Marketing January 8, 2019 Last updated January 6th, 2019 574 Reads share

How to Optimize Visual Content Marketing on a Budget

Image Credit: Depositphotos

Is your business’s visual content marketing on a budget?

You just launched your freelance career.

You’re a new startup aiming to grow big.

Your small business is ready for growth but on a budget.

When your business is young, hiring a graphic designer may not be in your budget. Make no mistake, there is undeniable value in having a freelance or in-house graphic designer to boost your online presence with compelling visual content marketing materials. This incredible value often comes at a hefty price tag, however.

For start-ups, small businesses, or a new freelancer just starting out budgeting where and how much you invest can be like walking a tightrope. Since the value of quality and compelling visual content cannot be ignored in today’s marketing world, you ask, “Where can I find high-quality photos AND a platform to curate and tailor those images to represent my business?”

Let me tell you…

Free Stock Images

When your visual content marketing budget is tight or non-existent, then you will thank the heavens when you discover (if you haven’t already) that there are a wealth of free stock images available online.

What this means is that your business will have access to professional-quality photos for free. Granted, there is a sense of limitation since it was not your marketing department (you, or your team) that determined what types of photos would be taken.

But when building and growing your business on a budget, free stock photos can be a hidden gem.

Another stressor that free stock photo sites eliminate is copyrighting. These sites do not require you to show credit for the image, but many of them do encourage it.

By giving photo credit you could help freelance photographers gain visibility for their own growing business! You never know, maybe you’ll like someone’s photography so much that you hire them in the future when your visual content marketing budget expands.

Here are the top picks for sites you can source free stock images from:

This is by no means a complete list, but simply the top picks for navigation options, quality and amount of photos, and good starting place to the source you visual content for free.

So, where can you customize these stock photos you’ve just discovered?

Canva

You don’t have a graphic design background nor do you have the budget to hire a professional. So what are you left with? A plethora of high-cost software programs that have an enormous learning curve included. We’ve already established you don’t have the time or the capital to go down that road (yet).

For its affordability, simplicity, and versatility Canva is far and away the best platform to curate quality photos and designs for your business’s visual content marketing needs.

Affordability

First things first, let’s talk about expenses for this powerfully-packed tool. Canvas free version gives you a great starting point with the following features:

  • Two folders to organize designs
  • 1GB storage for photos and assets
  • Access to over 8,000 templates
  • Upload your own images
  • Access millions of photos starting at $1 each

When business is booming and you’re ready for an upgraded version for $12.95/mo (at the time this was written) you can do so by starting a 30-day free trial. The additional features include:

  • Unlimited folders for your designs
  • Team functionalities
  • Unlimited storage for photos and assets
  • Upload your own images
  • Access millions of photos starting at $1 each
  • Exclusive access to 400,000 free photos, illustrations, and templates
  • Magically resize your designs
  • Upload custom fonts for your brand
  • Set color palettes for your brand
  • Save templates for you and your team
  • Organize your photos with folders
  • Easily find your designs with search
  • Resize designs into custom dimensions
  • Download designs with transparent background
  • Export designs as animated GIFs
  • Priority support

These added features for a relatively modest investment of $12.95/mo is certainly a cost-effective option for upgrading your visual marketing game without breaking the graphic design budget.

Simplicity

In comparison to the massive learning curve you might have when purchasing a graphic design software (with the hefty price tag), Canva is at its core, quite simple. With pre-formatted templates and layouts, you can create and design almost anything from this platform.

Most of the functions you’ll perform are drag-and-drop which scream user-friendly for the less “techy” business owners out there. All-in-all, Canva allows users to curate customized and polished designs without having to spend weeks learning it’s internal functions and features.

Versatility

Canva is not just for business owners wanting to ramp up their visual content marketing strategy. It can be for personal use as well, which makes it that much more engaging and versatile.

The stand-out features that most entrepreneurs and business owners will see the marketing value of are the specific social media templates. Canva has pre-formatted templates for Facebook (including banners), Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. These templates allow the user to optimize their photos and designs for each social media platform.

Another exciting business-oriented feature is Canvas custom graph and chart capabilities. This feature allows you to conceptualize and customize strategy maps, bar graphs, concept maps, line graphs, pie charts, and many more.

Other design features that may come in handy are templates for email headers, blog banners, infographics, logo designs, and brochures. Whatever your visual content marking needs may be, you’re sure to find something resourceful within Canvas free version, and that much more if you’re able to upgrade to the paid version.

Is That It?

By no means is this the only route your business could go when endeavoring to stay on track for your visual content marketing budget. The solopreneurs budget, wearing every hat in their freelance business, may likely be much less than an established small business’s budget looking to grow.

You ultimately have to decide what the best path is for your business, but for those on a strict budget (or possible no budget yet) free stock photos and a platform like Canva may be the best fit in place of a hiring graphic designer.

Businessman working in an office stock image

 

Lindsey Horton

Lindsey Horton

Lindsey is a Professional Freelance Writer for hire. She specializes in copywriting, B2B content, and Blogging services. She uses her skills, expertise, and personal experience to add valuable content to her clients' businesses. When she's not wielding her wordsmith abilities, Lindsey enjoys reading fiction and movie marathons with her husband and dog, Goose.

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