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Using Stock Imagery in Your Marketing Communications 08/01/2017

There seems to be a common wisdom shared online by many marketers, warning against the use of stock photography for marketing communications. The reason for this admonition is simple: these marketers believe that companies can't find or use stock images that potential customers will find appropriate and authentic. The truth is more complicated than a teaser headline on the internet, though. Even if your company invests in custom photography or illustrations, those images can still be interpreted as bland and unappealing. The careful selection and placement of images is more important than their source. An image that is gripping and appropriate, given the associated content, will always be a boon.

There seems to be a common wisdom shared online by many marketers, warning against the use of stock photography for marketing communications. The reason for this admonition is simple: these marketers believe that companies can't find or use stock images that potential customers will find appropriate and authentic.

The truth is more complicated than a teaser headline on the internet, though. Even if your company invests in custom photography or illustrations, those images can still be interpreted as bland and unappealing. The careful selection and placement of images is more important than their source. An image that is gripping and appropriate, given the associated content, will always be a boon.

Images and Video Boost Click-Through Rates

Including images or even video in your marketing communications can help make them more engaging to your target demographics. It's important to remember that all marketing communications should be on-brand for your company. Stock media doesn't have to be boring or generic. It's all about finding the right images for the meaning and mood of your message.

While social media makes it fast and easy to share an image along with a brand message, emails can present some hurdles. Many email servers block images from populating. People generally won't spend the extra time selecting options to view the image. Embedding the images in the email can bypass that issue.

Videos can also be a great source of click-throughs. Unique video content can motivate your target demographic to visit your site to view and consider your products. Many companies utilize still stock images in promotional videos, perhaps offering a list of features or product uses. You also may be able to use stock videos, combined with narration and additional informational video clips, to keep the cost of video production low without sacrificing quality.

People Are Naturally Drawn to Images of Other People

In general, marketing images that include humans, whether they are stock images or custom shots of people with your product, draw more attention. Candid-looking images of people who are not staring directly into the camera are among the most popular and successful for marketing purposes. Unlike in posed shots, with people pouting or grinning for the camera, these more “natural” looking shots allow viewers to imagine themselves as the person in the image.

Remember that representation matters when selecting stock images of people. Providing a wide range of multicultural images in your marketing communications, from social media posts to newsletters and sales emails, appeals to more people. It also helps reinforce the curated image of your company as inclusive and diverse.

Savvy Companies Can Use Stock Imagery Effectively to Market

With an eye for detail and a careful attention to inclusion, your company can successfully use stock images to boost the efficacy of your marketing communications. Finding the right stock pictures for your particular message can help ensure the success of your marketing efforts and broaden your appeal.