Visual Marketing: How your Website’s Imagery can Attract your Perfect Buyers
Business owners like you are always looking for ways to effectively attract their ideal buyers. In a cluttered and distracting online world, it helps to remember the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.
You may not be able to hold your perfect buyer’s attention long enough for them to read 1,000 words about your product or service but, with the right website imagery, you don’t have to. The right images can meaningfully boost your conversion rate, so taking the time to choose or create the right imagery is very important when setting up a website for your company.
In this article, we’ll cover exactly how you can strategically use website imagery to attract your perfect buyers and get more conversions.
Evoking the right emotions can encourage people to click ‘buy’
If you can inspire the right emotions in your target audience, they’ll be far more likely to click that checkout button. Emotions can play an important role in shopper behavior, as most of us know from our own experiences of impulsive shopping. Merchandisers in brick-and-mortar shopping environments work hard to evoke emotions that compel people to shop, such as excitement, joy, or aspiration. And, the same techniques can be applied to websites through the effective use of imagery.
For example, images of people looking joyful using your products can excite your perfect buyer, or images of people looking distraught because of a problem that is addressable with your product can make your perfect buyer feel understood.
To get an idea of what this looks like in action, take a look at one of IKEA’s holiday homepage images.
As a furniture and home goods retailer, they use this image to tap into the warm, cozy feeling of being home around the holidays. Their own products are incidental in the image, since the focus is on the little girl decorating the gingerbread house. However, the image likely inspires shoppers to make their home cozier in time for the holidays, which they can do with some new IKEA purchases.
For another example, check out the images that the dance fitness company Zumba uses on its homepage.
Since their primary product is exercise videos, they use images that tap into the feeling of being energized and enthusiastic, which is exactly what their product is designed to help people do. Those who want to experience a fun, joyful exercise class will be enticed by the emotions conveyed in the image.
Humanizing your business will help you forge stronger connections
People don’t want to feel like they’re spending their money with a faceless corporation. Instead, they want to know they’re supporting real people. Images can help put a human face to your business, reminding your perfect buyer that there are real people on the other end of the transaction.
Displaying images of your team can offer an excellent way to do this. Whether you include headshots of everyone or action shots of people at work, you’ll help buyers relate to a more humanized version of your business.
For example, take a look at the About Us page on the website of The Tinker Law Firm PLLC.
If you experience the misfortune of having a medical malpractice experience and are seeking legal representation for your case, you’ll be far more likely to feel connected to a firm that includes images of its team who can assist you. For a law firm, professional headshots are perfect for this, as they show that the people behind the company are experienced, intelligent, and ready to help. This will then ensure prospective clients feel comfortable reaching out.
For other businesses, a different approach to team images might be better suited. For example, take a look at how Option One Plumbing showcases its team.
If you’re having a plumbing emergency, you probably want to contact a team that looks ready to jump into action to come help you. This image humanizes Option One Plumbing by showing the many people on whom their clients depend to fix plumbing disasters, but it also conveys preparedness, which will further help attract their perfect buyer.
It’s much easier for a shopper to feel a stronger connection with a brand after getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the people who make it a reality, than if the only image they have to connect with is a logo. In turn, they’ll also feel better about buying from you, because most customers want to feel they are contributing to the livelihood of a team rather than just lining corporate coffers.
Use imagery to show exactly how your products or service work
Shoppers like making informed choices, and imagery can convey a lot of information quickly and effectively. For some products or services, it makes a lot of sense to demonstrate how they work through imagery rather than with descriptions.
Product photography is the classic example of this: product photos have come a long way, with eCommerce brands cluing into customer preferences for more detailed product shots, resulting in higher conversions.
A level up from static images with respect to the amount of information conveyed, GIFs and graphics can show your product in motion, which can be compelling to buyers.
Finally, lifestyle photos of your products being used can provide buyers with more information about how the product can fit into their day-to-day lives.
The more accurate a customer’s understanding of how your product or service works, the less likely they are to have unpleasant surprises when they get it, and the fewer returns you’ll experience. Additionally, when they receive your product and it matches their expectations, you will establish a great foundation for customer trust and loyalty.
For some products, such as software, animated GIFs can be particularly enriching. For example, take a look at how ActiveCampaign demonstrates their sales CRM.
On the service page, a GIF goes through the key actions a customer might carry out when using the CRM software. Someone just landing on this page might not feel inclined to watch a lengthier instructional video, so a quick GIF very quickly conveys exactly how the product works, encouraging prospective buyers to learn more or test it out themselves.
Mobility aid company Stander provides another example of how images that show how a product is used can push buyers along the path to conversion.
Since they have a variety of mobility aids, someone new to the product category might feel overwhelmed by the options. But, thanks to images that demonstrate how each product category can help, website visitors can identify the product for their needs at a glance.
Help website visitors to imagine themselves using your products or services
If customers can visualize themselves using your product or service, they’ll be more compelled to make the purchase.
One effective way to make this easy is by using images of people who represent your target audience using your products. The key is to use “real” people rather than aspirational, unrelatable models because most people are far more likely to feel connected to the former.
In your imagery, consider using people of different ages, sexes, and backgrounds. Depending on what your product or service is, it may make sense to use models who look like they have a certain hobby or profession that your perfect buyer has, too.
A good example of this in action comes from Aura Systems, who make aura cameras and software.
In this case, the image they’ve chosen to demonstrate their product will help young women interested in photography, auras, and chakra readings to recognize that this product is great for them, and to envision themselves using it.
Another tried and true method that many startups use to boost sales and ensure website visitors can imagine themselves using their products is by using UGI, or user-generated images. Since UGI features real customers and comes off as more authentic than staged images, it tends to be highly relatable.
Clothing brands especially benefit from this type of imagery, since people want to see what clothes will look like on those with similar body types. For example, ASOS uses the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe to collect UGI that features on their website.
In addition to UGI, another surprising approach that can work well for helping customers imagine themselves using your products is by providing content that features your business owner or other members of your team using it.
For example, take a look at the Cobalt Intelligence blog.
This type of content and imagery goes beyond just using staff images to humanize your business; by showcasing a relatable member of your team walking them through using your product or service, it encourages visitors to see themselves using it too. And, after all, who understands the intricacies of your products or services more than those who’ve created them?
Use visuals to show off your company’s personality
Images can also be an effective tool for conveying the unique personality of your business. Showing off your personality makes your company unforgettable and makes it easier for your perfect buyers to feel connected to it. Just as people with vibrant personalities tend to stick in our minds, brands tend to do the same.
The right personality to convey through your images in order to attract your perfect buyer will depend considerably on what your business does. For example, a kids’ toy company will probably want to convey a happy, colorful personality, while a law firm should be polished, professional, and trustworthy.
Toys “R” Us lives up to the happy, playful personality expected of a toy company through its use of colorful and child-like doodles. This shows that you don’t necessarily need photographic images to convey your personality; illustrations can also do the trick
When choosing images to showcase your personality, start by brainstorming what you want to convey. Once you have a few words that are strongly associated with your brand, look for images that relate to those words for you. If you can work on this with a team, you’ll have the best chance of coming up with images that accurately convey the right personality for your brand.
If you succeed, your perfect buyer will be able to glance at your website and immediately understand your personality. For example, take a look at the fine jewelry website Mejuri.
The visuals effectively convey an unexpectedly fresh and youthful personality that isn’t typically associated with fine jewelry. It’s something that is sure to appeal to their target audience of young women, and it shows that the brand is simple, elegant, and classically stylish. This is sure to encourage the right people to make a purchase.
Attracting your ideal buyers is an ongoing goal for all businesses, and the power of imagery in helping you reach this goal shouldn’t be overlooked.
From evoking emotions and humanizing your business to showcasing how to use your products and conveying your personality, the right images can do a lot of heavy lifting to ensure your website converts like a charm.
Aaron Haynes is an entrepreneur, digital marketing enthusiast, and occasional SEO writer. With more than a decade of experience in business development, Aaron helps businesses and agencies develop and grow a data-driven yet nimble approach to search engine control. You can find more from Aaron on Twitter and LinkedIn.