One Surefire Way to Make Your Message Stand Out From the Crowd

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Of all the ways you can improve your digital marketing message, there is one that is especially simple, affordable, and effective.

Of all the ways you can improve your digital marketing message, there is one that is especially simple, affordable, and effective when compared to the rest.

What’s this magic bullet you can use to make customers take notice? Custom photos that make a strong connection with buyers.

Most of us realize intuitively that photos are powerful. We see how they make an instant and emotional connection, causing us to pause, smile, or take notice in a way that text alone cannot.

And yet, a lot of marketers don’t hesitate to use low-quality images to support high-quality messaging. That’s a big mistake.

Related Article:20 Social & Digital Trends That Will Impact Marketing in 2016

Why Do Businesses Use Terrible Photos?

Unfortunately, many of us are lazy, we lack creativity, or we just don’t know any better. We also incorrectly assume that we don’t have the budget for custom photos. We should all be using custom photos and here’s why:

People Are Bored With Stock Photos

Some stock photos have been used and overused to the point that people are turned off by them.

Stock photo of Vince Vaughn - creative state
Don't use this photo... ever.

Hollywood star Vince Vaughn was recently featured in a set of cliché stock photos that were made available for free to promote his movie "Unfinished Business", which critics and the public thought was unfocused and unfunny. Many businesses unwittingly used these photos in their marketing material which is both sad and hilarious.

Custom Photos Set You Apart

At a time when stock photos seem to be everywhere, there is something distinctly authentic about having your own custom photos. You can even take some with your own smartphone. They might not be perfect, but they are likely better than you might think.

Today’s customers have gotten wary of what they see online. Much of what they see seems staged and artificial. By giving them something unique, and even candid, you can set yourself apart from the crowd.

Related Article: The Numbers Tell All: The Future of E-commerce Marketing is Visual, User-Generated Content

Your Camera Is Better Than You Think

Speaking of photo quality, you probably have more at your disposal than you realize. While it’s true that expensive professional cameras take higher resolution photos than the ones you get from an iPhone or another smartphone, it’s also true that the camera you have on your phone, when used properly, can come very close to the quality of many professional cameras.

When combined with the wide variety of photo editing apps that are available, you have a virtual photo studio with you at all times, you just have to put it to good use. But there are times when there is no substitute for a trained photographer to bring your marketing message to life.

Sometimes It’s Best to Bring in a Pro

Even though you could take all your photos and videos with a smartphone, I wouldn’t recommend it. That’s because quality and production value still matter. For instance, your social media followers and fans might love seeing a candid snapshot from your phone on a social feed, but they are going to expect something more professional for things like product shots, facility photos and executive biographies.

Working with an experienced and creative photographer can help you make the right impression when you need the perfect photo.

How to Find the Right Photographer for Your Business

  • Ask for a Recommendation: Sometimes the best way to find the right photographer for your business is to ask around. If you see photos that you like on the website of a competitor or supplier, send them an email to ask who took the photos. Sometimes the photographer’s name will be included on or near the image.
  • Look at Their Work: It’s important to check out a photographer’s work. If they tell you they do business photography but only show wedding photography on their website, you should move on. Don’t hire a photographer unless they can show work they’ve done recently that is the quality and style you want for your business.
  • Get a Fixed Fee Price Quote: Photography budgets can get out of hand if you don’t get a fixed fee quote in writing. Most photographers will give you a full day or half-day rate. Just make sure that fee is all-inclusive so you don’t get charged extra for travel, assistant’s fee, or equipment rental.
  • Check References: Ask for references and take the time to call them. You can even go one step further and look on the photographer’s website for other customers and reach out to them for a reference. Sometimes calling a customer that isn’t on their list of references can be very revealing.
  • Insist on Owning the Images: Some photographers want to maintain ownership of your images and charge you a licensing fee any time you want to use the images. Insist on getting a full release that allows you to use your images without restriction. If the photographer isn’t comfortable with that or wants to charge an exorbitant fee, find a different photographer.

Related Article:Worth a Thousand Words: 15 Free Tools for Viral Image Creation

The Takeaways

  • Don’t let sub-par photos cheapen your message.
  • Don’t hesitate to use the camera and apps that are readily available to you to create custom images for social media and other content marketing efforts.
  • For photos that require a professional, make sure you find the right partner and insist on owning the images.

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