Graphics and images can be a tool for good, and evil. Many marketers are overusing images for one aspect of their marketing and underutilizing them for others. To help you avoid using graphics in the wrong way, I am going to outline the most (and the least) effective ways to use images in your online marketing.
First, I want to help you find images that you can use without worry. Borrowing images from others can be risky, and can result in lawsuits. For this reason, I utilize public domain images.
You can find databases of royalty free images at PixaBay.com, Pexels.com, or by using the image search tools on Google. If you are using Google, select “Labeled for reuse” before you do your search. Double check the license of an image before using.
Where Images are the Most Effective
Images are used in nearly every aspect of marketing, but there are a few places where they are vital. I am going to cover a few situations where images deserve your focus and critical thought.
1) Social Media
Social media is the place to emphasize images. A study by Google found that posts with pictures are shared three times more than text-only posts. Even text-based platforms like Twitter have found a way to incorporate more images.
Embrace images on social media. Make sure they appear in your articles’ thumbnails, on your ads, and throughout your social media page. Ideally, your pictures will attract attention, communicate a message, and humanize your law firm.
2) Business Profiles and Local Profiles
Your Google Local profile is one of the first things potential customers see. Users use Google Local to check your reviews, look at your location, and finally, acquaint themselves with your business. Prospective clients can learn a lot about your law firm and your core values by browsing through your Google Local images.
As you are creating or updating your Google Local page, use photos of your law firm. DON’T use stock images of courthouses or gavels. Try to keep it personal, informative, and perhaps a little fun. Pictures of your office and real people will make an impression on potential clients and help them feel as if they have already met you.
3) Your Landing Pages
Though you are probably giving out a ‘free’ report or package on your website, you should treat them like sales pages. Before I tell you why, imagine you are shopping for shirts on Amazon. You find two shirts. One has a single, slightly grainy image of a shirt. The other has several, high-quality photos from different angles. Which one are you most likely to buy?
If you are like the average Amazon shopper, you will probably buy the shirt with the better images. Online shoppers associate image quality with product quality and more pictures typically translate to higher sales and fewer returns.
When you are building your landing page, you should use at least one “product shot.” A product shot is an image of the report, typically simulated in Photoshop. These product shots are more than a flat image of the cover, they are more dynamic and show the report as it is, instead of only the front page.
You can include additional visuals on these landing pages, but keep in mind that your content (text) will do most of the selling for these free reports.
Where Images are Not Effective
There are no absolutes in marketing; visuals are never mandatory or forbidden. However, there are times when you should consider if adding an image will improve your marketing, or if it distracts.
1) Stock Photos in Articles
Your articles and blog posts should communicate information to people visiting your website. The text is the most important part of your content. However, adding images in your articles can attract more readers to that content.
2) Cliché Photos in Banner Areas
You are probably familiar with the “hero” image concept. This is the big area that is above the fold on your website. Generally, we see attorneys fill this space with a city scape or picture of a courthouse. If this sounds like your website, it is time for a big change.
Hero images aren’t bad by default, but they are bad when the space is used incorrectly. Find a way to optimize that space by using an image of your office, or a scene that the potential client will relate to. Don’t be afraid to use family photos if you run a small law firm! Personality matters.
3) Stuffing Images into Your Free Reports
Free reports are a staple of online marketing. It is easy to create and give away a report that will help and impress customers. I have to remind attorneys that plain reports are perfectly fine. You don’t need a report to be saturated with graphics and images.
Anytime to “stuff” graphics into a report without reason, you are taking away from the quality of the report. Use graphics when needed and avoid when they are not.
I hope this guide helps you make smarter choices when you are considering images. Remember, it is the copy that sells your service, not the images.