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your content strategy is obsolete 2015 2016

Your current content strategy is quickly becoming obsolete.

By Danni Eickenhorst (@STLDanni) Last year, when Facebook announced their endeavors in Facebook Newswire and Journalism, we made a prediction. This prediction was somewhat controversial, but we stood by it, and it is absolutely coming true. We said that websites as we know them would quickly become obsolete and that content publishing on social media platforms would become the norm. We also predicted that these platforms would quickly provide disincentives for people to click anywhere outside of their platform, and that they would begin to give preference to on-platform content only, rather than links to outside sites, and we were right. It is all happening now. Your current content strategy is quickly becoming obsolete.

Why are platforms making this shift?

By keeping your content interactions on-platform, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google are able to track your activity, and to gather data for their strategic planning, and for their advertising revenue. Data is power. Data is money.

What’s happening now?

You may have noticed that for the past 18 months, Google has been providing preview content on search results, often answering any questions you may have right from the search results stream, such that you don’t have to click through to any of the websites that are coming up in search. Orders can be facilitated, phone calls can be made, general questions answered – all without ever clicking through to a website.

LinkedIn rolled out LinkedIn blogs – which are incredibly powerful – especially for B2B businesses and thought leaders in various industry spaces. You may even read this blog here, because as much as I wish it WASN’T happening, I have to share content where it works. (My personal rules = Publish first on my own site ALWAYS.)

This week, iOS 9 for Apple rolled out with the capability of enabling ad-blocking apps. Seems smart, right? Rather benign? Wrong. This changes everything. Every trend we’ve seen in the last 18 months has pointed to a focus on mobile marketing. Our click-thru rate on Facebook ads on mobile versus desktop has been 3 to 1 in favor of mobile. We invest accordingly. When Google rolled out “Mobilegeddon” changes in April, companies everywhere invested in making their sites quicker on mobile.

The new iOS changes will also block the cookies that track your activity online – something that we, as marketers, rely heavily on this day for predictive targeted marketing.

What does this mean?

  • If cookies are blocked, affiliate in-text links and banners will no longer function as they should. This means that people who are making their living from affiliate income will start to see a significant reduction in income – as the individuals they are marketing for will not be able to track the sources of their sales.
  • Mobile marketing campaigns will need to be closely tracked and reconsidered.
  • Rather than relying on cookies, traditional referral codes may be required. “Tell them Bob sent you by entering offer code BOB at checkout.”
  • Everything about SEO is about to change. Watch closely for more from our team.
  • Some predict that content sites, which will ultimately see a precipitous drop in traffic and income as content moves onto these platforms. Some predict that pay-gates (similar to what many newspapers are working to implement online – and often failing to implement) are the future. We’d guess that they are not.

What do we do now?

Own your own content. We strongly believe in building your business on your own real estate. So, for now, always publish on your own site first. You can always share content by republishing to LinkedIn blogs and other sources AFTER you’ve established your site as the original author source.

Give a preference for home-court advantage. Continue to drive traffic to your site whenever possible to keep the interactions and data yours – for as long as you can. Take advantage of in-text links when publishing on outside platforms. Link people back to your site whenever possible.

Watch your campaigns closely. Especially those on mobile. Be ready to pivot.

Diversify your income streams. If your business has a significant portion of income comes from affiliate or ad income – reevaluate your business model. Find other options. It’s the only prudent thing to do in a time of sweeping change.

Subscribe for the latest. We are closely monitoring the changes and their impact on marketing for the sake of our clients. Watch our blog closely for more. Sign up for our email newsletter for breaking news and updates.

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LOOKING FOR MORE ON THESE CHANGES?

Listen to this incredibly insightful episode of “Note to Self,” for the true potential impact of these changes.

 

SEO st louis services

5 easy website fixes to improve your search engine presence

By: Danni Eickenhorst

SEO St Louis SEO Services St LouisSince I built my career early on with storytelling and social media strategy, people are often shocked to hear that I’ve spent the bulk of the last two years completely immersed in data and search engine optimization (SEO) work.

While still continuing content and marketing strategy work, it became clear to me that SEO should be a foundational consideration for the marketing campaigns we were building – so for the last two years, I’ve been studying from industry professionals, obtaining Google certifications and doing intense data and SEO work.

Throughout my work, there are a few key changes I’ve found have had an incredible impact fairly quickly for nearly every project, many of which you can implement yourself on your company’s website. Below, you’ll find three simple fixes you can make on your own prior to calling in the help of a professional SEO.

1. HTTPS encryption: No longer just for e-commerce websites, Google is now making a push for HTTPS on all sites – even factoring HTTPS domains into their ranking algorithm. This has been a positive factor in recent months, even though it appears to be a lightly weighted factor in their algorithm, but industry experts predict this to continue to grow in importance. In fact, Google’s Gary Illyes has said multiple times (and again last week) that a company’s HTTPS signals may serve as a tiebreaker when the quality signals for two search results are otherwise equal.

2. Testing your robots.txt file: I’m often surprised at the number of clients that come through our door asking for SEO help who don’t have some very basic search tools enabled by the developers that created their websites. This should be a first-checked item and it should be checked periodically through your Google Search Console. Ensure it is set to allow search engines to crawl your site.

3. Test site speed & consider premium hosting: Test your website speed with a free tool such as this one by Pingdom. Follow recommendations to reduce on-site code for smoother loading. We have seen that premium hosting packages with some hosts increase load speed dramatically – especially when moving from shared hosting to redundant servers with more bandwidth.

4. Review your Google Search Console for errors. Redirect old URLs using a 301 plugin, or by implementing simple redirect code in your HTACCESS file (only make changes in your HTACCESS file if you’re confident in your knowledge of this file as it can temporarily “break” your site if coded wrong).

5. NoIndex or Remove and Redirect pages that are out of date and not receiving traffic. Pages and images that have their own permalinks, but which receive little traffic or which give off signs of little perceived value can water down the value of your domain. Review your traffic by page within Google Analytics. Be certain to redirect as appropriate if the page is linked anywhere and may receive traffic.

Looking for professional SEO services? Let’s talk. Reach out to Blank Page Consulting for pricing and information.

 

The view from here: Building a career on Twitter

social media consultant st louis

This week, I reached a milestone in the Twitterverse, achieving 10,000 followers. Had you asked me just a handful of years ago if I would’ve anticipated reaching that particular milestone, the answer would’ve been a flat “no.” As a reluctant but gifted writer (by genetic predisposition), written expression has never been a challenge for me, but the idea of self-promotion always has.

Even as a leader and early adopter on the forefront of social media and marketing, I waited as long as I could to focus on my own social reach. I was working to build the reach of brands long before I gave in to the idea of building my own.

It seems like every time that I lead a social media class for entrepreneurs, someone inevitably says something along the lines of “No one cares what I had for breakfast.” I felt the same way.

However, if there was one piece of advice that I could give to new marketers coming out of school, and which I intend to fully ingrain in my students at UMSL, it would be that you should build your own network first, whenever possible – and that it’s never too late to start. Having an engaged audience – and BEING an engaged audience member yourself – will always make you a better marketer.

When social media doesn’t work for a brand or an individual, I see a lot of frustration and, sometimes even hostility from business owners, who put the onus of their failures on changing technology. When I see this, I always ask them the same thing, “Will anyone else ever care more about your business than you?”

The answer, of course, is a resounding “no.”

My follow-up question is “How will you make anyone care at all, if they don’t know how much you care?”

To that end, I would say the same to marketers. Ideally, you should be passionate about the projects you’re taking on, and those that you’re lending your talents to. If you are passionate about those projects, and they align with your personal values, then the occasional share on your social network, would be a boon to your efforts. That being said, I would never recommend becoming a human billboard for any brand willing to pay. You have to exercise prudence, and use sparingly.

Of course, social media is not the only way you can share your passion for your business, but it certainly is becoming the most common way outside of face-to-face communication.

So, as I look back on my personal journey on social media, I see that the more engaged I became, the more my impressions and reach grew – the stronger my personal brand became, and the more things I was able to do for myself and for those I wanted to help. Not too unexpected, right? I preach that to my clients often about their brands, but I wanted to share a snapshot so that you can see the reach that is possible if you grow a targeted base of followers.

Twitter Analytics

st-louis-social-media-consultant-danni-eickenhorstThe people I’ve connected with through Twitter in particular are like no others. They’re intelligent, motivated, engaged and they want to make a difference. You can’t go wrong by connecting with these folks. They’ve had an incredible impact on my life both personally and professionally.

I would say to marketers and managers and business owners alike that you should lead by example. Don’t make noise just to make noise. Share information when it is worth sharing, give of yourself and your knowledge, and be willing to stand behind the products, projects and brands that you are helping to grow.

You don’t have to live your life as loudly as I do, but if you speak up, I promise, great things will happen. Just find your own voice.

Below are a few of my favorite events and projects that are a direct result of my involvement with social media. My love and thanks to everyone that has shaped my professional and personal experience through these and so many others.

danni-eickenhorst-salvation-army

As the Public Information Officer (PIO) for The Salvation Army following the tornado in Joplin, I was able to help the nonprofit learn how to utilize social media to coordinate national media, to stimulate donations and support, and to coordinate on-the-ground relief to individuals in need at a time when many other communications channels were overloaded or failing.

At #TweetTheMostGood, we packed the rooftop of the Moonrise Hotel in support of the Salvation Army, and provided busy professionals with ways to give back. In addition to money and food donations achieved, the Salvation Army's name and mission trended on Twitter reaching more than 230,000 people through the social activity generated by the 125 or so attending this event.

At #TweetTheMostGood, we packed the rooftop of the Moonrise Hotel in support of the Salvation Army, and provided busy professionals with ways to give back. In addition to money and food donations achieved, the Salvation Army’s name and mission trended on Twitter reaching more than 230,000 people through the social activity generated by the 125 or so attending this event.

At #TweetTheMostGood, we packed the rooftop of the Moonrise Hotel in support of the Salvation Army, and provided busy professionals with ways to give back. In addition to money and food donations achieved, the Salvation Army's name and mission trended on Twitter reaching more than 230,000 people through the social activity generated by the 125 or so attending this event.

At #TweetTheMostGood, we packed the rooftop of the Moonrise Hotel in support of the Salvation Army, and provided busy professionals with ways to give back. In addition to money and food donations achieved, the Salvation Army’s name and mission trended on Twitter reaching more than 230,000 people through the social activity generated by the 125 or so attending this event.

In November 2014, 20 hours of my time were donated to help I Love Ferguson, a volunteer-led organization working to help the battered community recover. Through social and traditional media efforts, we were able to achieve national media coverage, to raise more than $40,000.00 in one week and to donate more than $100,000.00 to recovering businesses in the community. It was truly an honor to work with this great group of engaged citizens.

In November 2014, 20 hours of my time were donated to help I Love Ferguson, a volunteer-led organization working to help the battered community recover. Through social and traditional media efforts, we were able to achieve national media coverage, to raise more than $40,000.00 in one week and to donate more than $100,000.00 to recovering businesses in the community. It was truly an honor to work with this great group of engaged citizens.

In January 2014, I received an award from Governor Nixon for my contributions to the social media strategy for 100 Missouri Miles - an online initiative to get Missourians to get explore the great outdoors in their own state. More than 1,000,000 miles were logged through #100MoMiles and the online platform to support it in 2013.

In January 2014, I received an award from Governor Nixon for my contributions to the social media strategy for 100 Missouri Miles – an online initiative to get Missourians to get explore the great outdoors in their own state. More than 1,000,000 miles were logged through #100MoMiles and the online platform to support it in 2013.

stlsocialgood

Social Media Club’s #STLSocialGood Conference provided marketing professionals – particularly those interested in bolstering causes for nonprofits or other organizations – to get hands-on training in how to use social media for their benefit. The half-day conference included a number of presenters and panels, and boasted more than 200 attendees at the Danforth Center.

Through partnerships with local community leaders and businesses such as Strange Donuts, we were able to crowdfund $15,000.00 to help Steve Ewing expand his restaurant chain Steve's Hot Dogs to a second location in Tower Grove.

Through partnerships with local community leaders and businesses such as Strange Donuts, we were able to crowdfund $15,000.00 to help Steve Ewing expand his restaurant chain Steve’s Hot Dogs to a second location in Tower Grove.

Live broadcasting of CityArchRiver groundbreaking event, which trended on Twitter, allowing the public to be a part of the historic event, regardless of whether they could attend. Many of the participants and vendors were sourced through social media interactions as well.

Live broadcasting of CityArchRiver groundbreaking event, which trended on Twitter, allowing the public to be a part of the historic event, regardless of whether they could attend. Many of the participants and vendors were sourced through social media interactions as well.

In 2013, we launched the #CarFreeSTL challenge where blogger (and friend) Jess Leitch ditched her car for 30 days and shared her experience in order to highlight the connectivity available in the St. Louis region through trails, bike paths and Metro.

In 2013, we launched the #CarFreeSTL challenge where blogger (and friend) Jess Leitch ditched her car for 30 days and shared her experience in order to highlight the connectivity available in the St. Louis region through trails, bike paths and Metro.

In the summer of 2014, I helped Centerco Office Suites launch a coworking and community space, which has helped the Creve Coeur office build a strong community of entrepreneurs - which, at times, boasts a waiting list to join!

In the summer of 2014, I helped Centerco Office Suites launch a coworking and community space, which has helped the Creve Coeur office build a strong community of entrepreneurs – which, at times, boasts a waiting list to join!

Following the death of Robin Williams, a small group of us pulled together a social media-promoted movie marathon and awareness-raising event that helped shed light on mental illness. We raised funds for Mental Health St. Louis, and were supported by the always-incredible folks at Luna Lounge, who graciously hosted our group for the event.

Following the death of Robin Williams, a small group of us pulled together a social media-promoted movie marathon and awareness-raising event that helped shed light on mental illness. We raised funds for Mental Health St. Louis, and were supported by the always-incredible folks at Luna Lounge, who graciously hosted our group for the event.

 

 

Blank Page Turns 2!

BLANK PAGE BIRTHDAY PARTY 2On November 1, Blank Page Consulting will turn 2 and we had so much fun at last year’s party that we’ve decided to do it again!

Thank you to everyone for being a part of another great year. We’re so grateful to do what we do every day. We hope you can make it to our 2nd Birthday party on November 13th at the always awesome Luna Lounge!

Please make sure you RSVP as space is limited.

RSVP at bit.ly/blankpageturns2.

The incomparable Steve Ewing takes the stage at 7. Karaoke starts at 9.

We’ll have special “Lucky” Friday the 13th drink specials from Luna Lounge and our friend Jayson will be cooking up some amazing bites for you to sample as well. Get there early while it’s hot!

Hope to see you there!

the book professor book marketing st louis

St. Louis publishing expert to launch program for aspiring nonfiction authors October 12

New program will produce finished manuscript in less than 1 year

We’re excited to share this news on behalf of our client – The Book Professor. We work with independent authors to assist with book marketing and are excited to see this type of writer support come to market, ensuring the highest quality product going to print. Read on and connect with Nancy for more!

— Danni


 

the book professor book marketing st louisNancy Baumann Erickson, a St. Louis-based international book marketer, executive book coach, and international speaker known as The Book Professor, makes her mark by helping aspiring authors write high-impact nonfiction books that will save lives, change lives, or transform society. Titles credited to her name include A Life in Parts, for which she received back-cover endorsements from Sir Paul McCartney and Cindy Crawford. Her clients include motivational speakers, business leaders, civil rights proponents, public figures, and everyday people.

The Book Professor will be launching an online course this October. “Get My Book Out!” will lead clients through the entire writing and publishing process, from initial concept, to a draft manuscript, to a finished manuscript, in under one year. The course contains three modules, which participants can work through at their own pace. Each module contains 16 lessons. When participants complete one lesson per week, they will finish their manuscript in well under 1 year.

The class is designed for everyone from busy executives who want establish themselves as an expert in their field and build their credibility, to everyday people with inspirational stories that will benefit others. Nancy’s program gives them a concrete step-by-step process that moves them from their initial concept to producing a high-impact nonfiction book.

While some writing coaches suggest that you can write your book in 90 days or even one month, The Book Professor program is designed to construct a quality product over time. The end result is a book that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any book on the market.

“I’m thrilled to bring this class to a larger audience. I believe the answers to so many of the world’s problems are locked inside of everyday people. My role is to help them bring their solutions and stories forward and to help them take their message to the world,” said Erickson.

The class will open for registration to the public on October 12, 2015, but Erickson has made a sign-up page available for interested individuals at www.thebookprofessor.com/WaitingList. Those who register for the VIP Waiting List will be granted limited early access on a first come, first served basis.

For a preview of the course, Erickson will be hosting a free webinar September 29, 2015 at 2:00 PM. Participants in the event, “Write Your Nonfiction Book: Save Time, Energy, and Money” will get a sneak peek at the program and will have an opportunity for early enrollment. Register at bit.ly/bookprof by September 28 to participate.

 

About The Book Professor:

Nancy Baumann Erickson is a frequent speaker at industry conventions and author conferences about her passion to change the world, one reader at a time. Baumann is the owner of Stonebrook Publishing, a small press she founded in 2009, and she is the creator and owner of Bookarma (pronounced book-karma), an international book marketing platform where authors help authors market their books globally through shared social networks.

Baumann has presented her innovative ideas that are changing the face of publishing at both

BEA and the Frankfurt Book Fair, where she was a featured speaker in October 2014.

Learn more at:

TheBookProfessor.com

Bookarma.net

 

On-Page Content is key for SEO

Business owners are constantly looking for the most effective ways to market and promote their business and without a degree or background in digital marketing, this task is becoming much harder for many. The usual methods that have worked in the past – phone books, newspapers, radio and television – are no longer as effective as they once were. Consumers now have a wider range of choices in the media they consume, and they have added podcasts, online articles, social media streams, and citizen journalism in the mix. Even traditional “word of mouth” marketing has gone digital – with reviews being curated on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, and Facebook.

While traditional marketing methods still show some success, even if limited, they are also highly untargeted – meaning that business owners that choose those means to market are casting a wide net and hoping for the best. But, when paying for advertising it is best to look for the most targeted advertising possible for the least amount of money. And, one of the most targeted methods currently available is search engine optimization (SEO).

On Page Content for SEO

While there are certainly many factors that contribute to the success of your site in search rankings, one of the most critical content areas to evaluate on your site is your on-page content. Search engines read your on-page content and file it away for future searches, making a determination about your site’s quality and content based on a variety of signals, including:

  • Use of keywords and supporting words on a theme
  • Names of images
  • Use of alt tags
  • The content of headings and subheadings
  • The length, quality, and detail of the content

 

Then whenever someone searches for a term they will go through what they have read and decide which site best fits for what the searcher needs. The initial content helps the search engine spider figure out a theme of the site or page. So, if the spider determines a certain page on your site mainly deals with LED lightbulbs, it will remember this for future searchers seeking out information on LED lightbulbs, serving up the information it believes to be most relevant to them. The most relevant site will be served at the top in the almighty #1 ranked spot for that term.

Focused content for SEO

When creating content for a single page on your site, it is best to build each page around individual terms or focuses you hope to be known for in search. For example, if you own a store with a variety of products, you would benefit from creating separate pages for each department, and, ultimately, for each product line. Each page should be focused on one key search area and it’s key phrases.

How to use keywords & search phrases

While you will want to insert keywords into your writing to some degree, it is best to focus on quality content first. Overuse or unnatural use of search phrases in your writing may cause a penalty from search engines, which would be counterproductive to what you’re work for.

 

A good rule of thumb is to utilize your phrase and it’s synonyms throughout naturally – but no more than 5 times per 500 words. Beyond your body of content, you’ll want your keyword used in the following places:

  • Title
  • Subheadings
  • Image Titles
  • Image Alt Text (along with synonyms of your keyword)
  • Meta description
  • Meta tags (if any)
  • Category title (if article)

Search engine optimization takes strategy, consistent work, and loads of patience, but the benefits are incredible. If you’re looking for someone to take this on for you, let’s talk. 314-300-6675 or info@blankpagestl.com.

 

Mobile marketing works: Is it right for you?

When considering how and where to focus your marketing efforts, the obvious choice for your time and money is a channel that allows you to reach your target market right where they are. For this reasons, mobile marketing provides superior value and access – allowing you to reach your customers anytime anywhere. No other form of marketing can claim such access – TV, radio, billboards, signage, print, and other traditional forms of marketing rely on your customers being in a certain place or consuming a specific type of media. With mobile optimized advertising or text message marketing, thousands of customers can be reached and persuaded to purchase your product or invest your services – right where they are.

Restaurants and night clubs are increasingly utilizing text marketing – sending specials and messages to their customer base every few days, just before mealtime. This form of marketing provides a time-sensitive incentive for customers to act, and inevitably results in increased sales very reliably. Mobile text marketing puts businesses in control – allowing them to send out specials and coupons on a slow business day, allowing them to see an immediate influx in business.

Email addresses and cellphone numbers are a currency unto themselves.

So how does one create a text marketing list?

You can purchase a list from a data company online. These lists are going to be lower quality – but the more you purchase, the more likely SOME will connect – the law of average. But, you have to consider the impact of introducing your brand to a list of consumers that didn’t opt in to your messages. The blowback can be negative public opinion, negative customer experience.

The second way to create a list of cell numbers for text marketing is to capture the cell numbers of your customers. This may be done:

  • In store in exchange for a discount on their purchase ($1 off if you text XXX to XXXX)
  • By curating a list of current clients and customers from your CRM
  • Online in exchange for a promise of coupon or discount

Some feel that mobile marketing is the future of direct marketing. We believe this is one useful tool in an arsenal of tools – one that certainly has its advantages – among them quick, direct access. Certainly, this form of marketing gives you instant access to your customers when you need to contact them without depending on happenstance or luck. Mobile marketing puts the power in the business owners hands where he can market based on his or her immediately needs.

Reach out to Blank Page Consulting to put mobile marketing tools to work for your business.

[contact-form to=’info@blankpagestl.com’ subject=’Mobile Marketing Inquiry from Website’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Find The Best Web Design Option for Your Business

Blank Page Marketing offers business solutions that cater to the specific needs of clients across the board. Our specialized services even extend to website design! We know that not every business can afford (or has time to maintain) a custom solution, so we often build sites that are easy for our clients to update. Utilizing platforms such as Wix or Squarespace make managing your site a breeze and allow you to focus on your business.

Wix and Squarespace are two great options geared toward different technological types. If the goal of your online presence is to set it and forget it, Wix offers ready-made, turnkey sites that require minimal maintenance like Painting for Peace in Ferguson, a site promoting a children’s book created in response to Ferguson. All profits of the book benefit North County area youth and art programs as well as local businesses. Ferguson

On the other hand, Squarespace is better suited for businesses interested in a more hands-on online approach like a recent site we created, Hackmann Lawn & Landscape. Which website building platform is best for you? We compared the strengths and weaknesses of each web design option to help.

Templates and Customization

Choosing a template that is appropriate and effective for your business can be a daunting task. Plus, you want to ensure that the template can be modified easily to respond to the changing needs of your business.

Wix offers more than 500 templates across various industries, which are subdivided into categories to simplify your search. Templates are not mobile responsive, but a user-friendly mobile editor has drag-and-drop tools for fine tuning the mobile view. Although switching templates is not possible without rebuilding your site, many modification tools are available to adjust the components of each template.

 

Wix Templates

Squarespace offers 32 templates organized into five categories. While the amount of options is less than that of Wix, the focused designs available streamline the selection process. Users can even apply custom CSS to any design if desired. However, if the thought of customizing code is overwhelming, users can stick to simpler adjustments such as font, theme colors, and background images. Plus, templates can be changed at any time without losing content.

Squarespace Templates

 

Unlike Wix, templates are optimized for any mobile device. A handy mobile preview feature allows users to check how design choices and content will look live.

Usability

Ease of use in a web platform is crucial for businesses because it helps to ensure that the day-to-day focus is devoted to matters more important than maintaining an online presence.

The intuitive and organized Wix control panel is divided into Dashboard and Editor sections. The Dashboard provides easy site setting management while the Editor provides customization tools, including a drag-and-drop feature. Once items are in place, a grid ensures that all elements are properly aligned and neighboring elements shift as text is added. As mentioned previously, template components can be reconfigured, but the template itself is permanent and cannot be switched without starting from scratch.

Squarespace offers more flexibility and freedom for users who are interested in making changes. The content and style editor are unified in a single interface, so updating content, such as resizing a photo, for example, is a snap. In addition, users can add multiple contributors, import blog or commerce content, and manage the site remotely using any of the additional applications available.

Both Wix and Squarespace offer support for users who get stuck. Wix offers phone support while Squarespace offers live chat and a rapid email turnaround of one hour.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes your website more accessible. People rarely venture past the first few pages of web results before choosing a link, so taking advantage of SEO will drive traffic to your site by increasing its ranking.

Wix is not ideal for SEO. While users can add meta descriptions, keywords, and titles to pages, the inability to rewrite web addresses creates poor indexing results. Despite this disadvantage, the drag-and-drop editor includes a section for boosting SEO, in addition to a free SEO Wizard app that provides step-by-step instructions on optimizing your site’s SEO.

Squarespace offers a more advanced approach to SEO. Like Wix, users can easily optimize elements of the site by adding meta descriptions and incorporating keywords into titles and text, but the clean HTML also makes content more easily indexable by search engines. The main advantage that sets Squarespace apart in this arena, however, is the ability to customize the URL of every page, vastly improving SEO.

Ultimately, the platform your business chooses for its web design should be driven by the purpose of your website. If a business is satisfied with the functionality available in a chosen template, Wix might be the better choice. For businesses seeking more flexibility, Squarespace is the best option because it is better equipped to adapt to the overarching needs of your business should they change.

Have questions about setting up your website? Contact us for a free consultation!

Facebook Ads data for budget planning

facebook-ad-spend-data-examplesWe’re big spenders when it comes to Facebook advertising. We recently performed a snapshot of our Facebook ad spend data and results from ads we purchased for ourselves and multiple clients in 2015.

As you can see below, there is a wide range in the price for each area of the Facebook ads. This is due in part to the level of targeting used in client campaigns – some were intentionally highly targeted, while others were meant for a broader audience – and their specific industry.

We encourage you to track your own data and to find out how you’re trending, but we hope that the estimates provided below can serve as a frame of reference to help you in your social media ad spend planning.

How to Use Facebook Ad Spend Data

Consider your goals. If you’re looking to build your email list of 2,500 in order to launch a new service or product, consider what percentage of your list will likely come from Facebook. (Having data in your pocket will make this all the more powerful!).

  • How many visitors do you have coming to your website now?
  • Of those visitors, what percentage convert to email subscribers?
  • How many website visits would you need to hit your goal?
  • Find the cost per website click below and multiply your cost.
  • Work hard to increase your percentage of conversions per visits to keep your cost low! You can do this by providing better reasons for them to sign up – or offering stronger content.

Summary of Findings

  • Average Cost Per Action: $0.09 to $0.71
  • Cost Per Click (Average): $0.31 to $1.02
  • Cost Per 1,000 Impressions: $5.21 to $9.58

Consulting Industry

  • Average Cost Per Action: $0.40
  • Cost Per Click (Average): $1.02
  • Cost Per 1,000 Impressions: $9.58
  • Cost Per 1,000 People Reached: $20.65
  • Cost Per Page Like: $11.02
  • Cost Per Website Conversion: $2.76
  • Cost Per Video View: $0.19

Entertainment Industry

  • Average Cost Per Action: $0.09
  • Cost Per Click (Average): $0.31
  • Cost Per 1,000 Impressions: $5.29
  • Cost Per 1,000 People Reached: $7.13
  • Click-Thru-Rate 1.73%
  • Cost Per Page Like: $3.30
  • Cost Per Website Click: $0.67
  • Cost Per Page Engagement: $0.09
  • Cost Per Video View: $0.12

Non-Profit Facebook Results

  • Average Cost Per Action: $0.71
  • Cost Per Click (Average): $0.62
  • Cost Per 1,000 Impressions: $5.61
  • Click-Thru Rate $0.91%
  • Cost Per Page Like: $0.91
  • Cost Per Page Engagement $0.79
  • Website Click-Thru Rate $0.62%

Free Restaurant Advertising: Social Media Engagement

Photo of Ed Aller Design by Monica Mileur.

Photo of Ed Aller Design by Monica Mileur.

Restaurants can’t afford to miss out on the value of customer social media engagement. Having a strong social media presence can expand your reach beyond your neighborhood, while keeping your customers in mind when developing your social media strategy will build customer loyalty. Utilizing the following practices across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will increase awareness of your business, generate social media engagement, and attract customers.

Increase Visibility

Use a combination of trending and niche hashtags to increase the visibility of your online content and, ultimately, awareness of your restaurant. For example, if local business Strange Donuts is hosting #strangedonutday to celebrate #nationaldonutday, include both hashtags in your post to increase the visibility of your content like food enthusiast, Chowchief. If your expertise is #craftbeer and your region also uses #stlcraftbeer, always use both hashtags like Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. Pizzeoli incorporates hashtags for the style of pizza they offer in order to increase visibility beyond St. Louis, in addition to event-specific hashtags such as #stlcraftbeerweek to promote a beer and pizza pairing at their restaurant as a part of the week’s festivities.

Hashtags

Increase Social Media Engagement

Social media interactions help to sustain the relationships customers build with your restaurant. Executing a presence creatively can increase the impact of your content and even attract first-time customers.

Start conversations with your content. Using captions that encourage discussion and responding attentively to comments will promote traffic as well as loyalty. Additionally, regramming customer photos helps to promote your restaurant. It’s flattering for the customer and it communicates what that customer enjoys about your restaurant through his or her own unique Riseperspective. Conducting contests can boost event attendance or promote your business. For example, Rise Coffeehouse encouraged customers to post photos of their coffee using #rise2000 for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate.

Show Your Good Side

Behind-the-scenes photos and employee images rank well on social media platforms because they allow customers to get to know a company, which ultimately builds loyalty. Presenting a balanced gallery of product- and people-focused images provides a clearer and more engaging sense of the welcoming energy behind all of the parts and pieces that combine to create your business.While dynamic branded content generates more followers, informal content makes new and existing customers feel more invested.

For example, posting employee bios will allow your customers to get to know the faces that represent your business while menu spotlights will showcase new food and drink items. Captivating images paired with detailed explanations will make the menu more accessible for all levels of familiarity with your restaurant. Both options also serve as a great opportunity to display the atmosphere of your restaurant, depending on how you stage the shot.

Ultimately, social media followers should be able to gain a sense of what a restaurant is like from their social media presence. How a restaurant presents itself on social media should be in sync with the experience customers have when visiting in person.