Last March, PostFunnel’s Lauren Dowdle took us through her visual playbook for marketers, where she discussed the growing necessity of creating visual content such as infographics, action shots, and even memes for marketing purposes.
Visuals reinforce information taken in via reading or listening. As John Medina of Brain Rules explains, “We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.” For marketing purposes, this recall is reason enough to include images in your email and content marketing campaigns.
Pieces of content that contain images are much more attractive to consumers than strictly text-based content, and are also more shareable. Tweets with images can potentially lead to 18% more clickthroughs, 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets.
Today we’re going to dig into three important factors when including images within your content.
Creating Appealing Images
Including images in your content won’t necessarily improve the customer experience. Like all things marketing, in order to be effective, it must be done right. For images to have a positive impact on your customer’s overall experience, they must:
- Provide additional value to the customer
- Be relevant to the situation at hand
- Be delivered in a logical and logistically sound manner
Let’s take a closer look at each of these in greater detail.
Provide Additional Value
Above all else, when adding an image to your content, you need to be able to answer the following question:
What value does it bring to my audience?
The images you’ve created or chosen should provide value to your audience in some way or another. Still, you’ll want to dig deeper into what this value actually is, as this will allow you to optimize your content moving forward.
The images should add the following:
Information includes images like infographics, graphs and charts, and diagrams — all of which allow the reader to expand their knowledge of the topic you’re presenting.
Here’s an example of how our own Sam Hurley uses images to add informational value to his articles:
In terms of aesthetics, images must align with both your branding and the content’s overall tone. Again, you want to use images that enhance your customer’s experience — not disrupt it.
Here’s how Fortnum & Mason uses images within a longform seasonal newsletter:
In many cases, images should be functional as well, allowing your audience to click on or engage with your content.
Away allows its customers to navigate to separate product category pages depending on their color tastes:
Whether supplementing information, getting your audience to take action, or simply “setting the mood,” have a clear purpose in mind for each image you use.
It’s your audience’s current expectations or needs that determine the value of your content in the first place. If a cat toy company sent out a newsletter focused on adopting cats, the following infographic would likely be well-received:
If the newsletter’s focus was on different cat breeds, however, the infographic would feel unnecessary. It’s not that recipients wouldn’t find the information valuable; they probably would. But since the info was presented at the wrong time and in the wrong context, the company’s audience would likely pass it right by.
Consider the Logistics
The final aspect to consider is whether an image’s delivery and logistical presentation will interfere with your audience’s experience.
The size of your images and the size of the files are two common issues. According to Adobe, nearly 40% of website visitors will stop engaging if the content or layout of your website is subpar and difficult to navigate.
As shown, this means considering the image’s size and device responsiveness. Ensure you’re presenting user-friendly formats to your audience members, regardless of the device they’re using to view your content.
The other area to consider is the size of your image files. Larger files take longer to load —which, as we’ve discussed before, can have a negative impact on your visitor’s willingness to stick around on your site.
The idea isn’t to purge your content of larger or higher-quality images or to sacrifice quality in favor of quick loading speed. Rather, determine the most effective and efficient ways of using these images to seamlessly add value to the customer’s experience. If this “seamless” aspect is absent, you’re better off not including the images in the first place.
The images you create and use in your marketing and other customer-facing content should never be an afterthought. The visuals will impact your audience’s experience in some way or another, and as we’ve discussed, the impact can be heavy enough to make or break your content in your customers’ eyes.
Every visual provides an opportunity to get your audience further engaged with your brand in some way. Whether the opportunity is put to good use is up to you.