Five Types of Courage: An Internet Marketing Fable
Time For An Ever Expanding Life
I’m sorry you weren’t here in the late 1990’s. Internet marketing didn’t exist yet. I built and launched FoundObjects.com, my first website now RIP, in November of 1999. I had time to think about the site’s Mondrian grid lines for months. I couldn’t find a reasonable price for HTML. There was time to learn HTML and write the code.
Not so much anymore. Time is gone compressed into an ever more chaotic NOW.
It was easy to be courageous then because no one knew any better and the bet was small. Strangely, our current environment is the same. Sure there is more NOISE, but greatness and truth remain in short supply. Most people copy others a dangerous tendency in Internet marketing.
Don’t fall into the trap. Don’t copy. If something is confusing work to understand it. Understanding is the bridge to every successful Internet marketing I’ve ever created. Here are just a few things you MUST understand to create great Internet marketing:
- Yourself warts and all.
- Your products warts and all.
- Your customers.
- How your customers FEEL, THINK and ACT (not always the same).
- How you save the world (everyone does in some way).
- Why your customers love you.
- Why your customers hate you.
- Your competition.
- Your business ecosystem (called “business vertical”).
- Your tendencies (if x happens you usually do y).
- What to do next.
All of this information is available, but not in the same place. Take an inventory. Find what is missing and print it out., paste it on the wall. Look at it like a series of paintings. Add to it, subtract from it, edit what is there. Do Pinterest on your office wall so others can see, contribute and comment.
Internet Marketing Courage #1 is The Courage of Self Examination
Tomorrow Internet Marketing Courage #2. Can you guess what it will be? Tweet your ideas to @ScentTrail.
Walker Evans, Cuba
5 Visual Marketing Tips To Increase Conversion
If content is king after Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm changes then visual content is Queen. Visuals create engagement. You see increased engagement in key website metrics such as Time on Site, Pages Viewed and an increase in repeat visitors. Images, arresting visuals, as newspapers and magazines have always known, are key to getting your content read.
Visuals also play an active role in any website’s design and traffic patterns. Images guide your visitors’ eyes and block their engagement with your website. If “block” sounds like your website is a stage play that is because it is in a way. Since images are so important to websites and websites are so important to marketing here are 5 tips to help use images to increase conversions on your website.
Visual Marketing Tip 1 – Follow The Eyes
Visitors follow the eye line of people pictured on your website. In the Walker Evans image above the man on the left is looking off the page. Good idea to put a Call To Action where people in pictures on your website are looking. The man on the right is looking straight out at the view. That view increases engagement though I would prefer a less menacing look if the image was on an e-commerce website (lol).
Visual Marketing Tip 2 – Blocking with Picture
People’s eyes tend to trace picture borders. This creates “hot spots” immediately below and to the right of images. The larger he image the more displacement of attention and the more this effect is increased. Here is an example of a recently suggested redesign. The Call-To-Action area on the right is made powerful by the large “Hero” image (Hero is term Internet marketers use for the largest image on a webpage.
Visual Marketing Tips 3 – Avoid Trapping Engagement
Images can be helpful or hurtful. Images that don’t enrich a storyline create confusion and dissonance hindering engagement. Images that aren’t blocked into the content well, that don’t include clues about how they relate to the content around them can strangle clicks. Make sure your images support the content on the page. People like to click images too so be sure where they end up, when clicking on an image, is related to the image in a meaningful way and there is scent trail, a sense of breadcrumbs issuing from the previous location.
Visual Marketing Tips 4 – Avoid The Roll
I’m going to sound old school, but don’t use large heroes with aggressively timed rolls. When an image changes it shouts LOOK AT ME. Attention must be redirected and split. Rolls are a form of SHOUTING and so should be used sparingly if at all. Keep the page quiet and let your visitors decide where they want to go. Watch your metrics and accentuate the path your visitors create. If you must use a roll do so SLOWLY and no more than 3 different images in the roll. I am not a FAN of rolls despite their ubiquity. Just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.
Visual Marketing Tip 5 – Avoid Stock Photography
Stock photography is inauthentic and bland. The best use of stock is to change-up the angles so it looks less bland and stock-y. The problem is the people all look too Stepford Wives-like. If you MUST use stock let your best designer carve it up with angles or filters so it looks more like YOU and less like some idealized version of you. The web is about being REAL, sharing your passions and sticking to your truth whatever that is. When you use right out of the can stock it undercuts your visual marketing