Your web site visitors want to know what you can do for them. This trumps everything else. If you appear to satisfy their needs, only then will they continue to research your “about us” links or have the slightest desire to see a picture of your facilities.
Web sites, even those that have been developed by a professional agency, frequently make the mistake of featuring company information more prominently than company offerings. My experience has been this is catastrophic to your response rates.
Please do not misunderstand; your site visitor does want to know that you are an established company with a strong position in the market. But their first question is “does your service or product meet my needs now?” My recommendation is you answer this marketing question with a big YES.
Feature your “Hero” prominently on the site
If you sell a service:
Be as literal and as “to the point” as you can. Use photos, and to a lesser extent illustrations, that demonstrate what your service does for people.
"...people actually feel resentment toward advertisements they don't understand. They become positively annoyed at slogans and captions whose meaning is not instantly clear." - John Caples
Professional services are more challenging to represent graphically, but it is still possible using a series of elements blended into a professional layout.
For example, if you work with mortgage documents, use an image of a board room meeting, with believable but attractive people holding mortgage documents (attention to detail – use the real documents) and scenic property visible out the window. Or use multiple images to show the stages of your relationship with a client and the benefits they enjoy at each step. Such a graphical story-telling of your relationship is also a good metaphor to introduce your various services and explain why they need you.
Some services are relatively easy to represent. Plastic surgery is shown to respond to before-and-after photos extremely well (Note: use 200 or more before-and-after photo sets). If you own a hair styling salon, you would be crazy not to demonstrate the results you produce for your clients with extensive before-and-after photos of your great hair cuts.
If you sell a product:
If you sell widgets, don’t just show the widgets, show the benefits of your widget in use with plenty of product close-ups. Use pictures and relevant text that features what you do for them. Link directly from those images on the home page to detailed pages with extensive information and more pictures.
Products can be cross-sold by showing them in use with other products that you offer. If you sell hot sauce, include finished dish photos with recipes that suggest your brand of tortillas. Change your web site’s pictures from product shots to a product demonstration by showing the dish in use at a party.
Your “Hero” should be the dominant element
The images that represent your service or product should be secondary in attracting attention only to your web site’s headline. Marketing images of your product or service in your layout should be larger than the other elements.
The images of your product or service should be:
- Larger than your logo
- Larger than validation branding (small logos and certifications)
- Larger than images of your facilities
- Larger than pictures of your employees
- Larger than your mission statement (we recommend you skip this one altogether)
Present your “Hero” in a professional layout
Presentation and layout are important because if you do succeed in convincing your site visitor you have what they need, they will immediately begin evaluating your layout for image marketing. Are you a real and reputable company? Then say so with your layout.
Present the service or product immediately on your home page. Internet users are both impatient and intelligent and they do not appreciate being delayed in any way. If you have a preloader or splash page on your site, remove it immediately as it is interpreted as an attempt on your part to control the interaction with your site visitor. That is not the way to sell. Work with your site visitor completely on their terms as much as possible. If you succeed, they might trust you with their business.
For additional clarification of your marketing message, use captions below your photos. If a photo is demonstrating your differentiating benefit, use the caption to reinforce the benefit.
Admit it; we all assume an amateur layout with poor colors means it is a shoddy product by a shaky company. We are reluctant to purchase even well known brands from sites that look “iffy”. A professional layout is baseline with people the world .
In conclusion, your web site needs to feature your service or product as the “hero” in every possible way.