You have two pieces of content before you. One is a textual piece describing how sea waves look. And another is an image that directly depicts the waves.
If you were to go for one of the two, there’s a huge possibility the image will be your preferred choice. The reason is that you can understand what sea waves truly look like by seeing them. At least, better than reading a textual description.
That’s where the famous modern marketing phrase “show, don’t tell” comes into play. And everything is within the concept of visual storytelling.
In this article, we’ll cover the in-depth scope of graphic-based visual storytelling.
What is visual storytelling?
Visual storytelling involves using visual elements like graphical images to convey a message. These elements could be anything from memes, gifs, and occasional icons. The images used might be real-time pictures taken by you or royalty-free stock images.
Storytelling is not new and has been in vogue for thousands of years. For example, the ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics to tell stories. Hieroglyphics are pictogram patterns representing an object or organism.
Interestingly, almost everyone has come across several brands that use visual storytelling. Scrolling through your emails, you’ll find several copies using visuals to make a point. An excellent example of companies doing this is Grammarly.
4 benefits of using graphics-based visual storytelling
According to Ryan Hilliard, you need to use graphics to keep your target audience interested past the 100th word. And this is why:
Grab more attention and increase engagement
Visuals provide aesthetic value to viewers. It’s similar to how billboard advertisements on the street attract attention. And compared to blocks of text, it takes less effort to attract anyone’s attention to a colored pie chart. Also, good visuals are easy to create if you have the skill and access to free procreate stamp brushes.
In case you don’t know yet, colors enhance the retention of events or data. For example, red and blue improve cognitive functions of the brain.
Besides colors, other appealing elements like shapes and structures improve retention.
Pass a message instantly and clearer
Your readers won’t spend forever trying to figure out the message you’re trying to pass. In fact, they’re more likely to use the exit button if your content does not give them the answer they want immediately.
Now, this is quite a big problem if you only work with non-visual type of content, whether on your email or blog. Sometimes, your sentences might sound too ambiguous or unclear. Moreover, no one wants to scroll through an entire 3000-word blog post just for a line of answer.
On the other hand, visual storytelling hooks your readers even from the first eye contact and keeps them glued to their screen. You spend less time passing your message while also engaging your audience.
Create an imaginative cycle
Imaginations are powerful and usually exceed the limits of reality at times. This is important in marketing since you can take advantage of your prospects’ thoughts or imaginations. You can then use it to compel them into executing specific actions, such as purchasing a product.
When using visual storytelling, the average human mind tries to imagine the next illustration. And usually, this leaves a print of your content on their mind. With such a cycle, users are more likely to remember your brand even after leaving your website.
Connect better with users
The simpler you pass a message across, the more professional and reliable your leads see you.
Visual storytelling places you as an authority in a niche. Let’s say you added your survey results to an infographic for an email or website post. Your readers will see you differently and believe you know what you’re saying.
This results in a better connection, which in turn improves conversion rates, and sales. So instead of your leads going to a website that is all but junk of text, they’ll rather come to yours. This is because you pass more value through brief infographics or illustrations.
Standard techniques used for storytelling
Visual storytelling can be done with several techniques, like data visualization and illustrations. Others include storyboards, infographics, and typical standalone images.
Let’s see how each of them works below:
The data visualization technique involves representing complex information with simple visual elements. These elements include pie charts, candle bars, graphs, and plots. Even animations can come in. What matters is breaking dense chunks of technical data into something understandable.
Data visualization is useful when you need to pass statistical information across. For example, Grammarly uses this pattern to update its users on usage progress. Fewer words, more visual content – and your leads will read through the whole report easily.
Unlike data visualization, illustrations can convey different types of information. A perfect example is the “Every Last Drop” website. Their homepage used illustrations to guide visitors all through.
You don’t necessarily need to do the same thing on your website. Instead, you can use illustrations to create blog pieces that are worth every dime. Or you could put them on your sales page for an exciting customer journey. This increases your chances of making a sale.
Storyboards are like playgrounds made up of illustrations and images. All these elements come together to form movie-like sequences when you scroll. We initially talked about creating an imaginative cycle with storytelling. This is where it comes in. Viewers try to guess the next board even before they scroll or switch.
Storyboards are not in frequent use for marketing. But they find expression in novels and tale narratives. Of course, because content marketers rarely use it does not mean you can’t. So if possible, you can integrate it into your visual storytelling strategy.
Infographics are an advanced, extensive form of data visualization. And they usually contain images, charts, textual information, and other graphical elements. Invite Referrals used one in their blog post to explain the Guerilla marketing concept.
Content marketers often use Infographics instead of the data visualization technique. This is because you can include more data and other strings of information. For example, you’re likely not including only statistical reports when crafting a sales copy.
Note that you can use Infographics to display client reviews and pass a marketing idea. Infographics are also useful for highlighting keywords and summarizing your message.
Standalone Images find expression in conjunction with infographics and storyboards. It could be pictures you took or downloaded from a stock website like Pexel. What matters is to find a related image that directly depicts your intent.
Other valuable elements for creating fantastic, compelling stories include memes and gifs. While these two don’t do much, they help create an emotional connection. And usually, it’s an excellent way to build engagement or interest
Applications of graphic-based visual storytelling with examples
Graphic-based storytelling finds application in email marketing and social media marketing. You can also use it when creating or updating your blog posts, homepage content, and case studies. Let’s explore a few of the below.
Graphic-based visual storytelling in social media and blog posts
Looking for the fastest way to improve customer interaction on your social media platform and website? Use graphic-led visual storytelling.
Several platforms, like Facebook, provide carousel features to help you display several copies. Simply design different images that link to the next and transition smoothly. You can also upload shorter infographics on social media. Or break them into sections using the carousel features mentioned above. If you are using Twitter, just create a thread.
The same principle applies to your blog post. Remember we mentioned how “Every Last Drop” created an entire homepage with illustrations? On the other hand, “InviteReferrals” used infographics to explain what Guerrilla marketing is. Less talk, more graphics.
Graphic-based visual storytelling in email marketing
An email is a powerful tool when you know how to use it right. GetEmail reports that more than 4.5 million of the global population use email.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can just slide random, unstructured posts inside the emails of every subscriber you get. If you do that, then email servers might block your email domain. Instead, you should employ visual storytelling techniques to boost your email marketing results.
Another crucial aspect of email marketing is that you don’t get to put in so many texts. Unless you want your subscribers to either leave halfway or kick your following emails in the bin. To avoid this, use infographics and translate your long copies into interactive visuals.
Grammarly uses this exact pattern to provide usage reports. By doing this, your users will always be eager to receive your email without difficulty. As a result, your email open rate increases, and indirectly, your ROI gets a boost too.
MedicineNet uses standalone images related to their email topics. So instead of jampacking the intro with voluminous words, a single image does the talking. That aside, visual inclusion in emails increases read-through rates.
Note that visual storytelling doesn’t mean zero use of textual content. You can make visual storytelling a complementary part of your email texts. At the same time, you should make sure it gives the entire message the necessary prop.
We’ve seen how visual storytelling can help you connect better with your audience. By implementing it correctly, you can increase your blog’s traffic and social media engagement.
Don’t forget to use personalized graphics in your blog posts, email content, and even case studies. Importantly, keep things simple and create visual pieces that are customer or reader-centric. Also consider integrating a user-friendly business management system that aligns with your audience’s needs, enhancing the overall user experience and simplifying operations for both you and your customers. Contact us now and get a free demo system.