Visual marketing may seem like a buzzword, but it’s incredibly important in today’s attention economy.
What is Visual Marketing?
Visual marketing is simply incorporating eye-catching, great visuals into your marketing efforts. It is mostly used to refer to social media marketing, blogging and websites, where visuals are king.
Why is it important?
To succeed in marketing your nonprofit has to compete in several different spaces, mostly online.
You must have a great-looking online presence, whether that be a website, or a blog, or social media channels, or all of the above.
If you do not have a lot of website traffic, blog readers or social media engagement, I’m willing to bet that lousy visuals play a huge part.
Think about how you consume media – on your phone, in short spurts, likely while doing several other things. Your fans, your supporters and your donors are all busy people. They want to be able to make a split-second decision upon visiting your website or your social media channels.
Yes, people judge books by their covers, no surprise there. They are also judging you by your horribly outdated website, terribly formatted blog, crowded email newsletter and bland Facebook Page.
Here are just 10 ways your nonprofit can succeed with visual marketing.
1) Revamp your website.
Google has found that you have two seconds to grab someone’s attention with your website, and that starts with great visuals.
Photos and videos should dominate the most prominent parts of your home page (and other website pages), not big blocks of text.
Resource: 10 More of the Best Nonprofit Websites by Jeff Kline
2) Use Instagram filters.
We all have smartphones and/or tablets, and that means we can all upload Instagram.
The best way to get great visuals for your nonprofit is to create them yourself. Snap some photos of the volunteers, the back office, even clients if they are amenable.
Using Instagram, add a filter, and you end up with a professional-looking photo!
Resource: 10 Inspiring Nonprofits on Instagram by Matt Petronzio
3) Use collage apps.
Using your smartphone or tablet, download a collage app. Picstitch is my favorite, and it’s free.
Creating a collage of photos adds a deeper element of interest, and is a way to incorporate multiple perspectives. Collages often break the monotony of the news feed on Facebook and get a lot of engagement and likes!
Resource: The 12 best photo collage maker tools by Craig Stewart
4) Get photos from fans to share.
Ask your supporters and your fans to share their photos!
The Trustees of the Reservation asked their Instagram followers to go on an Instagram scavenger hunt with them, snapping photos in certain locations and conditions and sharing them using the hashtag “FrostyFun2014.
Resource: How to Get User-Generated Content from Supporters by The Connected Cause
5) Create infographics.
Yes, you’ve heard this before. I know what you’re thinking – “I can’t possibly create an infographic!”
Not so! There are many free tools that you can use and templates for great infographics – Piktochart and Infogr.am to name just two.
Resource: How to Create a Popular Infographic by Neil Patel
6) Turn your annual report into a visual.
Let’s be honest. Who really reads that 30 page, glossy, super-expensive and wordy monster of an annual report?
Why not be more cost and time-effective and create a great visual to share with your supporters?
A great example of this is the Fiscal Year 2013 in Review from the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Oxfam thanks donors and details where donations go in this simple visual.
Resource: Making the Annual Report a Visual Story with Instagram by Cassie Dull
7) Overlay text on photos
You have some great photos, why not put an inspiring quote on it? Or a factoid about your impact and your work? Or a quote from a client?
Resource: An Easy Recipe for Making Text Overlay Images by Beth Kanter
8) Include photos with each blog post.
It drives me crazy when I come to a great blog post that I want to share on social media channels but there is no image on it. How am I supposed to share on Facebook and on Pinterest with no visual? The answer – I won’t. I’ll move on.
Resource: 53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and Social Media Posts by Courtney Seiter
9) Word clouds and word photos.
For something different, why not try creating a Word Cloud or a Word Photo?
Resource: 6 fun ways nonprofits can use word clouds by me
10) Use close ups of fewer people.
A close up of one or two people works so much better than a far away shot of a group of people (I’m looking you, people who post shots of their Board retreats).
Facebook is called FACEbook after all – we like to see photos of faces! (And the other social networks are following suit.) No more posting photos from the back of the room with people’s heads down, no more far away fuzzy group shots. Get closer and get personal, and reap the benefits in terms of community engagement!
Resource: 40 Tips to Take Better Photos by Lisa Clarke
How do you use visuals in your nonprofit marketing and fundraising?