If you’re setting up a new website, app, or social media channel— and whether you’re launching a new brand or revamping an existing one— there’s no denying that visuals carry a great deal of weight.
Product pictures matter, whether you’re showcasing a pair of jeans that you’re selling or your SaaS interface. The branded imagery you choose— including logos, informational resources, and social media profile pictures— all carry a great deal of weight, too.
This is what drives the team over at Snappa, including the Jonny Hughes, the marketing and brand manager. In this post, Hughes shares some of his best advice about creating high-engaging visuals for your website and marketing channels.
Jonny Hughes is the Marketing & Brand Manager of Snappa. He loves making content that gets people excited about creating online graphics, and he especially enjoys forecasting new and exciting design trends for Snappa’s online readership.
You hear a lot about “branded images” and “brand colors.”
These are visuals designed to represent your brand. They may include logos, but it’s also about the overall visual aesthetic.
Do you have a specific illustration style for your blog posts or your YouTube thumbnails? Or do you have a branded color palette for all marketing materials?
It can go a long way in helping to establish brand awareness, but it can even make a difference when it comes to a first impression from customers.
“In an age when your potential customers give you maybe 3 seconds to consider clicking on your Google ad or website, having beautifully branded images and on-trend color palettes is your one shot at a great first impression. Due to the huge amount of choices we are given online every day, it’s an absolute necessity for a businesses’ online presence to not only convey a clear message, but an interesting visual message as well within its font choices, colors and image usage.”
Whether you’re creating a new brand, undergoing a rebrand, or just updating your visuals, it’s important to be intentional about the visual style you choose for your business.
A pastel, flowery website is going to appeal to a different audience than a dark site with sharp, minimalistic designs. And that’s what you want— to create a specific impression that will appeal to your target audience.
And when you do that, you need to think about whether or not your visuals align with your brand story and the product itself.
“The first question you should ask yourself is, are your visuals telling the same story as your product? Chances are, you have a very clear idea of what your business and product is. Your visuals, copy, font choices, and even stock images you use all need to tell that same story. This will create a nice fluid experience, as your readers click through each section.”
Take a look at these examples and you’ll see what we mean:
It’s a general best practice to have a variety of different product images on your site— especially if you’re selling physical goods.
You might, for example, have an image of a t-shirt on a neutral background, and another of the mannequin wearing a shirt. You might have multiple pictures of a model wearing the shirt from multiple angles.
This helps the customer understand what they’re buying.
“High-quality product images are crucial in building customer trust in your product, and diversity in images helps build that trust.
This goes for SaaS brands, too. Multiple images of your interface and different features can help customers make a buying decision.
And don’t forget that your own branded, professional images aren’t the only ones that should be on your site. User-generated content (UGC) should be placed on product pages, either in the review section or a special featured content section, as it can increase sales significantly.
“Offering UGC will show your potential customers how the “average person” will look with the product, and further increase brand trust.”
One mistake that businesses make when creating their websites or social media content is using the wrong image file type— and believe it or not, it actually does matter.
Jonny stressed that each has pros and cons:
“JPG: Ideal for photographs and realistic images. JPGs will generally produce the smallest file sizes but the lowest resolution designs
PNG: Ideal for line art, text-heavy images, and images with few colors. PNGs will generally produce the highest file sizes but the highest resolution designs.
Retina JPG/PNG: The retina download options will automatically double the resolution of your designs to produce retina-friendly images of the highest quality. “
In general, these are good guidelines to follow:
It’s recommended to use JPGs for image-heavy online content like blog posts or product pages to reduce the strain or loading speeds on a website
PNGs are a good fit for logos, charts, and illustrations that are central to your main website for high resolution
JPGs and PNGs both work for email
Social media posts with lots of color should use JPG, but illustrations or those with few colors can use PNG
You need diverse visuals even outside of just multiple product images.
Your website and social media marketing can benefit from using a variety of different visual types, including:
Product illustrations and graphics
Photos of your team
“Variety is hugely important, and that takes us back to making a strong impression. With the increasingly short span of time you have to break through to your customers, making compelling blog posts that include images, infographics, stats, quotes and on-trend illustrations will create an engaging read that will grab your reader’s attention, and set you apart from the rest!”
This goes for any marketing platform, and for your website, too. Changing it up will make it increasingly likely that you’ll successfully capture your audience’s attention— especially since you likely have multiple audience segments at different stages of the sales funnel who will also respond to different images.
Image optimization may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re considering search engine optimization (SEO), but it can play an important role.
Adding alt text to your images is one of the most important steps you can take.
“Using alt text in your online images allows search engines to better crawl your page, giving you a better chance of ranking higher in search results. It also helps visually impaired readers, as it describes the images on-screen, making the reading experience better for a wider audience.”
You also want to consider the image file size and type. As we already mentioned JPG files can be beneficial, because they’ll create the smallest file type while still offering high-quality images. This prevents your site loading times from slowing down, which prevents your site from taking a hit in the SERPs since loading speed is a core ranking factor.
Images and copywriting alike make a powerful first impression on new customers, and it can impact your relationship with existing customers. Taking the time to be intentional about creating strong, diverse, and branded images that align with how you want your customers to perceive your business is essential.
It all comes down to understanding your audience, and your diverse audience segments. When you can do that and create images designed to appeal to them, you’ll be off to a good start.
Want to learn more about your audience segments? See how MyTracker can help!