Based on my own desktop research I found that 82% of professional service firm websites use stock images on their home pages.

Use of generic images, if chosen well can work, however images of people you don’t know on your home page or anywhere else for that matter is a no go zone.

These are the only reasons I can come up with as why this statistic is so high:
  1. You are attempting to create an impression that you are something you are not.
  2. Stock images are a cheaper alternative.
  3. You think they look better from a creative perspective.
  4. You don’t really care and think it doesn’t matter that much.
  5. You don’t have a digital strategy in place.
Let me respond to each of these:
  1. Why would you want to create this impression? It won’t take long for a prospect to work it out. What about when they meet you and you look nothing like what’s on your website? Will you be trusted from that point onwards?
  2. Yes sure they are cheaper, but they are for a reason. Hire a professional photographer for half a day if you want people on your site. See it as an investment, not a cost.
  3. No they don’t look better. They look cheesy and fake. A professional photographer can make it look a whole lot better. Sure your website needs to look good but there are other ways to achieve this. Maybe an infographic or video could work even better for you.
  4. It does matter. You need to be seen as a specialist and raise your personal brand, this can’t this be achieved with a stock image of somebody else. Your online presence is your brand so you should care.
  5. You need a digital strategy and this will define exactly what should be on your website otherwise you are just guessing or more than likely just trying to look better than a competitors. Take the opportunity to do something about it now and leave your competition asleep at the wheel. A digital strategy will ensure you are strongly positioned away from your competition and provide you with the tools and know-how to generate new business.
Stock images are ok for blog articles

Stock images used for blog articles can help tell a story and add interest if chosen appropriately. A prospect wouldn’t expect you to have real images if you are continually writing, even though I found that only 2% of you are actually doing so but that’s another story altogether.

On a slightly more positive note

I did find in all of is that 51% of professional service websites did show real people but that was just on the ‘who we are’ and contact pages. Having real people there and not on the rest of the site doesn’t make any sense.

And for or the other 18% who don’t use stock images … a pat on the back from me. Having said that NOT one of those sites demonstrated a clear, concise differentiated position either vertical or horizontal.

Hmmm… maybe I should take that pat back.