Car dealerships might incorporate a variety of marketing materials in their campaigns. Banner advertising, Facebook advertising, print materials, billboards and even blogs and social media posts could help draw attention to the dealership and engage with potential customers.
When creating car dealership marketing materials, high quality stock photos can provide professional appeal that can draw interest and elevate the dealership’s brand. Here’s what to know about using stock photos in car dealership marketing materials.
WHY PHOTOS ARE IMPORTANT
When creating marketing materials, car dealerships often include photos of their pre-owned inventory or even new models. Photos not only serve to break up text (for written content), but they also can show buyers what’s available.
However, photos also add to the professionalism of the marketing endeavor. The quality of the photos might increase or potentially decrease the appeal of ads, posts and other car dealership marketing materials. The old cliché is that a picture is worth 1,000 words…and it might be true!
With pre-owned cars, some may be a bit rougher in appearance than others. Maybe there’s rust or some cosmetic blemishes, but dealers will likely take great care to ensure that even older vehicles look presentable and as nice as possible while on the lot.
For new cars that are fresh from the factory, cosmetic issues likely won’t be an issue. These cars showcase great on the lot.
Dealerships might photograph both pre-owned and new models to include in their marketing materials. Some dealerships might snap their own photos. Others could hire a professional photographer. A great photo can depend on the light and the skill of the photographer. A professional knows how to showcase cars from different angles, how to take interior shots, etc.
While DIY photos are always an option, some dealerships might struggle with their snapshots. Why? If the light isn’t great, the shot could look too dark…or the light might be too bright. Both scenarios can affect how the automobile appears in the photo.
The backdrop of the photograph also is important. Photographing the vehicle in front of a nice background (maybe the front of the dealership) could add to the appeal of not just the photo but the vehicle, too.
Some dealerships might snap vehicles parked on the lot. Maybe other vehicles are included in the background. This could be a great shot, but there are a lot of variables that can affect it if it looks dark and cluttered…or inviting.
DIY PHOTOS FOR CAR DEALERSHIP MARKETING MATERIALS
Not all dealerships have the money for a professional photographer, and dealerships might be constrained by marketing budgets. DIY could be the most affordable—or only!—option. So how do dealerships DIY photos for marketing materials?
With today’s technology, even dealerships that don’t have the extra cash for a professional photographer might have tools in their back pocket to create great photos of their inventory. Own a smartphone? The camera on a smartphone or tablet could be used to snap those shots. However, dealerships should ensure that photos are high resolution, although many newer models do take incredibly sharp photos.
Not sure how to make photos of vehicles look amazing? The Drive shared a list of helpful tips for taking photos of vehicles. For example, there is an ideal time for shooting photos. The Drive explained that “The hour after sunrise and the one before sunset offer the best light for photos….” Other tips from the site included not taking the photo at eye-level, thinking outside the norm for photos and making the most of location. The Drive showed a photo of an Acura in the midst of a snowstorm, and the effect was captivating. The elements might work to the photographer’s advantage!
Dealerships probably don’t want to post just one photo of a vehicle, as a single photo isn’t the full story. Typically, dealerships might include shots from different vantage points to show the vehicle completely. And shoppers who are looking online also probably want to see what the car looks like inside. Dealerships might include a full photo slideshow to ensure that potential buyers can see all the details of the car.
Dealerships also could take 360-degree photos of the vehicle, if they have a camera with this type of capability. This could be an easy way to provide a full view of each vehicle. A 360-view inside the car could add to the presentation, too.
DIY photos or hiring a professional photographer aren’t the only two options for snapping shots for marketing materials. There is, however, another option for dealerships to integrate professional shots of vehicles in their marketing materials without hiring a pro.
PROFESSIONAL STOCK PHOTOS FOR CAR DEALERSHIP MARKETING MATERIALS
Professional stock photos are photos of different makes and models that have been taken by a professional photographer. These photos are not representative of the exact car sitting on a dealer’s lot. Instead, these are photos of the standard vehicle and have been taken in a studio.
With professional stock photos, the vehicle is presented in the best possible environment. These photos don’t simply include a single shot of the vehicle, but a full photo slideshow of the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
Professional stock photos capture the data panel up close and in detail. Photos zoom in on the rims and tires. The lights are shown in high resolution. Even small details like the gear shift and the car’s brand emblem are included in sharp detail.
Why are these details important, though? Many car buyers begin their search online…even before the pandemic. The 2019 Car Buyer Journey Study from Cox Automotive revealed that buyers spent more than 13 hours researching, and more than 60 percent of this time was spent online. They might be reviewing the price of their own vehicle on sites like Kelley Blue Book, but they also might be browsing dealership websites or the manufacturer’s websites, too. Maybe they are looking for promotions, but, chances are, they are also looking at the cars.
Shoppers likely want to gather as much information as possible before moving on to the dealership. When the pandemic hit, consumers who were looking for a new car might have had few choices about shopping. In many areas, dealerships were closed to buyers. Pictures, slideshows and even virtual car showrooms became important resources.
Even before Covid, though, photos might have been an important component to assessing a new car…or a potential new car. The more photos a dealership could provide, the more details they could offer the potential buyer. Maybe shoppers will click through all the photos, or maybe not. It could depend on if they really have an interest in that model.
For dealerships, stock photos could help enhance the user experience. For example, these photos can add a professional touch to the dealership website or even social media accounts. With professional stock photos, vehicles are always presented in their best angle, against the perfect backdrop to create the ideal photo.
IS THERE A DOWNSIDE TO USING STOCK PHOTOS?
Dealerships can use stock photos across web platforms or within their marketing materials. These photos are sharp and professional, but are there ever any downsides to using these photos?
The only ‘con’ related to using stock photos might be related to using them to represent any pre owned inventory. Stock photos will always showcase a ‘new’ car, whether that vehicle is from 2006 or 2021. The photo will show a shiny new model with a flawless interior.
If the vehicle on the lot has rust, dents or other flaws, then dealerships will want to show these details. For this reason, stock ph-otos might not be the best choice for older vehicles. Again, consumers don’t want to see a photo of a vehicle only to visit the lot and realize it looks nothing like the photo!
BEYOND STOCK PHOTOS
Stock photos from EVOX Images are not simply limited to two-dimensional photos. Dealerships that are interested in using stock photos online also can access fly-around and spin-around photos. These options let consumers actually rotate the vehicle to look at it from different angles. EVOX Images also can create videos of vehicle models, too.
These videos can be integrated into online marketing. Videos can be posted to the dealership’s website or shared via social media. The options, though, provide shoppers with an interactive means to preview new car models.
Dealership marketing materials could be inclusive of online content (like the dealership’s website), advertising, and social media sites. Content could include blogs and posts or other outreach efforts. But content with just words isn’t likely going to entice buyers or customers to visit the dealership. When consumers are researching online, seeing the vehicle is important, too. Photos, slideshows and even videos could provide consumers with an up-close look at all the details for each vehicle.
These photos might be taken by a professional hired by the dealership or by the dealership staff. However, stock photos of new models also could provide sleek and high-resolution professional photographs that showcase all the details of the vehicle…and might even let shoppers rotate the car, too. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what story do your dealership’s photos tell potential customers?