Many of my clients use marketing to differentiate themselves from the competition, but in many cases, are not as successful as they would like. Why? One reason is companies in the same industry tend to look the same at first glance. They attempt to use eye catching images to get customer's attention. However, the effectiveness of these images fails when many within the industry use the same type of images for marketing. You know the ones I’m talking about... a common one in the oil industry is the derrick with the dramatic sunset in the background. I confess that I’ve done it too! In fact, I’ve shot a lot of those very photos because people buy them. But if you use them, understand that they are not really selling YOU, they are representing an industry.
So how can you differentiate YOURSELF from the rest? There are two things you can do immediately.
The first is to use more video. Video helps show off your capabilities and, according to many experts, will help increase the SEO results for your web site. As the official photographer for the East Texas, South Texas and Oklahoma City Oilfield Expos held by Texas Classic Productions, and as a participant in numerous other expos, I can say without a doubt that one of the best ways to capture someone’s attention is through the use of video. I have seen countless examples of people stopping to watch a video and then being engaged by the reps at the booth. Why not integrate the power of video in your marketing as well?
The second step is stop using stock photos in marketing and web material.
The arguments in favor of using stock photos are compelling...they are easy to get, fast, and possibly most Importantly, cheap! But let's think for a moment and determine if we are actually making a wise decision when using stock photos.
I found a study regarding the use of photos in web sites. The results were intriguing, so I conducted an informal survey of my own. Most of the consumers I surveyed disregarded the stock photos they saw on marketing material. They realized the photos are not of the company or the people they would be doing business with and therefore the stock photos had no credibility. In the most dramatic case, one individual actually felt the company was being deceptive by using a stock image, and lowered her opinion of the company.
So, given this possible negative backlash, is it really a good decision to use stock photos?
I would argue it is best to use a professional photo personalized to reflect your business, personnel, and culture. A custom photo session will provide you images that will draw potential clients to your business, rather than potentially repel them. Once you have caught the customer’s attention, you can describe what makes you better than the rest of your competitors.
Marketing budgets, big or small, are valuable resources, but trying to save a few dollars by using stock photos could seriously sabotage your entire effort and epitomize the old saying "Penny wise and Pound foolish!" Go ahead and talk to a professional photographer and see what a professional shoot can do for your business. You just might be pleasantly surprised!