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You have an amazing website, a blog full of helpful posts, a one of a kind product and an email newsletter where you share exclusive content, but your audience isn’t taking advantage of these offerings. You may have started out feeling like a superhero but suddenly you’re feeling like a super zero. You’re not alone. At one point we have all felt this way. Creating content people love is easy. It’s getting that content in front of them and getting them to take action that’s a little more difficult.
In today’s world of fast moving information, you have to be able to grab your audience’s attention and grab it quick. The easiest way to get them to pay attention to you is through your visual content strategy. You may already have a marketing strategy in place, but if you aren’t creating relevant visual content your strategy isn’t complete. Not by a long shot.
This question is easily answered with these mind-blowing statistics about visual content.
Add to those statistics that visual platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest are seeing major growth in active users and you can see that having a clear visual marketing strategy is a must for any business, even yours. No longer can you get away with a simple text-only tweet or status update on Facebook. Today, you have to be sharing relevant visual content that packs a punch across all platforms to see growth.
So how do you, as a small business owner, harness the power of visual content to see growth across your social media and website? I know we all wish we had a magic ring we could slip on to turn us into a visual content superhero, but I haven’t found the all-powerful ring yet. I have however found a proven way to create a visual marketing strategy you can implement across all platforms and for all your business offerings, and see the increase in traffic, shares, and profit you are looking for.
Every effective marketing strategy must start with an objective and SMART goals. What are you hoping to accomplish with your visual content? Are you looking to increase views to your blog, sell a new product or service, or increase your email list? These are just a few of the most common objectives in a visual marketing strategy and there are a million others out there.
Once you have set your overall objective it’s time to set goals for your campaign. If you aren’t familiar with SMART goals they are goals that are created to be clear and reachable. The acronym SMART stands for (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)elevant, and (T)imely.
To see how I set goals you can read this blog post: How I set Big Goals And Actually Achieve Them
Here is an example of a SMART goal if you want to grow your email newsletter subscription.
To make your goal specific remember to use the five W’s; what, why, who, where, and which. Answering these five questions will give focus to your goal and help motivate you to achieve it.
Making your goals measurable allows you to track your progress. This is especially important in a marketing strategy so you can see which of your efforts are producing the desired measurable outcomes. Also, consider what resources you will use to measure your progress. In this case, it would be your email analytics.
Remember to consider if you can achieve this particular goal based on whether you have the time, money, and know how to accomplish it. But the old adage holds true “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” So if it’s important to the growth of your business don’t let something like time or lack of design skills stand in your way of creating a superhero worthy visual content strategy.
Setting a timely deadline, no matter how far out, gives you something to work toward. Some of your goals you will be able to accomplish in a short amount of time, while others may take years to see come to fruition.
So the goal in this example is: “I want to grow my email subscription list by 1,000 new subscribers over the next 6 month so that I can reach the right audience and increase the number of leads into my sales funnel. I will focus on creating relevant and easy to process information that helps my audience solve their biggest issues.” See how this goal marks off each point in the SMART goal action plan? Setting SMART goals will help you reach and achieve your ultimate objective and will help you set a clear and focused marketing strategy.
The next step in setting up a super-powered visual content strategy is to define your audience and get to know them. If your an established brand you may already know who your audience is. If, by chance, you are just starting out you might need to do a little research to figure out who you’re marketing to.
To determine who your audience is you need to think of your niche. If you’re a maker who creates stunning handmade signs and home decor your perfect customer probably isn’t going to be the teenager who’s looking for help studying for the SAT exam.
Your niche will help you narrow down your audience but you need to be as specific as possible. Think of the age of your audience, income, geographical location, career etc, Narrow your audience down as much as possible. The more specific you are the easier it will be to target their specific needs and desires. Your whole visual content strategy will play off your audience.
I have found that once I have defined my audience and what specific needs they need to have met I need to think of them as a singular person rather than a group of people. This helps create a hyper focus to my campaigns. I even give him or her a name and refer to them by their name in my strategies.
I know a lot of you stretch yourselves across every possible social media platform out there and I know it’s exhausting to keep up with. But you really don’t have to be on every platform available to you. You really only need to be where your audience is hanging out to start. That means if you’re a mom blogger you probably don’t need to focus on LinkedIn. If the majority of your audience isn’t using a platform you don’t need to waste precious time trying to find them there.
Focus your effort where you will see the most return on your investment. Choose two or three platforms and give it your all. Establish your following and add in another platform.
To have a successful visual marketing strategy you must be on these platforms. These two platforms alone will be packing your biggest punch. Think of them as your visual content sidekicks.
Now it’s time for the fun part of your visual content strategy, creating your content.
This is by far my favorite part of the process because there are so many forms of content to work with that can drive your audience to take action.
Let’s look at the different types of visual content you can use and how they can benefit your strategy.
These can be stock photos or original images that you create. They should be relevant to the content you are pitching to your audience and they should be visually appealing. Your photos should also work well with your brand. Use consistent colors, fonts, and filters to create a branded theme across your platforms. Remember that posts that contain images get 94% more views (MDG Advertising study). Remember you want your visual content to be shared over and over again so make sure you include your logo or website so people can easily find you later.
Use infographics in your blog posts to make large amounts of information easy for your audience to process. Make sure you make the infographic a pinnable image so your audience can pin them to their Pinterest boards to reference later and help you get your valuable information in front of more potential customers. Websites that include infographics grow 12% in traffic than those that don’t.
These looped animations are eye-catching and can emotionally charge a campaign. Use these bad boys in blog posts, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. GIFs can also increase engagement with your brand.
Remember that stat I gave at the beginning of the post? Posts with video are shared 3x more than posts without video (SEOmoz). Your videos can be a simple how-to or show some behind the scenes action in your business. Just remember to keep your videos short, preferably no longer than 2 minutes.
These jokers are really popular on social media. They are easily shareable and have a potential go viral when done correctly. More than likely your audience is going to love and share these easy to make visuals. Remember to keep them fun but still on brand.
These powerhouses are a fantastic way to educate your audience on a particular topic. You can use SlideShare (LinkedIn), Facebook Live, and Periscope (Twitter). Webinars can be used as an optin for your email list. No matter which way you go this is a great way to get personal with your audience and provide them with vital information they need.
Even if you’re not an artist its worth looking into the power of comics and drawings. Keep them simple and fun. Use unique illustrations to help make you stand out and they will become apart of your branding.
After you have decided on what visual content you want to use to drive your audience it’s time to share it with them and track your progress. Tracking your campaigns is vital to your visual content strategy. Using your analytics will allow you to see what content you produce creates the greatest impact on your audience and allow you to focus on creating more visual content that your audience resonates with them.
Whether it’s to share your content, drive traffic to your blog, sign up for your email newsletter, or to make a purchase the goal of any visual content you create is to drive your audience to action. From step one, defining your objective, to creating a power packed content its all about getting your audience to take the next step.