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Why You Need A Visual Marketing Strategy

I walked by our teenage children the other day, all three flopped around the family room staring at their phones. At that moment I noticed something profound: They communicate with photos.

That may be obvious to you, but it was a revelation to me. As I quietly observed them I noticed they were each doing basically the same thing: reacting to their friend's photos by sending photos in response.

In this case, one child was sending her reactions to a friend's fashion choices with comically exaggerated selfies — a goofy look of disgust for "do not like", an equally goofy smile for "I like that!" and so on. And on and on ...

Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, the platform isn't important. It's the behavior that's fascinating. To me, at least.

A Shift

I don't mean to imply that my kids don't text. They do, heavily, and I've got the phone bill to prove it.

Rather, when I observed my kids communicating with friends through photos something in my brain clicked: there has been a shift in how we use technology to communicate.

Cheaper bandwidth makes it as easy to send photos as it is to text. Add increasingly powerful smartphones with really good cameras and, well, photos become another way we express ourselves.

We not only use the camera we have, we use it more often for more things. Even sharing our feelings.

Brains Love Pictures

This photos-as-message behavior makes sense. The human brain dedicates an enormous amount of it's resources to processing visual stimuli and can extract meaning from an image in only 14 milliseconds. Far faster than text.

This, I believe, is why it's critically important to have a visual marketing strategy. Here are the authors of The Power of Visual Storytelling to drive the point even further...

  • Posts with a photo drive up to 180% more engagement than those without.

  • Viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with videos.

  • Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.

An Amazing Opportunity

All of this is to say that I think you have an amazing opportunity to reach your customers through social media campaigns built around images.

Our brains are powerfully adept at extracting meaning from what we see. And it's easier than ever to create and distribute your marketing images. The trick, naturally, is in how you do it.

You don't have to be a designer or buy expensive software or understand color theory. I promise. I don't do any of those things.

The resources are out there and they are easy to use. Bonus: most of them are very inexpensive or free.

As an example, here's an image I put together using the resources below. It looks great on Twitter and LinkedIn. It's a quote from the book Youtility by Jay Baer.

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Beautiful & Simple Resources

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First, read Canva's tutorial "Getting Started In Social Media Design". You'll learn how to discover your style, design images for different social networks and create efficient templates. Canva's easy to use online image editor is a great place to start creating your images. They have a selection of great tutorials, too. Free & paid.


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Sure, you could use Google Image Search to find images, but you might run into copyright issues. Yikes. I use Unsplash. Free high-res photos for your project. No funny business. Lovely selection. Perfect for resizing, cropping and using in Canva. Win-win.


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If, like me, you find pairing fonts a mystery, the beautiful Google Web Fonts Typographic Project page is incredibly handy. Just find the combo you like, note the font names and away you go. Designed for embedding in web pages, Google Fonts can also be downloaded and installed on your computer for use in just about any image editing app. Free.

Keith Monaghan