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Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009 at 10:36 am

Conversion Rate Exercise: Take Stock of Your Stock Photos

By Bryan Eisenberg
August 4th, 2009

Stock Photos | Shutterstock_ Royalty-Free Subscription Stock Photography & Vector ArtYour objective: Stand out, differentiate yourself from your direct and indirect competitors.

Your challenge: You launch a great concept of a campaign, or on your website and weeks or months later you see something similar your competitor is now doing.

Your exercise: Go through all your current campaigns, website and landing pages that use stock images, and make sure your competitors aren’t using anything similar.

Some of you may remember the graph with the curved arrow on our FutureNow homepage. For those of you who don’t here is a screenshot:

Conversion Rate Marketing_ Improve your website conversion rate with FutureNow

When we first launched the new design of our website in June of last year no one was using anything exactly like it and then several websites and campaigns used something similar like this banner on the MarketingExperiments homepage:

Discover Which Marketing Programs Really Work

I have seen several other similar ones as well. You should expect that a relevant and appropriate will resonate with other businesses as well. So we knew when we updated all the content on the FutureNowInc website this past week that was one of the images that was yanked. There are a couple of other stock photos courtesy of ShutterStock on the website, and hopefully they’ll remain unique to us for a while.

The main takeaway: unlike rotisserie chicken, you can’t “set it and forget it” when it comes to online marketing.

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Comments (21)

  1. I still find it amazing that people spend time, effort and money on a landing page and are still using the old and tired stock photos that have been around years.

  2. All of my product images are originals, I shot myself. I could never quiet find the limited stock photos of the particular product I was looking for, so I decided to shoot my own.

    I have in the past thought of using action shots on my category pages, in my area I sell Audio Bibles on CD, MP3, DVD and iPod formats. I thought of placing a picture at the top of each category pages of a person using the item, like a person with a CD player, or iPod, etc…

    But I was unsure how much that would effect conversion, a little or a lot?

    Has anyone run any test and have data to support increase in conversion?

  3. The fine folks at MarketingExperiments just shared another stock photo recycler on Twitter with at http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4739/Continuous-Testing-and-Improvement-Always-Be-Testing-Everything.aspx .

    They use a similar image to ours to promote a webinar titled after my last book – Always Be Testing. Hmmmm.

    How would you interpret it?

  4. I assume they really like the image. I hope they have tested the image and conversion rate and lead generation is going up using it. ;-)

  5. There are sites that you pay $5/mo (and up) and you can store several gigabytes on their servers. They have redundant servers so that you won’t ever lose your photos….as long as you don’t forget about them and the company goes out of business.

  6. I am looking for a place that has royality free photos, with ShutterStock you have to pay a lot for them. Are there any other places on the web to get good royality free photos a lot cheaper?

  7. @ Bryan, I think that is a direct copy. Nothing illegal of course. One of the problems that I’m sure you’re used to Bryan being one of the leaders in the industry. We definately live in a copycat economy and it’s only getting worse. It seems like every CEO that walks through our door wants a design like Apple, or some other existing reputable brand. You and I both know copying is short term, so I wouldnt get too concerned about a competitior copying – I find it a compliment. I had a competitior copy our website design, H1′s and our entire navigation. I called them up and thanked them for copying us and how it was such a privilege to have them think that our exact site was so good that they wanted to copy it exactly. Within the week it had changed, no completely, but enough to confirm that they were embarrased. It must get tiring reinventing yourself, trying to keep up with technology… :-)

  8. @Bryan – Sorry if you feel like we copied your line/image. That was not the goal or intent. The “Always Be Testing” expression is somewhat common – coming from “Always be Closing” from the Glen Gary Glen Ross movie (super-popular among sales and marketing people). And all the images on our blog come from either creative commons stuff on Flickr (and we give attribution) or come from iStock photo (where we pay and therefore do not give attribution).

    Good luck with the book! If you are ever coming through Boston, let me know, I’d love to buy you lunch and geek out over marketing!

  9. People/sites prefer to follow leader than innovate. It’s easier and most of the time, less work.
    But the good thing when people copy (or use idea) is that it means you usually ahead of them. Being ahead of the pack is the good work’s ROI.

  10. @Audio Bible – try http://www.istockphoto.com/index.php You pay as little as $3-15. This site is where amateur and semi- and professional load up their own photos for sale. You are then supporting the artist – not just a company. We use them all the time for our companies images (or shoot them ourselves if we have time).

  11. @Deb Mull – thanks for the link. I looked over the photos and price and it looks like a fair deal.

    Do you have an suggestions where best to place the photos of people using the product? On the item pages?

  12. Thank you, Bryan, for the mention!

    I’d like to clarify comments above about Shutterstock’s pricing – Shutterstock’s subscriptions let you license high quality images for your business at a more affordable rate than buying images on credits. If you need more than just a few images per year and want the assurance of getting royalty-free images you can use forever from a vast and diverse library, we may be a good fit for you.

    The smallest subscriptions start at $49 for 12 web-res photos you can select anytime over a year. The cost per image is hard to beat when you add up all those credits (nevermind trying to calculate how many credits you will need and what to do with the ones left over).

    John Mackin
    PR Manager, Shutterstock

  13. @Bryan – To follow up my recent tweet, you are going to love this:
    http://mashable.com/2009/08/14/social-media-marketers/

    We might have to buy some stock in Shutterstock and/or images of bar graphs, if this keeps up. ;)

  14. I suppose at least you know are leaders in your field, not followers. If people aren’t creative enough to do their own designs, they will probably fail in the long run. – Oh I see everyone said that :s

  15. I think this will be very helpful thank you.

  16. I just add this article in my bookmark.

  17. Great post, we are looking at optimising our site for some good conversion tracking!

  18. It’s helpful for me in the future.

    thank.

  19. I must say that image looks quite familiar these days, good for you that you where the first ones to use it.

  20. This post motivated me to replace a stock photo with a photo I took.

  21. Nice article. It would helpful for me in future. Thanks for sharing.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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