OUTSIDE THE BOX
How to Make Visual Marketing Work for You
by Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig
Over the past several years, there has been an increase in individuals wanting to start their own business, according to the Small Business Trends Alliance (SBTA). This includes people who feel it is the best time for them economically to venture out on their own and those who want to leave corporate America to receive the benefits of sole ownership. And, recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and its uncertainty have played a big part in people wanting to create a new or side hustle.
“More people than ever are choosing to pursue small business because of frustration with the way things are and a desire for a better life,” per Guidant Financial and the SBTA report from its annual survey. “There was a 27 percent increase in the share of small business owners who were motivated to start their own business by their dissatisfaction with corporate America. There was also a 24 percent decrease in the share of people who started a business because opportunity presented itself—such as buying their business from their employer.”
The responsibility of launching a new business is immense. Unfortunately, not everyone is experienced in all facets of growing and maintaining one. Because of technology, the areas of marketing, advertising, and social media have become more important in the virtual race to pique the interest of clients/customers and beat the competition.
THE EYES HAVE IT
It’s no secret that, as humans, what we see—versus what we read—affects us quicker than anything else. How and when you use visuals in marketing does play a significant part in how people react. This means that content created with great visuals is more engaging and interesting for users, which can more quickly help attract customers, funders, and other stakeholders in your business.
The following sections offer some preliminary guidelines, tips, and best practices to adhere to when it comes to choosing creative elements for your digital marketing.
Print marketing is still alive and well; however, for cost-savings purposes, advertising online is your best bet. And according to a Hootsuite blog post, strong visual content via social media gives people a reason to follow, comment, like, and eventually buy from or hire you. To best do this, create a visual strategy that includes, at minimum:
- Audience research—Know your audience and what type of visual content they’d like to see. Conducting a poll is one way to gauge interest; however, sometimes trial and error is the best judge.
- A platform—Not all social platforms are created equally, so your marketing should be tweaked when using more than one to reach your target audience.
The next decision is which platform to use. A lot of this depends on your audience’s age (or how tech-savvy they are), the sharing tools offered, and which platform will allow you ease in posting, scheduling, and reach. Some of the most popular include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, and Reddit.
With the ubiquity of digital marketing, services once popular for sending out newsletters and e-blasts now offer a wide range of marketing tools that can be used alone and/or linked to select social platforms. A recent article from HubSpot—a developer and marketer of software products—lists automation, subscription, general email communication, notifications, monitoring, campaigns, integration with other marketing, sales and service software, and analytics as some of the features available for free or at a cost.
Once you’ve decided on how you will market and advertise your business, finding photos that are clear and compelling and send the best message is in order. The type of business you have will determine if you will be using your own images or if you need stock photos. The latter are easy to find on the internet; however, copyright laws prohibit you from just pulling anything you like off of Google. Wikimedia Commons and/or any site that provides open source licenses works best. A great place to begin is Creative Commons.
Using this DPI equation will help to figure out how big your image will appear on your desktop: (width of image in inches x DPI) x (height of image in inches x DPI) = image size on screen. An example is this: (6" x 100 DPI) x (4" x 100 DPI) = 600x400 pixels.