Visitors are good — converting visitors to customers is better. One easy way to improve your conversion rate is by adding a photo to your landing page. Amazingly enough, it doesn’t necessarily matter what the photo is of. Scientists have found that seeing a photo — any photo — increases what Stephen Colbert calls the “truthiness” (subjective feeling of truth) of a statement.
Psychologists showed test subjects dozens of “dead or alive” statements about celebrities, some famous and some not, and asked them to make snap judgments about whether each statement was true or false. When the statement was accompanied by a photo – whether of the celebrity in question or not – the test subjects were more likely to say the statement was true. This wasn’t about a bias toward “alive” – whether the statement was “X is dead” or “X is still alive,” the statements accompanied by photos were more likely to be judged “true.”
So clearly having a photo on your landing page will up its “truthiness” quite a bit. What kind of photo, though? Photos of people work best.
The obvious choice is to show someone enjoying your service or interacting with your products. Three types of people are particularly effective:
- Babies: We’re hard-wired to respond positively to pictures of infants, so don’t discount the “awww” factor, whether you have a baby-related business or not. (Think of those credit card commercials with Jimmy Fallon and the nay-saying baby.) Don’t use baby pics willy-nilly, though. Some businesses – funeral parlors and strip joints come to mind – may not benefit.
- Women: A bank found that two different strategies had equal effects on conversion rate for men: using a picture of an attractive woman or lowering the promoted interest rate by 4.5 percent. Using the picture of the attractive woman didn’t affect the conversion rate for women, up or down; I guess we gals are so used to seeing babalicious photos in our advertising that we don’t even notice them.
- Attractive people: Whether they’re old or young, male or female, we like pictures of attractive people, who we see as smarter, more charming, and more successful than homely folks, due to what is known as the “halo effect.”
Which of these will work best? The only way to find out is by split-testing some alternatives.
Note: In addition to your landing page, consider using photos elsewhere in your site – especially pictures of your staff. Depending on your industry, these may be traditional head shots or candid photos. Adding them to the list of names and titles you have in your “about us” section or using them next to blog posts will improve the “truthiness” of your corporate image.