Visual marketing has become a vital part of social media, and this can create a whole new load of stresses for small businesses and entrepreneurs. If you’re wondering how to create visual marketing on a budget, you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to share some tips and tools to create visual content that you can be proud of on a budget that you can live with.
Because you get what you pay for, you will need to spend money on parts of your visual marketing. Never skimp on a logo since this is the calling card for your brand. If you’re a business, you’ll need a high-quality logo that communicates what your brand does and will help build the rest of your brand’s visual marketing. If you’re a blogger, you may have a logo, but you may use your blog design and palette for your visual marketing.
Jeff Sieh of His Design recently created a logo for my company Lucky Clover Media. I had an idea what I wanted for the design, and Jeff created it for me in PhotoShop. This way, I can add the logo to business cards, designs, or invoices. Don’t get all excited. I haven’t changed what I’m doing, but having a company name and presence will add another layer of professionalism to everything that I do. When a professional creates your high-resolution designs for you, you can use these elements on your website or blog and create your own visual marketing content.
Places to spend your money:
- Logo design
- Web design and creation
- Video bumpers (the intro before a video)
- Great photos
Create a brand style guide
Your visual marketing creates an essential element in communication for your brand, so you need this to be precise. It may take some time to create exactly the perfect mix for your visual style, but once you hit all the perfect notes, stick with it! Again, this could be an area where you can work with a designer to create your brand style guide, but you can also create this yourself.
Your brand style guide should include:
- Your logo
- Three fonts: Header, subheader, and body text
- Brand color palette
- Filter for photos
Additional resource: Why Your Brand Needs a Visual Style Guide
If you’re doing this on your own, you can grab inspiration from many sources. I’ve found color inspiration from Design Seeds, and Pinterest is loaded with font pairings that can help you match things to the mood and style of your brand. A Design Seeds Pinterest pin was the color inspiration for my logo and design for My Book Club.
Creating the perfect social media post maximizes your great content by reaching more people. Using graphics to tell your story is the current trend in social media. This is what I call “visual marketing” and it was spurred in part because of the success of Pinterest and Instagram. On these services, a photo is often the first, and sometimes only, interaction with readers, and this changes everything.
Resource: How to Maximize Visual Content Marketing
Once you’ve created the visual essence of your brand, you’ll be ready to create content to share on your blog or social media. Here are a few fun and unique ways to add some low-budget visual appeal to your marketing:
Free Places to Create Graphics
Canva – My go-to tool for creating visuals. Easy to use, and you could work with a designer to create custom templates for you. Canva Pro is a massive time-saver with a brand kit and unlimited premium images included in the low monthly free.
PicMonkey – caveats include being able to use all the fonts on your computer within the program and the ability to create transparent backgrounds. There is a pro version that you get extra benefits with, and it’s very inexpensive.
Skitch “is an online application developed by Evernote, one of my favorite productivity apps. It’s also available for iPhone and Android, making it a powerful multi-platform tool.” from Rebekah Radice.
Find Affordable Photos
Make sure that you have permission to use any images that you find for your blog or your social media posts. If you can’t afford pictures, you can’t afford the fines that you could incur for using photos illegally. Luckily, there are many sites that you can find free images to use. Here are a few of my favorites:
Resource: Oh Snap, Can I Legally Use That Photo
I use Big Stock Photos from many of many stock photos and all the images on 12 Most too. It’s easy to find them and reuse if I need to, and I know that I have permission to use them all for my usage or client work.
My splurge recommendation for photos is Stocksy.com. I love their creative, non-stock images.
Present Professional Content
Using this fantastic free site that I found called PlaceIt, I created this video with a screencast from my desktop. I loaded it to YouTube, added music, and embedded the video into this blog post. It took less than a half-hour to complete. You could also add annotations, a YouTube bumper for your brand, or clickable links for your products or services.
Be Creative Like a Boss with GIFs
Adding motion to your content can grab the attention in a post or social media. Creating GIFS may seem complicated, but there are easy ways to incorporate them into your content. The below GIF was grabbed from Giphy – there are thousands to choose from sorted by themes and hashtags. I used the embed code to add it to the text side of my WordPress site.
Go forth and create great visual marketing!