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Impact of Photos on Marketing

Have you ever noticed how some websites seem to draw you right in immediately, while others lose your attention in a matter of just a minute or two? Have you wondered what sets them apart?

Is it a difference in the marketing techniques used?

I do not believe it is our job to try to convince our visitors to make a purchase. If we try too hard to convince people that they need to buy from us right now, we risk pushing them in the opposite direction.

Think about that feeling we all have when we are seriously looking at a product or service. Often, we are trying to decide whether we should make a purchase or not. Our biggest fear is making a mistake.

If we stay at this point in the thought process too long, instead of thinking about reasons why we should go ahead and buy now, we are likely to start thinking of reasons why we should not buy.

I believe that we need to come at it from the aspect of helping our visitors convince themselves why they should own our product or service. We want to get them past the thought of buying, and over to imagining already owning and using our product or services.

The Impact of Photos on Marketing

Although website content continues to be essential to the success of your website, the photos you choose to display can have a significant impact on your marketing efforts.

Frequently you will make a sale when the perceived value of a product exceeds the price you are asking for it. You can choose to either lower the price to the customer’s expectation, or you can choose to increase the perceived value.

Since you are in business to make a living, I am assuming that you prefer to make sure that your visitor can easily see that value.

Understanding that the techniques for selling on the internet are entirely different from selling in a physical store is vital. In the online world you lose the advantage of the customer being able to actually see and touch your product.

In this situation, building value and creating a strong desire to buy now, can become challenging. Choosing the right pictures to portray your product or service can make that challenge easier for you.

Let me try to make this easier to understand by using photos.

Imagine for a moment that I have invested a ton of time into the search engine optimization and marketing of my website to attract a target audience interested in perhaps purchasing a custom motorcycle.

Let’s say that I also took the time to write quality content that built tremendous value and had my visitors to the point of literally drooling over the chance to even see this bike.

But then, I only showed them a snapshot similar to the one below . . .

Basic Snapshot

Can you see how easily the value in this bike could suddenly hit rock bottom? Can you also see where I might lose all interest that I had developed in the bike up to this point?

It isn’t that is it a horrible picture per se, but rather that it just does not grab attention. It does not make it easy for my visitors to feel as if they are actually seeing and touching this motorcycle.

What if I took my camera and just moved in closer, and completely filled the frame with different parts of the bike?

Impact of Photos on Marketing by Filling the Frame

Are you starting to see how I can grab my visitors attention with the right photographs?

Grab Attention with Photos

Are you starting to see how I can build tremendous value in my product with the right photographs?

Building Value Using Photos

Are you starting to see how I can show my target visitors what makes this bike totally different from any other bike they can find?

Impact of Photos on Marketing by Showing Detail

You do not have to be a photographer, or own an expensive camera to get shots like these. I took these particular shots outside, with a small point and shoot Kodak Easy Share Camera.

I intentionally used only very basic photo techniques, which included resizing the images, adding a slight shadow to the edge of the photos, a bit of sharpening, (unsharp mask) and optimizing the images for web use. You can easily learn these basic skills in just a day or two using the tutorials found within this blog.

What If Your Website Isn’t for Selling Anything Though?

Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, defines sales as the transference of belief. For me, this is an important factor in understanding how the photos you display can play a significant role in the overall success of your website. Regardless of the primary purpose of your site, you are selling something. This isn’t limited to a product or service.

If your site is strictly informational, you still had a reason for creating it, right? Is it fair to assume that you want to sell your visitors on the information you provide, even if you do so at absolutely no charge?

If nothing else, aren’t we hoping to sell our visitors on staying on our sites long enough to hear what we have to say?

The right pictures can help draw your visitors into hearing what you have to say, as long as they add to your content, without detracting from it. Visit the Frugal Money Saving Tips article on my site, so you can see an example of this. You will notice that I used an image that I felt would help my visitors literally picture money in their minds, as they read the various tips.

Take some time to learn the basics of working with photos on the web, and how they can benefit your overall marketing plan.

You will not be disappointed when you notice that people are staying on your site longer. Remember, the longer your visitors remain on your site, the more likely they are to convince themselves that they absolutely have to own what you are selling.

J. Cricket Walker

Small Business Marketing Consultant and Scenic Photographer
Copyright © 2006 J. Cricket Walker of Online Photography Magazine All Rights Reserved

Editors Note: This gorgeous bike, belongs to Johnny Holloway of  Motorcycles Etc. It was built in memory of James Kenneth Whisenant (The Wizard) .


  1. Pat Rutt
    Pat Rutt07-11-2007

    I agree that photos are an incredibly important part of marketing any business, but I would take your advice one step further. Using a professional to shoot your photos is the best way to go, whether it is a brick and mortar business or e-business. Moving in tight on the bikes to show detail is a good idea, but a professional would clean up the background and use special lighting to improve the photo even more. Quality photos add a level of professionalism to the business as well.

  2. J. Cricket Walker
    J. Cricket Walker07-11-2007

    Although that is certainly an excellent option, it is not always an affordable option for small business owners who are just getting started.

  3. Laura Hubbard
    Laura Hubbard07-30-2007

    I am taking a class and I have to shoot products of my choice on different backgrounds using a light tent. I have the light tent and a black and red and white and blue backgrounds. I am trying to shoot some orange bottles of a shampoo line called matrix. But I am having difficulty I am not sure what to do about the lighting so I dont get the hard reflections. My bottles look shiny and they are plastic bottles. Can you offer any suggestions for me?

  4. J. Cricket Walker
    J. Cricket Walker07-30-2007

    Have you tried moving the external lights further away from the light tent, or using a different angle for the lighting? You are not using a flash are you?

    You may also find some ideas in this article.
    http://shutterbug.com/techniques/lighting/1003sb_tabletop/

  5. Jennifer DeRosa
    Jennifer DeRosa08-30-2007

    I’m convinced that I must include a greater variety of the types of images I use including photos of actual customized shirts rather than just blanks. I haven’t included these before because some customers don’t like to see another company’s logo on a shirt because if they don’t like the logo, they may decide they don’t want that shirt style. But, if I only include blanks, I may loose customers who want to see a shirt with a logo rather than just a blank shirt. This is probably another topic in itself but what works for banner images? Generally speaking, are photos better for banners than graphic images? Thanks.

  6. Bruce
    Bruce01-02-2008

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing. I need to find the subscribe button

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