Last updated on September 28th, 2015 at 04:04 pm
Visual content in B2B marketing is nothing new. Marketers have used content like pie charts and graphs for a very long time.
However, a quick Pinterest search reveals that an increasing number of B2B firms have added infographics to their campaign strategies. According to MDG Advertising, in April 2015, Google Search surfaced at least 62 million results for the word “infographic” alone!
Infographics are one of the hottest content formats around because they highlight data in a visually arresting way and make a brand’s message easier to digest. Their reading likelihood is also 30 times higher than articles’. As a result, they are highly shareable and can thus influence lead generation and sales cycles.
In today’s article, I’d like share a few tips to help you build effective infographics. I have also included a few examples of infographics that firms have used successfully.
Focus on your customers’ and prospects’ needs
As with every other type of content, the attractiveness of your infographic has a lot to do with the way it addresses the pain points of your customers and prospects.
The first step is to take a look at your buyer personas. Answer a few questions:
- What topics and industry issues matter to customers?
- What insights do you have on those topics and issues?
A fantastic (albeit humorous) example is “How To Move To The Cloud and Survive a Zombie Attack.” With this infographic, SunGard, a B2B company providing production and recovery services, wanted to achieve two goals: Help IT professionals protect themselves and entice them to give SunGard Cloud a try.
According to Lee Odden, the zombie-themed campaign “resulted in exceeding download rates by 300 percent, a 5.7 percent email open rate and 20+ leads.”
(See the rest of the infographic here.)
- What social platforms do customers and prospects visit to find relevant information? Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and SlideShare…
- What questions do they keep asking? Think of your return policy, for example. An infographic could easily replace lengthy blocks of text and speed up the buying process.
- How could you leverage specific features/customer testimonials to increase interest in your products?
- How does your competition use infographics? Pinterest and SlideShare are great starting points for your research.
Do not reinvent the wheel
If your company has had an online presence for a while, chances are that you already have the right content for your future infographics. Take a look at your Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics and/or your Facebook Page Insights to find the posts to which people have responded the most. They are the ones you should repurpose first.
Show, don’t tell
The best infographics have one thing in common: The stories they tell are both compelling and cohesive.
A great example is B2Bento’s “Quickstart Guide to Social Media for Business.” The company offers 14 steps to create a B2B digital strategy in context. Click the screenshot below to access the entire infographic:
Focus on quality
Great infographics are not easy to design. They are not cheap either. As such, you must ensure that your entire team (designers, writers, researchers, and marketing strategists) will work together to minimize errors, remove wordiness, leverage whitespace, choose the right colors and font, and find the best visuals.
The result should be attractive, skimmable, and full of useful takeaways that your customers and prospects will want to recommend.
“The entire goal for these infographics should be for a potential buyer to share it with their colleagues and on their social networks. Simple brand awareness exercise,” says Kevin Goldberg of AppDynamics
For a great example, look no further than LinkedIn. Over the years, the company has published many infographics that highlight the benefits of the platform, complement announcements, feature stats, and provide B2B professionals with useful advice. They are all very well done.
My favorite is “The Blogging Food Groups: A Well-Balanced Diet of Content.” The infographic is inspired by the blogging food groups, an idea coined by Hubspot’s Rick Burns, and seeks to highlight the importance of content variety in marketing strategies.
The infographic has been shared almost 1,400 times on social networks, and on prominent blogs like Marketing Land or Mashable.
Always cite your sources
Great infographics always give credit where credit is due. This is especially important if you use data from third-party whitepapers, studies, or posts. Include the sources at the end. And of course, don’t forget the name of your company, your website, and/or logo.
Sharing your infographics on your corporate website is not enough. Spread the word on your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…), upload them to SlideShare and Visual.ly, connect with relevant blogs and online publications in your field, reach out to influencers, and allow visitors to embed your infographics on their blogs with a tool like Embed Code Generator. You’ll want to outline an infographic-awareness strategy for your marketing team, and consider partnering with well-known blogs in your space to further boost your infographics’ reach.
So what’s the ROI of infographics?
Before focusing on results, it is important to set up your goals. The clearer you are about what a successful campaign looks like, the easier it will be to assess real benefits. Think of objectives as simple as increasing social media engagement and inbound links to your corporate website.
Once your promotional campaign has been launched, keep an eye on the benchmarks for each of your metrics. For example:
- Awareness / exposure – How many of the following have you gained in the last month, two months, or six months: inbound links, page views, website traffic, search visibility, and social media followers?
- Engagement – How long do visitors stay on your infographics’ pages? What is the bounce rate? Do they leave comments? How many subscribers have you gained? What about social shares, especially from influencers? What happens on your social media accounts?
- Lead generation – Have members of the media or potential buyers reached out to you? Have prospects inquired about your products?
- Company-wise – How do your infographics help employees learn about the internal process, as well as communicate with one another? How do they influence the decision-making process?
Looking at the performance of your infographics through the dollar lens is a mistake. Not everything your company does in social media will result in direct sales.
Actually, the real value of infographics is often intangible and realized in the long term.
What examples of infographics have you enjoyed recently? Let us know below or via @b2bnewsnetwork