I am working on a website at the moment to improve the look and feel as well as expanding the content with SEO rich copy. The first thing I noticed when checking the website was that there were no photos on the site. For me, pictures and illustrations are a really important part of Marketing materials. Even a simple document like an Employee Handbook is enhanced with a few pictures because nobody wants to read a big block of text. It can be quite intimidating and certainly not inviting for readers. Finding and choosing the right images for your website can be a time-consuming exercise, but I’d argue it’s worth the investment.
Why do I need Images?
- Interest – we are programmed to look at images before reading text and an appropriate image will set the tone of an article, indicating whether the content is worth reading.
- Engagement – if a person can identify with an image or they are intrigued by it, they will be more likely to read on and find out more. This also means that the wrong image can be a major turn off. If using images of people, it generally makes sense to try and reflect your target audience. For example, if you are targeting teenagers then a photo of an older person can be off-putting.
- Credibility – an image will provide signals to the reader regarding the credibility of the author. An appropriate image will strengthen the perception of the piece.
- Accessibility – images break up text making it a lot easier to access the information. Whether it’s a graph, a photo or a video, visual content increases the chance of people reading the text.
Personally, I simply like pretty pictures and I think all websites need them. I have spent a lot of time with professional photographers and I am amazed at their ability to make a simple product look amazing. Having access to a great library of pretty pictures makes a Marketers life a lot easier and I have been lucky in previous roles to get involved with photographers and create appropriate photos that can be used in a range of materials.
Service providers often struggle to get relevant images and online stock photos can be invaluable. Websites like Fotolia and istockphoto and Shutterstock are examples of sites that I have used. A simple search for “stock photos” will reveal a load of other sites. These sites have thousands of images which you can find by entering a search of key words. It can be a timely exercise, but once you’ve bought an image you can usually use it as much as you want on a variety of materials (website, email campaigns, brochures etc). Normally you need to purchase a number of credits and you can select the required size of image (in terms of pixels) or alternatively you can sign up to a monthly allowance where you can download multiple images every month.