With how visual our world is now, high-quality images are crucial in order to create a trustworthy site and advertisements. Many people use stock images for marketing purposes, but it’s essential to be careful with these. Using stock images for marketing can be very beneficial when done correctly. However, many people don’t realize the different practices they need to utilize when using stock images.
Here is what you need to know about whether you even should be using stock images for marketing purposes, as well as what you need to do in order to ensure that they’re used effectively.
Should You Use Stock Images For Marketing?
This is a topic of some debate. Some people say that no, you should absolutely never ever use stock images. You should hire a professional photographer and ensure that all of the images you use are original. Others say that there’s nothing wrong with using stock images, so long as you follow the appropriate practices.
In truth, you can use both. Professional, original images of your team, your business, and your products add authenticity that customers love. However, hiring a professional photographer can be expensive, and you can find yourself needing more images than you currently have. You need a variety in order to avoid boring potential clients and causing them to click away from your site.
Using stock images for marketing allows you to cut costs down on professional photography, but you need to ensure that the stock images you use suit your purposes. The more authentic they look, the better. You must also ensure that you follow all the licensing restrictions to avoid getting landed in hot water. There’s nothing wrong with using stock images for marketing purposes, so long as you utilize the following practices.
How To Use Stock Images Effectively
Stock images can be a lifesaver. However, they can also be incredibly easy to spot, which can lower the trustworthiness of your site. You need visual elements on your site in order to catch and maintain attention – no one likes blocks of texts, after all. But the wrong stock images can backfire, impacting how much time people spend on your site and how likely they are to contact you about your services.
Here’s what you need to know about using stock images for marketing effectively.
#1. Ensure That You Check Their Legality
You can end up getting sued if you use stock images incorrectly. There are many different sites that sell stock images you can use, such as Depositphotos. They will typically list any usage clauses, modification limitations, and image permissions. It’s essential that you understand the licensing and copyright before using an image.
For instance, one stock image may be fine to use on your site, but may have a clause saying that it cannot be used in print. Thus, you need to know the licensing rules of the stock images you want to use. If a stock image you like has restrictions that mean you can’t use it how you wanted to, you will need to find another.
#2. Know What Type Of Licensing You Need
This goes hand-in-hand with the above point. There are two main types of stock image licensing: royalty-free and rights-maintained.
- Royalty-free stock images are images that you can use repeatedly after a one-time purchase. They are not exclusive, so you may notice competitors using the same stock images you do.
- Rights-maintained stock images come with exclusive rights that can expire. They allow you to use the image exclusively for a higher price.
Ensure that you understand the restrictions of each image you use to avoid violating its copyright or licensing. Know when you need to credit photos too.
#3. Select Images That Look Authentic
You know the infamous stock images that are so fake they’ve become memes? Unless you’re trying to take a humorous angle, it’s best to avoid such images. The more natural and authentic the stock image, the more trustworthy your site will be and the more professional it will appear.
The more obviously posed and staged and exaggerated the emotions of the models in the photo, the worse it looks on your site. Instead, opt for images that depict more natural poses and emotions to generate trust and give your site more authenticity.
#4. Know When To Use Stock Images And When To Get Original Pictures
If you can easily get your own images, why use stock images for marketing? For instance, if you have a cooking site and you’re writing recipes, it would be better to get pictures of what you actually made, instead of using stock images. Consider when you can ask your team if you can take pictures of them while they are at work, for a more human element to your site.
#5. Optimize Your Images For SEO
- Rename the file to include your keywords. Avoid underscores. The image name matters, so instead of a random string of numbers, use something like: gutter cleaning in autumn.
- Be mindful of the file format. Generally, you will use JPEG for photos and PNG for illustrations and logos.
- Use the alt text, as this helps both SEO and with accessibility.
- Use your image title tags.
- Compress images as needed, so pages load quickly.
- Caption accordingly. You don’t want to be spammy and jam keywords into the caption, but you can do a simple descriptive caption that fits with the content of the image and your page.
These are but a few of the ways you can optimize your images for SEO. If you would like to learn more about using stock images for marketing or image optimization, the experts here at Performance Driven Marketing are here to help. We know how to use stock images for marketing in a way that benefits your site’s SEO and authenticity. Contact us today to learn more about how we can improve your site’s SEO.