5 Ways Text Closes The Deal In Your Visual Content
Visual content seems to be the bee’s knees in content marketing today.
Every social network is updating their design and making it easier for users to place images, GIFs and videos in their posts.
This makes total sense, as the numbers show greater engagement and more sharing by using visuals.
But that doesn’t mean text should be cast aside. If you want to convert your prospects, text is still the mover and shaker.
Here are five ways text closes the deal:
1. – Search Engines
Text is still the primary source search engines use for their results. They crawl through the Web, finding relevant content related to the user’s search intent.
Purely visual content provides limited signals to Google or Bing, as their search algorithms are text and link-based crawlers.
Without highly optimized text in your description or image alt text relating to the image or video, the search engines won’t pick up the visual elements of your content.
Say you’re a freelance photographer looking to increase your corporate clientele from medium-sized businesses in the inner metropolitan area of your city.
You look at using Facebook ads to funnel potential clients to offers on your website landing page.
You place some of your best pieces in your campaign using keywords in hashtags with terms your market might use to seek out a corporate photographer, like #corporatephotographer and #portraitphotographylondon.
Being creative, sharp and personal with your descriptions (with related keywords) gives the search engines the ability to search the text referring to the images and rank them in their search results.
Since the post is optimized for your target audience, there are more opportunities to show up in front of marketing managers and business owners when they place their search queries or filter their social media feeds.
Then an incentive to click through to your website, with key landing page copy ready, and convert visitors once they arrive.
Until the algorithms get better at image recognition (and no doubt they are), text is still the main fuel for search engines.
2. – Human Presence
Building the human connection to visual content takes the right balance of text and image within a chosen platform.
There are wild variations across each social media platform.
The constraints of each dictate how to employ your content on them. Solidifying the human quality in the visual through text is a very powerful tool.
We relate to stuff when there’s something human bursting out of it, and text has that social connection.
This also stems from knowing your audiences—who they are, where they hang out, what they talk about—and educates you on how to interact with them using your visual content.
Stevie English, my local hair salon, puts this human connection right into its social media and website.
The salon posts regular hairstyles from happy clients, fashion events it does styling at and the stylists behind the dye and scissors.
Having that personality within the brand attracts their main target market: women wanting awesome, urbane hair.
They cross paths through social media or Google by the words they type into their search queries and the posts shared with them by trusted sources.
3. – Binding Emotional Responses
Being human is one thing, generating emotion is another.
Text is the bridging tool to encourage the ideal emotional response from your visual content and then to further it along to connection and conversion.
How we feel about a product or service makes us decide whether to purchase or contact.
Research has shown we don’t consult our rational brain when making a major decision; we use our feelings to do it. Even if the data tells us to hold up and stop, we don’t.
Great text on top of visual content brings emotional energy to the visual appeal to which your customers were initially attracted.
And if that energy is winning and trustworthy, fed by other sources like industry authorities or close friends, there is very little downside to the written word. Text and visual content form a great partnership.
Even if your goals aren’t to have money flooding your business but rather to have a wider, more engaged target community, the use of text with visual content boosts the feeling of a business or enterprise.
4. – Language
When we talk about language, visual language always reaches us first.
The way our brains are designed, we absorb and interpret visual language faster than the written or spoken word. That’s just how it is.
But words and the spoken language help us as social animals. We’re able to convey and discuss ideas and work through problems.
Text is the deeper social lubricant.
Whether it’s through information on our mobile devices or spoken by a business coach in an online video course, language opens up social relationships and cohesion between other people that visual content just cannot do.
A study highlighted by Scientific American about the brain’s processing while reading shows an amazing connection between different areas within our grey matter.
The social advantage of words and language should never be undervalued.
5. – Call to Action
Finally, we have arrived at the end game: a call to action (CTA). Visual content attracts your specific clientele, but text converts.
A good call to action gets your customer moving toward the next step, whether this is a direct step like a sale or an indirect one like developing trust (which leads toward a sale further in the journey). The CTA drives an action out of your visual content, and that’s the reason it’s in front of the user.
On a tweet, a CTA with a visual has to be razor sharp given the lack of characters available. Social Media Examiner Twitter posts keep it tight, focused and ask for an action. They are searching for attendees for Social Media Examiner’s annual conference and even add a price incentive as part of the visual image. Nice.
For Facebook ads, using the description for a CTA that accompanies the image or video draws the target customer’s action forward. Asana uses the most basic of images and minimal servings of text, but the benefits of its product are made crystal clear.
On a website, the CTA again depends on what action you’re looking to incite from your visual content. A good example is Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), which as a not-for-profit organization looking for funding from various areas, including people with a social conscious. What I especially like about this page is the image telling you what your donation goes toward.
Specifically, it shows the majority going toward services (88.9%) and what the money has achieved in mental health consultations and meningitis vaccinations. Then, there’s a straight call-to-action button to donate directly below. It’s simple, positive and empowering—if you give money.
Like any decent copywriter or marketer knows, unless you tell your customers what to do, they won’t do it.
The takeaway –
Like I said, every platform is different. But a real balance must be struck between the visual and text working in unison specifically for your customer.
Visual content gets the people you want to the party; text makes sure they keep you in mind when they’re there.
So tell me, what’s your experience with text in visual content? How much focus do you place on the written word with your visuals?
P.S. Content creation is the power at your fingertips to attract the kind of clients you want to work with.
But if you don’t have the time or resources to do it then, well, let me give your writing the value your customers want. Let’s connect now.