B2B content marketing strategies should focus as much on image and color as on text. Businesses implementing imagery as an integral part of their search engine optimization tactics will experience more engagement with customers and higher visibility in organic searches.
Choosing an image
Photographs, stock pictures, infographics and artwork are all suitable images for use on a business website. Graphics are terrific ways to quickly and effectively send a message. Human beings take in an image immediately; an article or summary takes much longer to read and process (1).
The click-thru rate for websites using images is larger than that of sites that do not (2). Every single blog post or article should have an accompanying image if the owner wants to generate traffic (3). The Internet is becoming a more visual platform. For instance, Twitter only allows 140 characters of text. Tweets sent out along with images saw 150 percent more retweets than those without. One picture becomes enormously important when text is so limited (3).
If choosing an image is difficult, consider taking a well-performing text post and re-purposing it into an image or infographic (4). Work with other industry experts to expand on the information already presented. Consider the platform on which the new and improved information will be posted. Where will it be easiest for others to comment on or share the image?
3M and Post-it notes
A fine example of images having a significant impact on a corporation's marketing strategy is that of 3M and their Post-it notes. A recent campaign for the sticky notes uses video (rather than text) to demonstrate how tiny colored squares can help people communicate (5). The marketing videos and associated images were posted on social media sites to engage users in the discussion. The result was a community of 3M product users and crafters sharing their own experiences with Post-it notes and a forum called 3MDIY Web portal. Post-it site traffic has increased by 50 percent since the campaign began.
Use of Color
When deciding on images to use for a website landing page or specific blog post, pay close attention to the colors. Before anything else in an image or brand logo, people see and process color. In fact, the ability to recognize a brand rises by 80 percent when color is added (6). Confidence in a brand is largely determined by the ability to identify logos and products.
Especially when creating an infographic or considering which photo to add to a post promoting an upcoming sale, color needs to be taken into consideration. The color green is an excellent example of one that elicits specific emotions in consumers. Physically, it is the easiest color for the human eye to see. It evokes nature, youth, ecology and adventure. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for corporations operating in the medical and scientific industries.
However, depending on where a product is sold, it is imperative that the B2B marketing team adheres to cultural interpretations of color. Red will have a very different effect on a North American shopper than a European shopper.
Putting pictures to work
Optimization of images is the key to ensuring that desirable high click-thru rate. Google Image Search reads optimized images better than normal pictures (7). Files should always be saved as a .jpg or .png file.
When possible, try to add a combination of original and stock photography to the site. Stock photography will not harm rankings, but having fresh images that don't exist anywhere else online adds a more personal touch. Make sure that any photo posted is high quality. A blurry image will give off an unpolished impression to viewers. Be sure to choose an image size that does not slow down the entire site's load time. Configure the picture so it can load quickly and clearly.
Write a caption for every image posted. Studies show that up to twice as many readers pay attention to photo captions than read the article entirely. Include key words or phrases in this caption. Also, be sure to create alt text and filenames for all images. Alt text is a description that appears if a photo does not load properly or a visitor's browser does not show it. Best kept short and descriptive, alt text also makes websites friendlier to those with visual impairments.
Finally, using sitemaps for all images gives each of them a better chance of recognition. A sitemap is a file that shows Google and other search engines how a website is organized. It contains a listing of all the Web pages, or in this case, images, associated with a site to improve search crawling. This is incredibly beneficial to increasing SERP rankings because an image sitemap provides the type and its subject matter to the search engine.
B2B marketers will dramatically increase brand awareness and lead generation when they implement images into their overall marketing strategies.