As business owners, we want to attract attention to our products and services. After all, we provide them because we believe in them. It can be a challenge to reach new customers, especially in a crowded market. So, what can you do to increase your chances of being seen and chosen?
One key aspect of marketing and advertising is visual appeal. We want people first of all to stop and look. It is all too easy to flick past posts online and adverts in magazines. To get someone to pause and look at your business instead of ignoring you it is vital to use some of the most powerful communication tools we have available to us – images. Pictures can be “read” much faster than text. They can tap into emotions and associations with experiences in a fraction of a second. Images are also much more memorable than text. Yes, we might remember a striking headline occasionally, but it has been proven that images stick around in our minds better.
However, we can’t assume that any old image will do. Just as well-crafted words are easier to read and more memorable, well-crafted images communicate more clearly, efficiently and effectively. Pictures have a visual language to them. Colours evoke emotions and themes. There can be strong symbolic power in a simple object and body language of any people featured sends strong messages to us on a subconscious level. The way a product is styled and lit can make it look cheap or expensive. A scene can bring associations of luxury, health, nature, fun and much more. So, if we don’t pay enough attention to every detail of an image we can easily send the wrong message or dilute what we are trying to say.
Having the right images can make all the difference when it comes to people making online purchases, booking hotel rooms and even for connecting with us in the first place. A foundational part of creating images is understanding the target audience. Are you aiming at young couples, those running their own business, health conscious people, busy people, those that play a certain sport or drive a certain type of car? You will need to tailor your imagery depending on the interests of your target market. Show them something they will readily connect with and aspire to.
Advertising images need to accomplish a lot, so they need to be carefully crafted. If they are going to stop someone in their tracks and connect well with them and create desire then they have to be built using strong communication skills. Otherwise, our products and services that we have lovingly created may go unseen. Sales depend on creating desire. If we can’t do that then the business will suffer. Our images are just as important to our brand as our logos.
Different types of images are needed to play different roles. Sometimes, a candid snapped image taken on a phone can be enough. Sometimes something highly polished is needed. For e-commerce you often need a “packshot” which tends to be a basic photo on a white background. For social media profiles you may need a headshot. Take a look at successful businesses that you admire and would aspire to be like. Perhaps also take a look at your competition. How are they using images? How are the images tailored to their audience and to the platform they are being used on? Are you coming across as clearly as them? What could you improve on? If you need help with this then you could consider having an image audit from a professional.
It can be tempting to think that having photos taken is just yet another item on the to do list. But, as we have seen, high quality product photography and other types of advertising photography are high value sales and marketing tools that can make a huge difference to the success of your business. Indeed, you aren’t just limited to traditional photography either. It may be that illustrations or CGI can better achieve the results you are after. Either way, I hope you can see the value in having carefully constructed visuals for your business. It is better to have a few high performing assets than a big bank of images that don’t achieve anything for you. Consider investing in quality rather than quantity.
You can read more about this and related topics on my blog.