Visual content marketing is the process of making your content pop. It’s one of the most important factors in content marketing and includes layout, graphics, videos, usability and calls-to-action, among other things. It helps establish the tone of your site, the feelings you want to evoke, and can help persuade the reader to take a specific action.
According to SAG IPL, 70% of consumers remember what they hear and see, and 96% of shoppers watch video content related to a product before making a decision related to a purchase. And according to Cision PR Newswire, about 93% of businesses got a new customer after sharing a video on social media.
The point being? Done right, visual content marketing can have significant and measurable impact on your marketing efforts – something Fairwind Creative can certainly help with and tailor to your business.
Visual content marketing defined, and how to rock it
In a nutshell, visual content marketing is the photos, videos, illustrations and overall graphic layout and aesthetic of your website. Now, the bigger question: how do you make the most of this powerful marketing tool, and use it to best serve your audience?
1 Clarify your goals and objectives
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
— Benjamin Franklin
We mention this quote because, when it comes to visual content marketing, it’s important to know the objective of your brand and how visuals are going to make it fly.
Are you looking at the short or long-term – or both? Are you trying to get readers to buy a product or join your email list? Like your Facebook page? Each of these factors will influence how you use visual content marketing for your business.
2 Tailor the content to your website
There’s little point in having images of your grandma’s encyclopedia collection on your website if you’re selling fig newtons (unless you like eating fig newtons while reading encyclopedias – hey, we ain’t here to judge!). However, there is much wisdom in knowing your audience—its gender breakdown, age, location, likes, fears, and what makes it tick—and serving it with images and design features it will understand.
Fig newtons and encyclopedias? Probably not (sigh!). Images of happy people in tropical places if you’re a travel agency? Now we’re talkin’.
3 Streamline your site design
It’s not a coincidence the late Steve Jobs had a two week debate with his wife over which washing machine to buy. The billionaire was so particular about design (should it be a washing machine only? Or a washer/dryer combination? European or American-made?) that he famously made his family sleep on the floor of their new house because they had yet to find furniture that would appease the design-eye of often notorious perfectionist.
It’s probably safe to say that at times, design principals drove the Jobs family nuts. It also led to the iMac, iPhone, iPad and the most valuable American company in history.
You can use some of Jobs’s principals for your business too. Let’s start with your website. Is it attractive, intuitive, logical and easy-to-use? Contact us at Fairwind and we’ll help with that.
4 Don’t steal copyrighted images
Artists need to be paid for their work. While it’s very important to add visuals to your website, don’t randomly grab images off the internet, both from a moral and legal perspective. Penalties for using copyrighted images without a license can be high. The better approach: get permission to use the image first, buy the license to suitable stock images (stock imagery can be quite cheap!), or better yet, embrace your inner creative and take the photos yourself. Google will reward you with better search engine rankings if you use your own unique images!
5 Use the most appropriate marketing channels
If you’re a small business, your website may be your primary marketing channel. But there are other marketing channels you may also want to use, and the visual content marketing guidelines you use for each of them may differ between channels. For example, Instagram will be highly visual, Twitter will be short and snappy, YouTube is longer-form video content and Facebook is, well, it’s Facebook.
Which marketing channel will you use? Our two cents: along with your website, start with and master one additional channel. Don’t spread yourself thin.
6 Make your images SEO-friendly
Google Analytics 4 is upon us! That’s a search engine optimization tool, in the unlikely event you haven’t heard of it already, and we’ll let you in on a little secret: you can use images to drive traffic to your website. Here’s how. Give each image on your site a descriptive file name, like funny-guy-in-cowboy-hat.jpeg, and be sure to get your primary keyword in there. Then, add a caption to it, again with the primary keyword or variation of it. And be sure to add ALT text to your images as well.
While we’re on the topic of making your images SEO-friendly, try to get each image under 30KB. Large image files are a common reason for slow websites, and website speed is a known Google ranking factor. That means you’ll want to resize each image on your site, which you can easily do on a PC, and with even greater ease on a Mac. Granted, when you lower the resolution on an image, you also lower the image quality. But you’d be surprised how much lower you can get image resolution without seeing it in the photo itself. Do this and your site speed will thank you.
7 Break up your text with images and sub-headings
So far we’ve primarily talked about images and visual content marketing. When done right, images can certainly help with your SEO, to say nothing about aesthetics and setting the overall tone for the page. But you’re likely going to have text on most of your pages too – and no one wants to see walls of War & Peace-length copy splattered over a dull page.
This can get tricky, as an engaging page needs text and images. Your design eye can certainly help in this situation, but as a general rule, try not to have more than 300 words of copy without a sub-heading, an image, or both. This helps with scannability as well, so your readers can quickly scan your page content and get an idea what the site is about. Successful pages have a minimum of 300 words and ideally more than 1,000.
Headings are ranked Heading 1 (h1) through Heading 6 (h6). Use headings hierarchically, with only one Heading 1 instance per page, which should be used for the page title, representing the most important idea on the page. The page title commonly has its own unique edit field, and its styling should never deviate from the other page titles on the website. Sub-sections are organized using Heading 2, and each of those sub-headings can themselves be divided with Heading 3, Heading 3, and so on. It is best to plan out a heading structure before composing a page. Doing so will help you both select appropriate heading levels and keep your thoughts organized overall.
Break up that text, dear friend, and make your page useful, value-packed, and engaging!
Fairwind Creative can help with your visual content marketing!
We’ve covered a lot of ground here, and admittedly, visual content marketing can seem daunting – especially if you’re not used to web design, visuals, images, SEO and the often delicate interplay of these factors in making a website that gets noticed for the right reasons. So let us help you! Feel free to contact us at Fairwind Creative and let’s talk about visual content marketing for your website, your business, and the identity you put out there. We look forward to chatting with you soon.