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Does imagery used in marketing really matter?

website images convey messgagesI’m a rugby fan. There I’ve said it. Not football: Rugby.

My sons played football and I’ve been known to kick a round shaped thing around myself in earlier times. The image above is, of course, of some famous faces of the current Welsh international rugby team. In mitigation for aficionados of the English game; I grew up on the borders of Wales and had a Welsh rugby coach so you can forgive me for not using the boys in white. Actually it’s even more complicated than that as I am half Irish so depending on who is playing who, I will support a wide range of coloured jerseys.

I work in marketing; marketing using the Internet. My agency designs and builds websites for businesses. All sorts and sizes of businesses. Very often we are asked to provide images for websites that try to convey a sentiment, a mood, a feeling around the message that the page or the content dictates. You know the usual thing, bright white teeth – perfect complexions – or abstract meaningless shots of “something”.

Maybe it’s my age that is making me become very cynical about “stock” imagery. For years we have used the usual suspects – Istock, Fotolia, even Getty when the budget allows. Recently we redesigned our own website and I wanted to do something a bit different and not use the standard and often over-used images that are chosen by lazy marketeers. I thought; “how about using famous people to catch the eye of the web visitor?”

So I did some research as I already knew the sort of thing I wanted to say, which was along the lines of “picking the right team” having “great backup and support” and, well you can see what I was thinking. I was trying to convey that my team are brilliant at looking after the client AFTER the website has been completed and that the support they provide is honestly valued by our clients.

After several hours of pondering and searching for images I thought I would look at buying (and you must always buy – or photograph yourself – images to avoid breaking copyright. Who wants to end up with a bill for using someone else’s image from Google and the like?) an image that would have some impact. So I searched..

As a rugby ex-player and advocate for the finest points of the beloved game I ended up trying to get images of a try, scrums, line outs, tackles. The best imagery was taken by professionals at big matches, but could I get hold of them, legally? Nope.

I wasn’t going to give up. My business website is important. After all, it is what we do so I have to really care about the messaging that I want to convey.

After numerous emails to photographers and even photo agencies and the copyright owners themselves I was very lucky to be allowed to buy the rights to use this image, along with others.

My questions to you are these:

What does the image above say to you? If you had to write a strap line or two to reinforce your message what would you put on it?

If you come up with something that gets the message of “support” or “team” that inspires me, I will use it – and credit you if you like.

There’s your challenge, over to you, give it a go if you have a minute to spare. Email me at shaun@clickingmad.com.

Improving Web Conversions

Understanding what your web visitor is doing can help in many ways.

Communicate with your buyers to improve your conversion rates.Magnifying-glass

In business we have to communicate all the time, both internally and externally. Your company’s website is your opportunity to communicate your key messages to your next customer. Your website speaks for you 24/7/365 – whether you like it or not. If you don’t look critically at your website messaging you might be sending out the wrong message.

I always suggest client have their content written professionally. A good journalistic style without fluff and to the point will result in more enquiries in my experience. Since most business products and services are now researched online your potential customers already know a great deal about your business before they contact you. The question is are you controlling the information they are learning about you effectively? It will certainly make the difference to whether you get the phone call, email or the order.

Clickingmad does a lot of useability testing – we find out what customers they think about the respective website; how it works, whether the conversion rate can be improved by monitoring – very carefully, what people do on the website. If you know which pages they like and which they don’t you can make progressive changes to your website.

Understanding what your web visitor is doing can help in many ways. This is key information when deciding how to measure the success of your website overall and to help you decide how to improve the results.

Writing quality content for your website for Search Engine (& Visitor) Success.

Writing quality content for your website for Search Engine Success. By Clickingmad. Website designers and promotion experts.

If you are interested in the performance of your business website you will have heard many times that the “quality” of the content is of paramount importance. Certianly Google has been saying this for many years. I also think its good practice to read your own content and be very harsh on yourself and ask; “Does this page really provide the information in the best way for the visitor”?

I want to explore this further and provide some tips on writing good copy for Search

A Picture of William Shakespeare, pretty good at Content?
William Shakespeare was known for his quality content. Mind you I wouldn’t want him writing content for our websites! Unique? Sure. Interesting? Definitely. Easy to read? Errr?

Engines to index (record), because if they index your content then you are much more likely to be found higher in the search results, which of course is what everyone wants.

As a professional website development company the team at Clickingmad is asked probably 9 out of 10 times questions by clients on how to write effective website copy by our clients. The answer is often easy to come by, dependent on the subject, but still eludes many a website owner.

What does “rich content” mean? (It’s a phrase used by Google, Bing; aka Microsoft and other search engines). I believe rich content to mean several things;

A) Unique.
B) Interesting
C) Easy to read.

A) Unique content is not a quick fix, you have to think about your product or service perhaps a little differently than you do indoors so to speak. Think about how your customers talk about it. What words do they use to describe your goods and services? How does your trade body talk about them? Use different terminology to describe them. Above all it has to be your own language, do not copy your content from anyone else. Look at competitors by all means, perhaps for inspiration, but always re word what you say so that the search engines couldn’t possible have read it anywhere else. If the content is already in their database, they will know and the will penalise you for it. One way to do this is think about the conversation you light have with a prospective customer or client. Think about the words and phrases you use when talking to them. Use some “unique” selling points that I bet spill easily off your tongue, but that you struggle to write down. Sound familiar?

B) I’m sure you will agree that we can tell when content has been written by someone who is not very good at English, or who doesn’t really know about the subject. I can also tell if it’s been written by a marketeer. Too much spin and not enough substance. Too many buzz words and not enough facts. It feels similar to hearing a script on a telesales call from a call centre; they’re reading the words but they don’t know (or don’t care) what they are saying. Making content interesting is not easy. But it’s doable.

Here is a fictional example of a standard product description for a website selling hotel breaks.

Boring: 2 nights bed and breakfast at the Dorchestering Hotel, Central London. River views and top class service. Book now.

Interesting: Fancy a break at a top class London hotel with all the trimmings? How about watching the sunset over the famous river Thames and looking forward to a sumptuous full English breakfast the next morning after a relaxing comfortable night in your beautifully decorated room? All included. Why not take in a show or museum visit during your 2 night break. Be welcomed in style by clicking here to book now.

See my point? Yes it’s waffling a tad but the facts are all there and it’s SELLING the trip.

Here is a real life example in my inbox from Groupon, a broadcast email provider for retail deals. “When life’s a bed of roses it usually means you have things sweet, or you’re a particularly messy gardener. Blossom into bedding with today’s Groupon for memory foam Silentnight pillows distributed by (name deleted). These Silentnight pillows can be bought as a single, pair, quad, or happy group of eight to provide a soft spot for weary heads. The multi-layered, Memory Foam pillows have been created to react to individual profiles and provide a soft yet sturdy support, allowing folk to sleep easy.

Now that’s flowery alright, but I think it’s brilliantly written. Quirky, funny and still with all the relevant facts in the offer. That’s what I mean by interesting.

C) Ease of reading may sound a bit obvious. I always read out loud anything I write, well apart from my shopping list!

This is more aimed at your real website visitor but is also relevant to search engines as they often will present an excerpt of your text in their results. Therefore if your content is easy to read the user will get the gist straight away, which is of course what you want. Try not to use too many technical, industry only words. Be very careful over the use of nonsense marketing terms that everyone falls foul of. Examples of which might include; leader [in], holistic, turnkey, outside the box or blue sky thinking, robust, seamless, groundbreaking, empower, proactive, best in class, turnkey, mission critical, ground breaking, iconic, stakeholder(s), industry standard, win-win, best of breed. The reason I don’t like these type of words is that they seem to imply that the companies that use them have a totally unique way of doing things. Which is clearly not true as everyone has competition and some are more than likely able to do things in a similar way to you. If therefore they are being used to pretend to be unique, then that pretence may lead us to the conclusion that we can’t believe anything they say in their website, or press release (where these types of words are most commonly used).

What I want to see are facts, details and proof. Well written and concise, after all none of us have much time anymore to be “flannelled”.

We need (or expect) instant results, accurately describing the product or service that we seek. If highly descriptive or even misleading terminology is used we immediately mistrust the source. Maybe I am becoming cynical in my (not so) advanced years. But tell it like it is. Try to get your website visitor to trust you by telling them the truth even before they make contact. Our main website on www.clickingmad.com is proof of what people really want to see. In our case our Portfolio is the most visited page, after the home page. Clearly visitors want to see what we have actually achieved rather than us saying we are just brilliant etc.

Surely that’s a better way than shallow over used “speak”. Apologies to marketeers (who disagree) out there. Finally, for SEO success write interesting, unique content. For your website visitors write interesting and unique content. For assistance on SEO as a business tool contact a professional company or spend about 4 years learning the subject. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s either cheap or quick, but be assured that it does work, over time.


Clickingmad Ltd is a Website Design and Website Promotion Agency. Started in 2000 we now have 10 dedicated full time staff based in Shropshire and Birmingham offering a wide range of website design, website promotion, ecommerce advice, hosting, search engine optimisation and related services to our business clients. All with a consultative approach. We never sell you something that you don’t need, only what your business needs. Our advice is often as important as any service we provide you. Our principal Shaun Carvill is an acknowledged expert in the Internet, having been involved right at the start of the commercialisation of the web in the UK some 20 odd years ago. If you mix traditional Marketing experience with technical development and programming then you get the Internet. The Internet is not just for Geeks. The Internet means Business!

Our services are taken up by companies large and small and in nearly all sectors. From Estate Agents to Schools, Charities to Engineering companies. Manufacturing and Service sectors alike all receive the same quality Clickingmad treatment. As quality mark holders and members of the UK IT Association (our Principal; Shaun Carvill is also on the board of UKITA) ISO9001 accredited and rigorously tested by many Government and Public Sector purchasing consortiums, we have been accredited to be able to create, build and supply a comprehensive suite of Internet related marketing products and services for our clients.

We welcome all enquiries as we bring our method to a business near you. Give us a call on 01746 769612 or email sales@clickingmad.com with your query. Join the growing Clickingmad family. You will be made very welcome.