Drayton Bird is one of the UK's most respected marketing experts. If you are in any way interested in marketing and advertising you should get his 51 marketing ideas, read his 'Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing' book, and subscribe to his emailing service.
This month, we got an email from Drayton's business partner, Gerald, who had been asked about using pictures and illustrations.
Drayton's response was the 16 points (along with a bonus one) below. His advice is often aimed at direct mail and letters, but the tips equally apply to digital media and webpages.
Cartoons attract most attention. Good on envelopes.
Photos convince most. Use them if looks or credibility matter.
Charts often attract interest - e.g. weight-loss figures or interest rates.
People look at people. Responses for a business school nearly doubled when we put the Dean's face in the ads.
Men look at attractive women; so do women. But they look at babies even more.
Illustrations relating directly to the message work on average 32% better.
TV frames from commercials are extremely effective.
If you don't illustrate the product or the idea, the ad is 27 % less effective than average. (That means don't be a clever-clogs)
Stereotypes - chatting people, loving couples, smiling sippers and ecstatic eaters kill ads. They don't develop uniqueness.
If the picture has something odd about it, people remember the message.
One big picture usually attracts better than several small ones.
Pictures should demonstrate.
Before and after pictures are particularly effective.
Cut out pictures attract the eye better than squared-up ones.
Don't have pictures just for the sake of it; they cost money and can divert attention needlessly.
Coupons in ads used to add most conviction. Now that you often direct people to a website, that means it should be very prominent.
By the way, never use pictures that have nothing to with the product but seem a clever idea.
Seriously, this stuff is pure gold, and Drayton constantly puts out advice like this in free emails. Go to his website and sign up today.