Marketing is an Asset NOT an Expense

Stop it. Just stop! Marketing is not an expense. I know you’ve heard it before, but pay attention. Marketing is not an expense. I’ll say it again. MARKETING IS NOT AN EXPENSE.

Do you want to grow? Do you want your business to flourish? Why aren’t you telling people about the services you offer or the goods you sell? I know. I know… “I don’t have the money to invest.. “ “Sales are slow.” “We can’t do it right now.” EXCUSES! Stop it!

I met with some bankers the other day and we were talking small business over lunch. Their bank specializes in loans for small business that do less than $250k per year in sales. One of the things we talked about is how small business owners tend to look more at the now than the later.

Joe Small Business Owner wants a jet ski. Joe sells some services and buys the jet ski. Nothing wrong with that, but what if Joe reinvested that profit into marketing and waited a year, or six months to buy the jet ski? Where would his business be in that time with a strategic plan? A marketing effort? How much would he grow?

I know, again… “We’ve tried marketing. It didn’t work.” “Word of mouth is the only way.” I’m calling bullshit here. You met with some sales person who sold you some radio ads, or some online package for $2500 that never changed. It didn’t engage. The sales person never checked back in. They took your money and ran some ads, or did some “marketing.” Maybe you got one or two sales from it, maybe more… But it didn’t live up to your expectations.

Here’s where it went wrong. That sales person didn’t listen. They didn’t even ask questions, or the right ones! They didn’t look at, and I mean really look at your business. They didn’t analyze your pain points, they didn’t examine your best customer. They didn’t take the time to understand where you are and where you want to go. They came in filled out some paper work, had you sign on the dotted line, left with a check and said “Boom, now you’re marketing. Good Luck.”

At best this is a C- strategy. Why not try for an A?

Marketing is one of the most important things a business can do. Not only does it help to bring awareness, it builds sales, reputation, engages customers, and grows the business, but it also helps to stem so much including company culture.

Here are key reasons why it is essential to market your business in today’s modern marketplace:

It Grows – Marketing helps a business get on solid footing, and thus provides a basis for growth. While you should always maintain and develop your current customer base following the 80/20 rule, a continual drip campaign keeps you in front of your existing clientele and keeps you top of mind with them.

Marketing also allows you to reach new and potential customers that are in search of solutions to their issues.

It Sells –  Marketing helps to sell more products, solutions or services. The bottom line of any business is to make money and marketing is an essential channel to reach that end goal. Without marketing businesses wouldn’t exist because marketing is ultimately what drives sales. You have a good product but if people don’t know about you then how will you generate sales? Put simply: You can’t. Businesses need to content (social media posts, brochures, signage, imagery, etc) to bring customers in and lead them to a purchase. Marketing helps sales and sales help your business.

It Engages –  Customer engagement is key to any successful business, big or small.  Marketing provides a way to keep a conversation going. It provides a constant drip to keep you in the minds of your existing and potential customers. Consumers want to be engaged and will seek out reviews, social media posts and Google reviews. This is where marketing comes in, and whatever the medium, you can send your customers relevant content that is in-line with your brand to keep them engaged. Your audience wants to form a relationship with your brand, and marketing can do that.

It informs: On a base level, marketing is useful for customer education. When you are going about your day you’re not actively seeking out a 4,000 word blog or searching for a sales pitch on facebook. You happen upon something that piques your interest and you head down the rabbit hole. Next thing you know you’re considering a purchase.

And while you Mr./Mrs./Miss Business Owner know the ins-and-outs of your product, do your consumers? In order to buy into a product, your audience needs to have an understanding of what it does and how it works, and more importantly WHY they need it!

Marketing is the most effective way to communicate your value proposition to your customers in a fun and interesting way. If consumer education is on your priority list then marketing should be too. We call this Edutainment, and is one of our key philosophies to a successful campaign.

It’s equalized: Modern marketing is a less expensive game than ever before. Social media platforms, direct mail, geo-fencing, target marketing and email campaigns have made touching consumers a much more finance-friendly possibility. Utilizing these vehicles can help even the playing field when it comes to competing against big name competitors. Modern consumers value experience over pricing, so this kind of one-on-one interaction could push customers in your direction over bigger brands.

It sustains: Marketing is meant to build and sustain a company’s presence – not remedy a lack of engagement. In this sense, marketing is something that businesses need to create and manage every day to maintain a healthy relationship with their consumers. Marketing is important because it allows businesses to maintain long-lasting and ever-present relationships with their audience. It is not a one-time fix, it is an ongoing strategy that helps businesses flourish.

 

Psychology of Proper Marketing

Proper marketing of your business requires the simultaneous use of many differing things. In order for your ad, print marketing materials, signage, web/social media pages, and other handouts to resonate with a customer, you have to have visual appeal. If there isn’t an attractive design, logo, or image(s) included, you may be throwing away costly materials, or worse…losing a potential customers attention!

Creativity, color, strong photography, font styles, layout, and the overall design play important roles in how your business is perceived. Using “Gestalt Principles” to better your business’s message can greatly increase your reach and marketability, as well as create an appealing brand to share with the world. Gestalt (meaning unified whole) psychology is what marketers and advertisers have been using for years to create attractive ads. Its a German psychology theory on how the human brain processes, perceives, and then puts together pieces of something they see.

Although studies vary, most are similar in their results. The brain processes visuals 92-94% more than text alone. We, as humans, engage quicker and longer when there are images involved. The brain also processes these images 50,000-60,000 times faster than text.

As a business owner it is up to you to not only provide customers with the highest quality of work, but also to use every option available to cut costs, increase brand awareness and engagement, and get more reach. Give us a call to learn more on how we can help with all of the above.

 

 

Problems With Your Marketing?

Hi everyone,

Lately we have been running into some issues with clients and potential clients.

  1. Bad Logo Design:  A few business owners we have met with recently have sent over their logos to us for various reasons. The problem…bad or improperly  designed logos. Logos created without vector art or made into Photoshop files can lead to issues down the road with all sorts of printing. We’ve identified several problems, fixed them, and have made quite a few happy camper business owners.
  2. Disappearing Web Designers: Yep, you read that right. A couple companies in the last 2-3 weeks have described their web designers as MIA. They have said that repairs to the site have not been made when needed, or that the sites were improperly designed in the first place. We are currently working on fixing these issues.
  3.  Marketing Monies Improperly Spent:  Where and what is your business marketing budget going to? Is this producing significant results? If not, why are you continuing to spend in outlets that aren’t producing the results you want? In the last week alone, 2 customers have described to us that their print marketing budgets (significant amounts too, $XX,XXX) aren’t getting their phone to ring anymore. Both said that putting this money into these particular outlets was “always what we did in the past.” Not good. As with everything in the known universe…things change. Either you stay the course and keep pumping money into the wrong outlets, or get with the times and steam ahead. Currently, we are producing 2 proposals with what we feel are much more effective print marketing ideas that will resonate with the types of customers these businesses are seeking, and the best part…we will save them thousands of dollars!
  4. Of Course, Stock Photography:  My personal favorite, stock photography on your marketing materials! Ugggggg, for crying out loud, why?! Why do you want people, products, places, or even conceptual ideas in images that have nothing to do with your business to represent YOUR brand???!!! Make your own awesome photographs, or get someone that can. In the last week we’ve shot 3 separate photo shoots for 3 companies to use for their materials and websites…guess what…the sites are going to look KICK ASS when finalized!          

These are just a few things we are dealing with on a day to day basis at 77 Design Co. If your business suffers from any of the above mentioned issues, or you know a business that could use a helping hand, give us a call today and we’ll gladly give you a free consult!

-Bobby Drakulic

Rob Hoffman-412-889-3495

Bobby Drakulic-724-433-9142

 

77 Has BLOWN Up!

77 Design Co has BLOWN UP! All great things here though!

-by Bobby Drakulic

We are beyond busy helping local and regional businesses better market themselves. A lot of what we offer is customized commercial photography/video, blog and technical writing, graphic design, social media help, printed signage and marketing materials, and website building. There are a lot of businesses right here in the Pittsburgh area that need someone to help them solidify the marketing side of their business to attract new customers. Some of the businesses that we are currently working with are trades businesses (electricians, contracting companies, etc) CPA’s, and manufacturing firms.

I LOVE it! Business is booming, but maybe even better is the fact that I have finally found my little niche in the world…visually communicating messages for small business through commercial photography! This allows me to hone in on a particular product or service and bring a vision to life for my client to present to their clients, or prospective clients. Couple that with the great design and web work my business partner, Rob Hoffman is doing, and the fantastic writing/social media/video work the rest of our team is doing and we have built something truly special! We are here to help the small guy become relevant and increase the visual marketing personality for some of our larger clients. It feels great to help these businesses grow!

 

Why Isn’t My Social Media Working?

When I started out in this business I worked in radio sales. Country radio I might add… Aside from being a rock n roll kind of guy in my early 20’s schlepping country radio wasn’t my cup of tea, yet I learned a lot from my very first boss.

One of the key things he taught me was when things weren’t going as planned look back at when they were going as planned. Look back to when things were going the way you wanted them to. He called it getting back to basics.

So you’ve got this facebook page. You’re posting. You’re not getting any likes, comments, inteactions. No one is seeing your posts. What gives? Well, let’s put on our cowboy hats and boots, sell some spots on country radio, and get back to basics.

 

The goal of social media is to start conversations and create relationships.

 Look over your last few posts. Are you communicating or are you promoting?Consider offering a variety of information relating to your business that could stir up a conversation, create a question or even engage someone who isn’t ready to buy right now and well, create a need for them to buy right now.

Part of establishing relationships is building a loyal fan base

That can only be accomplished through providing the information people are looking for.

If you don’t have a website that offers this information to supplement your social media content, the conversation won’t go far and neither will the relationship.

Your audience needs a place to go to continue building a relationship with you, whether it is a blog or even another social platform, such as YouTube.

If you aren’t properly branding yourself, how will people remember you?

 Creating brand recognition is a key component of social media. To achieve this, everything must be consistent across the board.

All social networks should use the same profile image and cover photo. This makes it much easier for potential clients to recognize you and feel confident that the account they are choosing to follow is authentic.

Social media isn’t your personal show-and-tell, it’s a conversation.

 It’s quite important to share and link to other relevant content and blogs in your content.

Not only does it add value, but it also increases your reach if others in your profession share it to their social media channels.

If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.

 This takes more than just regularly checking your notifications and responding appropriately.

It also means actively following relevant accounts, interacting with individuals on your page, sharing posts by others and starting conversations on other accounts.

In addition to these organic measures, your strategy should include a budget for advertising. In all regards, you have to be consistent, or you can forget the leads.

Worried you don’t have the time to dedicate to social media? Consider hiring a firm that can help. However, be cautious when interviewing potential agencies.

If someone is pitching a cheap solution, whatever you are being promised is likely too good to be true. Enlisting less than stellar help could end up with with you having the same posts as every other competitor in town.

Best Times to Post on Facebook

Gaining followers and like on Facebook is a delicate balance of content, imagery, offers, and timing. Master this balance and opportunities for increased traffic, engagement will present themselves. New followers and likes will follow.

So, with Facebook what are some of the best times to publish content? The easy answer is “depends on the audience,” but typically we recommend:

  • Between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • And on Saturday and Sunday between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.

However – One thing that many don’t take into consideration is tracking. Tracking is a key part of this process which many users don’t take advantage of. Too many social media posts are made and then are forgotten about only to be left out there to get a few organic likes. You should always track results using data taken from Facebook’s Page Insights, or other social media measurement tools. You may find that your best posting times differ from the times we’ve shared because of a different audience, need, or service you offer.

Facebook boast a whopping 1.65 billion monthly active users. It is the largest social media site in the world. It has a complex, ever-changing algorithm that can one day be mastered only to have to be relearned the next. There are a few basic factors that the News Feed ranking takes into account. When deciding whether to serve a piece of content to a user, the algorithm considers:

  • Who posted it
  • What type of content it is
  • When it was posted
  • What interactions it has

Do Your Best to Post Quality Content

Facebook’s algorithm really comes down to quality. Sharing quality content is essential to not only being shown in News Feed, but having your content appear higher in users’ feeds.

Best practices in regards to quality:

  • Share high-quality content whenever possible
  • If you’re sharing links to articles or blog posts on your website, ensure that they’re quality content that readers will want to spend time with
  • Aim to be informative (in whatever way that makes sense for your business and your industry)
  • When you share videos, aim to choose ones that will resonate with your audience
  • Don’t reuse content from ads for organic Page posts as these posts will likely receive less organic distribution
  • Don’t be spammy
  • An extension of Facebook’s preference for quality content is its ongoing aversion to spammy content.

Best practices to avoid being spammy:

  • Be particular about what you share and avoid content that doesn’t look reputable (such as content that could turn out to be a viral hoax)
  • Avoid clickbait tactics, such as overly exaggerated headlines or ones that withhold key information
  • Avoid encouraging users to take a particular action when they view a post—such as encouraging lots of clicks
  • Don’t like-bait (publish posts that explicitly ask users to like, comment, or share the post)
  • When looking for content to share, watch out for frequently circulated content (photos or videos that have been uploaded to Facebook over and over again) as that’s considered spammy behavior
  • Avoid spammy links, such as stories that use inaccurate language or formatting to try to trick people into clicking through to a website that only contains ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads
  • Avoid sharing overly promotional posts as posts that solely push people to buy a product, install an app, take part in a promotion or enter sweepstakes without adding any additional context—these posts will likely receive less organic distribution
  • If you have a third party app, ensure that share settings are set up so that users take an explicit action to share, rather than share implicitly as explicitly shared stories are prioritized over implicitly shared ones

General Advice

Post quality content. Avoid being spammy. What else? There are a few other things to pay attention to when using Facebook for your brand.

General best practices for Facebook Pages:

  • Post about timely topics (when it makes sense for your brand to do so)
  • If it makes sense for your brand, give live video a try—when a Page is broadcasting, its video is more likely to appear higher in News Feed
  • When relevant, tag other Pages in your posts because they may then be seen by a new audience (users who follow the tagged Page)
  • Avoid publishing pure text posts—instead focus on sharing rich media such as links, photos, and video
  • Make sure your Page profile is complete (yup, that matters to how Facebook assesses your Page)

One of the best ways to stay on the Facebook algorithm’s good side is to follow best practices offered by the network itself. Facebook’s media hub offers an on-going series of posts on best practices covering topics such as clickbait and live video.