Technology has really changed the way we do all things, not just in the business world. Our kids now have tablets at school, games to play at home and on the go, non-stop access to internet and news at all times and much more. The days of reading a manual or textbook to learn are done; people now look for visual ways to learn and describe what they need.
In life and in the marketing world, “A picture really is worth 1,000 words.”
Knowing When Enough is Enough
One of today’s many pitfalls is not knowing the right amount of visual marketing to use or which strategies work best for your business model. A common error is going for the most readily available or easiest to come by. For example, YouTube is blowing up right now and the task of creating and posting a video is quite easy compared to other visual strategies. I’m not saying YouTube is wrong, because it most certainly is not, but it is sometimes overused or not used correctly.
When you start to look at and develop your visual marketing strategy, stick to these 5 tips:
- Speak to your customer – find visual content that speaks directly to your desired customer. Understand your target audience and stay away from unfocused mass media attempts.
- Be Unique – visually find something that is different, something that your competitors haven’t tried yet. Use design techniques such as larger or smaller fonts to attract attention. It is amazing how a font treatment can affect the overall message and grab someone’s attention.
- Keep your content clean and simple – just because you add new design elements or try new font treatments, doesn’t mean your content needs to be cluttered. Keep it simple, easy to read and understand.
- Be consistent – once you pick a style visually, run with it. Create a brand around it so you are recognized more often. For example everyone knows that GEICO has the gecko, it is their visual edge.
- Try something new – put yourself out there. Pick a new look and feel stick to it. Re-branding or adding new visual elements to your marketing campaign can rejuvenate your business and open doors you never knew existed.
Why Marketers Should Use Visual Content
As our attention spans get shorter, so does the amount of time people are willing to spend looking at an advertisement or reading a long-winded marketing message. It is important to first grab the attention of your target audience, but then the even trickier part is to keep their attention. Visual content naturally does that. People gravitate towards images and design elements of an advertisement anyway. If done correctly, it not only grabs attention, it holds their attention as well.
There are several reasons to incorporate visual content into your marketing strategy, but my top three reasons are as follows:
1. Images get shared – not only do images grab your audience’s attention; they are also easy to share with others. Social networks now make sharing images and visual content a normal, everyday occurrence. Sharing your content only helps build your brand and audience.
2. Gives you an SEO advantage – there are many search engine optimization (SEO) benefits to use images. Search engine rankings now utilize social sharing and conversations. Great marketers utilize this strategy on sites like Pinterest and Instagram; ultimately driving more traffic to their websites.
3. Photography is now mobile – it is now easier than ever to snap a photo. Most cell phones come standard with a camera and a really good one at that. In addition to the camera, there are mobile apps for editing and social sharing now. Being able to market and promote your business on the go is important and a necessity in today’s fast pace business world.
3 Visual Marketing Strategies that Work
Many visual marketing strategies, if developed correctly, can work for your business. The key is to try something new, something that your competitors or clients wouldn’t expect. Be the first to do something, set the pace.
When researching different visual marketing strategies, I found that using YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, creating Infographics and using Instagram were popular and mentioned frequently. It got me thinking, aren’t there other avenues to utilize instead? What I found were the three strategies below:
1. Create an Animated Video – an animated video is something completely different than your standard video that gets uploaded to YouTube. Animated are shared on YouTube as well as other social sites, but they are not the norm. Animated videos and whiteboards are a lot harder to create but one that is done correctly adds incredible value for building traffic and links. They tend to go viral more quickly as well because they stand out. An example of a unique visual marketing campaign are the UPS Whiteboard Videos.
2. Use SlideShare or something similar – SlideShare is a content marketing platform that does a really good job of sharing your visual content and tracking your results. You can upload your visual content, videos, etc. very easily. There is also built in analytics to track your results and also capture leads. It is a great way to make your visual content go viral. SlideShare may not get the traffic that Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook gets, but it has a great ratio of visit-to-leads. In fact LinkedIn gets 22x the amount of traffic as SlideShare, but SlideShare has a 47.5% visit-to-lead ratio whereas LinkedIn only has an 11.9% visit-to lead-ratio. 
3. Change it up, something other than Infographics – there is definitely a time and a place for infographics. I have even promoted them in past blogs of mine. My only point is to step outside the box and try something new. Infographics are much harder to share and gain access to on other sites because of the large space they consume. Get bold with your design choices and dabble a bit with new graphical content and images, other than Infographics. You can also create an impression by adjusting your font, text and overall design. Jimmy John’s is a company I feel uses images and text to really grab your attention.
I think back when I was a kid and loved having my mom read to me at night. Don’t get me wrong, I love the time with my mom, the time it took to read a book, extending bed time, but most of all I loved looking all the pictures. I always remembered the story by what picture was being shown and still remember them vividly in my mind.
As we evolve during our lives, it really isn’t any different as an adult. We remember images and graphics more than we do words. Implementing visual content into your marketing strategy will build brand recognition and create a sense of memorability to your company and your advertisements just like when you were a kid reading those stories.