And Where & How to Use Them
There’s a lot of bad marketing circulating around out there – and you know what all of it has in common (besides – likely – poor design, lack of target market research, and missing call-to-actions)? Unpleasant imagery. We know what you’re thinking… “photography costs a fortune!” – but that’s not always the case. And, what costs even more than any photo is losing customers over a bad one. There are ways to use good photography on your marketing without breaking the bank. Today, we’re going to explain why photography is so important for your company’s marketing, how you can get and use good photos, and, if need be – tips for (carefully and creatively) shooting your own.
Why Quality Photography is Important
Like we said above, losing customers to a bad photo or photos can be very costly. A not-so-great photo can make or break any marketing piece or campaign and deter customers from ever contacting your company. Visuals are a huge part of what we choose to purchase and where it’s from. When advertising with only speech or text, customers only remember 10% of what they see or hear, but, when advertising with imagery, they remember an impressive 65%. Quality photos appeal to customer emotions, and are intended to trigger specific thoughts and feelings. So, make sure your imagery is eye-catching, impactful, relevant, informative, and realistic.
The right photos can be used in several areas – from postcards and flyers, to social posts and website banners. And it’s not like you can only use a great photo once. So, if you think about all the places a good photo can go, it’s worth the investment to get it.
Lastly, photography is a universal language – so no matter who’s seeing them, if your photos are informative and well-shot, potential customers will be able to understand and relate to the intended message, whether they speak English, Spanish, or Japanese. It’s best to think of photography as one of your main points of communication with your customers, because, well…it really is. Sometimes, it’s the first form of communication they get from your company altogether.
How to Obtain Quality Photos & Use Them in Your Marketing
If you’re not taking your own photos or utilizing a professional photographer, there are a ton of options out there to get great photography at varying prices. Websites like Pexels, Unsplash, Freepik, and Pixabay provide decent, royalty-free, commercial-use stock images – free of cost. But, make sure to use these wisely and always check the fine print. Some photography sites will want you to give credit to the photographer in some way, or use the image only under certain circumstances.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more for higher marketing ROI, stock photo packages can be purchased on sites like GettyImages, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and others. You have the option to purchase a few individual photos – but that can get costly. We’d recommend going with one of the free sites above, or, if you have more photo needs, getting a plan that, for example, gives you 10 photos a month at a lower package price.
If you do hire a photographer, you have a leg up on other companies. Why? Because experienced photographers know what to look for when it comes to selling products. They have an eye for detail, know when it’s best to add something or take something out of the frame, and can edit your photos to perfection.
With a professional photographer, we’d recommend a one-time photoshoot (if possible) to cut costs and photograph all of the things you’re hoping to capture – whether that’s your whole staff and office, your product catalog, or an event. We’d also suggest really planning ahead – not only to tidy up the area and make your subject look great, but to make sure you photograph everything you need to, and that you don’t run over-time.
If You Have to Take Your Own Photos, Here’s How…
It’s not the end of the world to have to take your own photos, since, these days, almost everyone has a mini professional camera right in their pocket. But just because we have better cameras doesn’t mean we have the skills of an experienced, well-versed photographer, or know the best settings and angles to get the best shot. Yet, with a bit of research and effort, we can take some great product photos that will do the trick. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when photographing your offerings:
Camera Awareness: You don’t have to read a manual to get to know whatever camera you’re working with, but, the more expensive and intricate the camera, the more time you should take to practice your skills. Have a bit of fun and experiment before doing an actual photoshoot with your products. Make sure you understand the effects and settings available to you and what will present your products best.
Camera Angle: There are a ton of ways to take your photos, but where you place the camera will help you tell whatever story you’re trying to get across. So, think about what makes your product look eye-catching and unique, and how it can best be framed to show its qualities. Avoid angles with too much slant, that are too close up, or that blur the wrong areas.
Detail: Before taking your photo, take note of the little things. Is the area clean to emphasize the product or focus? Does the subject look its best? Is the photo realistic?
Background: Almost always, you’ll want your subject’s background to be neutral and not in focus. There are exceptions to this rule, but it’s the safest bet to make sure your subject is in focus and is the center of attention. If your office is bright and colorful, it’s okay to have that as the background for staff photos. Just make sure it’s not so busy that it’s distracting from the subject.
Color & Lighting: When adding objects around your subject or creating some sort of background, make sure the color of your focus pops. If need be, make some color edits to your photography using Photoshop, Lightroom, VSCO, or a similar photo editing platform. But – don’t go crazy. Keep your photo looking realistic and authentic. Additionally, take note of the lighting. Feel free to get fancy and purchase professional lighting – but there’s often no need to. Natural lighting can produce great outcomes when it comes to photography.
Context & Scale: Especially for product photography, it’s always important to offer a sense of scale and context. Instead of only showing the subject on a white background, also show the product in a room, on a table, next to a person, or even being used by a person. This will help people “fill in the gaps” and understand the sizing of the product.
File Size: Pay attention to the sizes of your photos when taking them and uploading them. Make sure they’re not too small that they look blurry and pixelated, but also be sure that they’re not so large that they affect load times and user experience.
Authenticity: We’ve already brushed the surface on this one – but it’s so important that it can’t be said too many times. Make sure your photography’s an accurate, authentic depiction of your offerings. There’s nothing worse than getting excited over a product you see online, only to be disappointed by its appearance upon purchasing.
Need help finding the perfect photo, or ready to take these practices and put them into great, effective marketing? Contact Strata.
What’s the Real Deal?
There’s a ton of information out there about multichannel marketing – and it can be hard to sift through. You probably often find yourself wondering, what’s real, and what’s myth? You’re not alone. Many marketers end up hindering their own multichannel efforts by believing a lot of these circulated misunderstandings, but with our help, you don’t have to. Today, we’re looking at three of the most common misconceptions around multichannel marketing, and – as experts in the area, letting you in on the real deal.
Myth 1: Multichannel Marketing is “Too Expensive”
There are a ton of marketers and organizations out there that have yet to try or implement multichannel marketing because it’s “too expensive” or “over budget”. It may cost slightly more than your generic, on-touch marketing, but it’s important to consider the benefits and weigh the cost versus the potential (and often guaranteed) ROI. There’s proof out there that many businesses end up getting much greater ROI from multichannel marketing, making the price worth it. Plus, it’s estimated that companies with optimal multichannel campaigns experience “customer retention rates of 89%, compared to an average of 33% for those businesses with weak multichannel engagement”. It’s all about how you use your budget, and allotting it to the marketing practices and programs that will yield the highest return.
Myth 2: Multichannel Solutions “Benefit Only the Customer”
It’s a common misconception that multichannel marketing is great for meeting customers at many touchpoints, but that it’s overwhelming and inconclusive for the company using it. This could not be further from the truth. Multichannel marketing is not just a one-touch process, and that’s what makes it unique and effective. Although it may seem like a lot at first (engaging with customers on several platforms such as direct mail, social, and website) it’ll be extremely helpful in forecasting and planning a company’s marketing strategy in the long run. Multichannel marketing benefits customers by providing them with relevant, personable, and consistent content, but also benefits your company by building brand awareness, loyalty, and trust within consumers and by compiling data and analytics for a complete picture of your audience’s customer journey.
Like we said, it may seem like a lot at first, but over time, you’ll get a clear picture of what channels and touchpoints work best for your company and reach the most customers, what channels and touchpoints don’t, and where and when it’s best to reach your target audience(s).
Additionally, multichannel marketing helps your employees improve customer service and build more personal and personalized relationships with customers. For example, while communicating with a customer at a certain touchpoint, your customer service representative can see exactly what contact points the customer has already accessed, as well as the information they’ve received or provided to your company. This relationship that multichannel marketing fosters not only creates less frustration and unawareness for the customer – but for the company as well. In turn, multichannel marketing reduces staff turnover, and ensures that you keep your most talented employees. It can also reduce staff errors and build a better brand reputation for your company as a whole
Myth 3: Multichannel Marketing is “Hard to Implement”
We’ve heard this one a lot. “Multichannel marketing is so involved,” or “I just don’t have time for all that.” Here’s the thing…multichannel marketing is only as hard as you make it. There are a lot of channels out there to reach your potential customers (website, in-store, catalog, e-mail, TV, text, blog, mail…the list goes on), but that doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. Plus, if you stick with your brand standards and ensure all of your touchpoints are connected and unified, you can use similar (if not the same) content, design, colors, and calls-to-action across channels, making the process much easier.
The best way to get started without getting overwhelmed is to create a plan. A great trick for quick planning is “RACE”; Reach, Act, Convert, and Engage. Make sure you’re hitting all of these parts of the process to ensure you’re connecting with and converting your audience, and getting the most out of your multichannel marketing.
Lastly, if you still feel you’re in over your head, or just really want to focus on other parts of your business, don’t hesitate to partner with experienced multichannel marketing experts. Research who you want to partner with so that you’re aware of what to expect and what they’ll expect from you in terms of budgets, end goals, and experience levels.
We hope we’ve eliminated some of your worries, answered some of your questions, and provided you with a bit of confidence in multichannel marketing. To get started on your next (or maybe your first) multichannel campaign, or learn more about how we can help, feel free to contact us.
Looking for more information on multichannel marketing and how to effectively launch a campaign? Visit our YouTube channel for quick tips and tricks from the experts at Strata.