Is Your Business Experiencing a Branding Crisis?

Creating and refining your brand is one of the most important steps for a new, and even existing, business to take. It helps distinguish your business from your competitors, exemplify who you are as a company, and builds brand loyalty—meaning, people know what to expect.

Unfortunately, some businesses never take the initiative to really define their brand. Others, over time, lose their brand and run the risk of losing their business to “the other guys.”

If you’re unsure if your business is suffering from a brand crisis, answer the following questions to find out:

  1. Does your brand have an appealing logo?
  2. Does your brand use cohesive design and visual elements across all materials? (Tip: Eye-catching marketing materials lead consumers to select your product or service over others)
  3. Does your brand use the same voice and messaging across all materials?
  4. Does your brand have clear goals in mind? (Tip: Strategic messaging effectively tells your customer how to respond)
  5. Does your brand have repeat customers? (Tip: Memorable branding builds brand recognition and repeat business)

If the answer to the majority of these questions is “No” — you may be suffering a bit of a brand crisis, but don’t worry, we can help you through it!

Whether you need a full brand overhaul, or simple refinements to your existing logo or other marketing materials, such as your print publications (brochures, catalogs, direct mail pieces), website, social media, or marketing strategy, Back Forty Creative is here to help!

Contact us today for your free consultation or check out the variety of brands we have helped grow to their greatest potential.

Key Benefits of Working with a Marketing Agency

When people first consider working with a full-service marketing agency, they often question, “How much is that going to cost? However, with a team made up of marketing professionals who have worked both in-house and for agencies, we can assure you that the benefits are too great to let any presumptions of cost stand in the way—especially since you can actually save money!

Keep reading to learn more about the key benefits of working with a marketing agency.

Benefit 1: Save Money
We all know how important marketing is to a business. However, some businesses require more marketing efforts than others. Depending on your needs, working with a marketing agency can actually save you time and money. Since you eliminate the need to pay an individual or a team to handle these responsibilities, you no longer have additional full-time salaries to worry about. Furthermore, the cost of employee benefits, continued learning, and updating software and technology are also eliminated.

Benefit 2: Gain a New Perspective
There is no question that in-house marketing teams know their brand. But sometimes, the individuals on that team are so accustomed to what’s been done in the past, that it’s hard for them to step back and see other existing opportunities. Working with a marketing firm provides a team of creatives who offer fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Don’t forget, agencies work with a variety of clients each and every day. Therefore, they have a wealth of knowledge of what does and doesn’t work for specific clients. 

Benefit 3: Build a Team with Broader Skillsets
As a business owner or an employee of a small business, you often have to do what it takes to get things done. This includes taking on responsibilities that you may not feel 100% comfortable completing—such as branding, design, and digital marketing. By working with a full-service agency, this dilemma is easily solved. Plus, marketing is the greatest potential to grow your business, so it shouldn’t be neglected despite your team’s capabilities.

Benefit 4: Receive Speed and Efficiency
When you work with a marketing agency, you are the client. So, your needs are always a priority, and will always be completed by a team of experts in the most effective manner. Agencies will work hard to not only meet your needs but exceed them.

Have we changed your mind about using a marketing agency? If so, we would love to help your business out! Back Forty Creative has a team of designers, developers, copywriters, illustrators, strategists, social marketing gurus, and everything in between, ready to work with you.

From traditional marketing to digital marketing, we do it all. Begin by browsing our portfolio or contact us today for your free consultation.

Interested in learning more about our strategic branding, print design, marketing, website design and development, and social media services? Follow us on FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram for updates.

Do’s and Don’ts for Businesses: Facebook Edition

Unless you’ve been living on a secluded island without wifi for the past decade, you probably at some point have recognized the impact of social media has had on the world. And even more so, how businesses are using it to their advantage.

In honor of World Social Media Day—June 30—we are sharing our “Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Facebook Business Pages. So, if you hold the responsibility of managing a business page for your company, or perhaps are thinking about setting one up, keep reading!

Do:

  1. Look professional. Include your brand logo and utilize the cover photo area. Fill your page with important information about your company, and make sure there are no spelling errors!
  2. Create content. Create interesting, useful, and relevant content that will engage your followers.
  3. Share content. Share related content by reliable sources who have your same mission, but perhaps offer a different point-of-view.
  4. Actively engage. Interact with your followers by liking and replying to their comments.
  5. Create a calendar. This helps hold accountability, even during busy times!
  6. Post regularly. It’s important to post often and when your audience is online.
  7. Respond to messages. Respond to any outreach in a timely manner. If not, you might lose potential business to the “other guy.”
  8. Include a call-to-action. This includes links to drive website traffic or asking your followers to do something—like complete a review.
  9. Run ads. Paid advertising is an effective way to garner new followers, enhance engagement, drive website traffic or generate leads.
  10. Excel in #hashtags. Use hashtags to increase interaction. This also allows people to easily find you during a search.

Don’t:

  1. Oversell your product or service. Remember to engage your followers and not just speak to them.
  2. Oversaturate the newsfeed. Space your posts out so that people aren’t inclined to unfollow you.
  3. Be unprofessional. Even with unhappy customers, it is important to show the utmost care in your response. Note that your response is viewable to all and can easily be shared.
  4. Forget about the weekends. Weekends are often the easiest time for people to get online, so don’t forget to post or schedule posts ahead of time.
  5. Plagiarize or steal content. Sharing valuable content is fine and highly encouraged, but don’t claim it as your own — give credit where it is due!
  6. Overuse #hashtags. Make sure they are trending and often used. #EnoughSaid
  7. Post just to post. Ensure you are posting relevant, high-quality content which you would want to appear in your feed.
  8. Forget to brand your page. You have a brand for a reason, and brand loyalty will only continue if it’s cohesive through all channels.
  9. Post long and boring updates. Make sure your posts are short and sweet, with a call-to-action.
  10. Don’t forget photos and videos. These posts get higher engagement and often reach more people.

If you’re new to social media, it can be daunting and time-consuming. An effective business page has lots of moving pieces. If your business lacks the resources to manage your business page, Back Forty Creative can help! From content development and curation, business page designs, targeted marketing, blog planning, and writing, and strategy for social channels — we do it all!

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about our social media services today!

Green Tree Woodworks — From Outdoors to Online

For the past few months, the Back Forty Creative team has had the opportunity to work with a new client, Green Tree Woodworks.

Green Tree Woodworks is a leading manufacturer of outdoor, wooden swing sets and playsets. With over 25 years of experience, they pride themselves on their high-quality construction and their wide variety of builds.

To better showcase their quality products and services, Green Tree Woodworks decided to move from outdoors to online with a new website design. The site implements a user-friendly interface, making finding product information quick and easy. It also features a blog to supply their customers with helpful information while boosting their search engine optimization (SEO).

We also created Facebook and Instagram pages to help grow their business online. Each month, we work with them to develop a social media strategy to best engage their online audience. We create customized content and schedule paid Facebook and Instagram promotions to reach new and existing clients across their targeted demographic.

Prior to working on their new website and social media pages, we also updated their logo and brand identity to better showcase who they are as a brand.

Overall, we are happy because our client is happy! Green Tree Woodworks owner, Steve. S. recently shared:

 “I am very happy with the results I have been getting with Back Forty Creative. They have taken my business to a new level. Customers have more ways of getting a hold of us and do not have to look hard to find us. I am also very happy with the service and the people I work with.”

 Is your business in need of a new website? Or perhaps you just want to start out on social media? Either way, Back Forty Creative can help! From strategy to responsive design and development to search engine optimization (SEO) — we do it all!

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about our web and digital services or social media services today!

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Be on Social Media

As people spend more time at home, they are spending more time online. 2020 reports show that 3.8 billion people are using some platform of social media. Therefore, if you’re trying to grow your business, online is the best possible place to be right now since people are relying on it more than ever. In addition to being simple, efficient, and cost-effective, when done correctly, social media marketing can:

  1. Build brand loyalty. By sharing relevant content, you can create a dialogue which speaks to your consumers interests instead of just selling to them.
  2. Get your message out in the quickest way possible. This is extremely effective for new products, services, and special offers.
  3. Increase traffic to your website and provide a new means for your customers to get in contact with you.
  4. Best reach your target audience. Paid ads help target individuals most likely in need of your brand’s products and services.
  5. Decrease marketing costs. Social media is relatively cheap compared to other traditional forms of marketing, and you get to set your advertising budget.

If you’re new to social media, it can be daunting. While some platforms may work great for some businesses, it may not work as wells for others. Whether you’re in need of choosing the right platforms, developing a strategy, or creating ads and content, Back Forty Creative can help!

Contact us today for a free consultation!

Now is not the time to cut back on marketing!

What does the future hold? While this seems to be the million-dollar question, if you are anything like us, you are probably questioning this each and every day. As news and scientific findings quickly develop, and uncertainty continues to linger, it is hard to really gather what life will look like in two days, two weeks, two months and even two years.

One thing we DO know however, is that now is NOT the time to cut back on your marketing efforts.

While this coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything many of us have ever experienced, this isn’t the first time our country has faced financial instability.

According to Forbes, “Often times when a recession happens, businesses, fearful of declining revenue, begin to cut back in various areas, including their ad spending… Nonetheless, there have been a number of studies going back nearly one century that point out the advantages of maintaining or even increasing ad budgets during a weaker economy. Those advertisers that maintained or grew their ad spending increased sales and market share during the recession and afterwards.”

As the country, individual cities, and businesses announce their plans and strategies for reopening, no one is still 100% sure what that will look like, how quickly it will take, or how people will respond.

However, as other businesses and marketers allow fear to affect their marketing efforts — rise above the rest and create some much-needed noise.

Effective marketing strategies during this time:

  • Update your current website to inform your customers about your Coronavirus (COVID-19) safety procedures.
  • Add e-commerce to your website so you can start selling online.
  • Start an eye-catching direct-mail campaign.
  • Launch a social media campaign (such as Facebook) to reach and engage with even more people.
  • Ensure your messaging effectively tells your customers how to respond with a call-to-action.
  • Show empathy and develop a short-term price incentive to match the economic climate, and communicate your exclusive offer via email marketing, direct mail, social media, ad placements, etc.

Many products and services are helpful and still needed during this time, so let’s make sure you are promoting remotely and safely reaching those in need of your expertise.

Whether you would like to discuss any of these services or another approach to strategic marketing, Back Forty Creative can help!

Contact us today for your free consultation.

What Makes a Good Website?

Today, a website is one of the most important forms of communication a business can implement. In fact, nearly two-thirds of small businesses rely on websites to connect with customers.1 However, a bad website is like a cranky salesperson who hasn’t had their caffeine yet.

Would you want to deal with that?

Assuming your answer is no, we agree! In today’s ever-growing online world, it’s not just about having a website, but having a good website (and in our preference, a really, really good website).

But what makes a website good? Great question, because it has an easy answer. A good website achieves its goals. The real art to website development is in how you get from a blank page to a strategically thought-out website designed to realize those goals. Any successful web project is going to go through pretty much the same process, but we like to start off by finding answers to the following questions.

Why do you want a website?

Who is your target audience?

What do you want from that audience?

How much are you willing to invest to get your audience to do the thing you want them to do?

The better answers we can get to these questions, the better the end product will be. From there, designers and developers take that information, run with it, and construct an experience tailored to achieve the identified goals.

How do we do that? It really depends on what the goals are, but usually we’ll keep the following ideas in mind.

User Experience

A good website should be easy to use. In almost every case, you are asking your visitors to do something. It might be to buy a product, visit your store, or engage with your content, but in every case, it’s the job of a high-quality website to make that engagement as easy as possible. Your site should be understandable to the user, even at a glance; this usually falls into place once a clear navigation is developed and calls to actions are placed throughout the site. Your customers won’t spend time hunting around for the things they need. If good user experience is not considered, often times, the user will simply move on to the next site in their search results that can better help them achieve their end goal.

Appealing Design

A good website should be attractive and professional looking. Have you ever judged a book by its cover? Same thing applies here.

A well-considered, tailored design communicates confidence to the user and heightens a brand’s credibility. If you were to put two websites with similar content next to each other, the better-looking site will grab the conversion every time. Even if the products on the less attractive site are of higher quality, the more professional looking site will be more successful simply due to user indifference. They don’t know what makes your product better than the competition—you have to tell them, and in most cases, you don’t have much time to convey this. This is what good design does. It helps make your case to the user about why your product or service is worth your audiences’ time. Often, web design is about projecting clarity. This is who we are, this is what we do, this is why you should care about it.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO must also be considered in well thought-out websites. SEO allows a website owner to understand how consumers are searching and finding information about their own brand and their competitors online. Good websites incorporate SEO practices to help increase visibility, visits, and rankings. Fresh and engaging content also helps with this. Updating your site with featured news, a weekly blog, or connecting social media channels can also help enhance your SEO efforts.

Efficient Development

Last, but definitely not least, a website needs to work correctly. That seems obvious, but you would be surprised how often this gets overlooked. This is the part where attention to detail matters. Does the site load well on mobile, even when you are out in the field? Do all of the buttons work well on your device? Is the information clean, clear and understandable? Every detail is important. Good websites do this well.

No matter what, in the end, everything comes back to the same concept. Good websites achieve their goals.

Are you looking for a good website? We would love to assist you in growing your brand. To help simplify the process, we have a variety of web design and development packages to choose from, but also offer customization if you’re looking for something fantastically unique. So, give us a call today! (This is a call to action — something else all good websites need to have.)

Sources

https://espresso.digital/small-business-website-statistics/

Meet Joseph!

The Back Forty Creative team is excited to introduce you to our newest addition!

Joseph Young is our Senior Graphic Designer and three-time platinum recording artist and producer. Oh wait, did we forget to mention he was once a teacher who helped hundreds of students reach their full creative potential? (We were pretty impressed too!)

He has been in the graphic design business for nearly 20 years and is a native to St. Louis. For those of you wondering where he went to high school,* the answer is Lindbergh.

His impressive portfolio of design work showcases his love for branding, product design and packaging, video editing, and motion graphics.

When he isn’t designing or licensing music for video games, tv commercials and national movies, he is spending quality time with his awesome wife (Lisa) and beautiful daughter (Maven). However, he can also be found around town tasting new restaurants and shopping (and sometimes tasting) at Ikea.

*It’s a St. Louis thing.

Wrapping Up 2019 with a Winning Website!

The Back Forty Design team is very excited to announce that our recent e-commerce website design and development project for our client Albert Lea Seed did ex-SEED-ingly well in two recent awards programs — the 2019 .dotCOMM Awards and the W3 Awards!

Award Winner: Albert Lea Seed Website

Albert Lea Seed launched in 1923 as a family-owned seed store offering field seed and garden seed. Now three generations strong, they offer knowledge and experience in seed and crop production, processing, and cultural practices that benefit any sized farm operation. They also provide organic conventional non-GMO farmers with seed for corn, soybeans, pasture & forage, small grains, and cover crops.

As their product line continually expands in size and scale, Albert Lea Seed came to Back Forty Creative to develop and design a custom e-commerce website where consumers can easily shop their wide range of quality products online.

For consumers who would rather purchase Albert Lea Seed products in person, we included an interactive map where individuals can search for dealers in their area by address, distance, or state with just a click of a button.

Since their product lineup includes a wide-range of products, it was important to create an easy to navigate website that cleanly displayed each product’s set of information and trial data. Since this site also serves as a hub of information for their consumers, further demonstrating Albert Lea Seed’s long lineage of expertise, it was important that this was also considered.

Want to know more? Explore the site yourself! Visit alseed.com.

Interested in learning more about our branding services, packaging and print design, web and digital design, and everything else related to responsible design for sustainable agriculture, food, and lifestyle businesses? Make sure to check back for updates or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Back Forty Creative Receives a Clean Bill of Health and Wellness!

We are happy to announce that Back Forty Creative received two 2019 Graphic Design USA Health and Wellness Awards! This award programs honors outstanding graphic communication encompassing the big picture of health and wellness: traditional medicine and healthcare; holistic and alternative healing; healthy lifestyles and nutrition; and the aging of our society.

And the award goes to…


Award Winner: Earth’s Delights
Project: Branding | Logo Design
We teamed up with Earth’s Delights to develop a fresh design for their company logo. Earth’s Delights is a health food market with the mission to provide healthy, organic, and sustainable options to their fellow health-conscious customers. With this in mind, we created a logo using organic brushstrokes and handwritten typography to emphasize their natural products and sustainable mindfulness. The logo’s color palette draws inspiration from the earth and represents the earth’s soil, vegetation, and the sun’s golden rays. Overall, we are all “delighted” this logo was such a success!

 


Award Winner: Green Pasture’s Poultry Farm
Project: Print & Packaging | Egg Carton Design
We collaborated with Green Pasture’s Poultry Farm on their branding and product packaging, which included their egg carton containers. Although the client’s product boasts healthier benefits when compared to fellow competitors, Green Pasture’s Poultry Farms often saw their competitors achieving greater sales. After analyzing the situation, they attributed their competitor’s success to their well-designed product packaging. Therefore, they called on us to help freshen up their egg carton packaging. It was important for us to create an even more compelling design that would not only look good but showcase the product’s wide variety of benefits. The new egg carton design features bold colors, fun graphics, and farm-fresh fonts contributing to an “egg”-cellent design.

Interested in learning more about our branding services, packaging and print design, website design and development, and everything else related to responsible design for all good businesses? Make sure to check back for updates or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.