I’m going to share with you 5 ways to engage, become trusted, and generate sales.
Some of these may seem obvious, but people frequently ignore them – others will need a little more thought.
We all know that sales pages, blog posts, even copy for posters and bill-boards, or magazines require the following components:
- An attention grabbing headline
- Compelling opening paragraph
- Eye-catching images
- Strong, actionable content
- A call to action, telling the reader what to do next.
Today I want to look at some of the graphic elements of your sales’ messages.
Rod Stewart famously sang “Every picture tells a story, don’t it?” This is true, but just as a change of headline has been proven to increase conversions the use of appropriate images can also increase sales if the story told by the graphic makes the correct appeal to your prospects.
Here’s an advertisement I created for my wife’s business. She has clients in four continents of the world, but none in Antarctica!
“This portrait reflects the qualities of the subject. A firm gaze signifies honesty, whilst pastel tones are signs of gentleness. The browns and greens are natural colours. Brown is a serious, down-to-earth colour signifying stability, structure and support. Green is the colour of money and health giving natural goodness.
“Faces have long been important in advertising photography, especially for women’s cosmetics. . . . In our example it suggests what you see is what you get. The hair isn’t immaculately groomed, as it would be for a studio photograph. It is a disarmingly reassuring image. But, what does this face signify? The signified isn’t a therapist, or my wife, even though it is her picture, but rather an impression of how many women wish to be when relaxed at home, without make-up, unaffected by the anxieties of work and families. A smaller, thumbnail, portrait sits at the foot of the page. It also stares directly at you. Here the hair is styled, and deeper colours applied to her face. It is a public image – professional, poised, and waiting for you to make contact. The image sits next to a web site address to emphasize the point.” from: ‘Photography and Psychoanalysis’.
O.K. you say, but I really just want to emphasise my copy, how do I choose relevant images for my web pages, for example?
An image suggesting a pleasant psychological journey
An image suggesting a traumatic psychological journey
These two photographs work through allegory. They are both images of a path into the unknown, yet where one invites us for a stroll into a rural paradise, the other includes menacing shadows where danger may be lurking. If you’re writing positively about, for example, the benefits of saving for a pension you may choose the first; but if you’re wanting to warn people of the dangers of not having health, or life, insurance, you had best choose the second.
‘Tommy Hilfiger’ is one of the world’s leading premium lifestyle brands. The brand celebrates the essence of Classic American Cool with a hint of the preppy fashion genre.
‘Benetton’ and it’s famous ‘United Colors’, exploded into popular culture in a campaign created by photographer Oliviero Toscani, over 30 years ago. This connected the company’s colourful clothing to its target market, who are those who believe that cultural diversity is good.
Both Hilfiger and Benetton sell garments, yet they focus on people motivated by very different stories. Those who admire American preppiness we see Hilfiger adverts, whilst those of us who identify with cultural diversity are more likely to take notice of those of Benetton, because our minds edit out what doesn’t connect with the stories we believe about ourselves.
“In the autumn of 2010 the U.K. Chocolate manufacturer Cadbury dropped the slogan it had used for 82 years. It claimed: ‘A glass and a half of full cream milk goes into every half pound bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate’. . . . Cadbury’s decision to capitalize on the ‘healthy’ qualities of milk had enabled the British manufacturer to compete with imported brands, especially those from Switzerland.
“By equating chocolate with something as commonplace as milk Cadbury was able to move the public perception of chocolate from something luxurious, or best reserved for hiking adventures, into a daily necessity.
“At the height of milk chocolate being thought a healthy source of nourishment a remarkable thing happened. Gallaher the manufacturer of Silk Cut Cigarettes was able to imply that their brand was also a ‘healthy’ product by psychologically referring to Cadbury’s Dairy Milk advertisements using colour, and just a few tiny graphic swirls. Such manipulation would have been impossible before the advent of the mass advertising media, such as billboards, colour printing and television.” from: ‘Photography and Psychoanalysis’.
An image connecting a string bean salad, with a beverage
The truth is that few people buy on the basis of logic, instead we buy because we feel connected to someone’s, or some product’s, story. We need to feel we belong to specific groups and sometimes will even fight to identify with them. The image of string beans with gin was created for a blog about food. By linking beans to gin the image is an unusual combination, which not only attracts attention but also suggests that such a dish may be served at the cocktail hour.
Five things to help you choose powerful images to boost your sales:
1. If you provide a service then ensure your portrait represents the qualities you provide, and people want.
2. Use dreamy images to either reinforce pain, or to provide comfort.
3. Ensure all your images reinforce the stories with which your target market identifies.
4. Use colour, and design elements, to identify your products and services, with the values of others’ marketing campaigns, but be original – don’t copy!
5. Place your product alongside objects suggesting specific ways of living, and thus connect your product to the values of those who aspire to that lifestyle.
In this short space I attempt to provide you with some hints and tips about how to think, commission, and look for suitable images to promote your business and boost your sales. There is rich background to the information here in my Kindle book, ‘Photography and Psychoanalysis: The Development of Emotional Persuasion in Image Making’. In it I discuss many more campaigns, and the psychology behind them. Go there now, read, enjoy, and learn how to take your business communications to the next level.