Using Stock Photos In Your Marketing


What comes to mind first when you hear the words “Stock Photography”? If you immediately think of cheesy photos of business men and women looking directly into the camera with a huge smile on their face, you’re not alone.

Businesses and marketers use this type of stock photo because they want to look “professional”, and because that’s what their competitors are using.

generic stock photoOne of the most overused stock photos on the internet.

Yet you and I both know that the smiling customer support girl above isn’t really answering calls. Heck, you might have already seen her one any one of the hundreds of websites that use this same stock photo.

Here’s the thing.

If you want to make sales online, your sales pitch needs to come across as genuine. And to do that, you don’t always need the best perfectly lit high quality photos on a white background.

In fact, sometimes the crappiest photos work the best, because they look real. Think of that the next time you’re looking for a photo to use.

Now, if you’re still not convinced, check out this test by Marketing Experiments that resulted in a 34.7% increase in conversion rate just by replacing a generic stock photo with an actual photo of the company’s founder.

Use photos to illustrate concepts

Illustrate concepts with photos

Stock photo is a great tool for illustrating concepts

It’s said that a photo is worth a thousand words and it’s true some of the time.

For example, when we talk about stock photos being a great tool, we can show an image of tools to illustrate the concept (see what I did here?).

This does two things for you. One: it helps capture attention, and two: it stimulates viewer’s imagination.

Use photos to direct attention


Studies show that eye gaze can’t be ignored – we instinctively follow it to see where a person is looking. This is a powerful visual cue you can use on your landing pages and videos to help direct attention towards important elements on the screen.

As you can see in the example above – people tend to focus in on faces, which by itself doesn’t help much. However, by making the subject look at the direction of the copy, we make it easy for visitors to decide what to read next – all they do is follow the gaze.

If this is interesting to you here are 6 more marketing lessons you can learn from eye tracking studies.

Use photos your audience can relate to

It’s said that an image is worth a thousand words, and it’s true… as long as your audience can relate to the images you use.

If your goal, for example, is to reach people interested in starting their own business from home, you don’t want to show images of business people in suits and ties. Because people who want to work from home typically don’t want to dress up (or at all).

Now, if you can find an image that looks as if it’s been pulled from the life of your ideal prospect, you’re going to get an emotional response from people that are similar to your ideal prospect.

What this does is it helps establish the fact that you understand their problems, making it easier for your audience to trust you. So when possible, use images that provoke strong emotions.


Using stock photos doesn’t mean getting the same old cliche images over and over again. Instead, if you put some thought into it and find images that are relevant to your target audience,  you’re more likely to connect with them and increase sales.

Published by

Chris Willow

Chris is the founder of Killer Sales Video. He's been in the business for over 5 years and has worked with more than 1,000 clients in 29 countries worldwide.