Pretty bold statement, but it’s true. As business owners, we wear many hats, but our marketing efforts (the biggest being our websites) should never be “thrown together” with stock images being the main representation of who we are. Here are a few reasons why:
Your customers want transparency and a unique experience and this desire grows more so every year. Studies and articles show that with stock images, your customers get the impression of mediocracy and a vague experience. Wired’s Ben Thompson states, “Stock photography imprisons us in the cognitive jail. Its intentionally bland images are designed to be usable in many vaguely defined situations.” Because of their versatility, stock images aren’t designed to sell, but simply be a place holder that too often people ignore.
Here’s an awful second reason: your competitors may be using the same stock images. Staying above the competition is difficult enough with all of the social listening, brand trending, customer reviews, and so on to have it all sabotaged by your competitors using the same images as you or worse using their own professional images showcasing their products properly. This goes back to that unique experience and you can’t create that if other websites, even ones that aren’t in your industry, are using the same stock images. It just confuses your customers and sets an unprofessional look to your business. Everything you don’t want.
No one can be you if you’re original. Back to transparency, customers want to see your behind the scenes, your products, your services, you. They want to feel like they know your business from the front door to the back room. Your website should be like a constant open house for your customer.
Bottom line: Don’t use stock images. Take your own or hire a professional. Shameless plug: Dyson Creative Photography offers both professional commercial photography and photography classes for your marketing departments or just you, catered to your goals and company size. Whatever you decide to do, don’t fall prey to stock images being a great solution to your business website or marketing materials. Even if your goal is temporary, because you’ll get busy and forget. Always show how pretty your company is - inside and out