Worldwide, online business owners rely on imagery to sell their products, their services and their brands in general. If it’s true that an everyday picture says a thousand words, those used for business purposes have incalculable value.

Nevertheless, millions continue to use nothing but generic stock imagery to promote themselves online. Perhaps largely attributed to the fact that it at least seems to be the cheap, fast, easy and therefore obvious option for most.

In reality however, to stick with stock imagery – primarily or exclusively – is to deny yourself access to a variety of benefits. Three of which really could make a huge difference to your performance. So even when it seems like stock imagery is the way to go, there are three key advantages to original imagery not to be overlooked:

1. It’s Unique
First up, the very nature of stock imagery means that whatever pictures you choose, you won’t be the only one using them. There’s nothing more inspiring than visiting an online business, only to immediately get a sense of deja-vu. When web users come across generic imagery they’ve already seen elsewhere, they can’t help but make snap judgments about both businesses in question. Lazy. Unimaginative. Perhaps even fraudulent, what with having ripped-off the other site. This may not be the case, but it’s a common assumption.

With original imagery, you’re presenting one-of-a-kind images that cannot and will not be found elsewhere. Something that gives you the immediate opportunity to stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself.

2. It Tells a Story
In a sense, stock imagery also tells a story. The problem being that the story it tells isn’t your story. Nor is it anyone else’s – it’s simply a generic image created purely for sales purposes. These days, storytelling is one of the most important and powerful approaches to web marketing. It’s not enough to simply tell the world what it is you do. To establish yourself as an authority in your field, you need to tell them how you do it, why you do and who it is that does it.

For obvious reasons, this is fundamentally impossible with generic stock imagery. Yet it’s surprisingly simple to nail with quality original imagery.

3. It’s Free
Last up, stock imagery may be cheap, but nowhere near as cheap as original imagery. With a little practice and plenty of imagination, you can create your own original images 100% free of charge. The kind of technology needed to snap amazing shots to share with your customers is now routinely sold as part and parcel of high-end smartphones. Arm yourself with a decent camera and the rest takes care of itself.

Even if stock imagery is hugely affordable, you’re still needlessly spending money on something that’s bringing you little to no value. Or perhaps, having a detrimental impact on your image. If you’ve not yet experimented with original imagery, now’s definitely the time to get started.

You never know, you might enjoy it, too!

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson works as an part-time marketing manager providing marketing support to businesses.