Are you incorporating visual content into your marketing strategy? If not, then you should start now! It’s a powerful tool that incorporates infographics, memes, videos, and images, and it’s useful for many types of businesses. Your first step is to determine which types work with your goals, target audience, and brand. So, today we’ll discuss the importance of visual content in your marketing strategy and why your business is missing out if you’re not using it.
Definition of Visual Marketing
To put it simply, visual marketing is the process of incorporating videos, images, and other types of visual content into your marketing strategy. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what it is and how to use visual marketing correctly.
What is Visual Marketing?
Visual marketing uses multimedia content such as videos, infographics, and memes to communicate with your audience and strengthen branding. When used as part of a larger strategy, visual marketing can help depict concepts and subjects that may otherwise be hard to explain using text alone.
For example, check out this 3D video for Samsung. The machine shown in the video is very technical in nature, and text alone would simply bore the viewer. However, when the information is placed in a video, it’s much more digestible.
As you can see, visual content is perfect for engaging with your audience. Just make sure you are using interactive videos, infographics, and other types of visual content properly. Simply using videos and images wherever possible may not be enough, as you must plan and use them properly.
Why is Visual Marketing Important?
Humans learn best with visual aids. So, utilizing visual brandings such as GIFs, infographics, and videos in your marketing plan can help consumers remember the information even after they’ve looked away. Hence, a content marketing strategy should consist of more than just text. Visual content is a vital part of a company’s marketing campaign. Visual content has the power to draw in your audience and keep their attention.
So, why is visual marketing important? Well, according to a study conducted by the Social Media Examiner 41% of respondents (5,000 online marketers) said that visuals are the most important type of content, beating out blogging for the top spot.
The same report also concluded that while 66% of marketers prefer blogging for advertising campaigns, 85% also use visual images, video 57% and live video 28%. It was shown that content marketing as a whole gets companies conversion rates that are six times higher than if other types of marketing are used.
Visual Processing in the Brain
Did you know that 90% of information that is processed by the brain is transmitted through visual content? Also, it’s important to note that, on average, humans only retain about 10% of what they see, where they retain 65% of information that includes visual content up to three days later. Pretty impressive, huh?
Checkout this explainer video on visual perception and how it works.
10 Types of Visual Marketing
Let’s take a look at 10 types of visual marketing and design techniques that every company should include in their next advertising campaign.
Splitting up large blocks of text with compelling images further inclines people to finish reading the article at hand if the images are relevant and high-quality. In fact, it’s been shown that articles that include images receive 94% more views than ones without.
Since digital content is oversaturated and an increasing amount of people have access to mobile internet, attention spans are shorter than they’ve ever been, making it important to present information the right way. Therefore, large blocks of text are now considered off-putting.
While original photos taken by yourself are more preferable, you can also use attractive and high-quality images from stock photo sites such as Pexels and Pixabay. Alternatively, you can use platforms such as Canva and Crello to create stunning photos using a simple drag-and-drop method. It’s also common for designers to get pictures from numerous free photo-sharing sites such as PhotoBucket and Flickr. Sites like these have thousands of beautiful images, so it’s highly unlikely that another company in your niche has already used all of them. Just be sure you can use them for commercial purposes.
It’s only fitting that we would include infographics as a useful visual marketing tool! And there’s a great reason for this: infographics are the perfect tool for combining statistics and other complex data into an easily digestible and compelling display. When accompanied by other promotional strategies such as social media and search engine optimization, infographics are a key part of any content marketing strategy.
Making the most out of an infographic relies on using design elements and a layout that is as powerful as possible. This means the designer must include the correct colors, fonts, and shapes to ensure the important information is conveyed properly. All information that’s included should be accurate and relevant.
When used properly, an infographic can make even the most mundane statistics come to life. And no one loves infographics more than bloggers. So, when you promote one effectively, it’s very likely that it will go viral and get shared across multiple social media platforms.
We all know that the more shares you get, the more attention your brand receives. Sharing an infographic on social media is best handled when a thumbnail image is used, along with a link to your site where the visitor will see the entire image. Doing this allows you to bypass size restrictions and get more traffic to your site via inbound links.
#3 Data Visualizations
Though the terms data visualization and infographic are used interchangeably most of the time, there are subtle differences. An infographic just refers to a visual representation of topical information, whereas data visualization is a visual representation of specific sets of data points.
This is especially useful when creating visual marketing plans for brands that sell products to yield quantitative results. Think of products meant to save you money, help with weight loss goals, or provide any other numerical results.
So, when you’ve collected research and data on your industry or product, data visualizations can be very effective tools to help convey that data to your prospective customers in a way that’s easy to digest and meaningful.
It shouldn’t be a secret that video is an increasingly popular visual marketing tool. Wyzowl estimated that about 84% of consumers made a purchase after watching a video explaining the product. This is especially true when used on social media because, after all, Facebook gets over 8 billion video views each day. On Twitter, a user is six times more likely to share a video than an image.
You can use many types of videos such as explainer videos, video ads, YouTube videos, and even unboxing videos. So, if social media is a large part of your marketing strategy (and it should be), then you need to begin incorporating relevant types of videos to highlight your products and brand.
Furthermore, not only are video ads usually cheaper than static ads, but you can reach a lot more people, making this type of advertising more cost-effective.
As we mentioned, photography is an important aspect of visual marketing. Sure, you can use stock photos or those collected from photo-sharing sites, but there’s nothing better than photography taken by you or your team.
If you offer products, this means hiring a photographer to take high-quality photos of each type your company offers. This can also include taking photos of people actually using your product or service. Original photography can be used by nearly any type of business across all industries. For example, one type of blog that relies heavily on photography is travel. Showing your visitors the actual places you’ve been is much more advantageous than using stock photos that may be labeled wrong and depict a different place than suggested.
#6 Annotated Screenshots
Screenshots are useful for providing your audience with a look into a product or service’s inner workings. They allow you to give a direct perspective into what functions and services you offer, and the best part is you can combine screenshots with testimonials or marketing copy to boost credibility even more.
Using screenshots can also work for backing up claims made in regards to sales content. For instance, if your company created an app that can perform specific functions, an annotated screenshot can provide visual proof, which helps your audience verify you’re telling the truth. By adding an annotation, you’re also drawing attention to a certain part of the image or explaining what goes on behind the scenes.
While this may seem like the least effective visual marketing tool, it can actually be very beneficial for building trust. Every company should consider using screenshots to capture testimonials or customer reviews from social media or industry-specific forums. Finally, it’s also a good idea to add screenshots into presentations and infographics when appropriate. Cloudapp and SnagIT are powerful examples of screenshot and annotation tools.
#7 Visual How-Tos and Step-by-step Guides
The next visual marketing concepts your company should consider are visual how-tos and step-by-step guides. These visual aids can be presented in the form of videos, slides, infographics, or simply images.
Visual how-tos are perfect for those offering products and services where it would be beneficial to show potential customers how to use what you’re offering. For example, companies that offer household items use this strategy to show consumers the different ways the product will change their lives. Think of items such as Gorilla Glue, Swiffer, etc.
Alternatively, step-by-step guides can also be used in a similar manner. Let’s take, as an example, your company created a plug-in meant to help with a dropshipping store. It would be very useful to put together a guide showing exactly how to get the most out of the plug-in.
Presentations are no longer reserved for a boardroom. Thanks to sites such as SlideShare, your company can create attractive presentations to expand the reach of your business and communicate and inform your audience from any device.
Presentations are comparable to infographics in the way that they focus on drawing the viewer by using attractive colors and designs. However, they differ because they offer a wider scope. In other words, if you have a topic that’s too long for an infographic, a nicely crafted presentation is more effective at keeping your audience engaged with the content.
Since presentations usually include lots of important information, it’s important to keep consistency throughout. So, you’ll want to focus on elements such as colors, borders, and fonts. Other things to keep in mind are ensuring proper grammar, spelling and only using reputable sources.
#9 Memes, Quotes, and GIFs
If you’re looking for a way to add a lighter touch to your content, memes can really set you apart from the competition. This is especially true if you specialize in a more tedious industry that can be considered “boring.” Adding funny images is helpful to create humor and allow your audience to relax a bit.
Since memes are snack-sized content, they are very easy to digest. And even better is that if your audience finds it relevant to their lives, they are more likely to share via social media.
One great example of a company using a meme in advertising is no other than luxury clothing brand Gucci. Take a look at the meme they shared on Instagram:
Since influencers are more popular now than ever, consider using some of their quotes. This is done correctly when you use a photo of the influencer with his or her quote included, as it will create a memorable image. Just remember to use influencers who are relevant to your industry, as the person will be known to your audience.
A good example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk, who runs Vaynermedia. He’s well known and followed by many people who want to become entrepreneurs. Here’s a look at a visual quote created using his picture and words:
Finally, we’ll discuss GIFs used as visual marketing aids. While some people may not be big fans of incorporating these images in their content, research shows that they are great additions to blogs.
It’s been found that using GIFs can give a professional image while also showing your audience that your company understands internet trends. The best part is they are easily digestible and commonly shared on social media platforms. GIFs are also a great way to tap into your audience’s emotions and show that your brand has a human side.
Here’s a great example of a GIF that Lord and Taylor used to advertise a pair of sandals:
#10 Influencer Posts and Display Advertisement
As we briefly mentioned, influencer marketing has become popular in the last several years. It’s most commonly used with B2C and B2B companies. Consumer brands usually post to platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram when promoting products with partnering influencers. Alternatively, B2B brands tend to use Twitter and LinkedIn for this type of marketing to reach the decision-makers for businesses.
Any time you use influencer posts, they should be visual as they serve as a wish-fulfillment need. Consumers like to feel and look like the influencers they follow. Decision-makers want to reach the same success as influencers in their market.
Benefits of utilizing influencer posts include making your company more approachable, expanding the reach of your messages, and targeting niche audiences.
Let’s face it, visual content works well when the audience is already on your social media page or website. But what’s the best way to reach the audience who doesn’t know your brand? The answer is display ad networks! Using these networks is a fantastic way to engage a new portion of your audience. And when used correctly, they can also increase your impressions.
Display ads are perfect for companies that want to target new audiences, inform new customers of your brand, and gather additional data on CTAs.
The Power of Visual Content
So, we’ve discussed visual content marketing and the different types that are available. Now that let’s take a look at some additional reasons visuals are so important for your marketing strategy.
They Increase Response Rate
Visuals are powerful tools that help grab your audience’s attention because they evoke emotions such as inspiration, shock, and surprise. It’s been found that roughly 40% of people respond better to visual content than they do just text alone.
They Help Present Complex Information in a Simple Manner
When was the last time you looked at complex data and thought, now this is fun? Probably never! In fact, statistics and data can bore your audience to death if there are no visuals included. Perhaps the best part about using visual content is that you can present a lot of information in a manner that’s easy to read and visually pleasing.
They Narrate Your Story
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words! When you tell your company’s story using visual aids, not only is it more engaging, but it almost brings your story to life.
They Boost Engagement on Social Media
Visual aids boost engagement on social media. Take a moment to think about how important visuals are on platforms such as Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram. These sites have really changed the way we share photos. When using visuals on social media, you can quickly convey large amounts of information. Also, it’s been found that they will gain 18% more clicks, 150% more retweets, and be favored 89% more.
In the end, visual content marketing is something every business should be using regardless of the industry. So, if you haven’t incorporated them into your advertising yet, it’s not too late to start!
Further Reading: 11 Brilliant Source of Design Inspiration