Visual Prospecting: Best Practices, Tactics, and Tools

Visual Prospecting: Best Practices, Tactics, and Tools

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Getting in touch with qualified leads and prospective customers to find out if they’re interested in your product is a key part of any outbound sales process. By including images and videos with visual prospecting, you can make your outreach even more effective, add more leads to your pipeline, and increase your conversion rate.

In this guide, we’ll look into some examples of visual prospecting, the best tools for the job, and some top tips on taking your visual prospecting to the next level.

Why you should use visual prospecting

Humans are pretty amazing at processing images. Neuroscientists at MIT found that people could identify and process images that they’d seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. In the time you spent reading this far, theoretically, you could have processed hundreds or even thousands of different images. 

This makes visual content a great way to convey information quickly — something that comes in very handy when prospects are scanning through hundreds of emails and messages. When you only have seconds to grab attention, visual prospecting is the way to go. 

Visuals can also be used to convey complex ideas. Rather than a long block of text that explains how your product can solve the prospect’s biggest problem, charts, infographics, and videos can all present the same information in an easily digestible format. 

It’s not just about efficiency: People enjoy consuming visual content. Social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are growing in popularity, with a seemingly endless appetite for entertaining photos and videos. Even on other platforms, visual content tends to get more engagement — out of all the different types of posts on Facebook, videos got on average at least 59% more engagement

Ultimately, you should use visual prospecting because it gets results. For example, here are the A/B test results that show significant increases in delivery, open, and reply rates when images are used in a sequence.

 

image in email stats

Image personalization 101: tips, tools, and examples

Learn the basics of image personalization to create picture-perfect cold emails with our guide.

Visual prospecting examples

Visual prospecting involves more than simply adding a photo to your email and calling it a day. As you get started with visual prospecting, you’ll have three considerations:

  • Your message objective 
  • The type of visuals you’ll use
  • The level of personalization

Message objectives

While there are lots of reasons you might want to use visual prospecting, they tend to fall under one of the following:

  • Grabbing attention
  • Building relationships
  • Conveying information

In the initial outreach, the SDR’s priority is to get attention. Remember, your prospects are likely dealing with hundreds of messages, not to mention the countless other tasks and distractions that fill the day. Images and videos are a great way to differentiate your messages and stand out from your competitors. 

Throughout your messages, visuals can also be used to build relationships. The simplest and most obvious example is including a photo in your signature, like this one (which has been created with the help of our Email Signature Generator).

signature example

When you’re reaching out to prospects who might be in a different city, country, or continent, using a photo or video allows prospects to quickly put a face to your name. Rather than just another anonymous salesperson competing for their time, you become a real person and lay the foundation for a strong customer relationship. 

For conveying information, whether you’re trying to describe the problem you address or illustrate the solution you offer, a picture can economically paint a thousand words. This is especially useful for complex problems or new solutions, where the prospect may need additional education before you can move onto the next stage in the sales funnel. 

For example, rather than writing a detailed explanation for how our tool works, this simple visualization makes it easy to understand at a glance (plus, it can be easily personalized as we’ve explained earlier). 

the old way vs the new way

Types of visuals

Once you’ve decided on your goal, the next step is to choose the type of visual that’ll best support those objectives. These can be broken down into three categories:

  • Illustrations
  • Photos 
  • GIFs
  • Videos 

Illustrations and drawings are great for explaining difficult concepts, while photos are ideal when you want to show physical products and results. 

For example, a cosmetics company might use an illustration to explain why their fancy new shampoo is different from the competition, then follow that up with a photo of someone with beautiful hair to show the end results. However, an SDR at an AI company would have to use an illustration to show how machine learning works because it’s impossible to show how the product can improve their business with a photo.

This is often the case for SaaS sales. Illustrations containing numbers, statistics, or visual representation of the results (before and after) work pretty well in my experience. However, it’s important that the information is presented in an appealing and easy-to-digest form.

As for the GIFs — animated images — we often use them in follow-ups and especially in LinkedIn touchpoints due to the specifics of that channel. Including a witty or relatable GIF in your message is a great way to add a dash of humor and break the ice. As a result, a follow-up might look like this:

Hi {{First Name}}.

It’s me trying to break through your inbox 🙂

Videos — whether they’re animations or live action — require more preparation and planning, but are generally more effective and have a greater impact. While illustrations may not reflect reality and photos can be easily edited, videos can build trust by showing your product or solution in action. Instead of clicking through a gallery of images, prospective customers can watch a quick video demonstrating every step of the process and showing your product in action.  

Level of personalization

One of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether or not to tailor your visual prospecting to the recipient. Obviously, it’s easier to use the same image or video for every prospect, and sometimes that would be sufficient. For example, you can safely use the same photo of yourself in your signature for every prospect. 

However, in most other cases, personalized images and videos will get the best results. For example, in what Kyle Racki at Proposify described as the best cold email ever, the sender included a video of them using their solution to interact with Proposify’s website

Of course, creating a 100% personalized video is time-consuming. While this might be worth doing for high-value prospects that perfectly match your ICP, creating unique videos for every single prospect would be a lot of work and is unlikely to be cost-effective.

Instead, most companies will find it more effective to personalize existing images and videos, making small changes to the visuals to make them more relevant to the recipient. Just as an email message can employ personalization tags to use the recipient’s name, job description, and any other relevant details, it’s now easy to add and modify dynamic text within an image. 

One of the most popular examples is a photo of the sales rep holding up a blank card, whiteboard, or a coffee cup with the prospect’s name added.

personalized image

As we’ll go on to see, the latest image personalization software makes this easy. As technology advances, it’s now possible to even create personalized videos at scale. For example, this upsell video from Barclays uses the prospect’s name in creative ways throughout, along with other relevant customer information — in this case showing what kind of loan they could expect based on their unique situation. 

Tools and resources for visual prospecting

You don’t need much in the way of software or hardware to get started with visual prospecting. 

For capturing simple photos and videos, the camera on your phone or your webcam will be more than sufficient. Free software like Canva can be used to quickly edit photos, build flowcharts, and create any other kind of image you might need. For videos, tools like Vidyard can help you package your videos, track views, and more.

If you want to send personalized images, it’s entirely possible to create your own custom script that will grab images and add them to your email (something we dive into in greater detail in our series on personalized outreach at scale). 

However, in many cases, it makes more sense to use a dedicated tool. Here are some of our favorites (psst, there's more in our Sales Tools Catalog). 

Nexweave

Nexweave lets you send your prospects personalized images, GIFs, and interactive videos. There’s support for plenty of different prospecting channels, including email, SMS text messaging, WhatsApp, LinkedIn messages, chatbots, and more.

You can try out Nexweave with 100 free credits (enough for 2,000 images or 100 video views), then jump onto one of the paid plans starting at $49/mo.). 

Hyperise

Hyperise makes it simple to add dynamic personalization layers to your images, videos, and website. With 16 points of personalization, you can ensure that every visual feels completely unique to your prospects. As a bonus, Hyperise has a native Reply integration, making it even easier to use with your outreach campaigns. 

There’s a 14-day free trial, with paid plans starting at $49/mo. for personalized images and going up to $149/mo. for videos.

Bannerbear

Bannerbear takes a slightly different approach with a focus on using an API to connect your software and auto-generating images and videos. You can create reusable templates that combine different elements, which you can then use to personalize your prospecting. Other features include Optional AI, which detects faces in photos so they’re positioned properly in your images. 

Their free trial offers you 30 API credits (equivalent to 30 images) with pricing starting at $49/mo.

PicSnippets

PicSnippets is primarily focused on image personalization, allowing you to add dynamic text to your photos. The app comes with over 100 templates you can use, or you can create your own with the image designer. 

A big advantage is that rather than needing to buy credits or subscribe to a higher plan to send more images, PicSnippets offers a full featured plan with unlimited sends/personalizations for $47/mo.

Pandapose

Pandapose enables you to automatically generate personalized images for your outbound emails. Their built-in design editor lets you create and tailor images to your prospects, using their name, company details, logos, and more. Pandapose works with any email tool — including Reply — so you can easily embed images in your next campaign. 

Pandapose offers a free trial to get you started, with their essential paid plan coming in at $99/mo. (equivalent to 250 images every month). 

Idomoo

Idomoo is a personalized video platform with an impressive client list, from Audi and Walmart to Ubisoft and Samsung. You can personalize text, audio, images, and video-in-video. There are plenty of features here to explore, from personalized GIFs that auto-play in emails to “living” videos that automatically update in real time based on user data. 

Pricing information isn’t available on the site, but you can request a demo to see exactly how Idomoo’s platform can help you.

Image personalization 101: tips, tools, and examples

Learn the basics of image personalization to create picture-perfect cold emails with our guide.

5 tips for better visual prospecting

There are so many possibilities with visual prospecting, and new tools are being released all the time with better features and more affordable pricing. Adding personalized images and videos to your prospecting is a great start and will have a positive impact. 

However, a bit of planning and the right tactics will get you even better results. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your visual prospecting. 

  1. Know your objective. We’ve already seen how different visual content can help with different objectives. Rather than simply adding images or videos just for the sake of doing it, decide on your objective in advance. For example, instead of including the recipient’s company logo in your email without any context, use the image to highlight how the company can benefit from your solution. Keeping this in mind throughout your prospecting will ensure your message is effective and relevant. 
  2. Keep it simple. When you first get started with visual prospecting, it’s easy to get carried away. Before you know it, you’re buying the latest equipment and software, spending weeks and months creating a blockbuster video. Again, remember your objective. You’re prospecting, not trying to win an Oscar. Your recipients should be focused on the message behind the visuals, not the visuals themselves. 
  3. Use visuals for every step of the sales funnel. This guide has focused on prospecting, but it’s worth noting that visuals can positively impact every step of the funnel. At the top of the sales funnel, helpful how-to videos will be more useful to your prospects. As you move closer to the sale, bottom of the funnel content like video testimonials and personalized case studies are great. 
  4. Take advantage of a multichannel approach. Rather than restricting yourself to just one channel, why not add images and videos to all of your prospecting channels? Whatever channel you’re using, it’s likely that you can improve your effectiveness with visual content. However, make sure you’re aware of any platform limitations. For example, some channels don’t let you directly embed a video, in which case you’ll have to use an image or GIF to link to the video. 
  5. Don’t skimp on the text. As powerful as images and videos are, don’t rely exclusively on them to get your message across. Some email clients don’t display images automatically, while some recipients may be wary about clicking on a link to a video without knowing what’s on the other side. Your accompanying text should encourage recipients to view your visual content while still explaining the purpose of your outreach.

Final thoughts

Visual content is an effective way of engaging with prospects, getting their attention and showcasing your solution. As visual prospecting continues to increase in popularity, salespeople who don’t use it will soon be left behind. By taking advantage of the latest tools to create personalized images and videos, you can create messages that are more likely to be delivered, opened, and replied to. 

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