The Forgotten Role of Images in Your Landing Page
When building your landing page it’s easy to forget the important role of images for driving conversions.
If this is your first time building a landing page, you might look at your finished page and realize it looks pretty naked. You might feel you need to use some images so your landing pages looks good.
But before you put random images to fill the white space, please read on.
If you use the wrong image, you might destroy your conversion rate
According to marketer Derek Halpern, using random images on your conversion landing page might distract your visitors from the real purpose of your landing page (which is to convert people).
He cites the recent example of a T mobile landing page which featured a beautiful picture of Catherine Zeta-Jones holding a phone to her ear.
When an older shopper landed on the website she wasn't interested in Zeta-Jones. She wanted to see if the buttons on the phone were big enough for her to see and use.
The shopper said: “(Zeta-Jones is) a very pretty woman….I just wish I could see the buttons.”
T Mobile broke one of the first rules of landing page creation: make sure every element on your landing page is there for a purpose.
What’s the purpose of your landing page? To convert people into customers.
Following are tips for using images to increase conversions on your landing page
Use Images to Make Things Tangible
The T Mobile Wireless story shows a basic human need: people want to see the product they’re considering buying.
When you visit Amazon.com to buy a book, the photo of the book is prominently displayed at the top of the description.
Even books that are sold exclusively as eBooks have an image that represents what the book would look like if a physical version of the book were available.
Marketers promoting eBooks or special reports on their home pages for download employ this method.
For example the Content Marketing Institute promotes its virtual magazine by displaying an image of the magazine as if it were sold on newsstands.
Software companies used to do the same thing. They would feature a virtual image of a software package as it would look like on a store shelf.
However, the trend I’m seeing now is to display how an application looks like on multiple devices.
Intuit uses this very effectively with its QuickBooks website. They show how their accounting software looks like on a wide-screen display and on an iPhone.
Use Images to Engage Our Emotions
Everyone knows that people buy based on emotions, but justify their purchase with logic. It’s why a dad with four kids facing a mid-life crisis will buy a red Corvette.
It’s why the statement “shopping is the best therapy” rings true to so many people.
It’s why we've bought so many unnecessary items that are gathering dust in our garage.
Images can help you generate positive emotions that make people want to buy.
Graco, the baby products company that sells strollers, swings and other baby products, employs images very effectively.
They feature images of happy young mothers and smiling babies enjoying a stroller ride or being rocked back and forth.
This creates the positive emotions of providing a comfortable and healthy environment for baby and mother. It tugs on the heartstrings of young couples trying to decide what to buy during pregnancy.
Use Images to Build Trust
One of the biggest barriers to online sales is the issue of trust. Shoppers don’t get the benefit of walking into a physical store to see if you’re a legitimate company.
But online that’s a lot harder.
Can I trust this website with my money?
The conventional wisdom is to use images of real people to generate trust. It’s what TV advertisers have used for years: hire a pretty young actress to use the laundry detergent or vacuum the carpet with the new vacuum cleaner.
But do images of real people work?
Over at Visual Website Optimizer they conducted tests to see how images affect trust. The results were surprising.
They worked with Medalia Art, a website that features art work from Caribbean and Brazilian artists. They conducted an A/B split test to measure the effectiveness of the images of the artists themselves vs. images of their actual art work.
Since the paintings are fairly expensive they don’t sell the art online, but rather after a phone call with the customer. They tested click-throughs to the contact us page instead.
They found the conversion rate on the images of the artists was 17.2 % vs. only 8.8% for images of the artwork. The images of the artists showed an increase in conversion rate of over 95%!
A large number of consultants have taken this lesson to heart. Many online marketers and other consultants find that featuring an image of themselves is a great trust builder.
American marketing icon Chris Brogan, and Mexican marketer Marco Ayuso use images of themselves very effectively. Seeing their friendly faces on their websites helps people decide that this is a trust-worthy site because there’s an actual human behind it.
Use Images to Direct People’s Attention
Sometimes you want to direct people’s attention to the most important part of your page, such as your online form.
Instead of relying exclusively on color, positioning and arrows pointing them in the direction you want them to look, why don’t you try images of people looking in the direction of the element?
Note the use of a pretty model gazing to the upper left of the screen on the online form in the Derek Halpern article.
But you can also use images of people pointing in the direction you want them to go. Farmer’s Insurance employs the image of a fairly well known actor using his hands to point to the “quote” form, while turning his gaze on you, the online visitor.
The effect? It makes you feel like he’s expecting you to click on the quote button.
Make Sure You Use the Right Color Images
Many images are designed exclusively to emphasize or accentuate a section of a landing page. This is the case, for example, with the pricing pages of online services. Many online companies sell three or four different tiers for their subscription service (we have five different subscription levels).
Most of the time they feature one package over the others by emphasizing that package in some way.
Marketing Experiments conducted a test on the pricing page of a company that sells educational resources to health and fitness professionals. The goal was to see how color would affect conversions on the pricing page.
The hypothesis was that color, combined with copy and layout, would make conversions go up. The new landing page featured an image of a pricing matrix with the best value plan emphasized by a different color.
The new landing page saw an increase in conversion rate of 81%!
Use Images Wisely
While often an after-thought, images can help you increase the effectiveness of your landing page.
But you need to think about the purpose of your landing page, and the purpose each image will play towards driving conversions.
And please please please don’t use stock images on your landing page. Stock images are essentially an anti-trust icon. They scream “shoddy” and “unprofessional.”
Use original images whenever you can – and use images with a purpose.
How have you used images effectively? What results have you seen with the use of images? Have you seen an increase in engagement and conversions? Give us your thoughts on the comments section below!