The old cliche about a picture being worth a thousand words still holds true, especially in online content marketing. There is no better way to get someone engaged with a social media post, click on a link in an email, or want to read further into a blog post than having excellent visuals. This is especially important for Ecommerce! But using a poorly executed visual can also work against you. If it sends the wrong message, looks cheap, or is used without the owner’s permission, your business’s brand can suffer. We put together a short guide to using images in online content marketing effectively.

 

1. Avoid cheesy stock pictures, and look for unique and visually engaging pictures instead.

 

There are now numerous online resources for high-quality, beautiful images that are either free, or very low cost, and can be used for whatever you need. We love Unsplash, but there are many more. Check out some options here. And don’t be afraid to take some of your own pictures! The camera on smartphones are now so good, it’s hard to tell the difference between what they produce, and more expensive cameras. Check out our own collection to see for yourself.

 

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2. Make sure all images are used with permission.

 

Many artists, designers, marketers, etc. put a lot of time and energy into creating great visual content. So it’s frustrating, and frankly, illegal, when someone steals that work and passes it off as their own. The downside of using Google image searches to find content is that many of the images they show you are actually copyrighted materials. If you absolutely can’t live without the image, be sure to contact the owner and get permission.

(There is no image for this point because then we’d have to steal someone’s work, and that’s not cool.)

 

3. Only use images that convey the tone and culture of your brand.

 

If your brand wants to convey feeling of heartfelt sincerity, then avoid memes or slapstick images as they tend to be snarky or sarcastic. If your brand is aiming to convey a sense of humor, avoid overly saccharine images of kittens rolling in flowers. Many businesses create and reference a style guide to make sure all images fit the personality of the brand.

 

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4. Choose images that represent the key point you are trying to make, whether it’s overt or symbolic.

 

Beyond being visually appealing and improving SEO, images help your audience understand the main point you’re trying to convey, so always keep relevance in mind. Images can emphasize connections, understanding, and clarity. A great image creates engagement with your target audience, so don’t miss an opportunity to build value for your brand!

 

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Your thoughfully curated images can be the difference between an article that is skipped and an article that is read and shared. Images are the visual hook to get the eyeballs on your amazing insights and advice and in the case of Ecommerce it gets them to click that “BUY NOW” button, so take these tips and apply them to all of your content including your social media and email marketing.

 

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All of the images used in this post are covered by Creative Commons Zero. So, have fun and do great things with these 4 easy tips.