Picture this: A world where content marketing isn’t just about articles. The goal is to communicate a message, be it education, promotional, or branding. However, human beings are visual creatures, and words are not always the best form of communication.

If you want to take your content marketing to the next level, remember this mantra: “Don’t just tell them. Show them.”

Visual content is more powerful than you might think.

If you think that images, videos, and visually appealing designs are not important, consider these telling statistics:

  • People remember, on average, 10 percent of information that they hear. When that same information is paired with images, about 65 percent will be remembered.
  • Six in 10 local search users are more likely to contact a business, or give it consideration, if there are pictures in the search results.
  • Instagram is an important factor in the spending decisions of 32 percent of Millennials who are “heavy shoppers” in the beauty sector.
  • About two-thirds of the population is visual learners.
  • Only two out of ten website visitors will read the written content to the end. Eight in ten will watch a video.

Images: The Backbone of Social Media Marketing

Internet users have a notoriously short attention span, and that is especially true on social media. People scan streams of updates, seeing hundreds or even thousands of posts in a day. They consume content in “bite size” pieces, noticing graphics and short, catchy titles while scrolling past long passages of text.

Visual content performs best on nearly any social site. In fact, two of the most popular networks—YouTube and Instagram—were built around photo and video sharing. Whether you are posting a link to your blog, a special offer, or a newsletter subscription link, add an attention-catching image to get more engagement and more responses.

You Can’t Have a Good Website With a Bad Visual Design

Maybe you have a feature-packed website with valuable articles, convenient forms, and all of the information a potential patient could need. However, without a good design, no one will use it. If your website is underperforming, especially in terms of bounce rate (people who leave immediately without taking action) and conversion rate (percentage of visitors who convert to leads), it may be visually lacking.

Use this checklist to analyze the most important visual aspect of your site.

  • The color scheme is appealing and reflective of your practice’s “personality.” For example, a bright mixture of primary colors would be appropriate for a pediatric dermatology practice, whereas, a few complimentary subtle cool tones would be appropriate for a medi-spa.
  • Divider bars, various background colors, distinctive shapes, and other visual elements are used to distinguish between different sections of the page. Menus and navigation buttons should be instantly recognizable, so that the user can find the information he or she is seeking, quickly and easily.
  • Attention-grabbing elements such as bold graphics, bright or contrasting colors, and super-sized fonts are used sparingly. These things should draw the viewer to the most important parts of the page, such as the call to action.
  • Text is accompanied by photographs, infographics, explainer videos, and other graphic elements. The page should communicate the most important information even if the viewer never reads the article (because many won’t).
  • The doctor page includes a professional photograph, and the team page includes group or individual pictures of your staff. Where appropriate, candid photos are also a great addition, especially when announcing practice updates or special events.
  • Procedure information is illustrated with educational graphics and photographs. “Before and After” pictures are powerful testament to your skills and the procedure’s effectiveness.
  • Images load quickly, and display properly on screens of all sizes. A responsive website design allows mobile users to access the same information and enjoy the same experience as desktop users do.

Your Patients Can Be the Best Content Producers

In the not too distant past, cosmetic procedures were taboo, and most patients went to great lengths to hide the fact that they “had work done.” When that trend changed, it essentially reversed. Today, cosmetic treatment is not only socially acceptable, but also a hot topic of conversation. People no longer hide their “work,” instead they are eager to show off. Many of them share the entire journey with their followers, posting pictures before treatment, during healing, and especially the final results.

Watch and Learn: Be Mobile Friendly

Know best practices for creating a mobilefriendly website and preparing for Google’s Mobile First index.

Personal recommendations are more influential than any kind of advertising ever will be. Every time a happy patient shares his or her experience on social media, you are getting a little free marketing. There are two ways that you can multiply the impact.

First, encourage more patients to share. Invite them to post their photos on your Facebook page, offer Instagram hashtags, or host social media photo contests. Secondly, promote user-generated content. Search various networks for your practice name and hashtag, monitor your notifications to see when someone mentions or tags you, and watch for user posts on your Facebook page. When you find positive content, share it.

Search Engines Like Pictures, Too

You might be surprised to learn that imagery also plays an important role in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Pictures should be relevant to the page topic, and the targeted keyword. Whenever possible, use original photos taken at your office. Patient photos serve as visual testimonials, while team photos personalize and humanize your website.

Be sure that your webmaster includes appropriate Alt and title tags, and that the filename includes the targeted keyword. In addition to boosting general SEO, this will help your pictures be discovered by image searches. Many people use photo searches to identify types of wrinkles, self-diagnose skin conditions, and choose cosmetic procedures. These people are likely to need a dermatologist, and your photo will lead them to your website.

Finally, don’t forget quality captions. Like other text attributes, captions are good for SEO, so they should include the keyword if possible. Even more importantly, these short text blubs may be the only opportunity that you have to convey your message. The majority of visitors will read the captions, but few will read all of the other text on the page.

Naren Arulrajah is President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education, and the online reputations of dermatologists.  With a team of 140+ full time marketers, www.ekwa.com helps dermatologists who know where they want to go, get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year.  If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call 855-598-3320 to speak one-on-one with Naren.