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Image Marketing 101

image marketing 101Images and SEO usually don’t mix. I remember working at one company many many years ago, where I sat next to the web designer and every day we would butt heads over the use of images. Often the designer wanted to design the site completely in images and I wanted lots of areas for text. For me marketing meant convincing a search engine that uses text only to determine relevance that the client’s site was relevant. I saw images as fluff. Now maybe the designer could be getting the last laugh because sites like Pinterest are becoming increasingly important. Even Google image search can be a great source of traffic.

So how does one take advantage of image marketing? First it is important to understand what/who you are targeting. Image marketing when it comes to the search engines and image marketing for targeting people is very different.

SEO of Images:
Image marketing for image search means understanding how a machine views images. Because a search engine can’t actually understand an image the way we do, it needs to use cues around the image to know how to categorize it. These cues include:
Alt tag: Make each image uses an alt tag and keep it short and relevant. Preferably use only one keyword phrase.
body text: The text that surrounds the image gets associated to it. So make sure you theme the content around the keywords you expect people would search when trying to find an image like yours.
button images/image links: When an image contains a link, the alt tag becomes even stronger and it is seen as anchor text.
file name: Name your image files with appropriate keywords and use hyphens to separate individual keywords.

Image Marketing for people:
For targeting people image marketing means understanding how people will view the image. Below are common considerations:
Appeal: Think of who your customers are and what kind of image would appeal to them. Factors that would play a role would be: age, gender, interests, and the location of the potential viewer.
Timing: Timing is really important with any form of marketing. Images that speak to a current event will get more attention. Twitter trending topics give quick insights into what is relevant now.
Platform: There are many image based marketing platforms: Twitter, FaceBook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Stumble, Flickr, etc. each have different ways of being utilized for marketing. Try to learn each and how to get the most out of them. Using a site like ping.fm you can send your images to all at once.
Tone: The tone of image is important. Is the image serious, funny, sad? Playing on people’s is important because you want a reaction. Just remember the action you want is to reflect on you in a positive way.
Content: The content of image means the message you are trying to convey. Often you can tailor the message by adding text to an image. The text should be short, similar to the way cartoons appear in a newspaper. The goal of images is quick impact too much text can weaken the impact.
Comments: Sites like FaceBook, Stumble, Flickr, Pinterest allow you to comment on a image. Comment on your own image it will encourage others to do the same and increase the activity it receives.
Tags: Tags allow you to associate keywords with an image. These will help if people are searching a social site for images that match interest. Some sites will allow you to categorize and add a description of the image as well.
Connections: When promoting an image socially it is important to be connected. The size of the audience is important when trying to get noticed. So make sure you have a good fan, friend, follower, or connection base.

Remember the goal of image marketing:
Getting a bunch of people to look at your images is great but it isn’t the main goal. The goal of image marketing is to drive people to your web site and use it to convert them to sales. So put images out there, but give the people viewing the images a way to come to your site. Pinterest is good for this because it automatically links the images to the location they are found, just be sure that location is your site. For Twitter and FaceBook create status updates that don’t just contain an image but a story about it. Status updates are limited in length, so start the story in the status update then give a link to the rest of the story, which is really a link to your site.

If you have any questions about image marketing 101 and how it can help your business, please comment below.

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