Infographic Do’s and Don’ts
B2B buyers like infographics. According to Eccolo Media, 49 percent of B2B technology buyers ranked infographics as “very or extremely” influential in the technology purchase process. A 2014 Demand Gen survey also reported that aside from blog posts, B2B buyers are more likely to share infographics on social media than any other content type.
Both of these statistics speak to the value of infographics, but these visuals are influential and shareable only if they’re substantive and well-designed. And above all, they must be the right medium for the message.
Like all assets, infographics take time, resources, and sometimes substantial funding to create. Before investing, make sure you are creating one for the right reasons.
If you decide the juice is worth the squeeze and you’re ready to start conceptualizing your infographic, take note of the tips below. Consider these as separate, individual starting points, not necessarily recommendations you must implement in every single infographic. We’ve also included two mistakes to watch out for.
Do: Communicate a single compelling idea
Artist and statistician Edward Tufte says infographics should be studied at length. The information they contain should be dense enough to inspire extended viewing. That is certainly true if you’re depicting complex scientific, political, or social data, but what about B2B marketers who only have a few seconds to make a point before viewers click away?
The most effective infographics for B2B audiences communicate a single, compelling thought: a clear, tightly focused statement or point of view. Consider the headline “Cloud storage is valuable” versus “Cloud storage makes video production faster and cheaper.” Trying to demonstrate the entire value of cloud storage is too broad when you only have a few seconds to spare.
Once you have your statement, consider articulating and supporting it with the following:
- Data sets. Make time for research, and make sure the information you’re gathering supports your point—as opposed to a collection of facts related to your point that don’t necessarily add up to a clear and specific conclusion. For each data point, ask yourself, “Is this relevant to my statement?” “Does this advance or reinforce my point of view?”
- Compare and contrast. Side-by-side comparisons are impactful because they quickly illustrate similarities and contrasts. Comparing before-and-after; opposing viewpoints; this product, service, or customer against that one; and other two-part scenarios lend themselves to this design.
Do: Create a narrative
Narrative infographics work well to trace a journey, explain a process, demonstrate a transformation, or track change over time. Use the beginning of the infographic to state your compelling point, then use the bulk of the body to guide the viewer to a specific conclusion. The end is where you summarize and restate your point and include a call to action.
Do: Show relationships
Visually juxtaposing data points or concepts works well to quickly communicate relationships. An example could be displaying types of security breaches on a scale of how serious they are and to whom, or which technologies apply to specific customer problems. Another example might be mobile devices mapped to individual carriers to quickly show which carriers support the most devices and where they overlap.
Infographics can be powerful given the proper scenario. Below are some formats to avoid.
Don’t: Explain products or services
Mapping out a product family might work well as an internal document, but infographics typically address the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. Customers in this stage don’t yet care about your products and services. Instead, identify the benefits of your products or the outcomes people will experience because of them, and fit those into one of the frameworks above.
Don’t: Turn a message map into an infographic
Message maps are useful, but they’re not customer-facing. Corporate messaging isn’t an appropriate infographic topic. What is, though, are the narratives behind the messaging. What broader market trends are influencing your messaging? Is there a new product, solution, or service that is opening up new markets or revenue streams? The answers to these questions will likely reveal something more suitable for an infographic.
Following these guidelines can help ensure your infographic stays in the “very or extremely” influential category, rather than in the click-and-forget-about-it category. Infographics remain a powerful tool—as discussed in this Tendo View post—but only if they are appropriate for the story you’re telling.