Photo by Reinhart Julian on Unsplash
In this article we are going to show you why a picture is worth a thousand words in digital marketing and how you can make good use of photography for your website, social media profiles and paid advertising online.
We have been taking photographs for hundreds of years, but to take a winning show nowadays requires nothing more than a smartphone. Long gone are the days of carefully setting up the camera and the shot and then having to wait a week or more for your snaps to be developed.
Thanks to digital cameras, whether it’s one that came with your smartphone or one that comes with its own bag, taking great photos is much easier nowadays. Which is great news for anyone who wants to promote their business, increase traffic and engage customers, because photographs are worth their weight in gold.
The aim of advertising and marketing is to sell your products and services. This applies to all kinds of businesses and also for educational establishments and charities. You can use photographs as part of a marketing campaign because they perform a variety of functions:
The truth is that a good photograph can make a significant difference, raising an average advertising campaign to one that is extremely effective. Why are photographs so important? Because they can tell a story and a story is essential for customer engagement.
Believe it or not, it has been said that photography used on your website can lead to an increase in conversions. Some say that increases can be as much as 161%. Photography can also help improve engagement rates, brand awareness, and brand perception. Let’s look at the reasons why in more detail.
Three quarters of online shoppers use images of products to inform their decisions. In other words, they like to see exactly what they’re buying before they make a purchase. For this reason, it’s crucial that the images you use are of the highest quality. An average image will work well, but good quality photographs will improve user engagement even further.
You can use photographs across a wide range of media, from your website through to email banners, printed adverts and let’s not forget social media.
Good quality photographs, or visual content, are far more likely to get shared on social channels, by a staggering 40%. Why does this happen? It is because our attention spans have shortened and your audience prefers short form content, in the form of memes, images, videos etc.
If you use photographs on your website, it is likely to receive as much as 90% more traffic than a website that features no images. This is because the images help the SEO value of a website, by way of the description and alt tags, which help search understand what your website relates to.
An important tip here is to remember to compress your images before you upload them. It makes the images much easier and lighter for your website to handle, without compromising the quality. If you don’t compress the images, they are ‘heavy’ which slows down your website. A website that is slow to load, for whatever reason, is more likely to be exited and your visitors will bounce off to your competitors.
Photographs that use the best lighting and capture a subject from the best angle will help to capture the essence of your brand. They will also help to establish brand identity and show what is unique about your business.
When you want to include images on your website, it is easy and very tempting to use stock images. However, original, unique images can increase conversions by as much as 35%. You also build a level of trust if you use your own images and people are more likely to buy from you.
Photographs are aspirational. In other words, potential customers will be able to visualize your service or products as a part of their own life. You can use photographs to give them an idea of the benefits they can enjoy if they choose to invest in your company.
One of the most powerful ways to help customers get to know your business and what you can do for them is to use photography.
There are three critical factors you need to consider when picking an image for your digital marketing campaign.
Ideally, the image you choose should fit your content as this will result in greater engagement and better leads.
Everything you publish with regard to your business should enhance your brand. If your business is in the financial sector it should convey financial security and success. If, on the other hand, you sell fitness products, any images you use should convey strength and motion.
If the images you use are boring and drab, they are not going to engage your readers. Choose images that are crisp and vibrant, bright, and colorful. These have been shown to increase sales and readership by as much as 80 percent.
Before you make the final decision, there is a little bit of research you need to do. First, you should make sure that none of your competitors are using the same or a similar image. If you have opted for stock photography, there’s a good chance this might be the case. Secondly, choose your colors wisely and make sure they fit your brand. It is something you can use very effectively to make your brand stand out from your competitors.
Thanks to technology, you can now carry around a professional quality camera in your pocket or hand all the time. Not every business has the budget to hire a professional photographer or buy their own fancy equipment. It doesn’t have to be a problem because you can take great marketing photographs with some basic photography skills and a little bit of inspiration.
Here are some tips to help you improve the marketing photos you publish on social media. Why should you worry about social media? Because 300 million pictures are uploaded to Facebook every day and an average of 95 million are uploaded to Instagram. That is a huge audience that no business can afford to ignore.
One of the most basic photography skills to learn is the rule of thirds. If you are using a smartphone, enable the grid lines function as this will help you improve the composition and balance of your photos. Never position your subject in the centre of the image.
If you can capture symmetry, it will elevate your image and bring it to a more professional level. A photograph that looks like an amateur has taken it will reflect badly on your brand.
Unless you are using a professional camera, it’s better not to manually zoom on a subject. If you zoom, you run the risk of damaging the quality of the photograph. Rather than zooming in, try to get a little closer to the subject if possible. Once you have taken the photo, use the crop function to get the image to your liking.
This is another basic skill to learn and any time you get the opportunity to frame your image naturally you should take it. And if you are not happy with the natural frame, it’s always possible to edit the frame out by cropping your image. Natural frames that work very well include fences, archways, bridges and trees.
It is possible to elevate a photograph with the help of reflections. For example, using the reflection of a coastline and maybe the sunset in the window of a bus is a more creative image than just a monotonous picture of a bus.
Use patterns to capture your audience’s attention
On many occasions, finding the perfect pattern is just a case of taking the shot from the right perspective and angle. The pattern might not be obvious from any other angle, but if you take a step back, it sometimes appears.
If you use a tripod, it means you’ll be able to take pictures hands-free. It will also help you get your image level and rescue any wobble. You can also use a tripod to extend the distance between the camera and yourself and still hold the camera comfortably and securely.
Don’t fill your social media page with pictures of your products. People also make great subjects. Need more convincing? Photos with faces get 328% more comments and 38% more likes than those that have no faces.
Photography is the foundation of a successful marketing campaign and should be one of the first things you consider when designing your marketing program.
Check out this post if you want to learn more about digital marketing.
Author Bio: This article was written by Ted Murphy of Ted Murphy Photography. Ted is an expert in producing commercial photography specialising in promoting brands online.