Take a look at the photo below. What do you see?
We’re currently in the middle of a dramatic shift.
This shift exists within our browsing behaviour, where today (as customers) we would rather engage with, and consume, visual content rather than text-based. People have become progressively more interested in seeing information and content rather than reading about it, which is why I firmly believe that images and videos will fully take over pretty soon.
Just look at the ever increasing popularity of visual social media on networks such as Vine and Instagram, amongst others. The main benefits of these sites give you the ability to communicate messages quickly. This is just another case of people not having the time to take notice of all of the marketing messages thrown at them daily. We as consumers look for shortcuts. So, it’s no surprise that around 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual because everything else, mostly written information, is completely ignored. This is because there’s just too much information out there.
That’s where thinking visual will set you apart from the competition. Interactive videos and quality photos can provide users with the information they need at a glance. Not only has it got a better chance of grabbing attention, it also has a better chance of leaving a lasting impression that enhances the ability for more (and better) engagement. Our ability to process visual information is what makes us choose products, brands and content over others. It’s critical for attracting business.
Okay, so you want more customers. Therefore you need to use more images and visual content. But, it’s vitally important that you use only the right images. It’s only right when those images convey and offer a better selling point than what text could ever do. Remember, they’re not only there to grab attention, they’re there to inspire, and to push the desired action. Keeping this in mind, it’s also equally important to take your time and choose where you’ll use this image so that it gets shared more. You may have a great photo with a great message, but if it doesn’t relate to your target audience, then what’s the point? Therefore, it’s crucial that you assess the browsing patterns of your audience. Finding this balance early on will really set up your content strategy.
Now you know how visual content can represent your business, the next step is to build
a narrative (remember how important storytelling is) around this image or video. It’s key to remember you’re selling something here, so look to create an experience around your visual content. You can use visuals on absolutely everything that you do, from your social posts to your web pages, so look to add some visual content where you wouldn’t usually do so. (Sure, I could have written this section, or even this whole book, through visuals, but the difference is I’m not selling you anything!)
Now we know what you need to do, let’s look at the options and possibilities for getting visual content and materials out there. First up, is video. There’s a reason why it’s up first. Up to 80% of internet audiences watch videos online, and the number of people watching on mobiles is also on the up. They’re fun, informal, interesting, but more than anything, they give you more power when it comes to persuasion and reach. It can also be very personal if it’s coming directly from you.
Next up is images. You can really change your marketing by dropping high-quality images within all of your content. Though stay away from boring stock images because we’ve seen them all before. The goal is to be unique. How? Think about using funny memes that personifies your personality. Try and tap into your audience’s emotions. Then there’s the more informative stuff. Here I’m talking about charts, infographics, whiteboards and presentation slides. Sometimes, complex data and numbers need to be presented to your audience, and if so, just do it in a way that’s easily digestible and fun to read! Remember that seeing something is believing in something.
In order for your content to grab attention, be it tweets, emails, web pages, sales letters or even point of sale posters in a shop, it needs to be able to connect with your audience on a personal level. Here are a few simple rules that need to be followed if you’re going to be successful with your online and offline visual content. 1) Keep everything simple. The saying “less is more” certainly applies to visuals as the main goal is to create content that can be digested in seconds. 2) All visual content needs to be appealing to the eye, so think about everything, including the colours, fonts etc. Also consider how they can be integrated with your current identity. 3) Don’t just drop any old image on a page for the sake of it – put some thought into the layout.
Now, let me turn your attention back to the photo at the top of this post. Yes, it’s a stock photo. Yes, it was free. Yes, there could have been thousands of more suitable photos to use. But isn’t there something about it that makes you think? Something that opens your mind to a whole new world? It did for me.
Nature made us the visual thinkers that we are today. Tapping into this innate ability is absolutely essential now if you’re looking to get your business or even your blog posts noticed. Not only will you be able to reach your audience, but you’ll be able to see your business expand into new worlds and grow to whole new levels you never thought possible.
All with the slightest of tweaks.