Visual marketing acknowledges the role of non-verbal communications in the online space. After all, most people learn faster from looking at an image than they can by reading text-based content. Additionally, the Digital Age has contributed to short attention spans. With this in mind, you must use visual content to quickly connect with audiences to communicate marketing messages.

Just as people respond better to visual messages than to text-based communications, they also share them more often. As more people receive and share a visual message, they compound its effect and sometimes go viral. In fact, simply by producing high-quality visual content, you can dramatically expand the reach of your brand at a very low price.

In the light all that visual marketing has to offer, you should consider it essential to your success. Fortunately, technology has made available applications that can simplify your job as a visual marketer. Although many tools seem overly complex and expensive, others are easy to use yet are either inexpensive or free. This article introduces you to 15 that can help you take your visual marketing to a higher and more effective level.

1. Canva

Regardless of how much experience you have in digital design, you can use Canva to get professional results. This free application puts tons of stock photographs at your fingertips along with other graphic content such as illustrations. Also, the tool loads in your web browser, so there’s nothing to install on your computer and gives you an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that makes designing a breeze.

Get Canva.

2. PicMonkey

For many marketers, professional software such as Photoshop costs too much, so they try to get by with other software such as PowerPoint. Rather than limiting yourself, why not give PicMonkey a try? In addition to its selection of prefabricated templates, this tool also offers you the ability to add text overlays. In fact, some of the capabilities of PicMonkey might surprise you.

Use PicMonkey.

3. Pixlr

Marketers often feel attracted to professional software such as Photoshop because it gives them the ability to add effects, filters, borders and other elements to their images. Pixlr is another tool that emulates many of Photoshop’s features without forcing you to pay a hefty price. in fact, for many designers, Pixlr does everything they need and more.

Learn more about Pixlr.

4. Evernote Skitch

Skitch gives visual editors a new perspective along with unconventional tools. Rather than attempting to mirror the feature set of Photoshop or another commercial application, this tool gives you the ability to annotate web pages or mark up photos. For example, you can use Skitch to highlight a point on a map or put notes onto a PDF document.

This free tool can help you convey messages with the minimal use of words. In addition to text annotation tools, Snitch also has a robust selection of arrows, doodles and shapes that you can apply to either new or pre-existing images.

Get Evernote Skitch.

5. Venngage

As is the case with most “freemium” applications, Vennage offers a minimal set of tools and functions that you can use for free. If you discover that you need access to more capabilities, you can pay for an upgraded account. With that being said, Vennage provides a stunning user interface through your web browser that helps you produce world-class infographics, charts and data visualizations. Also, it also gives you the ability to upload images.

Visit the Venngage website.

6. PiktoChart

When you log into PiktoChart, you have access to more than 100 themes which you can customize for your marketing campaign. Furthermore, this tool extends your capabilities beyond infographics. In fact, you can use this tool to make banners, presentations, and reports. Moreover, PiktoChart gives you the ability to customize practically every aspect of your design.

Try PiktoChart.

7. Awesome Screenshot

Ultimately, only your imagination limits the number of ways Awesome Screenshot can help you create effective graphics. After snagging a screen, you can use built-in tools to edit and enhance your image. Additionally, for example, you can annotate your image and blur its non-essential components.

Get Awesome Screenshot.

8. PlaceIt

With more than 600 available product mockups to choose from, PlaceIt can dramatically simplify your job as a marketer. Besides giving you a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to easily place your images inside those mockups, the application also gives you access to a robust selection of backgrounds.

After composing your image using Creative Commons photo templates, you can size it for various mobile devices and computer screens to optimize its appeal. Regardless of whether you want to promote your website, software application or other product, PlaceIt simplifies your job. After creating your image, you can choose to have PlaceIt synchronize it with your website.

Visit the PlaceIt website.

9. ColorZilla

Your choice of colors can either make or break your visual content. Sometimes, you see colors that you need online while browsing the web but have difficulty matching them in your composition. ColorZilla addresses that need by giving you a browser extension that lets you identify and copy colors from your browser window and use them for your text, shapes and other graphic elements.

Download the ColorZilla browser plugin.

10. Font Squirrel

Make your graphic designs stand out by using unique typefaces that you can easily find through Font Squirrel. You can freely use everything in this font repository for commercial purposes, so you never again have to pay the exorbitant fees that are often associated with premium fonts.

Do more with FontSquirrel.

11. Google Fonts

Speaking of fonts, Google has a fantastic selection of open source web fonts that you can use to make a boring website or landing page come to life. Since the entire collection of Google fonts is free to use, you can create a distinctive character for all your visual content. Additionally, you can customize any Google font to meet your particular needs.

Get Google Fonts.

12. Typewolf

Another tool that can help you find the fonts needed to create effective graphics, Typewolf, works by cataloging all the fonts and use online. Regardless of whether they are on websites or in PDF downloads, Typewolf knows about it and can help you choose the right fonts for all your projects.

Unlike most typography sites that present fonts from the type designer’s perspective, Typewolf lets you see fonts in their native settings so that you can make decisions based on their actual appearance. The site does not provide you the ability to download or purchase funds help you discover where you can gain access to the fonts that you need.

Use TypeWolf.

13. The Noun Project

Download icons for free and attribute them to the Noun Project or simply pay a small licensing fee to use them without attribution. Either way, you can find on accounts that you can use anywhere, including in your marketing emails and web pages.

Access the Noun Project.

14. Behance

Behance provides an outlet for creative professionals to showcase their work and make it available others to buy. Unlike the many online collections that to primarily focus on photographs, Behance has a high concentration of graphic illustrations and designs. Simply based on the uniqueness and high quality of the content on this site, it can be a lifesaver to you as a usual marketer.

You can use links associated with the artwork on Behance to purchase the items that you wish to use. Sometimes, however, creative inspiration can boost your performance as a marketer. Behance is great for that. When you sign up, you can choose to follow and view projects that can give you fresh ideas. Of course, you can also choose to participate on this site as an artist.

Visit Behance.

15. PowToon

Create animated videos and presentations from the convenience of your web browser using PowToon. This website lets you get started for free with basic features and then upgrade as your needs evolve.

According to PowToon, its users can experience a 300-percent increase in audience engagement by using its tools. Although PowToon creations can have a tinge of humor, you can use it to create presentations and marketing videos that are both serious and captivating.

Access PowToon.

Designing an Effective Visual Marketing Campaign

Acquiring effective tools such as the ones mentioned above can put you on a path to become an effective visual marketer. Still, tools alone will not suffice. After all, you can only succeed in this role by mastering good design practices:

  • Always and only create content that supports your strategy. If you either have no strategy or produce random content, your designs will never contribute to your marketing goals.
  • Create content that relates to your audience rather than using trendy memes and images that, although fun, have no relevance to your brand.
  • Although stock images can save time, creating original images with your products and employees gives your visuals a custom appearance that can make you stand out in a crowd.
  • Always add value. Visual tips and how-to content that solves real-world problems can gain more traction than non-functional designs.
  • Use the same content in numerous formats to reach larger audiences. For example, you can repurpose the material from an infographic to create charts, slideshows and checklists.
  • Let your fans contribute content to make your visual campaigns more personable, intimate and practical.
  • Give all your graphics a consistent look and feel so that your audience will instantly recognize your brand.
  • Remember that content that looks good on the desktop might not work well on mobile devices. With this in mind, you should create custom designs to fit each of your targeted platforms.

What tools and tips do you have for designing and executing effective visual marketing campaigns? Send an email to [email protected] to share your ideas via email and join the conversation.

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