Marketing, and specifically content marketing, requires a little outside the box thinking. A little creativity can go a long way. Applying some important artistic techniques to your marketing materials and online presence can really make your business stand out.
Here are a few compositional elements that can add an aesthetic look to your marketing products. As a result, you can learn to train a customers’ eye towards what you want them to see.
*Line– lines can be a powerful tool in design and art. If used correctly they can guide a persons eyes towards something. Maybe its an offer or an image. Lines can also be simple or complex in creating borders. However, if they are used incorrectly they can look messy. Use your best judgement.
*Shape-shapes play an important role in logo design. Triangles have been used throughout the history of art. They have a significant role leading a viewer to a focus point. Triangles can be harmonious. For example, all sides connect to a point. This point can be used intentionally or subconsciously.
Circles and ovals create powerful logo designs. They also make for a specific singular observation. All sides spherically connect driving attention inward. Many famous works of art contain circular elements. In addition, circles balance and keep your undivided attention.
*Texture-Why not add a little texture? It helps create depth too. Texture creates a sense of touch. This makes a business card, brochure, or even web page really alluring. Not too much though, because you can draw too much attention to it. Furthermore, you can lose the message or offer you are presenting.
*Pattern-In addition to all of the above, pattern elements can be added. Patterns can be created by using texture, line, and shape. Patterns can also create any of the above.
There is way more that you can do artistically than could fit in this blog. However, hopefully this gives you or your team some ideas for creating new engaging marketing materials!
One of the things new business owners may struggle a little with is marketing. If you are a small business owner of 1 or 2 people, it’s probably not the easiest to self-promote. Self promotion is hard! However, it is a necessity. We want to help. For that reason (and many more) a few months back we have aligned ourselves with SCORE.
SCORE is the largest network of volunteer retired business professionals in the nation. The SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) mentors help individuals and small businesses with free mentoring, workshops, and multiple resources. These individuals volunteer their time to help local small businesses grow and succeed. We are proud to be a part of this fantastic organization.
As a side note, did you know that Spike TV’s John Taffer of Bar Rescue partnered with SCORE?
If you are starting out, or even if you have been in business a few years, SCORE can help. For example, by pairing with a SCORE mentor, your business can gain access to valuable developmental resources and increase revenue. In short, the mentor(s) will be happy to guide you in the right direction.
Our role with SCORE
At 77 Design Co our goal is to help small business. Period. That is to say, we offer free consults and advice whenever possible. Building a brand from scratch takes a lot of consideration. It takes a lot of work, thought, and creativity too. This is one reason we created our full service marketing firm, because we want be of assistance to others. We want them to succeed. Hopefully, they’ll take our marketing advice and build something special.
Our role within SCORE is to serve as marketing consultants. 77 Design Co is still very much an active business, therefore mentoring clients isn’t something we can do for SCORE. However, we help with advising on social media strategies, evaluating new business plans, marketing ideas, and volunteering to present for workshops. This role is something that we take great pride in.
The SCORE workshops that we present are fun, engaging, and informative. We’ve taken into consideration that not everyone who attends may be as familiar with certain marketing aspects as others. Consequently, the presentations are structured to be easily understood by all. We talk about the simple basics. For instance, some of the topics discussed are:
Content/Technical Writing, and much more.
Furthermore, the presentations are meant to be informative and humorous. We like to have fun with them. We like to poke fun of ourselves too. So far, the responses we’ve got have been very positive.
In conclusion, if you own a business in Westmoreland County and interested in learning more about SCORE, or would like to attend a workshop feel free to contact SCORE at (724) 539-7505 or visit https://westmoreland.score.org.
Running a marketing company is a full time, non-stop venture. This week on the blog we interview owner and founder of 77 Design Co, Rob Hoffman. He’ll entertain us with a few personal and professional things about himself and the company.
Where did you grow up? Tell us a little about your childhood.
(Laughs) Well, it all started when I was an orphan in Poland, the year was 1948…All kidding aside, I grew up in Forest Hills, just outside of Pittsburgh. My life was pretty non-typical from what kids do today. For example, I left the house. I spent a lot of time skateboarding and riding a bike. A normal day for me was spending time outside playing and hanging around in the woods.
What is your experience in marketing and design? What got you into marketing?
I started in radio during and after college at Penn State. Consequently, you need a radio name, and mine was Speed Williams. I wanted to be in radio but at the time the only job I could get was sales. As a result, I spent a lot of time involved with newspapers. I worked a lot handling promotions, events, and doing marketing too. It was then that I realized there was way more to marketing a business than just radio ads.
What do you like most about owning 77 Design Co and doing what you do?
Taking the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years to help businesses solve their problems. It helps them get more people through their doors and as a result hopefully they can sell more. I say I’m 100% unemployable at this point because I question too much if I’m working for someone as an employee. Also, one of the best things is the independence I have as an entrepreneur. If I want to take a break and have a cigar, I do. If I want to take a day off, I do. I’m also very aware that it takes a lot of work to succeed. It doesn’t come easily most of the time so days off and breaks are pretty infrequent.
How does 77 Design Co help its clients?
With over 20 years of experience we can help take a business that’s at a stand still, or a start up, and help it become profitable. We’ll help them brand their business better so they are more identifiable to customers. We try our best to put these businesses on the right path to market their products and services better.
What is your role?
(Laughs) Haha, I say I’m head coffee maker and head lighting assistant on commercial photo shoots. Actually, I help to create strategies to figure out what’s best for the customer. Running the day to day business operations is also part of that role.
I’m remarried to Jamie, my awesome loving wife! I have 2 daughters, Ashley (13) and Sara (10) as well as Jamie’s girls, Emileigh and Jenna who are both 10 too.
What is your favorite beer? Bourbon? Scotch?
I don’t know 🤔, not sure I have a favorite but I lean towards craft brew IPA’s. Hmm, bourbon? I guess Makers Mark or High West. There’s 1 scotch for me, Macallan 12.
What are a few things 77 Design Co does that other marketing firms can’t or don’t do?
Numero Uno, the biggest we’ve found is in-house photography and writing. Our ability to create both visual and written content that supports the marketing strategy we’ve developed is key. We’ll create a story that reflects the customer, their personalities, and goals. No copy/paste ideas here. We shy away from using stock design or photos that don’t represent the business or the owners. Almost all of the art we make for marketing is custom made.
Where do you see 77 Design Co in 10 years?
As the #1 marketing agency in Westmoreland County. That is to say, we have lofty goals but we try to implement our plans towards those goals every day. Ideally, we’d like to bring on 8-10 trusted and creative employees to be the premiere marketing resource in Westmoreland County.
Who is your ideal business partner?
(Laughs again) Wow, that’s a loaded question! Obviously, Bobby! Seriously, though, there was a reason we sat down, partnered, and brainstormed this idea together. It was to make marketing better. For instance, we shared the same ideas, vision, and work ethic. It took the better part of 20 years to find that. We don’t argue, disagree (much,) or get pissed at one another. That’s hard to do in business. When we hit a pothole professionally, we keep moving forward.
Any other things about yourself you’d like to add?
Well, (laughing) you could insert a short joke somewhere here. I don’t believe in the separation of work and life. They are one in the same. I work hard to provide for my family and pay bills like everyone and that sometimes means it interferes with family things, but if it needs done it needs done. Therefore, I get up in the morning thinking of work, and go to bed thinking of work stuff.
If you can’t juggle the pitfalls of owning a business, maybe you are a 9-5’er. There isn’t anything wrong with that either. It takes a certain mentality to own and operate any business and try to be successful. You have to be willing to grind it out for results.
Also, my favorite Pink Floyd album…Dark Side of the Moon.
Even marketing professionals hit creative blocks. Everyone does. This weeks blog centers around ‘Choosing Blog Topics!’ 😉
First of all, writing blogs takes time, energy, and creativity. Everyone is bound to hit certain mental blocks from time to time. Writing is certainly no exception. In our weekly conference call last week, it was a point of discussion about what the blog topic would be for the coming week. After a few minutes of deliberation, our topic choice…How to Choose Blog Topics. Perfect!
Choosing Your Topic
Because it is often difficult to choose a topic, we have decided to write some ideas from past blogs that may be helpful WHEN (not IF) you run into the same issue. Something you may be asking yourself. What do you write about?
What to Write About
It doesn’t matter. Really, it doesn’t! Because, as long as it is well written, interesting, and thought out, it can make a big impact on your business. Blogging topics can range from a personal trip or experience to the newest product line in your industry. Whatever you write about just make sure to proofread it several times and make it engaging. Below are a few topics we have written about in the past:
Why Color Matters to Your Brand (an article about how colors affect the perception of your brand.)
Marketing & Gardening-A Comparable Explanation (a blog all about the similarities of marketing and gardening.)
Marketing Tips for Your Business in 2019 (tips for increasing awareness of your brand in 2019.)
A Day off Goes a Long Way (a simple weekend trip to a local winery, which was not business related whatsoever, but interesting.)
Apple Pie Anyone? Happy Thanksgiving from 77 (an apple pie recipe for Thanksgiving from our own Holly Saville.) 😋
As a result, the topics we covered over the last few months were diverse. This is especially true of the last two topics above which were certainly more personal than professional. It didn’t matter. They were topics that got us a lot of reach and interest. It brought some personality to the 77 brand. This is due to keeping topics fresh and not letting things get stale.
A Few More
Other topics you could choose to blog about may include, a new product or service you provide, a great customer review, a new employee, or perhaps something you thought of at your kids baseball game that could help benefit your industry. Find a topic that interests you or your customers. Furthermore, the topics you choose can be a piece of advice or directions on a ‘how to’ similar to this blog.
Topics are limitless. However, it’s a good idea to try and tie them into your business, if you are using a business related website to post to. This will also help the SEO for your website. Remember to proofread and edit where necessary. Be critical of your own writing because it will help you get better at blogging. Your blogs should look professional even if they are just for a hobby or interest of yours.
Now get writing and get blogging! Choosing a topic is not very difficult and it just takes a little imagination.
For advice on marketing or blogging for your business, feel free to contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the world of marketing, color shares an importance as much as any discount you could offer. Why? Because if customers can’t identify with your brand, they won’t even get to the discount part. The use of color plays a tremendous role in branding.
What does this even mean? Certainly you have heard this term before. Brand identifiability is how customers perceive your business. Their instant subconscious reaction. This includes your logo, color use, consistency, and way more. Fonts and design certainly matter too. We are a visual species and will lean towards things we see that resonate with us.
Think of it as making a first impression on a date. Surely, we have all put our best foot forward in the dating game at one point or another. Hair perfect. Designer clothes chosen. Meticulously applied makeup, for the girls. Even well pressed shirts. All of this applies to your brand also. You want that ‘WOW’ impression to attract customers.
Colors portray an instant reaction because they are associated with emotion. We usually don’t even realize it. We have discussed color usage in past blogs however we’ll take it a step further. Here’s a few examples. Red=passion, fire, anger, strength, power, or determination. Green=environment, nature, and freshness. Blue=water, calm, trust, or confidence. And so on. You can easily Google search your own business colors. Consequently, this will give you an idea of how to set up marketing materials.
Now, different color shades give off different psychological responses. Something to keep in mind. You can go right with a little research. You can also go wrong. For example, a metal manufacturer or construction company probably wouldn’t want to use pink. Black, silver, or blue would be a better choice. Therefore, pink would be a better brand color for a makeup company, salon, or flower shop. The colors you choose definitely impact how your brand is felt by others.
Ah, that word again! Consistency is something we preach until we are blue in the face. This word ‘consistent’ pops up several times per week. 😛 Truth be told consistency leads to success. Don’t believe that statement? Ask the most successful business owner you know.
Every marketing material or online platform must be consistent. That includes consistent color usage. There may be an instance here or there that makes sense to use a different color, but not often. Keep the colors you ultimately choose for your brand the same across the board. Utilize the power in your logo/brand colors to make a statement.
Make that statement memorable by also making sure inks, papers, and any print also match your colors. Don’t accept printed materials that are not consistent with your colors. A great printer should easily be able to match your colors. All mailers, business cards, flyers, yard signs, and anything else should all consistently look the same.
Because we are here to help, feel free to contact us anytime for more on color consistency and other branding ideas.
NO? We’ll boldy say now, that you are HURTING YOUR BUSINESS in today’s online marketing environment! To clarify, there is an abundance of business to be had through social media. A huge number of businesses have already found that out.
Yes? Then congratulations! You are competing. More than 50 million small and large businesses currently use Facebook to connect to people and customers. So what can make you stand out versus your competition? Well, we’re here to help guide you in the right direction.
Are we the total end all be all experts?
Nope. Do we have all the answers to every social media question possible? Nope. Is your business going to explode overnight by following our advice in this blog? Nope. Are we continuously studying statistics, analytics, and information out there to get better? Yep! Can advice in this blog help you in the long run? Absolutely! Social media is a long, consistent, and thought out game like baseball. ⚾️
Odds are that your competition is already on Facebook, or some other form of social media. What will make you shine, stand out, get attention, and grow your business? With Facebook alone you have roughly two billion active monthly users at your fingertips. However, the odds of reaching the correct audience are astronomical. How do you reach them? How do you get your business noticed? It’s easy…one of the best ways is videos. Yep, videos! They receive the most engagements of all!
Not only just posting videos, but you need these videos to be a bit thought out.
Let us explain…only about 15% of people actually watch Facebook videos WITH SOUND on. Don’t waste those “views,” make sure to use subtitles or make the video easy to understand without sound. Over 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook every day! Thats right…8 BILLION! Make your videos creative, interesting, and beautifully shot. Show people what you are doing or making and how your business can help. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Photos Too, Please!
Don’t feel comfortable making videos? You may be shooting yourself in the foot but what you can and definitely should be posting is images. To those posts, add emoji’s and tag locations. You will receive around 30% more engagement than those without! It’s so easy, right?! Wow! Just make sure all those cute little emoticons fit your posts content. You may not always need them. 😀😛
Now that you posted your video or images, now what? Don’t just leave and say I did my due diligence for the day. Rather, stay tuned to it because 78% of people who complained on Twitter expected a response within one hour. So be ready to have your business look on point! Respond to messages quickly.
Heck, hire or train someone to do your social media for you! There are around 20,000 people every 20 seconds on Facebook. The average American spends roughly 50 minutes per day on Facebook. There’s about 310 million monthly active users on Twitter, and 48% of brands use Instagram. A large portion of Instagram users even take action after seeing an advertising post. Wow! Pretty crazy stuff!
So in conclusion, it will make for a big investment to really put some effort into social media, consequently it will pay off. It has definitely taken over your typical “billboard sign”! You don’t think so? How many passengers that drive by are actually looking at signs anyhow? Most of them have their face in their phone! No waiting…go get that business!