Pictures are powerful. They can evoke emotion and action and tell a story. Sadly, many designers focus solely on how an image fits into the design rather than what the image conveys to the visitor. So, in addition to a designer, our website needs an image maker who understands the purpose of an image in storytelling and conversion. Our image maker will understand why the image will appeal to our audience and what it will say.
For example, think about all the consultative websites that seem to feature the same set of super-scrubbed, fit, shiny, smiley, possibly lobotomized and mostly Caucasian people wearing dark suits?
Here they are! Put on your designer’s hat and see if you can ferret out the reason they chose the picture.
Figure 1: What does this image say to the reader?
The designer’s caption for this image may be “If you buy from us, you can hang with happy, pretty people, like me!”
I call this Business Porn.
Next, put on your cynical hat. What does the image “say” now? I might say “Hi! I’m here to appeal to the base urges of our mostly male audience.”
This is what readers are thinking.
Getting Your Best Image Out There
Here’s a great test for your site. Go to your home page or other page frequented by visitors. Look at the images there and try to write a caption for them. I know that your images don’t have a caption. No one adds captions, which is just plain sad. Every image should have a caption
Captions are the most read part of a Web page. You should provide a caption for each image.
The caption does not have to explain the picture. In fact this is a great place to re-state any offers on the page. Get your ace copywriter involved.
Having a caption is one of the basic tenets of images. Here are others:
Show the product
This is obvious for an Online Store, but less so for the other signatures. Publishers can show the content.
How can a Consultative Site “show the product?” Get creative. Show screenshots of things you designed for clients. If you work in human relations, have a picture of a real team, working together, not the perfect team above. Show graphs of improved productivity or profits. Provide pictures of DVD’s complete with labels to highlight your online video or choose pictures of your authors or presenters for reports and webinars.
For the Site as a Service, screen shots are commonly used. But only use the whole screen if you must to tell the story. If the screen shot looks like a complex, overwhelming jumble, it will scare people off rather than attract them.
Make it clickable
People expect to be able click on images. If you doubt this assertion, try installing a service like CrazyEgg (www.CrazyEgg.com) or ClickTale (www.clicktale.com). You will get a heat map of where visitors are clicking on your pages.
It’s very enlightening.
For product pages in your Online Store, take visitors to a larger version of the image. For Brochures, Publications, Consultative sites, and Service sites, take them to a page that includes the image, but offers more.
Yes, you should take them to a landing page.
More and bigger is better for conversion
On your Online Store, the more photos you can offer, the better. Show the product from all angles, in high resolution. Show it being used, worn or manipulated.
Successful online retailers can even show their apparel with a variety of outfits.
Remember, you have to get the user to touch, taste and smell your products through the Internet.
Your image maker can help that happen.
Designers look at how the whole website fits together. Image makers, on the other hand, make sure the images fit in the story and the overall conversion plan. Without an image maker, your website can wind up with images so sterile they communicate lack of imagination or so “arty” they forget you’re selling a product. Image makers make sure your products show to the best advantage, have captions and are clickable so that people who like what they see can be taken deeper down the ol’ conversion funnel. Find out more about what your site needs from an image maker in Customer Creation Equation Blog….