flickr BadgesThe majority of small business marketing projects involve images.  Whether you’re writing a blog, creating a direct mail piece, designing a web page, or crafting a flyer for your business, the right picture can make the difference between a killer sales piece and a deadly boring failure.

There are many options for obtaining the image you need.  You can create it yourself, which is becoming considerably easier now that you can take high resolution pictures on your phone and now that full function graphics software such as Photoshop Express Editor is available online for free.  However, sometimes it is better to use an image created by a professional.  Futhermore, sometimes browsing a library of images lets the perfect picture jump out at you—and it may be something you never would have thought to create yourself.

Online Sources for Finding Marketing Images

You can use the Google image search to find a picture of just about anything and then grab it for your own use.  However, doing this can mean inadvertently using copyrighted images without permission.  If you want to play it safe, and make certain that you have the proper permission to use an image, it is best to obtain it from a source that clearly states licensing rules.

The Flickr community contains a huge library of images that you can download and use for your projects. Many images available on Flickr use a creative commons license, which is an alternative to a full copyright.  Typically, this license type will allow you to use any image as long as you provide an attribution link to the artist. In some cases, images are licensed for non-commercial use only.

There are many options for paying large amounts of money for commercial use of images. A low cost option is istockphoto, which offers web-quality images for as little as $4, and large ones suitable for printing starting at about $25.

Comparing Creative Commons & Stock Photography

To help you decide whether you can find the image you need from a free source, or whether you’ll need to pay to get what you want, try the compfight image search tool.  Simply enter a search phrase and it will return a set of images that match, including choices from both istockphoto and Flickr.  You can filter the search to display only images available for commercial use, or only free creative commons licenses.

With the number of sources competing for your customers’ attention, you need your marketing to reach out and grab the reader in order to score more than a momentary glance.  Use these tools to create or locate the image that makes your small business marketing message jump off the page or dominate the screen.

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Image Credit:
flickr Badges by poolie, on Flickr

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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