As an online business owner your primary medium to connect with potential customers is technology. This means you can create content, and even write some killer copy, but your customers will never be able to touch your product until they buy it.
The power of engaging visuals can’t be overlooked. Content with relevant pictures gets 94% more views than content without it. And pictures are 40 times more likely to be shared than any other type of content.
This isn’t surprising if you think about your own online habits. We all see hundreds (if not thousands) of messages every day. What grabs your attention first? What pulls you in and compels you to read more? It’s probably not a sales pitch.
That means it’s your job to create visuals that help showcase your product across multiple channels. Here’re a few ideas to help you get started.
1. Tell the right brand story.
Did you know that verbal communication makes up 7% of all communication while 93% is attributed to nonverbal cues. Again, we only have the luxury of limited communication. We still miss out on nonverbal communication in videos, as we can never truly capture every nuance of the speaker.
That sounds challenging, but it’s just a matter of choosing to tell the right story. A picture tells a thousand words, so you want your pictures to speak the words that match your marketing. Try to use images that clearly showcase the emotion that matches your marketing message.
2. Optimize image speed and accessibility.
Images are shared in a wide variety of ways. From social media to websites, to simple Google searches, the images your business create need two things: speed and accessibility.
Speed is obvious, as you can’t afford for your customers to wait for your images to load. Many of us don’t understand exactly how images are stored and sent to viewers upon request. If you have a website that is image and media heavy, your images should be compressed and file-sizes minimized without significant loss of quality.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the compression process.
3. Improve image search visibility.
While a picture paints a thousand words, machines don’t necessarily understand what the message is. Therefore, it will be a good idea to help out search bots—or spiders—understand what your images are about.
You will, of course, need to understand how search engines work. Search engines like Google and Bing use bots to crawl websites and look for content and context. When you include a relevant caption and title and alt tags along with your images, you can help these crawlers understand what the picture is all about and index your web pages properly.
You should also use relevant file names. This will be especially important when you want to optimize for image searches, in which results for the relevant keywords will hugely depend on the meta tags, caption, and filename of your image.
4. Optimize your website images for mobile devices.
Size matters when it comes to your content images, as not all platforms are created equal. Each image should fit each platform, and show up on mobile devices exactly the way you want them to look. A content management system (CMS), like WordPress, does the heavy lifting for you.
Use photo editing tools to ensure images aren’t cropped in the wrong places. For example, Canva offers templates to create pictures that are the exact right size for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and more.
Compelling visuals lead customers down the right conversion path
The images you create are the signs along this pathway, with consequences if they don’t like what you’re showing them … they will simply click away.
But if you’ve got just the right image, delivered in a relevant way, your customers may follow your path a little more. The technology at our fingertips is amazing, and it’s time to think differently about how you use images. Instead of an offhanded accessory, make visuals an integral part of your marketing plan and see your sales increase.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Liesha Petrovich is the creator of Microbusiness Essentials, a blog dedicated to helping the smallest businesses succeed. In her free time, she’s working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship. Grab a free copy of her new book Killing Rapunzel: Learning how to save yourself through determination, grit, and self-employment. Connect with @lieshapetrovich on Twitter.
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