Archive | Misc. Marketing

Is Your Thumbnail Image Costing You Business?

thumbnailHow much time did you put into picking your thumbnail picture? You know . . .

. . . that little picture of you or your business that appears on your profile or beside your comments and updates;

. . . the one that is on sites like Triberr, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and appears beside your blog comments and on Google search engine results pages (Google Authorship);

. . . the one that actually represents you and your brand across the web and is often your best opportunity to make that all important positive first impression?

It seems like such a minor detail, yet in reality, it can often influence whether people read and share your content, click on your search engine results listing, or ever do business with you.

How Influential Can It Really Be?

I know that your thumbnail seems like a small thing, it is only one element of your online brand or persona, but it is often part of the doorway into the rest of your content. If I don’t open that door, I never get to see how great you really are, or find out all of the ways that you could help me.

Right or wrong, you have at most seconds, realistically probably fractions of a second, to convince someone to click on your link, update, or post.

In that short time, the visitor or searcher will see the title of your post and your thumbnail picture and decide to click through or share, or to disregard and move on.

A Thumbnail Experiment

This past August, Cyrus Shepard did some testing with the profile picture that he used for his Google Authorship image (the image that appears on Google Search results beside his material).

He measured the click through rates using different pictures. He tried

  • different images of himself
  • wearing glasses vs. glasses free
  • different amounts of white space around the photo
  • different colored backgrounds

. . . and tracked it all through Google analytics.

Thumbnail image


The photo that he finally settled on – the red one in the top left, showed an increase of 35% in the click through rate of his search engine results page listings (vs. the initial photo on the bottom right).

Although what is acceptable and appropriate will change within industries, and around your individual goals and personality, generally speaking:

Thumbnail Don’ts

  • use a picture of you with your kids or family
  • don’t have a picture of you when you were a kid
  • use a picture of your pet
  • use a moving or flashing image
  • use the platform’s default image (i.e. Twitter’s egg)
  • use an image that’s so small (far away) that you can’t be seen or recognized
  • use an image that looks too casual or unkempt (i.e. like a college student during finals week)
  • use significantly different images on different platforms. I agree that this is more creative, but from an engagement perspective, you want to make sure that the person that loves your blog posts on Triberr, recognizes you on Twitter and other networks as well.
  • use your company logo. I know that this is sometimes the best answer and I have used it on some of my accounts and for some of my clients, however, know that engagement is usually lower with a logo than a picture of a person.

Thumbnail Do’s

  • smile
  • be warm, not stiff
  • show some personality
  • casually professional is a good look for most industries
  • have fun with it (i.e. change it to celebrate special holidays or occurrences)
  • use good lighting
  • close up picture
  • update it occasionally so people can still recognize you when/if you meet off-line.

I know that the people that engage with you may eventually want to know you on a more personal level, and that the business world, especially online, is becoming less formal than it once was, however the thumbnail picture is often your first impression – your first (and maybe only) opportunity to let people know what you’re about. What does your thumbnail image say about you – does it show someone that you would want to do business with?

What are your thoughts on thumbnail pictures? Do you agree or disagree with these guidelines? Are there do’s and don’ts that I should add to the list?

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcomed and appreciated.


eBook Writing Challenge: Are You Ready to Write an eBook?

“NaNoWriMo” – mean anything to you?eBook writing

It stands for “National Novel Writing Month”, which officially begins its 14th annual campaign tomorrow,  November 1st.

It’s an online writing challenge that is open to writers of all experience levels. Participants agree to write 50,000 words of fiction in the month of November – they are essentially agreeing to write a book in a month.

The community helps each other through encouragement, camaraderie, and the pressure of a public commitment to write.

Writing and publishing a novel is a dream of mine, and so a thoughtful friend let me know about NaNoWriMo a couple of months ago, and invited me to join her in writing 1,667 words a day for a month (hmm . . . may have to re-think this friendship?).

As November drew closer, I kept thinking that I really needed to spend time writing an eBook for my website rather than a novel – thought maybe I’d follow the “spirit” of the competition, if not the “law”. Use NaNoWriMo as motivation to finally get that eBook written.

Then . . .

I stumbled on a copyblogger article talking about NaNoWriMo and suggesting that this would be a great time to get that long planned for eBook done! Sign me up!


So, I’m inviting all of you to join me  (joining copyblogger) in making a commitment to writing that long overdue, oft talked about, eBook that’s been on your “to do” list for too long!

Just in case you need some convincing . . .

Why Create an eBook?

  • to gain traffic
  • to capture leads
  • to be seen as a thought leader in your industry
  • to demonstrate your expertise
  • to build trust
  • to gain clients
  • to build your resume

. . . and tips from copyblogger.

Join me in writing, editing, and publishing an eBook this month! Happy eBookWriMo everyone! Would love to hear updates about your progress, frustrations, and successes along the way!