5 minute read

Humans are visual creatures.

We’re drawn to patterns, colours and information presented in a way that appeals to our natural curiosity. Visual elements play a major role in all industries, across the board. But, real estate agents can benefit big time from incorporating more (and better!) graphics into their marketing mix.

Studies predict that by 2018, 84% of all marketing communication will be visual—and at a glance, this makes sense. Look at the rise of Instagram or at our collective love of an info-graphic that synthesizes abstract ideas in a way that consumers can easily digest.

Agents use content for a myriad of reasons. Branding helps companies stake a unique claim in a crowded space, it makes them recognizable in an instant, and people can make sense of an image quickly.

The human brain processes a visual image in 1/10th of a second and processes visual information 60,000 times faster than words. And colours alone hold our tiny attention spans and make us feel things.

So, visual content catches attention. We get it. It also gets more views, likes, and shares then the written word. Bottom line: visual content works, and there’s no use escaping it.

Visuals drive the real estate business; it’s the best way to advertise a listing. As an agent, it is imperative that your website and social media accounts boast some solid visuals. If you don’t have any creative skills, you can hire a designer, but if you’re just starting out and don’t need a lot of graphic design help, you can create your designs yourself with the help of online graphic design tools.

Here’s the good news:

The following online graphic design tools don’t require expert knowledge of Photoshop. They’re all fairly intuitive resources you can use to create professional looking marketing materials—no in-house designer required.

Canva

Canva is a graphic design tool that has been around since 2012 and has over 10 million users.

This graphic design tool allows users to design posters, invitations, graphics, and more for social media posts or any marketing materials you may need to print out. If you’re not a designer, Canva comes with several pre-designed templates you can use, too.

You don’t need experience to design on Canva; its drag and drop interface makes it easy for those without a background in graphic design. Additionally, Canva offers pre-set dimensions for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

In addition to their free online graphic design tools, Canva also offers a premium paid solution called Canva for Work. This option allows you to store unlimited files, create unlimited folders, and grants access to over 300,000 photos. You’ll also be able to resize your designs, save your favourite templates, and add up to 30 team members and more—for $12.95 per person per month.

Pablo

Pablo is an online graphic design tool owned by social media management company Buffer.

The tool is designed explicitly for use on social media and is totally free for all users. Pablo is very easy to use—you’ll choose from a royalty-free gallery of 600,000+ photos and from there, customise with added text or special effects. It’s a lot more bare-bones than Canva but works well for quick social media updates in need of some visual emphasis.

Desygner

Desygner is a perfect tool for passing the time on long commutes, in waiting rooms, or while you’re passively streaming something. This app allows you to quickly create graphics from your smartphone and offers a smooth user experience.

Like Canva, Desygner offers both free and paid options, with the paid premium membership starting at $6.95/month. For that price, you’ll gain access to over 1,000,000 photos and graphics, 5000 templates, unlimited storage, and more. It’s a real steal if you ask us.

Snappa

Snappa is one of the best online graphic design tools to have when it comes to designs that need a quick text overlay. You can use Snappa to create frequently-used visual content like social media posts, infographics, social media headers, and banner ads.

The app comes with a range of pre-set sizes and ready-to-use templates, but the free account offers just five downloads per month. If you’re planning on being a heavy user, it’s best that you upgrade to a Pro account, which at $10/month, gives you access to unlimited downloads and Buffer integration.

Befunky

BeFunky is a flash-based online tool that you can use to create and edit images, as well as create collages. The app also comes with a graphic design tool that allows you to design social media posts, posters, invitations, and more.

BeFunky is available on mobile and desktop, and users can sign up for either a free or paid account. The only drawback to using BeFunky’s free account is the lack of free templates. Each type of design comes with one free template and note that you’ll be forced to look at banner ads when using the tool.

Premium accounts (called BeFunky Plus) start at $4.95/month or $34.95/year when billed annually. Aside from being ad-free, you’ll get photo effects frames, templates, and higher resolution graphics.

PicMonkey

Remember Picnik, the free online software that was used to edit photos? Well, Google bought the service in 2010, but ultimately shut it down back in 2012. Eventually, a group of past Picnik employees got together to create an updated service, known as PicMonkey.

PicMonkey is an online photo editing tool and a collage-making and graphic design application. PicMonkey is a fully paid application: it costs $3.99/month for a Premium plan or $8.33/month for a Superpremium plan.

Infogram

Infogram is a great graphic design tool, but you’ll need some experience with graphic design software under your belt to fully take advantage of its offerings. Infogram is a little more involved than something like Canva. Those with a lot of creative talent (and related tool mastery) like to use it, as it does not have pre-set templates and you have to create graphics from scratch.

Once you overcome the learning curve, you’ll be equipped to make everything from infographics to social media graphics. Infogram has both basic and paid plans, with the paid plans starting at $19/month.

Online Graphic Design Tools to DIY Your Own Marketing Materials

While adding extra layers of creativity to your existing workload may be intimidating, it’s hard to deny the benefits of creating visual content. As marketing materials increasingly get more visual, it is essential to learn the ropes of graphic design. While hiring a dedicated graphic designer might not be possible for everyone, the online graphic design tools discussed in this article can turn any agent, or a member of their marketing/admin team, into a competent designer.

Would you add any online graphic design tools to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Author: Josh Cobb

Phone Number: 0427 184 183

Email Address: josh@stepps.com.au

Stepps was founded by Josh Cobb in 2014. Josh has advised more than 100 brands since starting the company and hundreds of agents who have attended his workshops. He is the host of the popular Real Estate Pros podcast, oversees digital strategy for top performing real estate agents and teams, and travels the globe with several international speaking engagements each year.

Recently, Josh was named as a finalist in the 2017 REB Awards for Industry Thought Leader of The Year and the winner of  Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2017 – Marketing, PR & Events.

In addition to web development and digital strategy consulting, the company also runs Stepps Media, a fast-growing education company that produces an iTunes top-ranked podcasttraining events, email and webinars.