Photos and visuals are an essential part of online marketing. Without them, you’re losing out on a huge audience – both current and potential customers.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the ins and outs of using photos and visuals to promote your business online. We’ll discuss where to find quality images for free, as well as tips on how to better use them for your marketing campaign.
Where Do I Find Free Images?
At one time or another, we’ve all been there. We open up a Google image search and begin clicking on every thumbnail that comes up. Before we know it, an hour has gone by and we’ve viewed hundreds of images without even realizing where the time went. The result? A massive headache, unnecessary internet data consumption, and the sudden realization that we’ve viewed every available porn site featuring Taylor Swift.
Let’s set the scene: You’re a business owner or marketer. You’ve decided to invest in online marketing, and this is the next logical step. You’ve signed up for Google AdWords and set up an account. You’ve begun creating ads and placing them on different websites. You read an article about a successful entrepreneur who uses images in their marketing and decide that you’ll try the same technique. You come across an image on a social media site that you think will work well with your target audience. You click on the image, and before you know it, your web browser has been redirected to a porn site. This has happened to us all.
The above scenario is quite possible, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to find the images you need without resorting to questionable websites. The first place many people turn is Pinterest. Believe it or not, but this platform was actually designed with marketing in mind. They’ve given business owners and marketers the tools to easily create attractive visual boards to promote their products and services. You’ll notice that on any given board, the photos and visuals are quite relevant to the theme or subject matter of that board. For example, if you have a food board, all of the food-related photos and visuals you find will be relevant to that board.
On the subject of food, let’s say you’re a bistro owner in New York City. You’ve decided to expand your reach beyond your city limits and are looking for a way to attract customers from all over the country. You create a board on Pinterest that focuses on bistro cuisine and begin following closely-related accounts. One of these accounts happens to be the chef of an Italian restaurant in New York City. One day, you log on to your AdWords dashboard and notice that numerous ads have been added to your account. You open one of those ads and it happens to be for the Italian restaurant in New York City. Your customer immediately understands what you’re trying to do and clicks on the ad, winding up at the Italian bistro’s website where they discover the restaurant’s food is completely different from what they’re used to. This is when you know you’ve succeeded in your mission.
Use Images With Caution
So you’ve found the images you need and want to use them in your marketing campaign. This is when things get a little tricky. Before you put a business or marketing-related photo or image on your site, ask yourself the following questions.
– Is this image relevant to my target audience?
– Does this image represent my business accurately?
– Will people view this image and think it’s relevant or important?
– Would other businesses or companies want to emulate me with this image?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you’re good to go. However, if you can’t answer yes to any of them, you may want to consider a different approach.
Make Sure Your Photos Are High-Quality
No one wants to download a low-quality image and have it take forever to load. This will hurt your credibility as a business owner or marketer, generating an unneeded bad experience for your customers. Always make sure that the photos you use are of high quality.
If you find a creative commons image on the internet that you think will work well with your target audience, give it a try. Just remember that most likely, there will be lots of other businesses that also want to use this image. This is why it’s usually a good idea to check with the account owner before you use their photos in your own marketing materials.
There are also services like DepositPhotos that will allow you to license high-quality images for your business. You’ll notice that the photos uploaded on your behalf are actually of a very high quality. The service will give you the option to become a member for free, which allows you to download the images you need for free. However, if you decide to upgrade, you’ll find that the quality is worth it. The good thing is that you can always download the images that you’ve purchased in the past. Just make sure you delete them from your account once you’ve uploaded them. This will keep your photos from being overloaded and make your customers happy. Always download images to a USB drive or flash drive before you continue using them in your marketing materials. This will ensure you can always find them when you need them.
Back Up Your Photos
Did you know that photos are not indestructible and can be destroyed quite easily? This is why it’s crucial to have a back-up copy of your images. Just because a photo is digital doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. Your images can be damaged or destroyed through a variety of means, from spills to harsh lighting to leaving them on a computer screen for too long. Did you know this?
It’s great to see photos that you’ve taken, especially when they’re of beautiful places or amazing sights. However, it’s quite another matter when you realize that the photo was taken without your permission and might be used for something quite different than what you had in mind when you took it.
How often do you hear about people posting photos of their travels on social media and have it go viral? Unfortunately, this happens quite frequently. It’s not because the photos are particularly good, but rather because people want to share images that evoke a feeling or match a theme they’re trying to promote. This can lead to a privacy issue if the person doesn’t want their photo used in this way. Sometimes it’s the other way around as well, where the photo’s rights-holder doesn’t want their image used for something else. Either way, make sure you always have a copy of your images somewhere else – preferably on a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive. This will ensure you can always access them when you need them. It also stores multiple copies of your images, in case one is destroyed.
One of the best things about the internet is the ability to be completely creative and not have limits. This is what has made it such a powerful tool for marketers. However, it also has its downsides. This openness has allowed for everything from illegal activity to hack attacks and viruses. While these risks exist, they’re still quite minimal and far outweighed by the benefits. To prevent any legal issues as well as protect your business from hacks and identity theft, make sure you’re not doing anything wrong. Always use a VPN to keep your personal information secure when using public wifi connections. If you keep noticing your AdWords account getting filled with numerous ad placements for your city, it may be a good idea to review your account and see what you’re clicking on. This could help point you in the right direction.
Above all else, make sure you have fun with your photos and visuals. You can always go back and edit your photos if you want to make some changes, but the key is that you have fun with them. Enjoy finding inspiration in strange places, whether it’s food, travel, or just everyday life. This is what drove the success of companies like Kodak, Polaroid, and more recently, Impossible Digital Photography.
In the end, we want to use photos and visuals for our marketing campaigns. But, as with everything else in online marketing, it’s not as straightforward as it seems. It’s imperative to find a way to stand out from the crowd, gain traction, and make the internet work for your benefit. With the above tips, you’ll be able to get the most out of your photos and visuals in no time, proving once again that the internet can be an invaluable tool for small businesses.