Visual marketing how-to guide

It has been proven that great photos drive social engagement and boost online sales. People increasingly appreciate stories told with images and often get discouraged by indigestible text-based content. Nowadays a good picture is what makes a sale.

Images (photographs in particular), are content marketing’s magnetic force these days. This can be easily observed on Facebook, where picture posts yield more likes, shares and comments than sheer text posts. The popularity of imaged-focused sites like Pinterest or Tumblr can be a further proof of this trend. Not only do photographs drive social media action, but they also support sales. The eMarketer survey from March 2012 revealed that one-third of North American online buyers made a purchase after seeing an image on a social image-sharing site.

To address this trend, companies have started to reinvent their entire content marketing strategies and are now putting photos in the centre of customers’ attention. Whether it’s during a product presentation, on a brand site or an official website, photographs and images have replaced descriptive content which nobody has the time to read anymore. Needless to say, while some companies caught the drift of the new trend fairly quickly, others
struggle to fit into the new style of marketing. For the last few months, I have been analyzing visual marketing campaigns in order to figure out what the determinants of success are. Here are my key findings that I wanted to
share with you:

1. Avoid stock photos – generic photos kill the uniqueness of your business and usually look fake. Visualize your brand with high quality, original photographs and align them to your overall communications strategy and core values.

2. Reform text content – shifting the focus from text to pictures demands changes in the language you use on the website. Be crisp and concise, avoid redundancy. Try to write only about important things that cannot be seen on the image.

3. Leverage social media – encourage social sharing of your pictures. Include appropriate social sharing buttons and use a contextually relevant call-to-action. Help users spread your content across their networks.

4. Optimize photos for searchability – take a few minutes to learn how Google selects photographs for “Images Search Results” and increase your brand visibility in the search engine. The official Google guidelines can be obtained here (hyperlink: images.html )

5. Respect copyrights – always acquire rights to use the photos you intend to publish as they are a proprietary of an artist and copying them without permission may cost you a lawsuit and a PR catastrophe.

What other recommendations do you think should be added to this list?

Dorota is currently advising clients how to create and manage effective advertising campaigns in accordance with the principles of Inbound Marketing. She offers training sessions and provides consulting and audit services for businesses of all sizes. To date, Dorota has worked with over 60 professionals, private entrepreneurs and top 500 companies. She has also been responsible for the online presence of over 40 businesses (white label).