5 Ways to Animate Your Marketing Visuals with Cartoons

 

Yes, pun totally intended.

Did you know that cartoons and animation can persuade your customers to buy from you a lot better than “real” visuals?

Well, you do now! And you don’t have to take our word for it. After all, our entire business model is based on whiteboard animation.

Instead, check out this curious scientific study we came across a while ago. In it, researchers showed a group of people two sets of brochures debunking the myths about wind energy.

Can we sense a yawn coming up? Bear with us just a little bit…

The brochures were identical in almost every way. Except one set featured a gorgeous, professional-looking photo, and the other – a cartoon.

And get this:

Based on the data researchers concluded that, even though the photo was more credible, the cartoon actually succeeded at changing people’s minds on the topic.

For anyone in business and marketing, that’s a major “gotcha” moment! What if you could harness the persuasive powers of cartoons and animation to get more people to listen to you, interact with your brand, and ultimately buy from you?

Well, you can – and that’s what today’s article is all about! Just for you, we put together a list of 5 ideas you could use to animate (here we go again) your marketing visuals.

So let’s dig in and see exactly how you can captivate your customers with the power of cartoon drawings, sketches, and animation!

1. Create cartoony PPC ads that outperform “vanilla” ones by 250%

If you’re advertising your brand on any image-friendly platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, you name it), sooner or later you will run into this problem…

Everything looks the same!

99% of all ads you will ever see on these sites will fall in one of two categories:

  1. A mind-numbingly boring stock photo you have seen recycled a thousand times
  2. An equally boring mockup image of a physical product with someone’s logo on it

Seriously, they are so homogenous it becomes both incredibly important and really easy to stick out like a sore thumb. And a great way to do that is by using, you guessed it, cartoons!

How can you apply this – and what’s the ROI?

Commission a cartoony image for your best-performing ad, and test it against the “vanilla” version. The best part is: you don’t need to invest into an expensive cartoon… because the image doesn’t have to be good!

Yes, you heard us: a terrible-looking image can outperform a high-quality one just by virtue of being a “pattern interrupt” (standing out from the crowd). As an example, check out entry #6 from this blog post about copywriting exercises. That horrible, no-good advert – that was obviously whipped up in MS Pain in five seconds – outperformed a slick, professional banner ad by a factor of 2.5!

2. Put cartoons in your blog posts to double engagement

Honestly, after finishing this article you might get an impression that stock photos are the bane of everyone’s existence. We apologize in advance for ruining the concept for you.

But besides boring and uninspired PPC ads, there’s one other place where generic stock-photo visuals are hurting your brand…

Your blog content.

Seriously. Just go through this fun little exercise:

  1. Find any article that features a stock photo as the featured image. Shouldn’t take long!
  2. Go to images.google.com and run a reverse image search for it (just drop the file in the search bar).
  3. See how many results show up. That’s the list of all the places that stock photo has been used – hundreds, probably thousands of websites.

And that, right there, is why people have stopped engaging with generic stock visuals. If you want more eyeballs on your content, avoid them like the plague – and use cartoons instead!

How can you apply this – and what’s the ROI?

If you want to learn about the potential ROI of putting cartoons in your blog content, we highly recommend that you read this case study by Mark Anderson. It’s full of surprising takeaways.

Long story short, Mark tested cartoony images against generic stock footage, and he discovered that:

  • Readers consistently chose cartoon-illustrated content over the one with the photo (90% of the time in one scenario, and 57% of the time in the other).
  • 64% of readers preferred to share the “cartoony” article over the one with the stock photo.
  • The version with the cartoon also got a surprising boost in responses compared to the “vanilla” article (68 over 38 – almost a twofold increase).

Of course, as someone who makes a living selling cartoons to marketers, Mark is biased (but hey, so are we). And the sample size for his test wasn’t large enough to guarantee statistical confidence… That said, the majority of scientific studies and marketing experiments we have seen on the topic support Mark’s findings. Looks like you’ll just need to test this one for yourself!

Try the same thing we recommended in tactic #1:

  1. Take a popular post of yours that performs well and gets consistent traffic.
  2. Commission a custom image for it (again, it doesn’t have to be of amazing quality)
  3. Run an A/B test and see if you get a spike in reader engagement!

3. Make your content more addictive and easy to consume with cartoons

Does your sales process depend on educating your target market about your product or service? If you’re a business owner in 2017, it probably does!

The bad news is, you are fighting a losing battle. Not only are your customers more distracted than ever before – even when they aren’t, their brains retain only about 10% of what they learn.

That’s not a jab at your target customers, or this generation, by the way – just an unfortunate reality of how the human brain works!

So if you want to get more paying customers and make more sales, you have to figure out a better way to educate them. You can do that by:

  1. Patiently exposing them to your brand message again and again, and nurturing each customer until they are ready to buy… OR
  2. Figuring out how to become more memorable, so your customers don’t need to hear your message as often!

With the help of cartoons, you can make your marketing message “stickier” and more attractive to your prospects. You can also enhance any products or services you sell to engage customers better, so they continue to stick with you and buy from you.

How can you apply this – and what’s the ROI?

Depending on what kind of business you’re in, this tactic might be harder to implement than the previous two. So we’ll give you some ideas:

  1. Consider livening up your marketing collaterals with some cartoony imagery. Brochures, presentations, flyers… everything is fair game. As cited in that study we referenced at the beginning of this article, people tend to look at cartoons longer, and actively try to figure them out – unlike photos!
  2. Is there a point in your onboarding process where paying customers become disengaged and lose interest (making your job harder)? Using cartoons in your onboarding process could help you prevent that. That means you would retain customers for longer, and they would have a much more satisfying experience with your brand.
  3. If you’re frustrated with a lack of response to your customer development surveys, requests for testimonials or referrals – or anything else that involves asking your customers for something other than money… package your requests in the form of a cartoon, comic, or even an animated video (more on that later).
  4. Do you produce any information products, or education products (courses, ebooks, physical books, tapes, etc.) to sell to your target audience? Cartoons can help your customers consume and retain more of what they learn from you through those products. You can build them into the content itself – or use cartoony handouts and bonus materials to add value to customers.

Some of the most forward-thinking marketers out there are relying on cartoons to spread their message, sell their stuff, and make people take action. For examples, you could check out people like Sean D’Souza from Psychotactics – or Russell Brunson, whose “DotCom Secrets” teaches advanced marketing strategies through a combination of drawings and text.

4. Boost email open and clickthrough rates by entertaining your subscribers

Depending on your industry, your email open rates could vary from a relatively generous 20% to less than 10% – with a clickthrough rate of around one percent. Seeing as email is still the highest-engagement marketing channel, anything you can do to get more engagement out of your list will have great ROI.

Entertaining your email subscribers is one of the best ways to do that, as shown by this Inc. article. Marketers consistently underestimate the powerful effect of delighting people just for the sake of it, as opposed to always trying to lecture them or teach them something. Don’t neglect it!

How can you apply this – and what’s the ROI?

Asking you to introduce a regular cartoon feature into your email marketing would probably be a tall order. But try to inject some cartoon visuals into your regular emails, and see how that goes with your subscribers.

What kind of ROI can you expect? Well, that Inc. Magazine article we referenced above mentioned two pretty staggering stats. In one case, a big brand saw a 400% increase in ROI on their content marketing – and another company enjoyed a 40 to 50 percent open rate on their emails thanks to sending a weekly cartoon to their subscribers. Not too shabby!

5. Create high-converting animated explainer videos about your product or service

One of the magical things about cartoons and animation is the power to make people ponder big ideas… disguised as just a mindless bit of entertainment!

(To see what we mean, read this thoughtful exploration of the themes in Kung Fu Panda. It’s a delight.)

Whiteboard animation can do that – and that’s why we at The Draw Shop love it so much, and advocate for it endlessly. But so can cartoons and conventional animation. They both take big ideas, make people engage with them on a very deep level… and even change their minds.

That last part is critical. In the study we linked to, a well-made cartoon succeeded at debunking myths about wind energy – but a credible, professional-looking photograph did not.

And if cartoons could do that with something as complicated and, let’s be honest, boring as wind energy, they can do the same with your industry topic!

That’s why, if you want to persuade potential customers more effectively, you should consider a fun, cartoony explainer video… before you invest money in a professional live action video, an outbound sales campaign, or any other seemingly “safer” alternative!

How can you apply this – and what’s the ROI?

We’re going to refer to that study again. We promise it’s the last time!

When we were reading through the findings, one quote stood out to us in particular According to the lead researcher on the team:

“Photographs were shown to be more credible, but cartoons were more likely to change behavior [our emphasis]

That’s what marketing is all about: changing your customer’s behavior and making them take action. And that’s where that awesome “high-converting” adjective comes in!

Creating an animated explainer video about your product or service can get you more customers – and more sales – than any other form of video, let alone static content like copy.

And if you’re interested in giving it a try, we want to help.

Want to make your own fully animated explainer video? Book a risk-free pow wow today

Yes, whiteboard animation videos are normally our “thing”… but guess what – we’re doing cartoons now, too!

For the first time ever, you can get us to create custom-animated videos for you. This includes:

  • Cartoons
  • Stop motion animation
  • Infographics
  • 2D characters

And more.

If you’ve ever watched a slick animated explainer video and thought, “I want one!” – today is the day! All you need to do is enter your details below, and we’ll arrange a free, no-strings-attached pow wow to talk about your awesome animated video!

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