This article was written by Michelle Weger.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Usually, when someone says not to judge a book by its cover, they’re talking about a person.
And there are definitely some things you shouldn’t judge based on sight alone.
It’s a nice sentiment, but if that were really true, there would be a lot of unread books out there.
Imagine going into a bookstore looking for a book about dog training.
This hypothetical bookstore has exactly two books about dog training, and just to keep it extra confusing, the books have the exact same name.
One has a plain, solid-colour cover with the title written in a normal font.
The other has a picture of a Great Dane sitting in a bathtub.
Which book cover do you look at first?
It was the Great Dane in a bathtub, wasn’t it?
After seeing that cover, you may not even pick up the other book. Why would you need to? This one has a Great Dane in a bathtub on it!
Because you don’t pick up the other book, you wouldn’t notice that the plain book cover is written by someone with a PhD and the other one by someone who has never owned a dog.
The one that drew your initial attention is the one you’re the most likely to buy.
That’s the power of a strong image.
Good images can make you money
I’ve talked before about how invaluable good copywriting is, but it’s far more effective once you’ve caught your potential customers’ attention.
Humans are very visual and process images much faster than words. So while your copy is an important sales tool, it does you no good if you aren’t grabbing someone’s attention in the first place.
When you’re selling products or services online, picking the right images to represent your business, products, and services is key to making more conversions.
Your customers don’t have the benefit of being there to see your product in person.
They need to be able to picture themselves using your product, signing up for your service, or working with your business.
So how do you make sure you’re picking images that convert?
People want to see people
Whether you’re using photos of yourself and your team, or showing photos of someone using your product or service, use people – especially smiling people – in your photos.
Your customers instinctively will connect better with your business if they see the human element. They will subconsciously view your business as friendlier and more trustworthy if there are photos of people smiling.
That might mean posting photos of yourself in your about section.
Or it might mean picking stock photos that represent your ideal client.
Adding photos of people to your website keeps your business from seeming like a faceless corporate machine, and that makes people more likely to spend money with you.
It’s also important to make sure you show diversity in your images. I’ve talked before about why that’s important – namely, diversity means a wider range of people can picture themselves using your product or service.
And that means more money for you.
People don’t want to see obviously staged photos
Whenever possible, using your own photos is best – as long as they are professional, high-quality images.
But that’s not always possible. You have enough to do running your business; becoming a professional photographer is probably pretty low on your list of priorities.
So instead, use stock photos.
The key is to use stock photos that don’t look like stock photos.
We’ve all seen and laughed at the strange, obviously fake stock photos – like a woman laughing while eating salad, or a group of people gathered around a blank computer screen. There are countless memes stemming from bad stock photos.
When choosing stock photos to use on your website, pick pictures that look natural. If you run a service-based business where it’s difficult to “show” people what you do through photos, pick photos that show your ideal results – for a dog trainer, that might be a dog sitting in a bathtub.
Don’t be afraid to test
Whether you’re running ads, sending newsletters, or picking images for your website, test to see what kind of images work best.
I saw this recently with a client: we were creating Facebook ads for them and monitoring the success of the ads. We used four different images. My team noticed that two of the images were performing better than the others.
Those images were visually quite similar, so we changed the less-successful images to match the more successful ones.
More reach. More clicks. More money in our client’s pocket.