Why just any image won't do for your small business marketing

“Wrote a great blog post. Now I’ve just gotta find a photo to go with it,” you think, as you search Google images for something – anything – that’s remotely related to your topic.

Don’t do this! If this is something you’ve done in the past, or might do in the future, read on for why original, relevant images are more important than ever. (This extends to stock photo use as well, although if you are buying rights to use an image you won’t have to worry about copyright.)

  • You may be violating copyright. When you take a photo from the internet, odds are it belongs to someone who has created it for their own use, or for marketing of a specific product. If you’re using it without permission, you may get a legal request to remove the image or a bill for its use.
  • Images that are used a lot tend to look familiar. You don’t want to use the same tired photo to illustrate your blog post that dozens of other people have used. This is why inexpensive stock photos aren’t usually a great idea, either.
  • Your own images look more authentic. Users may not consciously register that something feels “fake,” but if they come to your site and see nothing but stock images, they may not get a sense that your site and business are trustworthy. Photos of your employees, working in your store, will win out over slick, posed photos of some random people who look like they’re in your industry.
  • If you don’t know where your images came from, you don’t always know if they’re safe to use. One client we had used a stock photo image of a man who was the “face” for their company on all their materials. They later learned he was convicted of child molestation and was in prison, which led to a mad scramble to replace the image they’d built their brand around.
  • Google likes original images. As Google, which is used for more than 70 percent of all online searches in the U.S., continues to put an emphasis on original, quality content to boost your rankings, you’ll need to focus on what’s unique to you. That means a decent-quality image you take of a product you’re selling online will give you better results than the stock photo from the manufacturer that’s used on dozens or hundreds of other sites that sell the same thing.

Of course, the ideal is to have professional images taken of your store, your employees, and your products. The cost is often reasonable since a professional can accomplish more in less time than you can. Professional quality lighting can make your store look brighter and more inviting. Call us at 541-752-9922 for a quote on your photo needs.

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