Images increase click throughs, but not all images are created equally
Whether you’re posting content on your website or social media, the right image offers the potential to increase click throughs and audience awareness. However, in the race to capture readers’ hearts, minds and eyeballs, custom images definitely have the advantage over stock photo images.
That being said, stock images are better than no images at all. Whatever type of image you use, you want an image that gets your message across to your audience, which isn’t always easy when you’re writing about abstract financial and investment concepts.
In my search to reach more prospects with my content, I’ve tried a number of different image tactics to increase my content and social media metrics. My current go-to-approaches include video, custom graphic images, personal photos and screen shots. Other potential image strategies include infographics and audio or podcasts.
With that in mind, here are three approaches to creating and selecting images for your content: determining the theme of your content, connecting with your target audience and demonstrating authenticity.
Strategy #1: Determine the theme of your content
My most recent overall content goal has been publicizing my recently released book, Get Your Book Done in This Lifetime: The Financial Advisor’s 5-Step Guide to Writing a Book that Boosts Your Business. While the theme of this content tended to shift depending on which part of the book I was promoting, the bottom-line theme was my differentiator from other ghost writers, which is writing a book as a marketing tool.
To that end, I created a series of custom images in Canva that featured my book cover and 10 tips from each section of my book:
- Start your book
- Write your book
- Finish your book
- Publish your book
- Market your book
These tips featured my book cover, a reference to the specific part of the book I was promoting and a short tip. For example, one of my Publish Your Book Tips was: “Your book cover primarily exists as a sales tool to hook readers into your content.” Along with the tip, I would offer a brief summary of the tip with actionable advice in the post I was creating.
As an advisor, your theme might be Social Security claiming or generating sufficient income in retirement, how to save for college or any one of a number of subjects. Whether you illustrate with a stock image, a graphic or another type of image, you need to make sure that your image connects to your topic as closely as possible.
If your subject is Social Security claiming, you could choose a stock image of a silver-haired couple, a screen shot of a Social Security earnings statement or a custom graphic with a Social Security claiming tip. Just like with your content, the more customized the image is to your audience, the more it will reflect your brand.
Strategy #2: Connect with your audience
Your image selection should always keep your audience in mind. That’s why I tend to stay away from stock images – because your audience isn’t generic. Therefore, your images shouldn’t be generic.
The internet is overflowing with stock images to the point of overload. Anything you can do to counter that trend and differentiate yourself gives you an advantage.
While I really like custom graphics for their ability to illustrate my point directly, I have found that my posts that get the best response are the ones that have a really, really good professional picture of me. Especially during the pandemic, we are all craving more personal connection. There’s nothing that creates that personal connection better than a photo of you and your colleagues.
I recommend investing in a series of photography sessions with a professional photographer who can give you headshots and portraits that you can use on your website and your social media, but who can also spend some time at your office, getting some candid photos of you and your staff at work.
Yes, such sessions can get expensive, but when they yield say 20, 30 or more images that you can use in your marketing, they are well worth the price. I spent $1,200 on headshots and portraits recently in connection with my book launch and these photos have really, really resonated with my audience. Every time I use them, I get more responses to my posts than posts using any other types of images.
Strategy #3: Demonstrating authenticity
I’ve been writing about self-publishing a lot lately, because that’s how I published my book. When I wrote a post discussing the advantages of self-publishing due to the ability to update versions of a book to correct mistakes, I included a screen shot with a circle around a typo that appeared in my book.
Usually, my inclination would be to bury a typo six-feet deep. After all, I’m a writer, but I couldn’t keep typos out of my own book? That doesn’t seem like a good look.
But hey, mistakes happen, even to writers who have paid to have their books proofread twice. I got a great response to that post and to my follow-up post that showed the same page, corrected in the new ebook and printed versions.
I also think is why the portraits and headshots I’ve included with my content resonate so much with my audience – because they can see me and relate to me, not just on the level of what I’m writing, but who I am.
The bottom line
While your content is important to building your brand, connecting with your target audience and differentiating you from the other financial advisors out there in the marketplace, what’s really important is building an impression over time.
Your target audience gets to know you through the consistency of your content marketing efforts. Images are a critical part of that process, which is why it is worthwhile to pay for photography, create custom images, shoot video and so forth.