Hey there, it's Nicolas and welcome to online marketing for profits. On this episode, I want to talk about images and how they can either boost your conversions and really help you sell more and increase your leads, increase everything that is related to your profits, but they can also hurt your bottom-line, and how would you maybe use those images to your advantage when you're building your website, when you're building a landing page, and how to use them the right way and perhaps maybe stay away from some things that don't do as well.
More on that just in a second. First I want to say something that really makes me proud. At the time that I’m recording this episode, my podcast has been featured in the New and Noteworthy of iTunes. It’s actually sitting right now in the number two spot in the business section of the podcast. This is pretty big. If you know podcasting, getting into new and noteworthy is certainly something we all thrive to achieve because it gives basically more eyeballs to your podcast and it’s basically being featured by iTunes.
Obviously getting into the noteworthy for me was kind of my number one objective when I launched a podcast like step one, launch a podcast. Then step two, cross my fingers and maybe get into a new and noteworthy. I’m really happy to be there. Number two spot is even better. I’m looking forward to seeing the increase in the number of downloads and the viewership and everything that goes along with that maybe increase. I just want to say thanks in advance and thank you for listening in and thank you for paying attention to what I’ve been saying.
I’ve gotten some good reviews, some good feedback, some emails, some private messages on LinkedIn and also on Twitter. I appreciate all the feedback. Thanks again for paying attention to my podcast and hopefully we can stay there for a bit and you’ll just be amazed by all the things I’ll be discussing in the near future, so thanks a lot for that.
Jacob Nielsen Study
All right, let’s go back to our images. I’m sure you know, images are often the most viewed part of a page. There’s actually a good study by Jacob Nielsen … You probably know there’s a lot of usability studies.
I’ll post a link in the show notes, that showed that there’s some types of pictures that actually do a lot better than others online when we stumble upon a webpage. Some pictures are actually completely ignored and some pictures kind of draw the eyes in and gets us wondering what it’s all about. Typically, I’m going to get a little bit more detailed in a few minutes, but typically, basically the bigger those big feel good images, like often times you have in the background that tend to be purely decorative, those are the types of images that often times get ignored.
Obviously if you’re building a webpage or your entire website and you’re thinking about using those types of images, sure they can make your page prettier and pretty is good. Pretty, can convey some emotions. I’ll talk about this in a second also, but just know that often times people won’t pay too much attention to those, so if you’re banking on these to increase your conversions, to build a list, to sell some products, you’re probably not going at it the right way.
Some of the images that really people pay attention to, are pictures of products if you’re selling a physical product especially or pictures of real people. We like to look at other people. Faces do really well online and as much as you can, basically add those types of images on your pages and you’ll start to do a lot better. I guess the number one rule when you’re trying to decide if you’re going to use an image or not, is images must be useful. They must have a purpose. They’re not just for decoration.
Images Must Have a Specific Purpose
A lot of web designers make the mistake of using images to make the page pretty. Now obviously, images do have their purpose to make the experience more fun and if people are having more fun on your website, they are more likely to maybe scroll down, to go to another page and maybe eventually buy your product. Of course they have a purpose. Any kind of image to some extent has a purpose, but you have those big background mega images I’ve been talking in previous episodes when I talked about conversion mistakes and my homepage template.
Those mega images are not really doing much in the sense of boosting conversions and in many ways, often times they can totally hinder your conversions because they make the copy less readable and it’s much more difficult to understand what’s going on, so you don’t want to limit your images to just decoration. If you’re going to use a big image like that, at least make sure maybe that you’re selling an emotion.
Convey an Emotion
Empathy for example is easy to relate to or if you’re identifying yourself with a specific demographic. For example, if I’m selling car seats for toddlers and I show an image of maybe an accident, a car accident and maybe a baby or a small child in a hospital bed, as a parent, that’s going to convey a lot of emotion that maybe will make me realize, “Hey, I need to get my things together and I need to buy a good quality car seat and maybe this one that you’re selling is the one for me.”
Target a Demographic
If you’re selling for example supplements to senior citizens and you have on your website a picture of an elderly couple maybe benefiting from the use of your product, then that also is useful in the sense that you’re going to kind of tune out people that are outside your target range, right? If I’m 35 and in good health, I’m probably going to be maybe turned out by the picture of the older couple but that’s okay because you’re not selling that product to me, you’re selling to a much different demographic.
Obviously when someone from that demographic comes to your webpage, they’re going to feel much more at ease and that you understand what they’re going through. Use those pictures to sell an emotion, to relate a bit better with your core audience or to maybe segment your demographic that way. That’s really an excellent way to use those big imagery. In e-commerce, product shots have been known to be really important, so let’s not forgot those. Take Amazon for an example, obviously lots of pics of their products and so those certainly are very useful to the end user, so that’s perfect.
On personal websites, typically users want to see the person behind the site, so who’s the author of these articles? Who’s the man or the woman behind these articles? Who am I trusting my time as I’m reading this article to and can I basically find a way to relate to this person? Having additional images of you in certain context like for example the best example and perhaps is going to my website online marketing for profits or at NicolasFradet.com, you’ll see I share a page where I say 10 things about me. I share things about my life and all of these items have an associated image that relates to what I’m sharing.
Obviously as I’m sharing more personal details, it becomes more of a friendly relationship I’m trying to build with my readers and that is certainly something that’s positive. If you’re working for a big corporation, images can add personality in some way and you can add things like pictures of your consulting team. If you have a blog, maybe it’s not always the same person that’s writing these blog posts, so have the picture of the author. If you’re using testimonial to sell your product or services, obviously have some pictures of the people leaving their testimonials.
There is all sorts of ways you can use those images to have a purpose and to really drive an emotion in some way and to make people relate to what you’re trying to convey as a marketer. If I’m going to pick one type of picture that I’m going to try to use as much as I can all over the place, it’s going to be pictures of people.
People sell. We’re attracted to other people. These are the most important pictures to have on your website.
Try to think about, how can I include someone in this image to get the same point across but maybe to make sure that people look at the image a bit more than perhaps they would if someone wasn’t involved in the picture. To give you an example, there is a company that sells art online, it’s called MedaliaArt. You can Google it online. Actually if you Google MedaliaArt Case Study you’ll find a couple of websites that talk about this specific case study.
Basically they’re an e-commerce store for artists to showcase their art and what they had on their homepage is basically they had a bunch of the art showcased and you can see a picture of a canvas or whatever it was that the artist was selling on their homepage. They were doing okay but they tested something quite drastically different, is they switched those art pics for actually pictures of the artists themselves and they noticed that during that test they increased the number of click throughs to the product page by 95%.
That’s almost doubling the number of clicks from the homepage to the product page and hopefully that translated to more sales down the line but you can see the power of using not only images but also the right kind of image with people in it, really, really made a difference for that company.
Don't Use Stock Photos
When you think about people, you’re thinking about adding an image of someone, there’s one thing that you really want to stay away from and these are stock photos. Sites like iStockphoto.com, Fotolia, and websites like that are very, very useful.
I use them all the time to find things I want to include on my websites, but I don’t ever use them to showcase any kind of picture that has someone in it. They tend to look cheesy. They tend to look very staged because they are by the way and so it’s very, very hard to convey the right emotion and people are accustomed to them now and so they’ll see right through them. Typically with my clients, I’ll see these.
You’ll have the typical handshake of two people shaking hands or you’ll have the “live chat operator picture,” like if they have live chat on their website you’ll have a picture of someone with a microphone and a headset on their head and that’s typically a stock photo. Don’t do that. Use real people, but for example for the live chat example, it’s much, much better and I’ve actually tested this with clients to some very positive results. It’s so much better to just use a real operator, right?
Walk into your office, take a picture of an operator that is willing to do it in your team and post that online as the live chat operator. You can even add personality to it which is even better by saying something like, “Chat with Stacy or Stacy will be available to chat to you in two seconds.” They have Stacy’s picture and that’s much more likely to get people to interact with the operator. You can instantly feel a connection because you’re using someone that’s actually real.
There’s some tests out there that actually have proven that a lot of times using a picture or a photo of real person, even if the quality, the grain, the lighting is crap, it actually out performs stock photos. We want to connect with real people. We want to get sold by real people, so even if it’s behind a corporation or a big website and it’s not necessarily one person or one person’s voice speaking, real people in real context, real situations, use those.
They are much more likely to get the job done. I’ve mentioned this in episode five when I talked about doing testimonials right but if you’re going to do testimonials because you have them, you should have them across your entire website and probably everyone should have those. Use pics of real people. Again, bad lighting, they’re on a boat fishing, no matter what the situation is, it’s much better to use a very bad real photo than a stock photo or having no picture at all.
I’ve even tested with clients using a blank avatar with just a flag of their country, and so obviously you can’t see the person itself because maybe the client providing us with the picture but still adding an image of that flag, where they’re from, it makes it more real that the person is actually from the US for example or from the UK or from Canada or whatever. When you do that, people instantly feel like the testimonial is more genuine and so adding that specific image in that case is a very good idea.
Images for Video Thumbnails
Now if you’re using videos, obviously you need a thumbnail, right? You’re going to need something that people are actually going to click, that play triangle and get the video started, but that one before they actually see the video, you’re going to use an image for the video. What can you use? Typically again, try to if the video is actually from someone either they’re speaking on a stage or speaking of a camera, don’t make the mistake of having the thumbnail like a slide of the presentation or something like that.
Use the actual star of the video as a thumbnail. You can always modify the thumbnail itself if you want to add maybe a couple of bullets next to the star of the video or something like that, but please do include the person that’s talking in the video because that is much more likely to get people to click on the video and watch it. If you’re doing often pages or exit pop-ups to build your list, one very nice tactic that you can add to your arsenal here on your website is to use the pic of the author next to the product shot.
If you’re giving away maybe a report or something to build your list, typically people will add the shot of the report which is okay. It’s certainly better than nothing, but remember always that people sell. A different way you can do it is have the product shot of the report and maybe have in one of the corners maybe the image of the author, but even better to get a step further is to just print out the report and have the author actually hold the report in their hand, take a picture of that and that makes it much more personable.
Again, you can relate to it more. It makes it more tangible because actually now it’s becoming a physical product that people can hold, and so it’s much more likely to increase your optins in your landing pages. Just to recap so far, always try to have a purpose and make your images useful, not for decoration. Although sometimes we need to have icons and things like that so that the page is not dull.
That’s okay, but these are small icons that shouldn’t draw too much attention to them. They’re just there to make the overall experience more enjoyable, but when you really have images that need to convey and need to maybe build the relationship and build your conversions, make sure that they are useful. That they can maybe convey an emotion. That your demographic can easily identify with them. That you can maybe add personality and that you use people as much as you can in all of your images because people are much more likely to get some eyeballs on them.
At the end of the day we want to deal with people even when we’re shopping online. I’ll be back after the offline ignition minute to discuss a few tips and also if you have an e-commerce store, I have a few other things to add to the discussion and a few quick tips about all of your images to make sure that they are SCO and how to optimize your images the best way when they’re actually online. Let’s break up for the offline ignition minute and I’ll speak to you guys after.
Images for eCommerce
Okay, now if you have some kind of e-commerce store, how can you maybe leverage those product shots a bit better? Think of Amazon, so you have the images to the left of the page and episode eight when I presented to you my homepage template, I said for the homepage you maybe want to use the images to the right, but for products and product pages themselves, it’s certainly something you can test and use the images to the right or to the left.
I guess it really depends on what type of products you’re using. If you’re selling for example an online software and maybe you had a product shot made, typically you’ll have just one picture of it. You might want to have that image to the right and use maybe the left hand part of the page to sell the copy, maybe some bullets and all that on why people should actually buy it. Now if you’re selling a physical product, you could probably go the Amazon way, which is to have your images to the left.
Now in all of the clients I’ve worked with in the past that were selling products and physical products, typically, especially if they have a lot of product shots of the same product like from the top, from the inside of the box, maybe from the behind or whatever it is, they tend to be the most viewed part of the product page. If you look at heat maps for example or eye gaze software, you’ll see that there’s a lot of people that are actually looking at those product shots.
First of all, make sure the quality is good. The lighting is good and all that. If you don’t have good lighting and good quality, just using an image in the first place is better than nothing, but obviously the more the quality is the better. Also typically the bigger the better also. If you can make your image larger, think Amazon again, when you click on the image, it blows up and you can see a bigger version of it. You can often times have a 360 view of the image.
Obviously those are the type of images that you want to use and just put these in some kind of a carousel. A carousel as I’ve presented in episode two is not something I’m really fond of but for product pages, when you have a lot of pictures it’s really the place to use them so it’s perfect. The more images, the merrier. Really people want to often times look at the product from all the angles possible and so the bigger the imagery the more the merrier. These tend to increase conversions a lot, so use them wisely in those types of pages.
4 Quick Tips on Optimizing Images
All right, some quick tips on using imagery on your website. The kind of same way that using people to sell and using people to convey emotions and all that, we’re also attracted to where people are actually looking. Think about, probably you’ve heard this story before of someone standing on the corner of a street looking high above and maybe the roof of a building and then suddenly people can’t resist. They can’t stop themselves and they just look at the roof at the same time and then just wonder what it’s all about.
Leverage Eye Gaze
It’s the same principle when we’re online. If you’re using some kind of person to draw attention to, one quick hack is to actually make the person look where you want them to look. If you’re using for example, let’s go back to selling supplements to maybe the senior citizens, say on your homepage or on your product page you have a picture of an elderly couple, maybe they’re looking to the left, well don’t put that image on the left hand side because that way they’ll be looking outside your webpage.
Put it on the right hand side, they’re looking left and on the left you want to maybe have your best copy so that people when they see this page, first they’ll see that picture and then they’ll wonder where are these people looking at and then they’ll kind of follow their gaze because they can’t help it. Then they’ll read your copy because it’s exactly where those people were looking in the first place. Use that high gaze hack just about everywhere if you can. Use captions.
An increasingly amount of people scan webpages, so again we know that people might look at the image but what’s really underneath that image is going to be read much more than just a random copy, a random text next to it, so use that caption wisely. You can use it to either repeat your unique selling proposition or USP; what makes you different than your competitors, why should I pay attention to your offer and repeat the offer in the first place.
If there’s some urgency, if I should act on it or now or something you want to convey in your sales messaging, if it makes sense, use it in the caption. Don’t use the caption just to give a quick description of the image, use the caption to relate your USP or your offer. For example on my personal blog Nicolas Fradet, when I was selling a video course on body language for entrepreneurs, I had some blog posts that obviously imagery was really important for body language.
Use Captions to Restate Your Offer or USP
In the caption, instead of just saying, “This is a guy with his fists closed and it means this,” I actually used a caption by saying, “This isn’t maybe a negative gesture. Don’t do it as much but also if you want to know, find out more about negative gestures, please see my course on this link,” and then you have a link to the product, something like that. Obviously people will look at the picture and they’ll look at the caption then I’m kind of redirecting them to my offer page where I want them to be in the first place.
Add Rich Snippets
Use rich snippets if you can. If you don’t know what rich snippets are, you can go check out a website schema.org, so that’s S-C-H-E-M-A.org. Basically it’s a way if you’ve ever Googled something, you’ll see that some of the results have images next to them. If it’s a video, it’ll have the thumbnail. If it’s maybe a blog post it’ll have a picture of something or maybe it’s the author that gets displayed in these rich snippets. How do you do that?
Rich snippets are basically some very quick HTML code that you can add to your website and then to your images and if you’re using a CNS like WordPress or Drupal or any other CNS out there, it can easily be done for you, so you don’t have to do any coding. You can add these rich snippets basically on your website, and so in the search results when someone Googles and finds your page, you’ll have maybe an image next to your result which again makes it much more likely that people are going to click on that results and get to your page.
You’re kind of optimizing your website in a way that makes it much more clickable in the search engine results page, which also Google uses to give your page a higher rank. If you’re sitting in sixth place and then someone sees your image and clicks on your link and then another one clicks on your link and all that, so suddenly you’re going to be in fifth place, maybe fourth or whatever. Optimizing your website so that it maybe gets more clicks on Google and other search engines is certainly a good idea.
SEO Your Images
Also don’t forget to SEO your images, so HTML, ALT, text and things like that, you need to make sure that you pay attention to that. It’s always a good sound marketing practice to SEO your images. Just do a Google search on these. I won’t get into it too much but just do a Google search on the best way to SEO your images and make sure that maybe people can find you through the Google image search or that your page itself is more optimized for SEO, so that’s always good.
All right, that’s a wrap for the show today. Thank you so much for listening. If you want to the show notes, the links of everything I’ve talked about today, go to onlinemarketingforprofits.com/9 and here’s what I want you to do. If you have any question for me, I’m kind of building an FAQ of multiple questions. I would love to showcase you on the website. You can talk about your business and ask your question and just go ahead on at onlinemarketingforprofits.com.
If you notice on the right hand side, there’s a tab there for use of speak pipe, which is basically an easy way for you just to click on the tab, it’ll ask you permission to use your microphone from your laptop or your computer, just say yes. Then you can record just basically a voice message for me asking your question and I’ll select the best questions from everyone and I’ll maybe showcase them on the podcast in a future episode.
Go ahead, any question is good and I’m sure if you have that question, a lot of people have the same question, so looking forward to hearing what you have to say on speak pipe.
On episode 10, I’m going to share… As you might know I’ve talked about this on your website sometimes and also in episode one when I introduce myself, I used to be a professional poker player. Did that for several years.
That’s how I got into web design and building websites in the first place where as I was playing poker professionally I started to build my own websites and my affiliate sites and all that, that I eventually sold, but there’s a direct correlation between playing poker and building businesses, especially online businesses. In the next episode I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned about building an online business from playing poker professionally for so long so I’m really looking forward to sharing those thoughts with you and I’ll see you next time on our next episode of marketing for profits.[/TRANSCRIPT]