You may have heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and though its origin has been hotly debated it doesn’t really matter because it’s an easy phrase to understand.

We are constantly bombarded with images, from TV and video to books and magazines through social media and advertising billboards. Pictures can convey messages that can be instantly recognized without having to read a large amount of text. Not that well-written text isn’t important, it is, because it helps flesh out the detail of the message, but it’s the image that can immediately attract the eye in the first place.

Origins of visual communication

As humans we’ve been communicating visually for some 30,000 years, and you may have seen images of animals drawn on the walls and ceilings of caves in which our early ancestors lived. The great cultures that arose over the centuries frequently used images to communicate. Think, for example, of Egyptian hieroglyphics, a form of text that developed through pictures.

The vast majority of information the brain processes is visual, so you’re effectively hardwired to process data visually. Your vision is a key way for you to respond to external stimuli and that is why your business should utilize the power of visuals wherever possible.

Why use visual communication?

Using images, whether they are pictures, infographics, videos or memes can significantly increase traffic to your website as well as helping to increase your search ranking through shared content.

If you consider that some 65% of people are visual learners and that on average a person only reads 20% of text on a normal webpage you can see the importance of using visual communication. As previously mentioned, text is important but swamping your web pages with chunks of text that may be difficult to read, depending on background and font colors, is not going to keep a visitor’s attention for very long.

So how should you go about making the best use of visuals for your digital marketing? 

Take time to plan

When you’re designing your website always keep the visual aspect in mind through the use of color and images. Research websites that make good use of the visual aspect of communicating and talk with your designers about which aspects would work best with your site. It’s important not to use images randomly. Think about what they are going to say to the people you want to impress and tie them in to the text that gives more detail.

Remember also that not every visual communication goes through your website. There are useful physical aids that can help give information and raise your business’s profile, and it depends on the type of business you are operating.

Chalkboards

With technology for visual aids being all the rage it’s easy to forget using a modern chalkboard, a chalkboard that will give a straightforward message to customers and that can be changed regularly for special offers or other information. These are ideal for restaurants and cafes when you’re looking to attract people from off the street or to give information about menus and prices once they’re inside your premises.

Logos

Probably one of the most powerful visual forms of communication, having the right logo is crucial to the way that you develop your brand and are perceived. If you think of some of the most iconic sports or IT companies, their logos will likely spring quickly to mind. Developing a high-quality logo will help to put a visual identity in front of your audience and encourage them to interact with your products and services once they feel they can trust you. It takes time to build that trust but it’s well worth the time and trouble.

Blog posts

Back to the reams of text argument. People read blogs because they’re interested in your subject matter, but don’t make it dry and dusty. Pep your blog up with images either from stock or from your own photos. The latter works well with subjects such as travel or cookery, but you can use images that show your DIY work, gardening experience, beauty tips and, well, practically anything.

Social media

If you’re using social media to promote your business, choose images that will attract people to follow or like what you post. Add in a link to your website and you can help drive traffic to where you want it to be. Your job is to inform, entertain and get people to engage.

Visual communication is the way forward

Plan your strategy for visual communication, explore how the power of images can make a real difference to your business profile, and implement your plans to maximize impact.