Marketing a veterinary practice is not as simple as it may seem. You have a beautiful website, all the right social profiles and you are reaching people. Analytics look okay, and website traffic is up. Yet, your conversion rate is down. Why?
Visual marketing is one of the most important elements in turning clicks into paying customers. Good, well-placed images can cause your conversion rate to skyrocket, while a poor visual strategy can make it plummet.
Visual Marketing: More Than Just a Pretty Face for Your Website
One of the most common mistakes of DIY webmasters is confusing visual marketing with website aesthetics. In reality, aesthetics is a part of visual marketing.
- Building an Effective Website From Scratch
- Are You Guilty of Sidelining Veterinary SEO?
The overall appearance of your website is important. A visually appealing, professional-looking design encourages people to stay on your site. It also creates a good first impression of your practice. That is one aspect of visual marketing. However, there are many more.
Never add a picture or graphic simply for decoration or to fill space. Every image can, and should, serve a purpose. Some of the best image choices include:
- People: Photos of you and your staff give the website a more personal feel and add credibility. They also help people feel more familiar with your practice. At minimum, there should be at least one photo and short biography of the practice’s primary veterinarian(s). Visitors expect this of a professional website; if it is missing, they tend to think you are hiding something.
- Candid pictures: Don’t limit yourself to professional, posed photos. Candid pictures help connect with visitors, especially on your blog and social media sites. Images of you and your team working (or playing) with animals can convey your compassion more than words ever will.
- Videos: The internet loves videos, and that is not going to change. In fact, the faster and more available broadband is, the more popular videos become.
- Infographics: About 65 percent of people are visual learners, so infographics are one of your best communication tools. They can be used to depict information about your services, helpful tips for pet owners or even just interesting animal information.
Location, Location, Location
The placement of visual elements is as important as their content. Pictures, small graphics and even the layout of your site can direct the viewer’s focus. Carefully placed elements will guide visitors to take action. How?
- Prioritize: The largest pictures, and the elements near the top of a page, are usually seen first. Try looking at your website as though you had never seen it. What do you notice first? Second? Your practice information, as well as your high-priority marketing messages, should be the most noticeable aspects of your home page.
- Use colors carefully: Use bold or high-contrast colors to highlight features such as a special offer, call to action, or newsletter subscription link. However, be sure to use them sparingly. Only one thing at a time can catch a person’s eye. Multiple “standout” elements create a cluttered appearance, where nothing is especially noticeable.
- Create visual clarity: Use pictures to break up long text passages, divider bars to separate elements and borders to isolate elements. Especially in content-packed pages, a good layout with appropriate visuals can prevent confusion.
- Universal menu: Various pages or sections often have their own menus, links and buttons, especially on a large site. However, the most important links, such as the home and contact pages, should be available in the same place on every page. The header is the best location because it is the first place people look for important links. A left or right sidebar is also common.
What else can you do to optimize your visual strategy?
- Make sure the text on buttons is easily readable.
- Include important information or marketing messages in photo captions. Most people look at the pictures and read the captions before they read an article. Many of them never actually read the article at all.
- Use animation sparingly. Like standout colors, movement will attract a person’s attention, but too much of it will create confusion rather than clarity.
- Use familiar, easily recognizable symbols or icons to help viewers find your phone number, email address or social links with ease.
Naren Arulrajah is president and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, an internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education and the online reputations of veterinarians/practice owners. If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call 855-598-3320 to speak with Naren.