First off, click on the image above to go read this article from KISSmetics. It’s a good piece on how images effect your conversion rate optimization. Then come back and read my advice on how to use a stock photography site to find images that look anything but stock.
Smarter Photo programming
You can ‘fix’ the problems with stock photography mentioned in this conversion rate optimization article by simply selecting photos that don’t look like stock photography. That’s usually all you need to do and it’s not hard because you just select an image that doesn’t look like a stock photo. Now, it’s possible your photo ‘picker’ is off and you don’t find it easy to identify stock photos.
Here then is some advice that will help you with selecting visually compelling photos whether you’re good at photo programming or not.
Sit and think of concepts that are loosely related to your specific text or copy rather than literal translations of an article or headline theme. For example, I had a feature I worked on not too long ago that was about people who are influential. I quickly thought about some characteristics of influential people. They’re often good communicators. Nothing about that caught my interest though. Next I thought about some of the attributes of an influencer’s personality. It wasn’t long before the word ‘magnetic’ came to mind. I could have chosen one of many other words or traits about influential people that popped in to my head. I bet you can too.
Now influential people having magnetic personalities isn’t the literal translation of influence or influential, but it is related and relevant. People are high sensing, intelligent beings. They’ll typically get what you mean. But make sure your photo is adding to the message that you’re communicating. Think of the image and text that you are using as telling a story or creating an experience.
If you’re stretching to connect the dots between a photo and your copy then add a simple short headline as text on your photo to bring the connection home to the reader. I do this all the time on the weekly newsletter that I make for one of my friends and clients.
Back to influencers and magnets.
I quickly found an image that showed metal filings being attracted to two magnets. The image worked. Nothing about it looked stock. It wasn’t literal. It was closely realted to my topic. I quickly purchased the photo and started thinking more about how I might use it.
I often make small but easy modifications to an image that further customizes it (this ratchets the stock factor down even more). I looked at the photo of magnets and metal filings for a few seconds and then realized that the two magnets could become a smiley face with nothing more than a little smiley face. I put the photo in an iPhone app I have for drawing and used my Kindergartner level drawing skills to make a smiley face.
Now my image had a double meaning where both meaning’s supported the idea of an influencer (1) people who are influential are like magnets (2) smiling people are themselves attractive and influential people are naturally attractive by force of their positive personality.
Here’s the result.