A great image can make all the difference. Whether you’re promoting a product, service, or an idea, here are 5 effective ways you can use stock photos for marketing!

It’s been a long time since we were confined to marketing solely on billboards or in newspapers. The internet gave way to digital marketing, email campaigns and on-page ads. Social media has enabled small businesses to market themselves on Instagram, or promote themselves to a wider audience on TikTok.

You may automatically go straight to videos in your head when you think of advertisements and commercials. But, even on sites like YouTube a static image can be an effective weapon in marketing.

However, not everyone has the time or budget to organise a whole photoshoot in a studio with models, props and many helping hands. Turning to stock photos for marketing can be a great, inexpensive time saver. Whether you need an image for a Google ad, or something to add to your Instagram grid, an eye-catching image will make all the difference.

With that said, let’s take a look at a few ways you can use images, and some careful things to consider when using stock photos for marketing…

Set a Budget

You can access stock photos for free online very easily, which may seem like the most attractive option. However, only using free images increases the likelihood of a few common issues. Firstly, the quality (mainly in terms of composition and overall impact, rather than image quality) will likely be lesser than a premium stock image. Secondly, you could end up using images that lots of other people are using.

By allowing yourself a budget – and it doesn’t have to be big – you’re broadening your options significantly, giving you more freedom and choice when it comes to image selection.

Don’t Follow the Crowd

Briefly mentioned above, it’s a common fact of internet life that some stock images get reused constantly. Once you start involving the use of stock images in your work, you find yourself spotting recognisable images on websites like old school classmates in the supermarket.

In order to avoid falling into this trap, try and consider your brand and how you would like to be perceived. Do you have a particular colour palette across your branding? Maybe you solely focus on locations with sunnier weather. These are all parameters that will help you choose more specific images, rather than the overused generic ones.

Stay Relevant

Whilst it’s good to go off-piste now and then, and avoid the crowd, you need to stay relevant. After all, there’s no point trying to market something and send a message through imagery if that image has nothing to do with your product.

It’s fun to opt for slightly off the wall images, and can be great marketing to use intriguing photos that trigger questions and intrigue. But, always make sure it links back to whatever you are marketing.

Appeal to Humans

Chances are, your marketing is going to be directed towards a human. Dogs still haven’t quite figured out how to add items to their Amazon cart just yet.

There is a plethora of research into the way humans respond to images of other humans and animals in advertising. We’re hardwired to respond to other living creatures, being naturally intrigued and automatically reading for expressions. This means that, even though it may only be for a second, we are more likely to pause on a photo of a person or creature.

So, try using images that have clear, readable, and genuine expressions within them. Avoiding cheesy pictures is a good point here. If you want to depict happiness, natural looking people will always win over an obvious, exaggerated pose.

A/B Test Images

Selecting the right stock photos for marketing effectively to your audience can involve some helpful research. If you really want to learn about what kind of images works best with your audience, experiment with A/B testing.

This is a user experience research methodology (fancy) that allows you to test the efficacy of an ad, for example, featuring variant A versus variant B. Simply put, you can run the same ad using the same text, information and CTA (call to action), but using two different images. The images are the variants.

By switching out the ad with Image A for the ad with Image B halfway through, you can learn which images resonate with your audience more. In doing this, you arm yourself with valuable information for future marketing. You’ll know what types of images are likely to drive conversions and result in sales.

Where to Find Stock Images

At Synchedin we offer a range of amazing stock photos than can be used for marketing, educational purposes, content creation and more!

Sign up and get access to awesome creative commons images for free. Or, subscribe for just $3.99 per month for royalty free shots. Enjoy unlimited downloads, meaning your marketing materials never miss the target!