How beautiful imagery creates dazzling marketing results
How image choice can make or break your marketing
We’re all connoisseurs of beauty, whether we realize it or not. We’re visual creatures, and our vision is so dominant that if it has the occasion to overpower our other senses, it will. I experienced this recently through a virtual reality (VR) headset.
Everyone was eager to try it. I slipped the blocky contraption over my head, slung the cords over my shoulder, and knew very much that I was standing on carpet in an empty bedroom among friends. Then the visor blinked on and I was suddenly transported to a dimly lit graveyard and could hear the moans of undead zombie denizens somewhere out beyond my flashlight's arc. I checked for carpet between my toes, however. I was still in the room.
From the shadows lurched a zombie - hideous and ghastly - and I raised an animated gun and squeezed off a few rounds. Un-phased, the creature gathered speed, and before I could reload it lunged and filled my view with a gnashing maw of teeth and like a sleeping child struck by midnight terrors, I shrieked at the top of my lungs and leapt backwards, tripped over the cords, and fell.
I tore the headset off, and I was back in the room.
Amid the lighthearted laughter I felt a nervous palpitation that I had just escaped death. My heart raced. Under pressure, the visions had became absolutely real.
Vision is powerful. You might say that it’s nearly everything: 30% of our brains are dedicated to processing it, and if it can evoke emotions of this intensity then why oh why do we keep ignoring visuals in our marketing?
Choosing powerful images
First off, start using images for your articles, period. At Find A Way we’re frequently shocked how many companies post articles, blogs, and thought leadership content that are devoid of header images or lack an attractive presentation. Use images. It’s easy.
Inc.com reports that using them at all in your content will produce 650% higher engagement, and Xerox reports that viewers are 80% more likely to read content that includes colored images. That's just child’s play however, and you can do even better.
You should choose your images to relate to your subject matter. Plenty of businesses get away with stock photos of businesspeople “doing business,” to the point that Adobe released a t-shirt line featuring the worst of them. The world most definitely does not need more carefully diversified actors in tailored suits looking at charts and laughing and when even the people who sell them are telling you that they’re bad enough to be ironic, listen up!
If you make the effort and find truly relevant images, KissMetrics reports that you’ll get 94% more views, right off the bat.
When you've narrowed it down to just a few choices for your image, pick the one that's the most attention -grabbing.
Here are some great examples of relevant images:
Now that you have a handle on that, let's go one layer deeper and start analyzing the types of relevant images to choose. You'll want to look at things like brightness, contrast and colors, and that's where we can learn a little something from social media.
Here's how to choose your visual images, drawn from researcH by Entrepreneur:
- Light images get 24% higher engagement than dark ones
- Images with plenty of background space perform 29% better than those with little background space
- Images with blue as a dominant color produce 24% more likes than those with red
- Images with one single dominant color generate 17% more likes than those with multiple dominant colors
- Images with low saturation generate 18% more likes than those with vibrant colors
- Images with high texture generate 79% more likes than those without
Here's a picture that nails it:
If you ever get stuck, ask a friend who doesn’t know the particulars of your business to choose the one that they find the most attention-grabbing.
Visual analogies are the icing on the cake
Once you master relevant images, you’re ready for the final step: visual analogies. Analogies are powerful explanatory shortcuts because they connect the thing that you’re trying to explain to something your audience already understands. For example, saying that something is as fast as a bullet, is bigger than a horse, or is simpler than counting to three accelerates understanding. Now, take these words and translate them into the visual world where they can have an even greater impact.
Visual analogies demonstrate the characteristics of something that audiences can already feel, such as awe, disgust, or curiosity and allow them to transfer those feelings over into what’s being explained. Often, they’re best if they’re hyperbolic and take things to an absurd level. For example if your article is about someone having the worst day ever, show them being chased by lions through the Serengeti. If what you’re explaining really stinks, show it smelling so bad that it’s wilting the plants around it. Take it to the extreme.
Here are some examples:
Vision is powerful, and the images you choose are key to activating emotion and engagement from your viewers. Choose them wisely!
what are your takeaways from today? When choosing images, REMEMBER:
- Images alone boost performance by 650%
- Color (or if it’s black and white, high contrast) boosts readership by 80%
- Relevant images draw 94% more views
- Visual analogies accelerate understanding