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What’s an infographic and how can it help your business?

Do you use infographics in your marketing?

If you don’t, you’re missing a trick.

As humans, we’re wired to process images faster than text. And we also remember them more easily.

In one study, test subjects remembered 2000 out of 2500 images they saw for just ten seconds each. In another, presentations with graphs and other visual aids were 43 percent more persuasive than text-only presentations.

Clearly, infographics are a golden opportunity to stand out and make your business more memorable. With this in mind, here’s an in-depth look at:

  • What infographics are
  • How to use them in your business
  • Where you can find infographic templates for free or next to nothing

What are infographics?

Infographics present information in a concise, visual format. They include graphs, flowcharts, timelines and other types of visual representation.

Here’s a look at five of the most popular types of infographics:

Statistical

These are great for summarizing survey results, collating data from different sources or backing up an argument with relevant statistics. For example, this infographic by Venngage uses a mix of bold fonts and icons in primary colors to present the facts about childhood obesity

Informational

Break down a new or complex concept into bite-sized chunks. For example, these infographics all use the same format and subheadings. But the different colors and funny images make it easier to understand the differences between four stock market trading styles

Geographical

These are perfect for visually representing location-based data. A map — or maps — will probably be the infographic’s main focus. But you could also use other images, such as graphs or pie charts, to buttress your main point. Here’s an example of how this would work

Timeline

Display your business’ origin story, give your audience an overview of key milestones or summarize a series of important dates. Here’s a history of web design with boldly colored headings and clean icons over a white background

Hierarchical

The best-known example is probably the food pyramid. This groups together foods that have the same types of nutrients in order of importance. But you could use this kind of infographic to visually represent any other hierarchy, including your business’ chain of command

How can infographics help your business?

Infographics are great at summarizing complicated information in an appealing, easily digestible format. Add the fact that 90 percent of the information that reaches our brain is visual, and it’s not hard to see why infographics are such powerful marketing tools.

Here are four ways infographics can benefit your business:

1. Boost your social media engagement

Your followers are 94 percent more likely to see your content if it has relevant images. Seeing as 211 million pieces of content hit the internet every single minute, that’s a significant advantage.

More to the point, people share infographics three times more often than other kinds of content. And we all know shares are crucial if you want to get your name in front of as many people as possible.

2. Get more website traffic

Websites with visual content get 12 percent more visits. Right off the bat, that’s a 12 percent increase in your chances of getting an inquiry or making a sale.

But research also shows that infographics are more likely to persuade customers to reach for their wallet. According to this case study, for instance, website visitors who saw an infographic were more likely to ask about the company’s services.

3. Hammer your message home

Your average website visitor will read 20 percent of your text at most. But relevant images “are treated as important content and scrutinized.

Have a key message you want to deliver? Using an infographic can help you make sure it gets the attention it deserves

4. Improve your SEO

Because infographics are so popular and shareable, they can be an invaluable source of backlinks. These are links from other websites to yours.

Backlinks are ranking factors. In other words, having lots of good quality backlinks tells Google your website is useful, relevant and trustworthy. This means you’re more likely to turn up in search results when someone makes a search related to your business.

How do you create a great infographic?

Infographics are powerful marketing tools. But you can’t expect good results if you just slap something together without giving it some careful thought. 

Here are our four top tips for creating a great infographic:

Create an eye-catching headline

To paraphrase the great John Caples, the headline can make or break a campaign. And it can make or break your infographic. 8 in 10 people won’t read past the headline, so you need to make it count.

What makes a good headline is a whole topic unto itself. That said, you won’t go too far wrong if you aim for something that’s:

  • Attention-grabbing
  • Specific
  • Relevant
  • Concise

Use statistics

Nothing boosts your credibility like solid, research-based evidence. Use trusted sources. Or, even better, do some research yourself

Keep it concise

This is a fine balance. You’ll want to give your audience something valuable to think about. At the same time, part of an infographic’s appeal is that it’s to the point. If it starts looking longer than a graphic novel, some might be discouraged from reading and sharing it

Make an emotional connection

Tapping into your audience’s emotions makes your content more relatable. For example, Copyblogger’s 15 Grammar Goofs uses humor to explain common grammatical mistakes without talking down to the audience

5 free or cheap infographic design makers

While you’ll need to think carefully about the content, creating a compelling design isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Here are five tools you can use to make infographics for free or on the cheap.

1. Canva

Whether it’s flyers, visual social media posts, business cards or — you guessed it — infographics, Canva has become the go-to tool for many content creators. With thousands of templates to choose from, you can create eye-catching infographics even if you have zero design sense.

Best of all, it’s completely free to use. You just have to create an account.

2. Piktochart

Piktochart’s more than five million users — these include The Guardian, Moz and Booking.com — have created a massive 35 million infographics.

You can get started for free even if you don’t have any design knowledge. That said, the website has several video tutorials to help you get up and running as quickly as possible.

3. Infogram

Infogram is used by the likes of LinkedIn, SkyScanner and Politico. You can get started for free, but the free plan will only let you create infographics for up to ten projects.

For $19 a month, you can expand to 100 projects. You’ll also get access to over 100 premium templates, 500 map types and one million premium images.

4. Visme

Visme has thousands of templates you can use to create infographics, presentations and other types of visual content.

You can get started for free. But if you want more features — including privacy controls, folders and a whopping 10 gigabytes of cloud storage — it’ll set you back $25 a month, paid annually.

5. Google Charts

Yes, the mighty Google has a product for everything, including infographics. Google Charts is powerful, easy to use and, best of all, 100 percent free.

Unlike the other infographic makers on this list, Google Charts also integrates with other tools such as Google Analytics. Which means you can collect data in real time. You can also connect different charts with similar data and view them all from a single dashboard.

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