When most people hear “content marketing,” they think of the text in blog posts, business website and product copy, customer stories, and emails. Those are essential, and your business should have them. However, there’s one crucial part of content marketing that most people ignore – visuals.
In this post, I’ll break down why visual marketing is essential and give you the power tips on using them to power-surge your marketing and over-taking your competitors.
We read 20-28% of text in a text-filled internet post. Try reading a blog post and see just how much you skip when there’s no visual break-in-content. Also, it has been proven that when visual and text are together, humans remember 55% more information even after three days unlike when it’s just text.
More than four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. According to Forbes, over 64% of them are more likely to buy the product/patronize the service.
Visuals also work for traffic and SEO. Adding a video to blog posts increases the time users spend on your site. Not just that, it signals quality content. Work in other SEO elements and an audio transcript; your organic traffic could increase by over 157%.
Types Of Visual Content That Sell
We all know what images are. They are appealing when you choose the right one. Stay away from fake-looking stock photos.
I’m sure you have seen many of those fake smiles on company website banners. Compare that to a more exciting image, say one of your company workers or flat design. People are more interested in things that seem real or appealing.
If you can’t afford to get a design or photography, then choose a stock photo that has a bit of realness in it. One that you don’t see everywhere. Your images are one CTA in digital marketing messages.
I’m not saying that the text doesn’t work. Sure they do, but if your media doesn’t do its work of grabbing people, you won’t get the clicks that you want. There are many places to get stock photos from, but to relieve any confusion, you can go through this website – Stock Photo Secrets – for a breakdown of the best places to get images.
Gifs And Memes
Gifs are on a whole other landscape.
If your budget isn’t high, you can use a gif. Creating one doesn’t require technical skills. Online tools like Giphy make the creation of gifs easy.
Visual comical content like gifs and memes tend to go viral. People are drawn to funny things; cool the tension a bit by placing breakers in your content. While individuals have gone viral with it, Nigerian companies are not utilizing this great meat to the full.
Heinz – the American company – got over 4,000,000 impressions and 80,000+ engagements from using memes. Guess what, that result was four times their goal.
Before you choose to take a part of any video and turn into a gif or image to a meme, ensure that it relates to your potential customer. If your primary target is top executives, using memes that connect more with students will not achieve your goal.
Also, don’t copy blindly. If something works for one brand, it might not work for you.
Ensure that video is part of your marketing plan. Posts with videos get 300% more backlinks. Also, many people don’t like to read. Having a video of your blog post or using one in marketing is sure to take your digital marketing to a new level.
Most people in Nigeria can still remember the iconic “I don port” MTN advert. Or is it the Uncle Thomas of Union bank?
Some brands become known as a result of videos — the Dollar Shave Club for example. That’s viral video marketing. For a viral video campaign, you have to put your all into it. It takes lots of planning. You can also use videos outside the “advert scene.” Have how-tos of your products, demonstrations, strategy videos, etc.
In the next two years, videos will dominate 84% of internet traffic. If you don’t start now, search engine optimization conversion will become harder.
Charts and Data Visualization
Sometimes, you have to visualize your data. If you were talking about finances or market growth year on year or over a certain period, it’s easier for people to get what you’re trying to say when you use a chart. You tell your story in a better way. The same thing works with infographics.
How To Power-surge Your Marketing With Visual
It’s one thing to know that visual works well and the visual that works. It’s another thing to know how to use them. Any peter or Jane can create a video using their phone, but it takes a creative person with ideas to create a branded video that not only connects with the potential customer but also goes viral.
Check out the comments on the Uncle Thomas video on YouTube. People now want a Union bank account because they feel that the bank relates to how they feel every day. You can’t get that sort of engagement from using just any video.
Along with the tips, I’ll provide some good marketing examples to give you a look into what you need to know.
Tip 1 – Identify Your Audience To Put Your Brand In The Right Place
Imagine seeing a makeup video on LinkedIn. It’s strange, and most people that are looking for makeup artists and tutorials are not searching LinkedIn. It’s fine to optimize your LinkedIn profile, but the people that are searching for an artist for their wedding are most likely to be on other platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
You need to know your target market to know where they’ll be. Don’t rush into creating content if you haven’t thought of your demographics.
- Your broad category
- Who it is for
For example, beauty and personal care, cosmetics, and women above 40 years. That’s a specific target group. With that, you can get data of where those things are searched for.
Tip 2 – Reverse-Engineer Your Competitors Strategy To Stay Ahead Of Them
One of the best ways to visual marketing strategy is reverse-engineering what your competitors are doing.
Identify your competitors. That might seem so easy. If I do Youtube marketing, for example, my competitors are other YouTube marketers, right? Not exactly.
Sure, everyone that does YouTube marketing is your competitor, but not all of them is your concern. Your work should be around the top ones and those showing signs of massive growth. If they are growing, then they are doing something right.
If it is a website, you don’t need to know all. Know one then use online tools like SpyFu to recognise the others. Then start taking notes:
- What keywords do they rank for
- What type of visual designs do they create?
- How often does it go out?
- How is their engagement when they send out content?
By following the statistics of your top competitors, you’d know what works for your audience and take over the market. You will notice entry-points and leverage on them.
Tip 3 – Use A Mix Of Infographics and Benefit-Oriented Copy To Tell Your Boring Story
Technical topics are boring. If I want to invest, that doesn’t mean that I am passionate about finance topics. So, when making product comparison, I will most likely choose the investment partner that uses visual content with copywriting technique to inform me about the figures than the one that writes numbers upon numbers only.
Infographics make boring topics more compelling when used right. However, many people don’t know how to use them right. I’ve seen a bunch of bland infographics out there. So, what makes yours different:
- Start with empathy
- Write out every feature or data point
- List the benefits of each of them
List how the benefits make the customer’s life better or what problem is avoided with that data.
Your infographic can start with a question on investment or people’s attitude to it. In here, you can put down survey responses from people who say making investment decisions is necessary but takes time to understand and stresses them out.
Tip 4 – Leave Bland Infographics Where They Belong: The Waste Bin
Boost things up. Add animations when necessary. Infographicdesignteam did this one that gets your attention, and the information is well laid out. I did cut out a bit though.
Stick with showing over telling. While at it, keep text at the minimal, or at least, in a way that it doesn’t crowd too much with your design.
Tip 5 – Use Emotions Right To Get The Right Impact
The right use of emotions in digital marketing makes your strategy a huge success. Your content will bring forth an emotional impact.
Imagine this ad without the child in that environment.
The impact will not be as significant as one influenced by sadness and sympathy.
Have you ever wondered why Coca Cola advertises coke with the theme of good times and happiness, instead of fat and unhealthy eating? It’s the mood it’s trying to create – not only to make people buy but also to stick with the brand’s mood board. Which brings me to my next tip:
Tip 6 – Stick With A Consistent Visual Brand
Write out the brand’s tone from day one. It is essential to stick with a consistent visual brand so that over time, your content is recognised as you.
The Brand Ally’s visual brand has flat designs as well as openness, people working together, an alliance. Why? Because that’s what we stand for, and our content over time must represent that.Having a consistent brand is what makes you stand outCLICK TO TWEET
Don’t be blown by the wind of every trend. If your visual tone doesn’t align with a trend and your branded content can’t fit the trend, look away.
Tip 7 – Use Original Artwork Or Pictures To Create A Memorable Connection
Remember what I said about stock photos?
They are easy to bypass. You don’t stand out, and all you have done by using fake looking stock photos is having a placeholder on your website/digital channel.
If you’re going with pictures of people, why don’t you use people that work in the company? Take photos of people in the business. It might not look “professional,” but it makes you look human.
If taking pictures isn’t much of an option for you, use designs. You can create cartoons of people working with you or animations that represent you. All of that make you highly memorable.
Tip 8 – Push Out Interactive Content To Boost Engagement
One of the best ways to interact with customers is through “interactive content. Netflix started doing interactive videos, and it blew people’s minds. Everyone wants to experience it as well.
It’s fun and exciting for the viewers. If you want more sales on your e-commerce website, you can use a game or puzzle to reveal a discount code. It makes the process more engaging for visitors and gives more chances for sales to happen with the code.
You can also use polls, surveys, and calls to action.
Tip 9 – Connect With Your Ad Location To Bring The Wonder Spice
Imagine walking around and seeing an ad that looks like this:
You’ll stop to look again. This Lego ad by Ogilvy used the background as the campaign image and went viral. That’s an essence of brilliant visual content marketing.
When doing traditional ads, you have to look for the “wonder spice.” People are used to seeing many ads when commuting every day. Why should they look at yours twice?
Not repetition, but something different that changes the experience for them – an ad that tells a story. Workaround your ad location.
Tip 10 – Go Straight To The Point To Communicate Your Video Message
Grab attention in the first five seconds. People don’t like lengthy, drawn-out introductions. Go straight to the point.
On social media, you have five seconds or less to make an impression. YouTube gives advertisers only five seconds before people can skip. If you don’t grab attention during those five seconds, they will skip. It’s inevitable.
If it’s necessary that you have a long introduction, tell a story that provides highly useful information while being simple and easy to understand. If your intro sounds like a research paper of numbers upon numbers or about how great you are, many people will click on next.
Also, every part of your video should have a reason for being there. An uninteresting image may not deter a person from coming back to your page or website, but a bad video can.
Another interesting thing you can think of is marketing videos for the website. You can set up a video for your hero section or services page if it fits with your brand mood.
Tip 11 – Dominate Your Market
You know these visual marketing tips. I have also provided visual advertising examples to back it up. Your content marketing plan should include visuals that help you dominate your market.
It’s good to have a schedule for content pushing, but even better to carefully plan what you’re pushing. Having content marketing ideas is one thing, but knowing how to effectively use them is another.
Startups and small businesses need this even more. Very few if anyone knows you. You’ll also need marketing automation tools to smoothen updates, streamline experiences, personalize what visual content customers get from you and continue winning.
If you don’t have the skills to create a content marketing process map, business strategy, and deliverables, get a good content marketing company to do it for you. Having hazard looking content, no matter how good you use online marketing tips, will do nothing for you.