Transform Your Images Into Hero Shots With These 7 Elements

transform images into hero shots

Are your featured images aiding or hurting sales?

Learn how to transition from basic images to compelling hero shots that drive epic conversion with these seven key principles. (BONUS: Get your FREE Hero Shot Scorecard!)  A “hero shot” is simply a credible photo or video of a solution that encompasses relevance, context, value, and emotion to support, educate, or persuade a customer.


All featured images are NOT hero shots.

hero shot vs image examples

Heroism embodies outstanding achievements, noble qualities, and admirable character.  In life, it’s human nature to want to be a hero.  In marketing and business, it’s our role to help customers become one.  Images and video thumbnails are instrumental in visualizing a desired outcome, context, or solution that embodies these “hero” attributes.

So how’s your visual marketing coming along?  Are your images demonstrating how customers can “save” (fix, improve, or delight) the day?  Since that response is often subjective, I created an objective approach to grading, prioritizing, and selecting “hero shot” candidates.  Check out these seven core factors and the scorecard that follows.  (Scroll down to watch the webinar recording.)

7 Hero Shot Persuasion Factors

7 Persuasive Factors of Hero Shot Images

(If you’re grading your images, use a scale of -1 to 2 for each factor.)

  1. Keyword Relevance
    Does the image visualize the targeted keyword or referring link text?
  2. Purpose Clarity
    Does the featured image help identify the page purpose and/or offer?
    “Caption Test” Audit:  Display just the image to someone not working on the project, and have them write a caption.  Does it align with what the page is about?
  3. Design Support
    Does the featured image support and enhance seamless flow of page design leading to the CTA?  (i.e. photo size, complementary CTA color, contrast, complexity.)  Does the featured image have a subtle cue pointing in the direction of the CTA?  If yes, +1 BONUS!  (e.g. eye path, lines, shadows)
  4. Authenticity
    Does the featured image represent the organization and offer in an authentic, credible fashion?  (i.e. genuine, honest, believable, actual vs. stock photo, brand-aligned)
  5. Added Value
    Does the featured image add value by showing detail or context to improve relevance, demonstrate benefits, and answer questions?
  6. Desired Emotion
    Does the featured image portray desired qualities or emotion to resonate and inspire action?  (Considerations: mood, lighting, scene, body language, colors, urgency)
  7. Customer “Hero”
    Does the featured image depict the customer as the “hero” once equipped with this solution?

Watch the Webinar Recording:

Get the full story in my VWO (Visual Website Optimizer) webinar recording.  Complete with detailed insights, inspiring examples, and even Google Analytics code snippets for measurable accountability. Click below to play the video!

SlideShare presentation: Visual Marketing with Hero Shot Images from Angie Schottmuller.
(BONUS:  The deck includes scorecard grading levels from “Legend” to “Villain” along with a few added slides not included in the video.)

Ready to transform your images into hero shots?

The right image improves click-through rates, reduces bounce, improves engagement, and boosts conversion.  Face it.  Images can make or break your business success.  Isn’t it time you discern which images are truly best for your marketing campaigns?


This post originally appeared on the Three Deep Marketing Blog, republished with permission from the author.

About the Author

Angie SchottmullerAngie Schottmuller is Director of Optimization at Three Deep Marketing. Angie is a marketing technologist – a rare hybrid of a big picture strategic, technical-savvy, creatively persuasive digital marketer. She currently leads optimization at Three Deep Marketing for clients like Nestle USA, Gerber, Red Wing Shoes, Marvin Windows, and more. From optimizing landing pages, converting organic search traffic, or quantifying social media ROI – she excels harnessing complex technology and concepts and transforming them into simple, actionable strategies that drive meaningful results. Angie recently authored curriculum for the Art Institutes’ inaugural online marketing major and speaks internationally at conferences like SMX, SES, eMetrics, and Conversion Conference.

Angie aspires to deliver the “most actionable presentation” at every event. We challenge you to attend her session and hold her accountable! (Note: Don’t be misled by Angie’s big 80’s hair; her marketing thought leadership across search, social, and conversion is truly cutting edge.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *