Illustrating Your Web Copy
The Internet is a visual place, full of photographs, illustrations, videos – you name it. Visuals instantly communicate a message and add interest to your online publications and websites. They help readers quickly and easily grasp relationships, comparisons, and sequences.
We often think that pictures and words complement each other, yet there is a subtle animosity between “word people” and “picture people.” Many word people think words get more of the message across than pictures. Picture people believe the opposite is true. “Today’s generation was raised on TV and video games.”
What is the truth? There are two myths floating around about the effectiveness of words versus pictures when it comes to marketing.
Myth 1: People Don’t Read
Look around. There are more than 15,000 newspapers in the USA, 10,000 magazines, 4 million websites, and 70,000 books published every year. If people don’t read, then who is buying these publications or visiting these websites? Just think about when you visit a website, don’t you spend a lot of time reading, trying to get as much information as possible?
What “People don’t read” really means is that “People don’t have time to read everything they want or need to read.” Your challenge is to make your copy interesting, relevant, and concise so that your visitor/prospect pays attention to it, starts to read through it, sticks with it all the way.
Myth 2: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
The idea that you can explain things with a picture and without using words is, well, just not true. Try to teach people with a picture and you may discover that you NEED a thousand words to tell them exactly what to look at, what it is, and why they need to look at it.
Nearly everyone has been moved by a story – whether the words were in a book or the actors’ words from a written script turned into a movie. Painter, scientist and Yale professor David Gelertner says, “We believe ours to be some sort of visual age, but painting is today the least popular of the arts. For the most part, crowds at big shows barely look at the paintings; there are more people gathered around the signs and labels than the pictures.”
So is one better than the other? Should you use only words or only pictures? Or maybe you should just use videos and audios. Your decision should be: Use them all. Tell the reader of your e-mail, ezine or website what he is looking at when you use a graphic, and what it means to him. Do not expect him or her to draw the impression from the visual that you intended; usually they won’t.
People who visit your website or read your ezine or e-mail are different. They have different personalities, life experiences, talents and interests. Try to appeal to the senses of your visitor. And use lots of descriptive and well thought through words.