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Product Strategy: Pictures Are Worth a Million Words

Why don't more businesses use pictures or videos to explain their products when they can make things so much easier to understand?


I recently purchased a great coffee maker, the Nespresso. Sometimes when you get a product like this, you pull it out of the box and consider skipping the instructions all together given how long it might take to read the four point type, right?

But wow, what a pleasant surprise, the Nespresso manual was...you guessed it...made up of pictures! It took no time for us to be sipping some fine espresso out of our new green machine. They've also got a great section right on their website called, "You have just bought a Nespresso machine", with content dedicated to the first use of your machine, troubleshooting, and how to register for the Nespresso club. It's super visual as well.


So why don't more businesses do this when pictures or videos can make things so much easier to understand?

Since I'm in the online biz, videos and screenshots are a huge part of what we do to help train and educate people on how to use our online marketing service. We spend a lot of time putting together quick and to the point 2-3 minute videos that tell the story about how to get from point A to B. And we get a ton of people watching them. We've even set up our own YouTube Channel, VRTube for this as well.

And remember, images can tell your story in a multitude of places and channels. We were just at the New York Expo, a great show with over 4,000 small businesses attending that wanted to explore new ideas to grow. We put huge screenshots on a banner stand so we could visually illustrate what we do. It enabled attendees to be able to immediately understand how we can help them. A huge win when you only have seconds to get someone's attention at a busy trade show.

Have you ever bought anything from the quirky Scandinavian company IKEA? They are well known for the use of images in their instruction manuals. Because they are a global company, it saves the effort of translation and printing in a ton of languages. (Even though anyone who has ever assembled a piece of IKEA furniture usually has a couple of extra pieces leftover at the end.)

How can your business use images and videos?

  • Your website--If you've got an e-commerce site, sharing images of your products is a must. And by sharing those images on image-centric social media networks like Pinterest, you can drive lots of visitors to your site.
  • Sales--Try sending a link to a video of your sales pitch to a prospect. Make sure you include the image of your video with the "play" button. YouTube provides the image to make it easy for you.
  • How-tos--Take pictures of what things should look like as you walk people through a recipe or set of instructions so they can check their work as they go. What about videos of how to take care of plants that you sell or how to make a famous drink from your bar? Or how to style the snazzy new jeans you sell?
  • What's New--We do a great video series called What's New Weekly where a few of our engaging marketing folks get down and dirty on marketing trends and tools. You can make a simple video to provide updates about things that relate to your industry or business.

So any business can use videos and pictures to sell, train, and retain customers. Are your pictures worth a mill?

Share how you use images and videos in the comments.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

IMAGE: Ian Kobylanski/Flickr
Last updated: Oct 24, 2013

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JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000.

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