4 Critical Reasons Why Photos Need Captions (Especially On Sales Pages)

by Sean D'Souza

Sales Pages 4 Critical Reasons Why Photos Need Captions

Imagine you put a photo of a client on your sales page

Just the photo.
No name of the client.
No designation.
No clue as to what industry that client is in, or where they come from.
Heck, would anyone even know that person was a client?

And yet the moment you put in the details, it’s like a fog has lifted.

Suddenly there’s no room for confusion, no weird guessing or conjecture. The caption has done its job. And done it well. And yet, we don’t use captions as much as we should. Many websites failed to pick up the subtle, yet critical power of the caption. And it’s plainly silly to be lazy and not put a caption below your photo or illustration—and especially on a sales page.

And here are four important reasons.

Reason No 1: Without captions, readers will come to their own conclusion

Let’s say you have a photo on the page. It makes perfect sense to you why that photo exists. But the reader may get the wrong idea. The job of the caption is to yank the reader from whatever they’re thinking about, and gets them to specifically read what you want them to read.

Without the caption the reader may take a look at the photo and come to their own conclusion—which may be erroneous and even counterproductive to what you want them to read.

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—then reads the caption. And all is well!

But that’s only one reason. Let’s check out Reason 2.

Reason No.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 just a problem. Or just a solution. Or a combination of a problem and solution. And every one of these methods immediately creates curiosity and/or education.

Let’s examine three situations with three types of captions:

1) Solution-only caption: (Product name) gives you clear guidelines that enable you to see for yourself what’s missing and what’s working in your sales copy.
2) 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) Combination of 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? (Product name) gives you clear guidelines that enable you to see for yourself what’s missing and what’s working in your sales copy.

See how all three types of captions work to educate and create curiosity? Well, let’s go and look at the curiosity bit a little more with Reason 3.

Reason 3: Captions are a handbrake

We’re used to seeing pictures and quickly scrolling by. But the moment there’s a caption we’re compelled to read the content under the caption. This is because we want to be sure we’ve got the correct idea. This is why having photos and illustrations on a web page or sales page is very important, because it keeps the reader from zooming madly from the start to the end.

Instead the photo gets the reader’s attention and the caption makes sure to keep that attention. And while creating this handbrake momentum of stop-go-stop, captions are doing one of the most valuable tasks of all: They’re acting as mini-sales messages.

Reason 4: How captions create mini-sales messages

When you run a problem-solution scenario in your caption, you’re effectively doing what every good headline does. Every outstanding headline should be designed to get your attention and the caption is nothing but a headline under a photo. If properly done, a caption gets the reader to be more curious and to investigate even deeper into the product or service.

A solution-only caption may not create the same level of curiosity, but it will still get the reader to get a much better understanding of the product or service.

But 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. There are exceptions of course, but those exceptions are kinda are rare. Almost every photo wants the power of the caption to drive the point home, and yet website owners miss out on its awesome potential to slow down, educate, create curiosity and drive home a mini-sales message.

Photo. Caption.
Photo. Caption.
Yet another photo. Yet another caption.
That’s the way your web page should be.

Are you using Photo Captions on your Sales Page? Tell us how using photo captions have helped your sales page. Post it here.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Andy Strote December 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Another reason for captions, at least for those of us who grew up reading newspapers. We have been trained to look at the headline, look at the picture, read the caption and then decide if we want to invest the time to read the article. Eye-tracking studies and other research proves it. So the caption is critical in the decision process as to whether the article or “content” gets read.

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