In this case, statistics don’t lie. Every kind of marketing tactic—websites, blog articles, e-commerce, social media, email marketing—performs better with images, as the statistics show:
- Blog articles with relevant images get 94% more traffic than blog posts without. (from infographic on mdgadvertising.com)
- Visual content is processed 60,000x faster than text. (from eclincher.com)
- Search engines give preference in ranking results to blog posts with images.
- “In an online store, customers think that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%).” (from jeffbullas.com)
- “Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27% (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text).” (from jeffbullas.com)
There is a caveat (we know, everyone hates those). Not just any image is going to set your image apart from the crowd. Your image has to be the right image to get results. Here’s how to find, or produce, the perfect image for your marketing.
This may seem like a minor detail, but the perfect image is more than just aesthetically pleasing; it’s legal to use, because whether you have the right to use an image is a BIG deal. Nothing makes our blood boil more when someone tells our clients, “You can use any image you find online.” If someone tells you this, know that they are very, very WRONG.
The truth is that using any image you find online can land you in legal hot water, or at the very least owing money to the party who owns the image rights. Just assume that every image you find is off limits, unless you are using a free image service that explicitly spells out your right to use the images.
Relevant to your content
As great as it is to use any quality photo, choose a photo that’s connected to the topic you’re writing about for maximum impact. While the photo doesn’t always have to be exactly on topic, the perfect image is relevant to what you’re writing about. It draws your reader in and gives them a clue as to what’s coming as they read (remember that people process images faster than text). In addition to relevant, the image should capture your reader’s attention and make them want to dive into your content.
A high quality image is not necessarily a high resolution photo—and does not always need to be taken by a professional photographer. Technology has evolved over the years, so now even smartphones and tablets can be used to take photos for some platforms.
The key is to know the right resolution and size for your project; a blurry or stretched photo is an embarrassment to your brand. To avoid embarrassing, subpar images, know the optimal image sizes for all your platforms (i.e. blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and use the information as you produce and use images. Think of a quality image as a chance to make a favorable first impression and make your business look like the professionals you are.
People pictures are preferred
Research has shown time and time again (and surprisingly!) that images with a face or faces are preferred by online users. When searching or taking photos, remember that images with people can improve your website traffic and engagement metrics.
The key is to know your audience—and your limitations (it’s okay to consider outsourcing for quality images and expertise). Who is reading your blog posts? What do they want to see? Do the same for your social media—and any other promotional tools, such as your emails—when you craft your content and choose your images.