The consumer car buying journey used to begin inside a dealership’s showroom, but that’s all changed thanks to the internet. Now, the process of buying a vehicle begins online rather than in a showroom. This shift from the real world into the digital world has made car dealership pictures more important than ever before.
Taking your own photos is time-consuming, expensive, and not a wise use of your dealership’s limited resources. Plus, the photos won’t ever look as polished or professional as stock photos regardless of how much time or energy you put into taking them. For these reasons, it’s best to pull car dealership pictures from a stock photo library instead of taking them on your own.
Your car dealership pictures could make or break your business, so choose them wisely. But if you’ve never used a stock photo library before, you may not know where to begin when it comes to choosing the right images for your dealership. Here are some of the most common mistakes you should avoid when choosing car stock photos:
Picking Irrelevant Images
Perhaps the most common mistake that dealerships make when choosing stock photos is picking irrelevant images. How does this happen? If you’re scrolling through a stock photo library, you may encounter a photo you really like. However, you may not have a good place to use this image on your website or social media pages. Because you like the image so much, you download it anyway and add it to a random blog or social media post.
Don’t make this mistake. If you are writing a blog on the latest electric vehicles, for example, there’s no need to include images of gasoline-powered cars. This page should only contain photos of electric vehicles that are mentioned in the content.
You should always look for relevant images that serve a purpose. Your images should be used to enhance the content, evoke emotion, educate or inform consumers, or persuade them to take action.
Playing It Safe
Many dealerships choose safe, conventional stock photos for their website, marketing materials, and social media accounts. There’s nothing wrong with choosing these images, but if you really want to attract your target audience, stop playing it safe.
Look for unconventional types of images that your target audience won’t be able to find anywhere else. Use 360 degree exterior spins to give them a chance to see the car from different angles. Incorporate 360 degree interior panoramic images so your target audience can explore the inside of a car from the comfort of their home. Images like these will help you win over consumers and set your dealership apart from your competitors.
Failing to Prioritize Quality
You should consider many factors when choosing a stock photo library. But many dealerships seem to focus on one single factor when deciding which stock photo library to choose: the cost.
The cost is important. After all, you shouldn’t choose a stock photo library that charges exorbitant prices that you can’t afford to pay. However, you shouldn’t choose a stock photo library simply because it doesn’t cost as much as its competitors. You must prioritize the quality of the photos as well.
In many cases, the lower the cost of the stock photo library, the poorer the quality of the photos. The images you choose should represent your dealership. If you choose poor quality photos, this will send the wrong message to your target audience.
Not Understanding Your Audience
Understanding your audience is key to the success of your dealership. It’s also crucial to choosing the right stock images for your dealership. If you don’t know what type of images your audience wants to see, you won’t know how to choose stock photos that will grab their attention.
For example, say you are choosing an image for the background of your homepage. This is important because it is the first image your target audience will see when they land on your website.
You assume that your target audience is interested in high-end sports cars, so you choose an image of a sleek sports car racing down a city street at night. But it turns out, your target audience is primarily looking for SUVs they can use to accommodate their growing families. If the first thing they see is a sports car, they may assume that your dealership won’t have what they are looking for, so they may leave your website to visit a competitor’s site.
This example illustrates the importance of understanding your audience. Make sure every image you choose speaks to your target audience and fulfills their wants, needs, or desires.
Selecting the Wrong Licensing Option
Selecting the wrong licensing option could complicate matters and cost you money, which is why it’s so important to understand which one is right for you. The three main types of stock photo licensing options are:
- Rights Managed: This is the most restrictive option. If you choose this option, you will need to pay a fee every time you use the image you download from the stock photo library. This type of license usually comes with an expiration date, too. If you use the photo after the license has expired, you could be fined.
- Royalty Free: This is the most common type of license. If you opt for a royalty free license, you will need to pay a flat fee in order to use an image. You will not be charged a fee for each use of the image. However, if you choose this option, you may need to pay an additional fee if the viewership of the image exceeds a certain number of people.
- Extended License: This option is similar to the royalty free license, but offers a number of additional benefits. Just like the royalty free license, an extended license allows you to pay a flat fee for an unlimited number of uses of an image. This type of license also gives you the right to use the image commercially and modify the image to fit your business’s needs.
It’s best to choose an extended license for your car dealership pictures so you don’t need to worry about expiration dates, recurring costs, or restrictions on how the images can be used.
Using An Image “As Is”
Many dealerships make the mistake of downloading an image from a stock photo library and immediately uploading it to their website or social media account. You’re not violating any of the rules of the stock photo library by using an image “as is,” but if you want your dealership to stand out, it’s best to modify the image first.
Adding your branding is one of the simplest and most effective stock photo modifications. This ensures that everyone knows the image belongs to you.
For example, say you post an image of a new vehicle on social media and one of your followers saves the image and shares it to their page. Their followers may not see your original post, but they will see your branding on the image. If they want more information on the vehicle, or simply want to see more pictures, they know how to find you thanks to this simple modification.
Choosing Outdated Images
Every business should make sure they are choosing up-to-date stock photos, but this is especially important for car dealerships. Why? The design of a vehicle can change from year-to-year, so if you are using outdated images, you aren’t showing your target audience the latest and greatest.
An outdated image could also confuse or mislead customers. For example, say you are writing a blog about the interior features of a new vehicle. When choosing a stock photo for this blog, you accidentally select a photo of the interior of an older model. Now, the content of your blog may be describing an innovative, high-tech infotainment system that’s nowhere to be found in the outdated photo you selected. This may confuse readers, who won’t understand what they’re supposed to be looking at in the picture. They may even leave your website to search for more reliable information elsewhere.
Forgetting About Your Website Design
Perfecting the design and layout of a website is hard work. Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste by choosing stock photos that don’t compliment your website design.
For example, say you’ve chosen a minimalist website design with neutral colors, clean lines, and plenty of white space. If you were to choose stock photos with bright colors and busy backgrounds, they might clash with the rest of your website design. In other words, an image like this may stick out like a sore thumb on your website.
To avoid this mistake, always consider your website design when choosing stock photos. Look for images that complement the look and feel of your design. Otherwise, the images may distract your website visitors rather than draw them in.
Keep this information handy so you know how to avoid these common mistakes the next time you choose car images from a stock photo library.