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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.

Electricity Brokers, Central Power, Launch New Website and Support Shropshire Wildlife Trust

logo with dark backgournd

Energy Consultants and Brokers, Central Power (Bnorth) Ltd, have launched their brand new website, to show businesses how their services could help them to save money on many of their energy bills. The professional-looking website has been both designed and built by well established website design agency: Clickingmad Ltd, based in Shropshire through their Giving Websites project.

Central Power (Bnorth) Ltd are independent electricity consultants and brokers based in Shropshire, allowing them to give impartial advice to their customers. They can provide advice on electricity and gas and have recently started working with renewable energy such as Solar and Biomass with great success. They are part of Giving Websites, allowing them to support their local charity Shropshire Wildlife Trust as well as having a new fully functional website.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust, part of the Wildlife Trusts Group of charities, looks after 38 nature reserves, campaigns for wildlife and the environment, inspires young and old to enjoy nature and involves volunteers in all its work.

Geoffrey Davies, Managing Director at Central Power (Bnorth) Ltd comments ‘We are very pleased with our new website, and the fact that we can support a local charity at the same time is a bonus and it is at no extra cost to us. We would strongly recommend other businesses joining the Giving Websites project and seeing the benefits.’

 

John Hughes, Development Manager of Shropshire Wildlife Trust said ‘Having the support of Central Power every month is very important to us and being a local business we are able to build a close relationship with them.’

Central-Power---Wildife-Trust-small

 

The launch of the new website is set to showcase their wide range of services, and to reach businesses who may want to reduce their utility bills. The site also allows customers to reduce their domestic billing, along with finding out about possibilities for renewable energy. The Shropshire Wildlife Trust logo is proudly displayed on the site to show that Central Power’s Corporate Social Responsibility is being fulfilled every month.

Their new website can be seen on www.electricity-broker.co.uk
More info on Giving Websites can be seen on www.givingwebsites.co.uk
Shropshire Wildlife Trust can be found on www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk

Website Design in the West Midlands

…transition into web provision would be easy. I think it’s safe to say they had a rude awakening…

Clickingmad provides website design in the West Midlands, or does it?

Website design in the West Midlands has changed in the 11 years Clickingmad has been designing and building websites in Shropshire. In 2000 website design was provided by a few companies in London, Birmingham and other major conurbations but the bandwagon had yet to form.

Universities had yet to provide adequate training on the subject as most of it was yet to be written down in an educational format. There were though some printers and print designers who thought the transition into web provision would be easy. I think it’s safe to say they had a rude awakening.

Clickingmad are web and will always be web, it’s in our blood, our DNA and we still talk about it with such passion as to make you think we are all geeks.

When we started designing websites for Shropshire and the West Midlands we initially thought we would see ourselves naturally restricted to those areas as that’s where we were based. How wrong could I be?

Over the past 11 years, even though we set our stall out as “Website Designers Midlands” or “Website Designers West Midlands”, or even “Website Designers Shropshire”. We get more calls from firms in the South East of England than anywhere else.

Now why would this be? Ok, we are probably amongst the most technically advanced in our sector, the sector being Open Source Content Management Systems, i.e. no license fees and a massive technical community to tap into. Thus providing the client with a vast selection of functionality without the massive outlay. This though does not explain why the business enquiries we get are mainly from the lower part of the UK. If someone knows, please tell me!

We sometime run Google Adwords campaigns to drive local traffic to our website, something that, if done well, can pay big dividends, but can also waste a lot of your money if you are not very careful. The phrases we go for are; Website Design West Midlands, Website Design Wolverhampton, Website Design Dudley, the latter two are close enough conurbations to have plenty of businesses in their respective areas and are also within an easy 30 minutes of our Head Office in Bridgnorth Shropshire.

We are soon to expand our operations physically into Birmingham, so I will be looking for Google to provide us traffic under terms of “Website Design Birmingham, “Birmingham Website Design” and perhaps others such as “Ecommerce Birmingham” and “SEO Birmingham”, two other passions we have.

When I thought about writing an article that discussed our business focus I wanted to discuss the validity and the point about blogging, I wanted to demonstrate the power of the medium to the sceptics. That said, if you consider all the other methods of promotion that the web offers, I reckon blogging to be the most useful and for me, easy to do, given of course, the time.

To blog, is to discourse, to illuminate, to ruminate and to expand on often pretty boring subjects that once explained, would hopefully become more relevant to the business community at large.