Visual content is an absolute must-have for any marketing strategy.
Sure, it’s really easy to think of ways to make a clothing line look spectactular. Are you offering furniture? Simple: stage a room with some of your pieces and take great photos. Maybe you are a hair salon or spa. Again, the ideas for visual content literally flow from the imagination.
But, for businesses that don’t have an especially ‘visual’ product or service, it can seem that they are destined to be left in the marketing dust.
So, what do the software developers, the website builders, the accountants, the lawyers, and the virtual assistants do to create truly scroll-stopping visuals? Ideas don’t exactly come immediately to mind.
For these seemingly non-visual businesses, it’s time to start thinking outside the box.
(infographic at the bottom of article!)
Top 10 Marketing Ideas For Businesses Without Visual Content
- Visual quotes
- Using influencers
- Contests for User-Generated-Video
- Video reviews
- Memes & GIFs
- Joint venture projects
- Company history
Visual content can take many forms, not just that of dazzling photos of waterfalls. Yes, really impressive images and videos are compelling marketing tools, but your target audience will want content that is interesting to them, not just humans in general.
This is why all businesses have visual content opportunities.
Humans love to see other humans. It’s natural. Going into the human aspect of your business and showing something like “A Day In The Life” for the staff is content that your audience will find interesting. You can go with the amateur option, and film video on a smartphone, or you can spring for a more professional look by hiring someone with experience in capturing those candid moments and editing the entire thing into a cohesive video.
Either way, keep in mind that even though its behind the scenes, and nothing is really scripted, the final product really should have at least some sort of over-arching storyline or organization to it.
The magic really does happen in the editing room – cut the boring or poorly shot video and add some music that matches the mood you want to create. If this seems overwhelming or not something you have time for, hire someone, because this is valuable content for your marketing efforts.
A longstanding go-to for businesses without a lot of visual content. Take quotes from your executive staff or experts in the field, and make them into an image.
Check out our visual quotes!
When doing this, ensure that your text in the image is very clear. Avoid using handwriting or cursive fonts because they are hard to read in social media feeds on phones.
Then, post the text of the quote with the image so that it’s searchable, and add a line or two about why your audience should care about the quote, or the point it’s try to make.
Keep in mind that influencers are thick on the ground these days. You’ll need to do some research and put serious thought into who to work with. You need someone with an engaged following, a wide reach, and the track record of creating great content.
So, start with the follower count. It’s not really the most important factor (not by a long shot) but it can be an indicator that this person is worth looking into.
Then, take a look at the content. You’re looking for someone who knows how to tell a story, understands basic editing concepts, branding, and social media. This means they will be able to work independently to create collaborative content with your business and make both of you look good.
From there, examine the engagement. True influencers are those people who have created a following of devoted fans. Thus, don’t be misguided by follower count – it’s about engagement.
Of course, that’s just an example. And you need to find influencers that are speaking to your target audience. It won’t do any good to collaborate with an influencer with a following of unmarried men in their 20s if your potential clients are married man in their 50s.
Once you’ve found an influencer you would like to work with, it takes just a quick message to find out more information.
The wonderful thing about working with influencers is that they create the content, and they create it to appeal to their audience. You can give them guidelines and information to help them stay on brand for you, but because they are creating the content primarily for themselves, they will keep it on track to be good for their following.
Contests for User-Generated-Video
Now, this is where you can get people to create content that you can use, and the contest itself is also a marketing campaign!
You’d be amazed at what people will do to win something. Contests have been a staple for marketing, and you can take advanage of this by asking people to create video content for you, in exchange for a chance to win the prize.
Of course, make sure the prize is worth winning. A year’s worth of lutefisk isn’t going to get much attention. But, vacation or a VR headset will definitely turn heads.
Look at what your target audience would genuinely want, and make that the prize.
Then, you can decide what people have to do to enter. You can have a scavenger hunt (especially good for businesses focused on local customers), selfies, people engaged in relevant activities, recordings of slogans, images posted with branded hashtags – the options are pretty vast.
The point is to get visual content from users, which then lives forever on your social accounts, and can be repurposed in other ways for future marketing efforts.
Getting reviews is a cornerstone for solid marketing and reputation-building. Reviews are the second best thing to direct word of mouth.
In fact, 66% of Americans trust an anonymous online review more than they trust a recommendation from an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend
Most businesses get written reviews, or even just a simple rating. So, taking the next step and elevating reviews to a visual level will make them more impactful and memorable.
Just like creating a visual quote, you can take a written review and make it look good. Keep the font clear and easy to read, and remember to cite the person who wrote it, and if possible the platform it was originally written on.
Even better if you can get your customers and clients to appear on screen when giving their glowing reviews. Simply asking can be enough, but sometimes it can take a more proactive approach to get video reviews.
Consider having a Review Recording Day: organize a lowkey event with snacks and drinks, and invite happy customers to attend. Hire a videographer or DIY it, and when your guests are there, have them stand in front of the camera and give their review of your business.
Require invitees to RSVP, and make them feel special. Make sure that when you are recording that you are in a quiet location near the event, or have a microphone handy. Look at what’s in the background, and ensure there isn’t anything unsightly like a trashcan or ugly parking lot.
This kind of event requires resources, but the results can be spectactular video content.
Suggested reading: 6 Questions to Ask to Get the Best Testimonials for Content Marketing
Also called Data Visualization, infographics are the internet’s darling. It caters to the human desire to learn and be visually entertained at the same time. In point of fact, infographics are about 30 times more likely to be read than a full article of the same information.
There’s even an infographic at the bottom of this article.
If your business deals heavily in data and information, then infographics are an excellent visual marketing tool for you. Not only do regular people just respond better to infographics, they also convey information to your target audience in an easy-to-digest manner. And an informed potential client is closer to conversion than one without the knowledge.
Infographics can also boost your site’s traffic by up to 12%, too.
There are lots of tools available for creating infographics (our fav is Canva), and the same rules apply to any other kind of content creation: make it clear, useful, and sharable. If your infographics are cluttered, hard to read, or just unbearable bland, you’ll want to hire a professional. Fortunately, there are many qualified people available via freelance sites like Fiverr.
Memes & GIFs
This is a tricky thing to get right. Use it wrong, and you’ll end up looking unprofessional and silly. Use it correctly, and it supports your brand as relevant and good-spirited.
You can make your own memes and GIFs using any number of free tools available online. Making them specific to your audience and the known “in jokes” in your industry adds a note of levity to what could be a boring feed.
Start with a well-known and understood meme format, such as these:
From left to right, these are meme templates named “WTF Picard,” “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” and “Unsure Fry.” All three call upon familiar pop culture icons, and are used to express a feeling or thought.
Then, you add text that ties it to your business or industry. For example:
In this way, the meme is more than just entertainment in a tight little package – it’s also content marketing for your business.
Joint venture projects
There is a reason why joint ventures tend to be more labor-intensive: the results can be dynamite.
Joint venture projects can be a goldmine for visual content, as well as reputation management, and brand recognition. To make a JV work takes some serious organization and well-defined roles and responsibilities, so be sure when you decide to enter into a project that you start with clarifying objectives and duties.
And speaking of clarity, the kind of joint venture we are talking about here is one that is more or less just for marketing purposes, and helps both businesses build their audience base.
You can find JV partners just about anywhere, but you will want to try to find another business that aligns with yours, without overlapping services.
Look for someone with the audience you want, or that offers products or services you know that your own audience would be interested in.
The ultimate point is to provide value to both your consumers and theirs. For example, let’s say you make amazing chocolates: truffles, bonbons, clusters, the works.
You might want to work with a gift basket company. They put your chocolates in their baskets, you give them a great price for it, and then both companies can talk about it. You can post images of the gift baskets and your chocolates being in them. The gift basket company can post about the high-quality chocolates in their baskets. Your audience gets the opportunity to learn about a great gift basket service that can help them that already has their favorite chocolates, and their audience learns more about the specific company (yours) that supplies these decadent chocolates. Win-win.
Or, perhaps you make luxury bed linens. Teaming up with a bed and breakfast means you can take some gorgeous pictures of your linens inside a cute BnB, and they can brag about their bedding in their social media. Go in on the cost of a high-quality videographer to capture everything, and both companies can use the visuals.
You can also consider working with a non-profit as a joint venture partner. Again, you want to ensure the non-profit has an audience with people who would genuinely appreciate what you have to offer, other than your philanthropy.
Say you’re a bakery, and you have the ability to make dog biscuits. You could team up with a pet shelter or dog foster program and provide treats to needy dogs, or donate a portion of your proceeds if customers by the dog biscuits from your bakery. You help a charity you care about, your customers can see it, as well as the people who are involved with the charity. That’s win-win-win.
Every company has a history, the story of how it came into being. The reason why the founder decided to put effort into building the business into what it is today.
Revisiting that history can give you opportunity for visual content through old photographs of the original building (or garage, basement, attic, etc.), photos of the founder, videos of interviews with long-time clients and original employees, and so much more.
Beyond the visual options, you can give your audience a glimpse at the early beginnings, the struggles, and the triumphs. Understanding a company’s history ties a consumer more firmly to a brand, and builds loyalty, as well as prompts word of mouth.
Interviews are always a go-to when you need content of any kind: written, audio, or visual. However, interviews also have the risk of being boring and unrelatable.
The key is to remember your audience, and what they would appreciate seeing in an interview. Interviews with the C-suite officers, regular employees, and clients could give you some great pieces of content that would resonate with your audience.
Another option is to interview industry leaders. Those thought leaders might already have a following of people you would like to have as your own audience, so when you interview someone, their circle is likely to be interested and take note.
Our top 10 Content Marketing Thought Leaders:
- Rand Fishkin
- Jay Baer
- Gary Vaynerchuk
- Neil Patel
- Ann Handley
- Andrea Fryrear
- Seth Godin
- Pam Moore
- Aaron Orendorff
- Joe Pulizzi
Remember that you don’t have to broadcast the entire interview and leave it at that. You can take pieces of it and use those in other marketing venues. 15- and 30-second clips can be excellent ways to add compelling visual content to short-form platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
Top 10 Marketing Ideas For Businesses Without Visual Content
When you have a business that doesn’t immediately lend itself to gorgeous visuals, it can seem incredibly frustrating when looking to compete in a increasingly visual marketing world. However, a little creativity and planning can easily remove any roadblocks and inspire you to the visual marketing content you need.
Bottom line: remember your audience. They will tell you what they want to see from you. It doesn’t always have to be dramatic sunsets or breathtaking models – done correctly, audiences will engage with a range of visual content. Make the material evoke emotions like excitement, make it easy to consume, and make it something that your fans would love to share with their own circles.