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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Working for free – another success!

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

For the second year running, we were delighted with the results from our “Work for Free” day, which we carried out just before Christmas (December 21st 2009).

Following on from last year, the NSDesign team enjoyed a great day helping just over 20 small businesses, with free consultancy on the likes of SEO, Social Media, and web design.    Like last year, we weren’t without our detractors for the initiative, with the DBA again giving us a little “dig” on twitter… (although thankfully, nothing on the scale of last year!)… and a few industry players that like to moan about “de-valuing” design, without truly understanding what the day is actually about.

However, like last year, all we really care about is the feedback from clients, which has been 100% positive.

We were also lucky enough to get some great publicity on the day, mainly from a BBC Radio Scotland interview which went on to look at the value and benefit of providing free time and consultancy, and the history of working for free!  Listen to the full radio interview here.

Will we repeat the work for free initiative next year?  What do you think…

Working for free

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Published in .net magazine, issue 187, April 2009

Deciding to work for free for one day only in December 2008 proved to be one of the most controversial decisions we had taken at NSDesign for a long time!

In one fell swoop we managed to upset the Design Business Association (DBA), were the subject of a two week forum thread in Design Week, and gained several column inches in the process.

We were accused by the DBA of de-valuing the work we do on a daily basis in the e-commerce, digital and design field. Was it genuine concern for our industry or complete over-reaction? I know which side of the fence I am standing on, and from the majority of online comments from others in this game, it appears I’m not alone.

I think that rather than taking away from the work we do, we actually opened up our service to a much wider audience who now realise a lot more the true value of our work and what it can add to businesses.

We did not intentionally set out to upset anyone or diminish the service that our industry provides. Nor did we intend it to be seen as a sinister or cynical stunt or ploy. It was simply a light-hearted idea, aimed at helping other SME’s and raising our own profile.

The idea (first suggested by our Head Developer Martin Sarsini) was to spread a little festive cheer helping out companies who were maybe struggling with the credit crunch or who were just looking for some advice on how to improve their web offerings.

The debate which raged in the weeks after the announcement initially took us by surprise, however I stand by the decision and am happy to announce that in just one day we helped out over 30 individuals and organisations (a few of which were existing clients) and had a seriously good time doing so.  

In this industry a lot of the work we get depends on pitching to potential new clients and showing them what can be achieved. If you look at what we did on the 19th December you could say it was simply a day of showcasing our work to prospective customers – no different to what we do an a regular basis, albeit highly focused into one day of this and nothing else!

The actual range of work carried out was pretty varied, with us doing everything from adding some festive sparkle (custom graphics and backgrounds of a Christmas nature) to a handful of websites, to general “spam advice” and consultancy on bulk-emailing and ensuring legal compliance with regard email communications.

In addition we conducted a number of site reviews, providing recommendations on improving design, usability and SEO, designed new logo concepts for a mobile-disco operator and online video production company, and setup a blog for a Cricket Club!
We also helped out several more companies with their various queries and not once did any of our team feel we were selling ourselves, the company, or the industry short. What we did feel was that we were opening up many new potential business opportunities for ourselves.

We may not benefit from any immediate “paid work” as a result of the efforts we went to, but those companies we helped out will certainly have us at the forefront of their minds when they do need the services we provide.

In this current economic climate small companies like ourselves need to be more flexible and creative and stand out from the crowd more than ever before, and I for one will do everything within my power to ensure that NSDesign continues to be the success it has been in the last few years.

2009 sees a decade in business for us and we are aiming to build on the strong foundations we have developed over the last ten years which culminated in us winning the “Outstanding Performing Business with less than 25 Full time Employees” – ROCCO Business Award.

There are many challenges for us (and indeed all design companies) in the year to come but no matter how tough a year it is, when Christmas is approaching next year, I would not hesitate to offer another “work for free” day – and unlike the DBA, do not expect our industry will crumble as a result!!

It can’t be Christmas already…

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

I’d like to apologise to anyone upset by our current Radio Advert which features sleigh bells and festive overtones.  The fact that we started running it on September 1st (some 116 days before Christmas) has prompted a few people to question what we’re playing at…  “It can’t be Christmas already??”….

Listen to the advert

There is however a serious business message behind the advert -it’s not just a case of us wanting to be the first house in the street with fairy lights round the windows.

The fact is, billions are made by online retailers over the festive period, so anyone wishing to take a slice of that pie needs to plan well in advance….  Experienced online shoppers are already browsing their favourite ecommerce sites, and bookmarking (if not buying) their shopping list of gifts…  Leave it until the last minute before launching your new Christmas shop, and it’s unlikely your virtual tills will be ringing…  Get online now, and there’s still time to do some marketing, grab a few Google adwords, and actually generate some decent turnover… 

So what are you waiting for…  only 83 days left……..

Exclusive radio interview with NSDesign

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

3 of the NSDesign team were interviewed earlier for a special radio Clyde 1 feature to be aired on Saturday at 1pm.

Now, you might think that (given our expertise) we’d be interviewed about web standards, design, domains or something remotely connected to the internet or of a technical nature.  No.  We were interviewed about Madonna !!

Don’t ask..  and if you want a laugh – tune in to listen.  Remind me why we do these things again?….

Marketing tips to promote your website

Friday, May 16th, 2008

I always find it amusing when I come across the “Top 10 Tips for…” articles that seem to be everywhere.  Most of the time they’re full of very obvious suggestions and lack any real innovative ideas that actually help you.  Flick through any of the web magazines or popular blogs and you’ll find “Top 10 Design Mistakes“, “Top Ten Client Attraction Tips For A Feng Shui Website“, “Top 10 Blogging Fonts“, “Top 10 Tips for creating Top 10’s”…  The list goes on.

I was therefore delighted to find not just a Top 10, but a “TOP 75″ related to useful & different ways of promoting your web business.  Expecting just yet another uninspiring list, I was pleasantly surprised to find it fairly interesting, with some novel and innovative ideas – many of which I’m proud to say that NSDesign have already tried and found success with.

Starting with the pretty obvious first tip of “Write a Press Release” (which I know many companies still do NOT do), to tip 75 – “Sponsor a local roundabout”, there’s a range of good ideas that might prove beneficial to your own marketing of your website and business, and a few we’d advise against also!!

Some of the 75 Tips that we currently do:

11. Get signage for your car showing your web address, it’s amazing how many people you pass on a daily trip to your workplace that will be intrigued and go on your site later that day – even more effective if you commute on a motorway.

22. Try to get local radio stations to give you and your staff a mention. And ensure you get the domain name in there too. Not that many radio stations will read out the full domain, especially the nationals, but the locals and inner London ones generally do without any fuss.

40. Sponsor a local event or sports team – www.uksponsorship.com has a list of all the current opportunities on offer in the UK

50. Advertising in new mediums is often a great way to get in front of new audiences. There is a form of advertising now available on London buses.

 And a whole load more….  But there’s a few we don’t do, and wouldn’t recommend anyone consider – mainly in relation to buying links and link farms – things like:

25. Create a links page and exchange links using a programme such as…

48. Text Link ads are also a cheap way of getting people to your site. Companies such as text-link-ads give further information

All in all, some interesting reading, and I’m guessing at least a few of the ideas may strike a chord with even the most pro-active company and their marketing. Have fun!!

Free T-shirts – Listen to Win!

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Starting next week, we’re running an intensive Radio advert campaign on Rock Radio 96.3FM and as a wee incentive to listen out for the ads, we’re giving away a Free NSDesign T-shirt to the first person who calls the office immediately after every advert has played for the week. 

The beautiful NSDesign T-shirt

Admit it….  you want one!! 

With 30 adverts running from Monday – Friday, there’s plenty chances to phone up and win.  Just call 0141 585 6390 and ask for Gary.

NSDesign on the telly!

Friday, April 11th, 2008

NSDesign took full advantage of the recent Scottish Rocks basketball game, live on Setanta last month, using the opportunity for some brand infiltration on the tv!

As official web partner to the Rocks, we already benefit from some great courtside advertising and marketing opportunities, but we decided to really put in an effort for the first televised game of the season.

Courtside Marketing    NSDesign Tshirts

The above TV stills are just 2 quick examples of our logo clearly on display to the TV cameras.  Thanks to all our clients who came along to the game and for showing their support to NSDesign by wearing our T-shirts and caps etc…..

The stroke of genious that ensured maximum exposure, was handing our free “Thunderstix” to the crowd.  To explain what these are, and to highlight the effect they had – just check out the image below…

nearly 2,500 fans - most with NSDesign in their hands!

Nearly 2,500 fans, most with NSDesign adverts in their hands…  Just in case you’re interested in seeing the highlights of the game – View the 15 min video here.  Now…  I’m off to think about how we crash the next old-firm game….

Scottish Rocks – Live on Setanta TV

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

On the 26th March, The Scottish Rocks will play the Milton Keynes Lions, Live on Setanta TV following an exclusive deal with the Basketball league. 

It’s a brilliant opportunity for both the team, and the sponsors, with everyone hoping for a record crowd to showcase the Rocks to the rest of the UK.


As an incentive, an “early booking” discount is available – From now through Monday 10 March only, you can book adult tickets for just £4 and child tickets for just £2! That’s more than half off the box office price.

These prices are valid only for on-line bookings and only through Monday 10 March for the Milton Keynes game (Wed 26 Mar) only.


I look forward to seeing you there, and if you’d like to support NSDesign (the Rocks Official Web Partner) at the game, please get in touch and I’ll send you out some very glamorous promotional T-shirts that I’m sure the TV cameras will love!