If you don’t know what “infographics” are, it certainly isn’t because you’ve never seen them. Information graphics combine data with graphics, to tell a story about people, places, trends, and other various happenings and goings-on in the world. They’re effective in pretty much any scenario (including your small business marketing efforts), giving those who see them a defined visual – an illustration of a specific point that the you (the author) wants to get across.

Information graphics can help you reach your target audience, by using a marketing principal that’s older than all of you who’re reading this: “The Psychology of Selling.” The ability to tap into your future customer’s mind, and make them NEED what your business wants to sell them. “A picture is worth a thousand words” is another great quote that embodies the necessity of infographics in your marketing efforts.

What they are…

They can contain data that includes statistics, features, prices, percentages, and other information that you want your prospective customer to absorb, presented in graphic format. The following video, though a little outdated, perfectly explains what they are, and what they do – in case this is still new to some of you.

Why they work…

A purely text-based advertisement might only reach five-percent of the people who happen upon it. The rest will disregard, unless your message is totally irresistible to them (which is unlikely in most cases.) Add a cool graphic to that same advertisement and you immediately increase the amount of prospects whose interest is piqued.

In fact sixty-five-percent of the entire population is believed to be purely visual learners. How we learn best usually extends to how our interest is captured. In fact, our brain processes visual image-based information some sixty-thousand times faster than purely text-based info!

This is why sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and the purportedly “high-end” Infographicjournal.com are so popular. See, regular folks love pictorials, whether they’re humorous, educational, or just plain awe-inspiring!

Where to use them…

You can use them on your company blog, online and offline sales pages, print ads, television commercials, business cards – the only limiting factor would be your creativity. Check out the “whiteboard” vid from Youtube that’s shown below. It really shows how adding clever graphics into a presentation can help to keep your audience interested:

Infographics can boost your credibility with prospects, and increase the traffic to your website (see this Forbes article). How many of you have seen or heard of a viral newspaper article or newsletter? Not many right? There are tons of viral Pinterest pictures, Youtube, and Vimeo vids right?

Your graphic can draw people in, thus giving them a brief, easy, effortless introduction to you and your company’s message. “Effortless” is the key here. Our brains see a picture immediately; we can’t read a block of text with immediacy, which is why we don’t read every flyer we see on a telephone pole advertisement. Just look to a newspaper, or magazine cover to see how important visuals are – would you read them if they didn’t have a picture of something that caught your interest, making you want to learn more about the subject matter? That’s why it’s so much easier, from a marketing perspective, to mix information and images together.

Picture the following simple scenario:

You’re running a small business that offers a housekeeping/maid service to local customers, and you want to put together an effective information graphic that will get the attention of busy parents who desperately need your services. You know that there are dozens, possibly hundreds of competing local services that offer what you do, making it difficult to brand yourself and draw valuable customers into your business.

So, you’re going to create an ad to run in the local newspaper, a flyer to post around town, a direct mailer to send out to the surrounding population, etc. You decide to include a clever graphic (or two) that tells your potential future customer what you do in easy-to-absorb picture form, telling them a few of the main time-saving services you can offer them.

In this housekeeping scenario, you can include a few small pictures in a single graphic showing someone who’s cleaning (vacuuming, mopping, etc.) – pushing a shopping cart – helping children (perhaps an adult and child at a bus stop, etc.) To really bring the message together, your infographic would also include a picture of a clock, or perhaps someone looking at their watch to signify the “time-saving” aspect of your service!

Infographics can really help take your business to the next level. Best of all, this isn’t a passing trend that will fade out in the coming years. You can learn some basic graphic design skills and create some of your own right away with an infographic maker.

Just try it, if you haven’t already. “Run something up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it”, as they used to say in the good old days.