When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (Source)
Visual content can seem expensive, but in most cases the advantages far outweigh the initial financial pain. When investing in photography or video or any visuals, concentrate on your goals…


What is it you are trying to achieve?

For most it is increased revenue and to boost annual turnover, for this to happen, you need to regularly engage with the public at large. Using relevant engaging visual content consistently on your website, social media or email campaigns will increase engagement across all demographics. People love great visual content.
“A picture is worth a thousand words”
Marketing experts live by the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” and for good reason.
 
Images are emotive and engage the viewer with a response, any interaction is priceless from a marketing perspective.
 
Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. (Source)
 
 
The use of images in web design continues to evolve, in the old days of dial-up internet connections, photos were used sparingly, some people even turned off images in their browsers to ensure sites would actually load! Do you remember that? It’s not that long ago.
 
Of course, improvements in internet speed have changed all that. Today, web designers often focus a web page around a “hero” image, a powerful page filling visual, that tells an important story in a split second.
In fact, professional sites now consist mostly of images and video. The driving force behind this change is the consumer, studies have shown how they like to browse the web. People are busy,  sometimes even a little lazy. They tend to like to get the information quickly. Reading long paragraphs of text is a little like homework. They like to quickly scan the visuals to find what they are looking for… 
 
Some 65% of us are visual learners and statistics indicate that people process information conveyed by images thousands of times faster than information held in text. 
 

 
Faster connection speeds enable use of more images in web design, faster broadband has been worth its weight in gold from a marketing and eCommerce point of view.
 
Professionally produced visuals have a direct correlation with sales, the build trust and have better sales conversions, as these sites appear better managed and established and statistics show this trust is a major factor in sales conversions. It isn’t rocket science, it makes perfect sense. 
 
There is a reason that 93% of the most popular posts on Facebook are images. Our brains can process images much faster than words. 
 
Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Source)
 
 
This statistic indicates images promote a response from the viewer. Whether it is a “like”, a comment, or a share with friends, images are much more likely to promote a response than text. It’s the same with a website – imagery will encourage your visitors to browse longer, and with social share buttons, they can also have the option to share these images with friends on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
 
 
Images are the key to effective web design and customer engagement.
 
A web designer who fully appreciates the power of images can use them to great effect to influence and convert potential customers.
 

So how do you make images work for your marketing or eCommerce site?

 Some tips to enhance your website
Choose a simple background. White usually works well to give your site a professional look as well as being a good canvas for images. Images on a white background tend to stand out clearly, drawing the customer’s attention to what is being sold rather than the site itself. Plus clean design with lots of white, does not ‘date’.
 
Multiple views
Don’t forget people need to see the product in the e-Commerce section, make sure and include multiple angles of the product, the front, side and back views at a minimum.
 
Gift Packaging:
If your products are shipped in gift wrapping or nice presentation boxes, photograph those! Stats show if someone can visualise themselves with your product they are more likely to buy it. So let them imagine giving these as gifts to friends and family.
 
The Equipment:
iPhone pictures will not cut the mustard.
Images of products should be as large as possible and should be engaging. Visuals need to be professional and be the highest resolution possible without affecting site speed – It also helps to use your own images where possible, rather than photo library images. 
 
Graphics: 
Now that images tend to take up most of the space available on pages, web designers have begun to place text over some images. This can lead to illegible text and distract from the image, try darkening the image, and use white text to help text standout.
 
46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies.
SEO:
Images have a huge influence on SEO, for one they engage the viewer, encourage people to stay on your site longer, add more options like ‘calls to action’. Images also have very valuable ‘Alt’ tags, a great SEO tool – make sure you use them!
 
Google:
Remember google also breaks down their search results into image and video results. Use your images to show up also in these results. If you have a visual product such as dresses or furniture, the likelihood of people searching googles image results or pinterest are greatly enhanced. Without great images, instagram, facebook, pinterest and other visual opportunities are limited.
 
 
Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Source)
Last Thoughts:
Images give you options in SEO, Sales, Story Telling and Social Marketing. A few years ago it was an open debate, was investing in strong visuals worth the return on investment, a little like Apple versus Microsoft. Well, its very clear now, images and videos are crucial now and are expected to take an even more prominent role online in the coming months and years. Develop a strategy for visual content production, your competitors will!
 
Watch this space…

 

 

Author: Patrick McHugh G+

Patrick McHugh concentrates on Visual Online Web projects encompassing – web design, photography and SEO.His creative practice develops effective digital solutions for his fashion retail, wholesale and advertising clients.