What is visual marketing? 6 tips to help grow your business

Posted by Owen Baker on 14 Jul, 2021
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It's an increasingly visual online world. Here's how to make your visual marketing work for your business.

Visual Marketing.

Online marketers have a very short space of time to make an impression and keep visitors on their site. They need to find ways to stand out and retain the attention of potential customers.

There are ways you can secure that attention.

Visuals, for instance, can help you engage your audience and retain their focus. We are visual creatures and naturally prefer content with images to plain text. Studies show we retain visual information better.

This article shares six effective tips to help you grow your business through visual marketing.

Before we start, let’s get our definitions in order.

What is visual marketing?

Visual marketing is a strategy that uses visuals--videos, images, charts, infographics, illustrations, among others---within marketing campaigns.
Research from Ball State University points to using colors and images as the deciding factor in the struggle for readers’ attention. A compelling visual marketing campaign prioritizes a pre-selected target consumer segment or community. It is optimized to convert visitors into buyers.

In essence, your visual marketing should:

  • Be shareable. The more it gets passed around, the greater its reach and more widespread the impact.
  • Be mobile-optimized. One in every four consumers uses their smartphone to research or buy specific products multiple times a week. They should be able to view your visual marketing campaign on mobile.
  • Inform buyers’ purchasing decisions. A great visual marketing campaign can be the final push to convert visitors into buyers.
  • Help buyers engage more with your brand. Visual elements in your marketing campaign help retain buyers’ attention more.
  • Help customers visualize your product a lot better. Visual marketing effectively communicates the benefits users can derive from your product. It also establishes the value of your solution against that of your competitors.
  • Have an optimized design. To minimize text for direct delivery of campaign messages, boost the color scheme, use high-quality visuals, and make it scannable. Don’t forget to optimize your visuals for SEO.

Make sure you weave your entire content marketing strategy around customer relevance so your customers will convert.

6 tips to creating a killer visual marketing campaign

Now that you understand the big idea behind visual marketing and what your visual marketing campaign should achieve, how do you go about it?

Here are six actionable tips to get you started:

1. Tap into user-generated content (UGC)

Implementing user-generated visuals communicates that you care about your customers and consider them an integral part of your brand story.

Besides, what better way to engage with your audience, influence them, and earn their trust than with proof from the people who have actually used your product? The 2021 State of UGC report by Tint shows that 73% of marketers believe UGC boosts the authenticity of their brand content.

UGC

Source: Tint

Check out this user video testimonial on ConvertCart’s website. It’s effective because it helps other customers visualize how they can benefit from the brand’s services.

ConvertCart testimonial.

Source: ConvertCart

It’s easy to generate this kind of content for your campaign. The simplest approach is to ask for input from your audience.Use forms or surveys to receive feedback from users. Or, you could see if they’d be prepared to feature in a short video,if that’s the format you prefer. Another easy way is through social media.

Once you have the content, optimize it and use it on:

  • Social media
  • Website home page
  • Product page
  • Q/A forums
  • Ads

Make sure your UGC addresses the crucial pain points of your target buyers.

2. Create shoppable social media posts

Social commerce provides an opportunity for a more engaging and relatable brand expression. Lately, the good news is that social commerce has become as mainstream as every other digital commerce channel and there are growing applications in the buyer’s purchasing path you can use.

For instance, the Facebook+Shopify collaboration on Instagram has allowed sellers to create shoppable content. Now, buyers can browse and pay for products directly on social media without much stress or complicated checkout processes.

That offers much more value than regular brand posts. It is an excellent way to integrate social media into your sales strategy, as illustrated in Macy’s post below.

Macys.

Source: Macy's Instagram

It’s vital to make sure the visuals you use are high-quality. People won't buy if your visuals of the product are poor, or not enticing.

3. Include animations

As with all other marketing strategies, variety is the spice of life. There’s no limit to the content formats you can use. It’s a good idea to mix it up a bit to keep things interesting and more engaging for your audience.

You can use memes, GIFs, and other animations that will make the audience more engaged.

Here’s a fantastic example:

Ranieri animation.

Source: Ranieri & Co

Ranieri & Co uses striking animation on its social media account to catch and retain its audience’s attention. The example above was a teaser to the In All Honesty podcast. Click on the source link to see the whole animation.

Make sure you optimize the copy accompanying your visual elements. If the visuals are great, but the text doesn’t complement them, the entire campaign won’t work.

4. Convert data and insights into visuals

Use infographics and charts to present data and insights visually and boost reading comprehension by 50%. Numbers, statistics, and facts can be pretty daunting for your audience to consume in large chunks of text. So, instead, showcase them in a more scannable format.

Charts are particularly useful in the food business. Companies can use charts to show nutritional information for customers watching what they eat.

Food labelling.

Source: New Food Magazine

Statista also does a great job with visual content.

However, make sure that your charts, graphs, and infographics make it easier for your audience to understand your message. Don’t make them too complicated, as your audience might end up becoming more confused than they were to start with.

5.  Align the visuals with your content strategy

You limit yourself when you think of visual marketing as different from your mainstream content strategy.  Sure, visuals are great on their own. However, they work even better when they complement, and are an integrated part of your overall content approach.

Let me illustrate with an example. To engage customers, brands like Chipotle tell brand stories using Instagram’s Live feature.

Chipotle Instagram Live.

Source: Chipotle Instagram

If you check out their Instagram account, you’ll notice that their regular posts are a mishmash of humorous content related to the Chipotle brand. While the Instagram live post takes a more serious approach, it’s still all about Chipotle.

In other words, it aligns with the overall content strategy and helps the company build an engaged audience.

6.  Stick to your brand voice

Filter all your visual materials through your brand identity. Don’t use visuals that don’t fit your established brand voice, values, and goals. Consistent branding, after all, can earn you an additional 23% in revenue growth.

So, how do you ensure consistency in branding? Here are some tips:

  • Use the same color scheme
  • Add a sticker or your logo to mark your visuals
  • Employ consistent image and video elements, like borders, frames, video intro, sound, etc.
  • Utilize the same, recognisable catch-phrases or slogans.

DBrand is an excellent example of a brand that sticks to its sassy, powerful brand voice. Take a look at this image on their Facebook profile:

DBrand.

Source: DBrand

The other visuals on the brand’s Facebook page are similar to this one: bold, daring, and empowering. The branding is consistent across all channels, which creates a strong brand identity.

In closing

Visitors are more likely to interact with a brand that uses visuals in its marketing. Visuals, after all, naturally catch people’s attention and retain that attention more than text.

Implementing the tips above will help you create a killer visual marketing campaign. Use user-generated content, create shoppable social media posts, and use animations. Don’t forget to convert data into charts and graphs.

Then align the visuals with your content strategy and with your brand voice.

Do all these things, and your visual marketing will help you reach your marketing goals - and your business goals will follow.

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