Visual content marketing is the current best bet for building trust in a brand and promoting brand loyalty. Content marketing has become one of the most important ways companies build relationships with current and potential customers, and visual content marketing is at the head of the pack when it comes to building brand loyalty.
Seventy percent of companies invest in content marketing, which often includes visual content marketing, with 80% of marketers using visual assets in their social media marketing. But what is visual content marketing, or content marketing in general? How can your company leverage these techniques to grow your customer base?
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the practice of providing meaningful content, such as topical blog posts, how-to's or other informational or educational content to potential and current customers in an effort to build trust and favorable feelings towards your brand.
Becoming seen as a reliable source of information or even entertainment endears consumers to your brand, making them more likely to trust your recommendations, share your content online, and pick your product or brand when given a choice. Not only that, but loyal customers will also spend more, with 66% of Americans spending more with brands they feel a loyal connection to.
Rather than being a sales pitch, which consumers have become adept at spotting and which often cause more negative feelings than positive ones, well-executed content marketing makes users feel empowered to address issues in their lives and make informed choices. This builds the sort of favorable brand impression that not only converts customers but turns them into promoters, increasing your brand's Net Promoter Score (NPS). When content marketing first emerged, it was a primarily text-based practice. However, as consumer and media habits have evolved, content marketing is increasingly moving towards visual media.
What is Visual Content Marketing?
Visual content marketing is content marketing that includes or is entirely presented in the form of visual media. This can include images at the top of blog posts, infographics, videos, slide decks, and any other visual means of presenting information. This approach is very effective for grabbing and retaining consumer attention, and consumer engagement with visual content marketing is notably higher.
A recent analysis of over 1 million articles showed that articles with an image roughly every 85 words received double the social media shares as articles with fewer images. Tweets with images receive 1.5 times as many retweets as tweets without images, and Facebook posts with images receive 230% more engagement than posts without images.
Consumer recall of both information and brand identity increases markedly when using visual media. When hearing information, people are likely to remember just 10% of that information three days later. However, when the information is accompanied by a relevant image, people retain 65% of that information three days later. Likewise, when following written directions, people do 323% better at the task when illustrations are provided.
Visual content marketing gives your brand an excellent opportunity to not just leverage the already notable benefits of content marketing in general, but to also present your brand's visual language and visual storytelling. But first, of course, it is important to develop those visual markers.
Getting Started with Visual Content Marketing
Content marketing of all kinds depends on having a solid brand identity. This goes beyond having an engaging and appealing logo and into using personas and other branding and consumer research tools to develop a house prose style and photography, videography and illustration styles. Taken together, your brand should be developing a unique storytelling language, particularly a visual language and visual storytelling language. Consumers respond more favorably to marketing content with stories and information. Stories are engaging, and having a distinctive approach to presenting stories and information can set your brand apart.
To develop your visual content marketing, you must determine your audience and your goal. Each piece of visual content marketing should be crafted to reach a particular, well-defined audience and serve a single, well-defined goal.
For example, if you try to create a piece of visual content marketing meant to appeal to both teenagers and seniors, you risk alienating both audiences. However, if you have built a consistent visual language using colors, lighting, illustration style, and similar markers, you can create two pieces of visual content marketing that both have the "look and feel" of your brand while reaching each of the two audiences on its own.
Likewise, if you try to both launch a new product and build excitement for older products with the same video, you risk losing your storytelling thread and coming off like a sales pitch. Pick one goal and one audience for each piece of visual content marketing and optimize for that.
Another important aspect of getting started with visual content marketing is knowing your platforms. Each social media platform has its own culture, norms, and interaction patterns. Research each platform you plan to use and craft your visual content marketing accordingly. For example, many companies will simply post the same video on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram even though consumers engage with those platforms very differently. Know your audience, your goal, and your platform when you set out to create a piece of visual content marketing.
Building Brand Loyalty with Visual Content Marketing
Visual content marketing is appealing and compelling. When it comes to establishing and promoting a brand identity, visual content marketing is hard to beat, and the fastest-growing area of visual content marketing – the one building the most brand loyalty today – is video. Not only do videos let you deploy every aspect of your identity – prose writing for the script, any sound-related branding work you've done and every aspect of your visual language – but they're also the most effective at engaging consumers.
A 2018 survey by HubSpot showed that 54% of consumers "wanted to see more video content from a brand or business they support." Mobile video usage is continuing to rise, with an increase of nearly 10 million daily viewing minutes in the last two years.
On YouTube, 70% of viewers watch videos for "help with a problem" in areas like a hobby, their education, or their job. Such tutorial videos give the same excellent opportunity to build trust and loyalty as prose content marketing pieces while reaping the many benefits of adding visuals. YouTube also reaches more adults during prime-time viewing hours than any cable TV network, and Think With Google research shows that half of YouTube subscribers ages 18 to 34 would "drop whatever they were doing to watch a new video from their favorite channel."
These sorts of compelling statistics demonstrate why video has recently surpassed blogging in social media marketing, with 63% of marketers using video content compared to 60% who use blog posts.
With the kind of reach and impact video content has, it's no surprise that it makes for such an effective way to build brand loyalty. Telling inspiring stories, conveying informational content and providing consistent entertainment are all proven methods for gaining consumer trust, and video content specifically leverages every available medium as well as social media platform norms to increase spread and engagement.
Visual content marketing in general provides many advantages – increasing emotional attachment and recall – that allow you to more effectively reach current and potential customers. Do your research on audience and platforms, develop a compelling visual language, make sure the prose backing up your visual elements is targeted and well-written, and you will be building brand loyalty in the most effective way the market currently supports.