A picture speaks a thousand words. Sounds cliche, right?
Actually, it’s true. 65% of humans are visual learners. They respond better to visual content than to text, auditory, or kinaesthetic signals. The human brain processes visuals faster and retains them longer than non-visual content.
Since the response to visuals is so phenomenal, 74% of marketers used some form of visuals in 70% of their marketing content in 2019, (according to a survey of 200 marketers conducted by Social Media Examiner).
Brands and marketers are using visuals in all their customer-facing assets, including websites, social posts, emails, and instant messages.
Visuals not only create a lasting impact on audiences but they also enhance the customer experience (CX) in a big way. Plus, branding your visual content can set it apart from the content of your competitors and create a distinctive impression on consumers.
CX has become the new battlefield for 81% of companies, according to Gartner. Each company is competing to provide a better CX to acquire and retain customers.
Where do visuals fit in your CX?
A Walker study found that 90% of customers expect their interactions with brands to be easy and speedy. If brands use concise and well-crafted visuals to convey ideas, they can meet both of these requirements.
By serving content in palatable visual formats, brands can ease customer journeys and make customers feel valued which, in turn, fosters loyalty.
This means adding visuals to your customer-facing content is a sure-shot way of improving CX. In this post, I’ll explain four ways to do this effectively.
4 Ways to Use Visuals and Improve Customer Experience
A large portion of digital content produced today is made up of visuals. But not all visuals strike a chord with audiences. Take a look at how you can use visuals effectively to delight your audience.
Present Visual Content in the Right Formats
Infographics, still images, videos, and GIFs are just some of the formats used to present visual content. Since different people consume content differently, it’s a good idea to have a good mix of content formats.
Pick the format that suits your content type and host platform.
For instance, IKEA often uses process infographics in their manuals to simplify complex assembly procedures for their furniture pieces. The format makes complete sense since people understand instructions better through strong visuals than text-heavy explanations.
The type of format also depends on the place where the content will be used. For instance, landing pages convert better with still graphics because we don’t want to distract users by including clickable graphics or animated navigation bars.
You can use implicit and explicit visual cues to direct users to click on a button on your landing page and make their next steps clear.
Copyhackers places the picture of copywriting expert Joanna Wiebe strategically with her face towards the text and hands close to the button. Automatically, user attention goes to the text and the button.
Here is an example of explicit visual cues on a landing page. It needs no explanation at all.
Need a pro tip?
If you use an automated tool for building landing pages, make sure to A/B test your visual designs. Sometimes, a subtle change such as button color can drastically boost clickthrough rates and improve your CX.
Leverage Social Platforms for Visual Content
Though your industry and content type have some bearing on your visual content’s format, you can’t ignore social channels since they get traction for your visual content.
Social media users love visual content. Using great visual content, you can enhance your online presence. Plus, visual content can go viral on social platforms and earn you valuable backlinks.
Pinterest generates the most traffic from visuals, especially from mobile users. So, you should leverage the platform to give your customers a great experience.
But how exactly can you do that?
The answer is adding more and more images to your posts. Don’t just add feature images for decoration purposes or to break up the text.
Smart Blogger did a case study and found out that their posts got more traffic on Pinterest when they added relevant images to them.
The images they added were a visual asset in themselves. They got shared as much as the post and got a place in Pinterest’s featured Pins section.
To test this insight, Smart Blogger created an image-heavy post, “7 Ways Doodling Will Change Your Life,” for Canva’s Design School. The post got over 700 Pins on Pinterest.
The bottom line?
Use relevant images that add value to your posts. Add social share buttons next to each image for easy sharing and watch your visuals go viral.
If you’re not sure about the best platform for sharing visual content, you can use web analytics platforms and built-in analytics of all the platforms that you use.
These tools pinpoint the platforms and content types that drive the maximum traffic to your pages. So it’s just a matter of identifying the top platforms on the list and creating visuals optimized for them.
Leverage Visual Storytelling to Bond Emotionally With Your Audience
Humans are hard-wired for stories.
Videos are an excellent way to tell your brand’s story and connect with your audience. You can use videos to talk about your brand’s mission, products, and vision. Customers are more likely to watch a succinct and engaging video than read a text-heavy “About Us” page.
Burt’s Bees is a brand that nails visual storytelling. The organic cosmetics brand reinforces its message of sustainability through videos. One video has the founder, Burt, talking to bees. Another talks about how beeswax lip balms are made.
Video editing tools can help you create and edit slick videos. You can add annotations and blurbs where you feel some text is necessary to explain a point.
Illustrations are also a great way to tell your story and engage customers. The landing page of Intercom’s ebook on customer engagement uses hand-drawn sketches to show how intercoms can improve customer engagement.
So, use visual stories to bond with your audience. Stories are immensely popular on social media as well. Use high-definition pictures, interspersed with text, GIFs, and user-generated visual content to create a multi-dimensional experience for your customers.
Optimize Your Visuals for Mobile
Did you know that 52% of all internet traffic originates from mobile devices?
Why should that matter to you?
It means that if your visuals don’t render well on mobile devices, there’s a strong chance that click-happy customers will abandon your site or app. That’s why customer-centric companies create content with a mobile-first approach.
Think I’m exaggerating?
PwC surveyed 15,000 consumers and found that one in three consumers is likely to leave a brand that they love after having just one bad experience with it. Customer expectations are heightened and brands that are slow to respond will be left behind in the race.
Take a look at The New Yorker’s interactive graphic titled, “Inequality and New York’s Subways.”
You can click a node (which represents a subway) and a pop-up will appear displaying the corresponding average median household income. It’s an excellent way to depict income disparity and connect it with the subway which is used extensively by New Yorkers.
However, try accessing the same visual on a mobile device. You’ll have to switch to landscape mode and use your fingertips to zoom into a node to click on it. It’s quite a painful experience. The visual offers less-than-perfect CX which impacts its usability.
To create mobile-friendly visuals, follow these steps:
Step 1: Know Your Audience’s Preference
CMI surveyed 664 content consumers and found that most of them prefer simple visuals with straight layouts on mobile devices, like the one shown below.
Visuals with interactive elements (like slideshows and infographics) are good on desktops since their screens and keys have more room for maneuvering.
Step 2: Preview the Content on Mobile
Test the content on as many devices as possible before publishing it. Quality analysis (QA) unearths many hidden flaws in your visual design that can be rectified well in advance. Test your visuals on real users. Experiment with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes to find the most effective combinations for your visual content.
Step 3: Avoid Using Text
Netizens skim content. So, try to use as little text as possible in your visuals.
Take a cue from Cracked. In one of their articles, “15 Things Americans Secretly Suspect About Other Countries,” they used less than 200 words and tons of funny pictures. The picture list post got loads of views on mobile devices.
Images via Cracked
Ready to Enhance Your Customer Experience?
Now you know how visuals can enhance your brand’s customer experience. Use the tips and resources in this article to accelerate your visual marketing and retain more customers for longer.
Can you think of other ways to delight customers with visuals? Share them in the comments.
Dawn Bowman, Managing Editor ShaneBaker.com Dawn Bowman is the Managing Editor for Shane Barker Consulting. She was previously the Managing Editor at KillerStartups and Startups.com. In her spare time, she writes short stories
and song lyrics.