4 Ways to Use Pictures to Design Marketing Success

For some people, marketing is an art form.

They don’t just create newsletters or Facebook pages, they design them. They use their knack for style or fashion to reach new customers and promote their brand.

Hillary Tattersall, the woman behind Chick’s Picks by Hillary, in Sterling, VA, is one of those people.

“I’m a consultant for about 300 women who design cool products but aren’t exactly sure how they will sell,” Hillary explained. “Our business is a combination of special boutique events and online sales and we use our newsletter and social media to promote both.”

With over 5,200 email subscribers and 1,700 Facebook fans, she has built a community and designed success for her business by using a visual approach to email and social media marketing.

Here are four visual strategies that have helped Chick’s Picks design success:

1. Use pictures in your emails to generate more sales

When you open a newsletter from Chick’s Picks by Hillary, the first thing that you’re going to notice are the pictures.

“We load our newsletters with pictures of products from our website and events,” explained Hillary. “Our readers are primarily women who want to see the new and funky products that we’re going to be featuring, and are less interested in reading long articles.”

The pictures link directly to her retail website and typically generate $100 in online sales and drive attendance at boutique events, where attendees spend between $100 and $200.

2. Use customer photos to drive open rates

Chick’s Picks pictures don’t just show off their products, they show off their customers too.

Hillary uses what she calls the “People Magazine-mentality” to create buzz for her newsletters.

“People love to look at pictures of themselves or of other customers who have come to our events,” explained Hillary. “It’s that People Magazine mentality.”

But it’s more than that. Including pictures of her customers gets people excited to see Hillary’s emails in their inbox and has boosted open rates to over 34%.

3. Use visuals to promote your accomplishments

In 2009, Hillary was named one of Country Living Magazine’s Women Entrepreneurs of the Year. Since then, Chick’s Picks has had over 20 features in different lifestyle magazines, including EveryDay Magazine with Rachel Ray.

Hillary shows off that success by including pictures and cover screenshots from each of those features.

“It really validates your business and makes customers believe in your experience,” she explained. “People recognize those magazines and they understand what it means for us to have featured.”

Chick’s Picks has had over 20 features in lifestyle magazines like Country Living and EveryDay with Rachel Ray.

4. Use a visual social strategy to drive event attendance

Facebook has become an important resource for marketing Chick’s Picks boutique events.

Each day in the week leading up to the event, Hillary posts a different album on the Chick’s Picks Facebook Page with photos from the different designers featured at the event.

“It gives people a chance to get prepared for the events and show up knowing what they are looking for,” she explained. “You can tell it’s working when people show up and are asking you about products they saw online.”

Facebook gives Hillary a chance to show off more Chick’s Picks products leading up to events.

But it’s not just Facebook. On Pinterest, she mixes her personal and professional style. She features boards that give her followers a better look at who she is and what Chick’s Picks is all about.

Design your own success

You don’t have to have Hillary’s eye for fashion and design to be successful with using visuals as part of your marketing strategy. The key is to understand what works best for your business or organization. Figure out what types of visuals get your customers to engage and use them to drive action.

Does your business have a visual marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments below!


Leave a comment »
  1. Thanks, Ryan, for some good information. What I took away from this article is Hillary’s use of featured publications she has been in. It gave me the idea to do the same with my award-winning articles.


    • Ryan Pinkham •

      It really can go a long way. It’s a quick and easy way to show off your experience. Thanks for reading Peggy!

  2. Donna Taylor •

    Great blog post Ryan! Love the idea of including pictures of customers in newsletters to boost open rates. 34%–that’s impressive!

  3. Ryan Pinkham •

    Thank you Donna and thanks for reading. It really is a great idea. Let us know if you see any results!

  4. David Del Toro •

    Quick question – For “on the fly” photos of events/conferences, how do we skirt the issue of “consent” to use photos in our marketing materials? Just because they are at an event, does not necessarily mean they’d like to be featured in an email… Thoughts?

    • Ryan Pinkham •

      That’s a great question David. I think that if you’re considering using any pictures in your newsletter, you should assume you’re going to use all of them and ask whoever you take photos of for their permission. If you’re thinking of having a photographer taking photos of groups of people or “action shots” of being talking or networking, you may want to include some notice in your invites or flyers.

      Most importantly, I think if you have any concerns or hesistations, then it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Your attendees’ privacy should always come first.

      Thanks for reading!

      • David Del Toro •

        Thank you! In your opinion, is a “formal” document needed, or will a verbal OK be good enough… Nowadays, it’s hard to be sure…

  5. Ryan Pinkham •

    I think it really depends on the extent that you plan on taking and using the photos.

    If you’re going to use close up photos like the one’s you see in Chick’s Picks emails, you want to make sure that they know exactly how you plan to use them. A good way to handle this is by explaining that you’ll be having photography for marketing purposes at the event in the registration or signup process.

    Another way is by taking their names and contact info and following up with them, just to make sure.

    Or you could tell guests that you’ll be posting pictures on Facebook, encourage them to Like your Page, check out the pictures, and tag themselves. Then when you decide which one’s to use, you can contact them that way. It’s a great way to cover yourself and increase social engagement.

    You don’t want to be at your event, walking around with consent forms, but if you can get reliable permission without it obstructing your event, it’s never a bad idea.

  6. Hi Ryan,
    These newsletters are really informative. Thank you so much for making them something we can all apply in real time. Cheers!


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