Images are powerful way for any solar inbound marketing program to establish credibility. Inbound marketing, of course, is all about luring visitors to come to you by creating content that they will want to see — blog posts, whitepapers, check lists, e-books, etc. This content will be more attractive and more readable if you break up its text with an appropriate number of images.
Showing faces of real (happy) clients, photos of arrays that your company has installed and diagrams demonstrating easy financing or quick payback will not only generate interest among potential customers. Well chosen images specific to your company act as samples of your work, your process and your results for customers. These images make you more trustworthy.
But for images to work on a website, in an email blast or in any element of a solar inbound marketing campaign, solar marketers need to use them wisely. For example, consider stock photography. Stock images are seen everywhere because they are cheap and easy to find. But are they good to use?
Marketing Experiments performed a test comparing the use of stock photography verses real imagery on a website and each of their effects on lead generation. What they found was that photos of real people out-performed the stock photos by 95%. Why? Because stock images tend to be irrelevant. Resist the temptation to use photos of fake smiling business people!
As a result, take care to place meaningful images on your site. Every image is transmitting a subconscious message to your audience and sometimes the result is different from what might expect. I’d recommend looking into another study by Marketing Experiments, “Images vs. Copy: How getting the right balance increased conversion by 29%.”
So avoid stock shots of smiling people. Everyone will know that they’re not really your customers — or your installers. For people, it’s best to use your own company’s shots. Second best is to find people shots from a source not generally available to the Internet world such as a trade association or industry partner.
But if you need attractive shots of equipment, an easy and free alternative to stock photos is to search the photo-sharing site Flickr for Creative Commons photos, Commercial Use Allowed. For shots to use in a solar inbound marketing campaign, try search terms like “solar panel,” “solar power” or “solar installation.”
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group