What is Visual Content Marketing (with Benefits)
Content marketing has become one of the most important marketing tools for businesses in today’s world. The pandemic and new technological advancements changed clients’ shopping preferences. Businesses are trying to keep up and build a more substantial online presence.
Conventional marketing tactics have now become obsolete, forcing businesses big or small to come up with creative and visually appealing ways to attract their target consumers. Grabbing your customers’ attention using only plain text, for example, isn’t going to cut it anymore. This tactic just doesn’t have the potential to turn heads as effectively and reliably as some other—more modern—digital marketing techniques.
A study even found that some 7.5 million blog posts get published every day. This means the blogging world is so saturated that your content is all but destined to be cast to the wayside (both for readers and for search engines) if it isn’t visually appealing or presented in a unique and interesting way.
A fully-planned visual content marketing strategy, however, can do wonders for your business and help you gain more traction.
What is visual content marketing?
Visual content marketing is not just about using attractive images or other visual assets to beautify your blog posts. It is the process of using pictures, videos, GIFs, and other visuals to connect with your target audience—to deliver the intended message.
A well-thought-out and comprehensive visual marketing strategy can accomplish for marketers what an outdated text-based content marketing strategy cannot.
With the right visual assets, you can keep your customers hooked to your content, present your message in a more comprehensive and relatable way, and even convince them to buy your products or services.
Reasons why visual content creation is important
Let’s first explore why visual content opens the door to more opportunities for your business.
Visual content marketing creates brand awareness
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Content marketers take that literally. This is because visual content marketing draws attention to your brand by doing in just a few words what massive outdated blocks of text cannot.
It helps you build a strong brand identity by creating and publishing visual content that mirrors your brand’s core values. Any visuals you choose (captivating images, symbolic illustrations, or sneak-peek videos) are more likely to strike a chord with your target audience than simple textual content.
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It boosts your website traffic
Marketers tend to scratch their heads trying to draw out the best digital marketing strategies to bring relevant traffic to their website. We believe the results of their labor would be twice as great if they put at least half of that effort into visual content marketing. You’d be surprised just how much more of your target audience you’ll attract and how many more leads you’ll be able to convert into buyers just by using a well-placed image or visually appealing CTA!
Whichever channel you choose to deliver content—social media, paid ads, email marketing, etc—you’ll definitely see your CTR grow if you compliment your text message with appealing images.
It enhances online engagement and elevates social shareability
You should also consider investing in visual content creation if you want more people talking about your brand and sharing it with their friends.
So instead of writing an enormous paragraph on your “About Us” page, try conveying your brand’s story using a short, intimate video. Then share it on your social media platforms.
A study performed by BuzzSumo—where they observed the visual content of over a million articles—found that blog content with one image per every 75-100 words gets twice as many social media shares as pieces with fewer visuals.
That’s big! This means that one static element (a well-placed image) can drive double engagement! If a static element can drive, let me repeat, double engagement, imagine what a personalized video could achieve.
Infographics are another visually appealing and creative digital marketing element that you can use to convey more about your brand’s style when providing informative content to your consumers. Readers who like the way you use infographics to teach them more about your product and services are more likely to share your content with their friends and family.
It reinforces your search engine optimization goals
A great visual content marketing plan is incomplete without an even greater image optimization strategy. To boost your SEO strategy, you can optimize the visual assets on your website for search engines.
How, you ask?
Consider putting your target keywords in alt texts and image tags instead of assigning generic names to your images and other visual elements. Search engine spiders crawl through your visual assets along with the textual part of your website to decide where your website fits among the search engine rankings.
It increases inbound links
Inbound links or backlinks are essential for driving organic traffic to your website. Good visual content helps foster trustworthiness and credibility needed for more inbound links.
If you have valuable visual content in the form of pictures, videos, infographics, graphs, etc., other websites will share your content on their platforms by linking back to your website. This is a huge step towards creating a loyal following which in turn paves the way to more inbound links.
Visual marketing accelerates lead generation
Visual content is also important because it can serve as a powerful lead magnet. Visual content like whitepapers, e-books, infographics, etc., are some examples of such lead magnets—each can give you the precious contact data of your potential customers. Consider what they may be interested in and offer sending it in exchange for their email.
It helps multiply your conversion rates
All the above reasons will help you in your effort to build for your website a solid and credible online presence. Your conversion rates will eventually improve when you generate more leads using insightful and appealing visual content.
Types of visual content marketing strategies
Now that you know why visual content marketing is important, let’s discuss the types of visual content you can use to boost your marketing strategy:
Images and graphics
Whether it’s a blog or a landing page, images and graphics add a sense of authenticity to your content and help you connect with your audience better. With a bit of imagination and creativity, you can make room for fantastic imagery and graphics all throughout your online platform that will help your pages convert.
High-quality photos are not merely used on landing pages or for hero images. You can also use photography as your standalone content or create a lookbook or visual catalog. If you do not have your own creatives, consider a careful selection of photos from online sources. Mix and match them with your own photography to make sure your content stays fresh and unique.
Take the example of the images used on the Fitness Blender website. This company displays pictures of a female and male model, both of whom are in great shape. The athletic physique of these models attracts their audience’s attention and motivates people to try the workouts on the site.
Videos offer almost unlimited potential to take your website content to new highs. The sky is the limit when it comes to churning ideas for stellar videography. Telling your brand’s story using a personal video can help you connect with your customers in a much faster and more intimate way than through a written blog.
You can also leave a lasting impression on your audience by working on product review videos and making testimonials.
Statistics show that 88% of consumers reach a purchase decision after watching a brand’s video. Everpost, a video production software, makes use of their consumers’ psychology. This company integrates video thumbnails of their video services, illustrating to video designers the different types of videos Everpost can help them create.
Why have infographics become so popular? They can present big chunks of information—that can oftentimes be overwhelming—in a concise and easily-digestible manner. This is also why infographics are perfect for sharing.
Jobvite is arguably the best platform for infographics because they convey heaps of information in a digestible and visually appealing format. They use data-driven infographics to publish recent employment statistics, saving their audience time and energy.
CTAs are an essential and primary source of conversions for businesses. You can’t just rely on cliché CTAs that most businesses use on their websites and blogs—the ones that are spammy and make it obvious that they’re trying to get everybody who lands on their website to buy from them.
Remember: Not everyone is a customer—at least not right away. And some people might be there for information at first. Consider using visual CTAs to navigate them towards the solution of their problem using your product instead of pushing them to make a purchase.
The selection of CTA buttons on the Dropbox website is worth taking a second look at. The blue ‘Sign up’ button is prominent against the white background. It also clearly shows tech visitors that they have an option to choose between the corporate and personal plan.
Now take a look at the Walmart website. The brand should add some CTAs to different products, but what you see below is too busy, confusing and distracting for viewers.
Visual content that promotes your brand and drives engagement in an authentic way can be a great way to interact with your customers and add value to your website.
Garnier’s shade selector is a visual tool that allows users to check the right hair color shade before making a purchase.
You can also add interactive mascots, calculators, and other website tools to keep your audience engaged.
Banners or posters are also visual assets that can boost your brand awareness and market your products.
They work as “online billboards” that attract your audience’s attention to the latest offers, a new product launch, or discounts.
Screenshots and screencasts are especially important for technology companies to use in their how-to tutorials. They are easy to understand and help customers learn about different new features, software updates, etc.
If your business has a smartphone application, using screenshots to educate customers about its functions should also be part of your content marketing strategy.
Take a look at Evernote’s website. This company offered a visual demonstration of their app’s efficiency by adding screenshots of different teams at work. The screenshots are helpful because they let viewers see the app in action.
Memes are a famous internet culture—everyone loves memes! People share memes like it’s nobody’s business, so don’t be shy about jumping on the bandwagon and publishing memes every now and again to drive attention to your brand.
You can also use the most trendy memes to announce a new product to your audience or talk about the latest updates in your industry.
We have all seen the popular meme of a man who is presumably taken but is distracted by a woman passing by. Indian water company, Hydrop.io recreated the meme to show how their audience views their special alkaline water.
GIFs are a down-to-earth way to populate your blog posts and add a bit of fun. Especially, if they resonate with your brand voice.
GIFs can break up your blog posts into smaller portions which helps readers to remember the information more easily. You can also use GIFs to publish banners and posters on your pages to give your page content a more appealing aesthetic.
Comics and illustrations
Comics and illustrations are another creative way to market your brand. Websites in their entirety can be designed based on a comic-based or illustration theme. You can also add illustrations and comics to your website to convey different messages about your brand’s unique identity. Furthermore, consider them as powerful tools for storytelling and branding.
How does it work? The rationale behind visual content marketing
The human brain is capable of processing pictures and other visuals in as little as 13 milliseconds—meaning your brain comprehends an image before you can even blink.
The rationale above proves that simple content marketing can’t compete with visual content marketing because the latter:
- Grabs attention quickly
There is an influx of information in the online world, so marketers must put in double the effort to grab their audience’s attention—visuals do just that!
We live in the world of show, where visual content helps captivate, attract, and retain your visitor’s attention in a way that plain text just can’t.
- Is easier to understand and process
Since the human brain processes and understands visual content quickly, it makes sense to construct an image or video that will only take a few seconds of your audience’s time. Blocks of endless text, on the contrary, take forever to read and oftentimes are a bore for your audience.
Ask yourself: Would you rather want to read a whole blog about a brand’s story, or would you prefer that intimate video we talked about earlier?
The answer is crystal clear!
Also, did you know that 65% of us are visual learners? All the more reason to go for visual content marketing.
- Leaves a longer-lasting impression than textual content
What would leave a longer lasting impression on your mind? A giant paragraph about why you should buy a particular product or a video testimonial of that item?
You are more likely to be convinced that a company’s product is worth buying if you are able to see real-life customers ranting and raving about that product. It adds an emotional element that textual content is incapable of providing on its own.
- Takes less to offer more
Infographics, comics, banners, and videos deliver more information using less time and space than text. People these days just don’t have the time to stop and read blogs that don’t seem to end—another reason why vlogs are taking over.
With visual content marketing, you can do an extensive marketing campaign and promote your products or services without demanding too much time from your audience.
Steps to create a winning visual content marketing strategy
Now, let’s get down to business and see how you can create a fruit-bearing visual content marketing strategy!
Be precise about your goals and objectives
The first thing you should be clear about is the objectives of your visual content marketing strategy and what goals you want to achieve with it. The goals and objectives could be short-term and long-term.
Make a list!
Let’s say your primary goal is to increase leads and conversions. Your focus should be on effective visual CTAs, eBooks, shareable infographics, etc.
Suppose your objective is to promote your business and strengthen your brand identity. In that case, you might want to work on creating some winning videos, promotional GIFs, and banners.
Conduct a thorough research
The research part may seem straightforward, but it is an essential step towards outstanding marketing results. You should conduct thorough research on your target audience because you won’t get very far as a content marketer if you don’t know what your audience’s pains buying behaviors are.
Also, do competitive research, discovering what tactics top players in your industry are using to dominate the market. You’ll figure out what SEO and marketing strategies top players in your industry are using, so you can use them too!
Decide your preferred marketing channels
Where do you want to distribute your visual content so that it reaches your target audience successfully? You can use email, social media, blogs, or websites to promote your brand. Based on your research and goals, you can prioritize your marketing channels.
You can also go for sponsored posts or paid search and social media advertisements. Consider collaborating with popular influencers who may agree to promote your brand if they share your company’s vision and goals.
Think about the types of visual content you want to use
Your goals—informed by your audience research—will decide which visual content you should focus on to optimize your promotional potential. Memes, for example, are more popular these days among internet users, so it could be a smart move to create meme content to attract more leads. Be careful. Only create meme content if you’re sure it aligns with your brand’s voice.
Certain marketing channels will help you finalize the type of visual content you prefer. Short and sweet videos will work best for you if you choose to take the sponsored ads route. Likewise, product testimonials are the way to go if you are working with an influencer.
Develop a visual content marketing checklist
To keep yourself on track, it is safe to make a visual content marketing checklist. List down visual content types and the goals you want to achieve with each. You can also record the marketing medium you want to go for with a specific plan.
A marketing calendar will also come in handy if you have a lot of promotional content to prepare for and deadlines you just can’t miss.
Start creating and publishing
It’s not as easy as it sounds. You have to come up with a novel idea that will strike where it counts. It can take a lot of manpower coupled with an expert level of comprehensive analysis to find out what makes your target audience tick.
Creating brilliant visual content requires a skillful team who can produce winning visual content and publish it in a way that’s timely and relevant.
Keep checking the metrics for revisions and improvements
Once your visual content is out there, monitor the results. Once you start seeing results, you can adjust the strategy to move towards your goals and objectives faster. You should also check for failures to avoid them during your next campaign, especially if that requires significant investment.
To achieve a maximum return on investment, measure your KPIs regularly and revise your visual content marketing strategy based on those metrics.
Creating a visual marketing strategy is important. It encompasses everything from the visual content’s pre-production to analyzing the outcomes and adjusting your strategy.
Any visual content you create—no matter how amazing—will fall flat without marketing channels to complement it. Your goals and objectives pertaining to the visual content you create and publish should be highly targeted and specific to your audience. Otherwise, you’ll just have a pretty picture and nobody to see it.
If you want to thrive in your sector and take your business to the heights of success, visual content marketing is your best bet!