Photograph by: Patrick McHugh

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence

Visual MarKeting – Why are we so lazy on-line (May’16)

“Have you tried swimming?”

The fact is you now have to get ‘Visual’ to survive online.

And marketing online is an investment, many think of it in monetary terms, the true cost lies in time consumption. Online visual marketing is a time eating beast that can hang you out to dry. To be successful, you need to take a leaf out of an olympic swimmer’s play book. Develop a schedule, get up at 5.30 am each day, swim for two hours, have a good breakfast and get into work 30 minutes before everyone else… discipline and consistency.

Thankfully it is not necessary to get up at 5.30 am. You can hit snooze three times and get up at six… or not.

All jokes aside though, marketing needs ‘smart’ commitment and that investment of your time must be effective, you need to regularly stop and check, are you actually making measurable progress.

Humans are lazy, in fact if your online presence was just visuals, such as videos and photography, most people would be a lot comfier sauntering through your website and twitter feed. 67% of online consumers consider clear, high quality photos to be more important than product information and customer ratings. The brain processes visuals 60,000X faster in the brain than text, involving less concentration and energy, hence people have a tendancy to scan the photos and visuals first.

I can read a newspaper in 2 minutes and get a brief outline of the day’s news. The best example might be popular books… most opt for ’the movie version’.

In fact those who make the ultimate sacrifice and purchase the actual book often do as a way to put themselves to sleep at night.

…the theory of Inverted Mechanical Efficiency

Technology today makes our lives more efficient, and with this lean efficiency, we now know … we all have have less and less time, right? I don’t think Einstein saw that coming. It would have been called… the theory of Inverted Mechanical Efficiency. The less work we have to do, the less spare time we have? Who would have figured. The expected void has been usurped by facebook, Twitter, Google, Netflix, Skype, whatsapp… it’s a long list.

Visuals are the way forward, in a world where people have less time…

I make this point because it is a serious one, people really believe they have less time, so help your fellow humans and communicate your brand visually, a speedier engaging form of communication is important in marketing terms. Consumers respond to visual content and your message will gain more traction.

So, before you start snapping pictures of your cat, dusting off the video camera, answer a few questions.

The big “Why?”

-Why bother?

-Why am I online?

-What am I hoping to achieve?

-What are my planned outcomes?

-What message am I trying to convey?

Your Message?

Construct a message you would like to communicate to your clients, it can be on the back of a napkin, carve it out on your kitchen table… it doesn’t matter, just expressing your ideas will get the ball rolling.

Then perfect this message in the real world, run it by five or six friends or potential customers and ask them to explain it back to you, see if they understand the intended message, modify and perfect it further. Then and only then… build your visuals around that message.

Some ideas…

…if you are a fashion designer, your imagery must speak volumes about quality and lifestyle.

…if you are a crafts person, furniture maker or jeweller, your images must engage and convert sales.

Think of a broad range of imagery, some great landing page pictures, product pictures, studio pictures of your practice, happy customer shots etc. Flick through some magazines for ideas, think simplicity. For example, if you sell products, shoot them against white, make sure they are lit beautifully and don’t forget…

Your profile page?

Please tell me your photo is on that page. The ‘About’ page is one of the most visited pages of every website. People are buying a piece of you, they want your story, they want to see what you look like…they will purchase from someone they trust (even if you sell plastic buckets – people need to be reassured this is a legitimate business). Don’t go down to the local photo shop and get a passport photo done! Have a look through your photos at home, a casual friendly head and shoulders picture is good. You should look approachable, content, happy and trustworthy. Don’t pull something from college where you are young, sexy and attractive… you can leave those on your phone. If you don’t find something suitable, get a photographer to shoot some relaxed pictures of you in a work environment or somewhere that gives a sense of who you are or your brand message.

Marketing 101

Marketing is multifaceted, but basically in one sentence, you need to get to know your customer and their pain, develop a product or service to alleviate that pain … draft a message that will catch their attention, convert them and …show them the love with a great customer sales experience.

The marketing obstacle most of us stumble over is ‘crafting the message’ with social media and other channels delivering the message is getting easier. Crafting a compelling and captivating story is the tough part. There is a lot of noise out there, it is not that people aren’t listening, they are, the problem is they are listening to everything.

This is why Visual content is now the most important aspect of digital marketing.

Sweaty Gym Wear

Consider this, would you go to meet an important client in your sweaty gym wear?

Why not?

It would be an efficient use of your time, you could even jog from your work-out to the meeting?

Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be pretty, not to mention the flies…. You need to realise your visual appearance is even more important online, as it is ‘live 24/7’.

Make sure your website doesn’t smell awful.

Tell your story with a professional clarity, use relevant engaging visuals to convey your brand message.

Your customers will thank you with increased sales.