How to use visual storytelling to grow your business
| October 27, 2020
Many of you will have heard the saying, “Content is king!” And while content is still extremely important, what is really “king” is the ability to grab your audience’s attention, keep it, and engage them with your brand. Marketing is usually the first touchpoint for customer experience, and first impressions are extremely difficult to change. It’s vital that you get this right.
Easier said than done, right?
What you really need to know about is visual storytelling. Studies have shown that blog posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without. And, there’s more. Posts with videos attract over three times more inbound links than plain text posts.
This engagement really does convert into sales when carried out correctly. Sephora, a well-known makeup brand, released data stating that their Pinterest followers spend 15 times more on their products than their Facebook fans.
The best thing about creating visual storytelling marketing is that it can be researched and put together everywhere. You can be putting together memes by yourself on your laptop, sharing GIFs on your mobile phone, or even working on custom illustrations via video conference app!
Read on for some ideas of different visual storytelling techniques and advice on how to use them.
Different content requires different approaches. Photos tend to be most effective when you’re trying to get your customers to believe in something. They work really well when used on your website or blog, or even on your social media. They can be literal or symbolic, but you need to choose them carefully.
A photo is worth a thousand words when it comes to your brand. If you’re looking to upload a photo taken at your offices to your company Insta, make sure you’ve had a good look at the environment before posting. The last thing you want is to have something that works against your company image in the shot.
LG France tweets in 2014 making fun of Apple.... from an iPhone!
These things will be noticed and, in this day and age, can be spread across the internet for all to see within seconds. For example, if you were posting about how great virtual meetings are for business, having a photo of your colleagues meeting in a boardroom is going to undermine that message.
Memes are a great way to inject some personality into your brand. They enable you to promote yourself without coming across as pushy or too salesy. They’re cheap, quick and easy to make, relatable, and wide reaching. Used correctly, they can increase your brand visibility and engagement exponentially.
All that’s needed is for you to follow the latest trends and understand your audience. You can then make use of the various pre-made memes or use online design tools to add your brand name, product or slogan on trending memes.
GIFs are very similar to memes but are moving images. These are fantastic tools for adding interest to a page and engaging with your audience. You can use them on your social media or even in your blog posts and they don’t have to necessarily link to your brand in order to work. You can even add them to your outbound email marketing to catch the eye of potential customers.
What you do want, however, is the tone and message of the GIF to be consistent with your brand. GIFs could be the first element of sales engagement that customers have with you. It’s important that the message you’re sending is in keeping with how you want to present yourself.
Telling your brand story or sharing narrative through your marketing can become more effective through the use of custom illustrations.
Your customers, like all humans, are visual creatures and can process images 60,000 times better than they can process text. This is something to bear in mind from the very beginning of your brand creation. From the online store builder stage, right through your rolling thunder marketing through the year.
This is especially important at the moment, when many people are working remotely. A large percentage of your target audience will be working from home, online for many hours of the day. You need to make your marketing message attractive, quick to grasp, and enticing.
Relevancy is also key here. Generic imagery tends to be completely ignored and can actually harm your brand if you’re using the same images as others. It could negatively impact trust and advertises a lack of distinctiveness.
Charts and Graphs
One of the most important things when it comes to marketing is your ability to communicate information quickly and effectively. You want to grab your audience’s attention and let them know what you want them to know.
This can be difficult if your content doesn’t seem like something you can display with a diagram.
But anything can be made engaging if you choose the right chart or graph. For example, if someone wanted to explain "What is IVR?" you could do this with a block of text that your audience is unlikely to read. Or you could make a flowchart of the IVR process that explains it in an attractive way.
If what you want them to know is numbers- or stats-based, the easiest and most effective way to communicate this is through charts and graphs. These are visual representations of data that will make the information you’re sharing clear and authoritative.
Bombarding your audience with numbers can leave them feeling bored and confused, so make sure to only keep necessary elements that will work to enhance your central point.
On average, people retain 95% of the info they receive in a video to the 10% that they read through text.
Interestingly, while most people prefer branded content in video form to almost any other type of content, the vast majority of them don’t like listening to them. The best way to optimize your video marketing is to use subtitles or have text imposed onto it.
The other key thing to bear in mind is originality.
With video, it’s best to think outside the box. You have limited time to really make an impression and if your vid is boring, your audience will stop watching and are unlikely to engage again in the future. However, if you manage to grab attention, your video could be watched repeatedly, shared across multiple platforms countless times and engage repeated audiences.
Now that you know what visual storytelling is and have some techniques to try, where do you actually start?
Well, there are four easy steps you can follow:
1. What does your audience want?
Your customers and potential customers will be engaging with your brand because it meets some sort of need for them. The trick is to figure out what this need is and tell your customers exactly how you can meet it.
Once you’ve figured this out, create a marketing campaign around it with compelling visuals that will really resonate with them.
2. Make it distinctive
Visual storytelling may be a newer concept in the marketing world, but it’s already being used extensively. This won’t feel new to your customers.
Find a niche for your visual storytelling that will make you stand out. This has to be something which speaks to your brand tone, too, so your audience can really get to know you.
Make sure to keep the more distinctive and more engaging of this visual storytelling protected, too. Especially if it’s a visual that you’ve spent a lot of time or money on. There is some content that you want to remain unique to your business, so make use of digital content protection when it’s needed!
3. Keep up!
Timeliness is everything.
Keep an eye out for fresh trends emerging online and make sure you’re one of the first to capitalize on this, by creating visual commentary that is consistent with your brand.
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