Facilitating New Business
Increase Conversions with Visual Imagery
An online conversion is the name of the game when it comes to new business generation. A conversion is defined as the completion of an activity that is important to the success of your business.
In the case of BusRates.com, conversions consist of customers contacting listed operators and suppliers, which take shape in the form of phone number or email requests, company website click-thrus, or RFQ submissions. Similar goals apply to most bus operator and supplier websites in the service industry. Leads are the first step toward a sale.
Conversions can be measured using analytics software. Google Analytics, for example, allows administrators to define conversions and track percentages. Changes to a company website, new advertising campaigns and online social media initiatives should all be administered with a goal of heightened conversions.
Visual cues are an aspect of web design that can influence user behavior to increase conversions. Aside from aesthetics, visual design can convey messages and call attention to “hot spots” on websites that facilitate conversion.
Art direction is something our minds subconsciously deconstruct and interpret; it’s estimated we are confronted with up to 5,000 visual messages each day. When reading text, our eyes first interpret words as images, which are then translated to letters, then words, and finally meaning. The rate at which our minds can derive meaning from a visual image is much accelerated than that of text, and the retention of visual information is also much greater (OSU.edu).
Our predisposition to visual direction increases engagement, and when encountered on websites, lessens the chance of a visitor to abandon the session—resulting in a lost conversion. Gary Ciotti, founder of the behavioral psychology blog Sparring Mind, shares 5 tips toward creating visual content for conversions:
- Headlines: They are the most-viewed item on a page and need to capture attention in less than 1 second in order to be effective
- Stand-out Color: The best color to use for an action is one that is “isolated” from the others because it is noticed first.
- Whitespace: Text on websites is much more easily digested in short, three to four sentence paragraphs with expanded empty space.
- Line of Sight: People are susceptible to follow arrows and the gaze of another face—even if the face isn’t real.
- Readability: People read content faster on long lines, but prefer content on shorter lines, so use images to block off opening topics to accelerate readership.
In addition to using art to direct users on a company webpage, art assets can also be used to draw inbound customers to a webpage. Ciotti cites the impact of information visualization and image sharing online, saying that “images are the ‘snacks’ of the internet.” Social networks such as Pintrest are built upon shared images.
Ciotti discusses marketing with information visualization, not for increased conversions, but rather for the virality effect. Snapshots, educational or humorous images, and infographics are examples of art materials that can go viral. BusRates.com recently created a sharable infographic for motorcoach operators and group travel suppliers (viewable here).
Sharables are bits of information that are pleasing to the eye and easily posted across social networking sites. Creating a small image with safety tips for motorcoach travel or booking tips for group hotels (watermark the image with your company name and website) are both educational sharables that have the potential to pull visitors back to your business.
Next time you evaluate your own company website, look for ways in which visual imagery directs a visitor to complete an activity. Are there any areas in which visual cues can be incorporated to enhance the probability of a conversion? Also keep your eyes peeled for sharables and take note of who is looking to get their name out successfully. Information visualization and art direction are two creative components of facilitating new business.
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