When learning how to tackle modern marketing you'll probably run into the concept of visual marketing. For some, it is the future of marketing and a pillar upon which all marketing content will be based upon. And for others, it is simply one of the new trends in content marketing that brings its own set of pros and cons. Well, to help you understand what visual marketing is we'll take you through our basic guide.
What is visual marketing?
As the name suggests, visual marketing means using visually stimulating content for marketing purposes. By visually stimulating content we primarily mean images, videos, and other pieces of multimedia. When used properly, visual marketing can be quite engaging. But, it can be more difficult to create, as it entails more aspects than standard marketing content.
Common content types
The most common types of content used in visual marketing include:
- Story content.
You, of course, don't have to use all of these types in order to set up a marketing campaign. In fact, most companies tend to stick with two or three types that have the best results with their target audience. But, it is important to understand all of these types so that you can pick the few that suit your brand.
How to use visual content
As it is with all marketing content, you can use visual content in various ways. Even more than with written content, you have full freedom to experiment and see what works for your brand. But, this experimentation is not something you should take lightly. In visual content, it is much easier to differentiate between well-made, professionally designed content. And haphazard content with little thought or effort behind it. For your visual content to do what it should, you need to take extra care in optimizing it and seeing that it fits your overall design.
Understanding your brand
Almost all marketing efforts should be based on your brand. Everything, from email marketing to content writing, should have your brand in mind. That way, your marketing content will serve a single purpose and tremendously help with brand storytelling.
This deep need for brand identity is especially important when it comes to visual marketing. After all, to create visual content, you will have to make various design choices. And if those design choices are not in line with your brand, you will create subpar content. Know that every aspect of your visual content, from the colours that you use to the topics that you cover, need to have a natural connection with your brand. If they don't you will have a hard time making use of your marketing efforts.
Use the right tools
If you plan on creating your own visual content for marketing, it is important that you use the right tools. Professionals designers usually use Photoshop, as it has the most options for design. But, you probably don't have the time nor the motivation to become a Photoshop expert. Instead, we suggest that you take a look at some of the following tools:
- Canva - Create visual content like graphs, flyers and posters.
- piZap - Retouch and edit your photos with intuitive tools.
- PowToon - Create animations and cartoons.
- StorifyMe - Create story content.
Mind you, these are the only tools that you'll use for creating visual content. Apart from them, you'll also need to do market research and monitor the performance of your content. Visual content is just as important for your SEO management and engagement rates as written content. So if you plan on using it, you need to ensure that it is a well planned, properly monitored effort.
Avoid stock images and videos
When you start creating visual content for your marketing, it is usually a good idea to avoid stock images and videos. Namely, stock images are terribly overused in everyday content. So much so that they've become something of a running joke in the marketing community, as we are all aware of a stock image when we see it. If you wish to experiment with some visual content, or you need an image quickly, you can resort to stock images. But, apart from this, try and avoid stock images as much as possible.
Connect visual and textual
While visual content can yield great results, it is important to remember that it needs to have its textual counterpart. Yes, you can convey a lot of information through images. But, that information usually lacks the clarity that textual context brings. So, when creating visual context, try to find a place for a bit of text. The less text you use, the better. But, it usually needs to be some text.
Getting help from a professional
Just like with any other type of marketing content, there is an observable difference between professional and amateur work. Even if you study online guides and use beginner-friendly tools, you still cannot copy what a professional can create. So, if you are serious about visual marketing, we strongly suggest that you hire a professional graphic designer. With various freelance sites, it is easier than ever to find a designer that can suit your style and your budget. And keep in mind that a designer that understands your brand and knows how to visually tell a story is well worth the cost.
So far we've only given you the basics of visual marketing. To cover this subject fully, you need to explore things like designing visual content, working with professional designers, developing a marketing campaign, following the metrics regarding your marketing, etc. In the upcoming articles, we will explore each of these subjects in more depth. But, for now, just try to keep in mind how impactful and useful visual marketing can be.