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Social Media Evolution: What Does the Future of Social Marketing Look Like? social marketing, content marketing, content media marketing, social media marketing, marketing strategy, marketing coach, business coach, small business marketing, marketing agency, st louis marketing agency, marketing agency st louis, social media coach, social media consulting, social media consultant, st louis social media, seo, st louis seo

What is the future of social marketing? 2016 predictions

 

If you’re a small business owner or marketer for one organization or an agency, we recommend taking the time to dig into this episode of Social Media Examiner, with Brian Solis. Learn more about the future of content marketing – specific to digital and social networks – including voice search, wearable technology, brand experience, user experience, and his recommendations on where you should spend your time in 2016.

As we discussed in our new year blog, 5 marketing trends to be mindful of in 2016, there are big changes afoot. Count on seeing social media networks continue to demand more content to feed the various algorithms. With content publishing shifting to Facebook, Twitter and other networks, marketers and small businesses will increasingly need to be selective about where they publish the original copies of each post – and the potential impact of their choices.

Promoting his new book, What’s the Future of Business?, Solis recalls in the interview how content marketing has shifted from the early 90’s until now. Even as he drafted an infographic for his new book, the disruption and state of constant change within digital marketing presented a challenge –  one common to those seeking to write evergreen content about digital marketing strategy.

Dig into this interview to get prepared for marketing changes in 2016. If you find the changes to come to be too much to manage, never fear. Reach out to our team for monthly coaching or active marketing support.

2016 marketing predictions from Brian Solis:

Social Media Evolution: What Does the Future of Social Marketing Look Like?

Are you amazed at how much social media has changed over the last few years? Want to discover what’s next? To explore the evolution of social media, I interview Brian Solis. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from SM Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing. In this episode I interview Brian Solis , a principal analyst at the Altimeter Group . He’s written eight books, including Engage and What’s the Future of Business? His newest book is called […]

unparalleled marketing excellence st louis marketing agency social media marketing agency, marketing partnership

Our 5 rules for unparalleled marketing partnership

How we’re serving clients with incredible marketing services in 2016 and beyond…

At Blank Page Consulting, our team of marketing experts work to create fresh, original, impactful marketing that helps support your business growth. Read on for more about our unique approach:

 

We’re in this for the long haul.

At Blank Page, we work with clients for long-term success and strive to become a critical part of their organization. Real business success doesn’t happen overnight – for you or for us. When it comes to marketing, our job is to do more than simply fill a need or to check to-do’s off your list – but to proactively work to ensure the your marketing needs are met with unmatchably excellent work. Our goal is to be a partner that our clients can trust to keep them focused on strategy, executing on a strategic plan, moving forward on deadline with extraordinary creative and marketing strategy.

 

We keep it fresh.

Our team knows that marketing efforts can suffer from stagnation and status quo – so we strive to keep our marketing efforts fresh with regular campaigns and an abundance of fresh ideas. We believe in taking calculated risks (with our clients’ blessing), in trying new things, and in working to always expand the creative comfort zone.

 

We make it personal.

Your success is our success. With monthly phone calls, regular emails and frequent meetings, Blank Page Consulting’s team will strive to become part of your in-house team to create a seamless marketing partnership– always abreast of the latest in your organization in order to inform our content.

 

We are your business advocates.

As your messaging megaphones, we believe that it is critical that we’re aware of what is happening in your industry so that we can always be ready to proactively positioning you in times of change. Additionally, we will shine a light on strategic concerns that come to light when we work with you – helping you stay focused on making choices for your business that will support your continuous growth.

dear entrepreneur to be

Dear Entrepreneur-to-be…

Dear Entrepreneur-to-be,

I’m rooting for you. In fact, I’m kind of your biggest fan. I see your sparkle and I can’t wait to see what you do with this vision that’s driving you.

As you embark on 2016 with visions of business cards dancing in your head, ready to make the leap into the unknown, hoping that your talent and optimism will help you find a solid place to land, I want to share things with you I wish I’d known when I did the same a few years ago. I believe so much in the spirit of those that are willing to strike out on their own to do something different – something better – and I want you to have an easier time of it than I have.

The world won’t reward you for being talented alone.

You have to be willing to do things that make you uncomfortable – like networking and pitching people on your services, occasionally humble-bragging and actively seeking out new business. Yes, you’re talented, but your talent isn’t a spotlight in a loud room, where suddenly people see you and everything else goes dark and quiet in comparison. You’re a gifted person in world of gifted people. You still have to prove your worth and show people why they should want to work with you, listen to you, buy from you. Realize that now, and you’ll avoid tremendous difficulty later.

You will pay people to grow your company for you, and this may make you uncomfortable.

I struggled with this deeply in the first year of my business – essentially hiring people to make money for me. To alleviate my own guilt, I often paid them sums that were unreasonable for the market and gave bonuses, bought lunches, even while my business was still finding solid footing. In year 2, I began working more closely with my accountant who helped me reframe my way of thinking. I was providing them with value beyond their hourly – in the form of software subscriptions, working conditions, exposure to new projects and opportunities, resume-building connections and portfolios. Once this came into focus, my guilt and fears began to subside, and I was able to run my company from a more practical perspective, with my company’s stability being a higher priority.

No one will love your company as much as you do.

I tell my clients this all the time. Your company was born of your ambition to do something different and better. Your company only came into existence because of your sacrifice – financial, personal, or both. You have to be willing to market your own company to your friends and family, and associates, because your authenticity is what will help you stand out as your young company starts to grow. You have to understand that your employees will never be quite as invested in your company’s success or failure as you are – even with a really motivating pay structure.

If you’re going to make the leap in 2016, you have to be all in. Do the things that make you uncomfortable. Be an amazing boss, but manage with your company’s long-term viability in mind – so that you can continue to do something BETTER and DIFFERENT for your clients and customers for the long haul. And, perhaps most importantly, be your company’s greatest advocate. Shout what you’re doing from the rooftops. People are rooting for you to succeed. Go out there and do what you were meant to do – and do it well.

With love from a fellow entrepreneur, Danni CEO, Blank Page Consulting

email encryption email marketing

How can you satisfy the need for email encryption?

quicktips-cmit-solutionsA guest blog by partner Mike Minkler of CMIT Solutions, Clayton

In the early days of email, excited computer users embraced the new technology because of the freedom it entailed. You could say anything you wanted about any topic, at any length, and fire away. But once the world realized that all those messages would live on in perpetuity, the need to protect the security and integrity of this most basic of all online communications became more prevalent.

Today, that need is even more critical. If your company is ever sued, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that electronic communication subpoenaed as evidence be produced within 99 days. And depending on what industry you work in, government regulations might mandate more specific protocols.

In the health care industry, any email containing Protected Health Information (PHI) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) must be protected; in the finance industry, compliance officers are required to scan emails for keywords like “guarantee,” “100%,” and “definitely.” In the real estate industry, new Truth in Lending Act-Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (TILA-RESPA) rules went into effect in October regulating how non-public information (NPI) included on mortgage application disclosure forms can be shared. And in the legal industry, emails must be archived for years.

Managing the IT stresses of such rules and requirements can be onerous for small to medium-sized businesses, which are regularly pressed for time and precious resources. That’s why robust email services are so critical, especially if they cover all the bases like rapid access, discovery, archiving, and recovery.

Learn the characteristics of a comprehensive email solution.

Reach out to Mike Minkler for more information.

Mike Minkler CMIT Solutions of Clayton 12977 N 40 Drive St Louis, MO 63141 Phone: 314.222.1364 Toll Free: 1.800.510.CMIT mminkler@cmitsolutions.com

marketing trends 2016 digital marketing trends

5 marketing trends to be mindful of in 2016

By Danni Eickenhorst

As we look ahead at what’s to come in marketing in 2016, we are seeing that major shifts in digital media are going to shape marketing strategies big and small. Increasingly, businesses of all sizes are finding frustration and failure in their marketing methods. By being aware of these 5 key marketing trends, brands can pivot in their planning – looking ever forward, rather than engaging in another year of reactive marketing.

    1. Continued growth of video content and video ads across all major channels – with a notable strategic increase in Facebook. In fact, some experts are predicting that Facebook will outpace YouTube. In a survey by Demand Metric last fall, an astonishing 74% of businesses reported that video content outperformed other content types in driving conversions. This fact, combined with the incredible reach that Facebook and Twitter now deliver on video content, makes video a MUST for brands in 2016.
    2. Mobile traffic will continue its trend of upward growth and will be at the heart of many of our strategic planning efforts in the New Year. We are seeing mobile outpacing desktop interactions across nearly every medium. With the rise of wearable technology, we’ll be optimizing for new screens and new content experiences.
    3. “Content shock” will continue to impact your marketing strategy – with content marketing struggling to be as effective a medium for many brands. A recent study found that the amount of content being created is far outpacing our desire for it – and our ability to consume it. Brands and small businesses will have to find new ways to stand out from the crowd through higher quality content, advertising, and strategic partnerships.Far and away, we are seeing that longer form content (4,000 or more words) outperforms shorter, punchier content again and again. From a search perspective, this content is richer, and if well written and well-formatted, will lead to longer site visits, which are signals to Google that you are offering strong and useful information.
    4. marketing trends in 2016 marketing trends content creation content production social engagement marketing strategyThe role of the website will continue to change as social media channels encourage publishers to publish on-network. The role of the website will continue to change as well, as digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Google Now serve up answers to questions without sending visitors to your site – some of these digital assistants are answering questions outside of traditional search engines as well, opening a new area of optimization needs for your content. In a recent study of 8,800 brands and their marketing, Trackmaven found that brands were creating 78% more content and realizing 60% less engagement than in previous years. And that brings us to our final prediction…
    5. Your marketing will take more time. During times of plentiful business, and during times of difficulty  alike, companies tend to cut their marketing budgets – a move that will invite future failure. Brands are finding that their audiences are demanding QUALITY of content over quantity – a demand that requires more time for creative and strategic considerations. We have found that customers and contractors that we bid our time for 12-18 months ago now take 20-30% more time to deliver on, due to the increasing competition across nearly ever industry. Because of the highly competitive nature of content marketing, there needs to be more time for the thoughtful and strategic distribution of the content you create – particularly if you are looking for insightful metrics to guide your future marketing efforts. Budget your time and your resources accordingly.

If you are looking for help to develop a marketing strategy in 2016, schedule your consultation with one of our digital marketing experts – or reach out to get a quote for marketing services. Schedule a New Year Strategy session online by clicking here. 


 

Reach out for professional help navigating marketing trends in 2016

social entrepreneur nonprofit marketing

One donation can impact nonprofits & small businesses for YEARS

By Danni Eickenhorst

social entrepreneur nonprofit marketingFor years, I’ve been looking for a sustainable way to serve businesses and nonprofits with my time and talent without negatively impacting my family and growing business. More than that, I wanted a way to help these organizations grow for YEARS to come.

Today, I finally share with you my grand plan to help nonprofit organizations fundraise and achieve their missions more effectively – and how I hope to support growing small business owners as they labor to create something of their very own. I wanted to share my plan with you, appropriately, on Giving Tuesday.

In the last 2 years, Blank Page Consulting has donated over 300 hours of free marketing services to nonprofits and small businesses in the St. Louis region. We’ve done this through consulting, classes, hands-on marketing help, and website/SEO support. In addition to those hours, we’ve discounted more than 500 hours of marketing work for those who could afford to pay for assistance.

As a small business, every hour is precious, and every hour that we give away is a gamble for our own stability and growth, but as a company with a team of people who have a heart for service and for our community, we have all felt compelled to find a way to help more people.

Step 1. Create a marketing education course that makes sense for small businesses & nonprofits

This fall, I took several weeks out of the office (thanks to an amazing team that held down the fort in my absence!) to develop the first of several online marketing courses, “Small Business Marketing Strategies,” a part of Universal Marketing Theory. This class offers small businesses an affordable opportunity to strengthen their strategy, when paying a consultant isn’t feasible. (Click here for details.)

Step 2. Seek out those who need help.

We already knew several organizations we wanted to help – those that came to us asking for support and guidance when we were maxed out on pro bono hours – but we wanted to find a way to connect with MORE people that were seeking support. In early November, we launched our signup for businesses and nonprofits seeking pro-bono marketing support through our small business marketing strategies class. Immediately, businesses started requesting support. (You can too – right HERE)

Step 3. Launch our scholarship program!

Today, we’re sharing our social entrepreneurship initiative – a scholarship program for organizations in need of marketing education support

We developed “Small Business Marketing Strategies,” a short course for small businesses owners that is an affordable and effective option for small business owners that can’t afford professional marketing help. Please consider gifting a class to an entrepreneur you know, or one of the many on our donation request list.

Our course is normally $199.00 for all 6 weeks of classes that will help them develop and execute a BULLETPROOF marketing strategy to grow a sustainable business. We are discounting this by $50.00 and will donate one course to a small business for every $149.00 that we raise.

Please consider donating what you can afford – and even consider a sustaining donation that allows us to award these free classes on a regular basis. With our recipients’ approval, we will publish the names of the organizations that we help, so that you can see where your donation is going.

Please note: Blank Page Consulting is a for-profit entity, and does not have not-for-profit status, therefore, no donations to this effort will be tax deductible. We are a socially-focused small business, hoping to do some good and support other growing businesses. Have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out at info@blankpagestl.com.

 

click-through rate words, words click-thru click-through

Top 6 Most Clickable Words on Social Media

Whether you are working on wording some informative text to go along with a shared link on Facebook or crafting the perfect Tweet in under 140 characters, it helps to know what is going to make people click in order to increase your click through rate. So what is it that entices people to make that subtle but oh-so-important switch from scrolling to clicking? In many cases, one of more of these 6 words or phrases will do the trick.

1. Top X Something. You see what we did there? This article started with Top 6, and here you are, reading it. Chances are, you clicked through to it, which just proves our point. The truth is, the people of the internet love lists, they just do. Reading long articles with only a few breaks between giant paragraphs?Ain’t nobody got time for that.

infographic-click-through-rate2. Infographic – What’s equal to or possibly even better than a list? Infographics! Tweets that include infographics get 832% more retweets than tweets with just images and articles alone. (Source) 832% is a pretty big deal. Bonus, turn your infographic into a hashtag, and you’ll reach an even wider audience.

3. How To – What good is the internet if it can’t teach you things? Think about how many times you have run to the internet for instructions. People love to treat search engines like their all-in-one handyman, advice-giving encyclopedia. So, give the people what they want and teach them how to properly do some stuff. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you actually know what you are talking about. Don’t advertise knowing how to teach a cat how to dance unless you truly know how to do that, because, honestly, that’s a serious situation and you can’t just be playing with people’s emotions.

4. You and Your – Make it about ME, and by me, we mean the reader. By using the words “you” or “your” you put the focus on the reader. Why should I click through? Oh you’re talking to me! It’s specifically and especially valuable and relevant to ME! I love me! I love bettering myself, thanks, super clickable headline!

5. Most – The people of the internet are not interested in average things. No one is clicking through when they see “10 Moderately Successful Female Entrepreneurs.” Now, if that headline said “The 10 Most Successful Female Entrepreneurs” the click through rate will increase significantly. The same goes for non-list posts, such as “The most adorable dog barking at a pumpkin” versus “Ok looking dog barking at a pumpkin.” (Side note: “Dog” is also one of the most clickable words on social media, but unless you’ve got the MOST adorable dog, don’t waste anyone’s time).

6. Video – When people don’t feel like reading, the word “video” calls out to them. Whether you work it into the headline naturally or stick it at the end, internet users tend to gravitate towards awesome video content. Consider something like “Check out this video showing how to teach a cat how to dance!” or “How To Teach a Cat How to Dance (#Video)” Video content calls out to the audience and, if it’s engaging, it’s likely to stay in their memory and get shared again. Keep in mind that only about 20% of internet readers will get past your headline, so you really need to wow them right away if you are hoping to get clicks. Try working in some of these clickable words, but avoid misleading clickbait. While something like “This dog will blow your mind!” might get a lot of clicks, if the content doesn’t properly deliver on that promise, the follower you tricked into clicking is likely to unfollow you. Always remember: clicks are great, but loyal followers are better.

content marketing content people look forward to

3 brands that are creating content people look forward to reading

As I prepared for my webinar and an upcoming class I’m teaching, I was looking for fresh examples of content that people look forward to receiving. As I often do, I reached out to the wise folks I’m connected with on Twitter for their insights and recommendations. Below are 3 brands that are creating some stellar content people can’t wait to digest. See what you can learn and apply in your own content marketing strategy!

Strands of Stolen Genius Weekly Newsletter

Strands of Genius Email Content ExamplesEmily Iles (@emilyiles) says she looks forward to receiving the weekly email newsletter from Genius Steals, a global innovation agency that works with start-ups on concepts and communications.

Why? She says, “They do a list roundup with links, and a short sentence about why it matters — short, simple, and well-curated.”

The takeaway? Formatting your content for easy consumption, and sharing content that matters – well, it matters.

While Genius Steals is largely curating content created by others, they have grown a large, global email list of interested followers, and they boast a 45% open rate on their emails – high for any industry – no doubt due to the quality of content they are producing.

Birchbox

Danielle Hohmeier (@daniellesmyname) says that she gravitates toward content by retail brands that are able to blend visual appeal with great product and equally powerful content. Among her favorites is Birchbox, an e-commerce beauty products brand, based out of Canada – and if you look at their Instagram channel, you can see why. Who wouldn’t want to get lost in posts that evoke a sense of eternal summertime?

The takeaway? Visual appeal and overall brand personality is critically important to engage followers – and to keep them wanting more.

Birchbox Instagram Content

Tom Arcenaux, Shreveport Attorney

Tom Arsenaux legal email newsletter contentBrian Goldstein (@briangoldstein) looks forward to content by a number of great minds including Seth Goden (one of my favorites) – and Shreveport Attorney Tom Arcenaux. Many of his favorite email newsletters, Goldstein points out, are many years in the making – having found their groove with their audience over time. As to why he looks forward to emails from Arcenaux Goldstein says that Tom’s secret is serialized content that may continue from one email send to another – always keeping readers engaged and waiting for that next email send.

If you weren’t living under a rock in 2014, you remember the insane success of the podcast Serial – which achieved more than 2.4 million regular weekly listeners with it’s serialized format – delivering one piece of content at a time, slowly unfolding a real-life murder mystery. This content strategy, when used effectively is incredibly powerful. Word of caution to the wise, however, this is a tact that should be taken sparingly, unless you are sure that your content is always going to be well-received. As we touched on with Genius Steals’ newsletter, sometimes people just want you to get to the point already. A serialized set of content, therefore, may drag on too long. Consider whether the serialized format is right for your information – and then use it when appropriate as a way to engage people with your blogs and emails.

That being said, I would most definitely encourage you to spend some time perusing Tom’s past issues of his email newsletter – which is sent nearly ever day of the week – to see how he carefully crafts his content. These email newsletters are not only useful and engaging, but they are a great example of storytelling through email content.

Are you seeking ways to create more engaging content – to stand out amidst all of the noise on social and digital media? Reach out. We’re based in St. Louis and work with brands all over the world through short-term consultations and long-term marketing partnerships. We’d love to work with you to craft a content strategy that meets your business goals and creates an audience of devoted fans.

WEBINAR-secrets-to-creating-content-that-connects

FREE WEBINAR: Secrets to creating content that connects – Wednesday!

If you’re having trouble standing out on social media, your brand is far from being alone.

According to AgoraPulse, from July 2013 to July 2014, 71% percent of company Facebook pages had a loss in organic reach of at least 30%. For companies that hoped to attract and retain business through social media outreach, this is a cataclysmic shift.

Because of the success of social media in recent years, companies worldwide have jumped onboard with social media and are working to create exceptional content just like you are.

Join me for a FREE webinar this Wednesday at 1 pm CST to learn ways to create stronger content that will help your brand stand out from the crowd.

       >>CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW<<

INFLUENCER FUNDRAISING SOCIAL MEDIA TOOL

Powerful social media fundraising tool

simple graphic salvation army cereal drive fundraising social media

The simple social media tracking tool that helped my team raise $15,000 in just a few days!

By Danni Eickenhorst

A few years ago, I did extensive work with a national nonprofit, The Salvation Army, helping them get their hands around social media as a part of their marketing strategy.

In one instance, we had a particularly successful social media campaign, thanks to some long-term strategy planning that came to bear fruit over the course of one week.

Here’s what happened

One food pantry location in Missouri saw a tenfold increase in need, going from feeding 50 families each month to 600 families per month in a one year period. While experiencing such a significant increase in need, they also suffered an 80% decrease in food commodities, which they depended on from the USDA and other government sources. The pantry reached out to me with an urgent need for nutrient-rich food items.

cerealdrive captain paul ferguson salvation army social media fundraising

Captain Paul Ferguson stands with 2 of 15-16 pallets of cereal raised through social media campaign #CerealDrive.

Here’s how I did it

I worked with their staff to determine the need. We made an ask for cereal, as it packs many nutrients in one simple meal and is rarely donated because of its high cost when compared to canned goods.

I launched a collaborative strategic social media with local influencers that garnered major media attention to fulfill this need, which I executed that same day. Over a 4-day period in March of 2012, the campaign raised more than $15,000 and 16 pallets of cereal for Salvation Army food pantries in St. Charles County.

How you can replicate this success

This list of influencers was something that I built over several months managing their social media and marketing strategy. I took note of various influencers and the topics they were passionate about. When an opportunity for them to assist in this area came about, I reached out to them by direct message on Twitter AND via email. The tool that I used was literally a piece of paper written on in Sharpie, tacked up on my desk. On that paper, I listed influencers under each area we worked in.

For The Salvation Army, it was areas like food insecurity, homelessness, holiday support, youth programs, etc.

My version of this for my company today includes our three areas of service – marketing, business consulting, and accounting.

You can adapt this super simple strategy to your business by identifying your core area of business, then printing off as many copies of the guide as you need to cover them. Subscribe below to get the simple influencer worksheet!

Tack it up on your wall, pull our your sharpie and get to work!

I hope this super simple tool works its magic for your work too!

For more insanely simple, totally doable strategies that you can use to move the need on your marketing, register for Universal Marketing Theory for Small Businesses (and nonprofits) by 11/23! Use code “smartypants” and save $50 on your registration!

>>REGISTER FOR THE CLASS NOW<<

PS – I’m a huge fan of the work of The Salvation Army. I’ve seen their impact up close. Please consider them in your giving over the holidays. 

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