Do you use stock photos for your website images? There are plenty of websites that offer royalty-free pictures that you can use on your website without the need to create them yourself. They also don’t require you to have any photography or photoshop skills at all.
But if you study your analytics every day and wonder why you’re not getting the results you’re expecting, a part of the problem could be the stock photography. Several websites have seen dramatic increases in click-through rates and sign-ups when they replaced the stock footage with authentic photos of people using their products or services.
Better business is just one example, though. There are several other reasons to consider not using stock photography for your website. Let’s take a look at some of the others.
It Doesn’t Represent Your Vision
Images on your website should enhance the products or services that you offer and motivate your visitors to perform the actions that you want them to complete. When you plaster stock photography on your website, you’re showcasing generic material that doesn’t clearly articulate your vision or voice. The photographer does this for the people that commissioned the images.
When you started your company, you would have had a vision of what your brand would look like and stand for. It’s very hard to achieve this by using stock photography, and it can take your hours, even days, to find images that are close to what you envisioned. However, they’ll never be exactly what you’re after, no matter how photoshopped they are.
Everyone Has Seen Them
Stock photography providers have millions of people using their libraries. Meaning that the photos you’re considering are likely on your competitor sites. They might also be on thousands of others that might not even be in the same industry as you.
One of the pros and cons of using stock photography is that they’re designed for a broad spectrum of people. So while there is a high probability it might connect with your customer, there’s also a high chance that they’ve seen the image before. It also means that if they’ve witnessed it on a non-reputable site, your clients will make the same association with your business.
Stock Photography Can Lack Authenticity
If you speak to any digital marketer, they will tell you that their goal is to reduce doubt, uncertainty, and fear. This is achieved by increasing the trust and authority on your website. Unfortunately, this is not something that stock photography can always provide.
While they give you a professional look, the generic nature of the images doesn’t always provide customers with enough to prove that you’re a legitimate company. Clients want to know who they’re dealing with, and eye-tracking statistics show that people spent most of their time reading about the employees behind the company to ensure the people in the photos are behind it.
It Can Cause Customers to Not Trust You
Poor experiences are cited as the key reason behind a customer losing trust in a company. These interactions determine whether they’ll stay loyal or take their business elsewhere. But it doesn’t begin when they use the product or service, it starts when they’re perusing through offerings on your website.
Words and copy can only do so much. It’s the images on your website that will play a major part in converting a visitor to a customer. But if you’re using stock photography rather than imagery that matches the actual product or service itself, the chances of these customers returning to do business with you again are slim.
It Can Impact Your Value Proposition
When you’re selecting images to display, you should ask yourself if they support your value proposition or hinder it. Showing your product or service in use can provide a greater conversion compared to it displayed on a bland, generic background. This is because it shows the item working as intended rather than what it looks like stored away in a closet.
It’s also unlikely that it’s the first time your visitor has seen the product or service you provide. You’re likely to receive greater success if you can display unique images that match the story you want to tell for the item and for your brand as well. This is something that’s not always possible with stock photography.
What’s the Alternative?
There are plenty of websites that offer photos that you can buy for your website. However, a better alternative is investing in your own professional photographer or videographer and providing them a brief on your brand and the products and services you offer. Some of the topics you should discuss with them include:
- Eliminating everything from the image that’s not relevant and ensuring the product or service is center stage
- Ensuring sure that images not only supports your value proposition it enhances it
- Making the images look relatable and avoiding overly happy, fake scenes
- Trying not to replicate any stock image footage
Other alternatives to photos can include graphics featuring stats or statistics. However, nothing beats the imagery of real people using real products and services.
How Can We Help?
If you want your business to stand out from your competitors, then it’s worth rethinking if you should use stock photography. Investing in producing your own images can enhance your value proposition, illustrate your vision, and show that your business can be trusted.
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to a website strategy. We work with you and your company to provide a plan that’s unique to your business and is designed to maximize your strengths. Contact us to get started and change the trajectory of your business today.