Stock photos are often mocked for their cliché appearances and staged impressions. But the reality is, they can be a powerful medium used by marketers to build a stronger brand image, drive traffic to their business and ultimately increase conversion rates.
The trouble, though, lies in finding the right images. With flocks of designers flooding popular stock photo sites such as Depositphotos, the search for that perfect newsletter image quickly becomes a daunting task.
Luckily, we're here to jump in and make your quest a whole lot easier.
Here are the top 5 dos and don'ts to keep in mind when sourcing stock photos to beautify your company newsletter.
1. Size Matters
Before diving into the design itself, it's vital you think about the dimensions you're working with. The rule of thumb is to use high-quality images but these often slow down your load times due to their size.
The solution? Crop them, resize them, pixelate them; either way, make sure you're maintaining image quality while reducing its size.
Anywhere between 550 to 600 pixels in width should work as long as the length aligns with the scope of your content - often an upwards of 800 pixels.
Preparing photos beforehand will not only make your editing process go smoother, but it will also enhance your user experience and prompt action.
2. Cheesy is Sleazy
The reason behind most of the mockery stock photos endure comes down to wrong usage.
No matter how crammed your schedule is and how many tasks you're juggling, make sure you're selective in sourcing stock photos. Because if you aren't and you go with the first pick that pops up on your screen, you run the risk of coming across unauthentic.
Best case scenario, your prospect will find the photo unoriginal and keep scrolling. Worst case, he'll hit the back button letting a sigh of distrust under his breath.
Why? Because there's little more damaging to his perception of your business than seeing the same photo used across multiple channels. Using authentic and quality visuals builds trust and a sense of quality. Steer clear of the featured and trending sections. These are frequently a hotbed of cheesiness.
3. Staying True to Your Brand
The main purpose of your newsletter photos is to strengthen the message you're trying to communicate. The good news is, your choice in choosing the visual style is near-endless. Start with your product or service. Think about the desire you're trying to invoke, about the emotion you're conveying. If you do this from the get-go, everything else will fall right into place.
For instance, a company selling business consulting services choosing an overused stock photo like the one below in their newsletter will inevitably fail to make any sort of impact. But if you're advertising remote jobs for writers, the following newsletter from Freelance Writing is a good example of capturing the end desire of ambitious wordsmiths. A cup of coffee and a newspaper - it resonates strongly with writers across the globe.
The photos you choose, therefore, will strongly depend on the context of your business and the campaign in question.
4. Speaking to the Right People
If you haven't already, now is the time to ask yourself who is on the other end of the screen. If your audience comprises of middle-aged business managers, use imagery sensibly. If you're targeting young adults or even the Centennials with a consumer tech sale, then a lighthearted photo your prospect can associate with is the right way forward.
In fact, research suggests that the younger your target demographic is, the more personalized your newsletter photos should be.
5. Complementing Your Copy
While it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, it's seldom worth more than ten in content marketing.
Instead, sharp, concise copy propels action while the images are there to cement the message and draw attention.
What's more, crafting good copy first will let you isolate those words that spark imagery. This way, coming up with photos that will work in synergy with your text will be much easier.
Brainstorm with this advice in mind and you'll be able to source powerful photos that don't distract from your main message but rather make it more profound.