Way back in 2020, you may have believed 2021 was the year everything got back to normal. That is to say, many people thought by simply changing the calendar, everything would magically get better. Nope.
To clarify, we are optimists here at 77. We think 2021 will be a better year. Seriously, we do. However, there are still going to be issues to deal with that we’ve had in 2020, maybe even more so in 2021.
What To Look Forward To
With politicians out there using terms like “new normal,” it’s clear nobody has any plans for this stupid pandemic and state (or federal) mandates to go away anytime soon. Whether you believe government is helping, or you believe government is overreaching, it’s evident that business won’t be business as usual. Disagree? We’d love to hear your argument.
People will still be working (IF they are still working) from home. Business offices and storefronts will still be shut down. Permanent closures will continue to occur. Mandates will still be for certain levels of occupancy. Meetings will still be mostly virtual. Keeping your business open and profitable will still be arduous.
Marketing For 2021
Meanwhile, the last line above is perhaps the most important to you if you are reading this. What can you do?
Firstly, if your business has a website some updates to it can help. If there isn’t a website, get one!
People are searching the Internet daily for what you do. Will they find you? What will they get when they do find your business? Updating the website consistently is key to Google. Having a few interesting, fun, or helpful things added to the website can and will be the difference in them contacting you, or not.
A few of these additions can go a long way. Adding something like games, quizzes, polls, new images, new bios, videos, and more will take that stale website and freshen it up. Updating the content and keywords helps too. Likewise, you can start a blog on the website. Share info and upgrade the site often.
In addition to the website you will need to be social. Statistics are all over the place. However, one thing is certain…social media use is WAY up. Way back in 2020, social media really started to jump up. No matter where you look for solid statistical resources it is plain to see companies are increasing social media marketing due to increased usage. Over 50% of the world now uses social media.
Utilize this. Create brand exposure for your business. Generate leads from it. Drive traffic to your website and do what you can to boost sales.
Make your social presence fun. People and customers in particular want fun, especially now. Same as above, create polls, fun and professional photos/videos, or games. Heck, create some informative (or humorous) statistics (above) of your industry and share away.
Need more help? Other questions on what your business can do? Our FREE marketing consultation is offered to any business looking to get on the right track. https://77designco.com/services-2/
Holidays in 2020. Have you ever thought we’d be in this position? No celebrating with extended family. Close your business. You can only have a certain amount of people to your home. No entry without a mask. Stay home.
As a result of the above state mandates, many will be having trouble celebrating anything this year. What has happened?! Where do we even live? It’s as if we are in an alternate universe. Our lives have changed dramatically since this time last year. Many lives will be impacted forever.
As a result, we despise all of it! It’s no secret that we aren’t fans of business closures. In short, who really is?
Meanwhile, let’s switch gears. This isn’t meant to be a complaint blog. Although we (77 Design Co) do not like the direction any of this has taken all of us we will still celebrate. So, let’s focus our energy towards the positives.
With Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years upon us, good things will follow. So, holidays in 2020 will be different. No doubt. On the other hand how long can any of this continue?
We are natural optimists and believe most, if not all of this, will shake itself out soon. How soon? No idea. However, something has to come to a head soon because there won’t be any small business left if it doesn’t.
2021 brings us a new year and hopefully new beginnings. Let’s look at some of the positives of this year.
1.) We all got to spend more time with family. Hopefully that’s a good thing for you.
2.) Many businesses we know have adapted. Your business HAS TO pivot. Consequently this means marketing your company in different ways and operating in different ways. Unfortunately those that don’t may not make it.
3.) Most importantly, we all got a dose of reality this year. That is to say as bad as it was/is, we will learn from it. Getting punched in the face SUCKS! With roughly 25-30 years experience in martial arts, I know this firsthand.
However, when you get hit, you learn how to avoid it. You learn how to adapt. This is what we are hoping many learn from this. Don’t let your business be vulnerable. Don’t allow your life to be vulnerable. Preparation is key.
In conclusion, go celebrate the holidays. Moreover, enjoy the time off. Spend every chance soaking up the time with friends or family. Likewise, remember to be prepared and diligent. However, remember, nothing lasts forever.
Have a great Christmas, Hanukkah, and a happy New Years!
Thanksgiving 2020 will be unlike any our generation has experienced. With lockdowns and restrictions happening across the country, less people will be out. Many will head to the big stores if they do go shopping. Small business will need your help!
While some will be shut in avoiding family and friends for the holidays, it’s obviously important to think of those still working. Certainly we will be thankful first for the doctors, nurses, first responders and others that selflessly work through a pandemic.
On the other hand, we also need to think about small business owners. These are our friends, neighbors, and families who work independently.
Support Small When Possible
“Small Business Saturday” is coming up in a few days. We all need to consider spending a few extra dollars to support the small stores. When possible, think small instead of supporting large retail chains. On Black Friday, and this shopping weekend, millions will flock to the giant corporations. They will profit and most will still be around when this ends. That is not to say large corporations are bad. They are still necessary to supply jobs and products you may not be able to find elsewhere.
However, there will also be millions of small business owners that will need your help feeding their children, and keeping a roof over their heads. Thanksgiving 2020 will hit these small businesses hard.
Small business owners always have an uphill battle. Rents, insurances, supply costs, payrolls, and the cost of doing business are all difficult to deal with. The hours are grueling (we can attest to this,) there are financially difficult times (we can attest to this too,) and in today’s world it’s even harder for them to survive.
This Thanksgiving, take a moment to be thankful that in America we still have the ability to own our own business. That is, in many cases, the American dream. It’s also a big reason why so many have migrated here from around the world in the past.
Just a quick blog to discuss some things that are happening at double 7’s lately. Yes, we’ve made it through the worst part of the pandemic. Certainly, our hope is that your business is making it happen too! Most importantly though, we hope everyone is safe.
It seems like some local business is slowly starting to come back to a little normalcy. Although, we’re not sure how long it will last. We’ll continue to hope for normalcy again though!
All of this craziness (protests, racism, rioting, police problems, government overreach, and stupid virus stuff) needs to stop. When are we going to come together as a society and simply focus on being unified?
All of us (in the U.S.) live in the greatest country in the world (despite what some may say) and we need to treat each other with respect and dignity. To sum up, that’s all we’ll say about any of that. So, go be good to one another. Period.
Things We Are Working On
Through the mess, 77 Design Co has managed to maintain consistent stability and even picked up a few new projects. Helping business is what we do, and our overall goal is to grow each company that we work with.
Some of the new things that are happening with 77 include:
* A new website for a health insurance agency.
* A new website for a local spa.
* Social media management for an RHVAC company.
* Product and commercial photography for a manufacturer.
* Likewise, possibly a new website for that same manufacturer.
* Video project for a local church organization.
* Print catalog design for another manufacturer.
And a few more projects in the works.
In other words, it’s been kind of busy lately. It excites us to see some business owners forging ahead with their marketing plans! Additionally, it also excites us to see some business closing in on normal operations.
These last six months have been trying for everyone, but there needs to be a point where you say “forget it, move ahead.” Or, your business could be shackled like in the below image.
Need ideas on how to kick start your business? Our FREE marketing consultation is offered to any business looking to get on the right track. https://77designco.com/services-2/
Marketing success stories. How about some optimism? Because racial tensions, increased Covid cases, stupid politics, government mandates, business closures, riots, and everything else in the news is usually bad. So, let’s talk positivity.
In this uncertain and crippled economic climate, some businesses have managed success. Despite the difficulties now your business needs to stay relevant. Marketing does that! On a micro level, a few places locally have seen an uptick in business due to continued marketing. We’ll share a few stories with you this week.
One of the marketing success stories we’ll share is a local brewery. As a result of a social media training program, this local brewery is seeing a surge in engagement. Consequently, this has improved sales.
Customers consistently come in and say, “Hey, we follow you on Facebook.” Likewise, they’ll hear “we love your Facebook videos” or share similar comments. Awesome! We love to hear it!
Brewery: We were never open to retail before. Recently, we opened a pop up beer garden and we went from 0% retail to selling about the same as wholesale. Our business is selling more merchandise too. Social media is keeping us going. For instance, our engagement is now between 800-1200 per post versus the 60-200 we’d get before. That’s a big increase! It’s growing daily too. Likes and shares have increased as well. This varies post to post.
Another success we’ve seen is brand awareness. Most people didn’t know about us before. As a result of our consistent social media posting many people tell us they know all about our beers now. Facebook and Instagram are really helping. We’re more informed and educated about what we are doing now. http://www.sobbrews.com
Food is essential. We all know that. Everyone needs food to survive. A local food service company that we work with has taken the pitfalls of this pandemic and turned it into a way to increase business while also taking better care of their customers. They have utilized their customizable food packages to ensure the safety of their customers simultaneously. How? Offer great food, have it delivered, and never leave home for it.
Food Service Company: Our current success directly correlates with our social media program. Before the pandemic we did our best, but now its more tightened. Our pages are fun AND informative now. Creative photos and videos help tremendously. New likes and shares are common on a daily basis.
Messages come in multiple times daily. It’s sometimes overwhelming how many we get. Existing customers want to order more food. New customers want to learn more about our products.
Facebook and Instagram have been huge. Sales have increased 50-60% over last year. That’s the trend so far, though it may be higher by years end. That has translated into a massive increase in revenue, but we’d rather not state an exact dollar amount. https://proniosfoods.com
We won’t get too deep into this marketing success story, but a few parishes in the local area that we work with have also seen improvements. Pre COVID numbers had increased giving, but more importantly to them, more member engagement.
These churches wanted ways of reaching their parishioners better to pass along the Word of God and they’ve been utilizing social media and user friendly website updates to do that. Email marketing (or as one church official says, “email evangelization”) has helped them reach those who cannot attend masses. It has also kept their parishes up to date on all the happenings. All of these are great ways to spread their message and stay in front of their beloved members.
A week away gave me some perspective last week. As some of you may know, I actually took a vacation to the Myrtle area in South Carolina last week. We usually don’t take a “yearly” vacation like many do, but when we do I tune out for a week…if possible.
Taking a week away from Pennsylvania, and all the craziness that is our state, allowed me to take in life elsewhere. On the trip down and back I noticed a few things that really got me thinking. We’ll get to that soon.
However, I’d like to share a few fun things we did do. Firstly, I fished. I fished like a mad man! That is my favorite all time thing to do at the ocean. Nothing clears my mind more than taking a few hours to battle the elements and the powerful ocean fish. From my perspective, it is a meditative experience like no other. I always come back more clear headed and relaxed, even if the bite is off.
Secondly, we enjoyed crab legs. Another all time favorite of mine. If you visit the Myrtle Beach area and like seafood, try Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant. Visit here https://captaingeorges.com. Highly recommend. The crab legs were fantastic! The rest of the buffet looked awesome too, but admittedly crab is all I ate…and lots of them!
Next, I practiced my Kung Fu. Every single day on the beach or balcony for at least twenty minutes to an hour. The consistent practice helps me stay disciplined, balanced, and focused both mentally and physically. Something I feel very strongly about is staying in shape (as much as I can) and on top of my trainings.
Finally, we relaxed. Man, did my mind need that! We hung out on the beach and balcony most of the week. This included boogie boarding, swimming, digging in the sand, and of course some adult beverages.
The point of all this?
I’ll be making my point on this blog soon, so be sure to read on. However, I’m going to go full on geek first and share a few vacation photos below:
How does any of this relate to a marketing business?
It doesn’t. I just felt like adding some images and my little vacation story to draw your eyes down here…
The real reason I am writing this blog is because, as mentioned above, I noticed a few things during the trip. I did not like what I saw either. It was closed businesses.
It got me thinking.
On the drive both ways, I noticed entirely too many empty business shops. Some looked recently vacated. Some seemed to be out of business long ago. Either way, I noticed these and it made my heart hurt. Owning a small business is a difficult thing. It’s not easy. We know that as well as anyone too.
I’m not sure of the cause of these closures. I’ll admit that first and foremost. What I do know is that small business across our great country has been decimated in the last several months. Mismanagement? Maybe. Low sales? Probably. Did Covid play a hand in some of these closures? By the looks of things, probably, in at least a few.
Even if I don’t like the business, feel that it’s overly expensive, or I am not confident in their service, I certainly don’t wish failure on it. Every small business owner has mouths to feed and regular payments to make like almost everybody else.
So, avoiding small business failure is hard. A lot depends on what you offer, how well, pricing, the market you are in, management of the business, and many other factors. There is one thing that can help. Yep, I’m saying it, marketing.
Despite all the hardships business owners face, marketing is one thing that can help tremendously. Some of the world’s worst businesses in my eyes (worst is subjective though) still do well. Why? They advertise and market like crazy.
You know them. Big corporate places that sometimes make you feel unimportant as a customer. They are all over the television, billboards, in magazines, pop up ads on Facebook etc. I don’t mean to bash corporations, they are just the most noticeable here. I’ll also reiterate that it’s not ALL just some. Each of us know who we’ve dealt with that stink, and who are good.
Your small business.
Competing with the millions or even billions of dollars that go into advertising of larger companies is another difficult hurdle. Smaller businesses may not have that capital. What can you do?
Take it to a local level. Start out small, test the waters on a local level and see how you do. Despite what many marketers say, it doesn’t have to cost a bundle to get the word out. Work with what you’ve got and expand from there. Just stay in front of customers regularly. Consistency is everything.
Below are some things you can do so that consumers can see and hear about your business and what you offer regularly:
Social media. Devise a plan to share interesting stories, photos, and videos to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or more. Social media engagement is way up right now too.
Print ads. Many claim print is dead. We aren’t ready to throw in the towel on that just yet. Depending on the publication, service/product you offer, and a variety other aspects, print could be a huge help.
Digital marketing. Remember when I said above “pop up ads on Facebook?” There is a wide range of digital marketing tactics you can try. Geofencing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) to name a few.
Radio ads. Yes we know, AM/FM isn’t what it used to be. On the other hand, radio can still be effective. You can also advertise on streaming services like Pandora or Spotify, etc. Create a catchy tune or slogan that people will remember long after they shut the radio off.
Direct mail. This goes along with print but goes straight to peoples homes or businesses. You can design an attractive piece with a killer offer that will ultimately lead to more calls, emails, or sales. With direct mail you can also custom select areas and other demographics to get your pieces in the hands of the right customer.
We are big believers in the power of marketing, if done right. Don’t fail your business by not getting its message out concisely, effectively, and consistently. For the love of God, please don’t let me see anymore business storefronts closed like the image below.