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.

 

Long and Short Copy: Predictions for the Future

 

Content – Long and Short Copy: Predictions for the Future

One of the longest standing debates in marketing is over what’s better — long or short copy.

The followers of the short copy gospel say that people don’t like to read, especially in the modern age, so there’s no reason to write long copy. They believe that long sales letters and web pages will get ignored and never be read. Instead, it’s better to use pictures and graphics to get customers’ attention.

The long copy faithful, on the other hand, believe that copy is the secret to any sales success. More copy to them means more sales.

Yes, These are both generalizations, but they summarize succinctly the two different schools of copy length. So who’s right?

David Ogilvy is probably the most famous advertising personality there is. He not only built the agency he founded, Ogilvy & Mather, into one of the biggest and most successful in the world, but he also wrote two popular books on the subject: Confessions of an Advertising Man in 1963 and Ogilvy on Advertising in 1983.

In Confessions, he had the following to say on the subject of long copy:

“There is a universal belief in lay circles that people won’t read long copy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Claude Hopkins once wrote five pages of solid text for Schlitz beer. In a few months, Schlitz moved up from fifth place to first. I once wrote a page of solid text for Good Luck Margarine, with most gratifying results. 

Every advertisement should be a complete sales pitch for your product. It is unrealistic to assume that consumers will read a series of advertisements for the same product. You should shoot the works in every advertisement, on the assumption that it is the only chance you will ever have to sell your product to the reader—now or never. 

Says Dr. Charles Edwards of the Graduate School of Retailing, at New York University, “the more facts you tell, the more you sell. An advertisement’s chance for success invariably increases as the number of pertinent merchandise facts included in the advertisement increases.”

In a later chapter, Ogilvy puts an exclamation point on his argument:

“Long copy sells more than short copy, particularly when you are asking the reader to spend a lot of money. Only amateurs use short copy.”

 Content is moving beyond a 500-word blog post. Consumers and B2B buyers simply want more depth and value than short content can provide. Even if your 500-word post does attract significant traffic, it has an inherently short life span.

Orbitmedia’s yearly blogging survey shows that the most successful bloggers are spending more time creating longer posts. The average length of a typical blog post has risen from 808 in 2014 to 1,142 in 2017.

 

These longer posts are attracting more audience attention. The percentage of bloggers reporting “strong results” goes up steadily with the average word count of their posts:

While short blog posts still can serve a marketing purpose — attracting subscribers, promoting thought leadership — the most successful will re-evaluate short-form content as the basic unit of content marketing. Ungated long-form content is vital to meeting audience expectations.

 Content marketing is long overdue for a radical redesign, and all signs indicate the next iteration is already in progress. What content is, what forms it can take, how we amplify and measure it — these fundamental aspects of the discipline are all up for debate. It’s up to all of us to stay flexible, stay up-to-date, and most importantly, keep listening to what the audience says it needs.

 

8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business

 

This article was contributed by Mark Velarga.

You have an amazing brand, and you want to maximize your customer engagement via Instagram. But how should you go about doing it?

With over 700 million monthly users, Instagram is a veritable gold mine for engagement, helping businesses to connect with their customers and increase sales without having to fork over a fortune for travel and paid advertising. But how?

The task may seem daunting at first, but with the right plan of attack, anyone can get results. If you’re looking to increase your following, engagement and customer base on Instagram, check out the following 8 steps to build a roadmap for Insta-success!

Create an Instagram Business Account

Phone on Desk

Did you know that Instagram’s engagement rate is about 2.26%? That’s over 2% higher than both Twitter and Facebook! Obviously, there’s tremendous potential on the platform that growing businesses would be foolish to ignore.

So where to start? Like any other successful endeavor, it begins with building a solid foundation, and the first step involves creating a business account.

You have two options: either convert an existing personal account or start from scratch. With a business account, you’ll be privy to business features and free analytics through Instagram Insights (more on metrics later).

Here are some helpful tips for creating a business profile:

  • Complete your profile (Don’t leave unfinished!)
  • Make sure it is public
  • Use business name
  • Upload branded profile image
  • Include a compelling bio statement (update frequently!)
  • Provide a link to your website

Consistency and recognizability are key to success. You’ll want to ensure that your brand’s name, image, products, services, etc. are presented with clarity in purpose and focus.

Make sure that your message is clear and consistent. The last thing you want to do is confuse viewers and lose potential customers.

Remember: This is not about you personally.

Focus on an approach that showcases your company and save the selfies for your personal account.

Establish your business goals from the beginning, and your experience will be much smoother!

Take Followers on a Journey

Phone in Hand Bushes

For most product-based companies, the general practice is to turn to generic product content. Don’t do it!

It’s important to add a bit of personality to your Instagram account. When you know your audience, it can help you develop a narrative, style and tone — this is your chance to share your brand story.

Instead of uploading dry or disconnected content, think of it like a scrapbook. By adding interesting photos and videos periodically, you paint an ever-growing picture your followers can connect with and be part of the journey.

This is not limited to images and video. You can also provide dynamic and engaging captions that appeal to your viewers. This will not only enhance their experience but will increase the chances of them becoming loyal customers.

People are also interested in how products are made. To satiate this curiosity, take them behind the scenes. This can be done through factory tour videos, sketches and diagrams, and anything that you think would be interesting to share. Remember to tell a story that’s fun, informative and provides a glimpse into your company’s inner workings.

By sharing everyday moments in a candid (and sometimes quirky) way, your company will appear more approachable to your followers. This is what separates winning businesses from the rest.

Provide Quality Content

Strawberry Pancakes

A poor image or video can be a big turn-off. If your content is not high-res and interesting, don’t upload it! Great content should be the cornerstone of your strategy. (Of course, if you’re going for a more lo-fi aesthetic, incorporate what best serves your vision.)

Quality, for example, can be developed through thoughtful direction of content, editing apps and positioning. Whether service-oriented or product-based, your content should be relevant to your viewers and convey the focus of your business. Also try experimenting with videos and creative captions.

Another good tip is to vary your product content creatively. This will ensure that your followers won’t get bored. Your audience will thank you!

Whatever approach you plan on implementing, make sure it’s consistent and attracts your intended audience. And don’t go for the hard sell. Ultimately, this will lead to followers who embrace your brand and purchase your products.

Inspire, Connect & Follow Back

Woman Playing with Hair

Many Instagram users love to be inspired. And who doesn’t? When viewers connect with your content emotionally, they will keep coming back for more. Leave behind the cut-and-dry and offer your followers images, videos and captions that truly resonate.

Engage with your customers through commenting and liking other pages, especially when you are starting out. It shows you aren’t just trying to get them to follow you. Go that extra mile, and you we’ll be rewarded with a loyal fan!

The focus doesn’t always have to be on products or services. For example, you can showcase employees, company activities and fun events. Creating this type of environment will help cement your bond and gain trust even more.

Another good practice is updating your bio section. A mistake many users make is to put up a boring blurb, add the company link and leave it at that. What you need to do is update it frequently. It provides the only clickable link, so get creative with its use. Think about how you can drive traffic to promotional events, registration, sales, etc.

The value of the Instagram page is typically measured by the number of followers versus those you are following — the more followers, the better. However, it is essential that you also follow back influencers and others who provide value for your business. This could lead to some great opportunities and collaborations in the future.

Build a Following

Chess People

So, the all-important question: How do you get more followers?

The process is not exactly easy, but with patience and creativity, you can create a buzz that will lead to greater click-through rates and amazing sales growth. Put in the work, and it will be well worth the effort!

Here’s a list of things you can do to build a massive following:

Use Hashtags: Makes it easier for people to find and follow you. Use a mixture of company-specific and universally popular hashtags.

Content Marketing; According to PakFactory, a custom packaging company, one way you can enhance your business’s brand is by creating valuable & quality content. Elevate your expertise and become a guest contributor for other related blogs.

Make sure to have a link to your instagram because if that particular content gets noticed and becomes viral, you might be receiving more followers than you imagined.

Get Mentioned: Instagram offers one of the best ways to spotlight collaborators and customers alike. Share your photos with other notable instagram accounts and get them to mention you. You can also give shout-outs through tagging (@tags).

Host Contests: Everyone loves a giveaway, right? Be creative and have fun with how you present your contests. They will come in droves if executed properly.

Offer Exclusivity and Create Anticipation: Keeping viewers interested is important. Upload teasers and offer your loyal followers rewards in the form of exclusive content.

Collaborate: We all can’t do this on our own. Search out for companies or individuals that align with your mission and create a project together that will help each one’s brand.

Explore Instagram Stories

Typewriter on Desk

What’s better than one powerful image? How about a slideshow filled with dynamic content?

Instagram Stories allows you to string together your images and videos to create even more immersive content that your followers can experience at their own pace throughout the day (all content disappears after 24 hours).

Since this has become a prominent feature, more and more businesses have started experimenting with it. Other than its sheer engagement potential, the feature offers several benefits:

  • Share as much as you want (displays in chronological sequence)
  • Offers text, face filters and drawing tools
  • Provides more dynamic value to your followers
  • Higher discoverability through Story Search
  • Showcase a more comprehensive story
  • Stories are displayed at top of follower timelines

Go ahead, get creative and see what you can do with Instagram Stories! Your followers will be more enthusiastic and want more. It’s an addiction that we can all get on board with.

Post on a Regular Basis

Instagram on Phone

You may one day come up with the perfect Instagram post that garners thousands of likes, but if you aren’t posting regularly, it won’t make a difference.

Consistent content is the name of the game. If you want to grab and hold your audience’s attention, you need to employ content scheduling.

Fortunately, there are several tools that can help keep track of your visual campaigns. These include SchedugramAutogrammerLater and Planoly, among others. If you decide to forgo these options and go old school, make sure that you use a method (calendar, notebook, etc.) that keeps everything organized and easy to work with.

Harness the Power of Metrics

Man on Computer

Let’s face it, if you are using Instagram and want to capture as much value as possible, you need to embrace metrics. Relative to other social media platforms, it can seem like there aren’t as many options in this department. But don’t worry. Thankfully, there are several instagram metrics that can help you figure out what’s performing well and what’s not.

Instagram Metrics

Most people would assume that the number of likes would be the most important metric, but once you delve into the data, you’ll find that comments received is a better signifier of overall engagement. Once you get a feel for analytics, you’ll be able to focus on the information that gets you results.

There are some handy (and free) analytics tools to assist you, including Instagram Insights (through Instagram business account), SocialbakersSimply MeasuredUnion Metrics and SquareLovin.

With these tools, you’ll be able to analyze essential data, not only from yourself but from your competition as well, and improve the performance of your business account.

And there you have it!

By establishing these steps from the beginning, you will greatly increase your chances of success and limit the headaches associated with shoddy strategy. As you become more comfortable with the basics, stretch out creatively and experiment a little. Remember to also have fun while your posting. Good luck!

Get your first 10,000 Instagram Followers

Get your first 10,000 Instagram followers, with this step-by-step Instagram marketing course. Learn how to attract hyper-targeted Instagram followers, convert followers to paying customers and expand your brand using Instagram.

Mark Velarga is the Head of Content & Digital Marketing at PakFactory. Mark is also a self-development advocator for young entrepreneurs & aspiring leaders, as well as a tennis coach & enthusiast. You can connect with him on LinkedIn