Let’s get visual

Making the most of visuals in your marketing means a lot more than just picking pretty pictures.

We’ve heard all about audio content. We’ve focused on the opportunities for video content. We’ve read up on the power of written content.

Now, it’s time reflect on what visuals can do for your business.

By visual content, we mean things like images, illustrations, infographics, sketches, diagrams, and charts. The things we use to explain the big picture, simplify something complex, make one key point, or show how something works.

Here’s how to get started:

Choosing Your Style

It’s not just about the best visuals to promote your business. It’s also about the best visuals for you to promote your business. Ultimately, you, someone on your team, or someone you pay will have to create or find the visuals, so you’ll want to pick something you can do more than once if it works (or try again if it doesn’t).

So, first think about the types of content you might already be producing. That might be other marketing content, like a blog or website copy, which you could translate into diagrams, illustrations, or promotional images. Your marketing content goes further when it works together.

Next, think about the tone and personality of your brand. Would it make sense for your professional, credible brand to post low-res memes? Would it make sense for your high-end consumer brand to post a complicated infographic? Would it make sense for your youth-focused product brand to start posting charts and graphs?

It can’t just be “right,” it also needs to fit.

Think about the person actually looking at your visuals. Who are they? Why are they looking? What do they like? What would make them interested in learning more or taking action?

Finally, think about what you can keep doing if it works well, or if you just really like it. Don’t assume you’ll have any more energy, motivation, or money tomorrow than you have today to make these visuals. What could you keep doing if nothing else changed? Do that.

Finding and Making

Once you’ve decided on the best type of visual content for you and your business, you can find or create visuals that match your brand, make your point, or promote your product.

There are stock photo libraries, such as Pexels and Unsplash. There are icon libraries, such as The Noun Project. There are AI image generators, such as DALL·E 2. There are design tools, such as Canva, and illustration apps, such as Linea Sketch and ProCreate.

And if this is something you’re likely to keep doing, or want to invest in and grow, consider hiring or contracting someone to create custom visuals. Brands that rely on content marketing to promote themselves, such as service businesses and professional creators, often find investing in high-end, custom visuals can pay off in upgraded credibility and personality for the brand.

A designer that can build you a library of go-to images, and create new custom visuals based on an a style they’ve helped you establish. can take your content game to a whole new level.

Posting and Promoting

Okay, now what do you do with your new visual content? Well, where are your customers? Where do they go to learn more about things that might solve a problem they have (or their business has) that you’re in the business of solving? Can you post your image there?

Think about subreddits that might be relevant to your industry (but don’t spam them—read the posting policies first!). Consider trade industry forums, or business community Slack and Discord channels. Don’t just think of the easiest places to post your content. Think of where your audience is most likely to see them.

And of course, include your visuals in your blog posts and newsletters. Make it easy to find by tagging it appropriately and including good descriptions (don’t forget alt text). And make sure you can link back to your own site or profile wherever you post it online.

The more accessible you can make your visual (not just with alt descriptions, but by making all the text more readable, posting a plain-text transcript below, making it easy to download, easy to zoom, etc.), the more people you’ll reach.

Measure and Adapt

This is the big question: Before you invest time, money, or energy into creating visual content, ask yourself how you’ll know if it’s worth doing again.

What will make the effort or the expense justifiable over and over again? Will it be visits to your website? Engagement on your social media posts? Or just a good feeling that you get about the upgraded aesthetics of your brand? (That can be a good reason!)

Whatever it will be, decide that first.

Then, think about what would have to happen for that threshold to be reached. For instance, if you’d need to get 50 visits to your website for the infographic to be worth the expense, you’ll need about 1,000 people to see it (assuming a generous five per cent clickthrough rate). Do you know where, how, and when to post your infographic to get that kind of visibility?

Whatever your goal, ask yourself what would have to happen for it to be achieved and plan accordingly.

So, if you want people to share your visual, make sure it’s easy to share. If you want people to click on a link, make sure the link is obvious (and the reason to click is just as clear).

Finally, it’s time measure the results of your visual content marketing efforts. Was it worth the effort? Did it lead to new customers? Would you do it again?

Visual content can take you far, but you’ll need to stick with it long enough to learn, adapt, and improve. So choose an approach that:

  1. Benefits from the rest of your marketing
  2. Targets your ideal customers
  3. Fits in channels where your best customers will see it

And then measure the results of your efforts. Make sure everything that needs to happen for you to succeed can happen.

Because your customers will never see the big picture if you don’t take care of the details.

Joel Kelly helps business owners create marketing strategies that work for them, and the joyful structure they’ll need to do the work of marketing—every day, until it works. You can read more of his writing at familyknife.com/signup

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