Hatch Image IdeasUsing a picture can greatly enhance any small business marketing project. In fact, studies have found that articles which include images get 94% more views than those that don’t; list posts with images get 333% more links than typical plain-text posts; 67% of consumers report that image quality is a key product purchase decision factor; and that people retain 58% of what they see, but only 10% of what they read. Additionally, Tweets with image links get twice the engagement of those without; and Photo posts on Facebook get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.

While most small business owners understand how important it is to include top-quality images on their websites and other marketing materials, they often don’t have the time or budget to create all of the original art and design elements they need. This results in compromises ranging from using the first free (often low quality or dated) image they can find via a web search or stock image CD collection, to creating their own, often less than professional-looking, images.

Fortunately, this type of compromise is not necessary. There are a number of good online sources for free images that can be used commercially. One of the best known is Flickr and its Creative Commons licensed content. Most Creative Commons images can be used commercially as long as you credit the content creator. However, Flickr is so large that finding the image you need can be a frustrating process. And, you may not want to include credits to a third party designer in your posts or on your website.

That leaves you with finding quality images that the artists have made available for free use without attribution. While you can definitely find these with some thoughtful searching (many paid sites make a small number of “sample” images available for free), a good first stop is the Free Marketing Images page provided by SumAll.

SumAll, a company offering data analysis services to companies of all sizes, has created a portfolio of free images that can be used for any purpose you like. The collection is part of their stated crusade to, “spam the internet to death with quality images.”

You can browse the collection of 100+ images by type (Illustration, Vector, Icon, Photo), and topic (E-mail Marketing, Social Media, Mobile, Community, Commerce, Content Marketing, Data, Ideas, Connection, Growth, Challenge, Success, Planning). If you don’t see what you need, you can request that they create it for you.

SumAll also offers a free set of e-commerce icon fonts that you can use to take advantage of the @fontface movement—which enables you to create your own fonts for use in any webpage rendered by a supporting browser. Using image fonts has the advantage of smaller file sizes, the ability to scale to any size without degradation, and the ability to manage image effects via css. You can access the SumAll marketing icon set here, along with instructions on how to use it.

So whether it is a set of icons for your website or a compelling image for your blog post—don’t impair your marketing effectiveness because you think you don’t have the time or money to include a quality image. Use one of these sources, or one mentioned in a previous Tip of the Week post, Guide to Finding the Right Image for Small Business Marketing.

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Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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