Do you use images in your online marketing?
If you have a website, then I am sure you have used images there. But you should also use images in your blog articles on the site. I assume you do write blog articles? If not then you really should consider doing so, as this is a great way of attracting visitors to your website, establishing yourself as an expert in your field, etc. If you include an image in the article you are likely to gain double the page views – that is twice as many people visiting your website and effectively presenting themselves to you as prospective clients.
My next question is where do you get your images?
This is an extremely important question.
Many people simply trawl the internet looking for the right image, one that captures the impression they want to give, and use it without any further thought. They have the naïve view that if it is “out there” on the net and possible to download without any watermarks appearing, then it is fair game. This is an extremely dangerous view. Nothing is fair game. There is copyright attached to every image you find on the net, and if you use that image in breach of the copyright terms you are just asking to be sued!
Others pay an agency to write their web pages, blog articles, etc and leave that agency to source appropriate images. They assume if they have paid someone in good faith to do this, they are protected from any legal actions for unauthorised use of someone’s intellectual property. If the agency did not acquire the right to use the image, then it is the agency that is guilty of copyright theft, not them. Wrong! If it is your website, then you are legally responsible. If you are sued for copyright theft you can always sue the agency in turn, but that will entail more legal fees, and there is no guarantee you will receive from that action the amount of compensation you will have to pay to the copyright owner.
The answer is to take intellectual property rights very seriously. If you are downloading an image to use yourself, make sure you are familiar with the terms under which you are allowed to use it. If you are paying an agency to do this for you, make sure the agency shows you proof that they have followed the terms of the copyright owner.
The potential penalty for not doing this can be very high indeed. Getty Images is the copyright holder for a vast number of images, and Getty will insist on a very high compensation if they find you are using one of their images without permission. That compensation could be anything from 20 to 100 times the amount you would have had to pay them for a licence to use the image.
I hope I haven’t put you off using images altogether. As I said at the beginning of this article, the proper use of images is an essential element of any good marketing campaign. You simply have to make sure you have a licence to use the images.
You will find plenty of sites out there that will sell you image licences for very reasonable fees. But there are also sites that will allow you to use images without charge provided you follow the terms they dictate. Those terms may involve giving credit to the creator of the image, which is fair enough, or sometimes you do not even have to do that but simply have the courtesy of letting the creator know how you are using it.
One site we sometimes use for this is http://www.freeimages.com/. Many of the images on this site can be used without any attached conditions at all, not even credit to the creator of the image. Always read the terms for each image you use, though, as sometimes there are some conditions you must follow. One reason we use this site is that it is owned by, guess who? Getty Images! Which makes it extremely unlikely Getty is going to come after us and say the site we got our image from was not the copyright holder and therefore we are in breach of copyright.
Take proper precautions to ensure you are not in breach of copyright, but get out there and find great images to enhance your marketing efforts. You should find this far more than pays for itself in bringing quality clients to your door. Images in Marketing