Why real photos outperform stock photos (every time)

By December 18, 2015Tuesday teardown

In summary:

  • In complex B2B sales, your focus must be on building trust and credibility. Real photos of your people begin the process of establishing a personal relationship
  • We look at Clayton Utz, Allens and Herbert Smith Freehills for some good (and bad examples of how photos can be used to build trust and credibility)
  • If you’re selling time or expertise, your people must be front and centre on your website

Websites referenced in this teardown:

Transcript of the teardown:

Hi, I’m Steve Pell. I’m here to do another one of our B2B marketing teardowns where we look at business websites from a practical perspective to help you learn about better content and digital marketing.

Today, I’m looking at three Australian international law firms and the impact of images on your home page. This is going to be very practical advice if you’re a consultancy and selling a complex time based service.

The practical takeaway is for consultancies who are focused on selling time – you need your people front and centre on your website. The impact of having real photos of your people versus having general stock images is a pretty substantial increase in conversion rates.

There’s some research about improving conversion rates (see below) that shows a 35% increase in conversions going from a general stock image to a specific photo of real people, identifiable on your website.

One of the key things to remember with photos on your website is that they either get scrutinised or ignored. It’s binary. People will either examine the photos you have on your website in a lot of detail or they will completely skip over them. It’s why stock images just don’t work on websites. As soon as the stock image pops up, they’re skipping straight over it and looking for other information.

Let’s have a look at these three websites Clayton Utz to start with. This is a good website to reference if you’re in consultancy or law. These are photos of real people in their firm and not stock images. Every time I load this website, I’m going to get new people popping up. It builds credibility. It builds trust.

We’re going to look at Allens next and as I’ve talked about previously, these sliders just do not work well. But regardless, they’ve got photos of their people front and centre on the website. You’re not going to miss the people. It is clear that these are not stock photos. They are real people. It helps you build trust and credibility.

Again, just for some third party evidence here before we have a look at Herbert Smith Freehills (who don’t do this well) – why does this matter? We’re looking here at content assets that establish credibility (on the basis of a survey from KoMarketing). And you can see here that the two most important things for B2B credibility are information about your team and thorough contact information.

So you can see it’s really simple stuff that builds credibility, and helps people to trust you. In a complex sales environment like a law firm, credibility is what translates to sales. It’s not media mentions. It’s not news releases. It’s all about getting your team front and centre.

So with that background, let’s look at Herbert Smith Freehills. You can see it’s just generic images. There’s images of people but there’s nothing that tells you about who they are. These are very clearly stock images. They don’t help to sell me on the credibility of the firm, to build these relationships, that over time will be what I’m going to buy.

The key takeaway from today is if you’re selling time or complex consultancy engagements, you must have real people front and centre on your website. Clayton Utz has done this very well on the home page, and you can take some of these elements and apply them back to your website.

If you found this valuable and you’d like to get some more insights into how you can improve your digital and content marketing, we run a process in-house at TLP called the Content Audit. It’s a service where we’ll work through your digital and content marketing presence in detail, over 14 days. You’ll get a comprehensive report that gives you a whole bunch of low hanging opportunities to improve your returns.

There is plenty more information down below (here) if you’re interested to find out more.

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