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The Importance of Visual Content in Marketing

 by zack on 20 Sep 2013 |
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So here’s the deal. Text is boring to most people. It’s necessary, but ultimately very boring for the billions of visually inclined consumers spread throughout the globe. Whitepapers were once the top method of gaining mass conversions. However, sales letters and the like are quickly being marginalized in favor of videos, infographics, pictures, cinemagraphs, and so forth.  Using the more diverse and attractive visual medium to market your online business is an obvious next step for most ecommerce entrepreneurs. And I’m not just talking about embedding a welcome message on your web page; oh no. there is a wide variety of visual content, and an even more diverse amount of ways to utilize it in your marketing strategy.

First, it’s necessary to further illustrate the fervor around the visual phenomenon. Nearly 9/10 of internet browsers aged 18 to 34 watch some sort of video based content on a weekly basis, and most of us in the younger “Generation Y” category try to get our video fix on a daily basis. Can you say: “exploitable and advantageous data”? I’ll bet you can.

So the question becomes: how do I grab some of that precious attention and turn it into engagement with my product? Glad you asked. The secret is to understand what your audience wants, more specifically what they want from you. In many cases, it’s to be left alone. So you’ve got some branding work to do. This of course boils down to what you normally do when delivering quality content. Provide interesting, entertaining, and educational information through an effective visual medium.

So again, it substrates down to who are my customers, and how can I provide solutions to their needs? To find the answers to these questions you should take some time to understand the different learning types that are out there.
Mainly, there are auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learners. Or to put it another way: Let them hear about something, let them do something, and show them something. Of these three learning types, visual is by far the most prominent. People learn best by example. Monkey see monkey do, right?

Visual Media Marketing Methodology

So what do you do with your visually inclined learners? Deliver the type of media that best reaches visual learners in a specific way. Basically you’ll be presenting information to your audience in an engaging, entertaining, and educational manner. You want to empower your customers to make informed decisions. The more educated a consumer is about your products, the more they will appreciate the work you put into your business.

There are several ways you can go about this:
  • Tell a story- Use your visual content to draw a narrative around your product. A clever or intriguing storyline can help your customers connect with your company and see it as an organic structure with a personality, rather than a cold and uncaring corporate monstrosity.
  • Show examples- Illustrate your words with examples of what you’re talking about. Graphs, charts, and visual expressions of relevant data are invaluable tools for informing consumers.
  • Explain how to do something-How to information is some of the most sought after online material. People crave autonomy, and there are entire communities springing up around DIY projects. Become a valuable resource for this kind of info and your site’s content will quickly become a widely traded commodity.
  • Explain how something works-Ever read an infographic? ‘Nuff said.

Types of Visual Media Content

So now that you know about the different ways of using your visual content, it might be a good time to go over which kinds of content you could use to further your marketing efforts.
  • Video
This is the granddaddy of all visual content. In case you hadn’t heard, there’s this neat site called YouTube, and it’s probably going to replace your television soon. YouTube advertising pays big dividends, but uploading your own content which entertains your customers, and promotes your products is doubly effective. How-to information and tutorials are highly recommended for this medium.
  • Infographics
Who doesn’t love a good infographic? I love infographics so much, I decided to include an infographic about the effectiveness of infographics.

And this kind of reminds me of that Xzibit meme…

  • Memes
Memes are these funny little visual posters that have a recognizable character along with some accompanying text that follows a theme. You’ve got things like Insanity Wolf, Bad Luck Bryan, Overly Attached Girlfriend, and so on. These are virally popular pictures that are shared across a large variety of online communities. Proper placement of a correctly used meme can be both humorous and effective in getting your message across.
  • Comics/cartoons
Just because Bill Waterson won’t let you use Calvin and Hobbes to sell anything doesn’t mean you should give up on comic strips altogether. Funny cartoons are more prevalent now than they’ve ever been, and they can be an extremely effective way of creating buzz around your brand.
  • Cinemagraphs
These are like an artsy amalgamation of motion picture and still life photography. This often hypnotic genre of visual content usually consists of a stagnant picture, perhaps of a landscape, with a subtle bit of animation involved, like a flowing river for example. Check it out. These are easy enough to do yourself, and there are tons of online tutorials on how to make them, as well as many online communities dedicated to helping you hone the craft. They can give a moody and aesthetically pleasing appeal to any visual content marketing campaign.
  • Gif
Properly pronounced like the peanut butter brand rather than another word for present, these tiny animated files are good for a repetitious bit of humorous fun. Including these short, repeating, animated clips adds a dynamic element to your content that’s definitely worth exploring.
  • Instagram
You know you can advertise here now? This gigantic photo sharing social network is beloved by foodies, hipsters, and fake photographers of all colors and creeds. But to keep it cool and not so corporate, you can only directly advertise in the search and browse options. However, if you have a company account, you can share all sorts of relevant photos that explain, or show something interesting about your business.  With over 150 million users, it’s probably  a good idea to at least experiment with this interesting social network.
So now that you have a good idea of what to do, and how to do it, it’s time to quit reading and start creating. Remember to use visual content to its greatest effect by using the best medium specific to your brand. Inform, educate, and above all engage with your customers through their favorite form of visual content, and you’re sure to snag some more conversions. 


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