Conservation Think Tank: News, Ideas and Solutions for Energy and Water Company Thought Leaders

How to Make Content Visually Appealing in Your Online Store

Posted by Allison Sparrow

Content is king when it comes to building trust, relationships and brand awareness with visitors to your online store. But unless you complement your content with good visuals, you’re not reaching your full content marketing potential.

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The hunger for visual content can be explained in two words: mobile usage. In 2016 mobile web usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time, upending advertising practices. And while most marketing experts agree that all content should have a visual aspect, current wisdom skews heavily toward visual dominance. According to Business Insider, “We're uploading 1.8 billion images to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat and WhatsApp every day.” The content we develop needs to be helpful and beautiful.

Images Top Text

Our Facebook behavior says volumes about how we are innately drawn to pictures. On Facebook, image posts get 179 percent more interaction than text-only posts. So if you’ve been dragging your feet on using image-heavy content, it’s time to change tack.

Remember that visual content doesn’t just mean photographs. Successful content is visual in a variety of ways: custom blog graphics to illustrate key points, user guides with step-by-step visual instructions, infographics, slide decks and video are all methods of integrating images in innovative ways.

Given the reliance on images in websites, emails and ads, images are what define your company. According to the book Brain Rules by John Medina, “If you hear a piece of information, three days later you'll remember 10 percent of it. But add a picture and you'll remember 65 percent.”

Because our brains process images faster than text, images can cut through information overload in ways that blurbs of text can’t.

Using Visuals in Your Utility’s Online Store

Want to catch customers’ eyes with your online store? Here are three predominantly visual marketing trends you can’t afford to ignore.

Video
Videos offer compelling content: According to Animoto, a cloud-based video creation service, four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product as would want to read about it.

Video can improve branding, boost SEO, and increase retention rates. Plus, it’s a super-effective way to demonstrate instructions, answer questions, provide customer reviews and/or entertain your audience.

For energy efficiency and water conservation products, installation videos are a smart addition to your online store. Depending on the quality and style, videos may be a big financial outlay, so smaller companies may only have modest access. But many manufacturers have already created installation videos for their products, so it may be possible to leverage this existing content in your store.

Ideally, video is just one spoke in your marketing wheel, albeit a powerful one. Adweek writes, “Some reports suggest video will account for 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019.” With its natural ability to engage, video is the future of content marketing. More than one-half of marketers Adweek surveyed indicated that video brings the best return on investment.

Instagram, Pinterest
An indispensable part of your online marketing toolkit, Instagram and Pinterest can help convert shoppers into customers.

“Instagram users were 58 times more likely to like, comment or share a brand’s post than Facebook users,” according to a study by Forrester Research.

Visual social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest offer an intimate but increasingly widespread mobile platform for brands to reach audiences. You can leverage your social media outreach and peer validation of your products and programs by utilizing these social networks.

Facebook
Facebook is still a force to be reckoned with, driving about 60 percent of all social referral traffic to retail websites. Many forward-thinking utilities and implementers are leveraging Facebook’s audience insights and custom audiences to target those eligible customers with the highest propensity to purchase products in their online marketplace and participate in their DSM programs.

Now’s the Time to Go Visual

If you’ve been holding off on jumping into adding visual components to your content, now’s the time to take the leap. Whether through photos, infographics, illustrations, slide shows or video, visuals will help you form deeper connections with your readers.

AMCG's e-book provides valuable information about how to effectively market your online store.

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