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How to Use Visual Marketing to Differentiate Your Content

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visual marketing

Visual marketing is becoming more important as a differentiator for brands in a world filled with content that looks exactly alike. Visuals make your content memorable, attractive and appealing and your brand easier to recognize. Content that includes high-quality visuals also earns more shares and backlinks and, in this way, increases your online exposure. 

Contently’s 2019 Libris Research Report confirmed the value of visual marketing: 

  • 78 percent of respondents say they always use a visual when posting to a channel
  • 69 percent of respondents share visual content at least once per day
  • 17 percent of respondents consider their video content to be “very good”
  • 75 percent of respondents say they drive better marketing ROI when they use visuals with their content

As you can see, the power of visual marketing can’t be underestimated. Learn how to produce this content and how to maximize its performance.

Build a Visual Marketing Strategy

According to Social Media Examiner’s 2018 report that 32 percent of online marketers say that visuals are the most important content form for their business. However, just because you’re creating visual content doesn’t mean you’re doing it right. You first need to build a visual marketing strategy. This is step one and here’s what you need to know.

Determine Your Visual Identity 

Your visual identity is showcased in your brand’s key visual assets, which are:

  • Logo
  • Colors
  • Fonts and typography

Your visual marketing strategy starts here. Carefully choose each of these elements so that, when combined, your brand assets create a consistent and memorable visual identity that speaks to your business values and brand. More importantly, be consistent—you want customers and followers to recognize your brand through your visuals instantly.

Coca-Cola is an often-cited example of visual consistency. Whether you land on their website, social channels, or TV ads, you will notice their recognizable brand elements. To ensure you maintain the same type of consistency, create a brand style guide and share it with your digital marketing team or contractors. This is a detailed document that dictates what your core visual brand assets are and how they should be used across different online channels.

Define Your Visual Marketing Goals

How does visual marketing fit into your overall marketing plans. Consider what your current business goals are and how visual content can support those goals. For example, if you have a goal to drive more leads through Instagram, you may pair fresh visual content with posts about your products or services, driving more engagement on the posts that will ideally direct followers to act.

Create a Content Marketing Calendar

A content calendar lets you plan your time more effectively, hit deadlines, and spend more time on creative tasks. Above all, a calendar ensures that all of your content, visual and otherwise, is consistent with one another and planned strategically. 

Use this calendar to determine where visual content fits best within your current marketing plans; how can visual content supplement your current efforts or act as a medium for your new product or service launch? Add this into your  calendar along blog posts, white papers and the like so you and your team can plan accordingly.

Get your calendar started with our free download: Quarterly Content Calendar Bundle

Which Visual Marketing Content Should You Create?

Now that you know what the main goals of your visual marketing strategy are, you can focus on creating amazing visual content. Let’s see what visual content types might work for you.

Infographics

When asked what kind of visuals they use most commonly, 37 percent of marketers said they use original graphics, such as infographics. Moreover, 40 percent of them said that this kind of content drove the greatest engagement. The benefit of infographics is that you can pack a lot of data into a compelling and easy-to-digest visual. 

Many visual content tools like Canva or Infogr.am let you create infographics with zero graphic design experience. However, to reap the true benefits of this kind of content, you need to focus on combining powerful, on-brand design with insightful content. That’s where outsourcing your content strategy helps. 

Many professionals now offer both content creation and graphic design services. For example, domain.ME collaborated with Infostarters, where the agency facilitated research, writing and design for them, and the results prove the value of this visual content: One of their infographics gained 4,798 shares, 411 social shares, and 32 organic backlinks.

User-Generated Content

Stakla recently released an extensive survey, which found that customers are 2.4 more likely to say that UGC is more authentic than branded content and 79 percent of online consumers say UGC impacts their buying decisions. This makes it powerful content for visual marketing.

Finding this user-generated content is simple. You can create a dedicated hashtag and encourage customers to use it when sharing photos of your products. You can even create a photo contest, where your customers share unique photos of your products to win valuable rewards. You can also search for your brand via Google for blogger reviews and on social platforms—customers may be posting about your brand on social without using a branded hashtag.

Isla Ida Bracelets are a perfect example of how UGC content can work for their followers. Instead of creating product photos themselves, they let their customers do so for them.

How to Leverage User Generated Content for Your Small Business

Video Content

According to Cisco, global internet traffic from videos will make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet by 2021—businesses that aren’t creating video content are missing out. Google says that people turn to YouTube when wanting to solve problems (65 percent), be entertained (57 percent), or learn something new (56 percent), and your visual marketing video content can do all three of those things. 

There are different types of video content you can create, from how-to videos to explainer videos. Plus, live video streaming has also become popular. In fact, statistics say that people watch live videos longer than videos on demand. These videos let you answer your customers’ questions in real-time and can feel more authentic and personal. 

For example, with National Geographic’s #SafariLive, users can experience safari without leaving their homes. These videos have an average engagement rate of 4.3 percent compared to 2.2. percent of non-live videos.

8 Types of Video Content for Your Marketing Plan

Increase the Visibility of Visual Content

Creating visual content is just half the job. The other half is making sure it reaches your target audience. That’s why you need to choose distribution channels strategically and optimize on your website.

Optimize for the right keywords

According to MozCast, images make up to 23.4 percent of search queries on Google. As Google’s gotten smarter, it’s developed more sophisticated technologies for understanding the components of your visual content.

This is why it’s more important than ever to optimize your visual content for SEO. Do this by adding the main keyword and sub keywords in all the right places:

  • File name
  • ALT tag
  • URL slug
  • Meta tag
  • Headline

Download our free guide to get started: The Quick and Easy Keyword Research Guide

Boost Page Load Time

When not optimized properly, visual content may compromise your website speed, one of Google’s most significant ranking factors. That’s why you need to reduce the image size without compromising the quality. With tools like TinyPNG, or WP plugins like WP Smush, you can optimize the size of every file automatically. Using a content delivery network, caching, and dedicated hosting can also boost your load times.

Cross-Promote on Social Media and Email

Don’t let your graphics collect dust on your website. Start by sharing them on your social channels, both with a link to the original post and as a stand-alone post. Take note of which graphics do best on which sites—your audience on Twitter may engage with some images more than your audience on Instagram. Track this to make sure that  you get the most from each post.

Don’t forget to promote via email marketing as well. For example, 73 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video. This means video could increase your conversation rates from email. 

Test these elements of your visual marketing plan to see what works and what doesn’t. Figuring out what your audience loves is key to making the most of your graphics, both in producing and sharing them.

Build Links

Many websites and blogs like embedding graphs, charts, and infographics on their blog—they don’t have to do anything and can provide their readers with valuable content. You can do manual outreach to build links with your graphics and you can also use submission sites, like Visual.ly or Mashable Infographics.

Don’t forget to use Google’s Reverse Image Search to find sites that used your visuals, but didn’t link back to you. Then, reach out to these sites and ask them to add a link to the original source.

Check out all of our link building blog posts to learn more.

It’s Time to Take Visual Marketing Seriously

Visual marketing makes your brand more recognizable and appealing. With it, you will not only attract new audiences, but also engage current followers and draw stronger connections between your business and your brand. Know your goals, set and track the right metrics, and see which practices work for you to make the most of visual marketing.

Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping Australian startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she's a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more entrepreneurs and help them on their business journey.

How to Use Visual Marketing to Differentiate Your Content

By: Elaine Bennett Time to Read: 6 min