, so it’s important that you don’t overload your website with large, slow-loading graphics.You don’t want to lose potential sales just because your site took forever to load.Most images can be greatly reduced in size, and it’s amazing to see how much faster your website loads once you’ve compressed your graphics!WebGraphics Optimizer (www.webopt.com) is a great tool for optimizing and compressing images for online and Internet use. You can download a free trial version at their website.
- Bonus Tip! Use images to improve your site’s search engine rankingsDid you know you can easily include your best keywords with your images, which will help you rank higher in the search engines?To do it, you just need to add a bit of “alt text” to your image tags:Here’s what an image tag looks like without the alt text:
And here’s how it would look with the alt text:
See? We told you it was easy! 😉
This strategy won’t necessarily boost you to the top of the search engine rankings overnight, but it does increase the number of keywords the spiders will find on your page.
Plus, the search engines will see that you’re working hard to optimize your page rather than resorting to frowned-upon tactics like keyword stuffing.
Creating a website that is both attractive AND functional requires a balancing act between your copy and your images.
Too many images, and you risk distracting your customers (who will then fail to make a purchase). But too few images, and you risk losing the opportunity fully to build your credibility and highlight your site’s main benefits.
Just remember to use restraint when choosing your images, and make sure each picture contributes to your overall sales process, and you’ll be rewarded with increased conversions, and more money in your pocket.
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