If you sell a physical product, there’s no doubt that you must show it to the customer, so they feel confident buying.
But what if you don't sell a physical product? Will photographs make a difference if you sell services, e-books, or workshops? Yes! Studies show that photographs (especially of other humans) can increase your sales in 5 ways:
1. Build trust.
A friendly face puts your buyer at ease. As the researcher Dianne Cyr says, "shoppers are inclined to perceive e-commerce sites as more appealing and trustworthy, and as evoking both warmth and social presence when those sites include friendly human images."
2. Direct attention to what's important.
As humans, we're wired to follow someone's line of site, even that of a photograph! When you use a photograph of a face looking in a direction, the reader's gaze will follow. You can use this to highlight your opt-in, your product photo, or the action you want the reader to take next.
3. Make your claims more believable.
I assume that you'll use this power for good and not evil! Photographs, even unrelated ones, make the statements on the page more believable. Or, as the one researcher put it, images "inflate truthiness.” Readers are more likely to believe the veracity of a claim when it’s read while seeing a photograph.
4. Prove that you are a real person.
This study shows that including a patient photo in a medical chart increases the doctor's empathy. Using your photo (and that of your staff) on your site will have the same effect - your customers will see you as a real person, and not a faceless entity.
5. Improve response rates (among men).
This study, which tested the result in several financial and psychological variables in a bank's credit card offer, discovered that a photo of a woman increased response rates, from men. Women were unaffected by the gender of the photograph. If you’re customer base is male, you may have assumed that they would relate better to men in the photos, but according to this study, you should experiment with photos of women.
Warning: Cheese Alert!
There are many studies that prove that a too-happy or cheesy photo will decrease response, especially when it doesn't align with your brand. Be sure to avoid stock-photo-backlash by choosing the correct photo - one with humor or relatability, that reinforces your brand and represents your ideal customer.
Now it's your turn!
No matter what the studies tell us - your customers and your products are totally unique. In order to find what works for you, experiment with photographs on your blog posts and sales pages and track your own results.