Images – Why Important, Proper Usage And Where To Use

Images Are Your Primary Marketing Tool

Horse Cave Painting

Is that a fair statement?  I think it may be.

Reasons Why 

Our ancestors used pictures and images to communicate.

The advertising world has always relied on powerful imagery to tell a marketing story.

And then there is that old saying: “A picture is worth a thousands words”.

A quick Google search uncovered some additional facts that further underline the importance of images.

  • Research at 3M Corporation concluded that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Additional studies found that the human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.
  • Researchers at the Wharton School of Business found that about two out of three audience members felt presenters who combined visual and verbal components were more persuasive.
  • According to Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D. Associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development…

“…Words are processed by our short-term memory. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

These research findings and the growing popularity of Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube videos, increased sharing of Facebook posts with images versus text and with a smart camera in everyone’s pocket, it would be foolhardy to deny we aren’t already relying more and more on images to do our communicating for us.

Frankly, there is just too much to read and it takes too long in a world that moves too fast.

So, what does this mean to the business owner, the salesman, the blogger, the marketer?

Proper Usage of Images

Obviously this growing trend means we need to use visuals to do more of the talking for us.  But along with this growing popularity is the proper usage of images in your marketing efforts.  Here are five usage guidelines for you to consider.

1.  Use an appropriate image for the message – You want to use a visual that serves as cues and support for the points you’re making in your brochure, your blog post, ad or website.  The image should e x t e n d the conversation, not confuse.  This is another way of saying stay away from the pretty photo you took of the city skyline that has nothing to do with your topic. Shop for a visual that supports what it is your have to say.

2.  Use the most attractive image possible to tell the story.  This doesn’t mean you need to hire a professional photographer, steal photos from online sources or become a Photoshop wizard.  With today’s technology, almost anyone can take a captivating photo of a product, a store front or of a customer. Often simple cropping and a little color enhancement can turn an okay photo into a really cool one.

The point is to use the photo that is the most eye-catching and deserving to be etched into your customer’s, reader’s, prospect’s mind.  If necessary, purchase stock photography to get the job done well.  Here are some royalty free images in the public domain that are available without charge.

3.  Let the image do its work.  When using an image to convey your marketing message, don’t hide its impact under the weight of more words.  Give it room to communicate.

Audience of Hunters

Audience of Hunters

4.  Select images that align with your audience.  This is the number one rule in communications and while it sounds obvious, you’d be surprised how often it is abused.  Remember, you’re trying to reach your audience.  Just because you love photos of the Tour de France races, it doesn’t mean the images connect with your business or consumer audiences.  Pick images that do connect.

5.  Stick to a visual style and be consistent.  The visuals you use not only support your message and marketing. They also say something about YOU, about YOUR business, about YOUR style.   By sticking to one visual style, you’ll be sending a strong, consistent message and not a hodge-podge of messages.

Where to Use Images

In summary, images play an important role in all communications, as long as they are appropriate to the audience and to your message.  They can strengthen your communications and marketing efforts in any and all of the following:

  1. Email newsletter
  2. Blog posts
  3. Product brochures
  4. Slide presentations
  5. Infographics
  6. Offline advertising
  7. Online advertising
  8. Fliers
  9. Website
  10. Landing pages
  11. Facebook cover
  12. Facebook postings
  13. LinkedIn posts
  14. LinkedIn Company page
  15. Twitter tweets
  16. Google+ Cover
  17. Google+ Local / Places business listings
  18. Google+ posts

Don’t Forget Video

Videos are great visual aids in communicating your marketing message and one that you should use whenever possible.

Now, you should share your tricks and tips on where you find the best photos for your marketing efforts in the comments section below.


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Both cave paintings are from Lascaux.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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