If you’re involved in the world of digital marketing, you already know that images are at the heart of effective digital marketing efforts. Images and other visual content have been repeatedly proven to increase views and engagement, communicate information quickly, influence purchasing decisions, and build brand loyalty. In short, in today’s visually-oriented era, images are what can take a digital marketing campaign from fine to unforgettable.
However, it’s important to understand that if images are to accomplish these things, they have to be the right images. In other words, when you’re crafting a digital marketing campaign, don’t assume that any old photo or graphic will do. On the contrary, choosing strong images that are the best fit for your brand and your campaign is a process that takes skill and care. These guidelines can help you get it right.
Choose images that tell a story.
Storytelling doesn’t rely exclusively on words. Images tell stories, too, and their ability to transcend language barriers and touch people on a deeper emotional level can make their storytelling ability all the more powerful. Keep this in mind when looking for images for your digital marketing campaign.
When we can see a story in an image, we can connect to it more profoundly because it brings additional layers of meaning to the viewing experience. This meaning is what creates value for an audience, which, in turn, increases investment. For example, a picture of a beautiful, placid lake is a nice image, but if that same scene also features someone on the verge of diving into the water, a story has suddenly appeared, and the image overall becomes more dynamic and engaging in consequence.
Choose images that meet your audiences’ needs.
One of the main goals of an effective digital marketing campaign is to create content that will be widely shared. To achieve this, however, it’s necessary first of all to understand why content is shared: that is, what are the different factors that make online audiences share content with their networks?
Intriguingly, the New York Times’ Customer Insight Group has conducted research into this very question, and discovered five major reasons behind content sharing. According to this research, people share content to provide entertainment or value to others; to define themselves to others; to maintain connections and nurture relationships; to increase their feeling of involvement in the world; and to support issues or causes they feel are important. What this means for digital marketers is that the images you choose for a campaign should help your audiences fulfill one or more of these needs.
Make sure images match your brand values.
Today’s consumers are increasingly looking to support brands that share values they care about, and that truly live those values. Not surprisingly, imagery is one of the most effective ways that your brand can convey who you are and what you stand for. So it’s important to keep these values in mind when choosing images.
To provide an obvious example, if your brand believes in the importance of multi-generational connection and exchange, your marketing images need to feature people of all different ages: few things make an audience more distrustful than a disconnect between values that are stated and values that are shown. Ultimately, the goal that you are striving to achieve is to foster brand affinity and engage your audience without focusing on pushing your product.
Feature real people and real emotions.
Authenticity is one of the most important watchwords for today’s digital marketers. Contemporary consumers are wary of advertising that is overly slick: they don’t want real life to be glossed over, but rather represented in a way that is more authentic and reflective of their own experiences.
For this reason, images and other visual content that feature real people and highlight real emotions are a must-use tool for digital marketers. They make content more relatable and, consequently, more shareable. In addition, don’t be afraid of using your visual content to explore sensitive topics. In our complex world, difficult issues can often resonate with an audience. If you’re able to explore these with care and delicacy through your choice of images, your campaign can truly add value to people’s lives.
Be strategic about color.
Did you know that color can spark a major emotional response and, depending on the context, significantly influence our response to a particular image? This means that you need to think carefully about what emotions or characteristics you want to invoke with your visual content, and choose your images accordingly.
While personal experience certainly plays a role in how we perceive and feel about different colors, plenty of studies have shown strong correlations between certain colors and certain characteristics. For example, red is often associated with feelings of action and excitement; orange with cheerfulness and confidence; yellow with optimism; purple with knowledge and imagination; green with peace and growth; and blue with trust.