Home Cases in Point Experience e-Mail

     Whichever kind of site you need - content, commercial or any permutation in between - I start just as I would before beginning an ad campaign. You and I sit down and make out a work plan. Unless we do this first step properly, everything that follows could be considerably less effective than it should be. Even next to useless. Once we both know where we're coming from, I develop a strategy for approval. Then the creative processes begin. I come up with a proposition or positioning distinctive enough to make you stand out from your competitors. Next I execute. (For more about the process I've developed, see A Better Way.)
     Below you can read about some of the sites I've been responsible for. Besides an outline of the problems I faced and the solutions I came up with, you'll also find some feedback from my clients. Clicking on either the graphic or the domain name of each site will take you there. If you have a wander through, you'll see they're quite different from one another. It's a matter of horses for courses, something you learn fairly quickly in advertising.
     If you scroll down further, you'll encounter some sites I no longer look after. Since starting this business in 2001, I have had several clients move on, a couple are no longer trading and, in one case, the founder and moving force died. However, what they said when their sites were first posted still reflects the kind of work I do.

Narrabeen Family Medical

www.narrabeenfamilymedical.com.au
For some years general practitioners have been required to follow official guidelines when preparing promotional material, traditionally DL leaflets. A combination of limited space and little regulatory leeway made such material pretty much indistinguishable from one practice to another.
   Oddly enough, the same is now true for most general practice websites, despite all the space available to describe the facilities, services and experience of the clinicians. Which makes these sites as useless as the DL leaflets had been for visitors trying to determine the suitability of one practice versus another.
   Dr Nick Bernard semed to appreciate the distinction. When I first sent him links to an online mockup, his e-mail replies included these words: "absolutely awesome," "blown away," "really thrilled." More recently after I'd just completed some minor updates, he wrote, "Changes are great as always. You are a true wordsmith, and I continue to receive compliments on our website. I feel proud when I look at it!"

Dr Nicholas Bernard

Dr Nicholas Bernard, owner/manager/director
“Gary, whom I've known as a patient for 16 years, uses the sobriquet 'wordsmith' to describe what he does. Just why was made clear to me when I engaged him to design my website. To gather the information needed for the text, he went back to this practice's roots, examining our business from the ground up. While exhausting, this proved a very useful exercise.
   “His digging allowed him to describe my business and the work our doctors and nurses do succinctly and clearly, and his long experience as a copywriter meant he was was able to accurately convey the essence of our practice.
   “His design, which continues the colour themes of the building design and our logo treatment, is both eye-catching and easy to navigate. And his photographs certainly do our new facilities justice.
   “I have shown my website to colleagues, who feel that it sets a new benchmark for a medical practice.”


Pittwater Animal Hospital

www.pittvet.com.au
Like the sites for many small businesses, this is primarily a branding exercise. The main goal is to reinforce the perception held by Pittwater Animal Hospital's existing clientel that they and their pets are receiving the most professional, knowledgeable and modern service available.
   As far as appearance goes, Bryn asked me to make it uncluttered and loose. Because HTML is based on tables, it's hard to avoid the linear look common to just about every website out there. I decided to go for an asymmetrical layout using funky fonts and simple cartoons, which would also appeal to younger pet owners. The original colour scheme reflected the hospital's new paint job. When they renovated 10 years later featuring Mondrian-inspired panels and a new logo, I made the appropriate amendments to the site design.

Dr Bryn Lynar

Dr Bryn Lynar, Pittwater Animal Hospital
“Despite my initial reservations about going online, your production has exceeded all my expectations and resulted in a site which is informative, entertaining and easy to use. I really appreciated your attention to detail in the text, graphics and photographs, resulting in page after page of well laid-out and accurately researched facts. The text is very easy to read and, because of the enormous amount of research you did, will no doubt impress anybody who visits.
   “The site is far superior to the majority of veterinary sites on the Web, and I think it is an outstanding advertisement for my practice. Gary, although I may not have fully appreciated all your clever technical tricks, I really have appreciated your patience and continual good humour throughout the job, in spite of my often slow responses to your e-mails and frequent work distractions. Thank you for a great site.”


SpectraTech

www.spectratech.co
The three principals needed a site to support a determined campaign to sell licences for breakthrough technology in the United States. Because the asking price for their SpectraKote™ process was in excess of US$1 million, the benefits to different market segments had to be very clearly spelt out (in U.S. spellings). This was one instance where I had to help develop a marketing strategy before I could even begin to think about the site design and content.

Alan McInnes

Alan McInnes, founder of SpectraTechnology
“We had a world-first technology which needed to be explained to industrial and political leaders, environmentalists and energy conservationists, in Australia and around the world. In time we realized that a website could provide an easily accessed platform that punched home the Spectra message.
   “We also realized that we didn't merely need someone who could build us a website. We needed someone with the expertise to digest and understand all the technical and engineering aspects of this most diverse technology and who could couch that understanding in such a way as to catch the imagination of people all over the globe. A website that would also express the excitement of a fresh technology which could help lead us out of the current energy maze.
   “We were led to Gary Graf and, as you can see from the success of our site, we are very glad we were.”

Eye Surgeons Miranda

www.eyesurgeonsmiranda.com.au
My first contact with Eye Surgeons Miranda was an e-mail from Adrian's wife, Dr Grace Hunt. She wrote, “I like your websites. Have been using the Pittwater Vet one even though I live at the other end of town (and a have a relative who is a vet). Text, functionality - great.
   “My husband is in the process of setting up a specialist practice and I am going to get him to check out your site as he will require a web presence. You may hear from him soon.” I did, the next day.
   Since the practice was brand new, we started by differentiating Eye Surgeons Miranda from other local ophthalmology practices. At the same time we wanted to attract the kind of challenging cases that would most benefit from Adrian's unique knowledge and training.
   Because Adrian had decorated his office spaces to celebrate the Australian landscape, I proposed a wide palette of representative Aussie colours for his website. He was so taken with the design that he asked me to do his letterhead, business cards and other stationery. I was happy to.

Adrian Hunt

Dr Adrian Hunt, founder/principal
“When I started thinking about a website, I collected lots of ideas from other sites, brochures and booklets. After amassing a huge pile of disparate snippets of information, I realised I needed a better approach. I contacted Gary and was empowered to start making some decisions rather than just collating and rearranging other peoples ideas.
   “It was refreshing and also much easier to take the approach Gary employs. Gary has such persistence and enthusiasm. He went out of his way to research and understand my business. When everything else was building up on my plate, Gary continued towards the goal of completing the website.
   “I really appreciated his ability to offer opinion based on his advertising background. What the message was and how best to convey it rather than what Flash buttons we should use. With Gary the focus is on communication but at the same time he delivers a clean, beautiful and functional website.”


Moggie & Doggie

www.moggieanddoggie.com.au
Janice needed a site that would convince prospective customers to avail themselves of her service. When we sat down to work out a strategy, I was impressed by her marketing savvy; she really understands the value of promotion. I was also somewhat surprised to learn she employs a team of some 15 pet minders/dog walkers - a pretty strong selling point. As a dog owner myself, I suggested that what pet owners wanted most of all was the credible reassurance that their animals would be well cared for. Hence the prominence of testimonials, starting with the home page headline. (In time she would ask me to design a new Leaflet.)

Janice Bates

Janice Bates, owner of Moggie & Doggie
“I chose Gary to do my website as I could see how much effort he went into researching each of his customer's businesses. I wanted someone who was passionate about his work and also had the background experience to produce a professional and informative site.
   “Throughout the development of my site Gary made sure that he was on the 'right track' and provided the results much quicker than I anticipated. His attention to detail and determination to get everything right made it a real pleasure in dealing with him, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend his services to anyone who is serious about having a well-thought-out, professional website with a difference. Please judge for yourself :)”


Joe's Italian Restaurant

joesitalianrestaurant.net.au
I'd been a more-than-satisfied customer of Joe's since he first opened in 1992. When he expanded and redecorated a while ago, I suggested it was time he had a website. Joe replied that that's what a lot of his patrons said.
   To make the look of this site an accurate reflection of his new decor, I went for an uncluttered, unpretentious design using the same monochromatic colour scheme. The use of wide, black borders inside and a heavy, rounded type font in the banner was inspired by his shiny new chairs.
   An emphasis on Sicilian cuisine is meant to differentiate Joe's from other Italian eateries while also giving it a distinctive character. (He would soon ask me to redesign his Menu.)

Joe Mauceri

Joe Mauceri, owner-manager
“I wasn't too sure about having a website. When Gary mentioned it, I didn't even own a computer. But once we got started, he made it all really easy, explaining the process step by step as we went along.
   “He did everything. He spent hours learning about my background and the style of food we offer. He researched Sicily to write the Heritage page. He redesigned my logo. He took all the restaurant and food photographs. He even brought in colour brochures from paint companies so the colour scheme of the website exactly matched the one in the restaurant.
   “Also, I really appreciated how patient he was the whole time.”


Comments from Previous Clients

Woolcott Research

Ian Woolcott, founder - Woolcott Research Pty Ltd, The Rocks
“Having known Gary from his previous incarnation as a copywriter, I felt certain he would produce something special when asked to update our website. As advertised, he sat down with us and probed. And probed.
   “So well did he get to know us, he was able to crystallise our attributes in ways we had not articulated before. Much like the cobbler with unshod kids, we have been more concerned with discovering the strengths of our clients' goods and services than our own. In any event, I unhesitatingly recommend websites.that. connect to anyone seeking a thoroughly researched, well-considered, persuasively written site.”

LifeStyle Financial Services

Gareth Hall, founding partner - LifeStyle Financial Services Pty Limited, Chatswood
“When Gary started on this project, I was particularly pleased by how thoroughly he sought to understand our company and the various services and products we offer our clients.
   “He promised that not only would our site be different from others, it would be better. The other planners and I agree he has certainly delivered. Our new website goes way beyond what we'd hoped for. As well as presenting LifeStyle very favourably to the outside world, it reduces our administration workload by offering some electronic services to our clients. It helps us to present a more professional and up-to-date image.”

Finlease

Mark O'Donoghue, founder and managing director - Finlease (Australia) Pty Ltd, North Sydney
“My initial view on the website issue was simply that it was a necessary evil, and I doubted that we would see any real use or value from one. I can now quite happily admit that I was wrong.
   “Gary took the time to fully understand our business, and this has been reflected in the way he designed the site with our customers in mind. He's made it easy for them to find the information they need while at the same time making it clear 'what's in it for them'. It also very effectively captures the culture of Finlease and clearly shows how we go about business.”

Buckin' Mex

Katrina Breen, owner-manager - Buckin' Mex Mexican Restaurant, Cairns, Qld.
“The site Gary has created for us is far grander than we had ever expected. We were impressed by how he incorporated our colour scheme and design elements into a truly original look. And his professional, warm and light-hearted writing is a very good reflection of the culture we are establishing for Buckin' Mex.
   “We also found it makes much more sense to employ someone with proven communication and marketing skills rather than people with simply technical and graphics backgrounds.
   “The fact that Gary happens to be a perfectionist was a wonderful bonus.”

Tu's Company Muay Thai

Tu Dam-o and Janice Bates, principals - Tu's Company Muay Thai, Brookvale
Janice: “Gary had done such a good job with my website, creating hundreds of new customers in the three years it had been up, that I didn't hesitate to recommend him to Tu.
   “Gary is truly dedicated in doing the best job he is capable of, and with his wealth of work experience it makes for fantastic results. He has an amazing knowledge base and is a great resource for any business. And to top it off, he does all this for a very reasonable price.”
Tu: “When I show to students on iPhone, they tell me it looks very good.”

K.& K. McGrath

Kevin McGrath, principal - K. & K. McGrath Pty Ltd, Surry Hills
“Now that my site is virtually finished, I just want to express my thanks for the way you set it up for me.
   “After the debacle with the previous web-site team it was sensational to have you create such a well-planned and informative site, particularly given the extremely short turn-around.
   “I was impressed by the methodical way you extracted from me the pertinent information that reflected my business operation. The way you have collated all this information and creatively designed the look of the pathways to this information, is nothing short of excellent. Great work and many thanks.”

Home A Better Way Cases in Point Experience My Ads Contact