The idiom “A picture is worth a thousand words” has been used for nearly a century to convey the idea that pictures or images convey more information more quickly than words or descriptions. As the Internet has taken hold in our culture, more and more engagements are happening on compressed mobile devices which have smaller visual real estate than the large monitors or TVs that advertisers may be more familiar with.
Making sure information is conveyed efficiently and effectively is key for companies aiming to make their mark. But are we all getting the right information about visual marketing?
1. Do you know what is working best for your company?
According to a report from Social Media Examiner, 9 out of 10 marketers don’t know which of their company’s marketing tactics are best supporting their marketing mission. Can you easily point to the marketing efforts that are driving sales for your business? If not, you need to get statistics, surveys, and data in place.
Understanding what efforts are working for your business will help you spend your marketing budget wisely. It will also help you justify your expenditures to those outside of your team.
2. Is your audience remembering what you tell them?
In general, we remember about 10% of what we hear, but 65% of information that is both heard and paired with an image. This is where stock vectors can come in handy. Instead of traditional images that are bitmaps, and can be difficult to scale and use well, stock vectors are based on points and math in such a way that they don’t pixelate, don’t distort, and can be easily manipulated.
If you need to design a logo or graphic that will be used in many different ways, stock vectors can help ensure consistency across presentations.
3. Are you using the right kinds of visuals?
Not all visual images are created equal. Many different studies have shown that images have to be relevant, authentic, and useful to maximize customer interaction. Images of real people, products, and situations are much more effective and engaging than generic stock photos.
Make sure you’re using images that pull your customers in and help them see the bigger picture of your website and your information.
4. Are you using infographics?
Since last year, many B2B companies reported a substantial increase in the infographics they are using. Infographics can be particularly useful for companies who want to drive home data points without cumbersome text. It’s easy for the eyes to glaze over when looking at a long list of percentages, but a carefully designed pie chart or graph can be much more visually appealing, and do a better job of engaging and informing the reader.
For B2B companies, who are often creating white papers, presenting highly technical information, and working with their clients to ensure that everything is presented in an accessible but compelling way, infographics can be particularly useful. Almost 60% of companies used them in the last annual survey.
5. Are you presenting visual directions?
Anyone who has ever tried to assemble furniture at home knows that getting either images with no text or text with no images is a disaster waiting to happen. A combination of well-written directions and well-sketched illustrations, however, makes completing furniture assembly a cinch.
The process isn’t any different any time a company is providing a client with instructions. Whether a company is providing assembly instructions, showing a demonstration of how to operate software, or even just presenting a map to help arrive at a location, pairing words and text improves customer comprehension, which will benefit companies. Customers spent less time calling customer service for questions that can be easily answered, and companies can spend more time on the projects that matter most.
6. Are your social media posts getting enough engagement?
According to experts, social media posts that use pictures get 650 times the engagement of those which are text only. There are a few reasons for this.
First of all, Facebook algorithms started prioritizing picture based posts several years ago. If your Facebook feed is partially driven by your web content, you should already be using images on your posts there; these images will then show up as part of the Facebook preview. But even beyond that, adding pictures to your Facebook feed that show your company in action, your products in real life, or satisfied customers paired with stories of how your service has changed their life for the better will all garner more positive engagement.
Beyond that, newer social media platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram are fundamentally picture based. Pinterest and Instagram can’t be used without images. Twitter users are also more likely to retweet posts that have images attached; in a text based feed, images are more eye catching and more engaging.
If you aren’t already using images in your social media posts, use the guidelines above to create the right kinds of images to share with your customers and increase your engagement. Look for:
- Authentic images that reflect real people engaging in your business in real ways
- Avoid obvious stock images that are too polished and don’t reflect a real situation
- Choose images that are relevant and support your company image
- Use well designed infographics when appropriate to convey complex information to customers
- Choose stock vectors to make sure that images scale appropriately without pixilation or distortion
- Know what your goals are in terms of content marketing so that you can accurately track which marketing venues are driving your business, and which are a waste of money.
As we continue to develop a more mobile internet society, it’s very likely that image real estate will exist at even more of a premium than it already does. Marketers should note this trend towards strong images and video based marketing and get out ahead of the game now, so that as the trend moves upward they will be in the right place to capitalize on the changes.