Images play an important role on your dealership’s website. The images must capture your target audience’s attention, keep them engaged, provide context, and present information in a way that is easy to understand. You should choose images wisely for every page of your website, especially the homepage.
The homepage is the first page your potential customers will land on when visiting your website. They may decide whether to stay on your website or leave to visit a competitor’s website based on their first impression of your homepage.
To create a strong first impression, you need to choose a powerful car dealership stock photo that stands out and makes a bold statement. This is why many auto dealers use car stock photos as hero images on their homepage. But what is a hero image? How can you choose the right hero image for your dealership? Here’s what you need to know:
WHAT ARE HERO IMAGES?
A hero image is an image placed directly underneath the website’s menu bar. It’s a large image that runs the full width of the website and often takes up about 70% of the user’s screen. Links and calls-to-action are often placed within the hero image so they can be featured prominently on your website as well.
A hero image may be a static image or a dynamic digital asset such as a panoramic image that rotates, video, or animation. Some websites also feature slideshows of multiple images as their hero image.
WHY SHOULD YOU USE A CAR DEALERSHIP STOCK PHOTO AS A HERO IMAGE?
There are a number of reasons why you should consider using a car dealership stock photo as a hero image on your homepage, including:
- Creates a strong first impression. People are visual creatures. They tend to respond well to powerful images, so they may think highly of your website if the first thing they see is an eye-catching hero image.
- Grabs consumers’ attention. The right image can immediately grab your target audience’s attention and make them want to see more. It can draw them in and encourage them to navigate to other pages on your website to learn more about your business offerings.
- Speaks volumes about your dealership. A good hero image can also tell your target audience a lot about who you are as a dealership. This is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors and connect with your audience.
- Directs visitors’ attention to calls-to-action. Every person who visits your website will be focused on the hero image since it takes up so much of the homepage. Since your calls-to-action and links are located directly within the hero image, there’s no way your visitors will miss these important elements.
- Increases conversions. Research has shown that using a hero image can actually increase your website’s conversion rates. One study found that switching to a hero image increased conversion rates by about 36%.
- Decreases bounce rate. Your website’s bounce rate represents the percentage of website visitors who leave your website after visiting just one page. If you want to turn potential customers into loyal customers, it’s important to decrease your bounce rate. As it turns out, a hero image might help. The same study that found that a hero image can increase conversions also found that this type of image can decrease a website’s bounce rate by about 27%.
Using a hero image is more than a smart design choice–it’s also a wise business decision.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HERO IMAGES?
The five different types of hero images are:
- Product Hero Images
- Contextual Hero Images
- Emotion-Focused Hero Images
- Action Shot Hero Images
- Feature-Focused Hero Images
PRODUCT HERO IMAGES
A product hero image shows off the product your business sells. For a dealership, this means showing off a specific vehicle in your inventory. The focus should be on the product, so the background of the image shouldn’t distract from this goal.
For example, a good product hero image for your dealership’s website might be a 360 degree exterior spin car image that shows a vehicle from all angles. The vehicle is set against a plain white backdrop, which makes it stand out even more.
CONTEXTUAL HERO IMAGES
The second type is a contextual hero image. Unlike the product hero image, the focus of a contextual image is not on the product itself, but rather how the product is used.
For example, if you want to show off a 4WD vehicle designed for off-roading, you may choose a picture of it with muddy tires or an image of the trunk filled with camping equipment. This would provide context to website visitors and help them understand the purpose the vehicle serves.
EMOTION-FOCUSED HERO IMAGES
An emotion-focused hero image aims to evoke a specific emotion in your website visitors. It’s best to use this type of hero image to promote services or non-physical products, which is why emotion-focused images are not used that often in the automotive industry.
However, if you want to use an emotion-focused hero image, you may want to look for a stock photo of a family enjoying their new vehicle or a couple celebrating the purchase of a car. Photos like these could evoke happiness and encourage your website visitors to seek out the same feeling by purchasing a car from your dealership.
ACTION SHOT HERO IMAGES
An action shot hero image is one of the most popular types of images used in the automotive industry. Action shot images are dramatic photos that are designed to immediately capture the audience’s attention.
An example of an automotive action shot image is a sleek and sophisticated sports car driving down the dark streets of a city surrounded by skyscraper buildings. This image shows the vehicle in action, but in a dramatic fashion. Images that show SUVs off-roading or driving over rough terrain are also action shot hero images.
FEATURE-FOCUSED HERO IMAGES
As its name suggests, a feature-focused hero image draws the viewer’s attention to specific features. Just like a product hero image, a feature-focused hero image showcases the product. However, it provides a more detailed view of the product and focuses on a specific feature or group of features rather than the product as a whole.
An example of a feature-focused hero image would be a 360 degree panoramic interior shot that clearly shows all of the features located inside the car.
TIPS FOR USING HERO IMAGES ON YOUR DEALERSHIP WEBSITE
There are several basic rules you should follow when using any car dealership stock photo as a hero image on your website. Here’s what to do:
- Make sure your hero image is responsive. A responsive image is one that automatically adjusts in size based on the device that the user is on when they arrive on your website. For example, a responsive image would shrink to fit the size of a user’s smartphone and expand to fit the size of a user’s desktop computer. All you need to do to make an image responsive is add a snippet of code.
- Carefully place links and calls-to-action. If your links and calls-to-action will be placed over your hero image, make sure they don’t cover an important part of the photo. You also need to make sure the color and placement of the links and calls-to-action make them clearly visible to the user.
- Test different images. Don’t be afraid to test different types of hero images to see which one works best for your website. Track your website’s conversion rate, bounce rate, and other important metrics to measure the effectiveness of each test image.
- Add alt text. The alt text is the copy that appears on a website if the image fails to load properly for some reason. It helps website visitors understand what is shown in the image in the event they can’t see it. The alt text also describes the image to search engines so they know how to rank it within search results. Because alt text can affect your SEO, it’s important to add this copy to every image on your website, including your hero image.
- Check your page’s loading speed. A large-sized image can slow down your page’s loading speed, which can negatively impact your website’s ranking. After uploading a hero image, check your page’s loading speed using Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool. Every page on your website should ideally load in one to two seconds. If it’s any longer than this, your website visitors may lose interest and close the page.
- Resize your image. If you want your hero image to make an impact on your website visitors, it’s important to resize it. A full-screen hero image should be 1,200 pixels wide with a 16:9 aspect ratio. If you are using a banner hero image, it should be 1600 x 500 pixels. Take advantage of the many free image resizing tools online so you can ensure your hero image is the right size.