The Power of Images: How to Use Graphics to Enhance Marketing Content
Humans perceive 80 percent of their surroundings through their eyes. Visual content attracts attention, evokes an emotional response, adds context and makes content more memorable. Yet, finding unique, on-brand and engaging imagery can be a challenge for marketers. Hiring a photographer can be costly but finding quality marketing photos requires time, creativity and access. Whether using product images, infographics, lifestyle photos or stock images, choosing the right graphics can make the difference between content that falls flat or one that drives customers to your door.
Where to find images
When looking for images to add your content, you have two choices: create your own or use stock graphics. Original photography or custom imagery can set you apart from the competition and can help build a stronger brand. If you are a company that provides products, original photos are essential because customers want to see what they’re buying. At the same time, creating original images can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why most companies opt for a combination of original photos and stock imagery.
There are lots of websites that offer free and low-cost images for marketers. The key is to find a resource with imagery that matches your company’s aesthetic and budget. Some of the most popular stock (and lesser-known) image sites include:
- Pexels: One of the largest free image collections, this site boasts more than three million free stock photos and videos.
- Pixabay: More than 2.7 million images, video and music available for free and in a variety of sizes.
- Openverse: Previously Creative Commons, this online tool allows marketers to search for both free and paid imagery and audio files.
- Shutterstock: Subscriptions or packages are available for single users or enterprises. Prices range from $.27 to $15 per image depending on license type and package.
- Depositphotos: This site offers monthly, annual or on-demand packages with high-quality images available for as low as $.27 each.
- Dreamstime: This site offers subscriptions or credit packages to access millions of photos, videos and audios for between $3 and $5 each.
- 123RF: Subscriptions and credit packs offer access to more than 200 million photos, vectors and illustrations from as low as $.27 per image.
Selecting the right image
Simply inserting any image into your content won’t drive the desired results. It’s essential to select images carefully to ensure they are high-quality, appealing, relevant, and appropriate for your brand and the marketing channel used. When choosing an image for your blog, website, white paper, email or other marketing content, consider these critical questions:
- Does it support your message? An image should help a reader understand your message. While unrelated images may grab attention initially, an image that fits your content will result in quality leads and better engagement.
- Does it match your brand? Everything you create should enhance your brand identity. Images that include your company name or link to your website tell a story about your brand. Graphics should complement your corporate colors and convey the benefits you provide.
- Is it engaging and memorable? An overused, boring image won’t attract your target audiences. To leverage the power of color’s effect on engagement, choose bright, colorful images unless your brand style dictates otherwise.
- Are our competitors using the same photo? If you are using stock images, there’s a good chance your competition is, too. While there will always be similarities in an industry, the images you select should reflect your corporate differential.
A word of caution, art, photograph and literature are intellectual property protected by copyright laws. Just because an image is available on the internet doesn’t mean you have permission to use it. Someone owns that image and only they can grant you permission to include it in your marketing content. When images are used without permission, the owner can sue for damages, even if the intent was not malicious. Also, license status may change from open-source to protected over time, so it’s best to purchase images that can be used for years to come.
Quality graphics support quality content
Even the best graphics won’t save bad content. On the other hand, high-quality, relevant images can boost SEO, drive website traffic, improve engagement, boost conversions, and enhance the overall experience for your target audiences. Images bring stories to life and the right images will compel your audiences to listen to the story you have to tell.