Bad Business-Don’t Do It

Bad business, don’t do it! Don’t be that business owner others talk about…negatively.

by Email Marketing Girl.

We’re generally an upbeat, optimistic crew here at double 7’s, but sometimes we see (or unfortunately at times deal with) bad business. Focusing on the negative is NOT what we do. We help businesses get better through positive marketing tactics and reputation.

Rob Hoffman at the Narcisi Winery.
Be positive. Be on time.
Oh, we’re sure you’ve seen it too!

We all know them. We’ve all dealt with them, bad business owners. Maybe they aren’t aware of it. Perhaps, inexperience leads them into making poor business decisions. Likewise, cash flow could be an issue.

There’s an array of situations that this topic could cover. However, we’ll just discuss a few things we have seen from our own marketing experiences. Consequently, we hope this blog will help SOMEONE out to avoid making bad business choices. Further, we also hope this will allow consumers (all of us) to be aware of what to look for.

Follow up! Communication is key!

First one I can think off the top of my head is not having a good lead system. Show up when you say you will. If someone calls you about an inquiry for your services, make sure you call them back! We all understand people are busy but you should reach out within 24 hours. A 24 hour response should be a maximum time frame. At least say, we have received your request. We are gathering some information and will reach out to you shortly. 

Have a client meeting? Don’t show up late. I think that is pretty self explanatory, especially if this client is paying you money for your services. 

77 Design Co business card, keyboard, and flash drive.
Call, email, or text if you are late or have to cancel. Customers appreciate this!


Don’t bite off what you can’t chew. If someone wants a certain service that you don’t feel comfortable with doing, or you do not have the necessary resources for, make sure you are up front with the client. Either you lower your overall price or do not do that service. That is to say, refer them to someone who can. You do not want to put your name on subpar work. 

Don’t overcharge or change pricing without first notifying your customer. Talk to them first about an unforeseen situation/cost on a project. This happened to one of us last year on a home project. Needless to say we were not thrilled with how it was handled. Subsequently, we reviewed this local business negatively on several platforms. They have yet to respond to the review, and did nothing to remedy the situation. Bad business, don’t do it!

There’s that word again, CONSISTENCY!

Make sure your brand is consistent. You need flyers, cards, emails, a website, brochures, etc., all branded with your logo and colors. Consistent brand identifiability is key. If this is something you do not have currently, find a print shop or marketing professional that can help you with this. Branding is huge!

Be social, NOT socially unacceptable!

Above all, behave on your social media channels. That is to say, don’t get involved in political debates, foul language, controversial topics, or bad mouth competition. Definitely don’t be posting drunken photos and videos while you are out. If your personal page can be tied to your business, make sure its also acceptable content. All of the above are things we’ve seen in the past by business owners, and recommend NOT DOING.

For example, post fun, informative, and creative information. Sure, everyone likes to have fun once in a while and this can add personality to you and your business. Most noteworthy, make sure what you share and post is clean and inoffensive.

Reviews

Finally, online reviews. Reputation is everything in business. If you get a bad review on Yelp, or Google (to name a few) don’t ignore it. Respond kindly and accordingly. Explain a little about the situation and what you may have tried to do to right the wrong. DO NOT get mad and respond in anger. Be courteous in your response. Believe us when we say potential customers will see these reviews if they are thinking of using you, and many will appreciate your amiable response to the review.

77 Design Co gray and orange logo

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.

Two business cards on a white background.
Call or email us for help.

Analyze. Create. Achieve.

Great Ways to Propel Your Marketing in 2020

Year-End Marketing ideas. 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.

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.

We Want Your Marketing Problems

We want your marketing problems. Yep, you heard that correctly. Bold…but true.

When Rob and I started this venture together, we identified a host of issues that both of us, individually, have ran across over the years that we have been in business. I will not say we’ve seen it all, but we have definitely seen our fair share of problems in the creative/marketing world. Everything from web designers bailing on their clients never to be heard of again, to improperly designed logos, to incorrect photo files delivered to customers, and a whole lot in between. Too many times creatives take the money, create sub par products then disappear or never correct the problems. This is unprofessional and irritating to the clients that have come to us with these issues, but it also annoys the hell out of us too. It’s a black eye on the industry.

Let me also say that this is not completely across the board. There are amazing graphics, photographers, and web creatives out there that do top notch artwork and understand that they need to give clients the highest quality of work and service. We love meeting these people! If you are reading this and feel like you are a highly creative, responsive, and responsible professional in one of these fields…drop us a line. We’d be excited to chat with you and see how we could work together.

If you are a business owner that has fell into one of these traps…we are sorry. If you spent way too much money on something that didn’t work or didn’t work very well, again, we are sorry.  We are also here to help find the solution.

Is your website outdated or not designed to your liking? Do you only have web sized files that a photographer delivered to you and are unable to use any images for print? Are the photos not very well focused or even eye catching? Is your logo pixelating and distorting when you try to add it to a larger sign, or even on the web? Did the person who made your website make it and then never return calls or emails? Not sure what to do with your business social media pages, or how to operate them to maximum efficiency? Was the cost associated with any of your marketing efforts beyond what you wanted to spend? Need a way to get customers to see what your product or service is REALLY all about? Don’t feel that the marketing company you used in the past completely understood your industry and business?

If you answered yes to any of the above or similar questions give us a call. We’d love to help with a free consultation.

We listen. We offer free advice. We dig deep into your business to learn as much as we can about it. We act quickly. We are not your typical marketing service. We have all the tools and know how to fix your marketing problems!

Analyze. Create. Achieve.

 

Let a Fresh Set of Eyes Take a Look

Crossword puzzles are frustrating. You get your first few words with ease, but soon you cannot see any new words at all. Your eyes have adjusted to the random letters and fail to see obvious words. The solution you ask? A fresh pair of eyes, a professional crossword solver. At 77 Design Company in Murrysville, we are your professional crossword solvers.

Okay, maybe not the greatest analogy, but crossword puzzles are a lot like small businesses; someone who runs the business day to day can easily and understandably miss small mistakes. That may cause his or her business to fall short of expectations. At 77 Design, we offer business consultations to help improve those small, but powerful, pieces of your business. We’ll come in and visualize the business with a fresh set of eyes and offer suggestions for improvement. Increasing awareness of employee activity is also another great example of what a business consultation with 77 Design can do for your company.

One example would be when an employee answers the phone. If you do not put an emphasis on phone training your employees…you may want to start! They are the first impression of your business given to a potential customer. It could happen that unbeknownst to you, or your employee, they may answer your business’s phone 70% of the time with a monotone or less than enthusiastic tone. They may answer the other 30% of the time with a happy and excited voice, depending on the day they are having or even the time of day. You could potentially lose 70% of those possible sales because potential customers talked to a more enthusiastic and excited employee at the business across the street who they liked better. Happy employees=happy clientele. Positivity, enthusiasm, optimism, and helpfulness are all contagious within your organization and that spreads to your customer base.

We can not only help to visually market your business better, but also advise you and your staff on best practices that will improve the quality of your brand, employee morale, and its sales.

If you’re unaware that you’re losing these clients, because that 30% of the time is the only thing you see then, 77 Design Company in Murrysville, PA will spot these issues immediately and find solutions that work for your individual business. We are in the business of helping business!

 

Analyze. Create. Achieve.