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.

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

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.

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.
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.

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 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! 

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, 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.

Client Interview with a Marketing Coordinator

Hi all,

Recently, while on a product photography shoot, we conducted a quick Q&A interview with a recurring customer. Chelsea is a marketing/sales coordinator for a local company we’ve worked with frequently over the last few years. A great company making fantastic one of a kind products. We candidly asked her what she likes about her role and some general marketing questions.

What’s your role in marketing?

Chelsea: “So, I’m the sales and marketing coordinator here. I help coordinate trade shows. I help with photographic shoots, and I also manage a product line with our company. It’s really exciting because we’ve gained some new customers recently. We have a trade show in Pittsburgh and then one in New York in a few weeks too.”

What’s the hardest thing about marketing?

Chelsea: “Umm, so, probably finding out what people will like. Trying to grab their attention. Seeing what gets peoples attention and why they’d want our product. Since we have a new product line, I’m trying to find out what’s going to make them want our products over our competition. Learning about what sets our products apart. There’s other products that are similar, well, more simplified versions, but ours are unique and I have to show that.”

If you had to put a number on it. What percentage about marketing, do you think,  is related to creativity?

Chelsea: “Wow!…Honestly? A LOT! You have to be creative. I would say, wow, 70-80% really.  Even if you are writing a simple email blast you have to have it creative. What’s going to make them NOT want to delete your email? Finding that creative niche, that attention grabbing moment is super important!”

How important are the images, or photography, to your marketing plans?

Chelsea: “Oh my!” Extremely important. So, yes. Crucial! You have to show our products in many ways, even in lifestyle settings. For example, we even found that we had older product photos and once we had new photos taken by you guys, we sold them! I mean we sold many older products that weren’t selling once we had new images of them. They were updated, better focused, and started selling a lot better.”

Image of camera lenses signifying photography.

That’s fantastic!

Chelsea: “Yea! Honestly. We’ve found that really high quality pictures are really really important!”

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about marketing in your time here?

Chelsea: “Wow, I’ve learned a LOT. So, I came right out of college and I had no idea hardly what I was doing. College isn’t real world, it’s all like books, studying, book knowledge, and tests. It was hard at first. For instance, you take the concepts that you learn in school and apply it to your work in the real world. Getting a customers attention, like I first said, is probably the biggest thing.”


So, in conclusion, if your local business has a need for updated photography, design work, or a new website…drop us a line! 77 Design Co is here to help you grow your business and increase sales the only way we know how… through creative visual marketing!

77 Design Co logo

Analyze. Create. Achieve.




A Brief History of Halloween!

Halloween is here! It’s one of our favorite days of the year!
Why do we dress up? What’s trick or treating all about? Why do we carve pumpkins? Have you ever wondered why Halloween started and what traditions continued through the years, changed or have been phased out? Read further to find out more.
Jack O Lantern Gif
So, Halloween technically began as the festival of Samhain. Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” or winter as we know it. The festival takes places October 31 – November 1.  Celts believed that on the night before the new year (November 1), the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred or thin. Scary stuff! Most importantly, they would have big parties or feasts and dress in costumes because they believed it would scare away the ghosts and spirits. Do you see the correlation?
Consequently, we then get to America, where we traditionalize everything and make carving pumpkins and trick or treating super popular.  Meanwhile, let’s talk about trick or treating. So, young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors. Subsequently, it then trickled down to young children dressing up and getting candy from neighbors.
Did you know?  One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.
So, do you carve pumpkins? Do you go the traditional scary route or do something fun and different? Are you the type of person that will hand out candy to little kids or keep the light off?
Speaking of modifying traditions, there are parents that have a basket of candy for kids, and a basket of beer for the parents that go around with them. In conclusion, that is a modern twist on a tradition that we can get down with!
What’s the coolest costumes you have? Send us photos and we’ll share them on social media!

Rob Hoffman and Halloween costume
77 Design Co owner, Rob Hoffman and his Halloween costume.

Analyze. Create. Achieve.

Building a Marketing Base

This blog will feature tips on how to build a marketing base for your business. Even if you haven’t done ANY marketing, here’s a few things to get you started.

Marketing Tiles image with 77 Design Co business card.


First, you need to know who your customer base is. Who are you marketing to? Where? Age? What’s their interests? For example, try to segment your customers based on who you’ve already sold to. Take notes and come up with an average at the very least. Tough to do with limited info, but necessary. 

If you don’t have these numbers, use a simple chart or even tally marks on a pad to get more specific. Use guesstimates if you need to. This will certainly get you a start.


Now take those numbers (even if it’s a small average from 10-20 customers) and determine where to put the marketing dollars. Yes, most importantly, you should have SOME marketing dollars set aside.

Are they on Facebook, Instagram, or mostly LinkedIn? Would billboards or signage in certain locations help? How about a direct mail campaign sent directly to businesses or homeowners? How’d your previous customers find you? Through your website, Google, or another online source?

Consequently, this will narrow down your best approach to get moving. As a result, you’ll learn quicker what works and what doesn’t as much.


So, how are you going to implement your plan of action? This is the most difficult part. It will take time, patience, and some serious creative efforts to get the word out about your company.

If you aren’t very creative savvy, look to enlist those you know and trust that are. Get their thoughts about the look and aesthetics of your signage, social media pages and posts, or marketing materials. In addition, it’s very important that whatever strategy you plan to implement looks not just good, but GREAT! Marketing is all about visuals and attracting the eye to your message.

pen, keyboard, and flash drive image in inverted black and white color.

To clarify, we’ve said it before, an attractive image or design is key here. According to multiple eye tracking studies all over the Internet, the eye moves to an attractive image/design around 60,000-80,000 faster than just text.

Once an established base is determined, and where to market, the pieces or posts need to be interesting and visually appealing. How do you do this? Again, the difficult part. Billions of dollars per year are spent on creative marketing and advertising. There’s a good reason for it. It works!

Take the best quality photographs or video possible. Hire out if needed. Design materials, signage, or supporting charts/tables/infographics to make them interesting. Hire out if needed. In addition, if you hire a solid marketing team, or employee with an extensive creative background, they will (should) be able to convey that message visually.

Stay Level Headed.

Often times there may be a difference of opinion on the creative. Don’t get discouraged. For instance, you may have differences on an image or color. This is normal. However, stay true to your brand. Work together to come to a happy middle ground on how the creative side of things should look and feel, and as a result you’ll start to see the fruits of your labor.

So, in conclusion, by following these steps on a large or small scale you’ll begin to build a solid marketing base that will better your business. However, if you need advice we’re here to help.

77 Design Co gray and orange logo

Analyze. Create. Achieve.