Bill Acholla is a digital content marketing consultant specializing in content marketing. If you need a blog post template that can help you create the right content and drive more traffic to your business, signup to his business blog at Billacholla.com and you’ll instantly get the template.
A few years ago, content-dominant posts were the go-to strategy for brand marketing. This was a time when readers happily devoured extensive 1000-word blog articles.
Now, with the increase in the amount of information released across various social media platforms in a single day, things have changed.
Today, the attention span of an individual on average is about 3 to 8 seconds. An effective way to grab his attention, so he sticks around for the rest of the content is to use visual storytelling.
Studies indicate that a blog post with visuals results in up to 180% more reader engagement than a post without visuals.
We are now at a time when tweets, with a 280-character limit, require brands to get to the point as quickly as possible. This is the age of Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest – platforms that rely heavily on visual storytelling.
Consider this comprehensive narrative on visual storytelling as a helpful friend, guiding you towards effectively marketing your eCommerce business.
Discover what visuals your virtual audience wants. Take a peek into the brands that are doing it right. And, access insight into how you can engage your audience enough for them to grow your brand for you after a point.
What Is Visual Storytelling?
It’s all in the name – visual storytelling implies the use of images to get a point across. A visual narrative uses images, infographics, videos, graphs, pie charts, or illustrations.
As a marketer, you can use creative visuals to craft a story about your brand’s key values or what it offers. This way, your audience gets an idea of what you are trying to say/sell at just one glance.
A picture on its own may catch a reader’s fancy, but that may not be enough to keep them around. A balanced brand marketing post often incorporates some form of text to drive the point(s) home.
You can also enhance your visual storytelling posts with some form of audio. That way, you have your readers’ visual and auditory attention.
Why Is Visual Storytelling Important?
The term ‘content’ has gone far beyond basic text. Today, it marries text with visual and maybe even auditory aids.
Visual storytelling is important because, with the right creative, you can be the brand that connects and sticks with an audience that is continually being distracted by multiple ‘shiny toys.’
A good visual story has the power to entice a person casually scrolling through his feed, to become a devoted member of your brand’s tribe. If done right, visual storytelling is a quick and effective way to form an emotional connection with your audience (both old and new).
Studies show that the human brain processes images about 60,000 times faster than it does words. Even in our daily lives, nearly 93 percent of our communication with one another is based on non-verbal cues.
Cut through all the communication noise by coming up with a visual story that appeases to your customers’ emotions. The popular marketing quote, “Tell a story instead of selling a product’s features,” sums it all up.
5 Ways to Use Visual Storytelling to Help Get Your eCommerce Business to the Top
1. Place Your Customer at the Heart of Every Story
A vast majority of customers today make purchase decisions based on an emotional connection with a product/brand.
They don’t really care about its features, because there are probably umpteen brands that offer products similar to yours.
To cut through the noise, make your consumer the hero of the story. Address his needs rather than selling your product/service.
Use your visual storyboard to let your customer know that you share in their experiences. Show them how your brand can be a part of their positive experiences. Present them with the possibilities of new adventures together.
Red bull makes for an interesting case study as a brand that understands the power of visual storytelling.
The brand’s social media pages and their video ads feature ordinary people doing things that they love. The people featured are the heroes, and Red Bull is a drink that keeps them going.
Apart from its wildly relevant/relatable video content, the brand keeps its audience engaged with various events.
Any event is incomplete with a Red Bull stand. The brand continually uses various visual techniques to keep its audience locked in before, during, and after events.
2. Give Customers a Behind the Scenes (BTS) Peek
In this age, where everyone has some form of social media presence, marketers have instant and easy access to their customers. Make the most of every outlet.
Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are three of the most popular social media platforms. And all of them rely heavily on visual media.
Dunkin’ Donuts’ may not have the heftiest budget, but it has managed to make its way into people’s hearts.
They are pros at BTS content on social media. Dunkin’ Donuts hooks its audience by uploading pictures of their employees participating in fun activities, and by encouraging customers to join in on the games.
The iconic #DunkinReplay series showcased the brand’s willingness to partake in the ‘big events’ of their customers’ everyday lives. Dunkin’ Donuts isn’t just a brand looking to sell products. It is a brand that continually reminds its audience that it is more about enhancing the best moments of their life, with treats.
Giving a visual sneak peek into what goes on behind the scenes allows customers to form an almost familial connection with the brand.
3. Pick a Design That Embodies Your Brand’s Image
Every good brand has a design narrative that is distinctly its own. For instance, you can spot a visual poster made for Intel right away.
This is because there are certain color schemes or design elements that distinguish creative from this brand to another in the same field.
Creating a design that people can immediately recognize as being your brand’s is vital. Content, both visual and text, are likely to change, but the core design of a brand will not. You want your brand’s design to be an extension of its story.
4. Stay Woke – Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
Brands today cannot afford to be stagnant. Earlier, they had the luxury of coming up with a strategy over weeks or months even.
Now, information is instant, and brands are expected to keep up. You’ve got to be able to grasp a conversation and use it in the right context in order to remain interesting.
Many brands these days have jumped on the meme bandwagon. Years ago, it would have seemed ‘unprofessional’ for a brand to engage in something as ‘frivolous’ as creating memes. But any smart brand marketer knows that getting on with the times is the only way to stay in the game.
5. Know Your Audience
Most brands on social media rely on either one of the following to tell a visual story – memes, custom images, gifs, photography, graphs & charts, videos, animation, and infographics. Each of these visuals works their charm but among different audiences.
Here is where the challenge is. There is no set formula for what will work for your brand’s customers.
You can conduct your own split testing, or you can go about things the old way (through trial and error). Enjoy the process of drawing up a unique marketing strategy for your brand.
The Takeaway – Has Visual Storytelling Killed Text Marketing?
Visual storytelling is a relatively new marketing strategy, but many brands are embracing it with open arms.
It works, whether it’s for brand websites, social media, billboard ads, or commercial video ads.
In today’s digital age, viewers are likely to engage more with a post that has an image attached to it by about 120-180 percent more than a text-based post.
If you compare advertisement campaigns over the years, you’ll notice that text seems to be disappearing more with each decade.
Does this mean that text has no place in digital marketing anymore? The answer is definitely not. Audiences today want everything instantly.
So if you are a brand marketing your service/product, you want to tell your customers exactly what they are as quickly as you can. And the best way to do so happens to be through the use of images.
Use design and images to lure your audience in. Once you have them reeled in, they are likely to read through the text or listen to the audio accompanying the visual.
Images ensure that readers take a second look while text continues the story and convinces them to stay. One cannot work without the other.
What is your take on using visuals as part of your digital marketing?
Do you think that text-based presentation is a dying art-form that needs to be resuscitated, like yesterday?
Or do you believe that visual storytelling offers a fresh and entertaining way to market a brand/product?
We would also like to read about the many ways you use visuals in your digital marketing.
For example, how you used a storyboard to tell a fashion story or how you presented otherwise boring data in a fun way, through an engaging pictorial post.