If a picture is worth 1,000 words, shouldn’t a well-designed infographic be worth a lot more?
Unfortunately, there are scores of businesses who have put time, effort and money into creating infographics that lay abandoned (and largely unseen) by anyone. This may lead some sales teams to wonder what value their marketing department is generating, which in turn can make any future collaboration much more challenging.
There is already plenty of advice online about what makes a compelling infographic or what elements should be featured. What’s lacking is some straightforward strategy that not only shows small and medium-sized businesses how they execute an infographic, but why.
Obsess Over Objectives, Not Imagery
If your company already publishes blog posts, ebooks, white papers and other content marketing collateral, an infographic might simply seem like an obvious addition to the mix. That’s not always the case. As with any marketing initiative, the metrics should be defined as early as possible – and they should be clearer than any graphic elements that wind up in the infographic itself:
Lead generation: Some infographics require a download if they contain enough proprietary information that it would entice prospects and customers. If that’s the case, you may need to think as much about the landing page that will market the infographic as the content itself, since it will be capturing business card-level information.
Customer journey support: Infographics may be a good way to sum up research or other key trend information, and ideally they can drive customers and prospects to the next stage of their buyer journey. If the infographic is conceived as providing that “top-of-the-funnel” information, it could point to a webinar or live event where buyers could learn more about a particular product or service.
Sales enablement: Often overlooked, infographics can be highly effective for reps to include in presentations or as standalone pieces of content to break up a more traditional sales pitch. How many deals could the infographic help close? This could have a big bearing on what gets illustrated, and how.
Audience First, Infographic Second
This next point is not as obvious as it first appears. It should take marketers back to the basics of content marketing, which is ultimately centered around the interests and needs of customers and prospects – not necessarily your firm’s own products and services.
No matter what your infographic is about, you should break your notion of “audience” into two different buckets, because they will each play a big role in improving ROI.
- Buyers: Beyond what they’re interested in, where do they typically look for content, and how do they consume it? Understanding the most commonly visited online destinations, or whether they will be more likely to look at the infographic on a desktop or mobile device, will help ensure their expectations are met.
- Ambassadors: These are the bloggers, media outlets and other influencers who might be able to share or promote the infographic. There should be as much time spent upfront as possible looking at the kind of content that resonates with ambassadors if you want to ensure the infographic is available beyond your site’s regular traffic.
Data, Then Design
Infographics can take many shapes and forms, but ultimately they should tell a story that leaves an audience empowered to be more successful. Some infographics are based on original research that a company conducts itself. Others are based on compilations or curation of third-party reports.
No matter how you source the underlying information, the prep work around objectives and audience will make telling the story in a visual way much more effective. Can an infographic do a better job of answering your customers and prospects’ most frequently-asked questions, for example? Can it help make the business case for tackling a particular form of business transformation? Will the data be something they can use to explain a complex topic to their boss, or other members of their team? Sorting these issues out will accelerate the design process considerably.
Published? Now Repurpose
As you might expect, the infographic isn’t really “finished” once it’s been published online. Even if you can’t get a lot of pickup from media or other influencers, there are plenty of ways to ensure your infographic gets maximum exposure across the channels available to you. Map out a promotional plan (ideally based on a more comprehensive editorial calendar) that could look like the following:
- A blog post or press release that uses the infographic to convey a particular message
- An e-mail campaign that includes a link to the infographic as part of a call to action to learn more
- A webinar or live event that uses the infographic to compliment a topic being discussed
- Tweets or other social media posts to share the infographic
Infographics are often very large pictures. That’s why it’s time for SMBs to apply some big-picture thinking to the way they go about using them.