Let’s say you place a photo of a client on your landing page.
Just the photo. No client name. No title, or business name. No clue as to what industry that client is in, or where they come from.
Now, photos are a great addition to landing pages. Photos of happy clients help to build trust with your readers, showing the type of people who do business with you.
But would anyone even know that person was a client?
The moment you add in a few important details — the client name, the industry, and the words “one of our customers” — a fog is lifted from your page.
Suddenly there’s no confusion, no weird guessing or conjecture on the part of your readers about who this person in the picture is.
Just a couple of words. Can they really be that important? Actually, yes.
Simply adding a caption will radically increase the effectiveness of images on your landing pages. Here are four critical reasons why.
#1: Without captions, readers draw their own conclusion
So you’ve got a photo on your landing page.
It makes perfect sense to you why that photo exists. You might think it’s completely obvious.
Because you know all about your business. But your readers probably don’t.
Your readers may very well get the wrong idea. You’re forcing them to guess, to come to their own conclusion. And that might be miles from what you intended.
The job of the caption is to yank the reader from whatever they’re thinking about, and get them to read what you want them to read.
Without the caption, there’s no telling where your reader’s thoughts will end up. They may go in a direction that’s completely counterproductive to what you want them to think about and do.
The only way you can control the situation is to slide in the caption.
That way, there’s zero misinterpretation. Your reader sees the picture, reads the caption, and her thoughts are directed where you want them to go.
#2: Captions give you three ways to educate and create curiosity
When you’re getting a point across in a caption, you can use three strategies.
You can use a problem. You can use a solution. Or you can use a combination of a problem and solution.
Each one of these immediately creates curiosity and/or education in your reader’s mind.
Let’s look at three examples. You might see captions like these on a screen shot for copywriting software:
1: The solution-only caption
Our product gives you clear guidelines that let you see for yourself what’s missing and what’s working in your sales copy.
2: The problem-only caption
How do you know if your website message is working as well as it should? How can you know in advance that your presentation will wake up your audience?
3: The combination of a problem/solution-based caption
How do you know if your website message is working as well as it should? How can you know in advance that your presentation will wake up your audience? Our product gives you clear guidelines that let you see for yourself what’s missing and what’s working in your sales copy.
Do you see how all three types of captions work to educate and create curiosity?
Let’s look at curiosity a little more with Reason 3 …
#3: Captions are an effective handbrake
We’re used to seeing pictures and quickly scrolling by them.
But the moment there’s a caption, we’re practically compelled to read the content under the caption.
That’s because we want to be sure we’ve interpreted the image correctly.
It’s also why having photos and illustrations on a web page or sales page is very important. It keeps the reader from skipping quickly from the start of the page to the end.
The photo gets the reader’s attention, and the caption makes sure you keep that attention.
While creating this handbrake momentum of stop-go-stop, captions are doing one of the most valuable tasks of all:
Each caption is acting as a mini sales message.
#4: How captions create mini-sales messages
When you run a problem-solution scenario in your caption, you’re effectively doing what a strong headline does.
Every outstanding headline is designed to get your attention. A caption is simply a headline underneath a photo.
If crafted properly, a caption makes the reader more curious and compels them to investigate further into your product or service.
A solution-only caption may not create the same level of curiosity, but it will still give the reader a much better understanding of your product or service, especially if you describe a benefit rather than a feature.
Does every photo or illustration need to have a caption?
Ideally, yes. No matter which newspaper or magazine you pick up, you’ll find captions abound everywhere.
But there are exceptions.
For instance, in blog posts, the photo tends to function more to catch the reader’s attention than to drive home the point. And you don’t necessarily need to slow the reader down before diving into the content. In this case, not having a caption is fine.
And even on landing pages, there are times when you’re using a photo purely to get the attention of the audience. These photos tend to be the ones you see first on the page, and are meant to draw you in.
Other than that, almost every photo wants the power of a caption to drive a specific point home. And yet website owners miss out on the awesome potential of the caption to slow down, educate, create curiosity, and drive home a mini-sales message.
Yet another photo. Yet another caption. That’s the way your landing pages should be.