Connect with Your Audience
Any online marketing strategy should target three critical areas:
- Deliver useful, relevant information to potential buyers
- Create and manage customer expectations
- Provide a channel for customers to build a community and give feedback
To reach any or all these targets, compelling visual media is a must.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are visual-dependent. Frequent posts aren’t enough for any platform. You must have alluring images to interest readers. In the pen business, images should do more than show off your inventory. They need to tell a story, build community, invite customers to contribute.
As you know, reaching your target audience is imperative. By now you should have already analyzed your demographics and created a marketing strategy to reach your audience (see the post about the Marketing Checklist). Now, it’s a matter of reaching those people through social media.
Visual Marketing Tools
As pen makers, we have a lot of tools in our shops that we use to make pens. I want to share with you three tools that will help you promote your pens so you can sell more of them. To engage your audience, you need attention-getting graphics with professional layouts. You don’t need a sophisticated graphic design suite. Here are some forerunners that keep it simple and professional. They are PicMonkey, Canva, and the very popular Adobe Spark. Take a few moments to read how they can help you.
PicMonkey is the online photo editor that’s been around the longest. To keep up with the needs of social media marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), PicMonkey has stepped up its game. You have a variety of effects, frames, templates, fonts, you name it, from which to choose. Use PicMonkey for free or subscribe to the paid option to receive more photo effects and frames.
PicMonkey is fantastic for social media images. Create graphics for posts as well as buttons and banners for Facebook and other social media platforms. Everything is drag-and-drop, which means you can make some polished images regardless of your graphic design skills.
Begin with a photo or background, then start editing. Crop, resize, select your layout, whatever you need. Then, add text, effects. In short, PicMonkey helps you create images quickly and easily. The options are really too numerous to list. You can explore for yourself and choose the ones that best represent your pen brand.
The next application we will discuss is Canva, which offers thousands of pre-made templates that cut your design time down considerably.
Canva is an easy graphic design tool with visual content in mind. Use it to drag and drop your way into creating images for your Facebook. Twitter, and Instagram accounts, along with company blogs, newsletters, and so on. Here are some of the ways you can use it to increase your online presence.
Images should promote your brand as well as your promotions and product line. Canva allows you to brand your images through various drag-and-drop selections. Add your logo, media handles, and hashtags to your images. Adding layers is a traditionally time-consuming task in traditional graphic software like Photoshop, for example. With Canva, it’s a couple of clicks, and you’re done.
Banners and Facebook Cover Photos
Cover photos give visitors a first impression. It’s the first thing users see when they go to your company’s Facebook page. Cover images should convey your brand. And, you should change your cover photos from time to time to keep your page fresh. You shouldn't waste such valuable real estate. Yet, who has the time to redesign cover photos?
Canva helps in this area by providing thousands of templates specifically for Facebook cover photos. They provide the professional design. All you need to do is customize with your images and preferences.
Graphics for Pinterest
Pinterest is a visual search engine that is a rich opportunity for users to find your content, engage with it, and then take the next step of visiting your website or blog. People share Pinterest pins and boards, thus spreading your brand awareness.
Again, Canva has countless present templates for Pinterest, whether it’s a pin for a blog post, a product image, or even an inspirational quote.
You are already aware of how influential customer reviews are. Positive reviews are called social proofing. Social proof of your brand is a powerful tool. Make your review stand out with brighter colors, frames, font, etc., using Canva’s pre-sized templates.
Over 500 million Instagram users engage in Instagram Stories daily. That alone makes it worth your time to invest in Instagram stories marketing. Here again, Canva has a plethora of pre-made templates that you can customize and brand. The templates save time, so you can produce as many images as you need.
Next up is Adobe Spark, another drag-and-drop gem that has its own library of templates and tools from the noteworthy Adobe family.
Adobe Spark has a free offering that enables you to create visuals for videos, pages, and social media posts. The paid version with subscriptions gives you the ability to upload company logo and branding, as well as removes the Spark watermarks.
Spark is a suite of three applications:
Spark Post: Adobe Spark Post is a template-driven, drag-and-drop application. There are hundreds of templates you can use as starting points to remix with new images, icons, and text to suit your message.
Spark Page: Spark Pages have a few base templates that control the fonts and overall color scheme of the page. Some of the components include collages and glide show, full-screen image, split view, and text. Use this to share a story in the form of a single web page. Spark Pages are also responsive so they work perfectly on your phone and they have a number of great features that make for an interesting presentation.
Spark Video: Spark Video template options include the self-explanatory Promote an Idea, Show and Tell, Tell What Happened, Personal Growth, A Hero’s Journey, An Invitation, and Teach a Lesson. From there, you add photos, text, and icons to relay your story. Narration and voice overlay are options as well. Spark guides you through each step.
It's worth mentioning that all the Spark features are available in the browser or as three individual apps for mobile devices.
Edit any of the Spark creations and layouts using Adobe’s stock photos, your own photos or even pull from free stock libraries that are accessible directly within Spark. Keep it as simple or as fancy as you want. Add relevant text. Once you’re satisfied with your post, share it directly to your preferred social platforms.
How to Use Your Visual Content
The pen market is a specialized niche. Visual marketing for pens takes a bit of innovation on your part. A still photo only goes so far when it comes to demonstrating performance and quality. SEO principles rely just as much on your company’s story and mission as it does product reputation. True, keywords are essential when it comes to SEO rankings, though SEO principles apply to visual content as well.
Visual content through social media drives more than product awareness. It sparks conversations. By targeting people who have already engaged with your brand, with a Facebook ad, for example, you keep them engaged. As they interact, they like and share, thus expanding that conversation.
Promotions are another great way to widen your audience. Social media campaigns that offer some kind of deal, for example, are an easy and inexpensive way to do that. Participants are required to like and share your post. Sales advertising with a coupon graphic is another effective technique. The graphic contains a coupon code that can be used over and over. The result? Your image is shared across channels, and interested customers land on your website’s landing page.
Create Compelling Visual Content
If you haven’t yet explored PicMonkey, Canva, or Adobe Spark, you are behind the curve. Even if you have a graphic design team available to you, these tools let you publish social media content quickly and efficiently. You can use your company’s professional images with the applications’ social media templates. All three offer a free version to try, are user-friendly, and ready for you to explore. So get out there and do it!
Thank you for reading!