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How businesses can use visual content to boost mobile sales

by Pooja Lohana

February 14 2014

Pinterest, shown here on the iPad, has become much more than a photo-sharing site, driving significant traffic to brands.
Pinterest, shown here on the iPad, has become much more than a photo-sharing site, driving significant traffic to brands.

Marketing and sales starts with getting someone's attention. 

So how can businesses do this most effectively in an increasingly mobile world? Create a killer content strategy combined with visuals. Visuals naturally grab a user’s attention more quickly than plain text.

More and more consumers expect content to be easily-digestible, step-by-step, entertaining and accessible via smartphones and tablets. Humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Moreover, a lot of Internet users are keen to consume and share your content if it is supported by interesting and relevant graphics.

For you and your business this means two things: Mobile and Visual. Combine the two well and you have recipe to attract huge audiences in 2014.

Here's a quick sample of the many apps you can use to engage your audience through visuals as part of your mobile content strategy:

1. Pinterest

Pinterest lets you share your beautiful photos on their pinboard-themed website. Users can follow your boards, like your pins (photos) or repin them.

The site has over 70 million users and 80% of them being women and it's said to drive more traffic to brands than LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter.

Start by creating pins that inspire and engage your viewers. Pinterest is no longer just a photo-viewing site – it’s a full-blown e-commerce site with pinners spending more money than they do on other social media sites.

Make sure you’ve got a business account to access advertising, commerce and analytics in the backend. It’s a good idea to segment boards according to categories or interests like Random House does. You can follow all their boards, or a select few.

Keep a tab on activity of your followers on your boards and leverage your boards. Experiment with different images and make it easy for them to buy from you by having the Buy Now button in a prominent or easily spotted place.

2. Vine

Six seconds of looping video doesn’t seem a lot of time to spread your marketing message but it can be surprisingly effective.

I’m talking of course about  Vine. Owned by Twitter, Vine reached the 40 million users mark recently. 

Businesses can use Vine in many ways: Try doing a quick how-to (hashtag #howto on Vine). Lowe’s offered their viewers snappy, 6-second home improvement tips in their “Lowe’s Fix in Six” series that they later distributed through their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

You can leverage the short-attention span many potential customers have by creating  laser-focused messages. A vine can also be a preview tease into a longer video.

3. Instagram

Instagram attracts an audience of 100 million users who take 40 million photos per day. Lately, following the growth of video-sharing apps like Vine, Instagram announced the ability to record 15-second videos.

Using Instagram’s picture collage, businesses can tap into this huge (yet under utilized) market and give their customers a better idea of who they are and what they do. 

Pictures on your Instagram profile could have calls-to-action to visit your website or grab a special discount. Embed promotional codes in your pictures. Hold a contest where they click a photo with your brand and reward them for their efforts. 

(For mobile sales trends and insights, sign up for TabTimes' free Tablets for Sales newsletter)

4. Snapchat

Snapchat allows you to send and receive photos and short videos on mobile. Once your photo has made it to the other end, been opened and viewed, it gets deleted from the phone and Snapchat servers.

The app boasts of 5 million active daily users and 200 million photo-sends a day. Snapchat can be used to promote a limited-time offer or give users a sneak peek into what’s coming. Having effective calls-to-action is another great way to tap into this market.

Since users may have 10 seconds to digest your message, make sure it’s worth their while and they are driven to take action after they receive it. In short, your message must create an impact and make them curious about your product or service.

("How a new generation of apps are making tablets a more effective sales tool will be one of the key sessions at the Tablet Strategy conference in New York on May 6. You met be eligible for a free pass if you qualify.)

Pooja writes for EWC Presenter, a free app for visualizing ideas and creation. She can be reached here.

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