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what is visual content marketing and how can it help your small business

What is visual content marketing? Visual marketing in the broadest sense is the use of anything that appeals to the eye, in support of selling a product, service, or experience. It includes the use of color and design in any media, whether in person, in print, online, or in the product itself.

Visual content marketing is the creation of educational or entertainment material that attracts a clearly defined target audience and appeals primarily to the sense of sight, with the ultimate intent of converting them to customers. Content helps the target audience solve issues that are related to the product or service.

Examples of Visual Marketing Content to Use in Your Small Business

With regard to small business marketing, visual content usually takes one of the following forms listed below. Remember that any of these visual marketing tactics you decide to use should fit your overall inbound marketing strategy.

Videos

You can demonstrate practically anything via video. A 60-second video can replace pages of written instruction and can eliminate tedious support calls. It can transform a static logo into a memorable action sequence, as in the video below.

Photos

Photos are the next best thing to video, especially when combined with well-written text. Everyone has access to a cell-phone camera. It's easy to use them for content that doesn't require polished, professional photos. For instance, a product assembly manual can be easily enhanced with good cell phone photographs.

Professional photographers will take your images to the next level, especially with difficult projects like food photography.

Illustrations

Illustrations are drawings that clarify a point, a process, or a physical object. They range from simple to complex hand-drawn or computer-aided design sketches.

For example, the image below is a simple illustration of basic SEO concepts.

visual content marketing with illustrations

Infographics

Infographics are an effective way to convey a lot of information in an easy-to-digest graphical manner. Yet they don’t have to be complex.

The infographic below is a short Visual Marketing Checklist. It outlines some quick and easy ways you can include visuals in your marketing, along with tips on how to get the most from your visual assets.

visual marketing checklist - tips for better visuals

Visual Marketing Checklist from Clear Sky Images

Screencasts and Screenshots

We used two screenshots in this article, in "Quote Cards and Memes" and "Interior Design" sections below. A screenshot, for those who don’t know, is simply a picture of what’s on your computer or device screen. Most computers and browsers come with some type of screen capture app. If you don’t have one, just Google it and you’ll get one for free.

A screencast is a video of what’s happening on your computer or device screen. You’ll need software such as Camtasia to record a screencast video. It’s not free but it’s an exceptional product. If you don’t have that much of a need, search for Camtasia alternatives to see what's currently available.

Screenshots and screencasts are excellent ways to teach a process or demonstrate software. The screencast video below is an example take from another Small Business Rainmaker blog post, showing how to use a piece of online software (from Perry Marshall's 8020curve.com) to get more sales from your existing customers.

Graphs, Charts, and Data Visualizations

This chart, Higher Risk of Job Automation in Lower Paying Jobs, is a Data Visualization of a big data file in an interactive chart form. (Chart was made on datawrapper.de.) It’s interactive. Place your cursor over a spot for more details on any given point.



There are plenty of online data visualization tools for business owners and sales people to use to create data from any dataset, without having to learn programming or coding skills. It’s useful when you’ve got a lot of important data points to present. And it’s a heck of a lot easier than staring at an excel file with several hundred rows and a dozen columns.

Calls to Action (CTA’s)

Experiment with color, design, words, fonts, and images as CTA’s to test response rate. You'll be surprised at what a difference a color makes. In testing our own CTA’s, we’ve found that changing the color alone can increase response (clicks) by as much as 150%.

Here's an example of a CTA to subscribe to our weekly Small Business Rainmaker newsletter. (Join us while you're here...it's free. Written by and for small business owners.)

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Quote Cards and Memes

You might be sick to death of seeing memes and quotes on social media. (Memes are usually a photo with a bit of text or a quote, usually humorous.) If you don't know what they are, just Google "funny memes" images and you'll get a page like the screenshot below.

visual content marketing memes and quotes

Nevertheless, people love to share them. According to Statista, 30% of social media posts—from adults—are humorous memes, videos, and quizzes. That’s second to posts about “my family” at 34%. They remain a hot item, for what it's worth.

visual content marketing with social media posts

You don’t have to limit yourself to humorous memes. Inspirational quotes, trivia, and facts about anything interesting to your followers will also get traction. You may not go viral like some of the funny memes, but you'll attract your ideal customer.

Slideshows

Created in PowerPoint or similar presentation apps, slideshows can used to teach, answer FAQ’s, and sell products.

You can use a service like SlideShare to host your slideshows, and then embed them on your website or share on social media.

And since we're talking about PowerPoint, here's a slideshow that offers plenty of tips on how to avoid boring your audience to death with your next presentation. Click Here or click the image to check out Death by PowerPoint on SlideShare. (We ran into some issues trying to embed it. We'll fix that later. I wanted you to at least see an example of what we're talking about.)

visual content marketing slideshare slideshow death by powerpoint


Signage

signage in visual content marketing strategy

A survey about retail signage from FedEx found that 8 of 10 shoppers have entered a store because of digital signage.

60% said an absence of signs deters them from entering a shop.

68% bought a product because a sign caught their eye. Enough said.

Signs don’t quite fit the definition of “content,” but the little bit of content contained on them, whether as words or symbols, is proven to be powerful. (Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash)

Color

It’s been proven that color has an impact on marketing. One study, Impact of Color on Marketing, by Satyendra Singh at the University of Winnipeg found that “…managers can use colors to increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers, and reduce perception of waiting time.”

The use of color is about the psychology behind visual content marketing, rather than the content itself.

It's important to pay attention to color and consistency in your website, blog, branding, emails, and products.

Interior Design

If you have a brick-and-mortar store or an office visited by customers, you’ll find that décor affects how they feel about your shop. What does your décor say to your clientele? How does your lighting make people feel?

An infographic (below) from the Psychology Of Colour In Design And Marketing shows that 52% of shoppers don’t return to a store due to overall aesthetics. As with color, décor is a vital aspect of a broader visual marketing strategy.

psychology of color

Many of the graphic content items in our list above can be used in multiple media. For example, photos, illustrations, and infographics can be used in print, on websites, in newspapers, and in any of dozens of social media channels.

Create one piece of visual content and it can be re-purposed in several places. Re-purposing is a simple and powerful way to leverage each piece of visual content.

Visual Marketing Statistics Show That it Works

In Telling Ain't Training, Dr. Harold D. Stolovitch and Dr. Eric J Keeps talk about how our senses process information primarily by sight. When we perceive something, we take it in like this:

83.0% – Sight
11.0% – Hearing
03.5% – Smell
01.5% – Touch
01.0% – Taste

To dismiss visual content marketing is to dismiss your most powerful entrée into human emotion and decision-making.

The effectiveness and importance of visual content is confirmed by many studies and surveys.

Hubspot polled business owners to find out what distribution channels they plan to add in the coming year. The trend is towards visual media:

  48% plan to add YouTube
  39% plan to add Facebook video
  33% plan to use Instagram.

Some additional statistics compiled by Hubspot reinforce the importance of visual marketing ingredients The stats might also give you a few ideas on how to use visual content.

Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Buffer, 2014)

Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images. (Buzzsumo, 2015)

71% of online marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)

Researchers found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. (Xerox, 2014)

Research has shown that when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (LifeLearn, 2015)

37% of marketers said visual content was the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging (38%).

4 times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about your product than read about it.

More than 76% of small business owners said video content had a direct impact on their business.

Conclusion

There is no disputing the importance of visual content as part of an effective inbound marketing strategy. Many of the visual content examples listed above are easily re-purposed to give your small business more marketing leverage, especially with limited resources.

With access to online tools you can create unlimited visual marketing assets.

Every cell phone has a camera that, with a bit of study, can be turning out photos and videos to use in dozens of ways, to educate and attract your ideal customer.

Do you have an effective visual marketing asset you love to use? Share your ideas, stories, and marketing suggestions with us in the comments below.  

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