Why use visual marketing?

visual_marketingPictures tell stories in ways that words cannot. Pictures combined with text will make your story come to life in a new way.

Any time you have the chance to include images in your marketing − whether it’s your social media profile, your website, your blog or an advertisement, it’s important to give a lot of thought to every image and all the visual cues that you put on your marketing material.

Whether it’s a banner on top of your blog or a logo for your business card, each image speaks to your audience and tells them part of your story.

Marketing is all about communicating a precise message to a specific audience. With the advanced tools available today online, you don’t even need to be a graphic designer to make very effective images to help complete your marketing story.

To be successful at creative visual marketing it’s important to understand what it means, how it works, and the tools that you need to make it work.

Because people are so visually oriented, visual marketing allows you to use design elements, graphics, photographs and videos to tell the story of your brand. The visual cues you use to tell that story will help make your brand more memorable to everyone who views the information.

Using visual cues to help tell your story will attract the people in your audience who are interested in the topic but who don’t want to read a long text-based story. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If this is the case, the graphic images you show will enable you to tell your audience a thousand words of information with just a simple glance from them.

Plus, when you use graphics, photos, and/or video with your text information, blog posts, and sales pages, you make it easier and more likely that others will share the information via social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. In addition, it makes it easier for the search engines to locate the information due to the tags you place with the images.

Images such as infographics are read more often than text-only information such as blog posts that deliver the same information and data. Some marketers estimate that infographics and images are read more than 30 times as much as text-only information. This is quite a difference when you want many to receive and digest the information you are distributing. Using all the visually creative marketing material that you can craft will help you get information out to more people, because they will be more likely to share something that is great to look at.

If you’d like to learn how to make shareable social media images quickly and easily, I’ve created a training module on this in my Online Business Club. Click here for your 7 day trial

Do you have a visual marketing plan yet? Here’s why you need one…

Today’s guest post comes from Karen Gunton of Build a Little Biz. Karen will be opening her Visual Marketing Workshop on 25th February – click here to find out more.

Chances are you are already using images for your biz in some way, but I am really urging every micro-biz owner to actually consider their visual marketing strategy.

More and more I am seeing evidence of how important it is to have a plan for the ways you are using images to communicate a message about your biz.

From open forum: 5 trends that will shape small businesses in 2013

Visual simplicity becomes the desired communication method. From a design standpoint you don’t need to look beyond sites and services such as Pinterest, Pinvolve and The Fancy to see that people want visual content.”

from fast company: the rise of visual social media

“Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have ushered in visual marketing as the breakout trend for 2012. Search engines now rank content based on social conversations and sharing, not just websites alone. Brands can use visual content on their social media to increase engagement and inspire sharing and viral marketing. The rise of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and Facebook’s multimillion-dollar acquisition of the latter, shows how visual content is becoming an increasingly important force for communication online. Brands that can rock visual media will find themselves market leaders.

from entrepreneur magazine: how photos can make or break your marketing campaign

“I’m trying to find a word other than revolution to describe what’s going on with the use of images online these days. Marketing is all about communicating your value. Tapping into the visual zeitgeist is an excellent opportunity to create messaging for your business that is, well … nothing short of revolutionary.”

See? NOW is the time to be working on visual marketing plan for your biz!

But you may be thinking… but I already share images on Facebook and Pinterest! I already add images to blog posts. I already joined Instagram!

Here is what I want you to consider:

  • How much of your visual content is yours? Are you creating original content to communicate about your business?
  • How much variety do you have in your visual content? Aside from product photos or stock photos, how are you using images for your biz?
  • Do your images match your brand message? Are they branded to link back to your biz and create brand recognition? do they serve a specific purpose?

From snap retail: the 70/20/10 facebook posting rule

There is a great infographic at that link that describes how you should be sharing content on Facebook, and I believe we ought to apply it to visual content as well, and i think we can extend it to other platforms too!

  • 10% of your content should be promotional in nature (so for images this would be your product/service photos, any specials/sales/promos/packages etc.)
  • 20% of your content should be shared from other people’s pages/blogs/websites etc (so these would be all the fun/interesting/inspirational/informative/humorous images that you happen upon and share with your fans)
  • 70% of your content should provide value, be relevant, build brand recognition (so THIS is where your visual marketing strategy is needed. What images/graphics/photographs/videos can YOU create that will do these things for YOUR customers and YOUR business?)

and a word of warning…

You CANNOT just upload other people’s photos to your Facebook page or profile. This is copyright infringement.

Yes, you are allowed to share other people’s images on facebook (using the share button) but for the other 70% content you need to be creating your own images! you cannot just upload photos you find in a Google image search, on Pinterest, or elsewhere!

This is also true for your blog, newsletter, website, Pinterest page, print materials or anywhere else for that matter – you cannot just use other people’s images. you MUST have permission. when you do, you must credit the author and provide a link back. And you can’t alter other people’s images for your own purposes (for instance to add an inspirational quote.)

And you can’t just share other people’s visual content all of the time. Well I suppose you could, but remember the 70% – you would be missing out on a chance to create brand recognition, add value for your customers, be relevant online.

So if you would like your biz to be part of the visual revolution, if you would like to make the most of the opportunities available to you to communicate about your biz and utilize our interest in all things visual, you need to start working on a visual marketing plan.

Karen will be opening her Visual Marketing Workshop on 25th February – click here to find out more.