Visual content has taken over the marketing world. Where a product image used to be a decision-making aid when advertising vacuum models or models in designer shoes, it’s now become an art form in the business world.
Not only are people visual learners, but we’re also the most easily persuaded by our sense of sight. From textures and colors to thoughtful design balancing deliberate and subliminal messaging, companies across all industries are capitalizing on the visual power of their content marketing.
In fact, according to Hubspot’s recent Not Another State of Marketing Report, 70% of companies invest in content marketing which includes visual marketing strategies.
Diving into creating a visual marketing strategy without understanding the pros and cons of the various types of content and sources from which you can draw can be catastrophic. You could invest too much of your marketing budget into visual content with little reward, you might inadvertently give up too much control in order to save a dime, you could even contract yourself into a visual partnership that tarnishes your brand image.
You could also rock it and send your brand sailing toward success!
Let’s start with the basics to consider when looking at these 3 types of visual marketing:
Original branded content includes (but is not limited to) website headers, logos, blog graphics, printed marketing materials, photography, and videos. This type of visual content can be generated internally or outsourced. And it’s arguably the most important visual content you promote. Social Media Examiner revealed 80% of marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing.
It’s important your original visuals consistently represent your brand across all mediums you use to promote your products, goods, and services. This content is essentially your identity.
Depending on where you post, you may be able to swap in some fresh fonts, fun visuals, or accent colors to original content from time to time. However, everyone on your team (and anyone you outsource projects to) should have access to your branding guidelines.
You should never sacrifice relatability and recognition for being trendy. Swapping up your logo or brand image too frequently makes your brand seem less reliable.
Originally popular in tourism/travel industries, companies across the web have caught on to the power of consumer-persuasion. This visual content comes directly from consumers. You’ll find these images in reviews, testimonials, and social media.
There are numerous reasons customers create visual content to share online. Some use personal images to verify their purchase so their reviews are taken seriously. Influencers will sometimes voluntarily promote products they try to grow their audience. Many others just like to pass on great products and hacks.
The plus-side is you gain free marketing. The bad news is you have no control over what users are posting. If they are using your product incorrectly or share negative experiences, that information is out there to stay. That’s why it’s critical you track user-generated content and follow up with your customers.
Publicly acknowledge users who post raving reviews to show your appreciation. Contact consumers who share negative reviews to attempt to resolve issues. Staying actively involved in the user experience assures your customers (and potential customers) that your brand cares about them as much as your image.
Paid-for Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has become popular as more people take to social media to make a living. Many influencers are successful at building tens of thousands of followers or attracting millions of views, likes, and shares on their content. Identifying influencers whose values align with your brand and getting in front of their audience is kind of like a short-cut to marketing success. But it will cost you.
Social media influencers rely on sponsorship and reimbursement for their promotion of your product or service. This could easily be a one-and-done arrangement, but some influencers will require ongoing kickbacks, similar to royalties, for any business you land as a result of their contribution.
You also need to research carefully when choosing an influencer to promote your goods. They will be associated with your brand for as long as that content exists (maybe longer). Be sure to spell out how long you’re bound to your paid-for agreement and who owns any visual content you collaborate on before signing the dotted line.