It was Bill Gates who said: “content is king”, which is why writing compelling financial content for your website is crucial.
But, so too is choosing the right images.
Three key reasons:
- The brain processes images significantly more quickly than text. The right images will quickly convey key messages, and help your website pass the split-second test
- Images help to tell a story and set the scene, connecting at an emotional level with the visitor
- If used well (and that’s a big ‘if’!) images enhance the aesthetics of a website
Essentially, there are three types of images you can use:
- You and your team
- Your locality
- Lifestyle images
It’s the third of these where the problems usually arise. More of that in a minute.
You and your team
It always baffles me why some financial advisers and planners don’t want to build detailed team pages, including professionally taken photos.
I’ve often been told that: “clients aren’t interested”. Frankly, that’s rubbish. All the evidence shows that a website’s team page is one of the most popular on the site.
That shouldn’t be a surprise. You’ll develop deep relationships with your clients over the years. They will tell you their most intimate dreams and fears. That journey starts with your initial meeting. As the first meeting starts before the first meeting (credit to Damien Rylett of FP Training Academy for that great line) adding team pages and some personality to the site is crucial.
They are also handy for including keywords; place names, product types can all be including naturally on team pages and won’t do your organic website traffic any harm.
If you’re adding team pages, then professional photography is required. Why do some advisers and planners spend thousands on a website yet nothing on the images?
They should be authentic too. How should you dress? As you would for a first meeting. If that smart casual and your website images show you in a three-piece suit, there’s immediately a disconnect there. Remember, the first meeting starts before the first meeting (thanks Damien!).
Finally, get your website developer / designer to chat with your photographer before the shoot. The closer they work together the better the finished website will be.
If you prefer working with clients close to you we often recommend including images of the local area to demonstrate the point. This helps visitors understand that you’re a local firm; something which is still important to many potential clients.
Don’t overdo it though and avoid obvious clichés; we wouldn’t recommend a Nottingham based firm fill their website with images of Robin Hood, Brian Clough and Torvill & Dean!
It’s usually very easy to find local images either on royalty-free websites or directly from the photographer. If that’s not possible, then commissioning some of your own will probably be cheaper than you think while guaranteeing that the images won’t be found elsewhere.
These are the hardest type of images to select.
It’s here that the curse of the stock image can strike. Picture the blissfully happy couple, recently retired, walking down a beach, hand in hand. It’s cliched and frankly rather naff.
Have we ever done it? Probably. Although we try desperately to avoid doing so. However, not all stock photography is bad, there are some great images out there. You’ve just got to wade through a lot of rubbish to find them.
That’s one reason why choosing images is hard. The other, of course, is that it’s so personal. And that’s the big problem; an image which connects with one person might turn off, or even alienate, another.
Naturally, the images should be aligned with your brand. However, there’s no point trying to please everyone; it’s just impossible and you’ll waste a lot of time trying.
As you’re searching, try to look at each image through the eyes of your target market and not your own. What they like matters far more than what you do.
It’s often easier to choose an image after the text has been written. Take inspiration from the words and think about where it will be placed on site; the same image might look superb as a page-wide banner, but terrible if cropped. Remember too that images which look great on a desktop computer might not display so well on a smaller mobile device. All these things need to be considered as carefully as the image itself.
Working in harmony
Imagery and financial content are equally important, supporting and complementing each other. This is particularly the case when it comes to adding lifestyle images.
Choose both carefully. Doing so could lead to a connection which lasts a lifetime.