7 Mistakes All Great Visual Marketing Campaigns Avoid

By May 21, 2019 January 6th, 2020 Killer Visual Strategies News & Updates
Killer Infographics Visual Campaigns Communication Content

Just like any content marketing campaign, the most successful visual marketing campaigns require strong planning. That’s because a visual campaign isn’t simply a collection of visual assets. It needs aesthetic unity, as well as a clear, defined goal.

So as you plan your next visual content marketing campaign, make sure you’re not making these 7 common mistakes.

1. Not defining your visual strategy.

Each brand, as a whole, should have a clearly defined visual strategy. The same is true for each visual content marketing campaign.

An effective visual strategy is a clearly defined plan designed to ensure that every piece of collateral in a campaign or across your organization accurately conveys your message, properly portrays your brand, and effectively connects with your audience.

A visual strategy not only includes a set of traditional brand guidelines or a campaign-specific visual language, but also interprets those guidelines in the context of your audience and your target media outlets. From illustrations and data visualization to iconography and photography, the right visual strategy will define the proper approach for every piece of content you produce.

2. Not developing a visual language.

We mentioned above that you’ll need to define a visual language for your campaign. Let’s talk a little bit more about what that means.

A visual language, much like brand guidelines, is a cohesive framework designed to achieve a content campaign’s specific goals and reach its target audience. It will include parameters like typography, color palette, and illustration style.

Elements of a Visual Language

In some cases, you’ll want your visual marketing campaigns to follow your company-wide visual language to the letter. That’s fine, and it’s a common approach.

But sometimes, you want a particular campaign to be visually or tonally distinct from your brand as a whole. Perhaps you’re launching a new product or service offering. Or maybe you’re speaking to a smaller, more targeted segment of your audience. In these cases — and in many others — you’ll want your campaign to be recognizable as a discrete unit, distinct from but linked to your company.

There’s another huge advantage to defining your visual language up front: it will save you both time and money. For every asset you create, the design direction will have already been defined and approved by your stakeholders. That means your team or your creative agency can get right down to the task at hand: creating great content.

Learn more about visual languages from our ebook, “Developing a Visual Language for Your Campaign.”

3. Failing to set a goal for your visual marketing campaign.

Visual marketing campaigns are most successful when they have a clearly defined goal or goals.

Each asset you create should have its own, single goal that serves the campaign’s overarching goal(s). Say, for example, that your campaign’s goal is to gain more social-media engagement from Generation Z and millennials. An asset you create for Snapchat will help you reach the former, while an asset for Instagram will help you reach the latter.

4. Using stock assets.

Today’s audiences are more visually literate than ever. That means they can spot a stock illustration, icon, or photo from a mile away.

Using stock makes your brand blend into the crowd. Worse, it makes you look like you’re not willing to invest the time it takes in making visual content that is truly useful and engaging for your audience. So why should they spend their time engaging with you?

Custom visual content is 7x more likely to convert than stock. So invest in custom, and you’re much more likely to see results.  

5. Applying your visual language inconsistently.

It’s surprising how many brands fail to consistently apply their defined brand guidelines or visual language. In fact, a 2016 survey from Lucidpress found that less than 10% of organizations call their brand presentation “very consistent.” This, despite the fact that consistent visual language use in all materials results in a 23% average revenue increase.

You’ve invested lots of time, money, and energy into developing a strong visual language for your campaign. Why not use it? 

6. Not optimizing each asset for each platform.

Part of planning a great visual campaign is ensuring that you have multiple versions of every asset you create, each one optimized for all those platforms where you’re planning on posting it as part of achieving your campaign’s goals.

Optimization doesn’t just mean changing the dimensions or video length. It could require some additional editing to make sure it’s optimized to appeal to the audience you’re most likely to encounter on each platform.

You don’t want to spend a lot of time producing a great motion graphic, only to have it fall flat because of optimization issues. Just a little extra effort will yield big engagement boosts.

7. Failing to measure your results.

As marketers, we’re always working to learn and improve. This is essential given how quickly communication and media trends shift.

So make sure that you can learn something from this visual campaign that you’ll be able to apply to future visual marketing campaigns. Compare the performance of different assets based on multiple metrics, so you can determine what your audience actually engages with most — and what really produces the highest returns.

Learn more about how to measure the success of your visual content from our article in Forbes.

Every visual campaign presents its own unique challenges. But all successful visual marketing campaigns have some key features in common. Avoid these 7 mistakes, and each of your content marketing campaigns will be better than the last.

Erin McCoy

Author Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy is director of content marketing and public relations at Killer Visual Strategies. She earned her BA in Spanish with minors in French and Russian, and holds 2 master’s degrees from the University of Washington: an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Hispanic literature. She has won nearly 2 dozen awards in photojournalism, and has dedicated those skills to boosting Killer’s brand recognition and thought leadership in visual communication. Since Erin took on her marketing/PR role, Killer has been named a member of the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row; has been featured in such publications as Inc., Forbes, Mashable, and the Huffington Post; and has been invited to present at such conferences as SXSW and SMX Advanced.

More posts by Erin McCoy

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