Stock Photos: Use Them To Sell Dreams, Not Just Products

Sports Shoe Ads Using Imagery To Sell Dreams

If you’re selling items directed at a target market that already knows more about your products than you do, you may want to change your marketing approach, specifically the images or stock photos you use. Stores selling niche products like aftermarket mods for cars and bikes, organic supplements and dedicated sports products use this method.

For example, a conventional online store selling running shoes might post a big banner of a hot selling running shoe model on their front page. However, a store selling a specialized trainer might post an image of an 8-lane track or a rugged off road path, depending on the ‘dreams’ or ‘wants’ of their target market and not necessarily their needs. The product image takes a back seat in that shot.

This technique in not something new. If you noticed BMW’s ‘Joy is BMW’ ads, it would have been obvious that they were targeting a specific emotion. BMW’s target market already knows what to expect from the premium German marque in terms of technological ability. In fact, many are not even interested in that element. They are more interested in the exclusivity of the brand itself. So targeting a positive emotion would help their customers imagine where they want to be emotionally when using their product.

Of course, do not just post up a ‘dream’ image without any CTA (call-to-action) messages. Every element on your store page must help persuade a customer to make a purchase at your store. Tell your customers what to do next ‘zone’. Don’t wow them with a nice image and then just leaving them hanging there. You’ve hooked them, now you need to reel them in.

One last thing, if you’re using ‘free’ stock photos, make sure to read the usage rules carefully. Some are ok to use for free if you’re not using them to sell products or make money off of them. Some are ok to use for free if you mention where you got them from or mention the name of the photographer. Expanding on this, some images have watermarks, near the top or bottom, advertising the name of the photographer or source site. Users may use these images for free provided the watermark remains intact

Free stock photos are usually low rez. You’d probably have to fork out some money for better resolution images but they need not be print quality images. Those require really high resolution.

Stock photos for purchase cost anywhere from $1 to $100 each depending on resolution and type of license. The average cost of a 681 x 1024 image is less than $10. So it’s not going to burn a hole in your wallet if you decide to use a couple of them.

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