How to Improve Your Marketing with Powerful Images

 

Let’s get really practical.

Every week I see people who don’t use images correctly on their website. In fact, many organizations make very common mistakes that are easy to fix and make a big impact on how their marketing material looks, feels, and communicates.

Today I’m going to walk you us through the most common mistakes, their more effective counterparts, and where you can come up with these images for yourself.

The one basic premise we need to be thinking through during this process is this: our images must offer value to our audience through the message they convey – the message of a successful experience with our product or service. 

 

A few of the common mistakes

Showing Your building

Do you sell buildings? For 99% of us, the answer is no. So, unless our customers are in the market to buy a building, there is no value in that image. I understand your grandpa built your business and that building with his bare hands 40 years ago, but that doesn’t mean anything to your customer and is not going to change their life.

Posting Cool Landmarks

City skylines and iconic statues look awesome, so it’s understanding why this is a VERY common approach that people take. However, how does this image represent the value you add or the life change that you offer? As beautiful as these images are, the majority of the time they do not do that. I can see where there may be a few exceptions on this one, but as a principal rule, I would try to avoid using these type of images.

Focusing on You

If you’ve followed me at all you know that I love and teach Donald Miller’s Storybrand framework. The #1 premise of this framework is that we are NOT the hero of our brand’s story – our customer is. So we don’t want to distract our audience with how cool and good looking we are, or with the awards and notariety we’ve achieved. If you do use pictures of yourself, make sure they are friendly and communicate how you offer value to your audience and provide solutions to their problems.

 

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How to improve your marketing with powerful images

 

Paint the success picture of your customer

In order to buy, every customer must first have a problem or pain point. Because you provide a great product or service that is offered as a solution to that problem, they have a great experience and it results in some positive life change.

In order to use images as effectively as possible in your marketing material, you need to understand what success looks like for your customer, and paint it every chance you get. So with our images, we don’t just show the change you create, show the feelings that person has once they experience that changes.

For the International Church of Barcelona, success for their audience is consistent participation in a strong community of faith with other believers. So an image of a group of guys sharing their faith together is a Success story for their organization.

 

Demonstrate the value you add

If you are a lawn care company, you could show a beautifully cut lawn. Or…you could show a dad and his 2 children smiling and enjoying playing catch on the beautifully cut yard with flush green grass and perfect landscaping.

Mike Kim is a marketing consultant who uses this image on his services page to show how he is enjoying and interacting with a client.

 

Show the emotional impact you create

If you are a coffee shop, you could show cool images of your espresso machine or your hipster foam art. Or…you could show the smiling faces of friends who just reconnected over a cup of your coffee after years apart.

An example of a realtor who, instead of choosing to show a beautiful house on his landing page, shows a father sharing a special moment with his son in their beautiful kitchen after buying a new home.

 

Accurately represents who you are!

If you do not have images that are good enough to use on your website, don’t worry, you can get them from other places. It is FINE to use stock images in your marketing as long as they appropriately represent who you are.

The last thing we want to do is use “bait and switch” with our marketing imagery.

If you are promoting a conference that 25 people are going to attend, don’t show stock images that look like the Mobile World Congress with 100,000 people. Instead, you would want to show a small banquet-style room with personal interaction and connection and one-on-one training. These images have to represent the experience the person will actually have when they interact with your product or service.

 

Where to you can get great images

 

1. Hiring a great photographer to get personalized shots that you want

Depending on your message and the specific things you want to communicate, have a someone come help you get those shots. Here are a couple key shots you want to get. I would recommend getting:

  • wide angle shots that you can use for website banners
  • close-ups of you while at work
  • you working with customers

2. Paid stock photos or video

You can find and pay for high-quality images for your industry or niche. This is also great for getting short “b-roll” clips for product videos or promotion videos if you don’t want to hire a videographer. Here are some sites I’d recommend checking out:

3. Free stock photos

There are several sites that I use every week where you can find great rights-free stock images that you can use in most of your marketing material or blog with running into legal trouble.

Do you have an recommendations or best practices for using images in your marketing material?

 

Want more great website tips?

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My quick, down-to-business guide “5 Thing You Must Have On Your Website” contains all of the obvious and not-so-obvious best practices of web marketing. I will show you what words to say and what images to use to help you clarify your message and engage your audience.

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