Is it better to have a visual portfolio to showcase your previous assignment or a well-written service page on your website to inform your audience about your offer?
Are people actually reading your texts these days, or do they prefer visual content not to read endless copies?
Are pictures enough to market your business?
I’m sure that you have asked yourself all these questions when marketing your services or setting up your website. Finding a balance between visual content and text can be tricky.
You don’t want to write too much text, because you don’t want to bore your readers. But you don’t want to base all your marketing on images and graphics either, as you don’t know if that would be clear enough to showcase your business.
The same applies when you’re blogging. Too many words will overwhelm your readers, but if you don’t write enough, they may not get the information they’re looking for.
If you’re asking yourself all these questions, you’re in the right place. Let’s analyse the pros and cons of visual content and text:
- 1// Pros and cons of visual content
- 2// Pros and cons of visual content
- Visual content or text: then, which one should I use?
- Let’s discuss now!
1// Pros and cons of visual content
- Visual content is more accessible to a wider audience, as images are normally universal and don’t need to be translated.
- It’s more appealing and ideal for attracting the attention of your audience.
- People process images and graphics faster.
- People retain 80% of what they see.
- You’re not in control of the interpretation of your visual content. It’s up to your audience to imagine what you want to convey with your images. (Make sure that what you try to convey and what your audience see is the same.)
- It may be more difficult to guide your audience through your images and add a call-to-action. (You’ll probably have to add text to tell your audience what you want them to do.)
- Audience may get lost if your visual content isn’t clear or doesn’t include any text to complement the visual elements.
- It’s not ideal for SEO efforts, as Google analyses texts much better than images.
2// Pros and cons of visual content
- You can guide your readers through your copy and tell them exactly the information that they’re looking for. It’s up to you to convey your message through the correct words, so your readers will interpret what you really want them to.
- While visual content is perfect to attract the attention of your readers, texts will hook your readers and make them stay. (We may get tired of seeing pictures if we don’t get any information from them.)
- Text is ideal to position your content in Google searches and target specific keywords.
- The call-to-action of your copy will be clearer and you can guide your readers through your texts to encourage them to “click”.
- It’s been proved that good copies and texts improve conversion rates and had a greater impact than visual content with no text.
- It’s not as accessible as visual content. If you’re targeting an international audience, you’ll have to translate your content so it can be accessible to a wider audience.
- It may not be as appealing as visual content at a first glance (although this is improving due to formatting options: headings, titles, blond and italic texts, etc.)
- People won’t probably read all your text, so make sure to make it scanable and pay more attention to headlines.
- People only retain 20% of what they read.
Note: In terms of investment, both types of content are probably similar. If you think you may need a lot of text to write your website or a landing page, you’ll probable need the same amount of visual content to convey the same messages.
It’s true that you’ll have to invest in translation services to make your texts accessible to a wider audience, but it’s also true that translation will increase your conversion rates and your international clients will feel more identified when reading texts in their native languages.
Also, visual content normally has a written component (voice-over for videos, embedded text for infographics, etc.) that would also need to be translated into different languages.
Visual content or text: then, which one should I use?
There’s not a universal answer to this question. It always depends on your business and objectives.
It’s true that visual content creation has increased during the past years and video is gaining more and more influence, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that video is suitable for every business.
Let’s analyse some of the aspects that you need to consider before making a decision:
1// The knowledge of your audience about your business and offer
Is your audience aware of what you’re offering, what they can achieve by buying from you and the value that you’re providing?
If your business is fairly new, you want your audience to get familiarised with it. And you need to do that with words.
Apple is a rather visual brand.
Why? Because everyone knows the value of getting a new iPhone or a new Mac. They don’t really have the need of telling everyone all the benefits of having one every time they do a new launch.
They also pay a lot of attention to the design of their products, and that’s why they focus on images on their website.
Now you should ask yourself: do my clients know the value I’m offering without having bought from me?
If the answer is “no”, (which would be the most common case) then you’ll have to tackle this through words on your website.
The lesser your audience knows about your business, the more effort you’ll have to put on the copy of your website to convey it.
2// The services or products that you’re selling
Can you tell the value of your offer better through text or images?
If you’re a photographer, it is obvious that images and visual elements will be extremely important when writing the copy of your website. You’ll probably need to create a portfolio with different photography sessions that you can show your clients. You’ll have to pay more attention to social platforms that enhance visual content, such as Instagram, Pinterest or Behance.
My business, for example, represents the other side of the coin. It doesn’t make much sense for me to take pictures of my translations, as design isn’t that important (unless you’re translating something very visual). That’s why I need to focus on words and good copy to convey the services that I’m offering. Also, I prefer to focus on other social platform, such as Facebook or Twitter, where words are more relevant and can engage with my audience.
3// The interests of your audience
Does your audience prefer reading words or seeing visual content?
There are people who prefer reading content, because they process better the information through words. (That’s my case for example. That’s why I prefer reading blogs, and don’t listen to many podcasts or follow many YouTube channels.) But there are people who prefer visual content.
Again, you need to understand your audience and analyse how likely it will be to target them through visual content or texts.
4// Your industry
Analysing your industry is also a good starting point. If you discover some trends in your industry is a good indicator that what other people are doing is working.
For example, I haven’t seen many Public Notaries filming videos about their businesses or uploading pictures on Instagram.
5// How you’re going to attract people to your business
What strategies are you going to use to attract people to your business?
If you’re going to create content because you want to rank higher on Google searches, then you’ll probably want to start blogging and focusing on keywords.
If you’re willing to pay to attract traffic to your website, maybe it’s better to focus on visual content to gran your audience’s attention (bearing always in mind all the previous points).
Let’s discuss now!
Do you prefer to market your business through visual content or words? Why? Which one do you think it’s more effective for you?
Have you tried both? Which one brings more benefits for your business? Leave your comment below, I’ll be reading and replying all comments! 🙂