In my PSY101 class, a long time back, I learned for the first-time how biased human beings are in their perception and recall of environmental stimuli. For example, and also on-topic, when faced with echoic and iconic information simultaneously, our brains are physiologically and evolutionarily biased to pay more attention to, and remember for longer, visual stimuli.
Why visuals appeal so much to us? Is it just about looks and aesthetics? Actually, it’s a bit less-superficial; it’s about the economy. As human beings are cognitive misers, we like to perceive, process, and retain information in the simplest and easiest ways possible.
To notice and remember visual information, the human mind has to give up fewer resources, making the memory retention and recall of visuals easier.
But what does all this visual psychology mean for your business?
In simple terms, pay more attention to visuals in your business to gain the highest rewards. But executing it is a little more complicated than saying or understanding it. Through this article, I am going to try and list down ways to show you how your local business can benefit greatly by using relevant visuals and what you can do to make visuals a regular part of your business marketing.
Visuals help you tell your brand’s story.
Every business and a business owner is a brand – an entity that is as real as you and me. This entity is as complete and as complex as any living person when marketed right. Customers create connections not with businesses but with brands. To give your brand a unique character and a real feel, visuals can be your best partners.
Through a consistent color theme, a well-designed brand logo, and always being on-brand whenever communicating with your customers, you can establish a strong brand perception for your business.
Take the indoor potted plant business, The Sill, as an example. It started as a local store that was operated exclusively online. Taking orders from people and sending them potted plans all over the country.
It has now grown into a successful global business. If you look at their website, you’ll see how completely on-brand this business is in its visuals. It’s all white-space, neat and simple fonts, lots and lots of pictures of potted plants in beautiful ceramic pots and the brand’s color, green, is used strategically for important buttons all over the site. Even the site’s copy is full of plant-puns.
Looking at the site’s visuals, you can immediately interpret it as an earthy, warm, sensitive, and caring entity. The consistent use of the brand’s color emphasizes its message of nature and organics and the clean aesthetics compel you to engage with the website a bit more.
For the consumer, the product image is the most important factor.
As a local business with an online presence, make sure your website or the digital store has high-resolution original photography of your product images.
As per research conducted by MDG Advertising, a New York-based advertising agency, 67% of consumers declared product image as the deciding-factor when shopping online. They rated its relevancy and credibility higher than that of even product ratings and reviews (53%) – which is astonishing, yes, but helps us realign our marketing and visual presentation strategy accordingly.
For businesses that are service-oriented or where product imagery isn’t as clear, such emphasis on product images makes things a bit trickier but doable. Solid Rock Property, a local real estate business specializing in the sale and purchase of farms and ranches, uses lots of natural photography of ranches, farms, hills, and pastures to highlight their point.
Add more photos to your Google My Business to get more traction.
There are more than 3 billion mobile internet subscribers in the world and they’ve outrun their desktop comrades in their use of the Internet on their chosen device. 52.2% of people who now browse websites, do it on their mobile phones.
That is why more and more businesses are now registering themselves on Google Map’s ‘Google My Business’ service. This service enables the user to search for a business using their Google Map. The way Google’s algorithm works, the more images a business has in its GMB directory, the more traction (clicks, views, calls, and direction requests) it gets by the sheer virtue of being more useful to the people looking for this business.
To take full advantage of Google’s algorithm, fill up your directly with nice, hi-res photos of your store, products, behind-the-scenes, and lots more that can drive more and more traffic to your store.
Power-up the visuals in your store, too.
This point is directly tied to the point I made above. Since we’ve established that you’ll gain more by adding more photos in your business’ GMB directory, make sure your physical store has unique, characterized, and full-of-personality visuals to boast too.
Few ways to achieve that:
Keep the store neat, clean, and organized.
Make sure the store’s aesthetics are consistent with brand guidelines.
Invest in cute and interesting signage and curb-side extras.
Ensure your staff’s professional presence.
Display pictures or videos of new or restocked inventory.
Conduct workshops or organize activities.
Using your social media, go live with your audience and let them experience the store and its products in real-time.
And when you are doing all this, make sure to take lots of photos.
Visuals impact decision-making.
As a small local business, a lot rides on your ability to tilt your visitor’s decision-making into your favor as soon as possible. With fleeting and distracting attention-spans, you need to be able to not only grasp their focus but through compelling visuals, elicit reactions and responses that go to your favor and not your competitor’s.
As per the findings of two separate studies conducted by Michigan State University and Iowa State University, the structure of our brain that processes visual information plays a significant role in decision-making too. Meaning: you can entice your potential buyers to buy your product through persuasive and emotive visuals.
So, in your digital store as well as the physical store, put up lots of original product and brand photography. Make sure your inventory pictures are valid and updated. In addition to making the buying process easy, also ensure there’s ample white-space in the background against which your products can shine.
Paying attention to contrast, making call-to-action buttons prominent, and the check-out process hassle-free, you can quickly start increasing your profits in no-time.
Visuals are important to sell any kind of business in our technology-driven world. But for small, local businesses, the importance of visuals exceeds normal ranges. A small business needs to make every visit count and strive to make every visitor into a buying customer.
To make this demanding task a little bit more manageable and infinitely more interesting, visuals add in the most appeal. Since everyone likes nice pictures, make sure you are offering them a lot to ogle on.