This month, we're providing tips on Working Out Your Business's USP and how you can use it to make your business's Web marketing more effective. We're also focussing on Choosing Pictures With Oomph for your Web site, where to find them, what to look for and how to use them.
In tidbits, you'll find links to the latest Web tools and the usual mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. You can also check out the latest sites of interest. If that wasn't enough, we're also reporting on the interstellar antics of our resident space cadet, Rocket!
We come (and go) in peace. Enjoy this month's offerings!
Working Out Your Business's USP
Last month, we urged you to think about calls to action and this month we're talking about another marketing fundamental, the USP. The concept of an USP or Unique Selling Proposition has been around since the early 1940s. One of the early pioneers of very successful TV advertising, Rosser Reeves, defined the USP as follows:
- Each advertisement must make a proposition to the customer: "buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."
- The proposition itself must be unique — something that competitors do not, or will not, offer.
Some good examples of New Zealand businesses with a clear USP are:
Whilst advertising nowadays strives to capture audience attention and promote brand awareness in many different ways, a USP is still a powerful marketing tool. So think about your USP — is it your location, staff, technical knowledge, expertise, price, convenience, newness, speed, product or service? And what is the benefit to your customer of your USP?
This is Avatar's USP and the benefit of it for our clients:
"Web design with a marketing focus." — We specialise in creating Web sites that are visually and commercially effective, which can be promoted and marketed effectively — meaning more traffic to your Web site, optimum visitor experience, sales conversions and enquiries.
Think about your USP when you produce marketing material (not just Web based) for your business. Be creative, be unpredictable, look at pitching a strong USP in a memorable way and think about whom you are targeting.
If you'd like us to review your Web site's marketing, we'll look at your statistics, site usability, optimisation and use of language and graphics on the home page and one of your site's section pages. Contact us for more information.
Choosing Pictures With Oomph
The pictures on your Web site may only have a matter of seconds to catch the attention of an online visitor, so it's important that they're as effective as they can be. To help you out, we've put together a few tips and resources for finding and choosing pictures with online oomph.
Where To Get Good Pictures
- DIY — If you're a dab hand with a camera, you can produce some great results, (view for example, the Sea Spirit Web site) but if you're not sure whether your own pictures are up to scratch, ask someone else. Don't tell them who took the picture. Let them be nice or nasty, without thinking they're offending you personally.
- Professional photographers — If you don't know the front from the back of a camera, you could consider investing in the services of a professional photographer. Do make sure you've seen samples of their work so you know what quality of pictures you can expect and give them a very clear brief on what you want.
- Online picture libraries — These are some of our fave online photo libraries: iStockphoto, Stock.XCHNG, Fotolia, Gimmestock.com, Dreamstime, Can Stock Photo and BIG Stock Photo. The pictures offered are typically of very high quality and range from traditional to quirky. Before you purchase any pictures, check the terms and conditions of use carefully.
What Makes Web Site Pictures Effective?
Here are a few things to think about when you are choosing pictures for your Web site:
- Lighting — Pictures should be well lit with clearly visible subjects. Well lit pictures can be really effective against darker backgrounds.
- Composition — Effective composition isn't always about the rule of thirds. Choose some pictures for their interesting angles, use of space, unusual perspectives or extreme close-ups (macro).
- Mood Shots — Mood shots are often close-ups of details such as flower petals, wood bark, water drips, firelight, crockery, food and drink. You can use mood shots to create atmosphere, evoke emotional responses and add colour and style to your site.
- Colour — Select pictures in colour, black and white or sepia depending on the style and appeal you are trying to create. Army Museum, for example, uses black and white and faded pictures to create a sense of history with great effect.
- People Pictures — People are drawn to pictures of people. Putting people in landscapes, for example, not only creates a point of focus but also helps to create a sense of size and scale. Use people in your pictures that your target audience can relate to.
Have fun choosing your site's pictures, because if you enjoy picking them, your target audience may just enjoy looking at them!
Rocket is a Space Cadet
You may not be too surprised to hear the latest news from Avatar HQ, but we can confirm that Rocket is a space cadet. He's pursuing his life-long dream and in 2008 he's going into space. Our space geek, Rocket, is the first New Zealander to make a reservation to be one of the first 100 passenger astronauts aboard Virgin's VSS Enterprise. View the latest news on our space nut's stratospheric adventure.
Sites of Interest
Here's a selection of sites we've designed, updated and/or promoted recently...
- NZS.com (design)
One of New Zealand's leading search engines and Web directories providing over 56,000 listings for New Zealand businesses.
- Versatile (fielday banner)
Versatile are one of New Zealand's most trusted builders of garages and small buildings, with branches throughout the country.
- Aperio Investigations (promotion)
Hamilton based private investigations agency offering private and corporate clients discreet and professional investigation services.
- Blue Chip Coaching (promotion)
Leading New Zealand coaches delivering executive, business and leadership coaching, training and development services.
- Clifftops (promotion)
A luxury bed and breakfast accommodation on Waiheke Island offering gourmet retreats, cooking classes and a beautiful cliff top venue for small weddings.
- Lake Tekapo Budget Accommodation (promotion)
Friendly backpackers' hostel with family rooms and dormitories with views of Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps of New Zealand.