Creating an experience, connecting with your audience, and wrapping your arms around the power of visual marketing and design can feel overwhelming.
In our ongoing series to help share as much information as we can, help everyone interested better understand how to grow a brand, and ultimately demystify branding, social, and SEO - for us non-experts.
During the usual routine of (our ongoing education) checking the top SEO and Marketing pages we came across an incredibly valuable research paper from the folks at Hubspot. There is just so much to learn from this research we are going to break it down into chunks and run through what, we think. is most valuable to those that follow us. Reach out if we are not speaking directly to your situation of need.
Let's look at one everyone can start looking at today: Visual Marketing and Design or Visual Content Design
- whichever description you prefer.
From the research paper we can pull out some very power statistics to analyze. Let's take a look:
- Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Buffer, 2014)
- Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images. (Buzzsumo, 2015)
- 71% of online marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)
- Researchers found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. (Xerox, 2014)
- Research has shown that when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (LifeLearn, 2015)
- Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. (Mass Planner, 2015)
The good news is, from a visual design and marketing point of view, these items are not overly technical or something we cant all relate to or understand the cause and effect.
But let's pick out a straightforward one, something we all seem to enjoy, and finally something that needs people outside of core marketing to participate in - Infographics.
Why infographics? well, per Massplanner:
- "Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content."
Anything that offers an incresase in social sharing and social activity is critically important( details can be found in this post (ADD PAGE LINK)) so it's a logical and high impact place to start.
Infographics make sense and are a truly valuable visual marketing and design tool.
Let's look at how to create them. Where do we find the information, topics, or data elements to populate our infographics?
"The data is just as important as the visuals when creating an infographic. So where does all the infographic pro’s find their data? Here’s a list of the best sources the “pros” use to find valuable, verifiable data for their infographics." per. Matt Lee.
So where do we source accurate, relevant, powerful information, here are some to review:
- ✚ Hubspot marketing statistics should be your first stop for great small business marketing statistics and data.
- ✚ Forrester Research & Data is a technology research firm, specializing in technology related case studies.
- ✚ Business case studies- arket research & business studies Find marketing case studies and data for large corporations
- ✚ Wikipedia – Great resource for finding data for just about anything but make sure it’s verified.
- ✚ Marketingprofs Library - Access thousands of our online marketing resources and case studies here. A virtual gold mind of marketing related articles and data.
- ✚ Decision Analyst - arketing research case histories.
- ✚ Gallup - Polls and public opinion data on economy and politics worldwide.
- ✚ World Health Organization (WHO) provides access to data and analyses for monitoring the global health situation.
- ✚ The US National Library of Medicine- Verifiable and Redactable Medical Data, Stats & Medical related case studies
- ✚ PubMedis another good medical data & case study resource
- ✚ UN Data is a UN statistical database with a search engine. You can get world economic, development, and environmental statistics. It offers API for you to access the database as well.
- ✚ The Guardian Data Blog is a news blog that regularly posts visualizations and makes cleaned data available through a Google docs format.
- ✚ Microsoft Azure Marketplace offers data feed from the many data sources that includes demographic, environmental, financial, retail and sports data. Many of the sources are free, while some requires fees.
- ✚ UNICEF holds all kinds of data, from mortality rates to world hunger statistics.
- ✚ Data.gov database is from the US government providing data pertaining to the US.
- ✚ Data Market is a good place to explore data related to economics, healthcare, food and agriculture, and the automotive industry.
- ✚ Wunderground provides detailed weather info and lets you search historical data by zip code or city.
- ✚ Neilsen Insights is a consumer research company that studies consumers in more than 100 countries to give you a global view of trends and habits worldwide.
- ✚ Weatherbase provides detailed weather stats on temperature, rain and humidity of nearly 27,000 cities.
- ✚ WorldBank - Where else to look for financial data of the world but the WorldBank? You can get virtually any country’s financial and economy standings here. Some other topics included are:
- ✚ Google Public data - This really doesn’t require any definition or explanation… But you have an entire database at your fingertips. The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate.
- ✚ Google Scholar is a free search engine that contains all kinds of academic literatures. Citing journal publishers, universities research papers, and other scholarly materials do not just make your content looks smarter, but as well as more trustworthy.
- ✚ Industry Groups & Associations - There’s newsletters and publications out there for just about anything. For smaller, more specific niches, try Googling (insert your niche) trade show, association, newsletter
- ✚ Magazines & News Articles - US News & World Report are just the tip of the iceberg.
Infographics, at least the "good ones" must cost thousands?
NO. Infact infographics should be one of you most cost effective visual marketing and design tools. With the endless programs, tools, vendors, and freelancers finding a cost effective means of producing engaging infographics is easy. Let's look at some options:
Create Your Infographic Yourself
Creating your own infographic isn’t as hard as you think. I’ve created infographics myself, and I have very basic design skills, so if I can do it – anyone can.
You basically have 2 options. The first option is to design the infographic entirely from scratch, or to use an infographic builder or template. Both options have their pros and cons and I’ll discuss some of them below.
Template Based Infographic Builders
If you want to go the template route, these free & low cost builders are going to be your best option.
Ideal for those considering regularly producing high quality infographics; you can start with the limited free service then upgrade to an account with more themes and features for $29 per month. Easy to use, just drag and drop.
- ✚ The free account includes 6 quality themes (a number that may grow over time) and over 60 graphics that can be dragged and dropped onto the canvas
- ✚ You can upload up to 5 images in the free account and create charts by uploading a CSV file or manually inputting data
- ✚ Very intuitive and simple to use.
- ✚ The free account has quite a few limitations; for instance you cannot change the canvas size or upload more than 5 images.
Perfect for those wanting to display their Excel data in a more sophisticated and interactive medium. You have full access to features free of charge; however, an Infogr.am store is in development so that may change in the future.
- ✚ You can create infographics, graphs, pictograms, and charts in Infogr.am by uploading CSV files or manually entering data
- ✚ You can increase the size of the canvas by adding more graphs or images ✚ It’s completely free and very easy to use
- ✚ It is in the beta stages, so it can be buggy. Infogr.am has a contact form if you need technical support or have any other questions.
This tool is tailored specifically to be a report creation tool for business professionals. A free basic account is available, but you can also upgrade to a professional account for $20 per month.
- ✚ They have well-designed report templates designed for finance, marketing, and sales reports that are easily reformatted to suit your needs
- ✚ There is a plethora of graphics to choose from, including 28 big-brand logos, like Twitter, Linux, and Google Chrome
- ✚ You can upload XLS files to create infographics, charts, graphs, and pictograms, as well as upload images from your computer or the web.
- ✚ Editing colors and objects is not as intuitive as the other tools.
These are both infographic builders that are very popular, but I don’t have any experience with.
Build Your Infographic from Scratch
If you want a great deal of control over the look and feel of your infographic, designing one in PowerPoint may be the route for you. Follow HubSpot’s “Marketer’s Guide to Creating Infographics in PowerPoint” www.blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33499/The-Marketer-s-Simple-Guide-to-CreatingInfographics-in-PowerPoint-Template.aspx
But I only recommend this particular strategy for those with a fair amount of PowerPoint and design experience or those of you who are patient enough to learn.
- ✚ You have more control over the design of the infographic
- ✚ There are tons of free online design tools, such as Inkscape, Gimp, OpenClipArt, and Creately, to help you create custom graphics
- ✚ Putting the slides together in Pixlr gives you a tremendous amount of control over the canvas size and shape
- ✚ Depending on your PowerPoint and design skills, the creation process can be very time consuming.
After creating a number of infographics on my own, I delegated the design process to my design team (who are far more experienced than I am lol) and with that said, Photoshop is their preferred application to design infographic with. You have more freedom to be creative with it.
- ✚ You have more control over the design of the infographic ✚ You have control on the canvass size. (portrait or landscape)
- ✚ Same as PowerPoint, it depends on your Photoshop and design skills, the creation process can be also very time-consuming.
Some final thoughts and tips for designing and promoting your infographics
- ✚ Keep it simple! Don’t try to do too much in one infographic.
- ✚ Decide on a great looking color scheme – colors play a big part of its success.
- ✚ Do the legwork – Research and confirm all of the facts and statistics you use.
- ✚ Think of it as a visual essay - ensure your points are valid and relevant.
- ✚ Keep in mind that it’s all about quickly conveying the meaning behind complex data.
- ✚ Reference your facts in the infographic.
- ✚ Include your URL so you can get credit for your work, and grow your brand visibility at the same time.