Content marketing is one of the most powerful marketing channels for any business.
But the problem today is the kind of competition that businesses see. Every business out there is competing for the consumers’ attention. This is where your usual text-based content marketing might fail to be as effective.
In fact, studies show that around 7 million blog posts are published every day. So, it is evident that you need something extra to grab users’ attention, drive traffic to your website, convert these visitors, and turn them into advocates.
This is where visual content marketing comes in. Visual content marketing doesn’t just mean adding images and memes to your blog posts. So, what is visual content marketing? You can take a much more strategic approach to visual content marketing, and you’ll be surprised how it accelerates your business’s growth.
In this ultimate guide to visual content marketing, let’s dive deep into everything there is to know about the topic — what is visual content marketing, the implementation of visual content marketing, and some actionable strategies that you can use for your business.
What is Visual Content Marketing
Visual content marketing is the process of using visual assets to inform, engage, and influence users to take a specific and desirable action.
So it’s not just about embedding visual elements into your blog posts and social media posts — there’s much more to it!
Visual content marketing is a more strategic approach to use visual assets in a way that best helps you achieve your goals. With the right visual content marketing strategy, you can grab users’ attention and retain them at every stage of the customer journey.
Visual content marketing can be used to drive users’ attention to the right places, present content to them in a much easy-to-understand format, and keep them coming back to you for more. In short, visual content marketing boosts attention, comprehension, and retention.
Significance of Visual Content Marketing
Now that you understand what visual content marketing means, let’s understand its true significance in detail. Visual marketing is:
Though text-based content can be a great way to engage and inform audiences, you gain these benefits only if you’re able to drive attention to your text-based content. Honestly, we are bombarded with text-based content every day and on every platform, and hence, the odds of succeeding with purely text-based content are lower compared to visual content.
With visual content, there is much more room for creativity, uniqueness, and branding. In comparison, things can easily get monotonous with text-based content. Hence, if you’re struggling with grabbing your target audience’s attention, then visual content marketing may be of huge help!
Easy to Comprehend
Visual content marketing statistics show that the human brain has the capacity to process visual information 60,000 times faster than text-based content. This means that visual content is not just helpful in grabbing attention, but it also helps us understand the content better.
For example, let’s compare a ten-point listicle-type blog post with the same information presented in the form of a quick and catchy video or infographic; which one would be easier to comprehend? Of course, the latter!
Helps Trigger Desired Actions
Marketing is all about urging your target audience to take certain actions in your favor. And again, visual content marketing is the right channel for the job.
Visual content marketing with a well-thought-about strategy behind it, along with the right call to action, can be much more effective in triggering a desirable action from your audience. This can be anything from subscribing to your newsletter to filling up a lead capture form.
Easy to share
Visual content is easier to comprehend — and the same fact makes it easier to share. When more people understand your message and align with it, the more shares you will drive with your content.
This is the reason why leading social media platforms today thrive on visual content, as these drive more shares, ultimately leading to more usage of these platforms.
Boosts Customer Engagement
A major part of marketing is driving audience engagement. Once you catch the attention of your target audience, it is crucial to keep them hooked and connected with your brand. Otherwise, it is easy for them to forget about your existence and be swayed by a competitor.
Using visual content marketing, you can easily boost your customer engagement. This will be of massive help in building strong connections with your customers and retaining them for a long time.
Improves Brand Awareness
WIth text-based content marketing, branding can be challenging. Your brand voice is the only thing that can reflect your brand identity with text-based content.
In the case of visual content marketing, there is a lot more scope to play around with branding, leading to better brand awareness.
Crafting unique visual content that aligns with brand identity can be massive in driving brand awareness in an overly crowded marketplace. With powerful visuals, you can stand out amongst hundreds of competitors and become the talk of your niche market.
Increase Followers & Subscribers
The first key step in driving users into your sales funnel is to turn them from unfamiliar people into followers and subscribers. Ultimately your followers and subscribers are the ones who may one day turn into your loyal customers.
Visual content marketing can give your business the much-needed push to increase the number of followers and subscribers. It just takes one well-crafted meme, infographic, or video to go viral, and you can increase these metrics multiple folds overnight.
Thought leadership, authoritativeness, credibility — these terms are commonly thrown around content marketing today. But, how do you actually go about achieving them with tangible results?
You may be the biggest expert in your field of interest, but you need the right outlet to showcase your thought leadership and your brand’s credibility. Visual content marketing can be the perfect outlet that can help you emerge as a credible brand that users place their precious trust on.
Increase Website Traffic
Driving website traffic can be compared to a rat race, where hundreds of websites are targeting the same users who visit their website. Visual content marketing can be an extremely powerful tool in helping you drive traffic to your website.
This is because visual content is much more effective, entertaining, and easy-to-comprehend. This is why visual content marketing helps you with SEO and offers better page experience. This in turn helps increase the number of returning visitors to your website.
In fact, according to recent visual content marketing statistics, visual content can help you drive 12% more traffic to your website. It also helps increase click-through-rates by 47%, conversions by 80%, and engagement by 200%.
Increase Inbound Links
Inbound links help drive organic traffic to your website. Visual assets that add value to users can help you drive much more inbound links than any other type of content.
When you create visual assets in the form of valuable videos, charts, graphs, infographics, etc., websites from all around the industry may find these assets valuable and link back to your site. This can lead you to some great SEO results.
Visual content can work great as lead magnets (e-books, whitepapers, reports, etc.) or complement your lead magnets by adding the much-needed appeal to them. This can be highly beneficial in accelerating your lead generation rate.
Improve Conversion Rates
Not just lead generation, visual content marketing can be powerful in improving your conversion rate as well.
As discussed before, visual content can help keep your customer engaged and connected with your brand. Over time, this strong connection and trust you build will help you convert leads into customers.
Top Visual Content Marketing Statistics
Types of Visual Content with Examples
Now that it’s clear how visual content marketing can be super-effective in driving tangible business results, let’s look at the different types of visual content that you can create along with best practices for each.
An image is indeed worth a thousand words. Yes, images are basic and quite common — but do not underestimate the power of adding images to your content.
They are the simplest, least time-consuming, yet the most effective way to complement your text-based content.
- Avoid stock images. Instead, create original images as these tend to work better with website visitors and social media followers.
- Play around with colors to make your images stand out.
- Ensure that the images complement the context of the webpage or social media post. Relevancy is extremely important.
- Optimize your website images by adding keywords to titles and alt tags. This will help you with organic search rankings.
2. Data-Driven Visuals
Data is valuable, but presenting it as text may fall flat. Instead, try creating visual assets based on the data at hand. These can be highly effective in portraying your brand as a thought leader in the industry.
Data-driven visuals such as infographics, charts, graphs, etc., are also highly effective in driving inbound links to your website. When promoted on the right platforms, these types of visuals also tend to be shared more than others.
- Data-driven visuals can be of many formats — including infographics, charts, graphs, presentations, etc. Choose the format that perfectly fits the type of audience, the promotion medium, and the kind of data you want to present.
- Use contrasting colors for representing data in a much more comprehensible and appealing way.
- Make your data-driven visuals a stand-alone entity. Do not add visuals that are not understandable without text-based descriptions around them.
Illustrations can be the most unique, creative form of visual content that you can promote on your website and social media platforms.
Illustrations can help you deliver powerful messages that drive users’ attention and make them take action in your favor. Illustrations can also be great mediums to add your unique brand identity to all your content.
- Use illustrations in storytelling as these can be highly effective in grabbing users’ attention and aiding understanding.
- Make sure that there is consistency in your visuals. If possible, add subtle branding to your illustrations. This will help users associate illustrations with your brand much more easily.
- Go heavy on promoting your illustrations to fetch the best ROI from the efforts that you put in.
Surveys can be an effective way to gather important information from your leads and customers. However, text-based surveys tend to get ignored most of the time because they are boring and lack appeal.
The next time you want to put out a survey, try using visual surveys. A visual survey with illustrations, images, pictures, screenshots, etc., can be much more appealing to users and makes things more interesting to them — thus serving the right purpose.
- Make use of icons, animations, illustrations, GIFs, or videos to visually enhance your surveys.
- Use contrasting colors to drive attention to the right elements in your visual surveys.
- Test your visual surveys through focus groups in order to make sure that they land well with your target audience and customers.
5. Visual Research
Research papers and studies are one of the most valuable assets that add credibility and authority to your brand. However, it is important to make your research more shareable.
A great way to do this is by creating visual-first research content that helps users comprehend your findings much more effectively.
- Visually enhance your research using infographics, presentations, charts, graphs, and other data-driven visuals.
- You can also repurpose your research findings into different visual content formats to make them suitable for promotions on different platforms such as blogs, YouTube, social media, emails, etc.
- Separate chunks of research findings and promote them as visual assets on your website and social media. This will help you drive numerous backlinks and social media shares around your research.
Videos are the most popular content format today. Videos are everywhere around us, and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to leverage the popularity of videos to fulfill your content marketing goals.
With videos, it is important to diversify and experiment. There are various types of video formats prevalent today, such as long-form videos, animated videos, customer success videos, voice-over videos, Instagram Reels — the options are endless.
- Before producing videos, decide on the purpose and objective behind the video. What action do you want to drive from the users after they consume the video? Ideate your video around this objective.
- Make use of storytelling to make your video more engaging and unique.
- Add captions to your videos so that they can be consumed on mute on social media platforms.
- Try to evoke emotional responses from the audience with the help of the idea, concept, script, and other elements of the video.
- Add a clear CTA to every video — be it informative or promotional. This should be based on the objective that you first decide.
- Cash in on video trends (such as short-form videos) to instantly grab the attention of users who will scroll past your videos otherwise.
- Go heavy on video promotions. You can repurpose your videos into different formats (blog posts, infographics, etc.) and promote them on various platforms to get the maximum ROI out of them.
Infographics are a clever way of presenting informative content in the form of graphs or charts. They work great because they help you present massive amounts of information in a crisp, easy-to-digest format.
Infographics are one of the most shared forms of content. Apart from driving more attention, shares, and other forms of engagement, infographics can be highly effective in helping drive inbound links to your website — helping you get better SEO results.
- Research your audience and choose the right topic/content for your infographic. Lack of research may lead to an utter waste of time and money used to create the infographic.
- Spend time on designing the infographic to make sure that it is not cluttered and yet conveys all the intended information concisely.
- Use infographic maker tools to make the process of creation much easier and cost-effective.
- Add your branding and a clear CTA to your infographic.
Screenshots can also be potent tools that help offer a glimpse of your product to the consumers. Screenshots help you paint a picture and present the actual look and feel of your product to the users. This can work great to drive more conversions.
Moreover, screenshots have other uses as well. They can help you present social proof that is much more conclusive than the same proof presented in the form of words.
For example, saying that you have a 5-star rating vs. showing a screenshot of the rating.
- There is no such thing as too many screenshots. Hence, be generous with the number of screenshots you use. The more screenshots you use, the better it will be to understand for the user.
- Use screenshot editing tools that will help you highlight, crop, blur, etc., parts of the screenshot.
- Make sure to optimize your screenshot titles, captions, and alt tags with the target keywords to help with SEO.
Sometimes, presenting complex information to your users may be challenging. This is where flowcharts can be helpful. Flowcharts can be used to present workflows, solutions to complex problems, or anything similar that needs to be presented in a step-by-step format.
- Use consistent design elements such as colors, fonts, arrows, spaces, etc., to make your flowcharts look more appealing and cohesive.
- Avoid cluttering your flowcharts with too much text while trying to keep it as descriptive as possible.
Quotes have the potential to add credibility to your content. These can be your quotes or quotes of other thought leaders. Quotes can take your content from the place of observation to stating more conclusive facts.
Quotes presented in text formats can get easily lost. In comparison, quotes that are presented visually can be great visual assets. Such visual quotes will get more shares, backlinks, and buzz on social media networks.
- Have minimalistic designs to quote visuals. Avoid cluttering and make sure that only the quote content pops.
- Add branding in the form of logo, color palette, fonts, etc., to make your quotes fulfill your marketing goals.
- Promote quotes on different mediums such as social media platforms, web pages, blog posts, etc.
11. Visual Tutorials
Tutorials can be vital pieces of content that are important in the later stages of the customer journey. If your tutorials are complicated and not easy to understand, you are at the risk of frustrating your customers, leading to higher churn rates.
Visual tutorials in the form of step-by-step video instructions, tips, flow-chart how-tos, etc., can be much more appealing and understandable to your customers.
- Predetermine the customer journey stages where users might need the help of video tutorials to better understand your products.
- Make sure that your tutorials are as comprehensive and easy to understand as possible; otherwise, the entire purpose of a tutorial will be defeated.
- Get feedback from users and make consistent improvements to your tutorials.
12. Q&A visuals
FAQs and Q&As can also be amped up with the help of visuals. Simply adding some color and some other visual elements to QnAs to make them visually appealing can be great in catching users’ attention and retaining it for a longer period of time.
- Add colors, graphics, and illustrations to your QnAs to make them visually appealing.
- Add branding to the QnAs.
- Make your QnAs as interactive as possible to drive the best results.
13. Quizzes & Visual Puzzles
Quizzes and puzzles can act as highly effective lead magnets, provided they are appealing and entertaining enough to your target audience.
Enhance your quizzes by making them more visually appealing. You can do this by adding icons, graphics, illustrations, animations, images, or even videos.
- Use visually interactive formats for quizzes and puzzles. Use visual content marketing tools to add visual interactivity to your quizzes and puzzles.
- Promote visual quizzes and puzzles as lead magnets by revealing answers over email once they subscribe to your list.
- Consider working with designers to make sure your visual quizzes and puzzles look as appealing as possible.
CTAs are the meat to conversions for any business. But how do you drive users’ attention to a CTA after all the distractions they come across?
Visual enhancements to CTAs can do the job by driving attention, and ultimately more conversions.
- Place the CTAs above the fold where you can drive the most amount of attention.
- Make use of contrasting colors for the CTA background and text in order to make the CTA text stand out more.
- Split test your CTAs extensively (colors, fonts, placement, etc.) to ensure that they fetch you the most number of clicks.
Sometimes, you may find the need to embed visual content that is more descriptive than images but less heavy than videos. The answer to this is GIFs. GIFs are nothing but lightweight animated images.
GIFs are a versatile visual content marketing tool that can be used in blog posts, landing pages, website pages, social media posts, newsletters, promotional emails, etc. And the best part is that they are much easier to create than videos.
- Use tools such as GIPHY to create GIFs from static images.
- Make sure that the GIFs you create complement the context of the content where they are placed.
- Create GIFs that are colorful and vibrant to instantly grab the audience’s attention.
Everyone loves a good meme. Be it for light humor or to make a bold statement — memes can be the fun elements that can help you retain users’ attention.
An otherwise monotonous blog post can instantly turn much more entertaining with just a single meme that lands right.
- Source the memes from different platforms or create memes of your own (using free online tools like Imgflip) to complement your text-based content.
- Make sure to add interesting elements such as humor, sarcasm, etc., to make your memes more effective.
- When it comes to memes — trends play a very important role. So, don’t hesitate to jump on the latest trends that are prevalent amongst your target audience in order to make your memes more engaging.
Presentations are and have always been one of the easiest ways to present information to concerned audiences. To amp up your presentations, you can make them more visual. This can be done with the help of data-driven visuals, videos, GIFs, memes, and so on.
- Add high-quality graphics, images, icons, illustrations, infographics, GIFs, or memes to your presentations to keep the users engaged and make them reach the end.
- Add branding to your presentation in the form of brand colors, logos, and fonts.
Yes, maps can be great visual content marketing assets. Especially if you are a local business owner, maps can be highly effective in driving local customers to your brick-and-mortar store.
- Embed map of your brick and mortar stores on important web pages such as homepage, contact page, and about page.
- Make sure that your maps are mobile-friendly, as most users will view maps on small screen devices.
19. Interactive Content
Interactive content enables users to engage with the content actively. This helps drive more engagement and brand awareness. Such a kind of two-way interaction is possible using interactive content in a visual format.
With the right tools (such as Thinglink,) you can turn any visual asset interactive. For example, you can create interactive presentations, interactive infographics, interactive quizzes, interactive ebooks, etc.
- Create brand new forms of interactive content or update your existing content assets into interactive formats.
- Split test interactive visual content to get the best possible engagement.
Tips to Create Visual Content That Aligns With Your Visual Content Marketing Strategy
- Always start with definitive goals and strategy in mind. Without set goals, your visual content may be informative, engaging, and entertaining, but it won’t trigger the desired action from your audience.
- As an extension of the previous tip, decide what action you want to evoke from your audience before you begin the process of visual content creation. The desired action can be as simple as inspiring the viewer. Or, it can also be something much more tangible such as urging them to fill up a lead generation form.
- Always, always prioritize quality over quantity. One high-quality video or infographic can be 100x more powerful and fetch you better ROI than hundreds of images.
- Though you should research the market and your competitors to get an idea about different visual content marketing trends and the audience’s inclination towards them, it is also very important that you stay unique and creative so that you make a lasting impression on your audience rather than contributing to banner blindness.
- Add branding to visual content wherever possible so that all your visuals contribute to better brand awareness. Hoover, be subtle with your branding.
- Mix up promotional and informational visuals. Informative visual content will help you grab the users’ attention, while promotional content will help you generate leads and convert visitors. Both are equally important, and you should try to balance both.
- Visual content creation without promotion is a waste of time, energy, effort, and money. Before you begin producing content, it is vital that you think about your distribution mediums and promotional strategies. Only when your visual content reaches the right audience will you be able to achieve the desired results from visual content marketing.
- Investing in visual content marketing tools and software can be a game-changer in your overall strategy. You’ll be able to produce content at a much faster pace while not compromising on the quality.
- Tracking visual content marketing KPIs is extremely important. Without measuring the right metrics, you’ll not be able to make much progress in your visual content marketing plan.
- Though evergreen content is what lasts longer and fetches you results even after years, trends are something that can help you give the much-needed quick boost to grab users’ attention, at least for a while. Hence, have a mix of evergreen and trending content as a part of your visual content marketing strategy.
Free Visual Content Creation Tools
In this section, let’s look at some of the top free or freemium tools you can use to create different types of visual content.
6. Screenshots and Tutorials
How to Implement Visual Content Marketing Strategy
As mentioned earlier, without a visual content marketing strategy, you are as good as lost. You are simply shooting blind arrows in the air. That is why visual content marketing is more than just adding photos and creatives to your blog and social media posts.
A visual content marketing strategy gives you a specific direction to head towards — the desired goal to reach. This way, you know what your audience wants and how you can deliver content that sparks the desired actions from them.
Let’s look at the different steps involved in creating a winning visual content marketing strategy.
1. Start With Objectives and Goals
What are your business objectives and goals? These include both short-term and long-term goals. What goals do you intend to achieve using visual content marketing? List them out.
For example, your goals can be to increase sales for your eCommerce store, or it can be more specific, like generating leads for a specific product that you are planning to launch in the near future.
2. Conduct Thorough Research on Audience and Competitors
The next step is research. There are two parts to this. First, research your target audience and come up with ideal customer personas for every audience segment you want to target.
The next step is to research your competitors. Understanding what platforms they use, how they go about promotions, what types of visual content work best for them, and which ones don’t — all this can be super-helpful for you to come up with a visual content marketing strategy for your business.
3. Decide on Visual Content Marketing Channels
Based on audience and competitor research, the next step would be to find the distribution mediums where you want to promote your visual content. These may include channels owned by you such as your website, blog, email, etc.
You can also use paid mediums such as sponsored posts and social media advertising as a part of your visual content marketing strategy. You can go even further and make use of influencers as a distribution channel for your visual content.
4. Decide on the Types of Visual Content
Based on your business goals, audience research, and distribution mediums, start thinking about the formats of visual content that you want to produce and promote. This step is tricky and may take some time.
The visual content formats that you want to produce also depend on your budget. For example, producing animated GIFs costs much less than producing a long-form YouTube video, and either one of them can fetch you better results than the other.
5. Brainstorm Visual Content Ideas For Every Customer Journey Stage
After you decide on the visual content formats, you can start brainstorming ideas for each of these formats. This is a highly creative process and you can include inputs from your entire team.
Ensure that the ideas that you come up with are either evergreen or trendy, and appealing to your audience. But, also make sure that you do not lose out on authenticity in creating any piece. Staying unique is what will make you stand out from the crowd.
6. Create a Visual Content Marketing Calendar
Now you have all the visual content ideas brainstormed. Next, create an editorial content calendar.
This should ideally include different visual content types, the goal behind each one, distribution medium, personas you want to target, and the CTA for every piece of visual content that you publish.
Creating a visual content marketing calendar will help you stay on track with your strategy. Being consistent is one of the key aspects in helping you win the visual content marketing game.
7. Start Producing and Distributing Your Visual Content
Now, you can finally start producing and distributing the visual content as planned based on the content calendar. As mentioned before, always prioritize quality over quantity. And, make sure to take the help of the right tools and skilled people to produce the highest quality visual content.
8. Track Metrics and Make Improvements
Finally, it is important to track visual content marketing metrics and make necessary amendments to your strategy. The metrics that you track totally depend on your goals and objectives.
For example, the metrics that you track can be lead generation rate, conversion rate, website traffic, social media engagement, etc.
Measure the set KPIs each month and pivot your visual content marketing strategy based on these to achieve the highest possible ROI over time.
Time and again, studies have revealed that visual content can be much more potent in appealing and influencing consumers as compared to purely text-based content.
Simply putting out visuals without a strategy may not fetch you the desired business results. Hence, start by understanding what is visual content marketing, then create a visual content marketing strategy, experiment with different channels, and content formats.
The actionable tips and strategies covered in this ultimate guide will help you get tangible results from your visual content marketing efforts. So, start implementing these strategies right away, and you’re sure to hit your marketing goals.
Poorti Gupta is a Content Marketing Executive at Growfusely – a SaaS content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. She is specialized in running successful link-building campaigns. She starts her every day with yoga followed by grasping knowledge in the SEO industry. In her spare time, you can find her sipping cold coffee and reading a book. You can connect with her on Twitter: @poorti01