Is My Business Idle or Moving Forward?

Ask yourself honestly, is my business idle or moving forward? Because we (as small business owners) are so busy and buried within our business, we often neglect marketing, brand recognition, and other goals. We are all guilty of this from time to time. Consequently, it’s the nature of entrepreneurship.

Have you taken a look at your goals recently? Are you hitting them or falling short? Or, in other words, do you even have any goals set in the first place yet? To clarify, sometimes we need to lift our heads out of the hole to take a critical look at what we are doing. Make sure you are doing the following to see growth for your company.

raindrops with the 77 design co logo within them. Is my business idle or moving forward?
With all the rain lately, this image seems appropriate.

1. Set some SMART goals.

Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely. Continue to track on these goals constantly. This should encompass all company goals. Another way to look at this is to set sales, marketing, time table, and financial goals, among other SMART goals that you can think of. As a result, your business may run smoother. 


2. What is your growth strategy?

Do you plan on adding employees to expand expertise? Products to expand marketplace presence? Even more important, maybe set your growth plans for 1, 5, or 10 years down the road. So, this can help lay out a good road map. Do your best to make these happen.


3. What about a marketing strategy?

Do you know enough about SEO, paid ads, design, email marketing, etc to put a campaign together? How do customers find you? So, a solid marketing strategy can be a HUGE difference maker in the above. Is the general public aware of your business? Do you often hear from new people that you meet that they have heard of, or know of your brand? Can you handle all of this on your own or internally? If not, outsource your marketing.  


4. Are you active on social media?

Engaging with your customers? A stat taken from Hootsuite says that 90 million small businesses use Facebook. Check out more impressive Facebook stats here.

Some businesses and nonprofits we work with solely utilize social media as a means to boost sales and/or create brand awareness. For instance, they may see enough in return that they don’t have to spend money marketing elsewhere. Because of this they are able to meet their desired goals. Certainly, success will vary from business to business.


5. Are you stuck using old technology or no technology at all in your business?

Finally, technology. In short, we see this quite often. Some business owners are terrified of change. Hey, we get it. Change can be scary.

Certainly, there are some industries that stick to old routines or technologies. Some don’t even have emails or websites! As a result they are unaware of what they may be missing.

New customers can be constantly found all over the Internet. If you aren’t there, they won’t find you. Therefore, don’t be afraid to make a tech change for your business. This can be from your marketing software, to POS, to an automated machine.

In some instances, a business owner may not want to make tech changes. Perhaps they are content with what they make and the size of their business. This is fine. To each their own. In conclusion, if this is you, then you are idle.

Again ask yourself, is my business idle or moving forward? Lastly, if you have questions or need help…we are here for you.

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Call or email us for help.

Analyze. Create. Achieve.  

Importance of Updating Your Website

Our topic this week is the importance of updating your website regularly. What’s the first thing you do before you buy a product or need more information on a company? You check their website. The website is often the first impression of your business. The importance of updating your website can affect many aspects of your business too. Therefore, it needs to be respected at the highest level. 

77 Design Co business card, keyboard, and flash drive.
Keep it simple.

Have you ever been to a company’s website where they don’t have links working? Perhaps it takes you to the wrong page, the pictures aren’t updated, or company information isn’t updated either? Yuck. We don’t want that for you and you shouldn’t want that for yourself. Whether you are doing it on your own, or you have a marketing company doing this for you, here are a few things to make sure you are keeping up to date.  


1. Update the information.

This is probably the most important thing to keep track of. If you have new events you would like people to come to, make sure you are adding them to the site. Hired some awesome new people? Make sure their faces are on there and take off the faces of former employees. If you have new photos of your products, these need to be the center of the website. People are very visual, and they like seeing clean and crisp websites. This also includes a good design that is mobile friendly. 


2. Security.

You do not want your site to get hacked, that is a no no! We won’t go too deep into this, but hackers can use your website as a spam server. This, in the end, will block people from actually viewing your website. There are smarter people than us that can talk to you more about this.  


3. Analytics.

If you have an ecommerce site and you see a huge percentage of people adding to the cart, but nobody going through the checkout, MAYBE something is wrong with your site. This is crucial for your business. Make sure you have a great user experience and continue to make updates. 


4. SEO.

Search Engine Optimization. Optimize the words people are searching in Google, to ultimately find you. This is very important and a necessity for your business. As a result, customers can find you more easily.

 
5. Usability.

Is your website loading slow? That is so painful for the young generations. Certainly, you don’t want to irritate them. So, resize images, update plug ins, or do whatever you need to do to make it quicker. We are a microwave society and need information in just a few seconds. If your website is loading slow, there is a good chance they will just close their browser and move on to a different source of information. Likewise, make sure links are working and sending the user to the right page. For that reason, and many others, user experience is a big deal. Above all keep it simple, easy, or even fun for your customers.

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Call or email us for help.

Analyze. Create. Achieve.

Great Ways to Propel Your Marketing in 2020

77 Design Co gray and orange logo

Looking for great ways to propel the marketing efforts for your business this year? We’ve got you covered. By the way, Happy 2020! 

Bills of money and 77 Design Co business card.

Back when we began this little partnership venture that is 77 Design Co, we had a lot of great ideas on how to help local businesses become more marketable. Though, occasionally, we got a little sidetracked over the last few years. Well, we’ve made it a mission to get back to our roots for 2020. Some of these ideas can really boost your engagement and increase interest in your brand. 

Employee of the Month-Recognition

Do you like your employees? Yea, that’s what we thought. Likewise, others probably do too. Especially their families and friends. Showcase your employees within your marketing strategy. Create a monthly employee program that highlights and recognizes their efforts! 

Marketing is all about displaying what you do, but also a HUGE part of it is showing WHO YOU ARE as a company. What better way than to pull out your best people and brag about them? They will most likely be appreciative, and this can also increase employee morale. Take a photo of them. Hang it up. Write a blog about them (or let them write it.) Do a quick video interview. Post an image and short blurb about them on Instagram and/or Facebook. Heck, put it to LinkedIn too.

Explain to customers why this individual is so important. Show them off!

Employee Blog-Make it Fun

As listed above, write a blog or interview an employee each month. They will undoubtedly open up about things they enjoy, what they like about your company, and their family. Want to attract attention to your business while doing something nice? This is a great way to say thank you. 

If you really want, you can allow them to write a blog about themselves and your company. Therefore, this could be interesting to see how they perceive working for you. They may even be more open about themselves. Authenticity is a great magnet in marketing. People also love to see individuals that they know being recognized for their achievements. 

Social Media Posting-Social Media is Social

Engagement/reach on your FB business page down? As a result, you need to do something that will attract attention. Another great way to propel your marketing in 2020 is definitely through social media. It’s on the rise. Make posts about how awesome your team is! Tag them. Show what they do and how well they do it.

For instance, “Joe” may be your best warehouse worker. He never calls off, shows up on time, and goes above and beyond every day. “Joe” obviously cares about your company and has its best interests at heart. Snap a few nice photographs with “Joe” hard at work. Maybe get one with him in front of the building or on break. Similarly, you can create a short video or interview with “Joe.” Tell a story, and do the best you can to make a video or the images aesthetic. Share this to social media. Do this each month with a new team member or office staff. This will increase engagement and spur interest in WHO your business is, not just what you do.

Pets & Products & Customers

Yep, you read that right. If you have a small staff of employees or are an individual business owner, use a pet as a mascot. Have “Fido” create the content and speak to your customers. For instance, “Fido” can solve problems or offer free advice. Perhaps you can create a persona for your pet “Fido.” Make it fun and informative.

Likewise, you can create a Product/Service or Customer of the Month program and utilize the same tactics as above. However, you may need to use your imagination a little to figure out ways that you can make it interesting. Display creative photos, designs, and videos of products, or even customers that are delighted with your services. Offer a product/service discount each month.

There are countless ways to propel your marketing efforts but hopefully these help get those creative juices flowing. These are all great ways to propel your marketing in 2020.

77 Design Co gray and orange logo

Analyze. Create. Achieve.

Marketing with a Small Budget

Email marketing Girl here. Hola, and Happy New Year! How do you market your business with a small budget?
When you think of small budget, let’s start real small…like free. Therefore, what are some marketing tools that are free? Social media, email marketing, networking, blogging, webinars, ebooks, etc.

Email Marketing Girl with dog Image 2
Email Marketing Girl and pup.

Numero uno. Social media.
If you are a business, you need social media. One of the first things people do when they research are Google and most likely Facebook. Depending on the company and demographic, it could be Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or some others. Be consistent on social media. Engage people on social media. Be proactive instead of just reactive on social media. By proactive, for example, I mean look for the audience you wish to make business with. Likewise, look up hashtags and follow those people who are liking or posting those awesome pictures you wish were your content. (Consequently, learn from those cool profiles).
Email marketing.
There are a bunch of free email marketing tools out there that can do some cool stuff. Most popular from my experience, would be Mailchimp. However, all you have to do is go back to your friend Google and type in free email marketing and do some research on what best fits your needs.

email button on keyboard.
Web mail computer keyboard button for business contact concept. Email envelope icon key in blue color.

Networking.
I know, talking to people can be scary. That is to say, if you find yourself at a free marketing happy hour, talk the talk! Have your elevator pitch ready and go into it with a positive attitude. Even if you don’t get a sale or a client right there, you have planted a seed. Continue to follow up and make a relationship. Certainly, networking can be a powerful way to grow your company.
Blogging.
Like what I am doing now? Yep! Have a landscaping business? Blog about the newest trends you are seeing for the summer. What about some fun tips for your garden? I mean, that sounds interesting to me!
Free downloadable resources.
There is so much free stuff on the internet. If you don’t know much about SEO, download a free ebook about it or register for a one hour webinar on it. Likewise, it’s the same thing with literally anything marketing. Like I’ve said before, just Google.
There are a lot of free marketing things and resources you can get away with to start off your strategy. Have any questions? Reach out!
Analyze. Create. Achieve.
77Design Co logo and business cards.

The Importance of a Professional Email

One thing that always befuddles me is when I see a professional business with a @gmail.com, @comcast.net, or some other NOT “@yourbusiness.com” email address.

Side view of laptop with e-mail interface on blurry background. Email marketing concept.
Emails

Customers Expect More.

Customers expect your business to have a domain name and website. An email address like name@yourbusiness.com oozes professionalism. Professional email’s are important. Much more so than a generic email.

Free email services, such as Gmail and Yahoo, are great for personal use. However, when you use a free email account for business purposes, people start to doubt your professionalism and credibility.
For example, say that you are in the process of planning to build a home. You are meeting with several builders. One builder has a name@businessname.com and the other builder has a tony129_builder@gmail.com. As a result, tony129_builder…probably doesn’t get the job. Maybe he’s less expensive. Maybe he’s a better quality builder. Doesn’t matter.
For many people, that can be a first clue that something is wrong. That is to say, they would start to question the integrity of the builder. We all know trust goes a long way in business.
Why doesn’t this builder have his own domain email address? Does he have a website? Is this business legitimate or am I going to be taken? These are some of the questions that you might start to have. Would you take a business with a Hotmail.com email address seriously?
We mean no disrespect here. Maybe, there’s a reason for this. On the other hand, we’re not sure why.
Consequently, a domain, logo, and business card are the minimum requirements for any business. Even new ones. Yourname@yourdomain.com looks a lot better than yourname@comcast.net or yourname@gmail.com. In conclusion, we’d love to hear from you on this. Prove us wrong!
77Design Co logo and business cards.
Analyze. Create. Achieve.

How to Make Your Email Marketing Stand Out

Hi all,
Email Marketing Girl here. Let’s talk about improving your email marketing plan. 

Email Marketing Girl Image holding a bottle of wine.
Email Marketing Girl

Starting Out

Let’s start out with the first thing you see when you receive an email. The from address, and the subject line. 

Depending on your email service provider, you can update your from address. Would you be more inclined to open up an email from sales@company.com or Dan, who you have worked with in the past? Probably Dan the man. Studies show that using a specific personal name, rather than a general email address or company name, can increase your open rates by as much as 35%! As a result, a much more successful email campaign! 

 
Next
Now moving on to the subject line. You can play around with some A/B testing using first name personalization. That is to say, see what works best for your audience. Henry, we think you will like this weeks sale vs We think you will like this weeks sale. Wonder which one will do better? Through research, we’ve found that using a first name can increase open rates by 20% because it’s personalized.
Also in the subject line, how about emojis?!  😄🙃😜 Emojis are definitely eye catching and likewise have seen better open rates. Are they goofy? Yep. Do they catch the eye? YEP! Similar to using a first name, Experian also found an increase in opens. Compared to text only subject lines, using emojis in email subject lines increased their open rates by 56%. Seems like maybe popping a few in would work better. 🤭
Computer keyboard and shadows covering half of the keyboard.
 
Design, design, design. Nobody wants to read through an email that has small text and terrible color combinations. Depending on your brand, make it easy to read, see and scroll. If your brand color is blue, have some blue in the email. Certainly, it should be mobile friendly too. For example, about 41% of people are opening up emails on their mobile device, and consequently that number is ever increasing.
 
Finally
Finally, Length. Above all, I promise you, that if you have a long email full or words and no photos or cool little designs, it will not get read. Most people only read above the fold and a little bit more… if the content is appealing. So, I wonder how many people are still reading this blog post? If you are, post on our facebook business page (if you have facebook) with a checkmark emoji! Maybe we will pick a winner and give them something fun as a thank you. Continuing… short and sweet, content and pictures do really well in emails. 
 
There are some quick tips to make your email stand out. Believe me, there are plenty other things to take into consideration. However, these would be a strong start to your email campaigns. 
Analyze. Create. Achieve.
77 Design Co Logo Image with white background.
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