Visual Marketing: Tips & tools to make your content stand out

Visual Marketing TipsIf people hear a piece of information, after three days they will remember about 10% of it. If you present that information as an image OR pair it with an image, they will remember 65%. Source: BrainRules.

I’ve been reading through a plethora of blogs, articles and eBooks all focused on 2017 marketing trends. I noticed that quite a few point to the importance of images in marketing. The stat above is proof that visuals work.

Here’s one of my favorite illustrations that drives home the impact of images over words.

Visual Marketing

In a sea of content, a powerful image can make the difference between a read and a skip.

The bottom line is that images draw the reader in and increase the memorability of what you’re sharing. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to “go visual.” If your idea of including images is to just grab stock photos and add them to your blog, you’re missing the point. There are dozens of different graphic types including photos, GIFs, charts and illustrations—and a myriad of ways to use them.

In general, visuals fall into three categories:

  • Photos, Clip Art and Illustrations. These are used to add polish and interest to social media, emails, websites, blogs, etc. You usually get these images from stock photo services but can (and should) make them your own by manipulating them with headlines or original elements.
  • Moving Images. Animated GIFs should be used sparingly but can add visual interest to social posts. Videos are an exceptional way to get attention and engage people.
  • Data Visualization. Charts, tables and other images typically used to convey a more complex subject or as a substitute for a lot of text.

The important thing to remember, no matter what type of visual you are using, is to make sure it looks professional. A poorly done video or pixelated image will definitely get attention—but it isn’t the attention you’re looking for. Invest in doing it right and it will pay off.

How to Optimize Your Content with Visuals

Where can you start energizing your existing content with visuals? Two areas you could focus on first to get the most bang for your buck are LinkedIn and your website.

LinkedIn. According to various studies, posts with images and videos will substantially increase comments AND shares. Ads (particularly sponsored posts) with images are clicked through 20% more than text posts. In addition to static images, you can also embed YouTube videos and GIFs in your LinkedIn posts. Recently, LinkedIn added support for multiple images, great for posts about events or activities where you want to show multiple scenes.

DogWebsite. Images are an important part of any website. Without going deep into web design, there are some basic things to keep in mind when using images on your site.

  • Be consistent. Look at the images you are using on your site together. Do they have similar composition? This could be things like background, perspective, people and even colors.
  • Be relevant. PLEASE do not add an image for the sake of adding an image. If it doesn’t illustrate your point—leave it out.
  • Be original. If I see one more image of 6 smiling people facing a camera or pointing at a computer screen, I might lose it. If you’re using the same images everyone else is, I can guarantee the stat of people remembering more of your message will not apply. Remember, B2B doesn’t mean Be Boring. Be creative in your use of photos.
    • Can you guess where this photo comes from? Hint: A major business and technology consulting firm. Answer.
    • Need some inspiration? Visit the Webby Awards archive or the WMA Awards.
  • Use charts and tables to replace text. This last one can apply to any content you create. If a table or image can replace a written explanation of something, for example a business process, do it. Just make sure these illustrations are consistent in design and, again, look professional.

Regardless of where you are using images, your goal is to capture the attention of your reader. Cliché photos used by everyone won’t do that. The two images below both could be used to illustrate computer networking. Be honest, is there anyone who has NOT seen (and probably used) those little 3D people? Because they are everywhere, they are starting to fade into the background.

On the other hand, the image to the right with bright colors, isolated on a white background, can also convey “networking” but it’s bolder and different. It will capture more attention.

Visual Marketing

One way to see how overused a photo (or style) might be is to put the term into an image search engine. If you see a page or so of very similar images—avoid them.

Creating Visual Content

The most impactful way to make your marketing stand out is through original and unique visual content, such as:

USE CASE DIAGRAMS

I consider this the single most valuable and underutilized data visualization content out there. These are particularly beneficial for technology marketers who are challenged with explaining complicated processes and solutions. The more complex the concept, the more valuable visual content will be in relaying your message in a consumable way.

Here is a Use Case we did for Tribridge that elegantly shows the impact and value of their healthcare management solutions and services in a simplified and relatable way.

Tribridge Use Case Sample

And here is one of our Use Case samples for a fictional CRM partner. (Contact us to create your own use case!)

Use Case Example-The Partner Marketing Group

INFOGRAPHICS

As marketers, we’re used to seeing infographics for tips and tricks, promoting products and industry stats. They are a powerful way to represent data points (typically from surveys) in a compelling and easy to read format.

There’s no need to limit infographics to surveys and stats!


Infographic Resume ExampleConsider a creative “resume” infographic to share information about your company, your expertise, your mission and your people.

This is a snippet from an infographic resume we did for SSi Consulting to showcase the company’s high level of experience.

It’s easy to share and way more fun to read than a boring About Us page, don’t you think?

 

 

 


 

Infographic Case StudiesAnother great use for an infographic is a customer case study.

It’s a perfect fit for a success story and gives readers the most important information in a format that’s easier to scan and remember than pages of copy.

Check out our visual case study for OTT for more inspiration.

 

 

 

 


VIDEO

Many of the clients I talk to rate video as important to their content strategy, but also as one of the most difficult to produce. We feel the same. Yet video IS incredibly important. The “PLAY” button is extremely compelling for web visitors. Since so few people and companies do video well, there’s a big opportunity here to really stand out. There’s so much to cover with video that I’ll just point you instead to some resources and tools.

For “explainer” videos (those animated videos you see), try a service like Wiz Motions. They have multiple types of videos and graphics they can create for you. The important thing here is a solid script and concept. If you can’t do that on your own, work with a content development company like The Partner Marketing Group to help you. We work with our clients to map out a great script and storyboard the concept for a video production service to execute. Trust me, investing in professional help can save you dollars and disappointment down the road.

A well-produced customer testimonial video or explainer video showing the impact and value of your solution can be the X-factor that brings prospects back to your site and keeps you top of mind when they are researching other providers. Vidyard has a great blog with video examples (of course) that cover the basics of creating compelling customer videos. If you can’t afford professional video companies, consider using film students. Don’t have customers near you? Coordinate with them and a video service to record them at the next event you’ll be at together.

PRESENTATIONS

By their nature, if you are doing them right, presentations are fantastic visual content. What do you present the most? Is there a capabilities presentation you use to share what you can do to help your prospective clients? Do you have educational topics you’ve covered in webinars? These are great pieces that can add visual impact to all your marketing. Don’t forget to post them on SlideShare for additional traffic and SEO support.

A tip here: design matters. If your decks are using standard PowerPoint templates, decades old clip art, smart art illustrations and are loaded with bullets, seek professional help! For inspiration, visit Note and Point.

This only touches the tip of the iceberg when it comes to visual marketing. If you’re looking for more, Social Media Examiner has a great blog of resources and posts about visual content with more ideas and tools. If you’re still not convinced, or need to support your business case, check out  42 Visual Content Marketing Stats You Should Know in 2017 by HubSpot.

MadeYouLookCampaignI have to close with what I am convinced is one of the more brilliant ad campaigns ever. The award-winning “Made You Look” campaign, created by Rumble Creative Media for Bishopp, an outdoor media advertiser, should inspire marketers everywhere to amp up the use of creative and powerful images in marketing.

And, as always, we’re here to help you master visual marketing from concept to content to design. Let’s kick around some ideas! Contact us today.

Written by: Barbara Pfeiffer, The Partner Marketing Group

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