We talk a lot about digital marketing in this space. How to get the most out of your social media, how to optimize your website for conversions, how email marketing can grow your business. But there’s one surprising thing that can make your break your digital marketing efforts: graphic design.
You can invest all the time you want crafting great copy. You can build the perfect email list. You can target the perfect audience on social media. But if you’re supporting that work with bad design, then it will all be a waste. Your visual assets are the first thing people see, and it says a lot about your company. Don’t let your hard work go to waste because of bad design!
Conversely, high-quality graphic design can cover some less-than-perfect work in other areas. Be honest, how often do you skip the caption and just look at the picture? Do you pour over every word on a website? I don’t. Most people will skim your digital properties to get an overall feel for your business. And images are easier to digest, so they get the most attention.
Digital marketing efforts have spilled countless millions of words into the wilds of the internet. And our audiences have limited time to read all these millions of words – how do you convince them to read your words instead of those of your competitors?
You only have a second or two to catch their attention. Most people won’t invest the five minutes to dive into your copy. So, you have to rely on engaging images to catch their eye. I know, it’s frustrating (especially for writers like me). But it’s just the hard truth.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And that may be true, but the true power of images comes from the fact that they only take a second to digest. Good designs will catch the eye, and good content will keep it.
Mistakes happen, we’re all busy. And many business owners are wearing multiple hats – making it hard to double check every marketing message that leaves your office. But bad design really can destroy your hard work, so make sure you’re avoiding these common mistakes when it comes to graphic design for your digital marketing:
Too Much Text
If you are investing your time to write blog posts, then you probably know this temptation well. You spend hours crafting the perfect post, you know it should probably have images to go along with it, but there’s just no more time to invest. Publishing a wall of text might be better than nothing, but it is far from ideal. Graphic design can help with custom images that help to break up your text and make it more readable.
Low-Quality Social Media
For many businesses, social media is just an afterthought. But throwing a blurry picture up on your Facebook twice a month might be doing more harm than good. People expect (at minimum) quality visual content these days. Putting bad images on your social media makes you look behind the game!
Not every piece of visual content needs to be a work of art. And many people can create decent graphics all on their own. But just because you can use piece together text and images, that doesn’t mean you should. Remember the cheesy ‘word art’ and drop shadows of the 90’s? Don’t pull the 2010’s equivalent with amateurish designs.
Different channels have different design needs. Don’t create one design and use it as a blog header, Facebook image, Twitter images, and LinkedIn profile. Each of those uses requires its own sizing and design considerations. We call this approach shotgun design because you pull the trigger once and spray your design all over the place. Don’t do shotgun design.
Those Stock Images
I love stock images, there are a ton of really cool ones out there – and many of those are available for free. But there are also terrible stock images. You know what I’m talking about: three overly happy people working in an unearthly clean office. Don’t use that one. Unless you’re using it as an example or in an ironic way, then proceed.
Graphic Design Solutions
You probably don’t need another burden put on you. And saying that every article, email, and social media post need custom graphics probably isn’t good news for most business owners. But don’t despair, there are solutions for getting graphic design for digital marketing.
I recently wrote a post on this topic, sharing why an unlimited graphic design plan might be a perfect fit for your business. Click the link to give it a quick browse. Or you can go the DIY route. There are plenty of tools and, if you have the time, you can create some pretty good designs. Or you can go with a traditional, pay-per-design service.
But whatever you decide to do, don’t let bad design ruin your digital marketing efforts!
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