As a marketing professional, it’s part of our blood to notice trends and embrace them with open hands.
Whether you’re in B2C, B2B or personal marketing, visual communication is quickly becoming a very important way to connect with your audiences.
The challenge is how to produce great, engaging content that holds traction in a saturated market.
In order to do this, it’s worth understanding the how and why visual content is the key to the future of online and social marketing. One way to approach this would be looking at the psychology behind visual stimulants.
From an evolutionary standpoint, visual aids were responsible for identifying threats, finding food and sparking love.
It comes as now surprise then that only 10% of the information you hear is remembered after three days while an incredible 65% of information that you see is remembered 3 days later.
The brain is significantly more responsive to visual stimuli than what you hear or read.
By appealing to people’s sense of visual aid, you can create more powerful and engaged reactions to the content you share on social media. It was found that people who respond to directions with both text and illustrations performed 323% better than people who followed instructions without illustrations.
By appealing to people’s naturally stronger memory processes, you can create a more engaged response. For instance, BuzzSumo analysed over 1 million articles and found that articles with an image once every 75-100 words was shared double the amount of times than articles with fewer images.
Likewise, Facebook posts with a picture receive on average 2.3 times as many engagements than ones without. As a marketer your goal is to maximise genuine engagement with your content, so the question is still raised – how do you produce visually compelling content?
For the sake of appealing to the hallmark tendencies of marketing professionals, we’ll focus on the three ‘low hanging fruits’ of visual content.
Relevancy, emotions and great design.
To achieve the desired result of content, your marketing efforts need to focus less on your goals and more on the goals, wants and needs of your target audience. By providing content that is relevant to your buyer or audience persona, you are providing value.
Your goal as a marketer is to create value but by then focusing on the value that they expect from you as a company. There’s no point in a clothing company creating infographics of a marketing sales funnel. It’s not relevant.
By positioning your company within the expectations of the market, and aligning your content strategy to it, you can create highly engaging content.
Time relevancy is also a defining factor of why content becomes engaging. When there’s hype around a topic, people want to share it with their friends as people want to provide value to their friends or be known as a thought leader in their social circles.
For instance, if a clothing company plans a slideshow to promote on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google fashion groups, focusing on a fashion relevant event, such as a reputable fashion week gives the audience social currency in the form of relevant information to share and promote.
When constructing visual content, ask yourself whether this type of content is what your audience expect of you to produce, and what they need or want.
That ensures that you have their attention once it’s published. Then be sure to ask yourself whether or not it has relevance to the target audience’s interests and social circles. If you achieve that, then there is potential for engagement.
Once you combine both, you have a piece of content that has powerful potential to be engaging and useful for your brand.
The great advantage of visual aids is that you can appeal to people’s emotions far more efficiently than written content. There’s a reason cute cat images are some of the most shared content around.
There’s also a reason memes have found extraordinary success as a medium for sharing small snippets of information. It’s because they can create emotional responses in the form of humor, anger, love, and interests.
After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
As a marketer tasked with creating engaging content for your audiences, identifying your audiences emotional sensitivities can bring personality to your brand and encourage engagement.
For instance, a surf company can appeal to their audience’s sense of adventure and adrenaline to promote a new line of surfboards.
By affirming associations between your audience’s emotions and your brand, you create a personal connection, which will increase trust and ultimately help you increase conversions.
Great design goes a long way when it comes to visual aids. It secures a sense of professionalism and integrity that most brands overlook when producing visuals. It’s incredible just how many people expect poorly produced visual content to have an impact on social media or beyond.
Simply, In order to have an impact you need to create stunning visuals. This is a lot easier than most people think.
Great design is a combination of fonts, colors, structure and graphics that work comfortably together to visualise ideas. If you can’t visualise information properly, it can often be more harmful than you think. A poorly designed graph screams of boredom and unprofessionalism.
On the other hand, a slideshare presentation with great branding, color scheme, and font scheme streamlines the user’s experience, for instance, and helps retention rates increase. If you’re building a presentation, you could use different color themes as highlighted in this article.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to share a simple message, perhaps use a block font such as Arial in bold over an emotionally related image that has had a slight dark transparency applied to it.
A simple font is crisp, contrasting and easy-to-read. If you’re looking for free stock photography, try out Pexels.
If you’re a larger company, you could always look at outsourcing design work. Companies such as 24slides provide professional design and presentation services for very affordable prices. If you have a limited budget, you could always look towards tutorials on Youtube. For inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to start.
If there’s one thing we learned from 2019, it’s that content is still king. 2020 is going to see a massive increase in visual content and in order to compete in a social sphere saturated by content and information, you need to appeal to the customer and prioritise their needs, wants and expectations.
You need to do this while positioning yourself as a professional and reputable leader with well designed visual content that evokes emotional responses.
Relevancy ensures your audience is interested and provides a foundation for engagement.
7 Reasons Why Its Important to Have a Niche
A niche is a focused, targetable segment of the market. You are a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on the specific needs of an identified client group, which cannot or are not being addressed in such detail by the dominant providers in your industry.
But it is important to understand that there is, in fact, a difference between your identified niche and your target market.
Your target market is a specific identifiable group of people you work with, e.g. women in the city, technology start-ups, creative agency owners, small and medium businesses in a particular revenue range.
Your niche is the service you specialise in offering to your target market.
For example, standing desks are aimed at professionals who work in front of a computer for long periods of time. This is a well-defined niche.
Here are 7 reasons why it is important to have a niche:
To avoid spreading yourself too thin
Instead of the risk of spreading yourself too thin in saying that ‘everyone’ is your potential client, niche marketing will help you to focus on a specific grouping of people, and particularly on what their needs and wants are.
You will unlikely to be able to serve everybody, so it is important to focus on what you do best and aim it at a specific group of people who will likely buy what you offer.
It is important to find out what is important to them, what blogs they read, their beliefs and attitudes, who the main influencers in that network are.
Having these insights means that you can develop products or services specifically aimed at this group, based on your thorough knowledge and understanding of what they are interested in.
It’s easier to identify and target potential clients and partners to work with
As the pool of people that exists for a niche is smaller than its mainstream equivalent, it will be easier to identify potential clients and partners to work with, as you can be much more targeted and laser-focused with your marketing efforts.
It’s easier to become an expert and well known in your niche
Niching means it will be much easier for others to understand ‘what you do’ and ‘for whom’, which will make it easier to position you as an expert in your field. As this group is more targeted and of a smaller size, you can rapidly become well known within this group of people.
Your profile and overall visibility will increase within this group. It is a small world after all!
More and better referrals
Since it will be easier for others to understand what you do and for whom, it, in turn, becomes much easier for them to refer more and better quality clients to you that fit the profile of your ideal client, as you have built up trust, credibility, visibility, and it is very clear as to what your specialism is.
The more unique you are, the less competition you will have
There will be less competition, as you will provide the specific services or create the specific products for the specific people you are seeking to help in a specific way that meets their needs. The BIG advantage of becoming more unique is that usually it can’t be easily replicated by your competition!
Marketing becomes much easier
Effective niche marketing should really help with your marketing, positioning and branding as you will attract the ‘right people’ much more easily and quickly. People with similar interests tend to behave and are attracted to similar things. This means that many of your clients will do all the hard work for you as they will refer you more and more because your profile, credibility and influence are readily apparent within your tribe.
More repeat business
As you are able to provide an increasingly better service or product, based on your specific client’s needs, it is likely that you will get more repeat business – people will come back for more, and as an added benefit will often start spending more with you as your relationship grows with them.
How to Increase the Loading Speed of Your Website
Imagine this: your e-commerce site is losing visitors on Black Friday or the recent record-setting Cyber Monday – traditionally the two biggest shopping days of the year.
What’s worse is that this situation is totally unnecessary. You could have kept those visitors if you had just reduced your website’s load time.
By neglecting something so important, you are losing a significant amount of money and will continue to lose revenue until you tackle this problem.
Why Speed Matters
Speed matters first because it is one aspect of an efficient, high-functioning website. Nowadays, when most people access the Internet on the go from mobile devices, site speed has become especially important.
But site speed also matters because people’s attention spans are getting increasingly shorter. Data shows that almost half of all internet users expect website pages to load in less than two seconds. If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of users will move on. And speed matters to Google.
Ever since the introduction of Google’s Mobile-First Index, site speed is Google’s official ranking factor. This means slow load time means decreased rankings, hence poor site visibility.
Site speed has a huge effect on usability and conversions. If people are leaving because your site is too slow, they are not converting.
No wonder many companies are focusing on improving site speed nowadays. Pathwwway, a product design and development growth-oriented company, names load time any business’s top priority.
For these reasons, web developers say that increasing site speed is “an essential skill for any website owner.”
Here’s an extensive list of strategies for speeding up WordPress (WP) websites in particular.
Evaluate Your Site
First, you should objectively test the speed of your site. To do so, you can use GTmetrix or Pingdom, both of which provide a detailed analysis of what (if anything) is causing your site to lag.
These tools measure if your site is too slow and you can also use them to continually monitor its performance. Remember that your goal should be for your pages to load in under two seconds. Faster than that is even better.
Have a Good Foundation
Make sure that you have a good hosting provider. Most likely your best bet is to opt for a virtual private server (VPS).
Shared hosting will slow you down too much, and a dedicated server probably has more power than you need and is too expensive.
You should also consider managed WordPress hosting created especially for WP sites. With managed hosting, you won’t have to be responsible for the technical aspects of your site.
Keep this same mentality when selecting your theme.
Choose one that only has what you need, keeping it as lightweight as possible. One strategy is to opt for a minimal theme and then add plug-ins to add additional functionality.
You might also consider utilizing a content delivery network (CDN).
The closer a server is to a user, the faster the loading time will be. A CDN takes your static files and distributes them on various servers across the world so that your site is closer to people than it would have been otherwise.
There are even solutions that will allow you to host parts of your site through a CDN. Some CDN resources you can check out are:
- Amazon Cloudfront
- Jetpack (a plugin)
- WOT Cache
Updates and Maintenance
It should go without saying that you should keep all of the elements of your site as up to date as possible.
This includes everything from HTML and PHP to your theme and plug-ins.
Your hosting provider is responsible for your site’s primary updates, but you should still keep an eye on them.
The more up to date your technology is, the more secure your site will be and the more efficiently it will run.
Clean up your database as it gets bloated with data you aren’t actually using. You should eliminate anything you aren’t using (plug-ins, widgets, etc.).
Other Tactics for Decreasing Loading Time
Speeding up your site is about enabling it to do as little as possible. With this principle in mind, consider doing the following:
- Don’t host videos on your site – auto-embed them
- Compress your images and your website files
- Reduce server requests (e.g., limit how many posts you show on each page, break comments and posts into pages, implement lazy loading for images)
- Allow caching, WP Rocket is a great WP Caching plugin.
- Concatenate files (i.e., combine them into one larger file)
- Minify files
- Limit what you can (such as post revisions, buttons, and widgets)
- Deactivate pingbacks and trackbacks
- Include an expires header in your static resources (this determines the length of time a visitor’s browser caches content)
- Optimize CSS delivery
- Prioritize above the fold content
Use a Web Design Platform Made for Site Speed
If your current content management system or theme is giving you a bad time, speed-wise, switch as soon as possible. Don’t try to fix or adjust. Use a website builder that gets it.
Duda is a solid example of an agency-friendly website building platform built from the ground up to minimize load times. Duda CTO Amir Glatt even published a detailed article describing what they have done to get Duda’s infrastructure as aligned as possible with Google’s best practices for page speed, achieving better scores than Wix, Weebly and even the mighty WordPress.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
It’s old news that people are using mobile more and more for all of their online activities. Not only does your site need to load quickly but it also needs to load quickly on smartphones. Because of the widespread use of mobile, Google has released Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is “a whole new way of creating web pages and effectively changes the mobile web.”
AMP is open-source software designed to boost loading speeds on mobile devices. Even before AMP, Google took steps to favour mobile-friendly sites. So the better your site’s mobile-friendliness, the better it’s ranking.
Test, Audit, Fix
Testing, monitoring and auditing how your site performs should be done on a continuous basis. Your site might be generating errors any minute due to redesign, new features, new sections/products being added, seasonal traffic spikes, suddenly social media success, etc.
Serpstat is an advanced SEO platform that can help with auditing your website and alerting you of errors on a regular basis. It will break loading speed issues into two groups for you to easily prioritize:
- High priority
- Middle priority
It will also provide explanations for each item they are checking for you to better understand any issue and easily delegate the task to a non-SEO team member.
Everyone Benefits from Fast Loading Speed
No matter what area of life we’re talking about, people appreciate having experiences that are orderly, seamless, and fast.
Optimizing your site for speed will set you ahead of the majority of websites on the internet. The result will be that you lose fewer visitors and increase your revenue.
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