Monthly Archives: August 2016

Convert More Customers: Tips & Tricks For Running A/B Tests On Your Email Campaigns

Email continues to be one of the most effective online marketing tactics but many companies struggle to establish benchmarks or successfully improve performance. How many people are receiving, reading and acting on email messages? Those are all key questions to improve email marketing performance.

Email open rates can vary depending on the target industry and even the job function of the prospects.  Testing to improve email marketing performance is essential, but determining which variables have the largest impact on the overall effectiveness of an email campaign can seem overwhelming.

However, a process driven approach to identifying success factors that lead to increased conversions will set your company up for success both short term, and long term.

One way of improving your email marketing process involves testing: A/B or multivariate testing, to assess which tactics lead to the desired outcomes such as click throughs and conversions.

What is A/B & Multivariate Testing?

Put simply, A/B testing involves sending out different versions of any email campaign to segments of your existing customer or subscriber list.  Typically A/B testing includes changing only one element at a time, whereas multivariate testing includes multiple elements.  There are many variables to consider when running an email test so it is best to pick a maximum 3-4 items to test for each campaign.  If you are unsure about which variables to test please reference the list below for guidance.

What Can Be Tested?

As mentioned you don’t want to get carried away with testing too many variables at once.  Below I have included some of the tactics that your team may want to consider when running a A/B or multivarite email test.

  • Time of Day
  • Day of Week
  • Subject Lines
  • Body Copy
  • Layout
  • Calls to Action
  • Design (including images)
  • Personalization
  • Offer

Sample Email Test

Who Should A/B Email Test Be Sent To?

If you search online or talk to marketing experts you may receive a variety of answers.  Depending on your list size you will want to send out A/B tests to a large enough segment to collect enough data to make an informed decision.  I would recommend splitting your list into three parts:

  • Recipients of test A – ¼ of your list
  • Recipients of test B- ¼ of your list
  • Recipients of the “winning” email – ½ of your list

What Should Be Tracked?

  • Open Rate
  • Click Through Rate
  • UnSubscribe Rate

A Best Practice Approach For Running A/B & Multivariate Tests for Email Marketing

Data Doesn’t Lie: Base  your course of action on proven numbers, not which email you BELIEVE will perform better.

Use Tools: Services such as MailChimp provide a tool for running A/B tests.

Test Often: The way that your audience reacts to information will evolve, make sure that your process evolves as well.

While we talk a lot about search optimization, social media and content marketing here at Online Marketing Blog, make no mistake: Email Marketing is a powerful communication and conversion tool. It integrates well with other online marketing efforts to both attract and retain customers. Remember ABO: Always Be Optimizing. It applies to email marketing performance just as much as pay per click or SEO.

I’m curious to know what tests your company may have run in the past.  What were your results?  How did these results shape your process going forward?

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2012. | Convert More Customers: Tips & Tricks For Running A/B Tests On Your Email Campaigns |

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How YOU Can Help Stop Elephant Abuse

How YOU Can Help Stop Elephant Abuse

While Ringling Bros. circus may have caved to public pressure and pulled the elephants it owns off the road, Ringling is just one element of the three-ring circus known as the captive animal entertainment industry. Numerous exhibitors still stuff elephants into cramped, hot trailers and travel from venue to venue across the country. Often suffering from depression, painful arthritis, cracked toenails, and skin conditions—all brought on by their confinement—these animals are routinely beaten, shocked, and whipped until they learn to perform meaningless tricks and carry patrons on their back while plodding in circles for hours.

Here’s how you can help stop this abuse:

1. Let Us Know

If you hear about plans to bring an elephant to your area, give us a holler at [email protected]. While we track most circuses that use animals, we often rely on help from the public to stay up to date. Protests have been so successful that some exhibitors refuse to advertise their appearances! But with tips from folks like you, they don’t get far. So let us know, please. We’re all in this together.

2. Get in Touch With Animal Control

Contact your local animal control officers and ask them to monitor the exhibitor to prevent abuse with bullhooks—weapons resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end—and other mistreatment. Because of heightened public awareness and evidence of routine mistreatment in circuses, local authorities across the country are taking a closer look at events that showcase exotic animals. Order PETA’s free “Basic Tips for Inspecting Elephants in Circuses” guide, and have it sent directly to them. It was specially written to help animal control officers, humane investigators, state wildlife agents, and other law-enforcement officials know what to look for when inspecting circuses.

A bullhook being used on a baby elephant.

3. Get the Facts

PETA maintains factsheets on numerous circuses and animal exhibitors that list their history of federal Animal Welfare Act violations as well as other problems. If one of the circuses listed is coming to your town, make sure your friends and family know why they should skip the show. Share the factsheet on your social media accounts so that your followers can stay informed.

Nosey the Elephant (1)

4. Protest

Many people who attend events that showcase exotic animals are unaware of what goes on behind the scenes, and once they hear about the abuse, they vow never to go again. Protesting at the venue is an effective way to educate attendees. See PETA’s “Holding a Demonstration” page for tips on how to do so, and get in touch with us. We’ll help you make your protest a success.

Activists, one wearing an elephant costume, protest outside the Circus World Museum: "Circuses: No Fun for Animals;" "Elephants are Abused;" "Beating Elephants is a Crime;" "Time for Elephant Freedom"

5. Contact Your Local Lawmakers

Elephants don’t willingly perform pointless tricks and haul screaming kids around fairs—they do it because their handlers never let them forget that with one wrong move, they may get beaten with a bullhook. Without these sinister weapons, handlers are rendered helpless. Some major cities across the U.S. have passed legislation outlawing bullhooks, and the Rhode Island General Assembly recently said, “Nope! Not on our watch,” to traveling exhibitors by banning bullhooks statewide. Follow the tips in our “Passing Animal-Friendly Legislation” guide, and get the ball rolling in your area.

6. Stay Loud

Elephants never forget the beatings and loneliness they endure for human entertainment. Remember to use any opportunities you can to speak up for them throughout the year—not only when you know that an exhibitor is coming to town. Make a statement by wearing a cool “Let Them Be Free” T-shirt, and pick up the matching tote to use for your groceries. They are both great conversation starters. And please take a minute to take action for Nosey, one of the loneliest elephants in the U.S., and then share the page widely. Any elephant who’s forced into captivity and used for entertainment has a sad story, but Nosey’s might be one of the saddest.


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Action – PETA

Facebook plans to let users activate Safety Check for emergency situations

Mark Zuckerberg speaking at Luiss University in Rome on August 29, 2016.

Facebook is working on a way to let users activate Safety Check of their own volition, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed today.

Speaking at a Townhall Q&A at Luiss University in Rome, Zuckerberg fielded a bunch of questions from students and the online community. In reference to an earlier question on Safety Check, which Facebook activated following the massive earthquake that hit Italy last week, an audience member asked: “Will users be able to activate it on their own?,” which Zuckerberg confirmed: “Yes, we’re working on that already.”

Mark Zuckerberg speaking at Luiss University

Above: Mark Zuckerberg speaking at a Townhall Q&A at Luiss University on August 29, 2016.

Facebook launched its Safety Check feature in October 2014 as a way to let users tell friends that they’re OK in the wake of natural disasters. The initiative was expanded to include other emergency situations, such as terrorist attacks, but the company has come in for criticism in the past for its selectivity in activating Safety Check for some events but not others. The underlying suspicion in many criticisms was that Facebook was demonstrating a preferential treatment to a specific region of the world, namely “the West.”

“If we’re building a community product, this is one of the moments of truth for us,” continued Zuckerberg, in response to the question. “How we judge whether Facebook is successful, it’s not just on whether you can share a photo of a fun moment, or a night out with friends, but it’s also whether our community is strong enough and we give people the tools to keep people safe in those situations [emergencies]. We’re working on what you say. When Safety Check got started a couple of years ago, it was only for natural disasters. Unfortunately since then we’ve had to expand it to terrorist attacks too, because that’s just been too common over the last few years. The next thing we need to do is make it so that communities can trigger it themselves when there is some disaster.”

It’s not entirely clear yet how Safety Check would be activated by people or communities, or what situations would “qualify” for Safety Check. But from Facebook’s perspective, putting its users in control of activating the feature would not only help the public, but it would also distance Facebook itself from accusations that it’s biased toward certain regions.

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Marketo Summit Session: Engaging with Cross Channel Marketing

[Note from Brian: Please note that Marketo is a client of TopRank Online Marketing]

When was the last time you heard of a really successful email campaign? Or TV ad campaign? Or a campaign on any channel for that matter? It’s likely been awhile.

The reason that isolated, channel-specific campaigns are rarely discussed these days is simple: they rarely work. That by no means is saying that email, or TV, or social, can’t be incredibly effective platforms to market your messages. Cross channel (see multiple channel) marketing is effective because each of these platforms can have an impact, when integrated into a holistic campaign.

It’s with this in mind that Maria Pergolino, Marketo’s Senior Director of Marketing, led the Marketo Summit panel discussion ‘Engaging with Cross Channel Marketing’.

Joined by Marketo users Tricia Reilly of VMWare and Loretta Jones of Echosign, Pergolino started the session by asking each panel member to share their journey to adopting Marketo’s marketing automation solution. After Reilly and Jones reviewed how their business needs and market demands led them to Marketo, the discussion then changed gears and focused on some ways VMWare and Echosign leveraged data from Marketo to identify and develop a cross-channel marketing strategy to more effectively nurture prospects through the sales funnel.

The session featured several case studies, but Pergolino’s own story of Marketo’s recent campaign to re-engage stale contacts really resonated with the crowd. Here are the details on how fortune cookies drove $ 200K in revenue for Marketo.

Marketo’s Fortune Cookie Campaign

Challenge: Reinvigorate high value but inactive email subscribers.

Strategy: Re-engage these stalled contacts through a multi-touch, customized campaign.

Tactics: Pergolino’s team deployed a marketing mix aimed at a targeted audience segment that included: email, direct mail, web content and phone calls.

Marketo’s marketing team started the campaign by leveraging the sales teams insights and asking them to nominnate contacts to target for the campaign. After the lists of contacts were cleaned to remove old or inaccurate data, the campaign was ready to launch.

  1. Fortune cookie baskets were sent to targeted contacts
  2. Each basket included a definitive guide resource, as well as a personal letter
  3. Once the package was received, the e-signature for the package created a notification within Marketo, triggering an email to the contact
  4. A follow up call was then automatically scheduled with the appropriate sales rep through Marketo’s integration with Salesforce.
  5. Optimized web and social content was crafted and published to reinforce the key messages

Results:  Pergolino shared that the cost to Marketo for developing and executing the campaign was approximately $ 13,000. The return was slightly higher, with $ 200,000 to-date in revenue…with more opportunities in-progress.

Food aside, this story reminds us of the importance of connecting with our audience it different ways. Direct mail, email and phone enabled Marketo to effectively push their strategic message and inspire action, while their optimized web content allowed them to pull in the target audience to destinations that moved them along the funnel.

Have you had success with a cross channel campaign?  What’s your fortune cookie story?



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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2012. | Marketo Summit Session: Engaging with Cross Channel Marketing |

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Uber wins temporary delay on New York price-fixing lawsuit


(Reuters) — A federal judge on Friday granted a request by Uber Technologies Inc and its chief executive officer to put a passenger’s price-fixing lawsuit against them on hold, while they appeal his refusal to let them arbitrate the dispute.

Calling his decision a “close call,” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said the defendants had not made a “strong showing” that their appeal would likely succeed, though they would face irreparable harm if arbitration were wrongfully denied.

But he said the appeals court could clarify whether Spencer Meyer, the Connecticut plaintiff, and others like him consent to arbitration when they buy services subject to conditions in “clickwrap” and “browsewrap” agreements found online.

In his proposed nationwide class-action lawsuit, Meyer said Uber and CEO Travis Kalanick violated antitrust laws by conspiring with drivers to charge high “surge-pricing” fares during periods of heavy demand. Uber takes a share of drivers’ earnings.

On July 29, Rakoff denied Uber’s request for arbitration, saying Meyer never agreed to it and the San Francisco-based company did not properly notify him about its policies.

Meyer opposed delaying his case while Uber appealed that ruling.

“We look forward to defending Judge Rakoff’s decision and having this matter returned to the district court,” Brian Feldman, a lawyer for Meyer, said in an email.

Uber and its lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The company faces several lawsuits over its pricing and its treatment of drivers, and often tries to keep such disputes away from courthouses.

On Aug. 18, a federal judge in San Francisco voided Uber’s $ 100 million settlement with drivers who claimed they were employees rather than independent contractors, and entitled to recoup costs such as gas and vehicle maintenance. The judge said that accord was not fair, reasonable or adequate.

The case is Meyer et al v. Kalanick et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-09796.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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Animals Aren’t ‘Freight’: 12 Ways You Can Help Them

Animals Aren’t ‘Freight’: 12 Ways You Can Help Them

Every week, more than a billion live animals are transported worldwide over long distances, through blazing heat and freezing cold, often without food, water, or veterinary care—as if they were nothing more than freight. Their grueling journeys frequently end at a slaughterhouse, where they face a terrifying death. Others end up on pet store shelves or in laboratory cages.

On August 29, caring people around the world will participate in a global day of action against all forms of live-animal transport. The day will mark the 20th anniversary of the world’s worst live-export disaster, when more than 67,000 sheep burned to death or drowned when the ship carrying them across the Indian Ocean burst into flames and sank. 

The best way to help animals is never to buy them or their body parts for any reason, but we can also help reduce their suffering by taking action now to improve their transport conditions. Here are 12 actions you can take:

Tell Air France officials that you won’t fly with them until they stop shipping live monkeys.

The airline continues to ship monkeys to laboratories to be tormented in experiments, even though every other major airline in the world refuses to do so. The monkeys are bred in captivity on squalid factory farms or torn away from their homes and families in the wild before being crammed into tiny wooden crates and loaded into the cargo holds of both cargo and passenger planes.

Refuse to attend circuses that use animals.

Animals used in circuses are forced to spend most of their lives in cramped, barren cages and trailers. Elephants are kept in leg shackles that prevent them from taking more than one step in any direction, and Ringling Bros. forces big cats to travel for up to 50 weeks a year. Most are allowed out of their cages only during the short periods when they have to perform. Help end this abuse by attending only animal-free circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil.

Caged Tigers in Caravan

Speak up for horses transported internationally and slaughtered for meat.

Every year, more than 100,000 American horses are crammed into livestock trailers and trucked to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, often without food or water. Urge your legislators to support bills that would end this cruelty.

Kevin Silverlaspia at Livestock Auction

Write a letter to your local paper about chickens transported for food.

Let people know that chickens are rounded up by workers who grab them by the legs and sling them into crates for transport, often breaking their fragile bones. They are often deprived of food and water, and the journey to the slaughterhouse may be up to 12 hours long, through all weather conditions.

Chickens on the Truck to Slaughter

Urge Australia to end cruel live sheep exports.

Australia sends more than 2 million live sheep to the Middle East every year—a grueling trip across the Indian Ocean in the searing heat, sometimes taking weeks. More than 200 million animals have been crammed onto filthy cargo ships over the last 30 years, and more than 2.5 million of them have been trampled to death or have died of dehydration, starvation, or disease.

Meet with your political representative to discuss the way cows are transported for slaughter.

They are crammed onto trucks for journeys that can be 1,500 miles long. Many collapse in hot weather or freeze to the sides of the truck in winter. Cows who are too lame to walk when they reach the slaughterhouse are often dragged to their deaths by ropes or chains.

cows in transport truck© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Don’t buy betta fish.

A PETA investigation revealed that betta fish are often transported from dealers to pet stores in tiny plastic bags stuffed into cardboard boxes. These sensitive animals can be jostled around for days, often from one end of the country to the other. Help spread the word and encourage others to let fish live in peace in their natural homes and not to support pet stores that sell them.

Ask the Canadian government to improve transport regulations for all animals.

Canada’s notoriously lax animal-transport laws allow some animals to be shipped for up to 52 hours without water, food, or rest. Add your name to the petition to improve Canada’s regulations governing the handling and transport of farmed animals—before the September 21 deadline!

Pigs Crammed Onto a Transport Truck

Never patronize pet stores.

Even if a store claims that it doesn’t buy from puppy mills, it probably buys from a broker that does. Puppies are torn from their mothers, packed into crates, and shipped for hundreds of miles in pickup trucks, tractor trailers, and airplanes, often without adequate food, water, ventilation, or shelter. Every penny spent at a pet store supports this abuse, so buy your animal-care supplies only at stores that don’t sell animals or online, and always adopt from animal shelters.

dogs at a puppy mill

Don’t go to zoos.

Zoos routinely transfer animals among facilities, which is a stressful and terrifying ordeal that sometimes kills them. Transporting giraffes and zebras is especially risky because they’re skittish by nature and try to flee when frightened. Giraffes’ bodies are so fragile that they routinely injure themselves—sometimes fatally—by running into the sides of transport cages in panic. This happens so often that the primary transporter of giraffes for zoos factors the cost of a government fine for accidents into its shipping price.

Hold a vigil or remembrance service for pigs transported for food and invite media to attend.

In order to force terrified pigs onto trucks bound for the slaughterhouse, workers often shock them with electric prods. No laws regulate the duration of transport or the provision of food, water, and rest. According to industry reports, more than 1 million pigs die each year during transport.

Sad Pig on TruckAnita Krajnc | Toronto Pig Save

Spread this message far and wide to your family, friends, and colleagues.

There’s no better way to do this than by sharing the Animals Are Not Freight Day of Global Action on social media. Knowledge is power—let your friends, neighbors, and family know about this campaign so that we can end the extreme crowding, exhaustion, dehydration, pain, and stress endured by animals in live transport.

Animals who suffer during transport need compassionate people to speak up for them—and your voice can make a difference. For example, thanks in part to individuals who voiced their concern, almost every major airline in the world now prohibits the transportation of primates to laboratories. Let’s make a difference by speaking out against cruelty in the transportation of all animals!

The post Animals Aren’t ‘Freight’: 12 Ways You Can Help Them appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

Amazon just launched Vehicles, a place to talk about and lust after cars

Amazon has introduced Amazon Vehicles, a forum where car enthusiasts can chat about their favorite vehicles — and design their dream car. Vehicles is an extension of Automotive, Amazon’s marketplace for buying actual cars parts like tires or air filters. Similarly, Vehicles is an offshoot of Amazon Garage, which lets you store information about cars you already own. It sounds confusing because it is. Amazon has created three different auto destinations, and while all have their own purpose, it could (read: should) be one service. But Vehicles is meant for the big picture. A quick jaunt through Amazon Vehicles is…

This story continues at The Next Web

The Next Web

The House Fund unveils Berkeley startup incubator and $2 million philanthropic round

The House

Partners in the Berkeley-based House Fund announced Wednesday that they’re doubling down on their efforts to support startups emerging from U.C. Berkeley [Cal]. The group has launched a nonprofit venture that has built a 7,000 square-foot incubator and office space for Berkeley student, faculty, and alumni-founded startups. The facility will also have space to host private and community events.

To support this effort, a $ 2 million philanthropic fund has been created — dedicated to the incubator — called The House. The capital will also pay employee salaries and other expenses.

“We wanted to provide the missing home for Berkeley’s startup ecosystem,” explained Cameron Baradar, managing director for The House. For the past four years, he has been working with The House Fund’s managing partner, Jeremy Fiance, in reaching out to the area’s startup community. “There is so much activity on Berkeley’s campus, but because it is such a large university, by population, there is a lot of confusion in navigating the campus’ resources. This is directly related to our vision for a startup institute – we want to provide founders with what they need, when they need it, by building pathways of resources for Berkeley’s founders across all stages.”

The House is an extension of Fiance’s venture fund, which debuted in April to fund pre-seed and seed-stage companies with ties to the university. Previously a managing partner with the Dorm Room Fund, Fiance shared at the time why he created this investment vehicle: “I saw a huge investment opportunity after writing an 85-page senior thesis looking at Cal startups over the last decade. Cal is number two for venture-backed startups…the top four schools are Cal, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford…all have funds of more than $ 100 million; Cal has no fund.”

After securing the $ 6 million to invest, the next step is to provide more resources for Berkeley-affiliated startups. The House is designed to support UC Berkeley and founders. A portion of the money returned from The House Fund will be used to support The House nonprofit.

Baradar said while the space is free to use, access is through one of the organization’s three initiatives: The House Founders, which supports student entrepreneurs; The House Residency, which supports local startups; and The House Fund, which is the aforementioned $ 6 million fund Fiance raised.

Perhaps the best way to think about The House is as an office space adjacent to Berkeley’s campus. It follows patterns set by not only venture firms but also corporations that offer startups they support a place to congregate. Described as a “startup institute,” The House is not geared to those who are only staying several months, but rather toward startups that will be around over a 2-6 year timeline and want to have access to thousands of researchers and a large community of alumni.

It’s quite possible that Fiance and his team are looking to find the next big startup, especially after UC Berkeley played a role in the founding of companies like Caviar, Life360, InDinero, Apple, Intel, Niantic, Tesla, Oculus, FireEye, Shazam, Nextdoor, Lithium, Cloudera, Tanium, and DoorDash — all of which have at least one founder from the campus.

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5 Ways to Encourage the World to Go Down-Free

5 Ways to Encourage the World to Go Down-Free

Happy rescued geese

Can’t stand the thought of geese being plucked alive for down? Neither can we. Here are five easy ways that you can encourage people to join the flock of compassionate folks who aren’t down with down:

1. Down-Free Vacationing

Traveling soon? Give the hotel a heads-up that you require down-free bedding for optimal relaxation, and be sure to confirm your down-free reservation upon check-in. If the hotel is accommodating, leave a nice comment on its Facebook page so the public will know.

Vegan talking on the phone

2. Up With Alternatives!

Holiday shopping is in full swing. Let’s raise the revenue of compassionate companies. Remind your friends and family to buy products that don’t contain down. They’re cheaper and more comfortable. Check out PETA’s resources, and tell your friends and family about down-free beddingcoats, and even ski gear!

download (2)

3. Raise Your Voice.

Lululemon is still being a sourpuss and selling products that contain down. Tell the yoga-apparel company that you’re opting to namaste away from it until it ditches the down.



4. Down Is Harmless? As If!

You’d be surprised by how many people are clueless about down. Share actor Alicia Silverstone’s exposé on your social media pages, and your friends will be totally buggin’ at the thought of ever purchasing it again.

5. Some Down Is on the Down-Low. Expose It.

Check out these nine places where down could be hiding, and share your insight with everyone.

Colorful Photo of Plucked Down Geese On GrassCopyright Friedrich Mülln

Want to find more ways to speak up for animals?

Already part of the Action Team? Speak out against humane meat.

The post 5 Ways to Encourage the World to Go Down-Free appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

How to ‘Un-Stock’ Your Photography: 8 Examples That’ll Change the Way You Choose Photos


With 46% of marketers reporting that photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies, it should come as no surprise that quality photos are in high demand.

Trouble is, most commercially available photos on the internet were taken to visualize broad overall concepts rather than concrete messages. That means they can be used in all sorts of campaigns … but also end up looking generic.

Think of all the photos of smiling receptionists and perfectly suited business leaders you’ve come across. These images may compete for attention, but often fail to register, simply because your customers can’t identify with them. Download the free stock photos you've been searching for here. 

As a marketer, you can cut through the noise by using images that more closely relate to your audience. It’s what we call “real photography” here at EyeEm: Unique captures, delightful moments, and surprising perspectives. Images that are more concrete will resonate with audiences much more powerfully since they show real life rather than staged situations.

To visualize what we mean, we put together a handful of generic images alongside a ‘real’ counterpart sourced from our community of photographers. The proof is in the pictures, but we’ll let you see for yourself …

8 Examples of Authentic Imagery For Your Campaigns

1) Business

When it comes to business-related photos, there’s no shortage of clichés. Rather than deciding on an overly clean, generic image like the one below of the woman holding an “open” sign, dig deeper for something more authentic — something that tells a story.

You’ll notice that our suggestion ties in a more personal side of business by highlighting two people working together on a project. You can see the emotion in the woman’s face, as she uses her hands to explain something to her coworker in a seemingly authentic exchange. 

Do This:


Source: Sebastian Kopp via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: Pexels

2) Technology

Technology is notoriously hard to visualize, since a concept like “connectivity” is quite abstract. Old-school stock photography usually puts people next to the tech to achieve that connection, but the results are clumsy and constructed. Or worse, they add in a weird futuristic digital overlay like the image below.

Our suggestion is inspired by contemporary social media culture — and it’s more recognizable. It also features soft focus, natural lighting, and it shows a person truly interacting with the technology.

Do This:


Source: Moritz Otto via EyeEm

Not This:



3) Travel

Let’s be honest: When we the last time you went on vacation hoping to come home with a suitcase full of sand? In many cases, travel photos are just plain corny, and they lack the excitement and sense of wonder that comes with exploring new places.

These days, customers’ attention can much more effectively be captured by showing the actual experience of travel, as depicted by our suggestion below. The shot shows the view from a window on an airplane. It captures that thrilling feeling of embarking on a trip — a feeling that many people can easily relate to.

Do This:


Source: Dina Alfasi via EyeEm

Not This:



4) Happiness

According to one study, pictures with smiling faces can positively impact conversions. Trouble is, while picturing happiness with a simple smile might have worked in the past, it has long become a tired cliché.

While the image of the group of people smiling in brightly colored shirts feels forced, our suggestion reads more natural, as it radiates a positive emotion while including an interesting element of movement. The image looks like a snapshot, taken in a genuine moment of fun and togetherness.

Do This:


Source: Sasha Dudkina via EyeEm

Not This:



5) Office

Representing an office by the tools one might (or might not) use there looks incredibly staged. It’s better to show context.

In this case, the image we suggested shows a creative space of a freelancer, with a pleasing color palette to underline the tranquility and focus of the workplace. 

Do This:


Source: @dersash via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: Pexels

6) Phone

Most images of phones show people awkwardly handling them, presenting their devices in a way nobody in real life would. Exhibit A: The image below of a young girl holding up her phone with a blank screen. 

Now, notice how our suggestion sets highlights the phone without feeling forced or cheesy. The person in the image is shown using the phone in a really natural way, and it’s easy to identify with — after all, who doesn’t love taking photos of their pets?

Do This:


Source: Markus Spiering via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: Pexels

7) Productivity

Being productive isn’t about doing many things at once, as the photo on the left suggests — but about focus and a clear sense of what matters. (Check out this free guide for tips on how to be more productive.)

While the stock photo below is just plain creepy, our suggestion shows a woman at work, with her focus being underlined by the headphone she wears. It also uses much softer, natural light to remind the viewer how common this activity is.

Do This:


Source: @jedrzej via EyeEm

Not This:



8) Leadership

Leadership is all about building trust and establishing credibility. Unfortunately, leadership-inspired photos often miss the mark.

The photo below portrays an artificial and thereby very conventional idea of what leadership looks like. To combat that, we choose an image that while more loosely related to the idea, manages to demonstrate the emotive aspect of leading a team.

Do This:


Source: Inbal via EyeEm

Not This:



What are you best tips for unstocking your stock photography? Share them with us in the comments below.

80 royalty-free stock photos

HubSpot Marketing Blog