It’s your “moment of truth. That critical point in time on which so much depends. When marketing online, it’s that few seconds in which you have to engage your audience – or they click and go elsewhere. And your images are the key to making this instant connection.
But could they be better? This article offers insight into something called “magical thinking.” Read on and learn five ways to make your images more persuasive.
Revealed: What makes B2B images persuasive
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In fact, some have said “a picture is worth a thousand pieces of gold.” Can the right B2B image really ignite your sales?
Magical thinking is the belief that an object, action or circumstance not logically related to a course of events can somehow influence its outcome. While this is pure superstition, it’s a way of thinking that’s been around for millennia.
Cave paintings, like those found in Altamira, Spain dating up to 36,000 years ago, show how magical thinking was once used. Because ancient cave art is often found deep inside a cave, it’s believed that shamans went there to meditate and create magical images.
Pictures that show wounds on animals during a hunt have led researchers to believe that the purpose of the images was to influence a successful outcome. And while you might expect primitive humans to believe in black magic, this same type of thinking is commonly used today. What’s surprising, is that science has proven it to be true.
The truth about magical thinking
In an interesting experiment, a group of participants were given ten chances to make a golf putt. As part of the study, they were told their ball had been lucky in previous experiments. On the other hand, others were told their ball was the only one being used – so no advantage.
But the mere suggestion that their ball was lucky enabled the first group to make almost two putts on average more than their counterparts.
In a follow-up experiment, participants were told to bring in their own lucky charm. And after being asked to perform tasks both with and without their charm, the mere presence of it resulted in better performance.
How can this be? As it turns out, this has something to do with the law of contagion. This law is thought to be the hidden force behind voodoo dolls and curses. It’s the belief that when two people or objects come together, a magical link between them is formed.
This would explain why stone age cave paintings depict an association between animals and the outcome of a hunt. Here are five proven ways you can use this knowledge to make your B2B images more persuasive.
The research on persuasiveness
In his book, Tested Advertising Methods, copywriter John Caples explained how pictures in advertising work. Testing revealed that images of beautiful women in ads did little to stimulate purchases from men. Rather, men believed ads containing pictures of men were more likely to be ads for men’s products. Women too thought the same about ads with pictures of women.
What the study had revealed, was that images tend to act as labels. Further, only images with sales value are likely to lead to a sale, said Caples. Special effects or dramatic images can attract attention.
The 5 most persuasive types of B2B images
According to Caples, his scientific testing revealed there are five types of pictures that have the most sales value:
- Picture of the product.
For example, in an equipment ad, show a picture of the equipment. Another example: For a software product, show an illustration of the product or product package.
- Picture of the product or service in use.
For example, a person using a new software app on their iphone.
- Picture of the reward of using the product.
For example, a picture of a customer signing a sales contract because the new capabilities provided by a vendor’s software enabled the seller to make a sale.
- Picture of the attainment of an ambition.
For example, a manager receiving an award due to their use of a software product. Another example: A picture of an award offered by a vendor for customer achievement.
- Data visualization
For example, a chart showing customer feedback of a software product in a way that compares it to others in its category.
Rather than hunting wild animals, today’s businesses are hunting online for leads and sales. While a picture itself can’t magically change the future, it can impact someone who can.
Like the ancient shamans did over fourteen millennia ago, showing your product or a successful outcome from using it can be very persuasive. Want to ignite your sales? Try a bit of that old black magic.