Images are a vital part of modern marketing. Yet, it’s scary how many businesses develop marketing campaigns and digital branding strategies, without a sense of direction or purpose. Many companies also don’t realize the significant impact images can have on their marketing efforts and how easy it is.
Here’s a look at some of the things you can do to enhance your use of images in marketing campaigns and track the success of campaign content across digital and print channels.
1. Use tools to help you organize content publishing
Often the most significant step to embrace better use of imagery assets in marketing is better content organization. Taking this step is particularly powerful if you’re a larger business with a vast product range, like retailers or product brands. Still, it can be helpful for any company.
Try to look for software tools that help you organize your visual assets, and enable you to automate content production with those assets at the same time. Think of features such as configuring workflows and setting up creative templates or libraries. Not only does this ensure consistency across omnichannel campaigns, but it will massively reduce your marketing content production costs as well.
It also helps when a software tool offers (API) integrations with other platforms to supercharge your use of personalized and targeted assets to an even greater degree!
2. Be authentic – people love people!
We’d wager that most businesses that struggle to find images for their marketing campaigns and assets, don’t spend enough time doing it.
Using stock images is a fantastic way to get professional photos onto digital and physical marketing assets. However, they still need to fit your brand and digital identity. Once your pictures match your brand, your marketing assets will feel much more authentic.
You need to stop choosing the first image you find. Instead, build up a library of pictures that you feel represent your brand. This will help you create more engaging messaging in the long run. You can use only stock images, or commission a photographer to create some of your own to complement your library at the same time.
When it comes to authenticity, remember that people love people! If you can find images with people that fit your brand identity, this will make a significant difference to the engagement you see across all your marketing channels.
3. Don’t use images for the sake of using images
Why do you use images in your marketing campaigns?
If the answer is or is close to something like, “because we always include an image,” it’s time to change your thinking.
Think of the reasons to use images on your website. For example, they might be there to act as a form of social proof, to help highlight some critical messaging, or as a final lead-in to a call-to-action. And those are all excellent reasons to use images in your leaflets, brochures or email marketing campaigns too. Make your images mean something and have a purpose. Don’t just include them because you “must have an image.”
4. Experiment and test
At its heart, marketing is all about experimenting and testing different things. Yet, many businesses lose sight of this and end up changing something for the sake of making it “new”.
While you should always experiment and test when using images, and doubly so when looking at personalization, you must do so in a deliberate, structured manner.
What are your options?
- Different layouts – change the positions of your images, where personalized elements go, and other promotional messaging across both digital and physical assets, and see what your audience reacts to.
- Different formats and sizes – try different image formats and sizes across your campaigns. Using an assets and content organization tool will make this far more straightforward than it otherwise might be. For digital campaigns, you might even experiment with videos and GIFs rather than static images, although images are easier to deploy for personalized marketing campaigns.
- A/B test when possible – remember that what works for you won’t work for everyone. Sometimes, you may even get different results for very similar campaigns. The intelligent approach is to ensure you A/B test as much as possible. This gives you the option to constantly tweak what you do. For example, some people may not like images or personalized marketing, but you won’t know until you test it!
5. For digital content, use heatmapping tools
Heatmapping and mouse tracking have become increasingly popular in recent years for tracking the effectiveness of web pages and driving layout and design changes.
Many marketing tools such as email software now also offer this capability without the expense of paying for a standalone tool. Use such capabilities where they are available to help you understand exactly how people interact with your assets and, crucially, how people react to content around your images and how these images trigger actions.
6. For physical content, use other tracking options
When using personalization on physical assets, like leaflets, brochures, or POS material, ensure you have a way to track their success. Things that work include:
- Unique QR code URLs, so you know how many web visitors have reacted to your print assets
- Unique telephone numbers for contacting you, so these can be tracked and accounted for
- Personalized offers with unique identifiers, such as unique discount codes
One step at a time
The impact of great image assets and how you track them in your marketing metrics could be huge. How, why, and when you use them are the big questions you should be asking each time you set up a campaign. Don’t get overwhelmed, just start with one of the tips above and create a step-by-step improvement over time
About the author
Edward started out in online marketing but soon found his passion in entrepreneurship. He successfully founded multiple tech startups and merged digital agency mediaBunker into what is now known as CMN Group. He then co-founded spinoff company Relayter to solve the complex issues that come with large marketing content productions. Going from large datasets to automatic layout and design. His mission is to redefine and simplify how large retailers and brands operate their marketing content execution.