How To Use Images In Your Content To Wow Your Customers
Humans are such visual creatures. You don’t see what I mean? Well, think of being drawn into a New York Times article, but not seeing a single image. Think of your favorite film, and then think of what it would be like to only be able to listen to it.
If you are more of a numbers person, that’s fine too. Jeff Bullas found that articles with images get 94 percent more views. Yes, that is an impressive 94 percent! Wow! Jakob Nielson found that when content had photos of real people, viewers spent 10 percent more time on viewing the portrait than reading the copy. For a visual representation of what this looks like, see data from Nielson's eye tracking study below.
Think of how often you read and how often you look at pictures, this research makes sense, right? Okay, good. Now that I’ve convinced you of how important images are to your marketing content, let’s check out a few considerations for the best images for your collateral.
(1) Finding free images for marketing content
Photos are everywhere online, and a lot of people first go to Google Images. Hands down (of course), this a powerful search engine that allows you to search by a myriad of tools including size, color, usage rights, and type. See the below screen shot of my Google images search for emotions, and the myriad of search options available.
However, you may not be able to find the quality you are looking for, so that means it’s time to check out either Unsplash or Pexels. Both are free stock photography sites that will give you professional grade photos to use as you’d like.
(2) Editing images if you're not a graphic designer or photographer
The image that you download may not be exactly what you are looking for, but there are a few editing tools available if you’re not a graphic designer or photographer. I am a photographer, but when I want something quick, my go-tos are Google Drawings and Canva. Google Drawings is a slimmed down design tool that allows you to work with layers. Canva has a freemium version that gives you hundreds of templates to get started. Both a super easy to use, and make an effort to support any type of user.
(3) Knowing if an image will speak to your audience
People’s eyes are drawn into a photo when they can identify with something in that photo. In recent campaigns that I ran to get consumers’ attention, I tested a stock photo where someone’s face was not recognizable, and a photo where a person’s face was clearly recognizable, and in a setting that my potential clients could identify with.
Hands down, the content with at least one recognizable face always got more clicks. This finding is supported by what Nielson found of photos of real people getting significantly more attention than generic stock photos.
(4) Knowing if your audience will identify with an image
It may be one thing if your audience pays attention to the photo. But another is when they identify with it. It is safe to assume that your audience will not all be the same gender, age group, or ethnicity. So make sure that your images represent the diversity of your own audience.
(5) Knowing if it’s a “good” photo
That’s a good question. Especially because “good” is so subjective. Though, generally speaking, there are a few principles of design to keep in mind. My favorite one is watching for the lines. When choosing an image with people in it, make sure that there are little or no “lines” intersecting with their bodies.
For example, make sure that the outline of a doorway is not going through the person’s head, or make sure that any overlaying text is not bisecting a person’s mouth.
Another tip having to do with lines is that any photo with triangles in it is viewed as much more attractive. This is a tip to making sure your image is in accordance with the “golden ratio,” a mathematical formula to more attractive design.
Summing It Up
By now you know how important it is to include images in your marketing content. You also have a few tips to make finding images easier, and selecting images that will get your content more attention. Remember a few basic guidelines:
(1) free sites exist for stock photography
(2) there are several free tools available to anyone for editing visual content
(3) the image should speak to your audience
(4) your audience should be able to identify with your image
(5) following one or two principles of design, you will be able to get more attractive photos and more eyes on your content for a longer time.
Now comes the fun part, you get to make your collateral more attractive, and watch your click through rates soar!