5 Steps for Using Visual Appeal & Better Design to Your Advantage
When it comes to your inbound marketing strategy, you probably put a lot of time into worrying about strategies like keywords, link building, guest posting and other techniques that have a lot to do with what you say. Your content matters, your ability to communicate and to drive actions is critical. But, what if something else, something far simpler, could make or break your inbound marketing strategy.
The good – and bad if you have not taken advantage of it yet – news is that there is something more that can be done, something that can lessen the importance of what you say while putting more importance on what you show: visual appeal. If you’re looking to create or enhance an inbound marketing strategy, now is the time to consider new ways to use visual appeal to your advantage. Check out the five strategies below.
Logo Consistency Helps Long-Term Branding
It probably seems like a given. However, when creating an email marketing campaign, graphics or other pieces of media that will be shared on your own site or on a branded social media page, it probably slips your mind. This is with good reason, if the content is shared on your own page, it seems repetitive to add your logo again. However, the goal of online content is social sharing. You want the graphics, infographics and other types of content you create to be shared widely. When it’s shared, the original source – your brand – will be lost unless there’s something that raises awareness, like your logo. Use it wisely, but use it widely.
In the example above, APG Exhibits maintains their same logo and color scheme across all social profiles. This helps visitors make a clear distinction between their brand and any competitor, especially in crowded industries. Moving across profiles, we often forget how the fundamentals of color psychology affect potential customers.
Consistent Colors Increase User Comfort
With the technology that exists today, having a “set” of colors that’s approximated or varies from one site or collateral to another is no longer acceptable. Work with a designer to come up with a consistent set of colors – 2 or, at maximum 3 – which you use consistently (see APG’s black & green above). These colors should be incorporated into your logo, site design, any email marketing campaigns, guest posts and so on. Your branding should come through, even when a logo isn’t present. Hershey does an excellent job of this on their website, capturing their widely known candy-bar as a header feature.
Recycle Popular Media
Have a great image that was recently used in a Facebook or Twitter initiative? Great. You can reuse it without reposting it. The hope is that if the post has been shared, or is memorable in any way, that traffic driven back to your social profile – or website – will recognize the original image and look for more. It validates your brand while adding another layer of consistency. On Facebook, to pin a post to the top of a page, hover over the small downward arrow on the top right of the post, then, click on Pin to Top. Use the same method to unpin at a later date.
On Twitter, visit your profile page. Select the tweet that you would like to pin to the top of your profile and click on the … icon. From there, select “Pin to Your Profile Page.” Use the same method to unpin and replace in the future.
Along a similar vein, popular media such as infographics, videos, and statistical reports are easy to recycle. Take for instance, Paul Tassi, a Forbes contributor who published this article a few days back:
The entire article, which albeit is brief, simply re-purposes the findings in a statistical infographic-ish report from Tubefilter. If Mr. Tassi naturally stumbled upon these findings that’s a great organic way to have your popular content recycled; however, we’ll want to be outreaching to targets such as Mr. Tassi to get it on their radar. This is the fundamentals of targeted outreach/promotion, but often times marketers assume their current fan base is enough to seed content.
Single Effort, Double Results
There’s no reason that content from one social network cannot be shared with another. While a SlideShare presentation shared on SlideShare will probably be shared by users of the network, a SlideShare presentation shared on LinkedIn can do double the work. Not only can LinkedIn members access the presentation, they may share it with other LinkedIn members, while still driving traffic from SlideShare. It sounds more complicated than it is. The basic idea is to share social media graphics and content across multiple networks to increase inbound potential.
The SlideShare team put together a short and easy to follow guide on how do this precisely.
Use Share-able Images
We live in a society driven by visual appeal. This has been seen time and time again, especially recently on social media sites. In fact, posts that are accompanied by graphics are given top priority in news feed displays across multiple networks. Where text is likely to fall flat, images have a chance at being seen and shared. Consider adding text to images – motivational phrases and humor are generally effective – and posting across various social media accounts.
Remember to optimize images for best results – square images are acceptable on Instagram, Facebook and Google+, yet vertical images – accepted on Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook can be more visually appealing. Twitter allows for custom sizes. Be sure to test various sizes for best results and to try out any image on mobile devices and desktops to be sure nothing is lost, regardless of device. The more visually appealing and accessible an image is, the more likely it is to be shared.
Put time and consideration into what is shown. Take the time to create visually appealing campaigns and marketing materials – on and offline – that appeal to your target market. Visual appeal may be more applicable to inbound marketing than you’ve previously considered. A shift in focus toward visual marketing strategies could lead to the long-term growth of your brand’s online presence.