It’s no secret by now that people are drawn in by strong visuals first, copy second. You’ve literally got seconds to grab their attention before they’re clicking off or scrolling on by. Therefore it’s no surprise that getting their attention can feel like a lot of hard work – and that’s before you deliver any content.
Using images and graphics in your marketing, such as social media posts, email newsletters & website design will do a lot of this hard work for you. Which is great! But it’s not just any old visuals that will work well. Your images and graphics have to speak to your audience, reflect your branding, look attractive, be easy to see/read and flow throughout your online real estate.
In a nutshell; they need to have intention behind them. And sticking any old image up on your Instagram every now and then isn’t it. Not to mention a messy looking brand looks, well messy. And that’s a first impression that can last.
But a well crafted, well-thought out brand style with cohesive visuals across their online real estate…. ooph, that will have some serious impact on your audience reach! And I don’t just mean social media posts…
You’ll also possibly see an increase in followers, likes, shares and clicks on social media.
There’ll be an increase in click-rates on email newsletters.
You’ll probably see a decrease in their analytics bounce rates. (Ie they’ll stick around on your site for longer)
This leads to an increase in mailing list sign-ups.
And a decrease in unsubscribes.
And you should also see an increase in promotional conversions – ie sales, offers, discounts etc.
Now of course, to see an increase in conversions of any kind, you have to back up the strong visuals with a solid strategy of how you can help your audience, the benefits of your solution to their problem, it’s value, social proof etc.
But the point is, high-end, cohesive images make it so. much. easier.
The ‘grunt’ work is done for you. You have their attention; you have the mic now. They draw those potential clients and customers in for you; so you’re no longer screaming to an empty room.
Don’t get me wrong – not every business niche needs a highly visual brand – but the majority of online businesses do. And if you’re not thinking about your brand image; you’re possibly leaving traffic, and most importantly, money on the table.
So, regardless of where you get your images from (free stock images, a membership or your own photos), here are 5 easy tips for making your images work together, look cohesive & feel intentional – to help you get (and keep) your audiences attention.
Worried you won’t be as genuine to your audience using stock photos? You need this post!
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USE A PRESET
A preset is a ‘pre-done’ edit you can apply in something like the free Lightroom mobile app, which renders all your images looking similar in style. Not every preset will work on every image, all the time. But 9 times out of 10, a good preset or two is all you need to give all your images the same style. The best thing about presets is you can use them on branding images, stock images and images you take yourself, and your whole feed should look pretty cohesive.
You can either buy presets or create your own. You’ll need the Lightroom mobile app to do so. Tide & Tree members get access to a small but growing library of presets, with tutorials on how to download & use them!
USE CANVA TEMPLATES
Create various templates in Canva for all the different ‘regular’ things you post or share. For instance:Opt-in pin/post/story
‘Weekly tips’ pin/post/story
‘On the blog’ pin/post/story
This is a great way to use your branded colours and fonts across your social media feeds to create strong cohesive visuals. Plus it’s not just social media templates – create templates for emails (such as email headers and footers) opt-in guides, product listings and much more – basically anything you create or share regularly.
As an added bonus, using templates really speeds up your content creation! And the best thing? You can get started with a Canva account for free. Not sure where to use your templates and stock photos? Check this post for 9 places to use your branded visuals to grow your business!
STICK TO A NEUTRAL BASE
If you’re someone who changes their mind about their colour palette and style a lot (hi, hello!) then sticking to a neutral base can be a really reliable way of always looking cohesive and put together. You can add in splashes of colour that reflect your branding or the changing seasons if you like, without feeling like you have to search out your specific colours all the time.
But remember – a neutral base can mean a variety of tones such as greys, tans, sand, off-whites etc. Pick just one base tone so they don’t clash. A great way to use the same tone across your feeds and websites, is to use the same photo! Check out this post for how to get multiple images from just one stock photo.
KEEP IT MINIMAL…OR BUSY… OR BOTH
Another way to look cohesive isn’t so much focussing on the colours, but the content. For instance, going for really busy images that feature messy, crowded scenes can look really striking – it’s great for moody styles. But minimal palettes with isolated subjects can look just as eye-catching.
And you can alternate with minimal > busy > minimal > busy. The point is; once you’ve nailed your key tones or colours, pick a ‘vibe’ or ‘theme’ for your branding to pull it all together and add balance to your feeds and websites. For more on how to choose stock photos for social media, check this post out.
EXPERIMENT WITH COMBINATIONS OF THE ABOVE
For instance: applying a preset to all images, laying out your feeds and website images with a theme or pattern, using a base tone or colour to pull it all together, and then using branded graphics to showcase new content.
Check out the three palettes I put together using a mix & match of the above tips as an example!
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Bottom line FOR CURATING COHESIVE images
Be intentional with your usage and think about the vibe and energy you want to give off. With time and practise, you’ll be crafting a visually stunning brand using stunning, cohesive visuals – with easy and clarity – and seeing the positive impact this has on your business.
Want to make it even easier?
All the images used in this post have come from the Tide & Tree library, where members can grab stunning cohesive images easily and quickly whenever they need them. Find out your ideal style by taking the brand style quiz, and then get a free set of stock images based on your result to get you started!