The human brain has developed complex neural systems to process visual information. Research shows that around 55% of the brain’s cortex is devoted to visual processing. That’s compared to 11% for somatosensory and 3% for auditory processing.
That explains why visuals are so important in the marketing process. They allow marketers to create highly engaging content that attracts user attention. With a smart approach, that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
These are the goals we want to achieve with great visuals:
- Ideally, your visual content should feature the right colors and contrast but stay simple at the same time.
- Too much text would overwhelm it, so keep it at a minimum.
- To save money, you can use your own photos instead of purchasing from stock websites.
- For long-term savings, you should aim to create evergreen visuals.
Let’s get into the details! We’ll give you 7 actionable tips on how to create engaging visuals on a budget.
Table of Contents
- 1. Make stock photos look less cheesy
- 2. Choose high-quality photos and videos
- 3. Use the right visual content creation tools
- 4. Develop your unique brand style through visuals
- 5. The visual impact starts from the logo
- 6. Use infographics
- 7. Use live streams
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Make stock photos look less cheesy
Sometimes you need photos as quickly as possible, or you lack the time or budget to hire a photographer. In such situations, stock photos provide a workable solution. But stock photos can look cheesy, especially if they have too many background details. The details might look okay, but they defocus your audience from the main story. To make sure your stock photos aren’t cheesy, they should:
- Contain unique angles
- Have an excellent visual impact
- Contain fewer background details
- Contain the right colors and lighting
You can also use additional tools to apply filters or crop them creatively to make a stock picture look more professional.
When working with photos and videos, your device can fill up quickly and start working slowly, whether it’s a PC, Mac, or iPhone. To keep your marketing efforts cost-effective and ensure the smooth work of your device, learn the basics of its maintenance: how to copy photos correctly, remove unnecessary content or organize the existing files.
2. Choose high-quality photos and videos
This is a worthwhile investment, as great photos and videos add value to your content. They attract and engage a greater audience.
Instead of featuring a single type of visual in the entire marketing campaign, you can combine them:
- Static images compel your audiences to click on them for further details. They are helpful when creating banners, posters, and other forms of advertisements.
- Explainer videos give your audiences a better understanding of your products or services. After viewing a video, users are more likely to remember the marketing message. Explanations show your commitment to providing the best experience for your users. These videos help users to build trust with your brand and result in more conversions.
3. Use the right visual content creation tools
Content creation is a process that takes time and requires brainstorming. You start with a content creation idea, but you must progress to content planning and creation strategy. The process includes visual content analysis to determine its impact on your audiences. The right visual content creation tool can make content creation faster and more cost-effective.
You can use visual content creation tools to review video content and create podcasts, social media posts, blogs, and YouTube content. When your budget is tight, you can find free, intuitive content creation tools that meet your needs. Use them to create quick graphics or search for trending topics. These are some free or affordable tools you can try:
- Pixlr Editor: It’s an excellent alternative to the pricey Photoshop editor. The tools help you give your images a smooth touch.
- Snappa: It is a drag-and-drop free content creation tool used to edit images and make them sharper and brighter.
- Animaker: Use this tool to create animated videos that look like they were created in a high-cost studio.
- Soapbox: A free Chrome extension that allows you to create and share videos on different browsers.
- Google Photos: Use this tool to create short videos and animations using the photos you upload online.
- Awesome Screenshot: It lets you capture sharp screenshots for free. You can use them in your explainer videos or step-by-step visual guides.
You can also rely on free project management software. It can help you structure design boards with customized visualization, Kanban boards, and to-do lists.
4. Develop your unique brand style through visuals
Branding helps you to build strong relationships with your audiences. It creates a lasting impression on your audience and develops high expectations. It is a perpetual process that requires you to correctly identify, create, and manage content. When your brand becomes recognizable, the content will influence the actions of your customers.
Here’s how to plan a successful branding process on a budget:
- Developing a unique brand style starts with a website redesign to make the pages more engaging on a visual level.
- To make your brand unique, understand what your audience needs.
- Be consistent in branding across your business and platforms.
- Choose unique colors and try mixing different graphic elements. You can choose many combinations based on your brand type and persona.
- If you lack enough ideas to use, search to see what strategy your competitors are using and use that inspiration to adapt your unique strategy.
5. The visual impact starts from the logo
Using your brand logo across multiple platforms is incredibly valuable. A good logo features several unique characteristics.
- It’s distinct: The logo requires characteristics that distinguish it from others.
- It’s appropriate: It should be relevant to your brand’s mission and values.
- It’s practical: It can be used in different types of content, and it looks well in all social media image formats.
- It’s graphical: A good logo contains impressionable colors, fonts, symbols, and slogans.
Include your logo in every piece of visual content you create! The more your potential buyers see your logo, the easier it will be for them to recognize it. In the long term, your audience will have no problems recognizing your company’s name by just looking at the logo.
Fortunately, creating or buying a high-quality logo design doesn’t cost too much. It’s a long-term investment that every brand should make.
6. Use infographics
Infographics help users to grasp complex concepts better. They can include diagrams, charts, graphs, tables, and other visuals. Thanks to them, you can present detailed information without overwhelming the viewer.
There are a few tested strategies that will help you create attractive infographics:
- Know your target audience and define your content goals.
- Create text content that you will combine with your infographics.
- Decide the types of infographics you will use and the hierarchy to apply. The hierarchy must be logical to help your audiences understand the concept better.
- Choose a customizable template that will fit your visual content. Use it for all your infographics, so you’ll create a recognizable style.
- Combine text with visuals in your infographics, so you’ll offer additional explanations.
- Share across multiple platforms! Visual content that contains visual vector graphics appeals to a broad base of audiences. Users are likely to share the content, which gives your brand greater exposure on multiple channels.
7. Use live streams
If you need visual content that’s cheap to create but highly effective, live streaming is a great option. Think about ideas such as the behind the scene processes of your product’s creation. Showcase what it is like to spend a day in your workplace.
You may also host live webinars. This has the advantage of getting leads if you ask people to sign up for it before you go live.
You don’t need to buy or hire expensive tools to create live streams. However, you will need ultra low latency streaming to ensure real-time interaction and engagement with your audience. The camera on your phone should be enough. Inform your employees, so they can contribute to creating engaging content.
Live streams benefit your brand because you get quick feedback through the comments that your viewers write.
Engaging visuals can be costly, but there are strategies you can use to create compelling content on a budget. You can always count on affordable online tools for the content creation process, as well as use free trials of analytics and reporting tools like Keyhole to track the results.
If you have to invest in something, think about the value you’ll get from the final result. Proper budgeting is all about the big picture, so have a financial plan for all steps that will help you create a strong marketing campaign!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to make stock photos look more professional?
When using stock pictures, make sure there are unique angles, no excessive background details, and proper color and lighting. The photo should perfectly fit your content style and doesn’t look too different from other visuals. If you feel that the stock picture has some style differences, try to apply filters but do not overuse them.
2. Why are infographics important for user engagement?
Infographics represent complicated information in a visually simple way and often require actions from users (polls, tests, or questionnaires). This way, visitors stay longer on the website's page, interact with its content, and will more likely share or link to it.
3. What content can be used in live streams for better audience engagement?
The most engaging types of live streams that can help to improve your brand recognition are interviews and Q&A, product demos, informative webinars, as well as behind-the-scenes (BTS) videos.