Marketing has evolved and so should your company’s digital marketing efforts. In days gone by, a brand would push out a message to a large untargeted audience, and hope that by casting a wide net, they’d find success. Today, marketing is a 2-way process with valuable information being delivered in a targeted way. Additionally, the consumer now has the power in marketing relationships – being able to provide feedback in a multitude of ways – from social media comments, to Google or Yelp reviews and beyond – all of which are potentially very public.
It simply is not enough to just drive customers to your website or to have someone “like” your company on Facebook. You need to learn how to best utilize digital or internet marketing strategies to enhance your business and grow your customer base. Social media platforms can be used to develop a deeper relationship with your customers – to retain existing customers, and to attract new ones.
You can’t afford the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. Your company may be blogging and may even be engaging on social media, but your customer base is not growing, then chances are, your team needs help to take it to the next level. One way that you can do this is through digital marketing training by industry experts.
We have taken note of common scenarios we see day to day. If you see your brand in any of the signs below, your company is in need of social and digital marketing training.
Is your digital marketing efforts turning off millennials? With a buying power into the trillions, millennials set buying trends in everything from technology to food. The millennial generation is less trustful of traditional marketing. They would much rather discover your brand on their own then feel marketed to. For this reason, millennials often look to engage with a company or brand through social media. Learning to foster relationships with millennials on social media will be well worth it.
Are customers visiting your website? Maybe they are, but if those visits are not translating to sales then you are missing a huge marketing opportunity. The goal of your website should be to not only engage customers, but to generate sales leads. Digital marketing training will definitely enhance your company’s ability to do this.
If you understand what we mean by “analytics” then your company could definitely benefit from digital marketing training. Understanding impressions, bounce rates and call-to-actions and knowing how to use these analytics to enhance performance on your website and on social media is a major contributing factor to your digital marketing success.
Fortunately, someone has either bought one of your products, signed up for one of your services or requested that you send them more information. They have now placed themselves on your subscriber list. But unfortunately for them, they are now being inundated with emails. Learning how to implement a better email marketing strategy is important. Sending too many emails can deteriorate your relationship with your customers to the point where they start ignoring your emails. If this describes your current email marketing strategy, then it could use an overhaul.
Let Blank Page help you with all of your corporate marketing training needs. Our “Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses” course can teach you how to create and implement effective digital marketing strategies. Sign up for our online class or request a quote for a corporate training session.
By Danni Eickenhorst
I always was pretty terrible at keeping a secret… and it looks like nothing has changed. 🙂
On Tuesday, November 17th, I’ll be hosting a FREE webinar that shares my secrets for creating content that connects with your audience.
In today’s social economy, every brand out there is fighting for your attention on social media. Do you find yourself struggling to stand out and be heard?
The key, you will find, is in the content you create.
What will make the difference between you and your nearest competitor is your message, and how you choose to connect.
During this FREE webinar, we’ll discuss 10 techniques to help you create more thoughtful, beautiful, effective content that drives your audience to engage, share, and bond with your brand.
Register now to save your spot and you’ll receive my BONUS GUIDE – 3 Marketing Tools Every Small Business Owner Needs – which includes 3 tools that I use absolutely every day to streamline my work and to make it more powerful.
I look forward to seeing you! Bring all of your questions for the LIVE Q&A!
My career leveraging social and digital media for small business and nonprofit growth began with me being the one ODDBALL in the office that saw potential in the new medium, then trying to persuade others to give it a try.
My pitch for getting them to use social was something like, “It’s FREE. Everyone I know is trying it. I think we should see what we can do with it.”
Today, I can say that my instincts were spot-on.
I’ve been able to realize:
One area where I’ve struggled as an entrepreneur and a marketer is being able to give enough of my time and my knowledge to make a difference. For two years, I’ve donated 10-20 hours of my time each and every month to local nonprofits and startups in order to provide them with the support and tools they need to market more effectively. While I know I’ve been able to make an impact, I’ve never felt that I could give them all of the tools they needed in our brief encounters.
To remedy that, I set out to develop a fully formed course that would provide them with all of the insights and knowledge they would need to successfully market their businesses with limited time and limited funds.
Yesterday, I officially (and quietly) launched that course!
Universal Marketing Theory is a 6-week course that provides entrepreneurs, nonprofits and startups with the basic foundational knowledge they need to succeed.
Registration is open now and the self-paced course will kick off with lessons delivered weekly, starting November 23rd! In lieu of our hours donated each month, we will now provide a limited number of organizations with free access to this course each month, starting in 2016.
Looking to register now? Lucky you! Those who register before the official open date on November 23rd can save $50 on their fee by using promo code “smartypants.” 🙂 You can register at www.UniversalMarketingTheory.com.
I hope to see your name on the list! Can’t wait to hear all that you do with what you learn!
The 6-part course offers the following with each lesson:
-Video lecture/instruction by yours truly
-A case study that demonstrates the principles in action, and
-A takeaway tool that you can use in implementation.
Lesson 1: Inbound Marketing Theory – Basics & Goals
Lesson 2: Attracting the right audience
Lesson 3: Motivation & Methods
Lesson 4: Converting prospects
Lesson 5: Measuring success
Lesson 6: Tools & Tricks for lasting success
Basic Course: Lectures Only $199
Next Level: Lectures + Case Studies + Materials $299
Premiere Package: Lectures + Case Studies + Materials + 30 minute consultation with Danni Eickenhorst $399
Yesterday, Facebook began making Facebook Bluetooth Beacons available to select influential, Facebook-Active businesses. In coming weeks, in a secondary rollout, the units will be made available to most retail-style businesses upon request. Facebook Bluetooth Beacons are small in-store units, which the Facebook team will be configuring for each specific businesses, and which will allow business owners to preprogram welcome messages, menus, events, daily specials and other information to customers nearby as they arrive.
Facebook beacons will also update visitors about tips from friends who have been to the business previously as part of the recently rolled-out Facebook Place Tips feature.
For small businesses looking for another level of interactivity in their customer experience, active updates to their Place tips may provide just that. As the rollouts are first occurring to influential business owners, we were able to secure one for client Steve’s Hot Dogs St. Louis. Steve’s Hot Dogs holds regular events and issues a daily discount code on their Facebook page. Going forward, they’ll be able to share that information with clients as they arrive – giving them financial (coupon) incentive to check in on Facebook – and alerting them of upcoming events such as their Sunday Brunch concerts – so that they’ll be likely to return.
While not yet supporting ads, with Facebook’s prominent foothold in digital advertising, one can only image that this distribution of beacons is something akin to a land grab for future advertising plans. You can request your Facebook beacon for future shipping as they come available through Facebook by clicking here.
Images courtesy of Facebook and idownload.com.
At Blank Page, we are constantly working to stay ahead of the curve on marketing changes – to help our clients know what’s to come, and to help them plan accordingly. Because we work primarily with small-to-medium sized businesses and non-profits, we work to stay ahead of these changes so that our clients can be prepared in ways they wouldn’t be without our help. We’re always looking for trends and shifts in marketing tactics to help our clients be more prepared to be competitive.
Two clear trends we’ve seen across every platform are that digital marketing efforts are increasingly taking time and money to be successful. From investing in a marketing consultant to budgeting clearly for digital advertising, every small business should understand early on to allow for both of these precious resources when they work through their business plan. These are the two most critical pieces of small business marketing in 2015.
One trend we’re seeing is that Projects we signed on to work last year now take more man-hours than they did a year ago because of the ever-increasing chatter on social media channels. SEO projects now see stiffer competition. Relying on social media for your end goals solely is becoming a riskier strategy, if you’re not serious about devoting the time to creating compelling content and then using it for its highest potential. For some companies, this means taking a hard look at their success rates for each channel they are marketing on and pulling back on the number of platforms they’re using in order to be EXCELLENT at just one or two.
When budgeting your marketing time and that of your staff or consultants, consider these trends we are seeing:
Last year, companies adjusted to the changed Facebook “Pay to Play” landscape. In 2015, the companies that will succeed are those that accepted this change and budgeted accordingly. The Salesforce 2015 Facebook Ads Benchmark report showed that CPC (Cost Per Click) on ads ranges from $0.08 to $0.25 on average, depending on your industry and ad targeting. We tell our clients to make sure they think through these two things when embarking on Facebook advertising:
We share this with you so that you can plan accordingly and set reasonable expectations for your team, your leadership and your marketing and business goals going forward in 2015. Consider where you can reasonably spend time and money, and then consider if your team needs help. At Blank Page Consulting, we work with our clients in a number of ways – from total marketing management to co-management with their team. We even offering marketing coaching and consulting to help empower small business owners and their teams to do for themselves. We’d be honored to work with you to achieve your business goals in 2015. Consider scheduling a free 30-minute consultation below to learn more about what we can do for you.
Several times a month, I run into business owners who have heard that Twitter is a powerful tool for them to harness, but who have chosen not to try it out for a variety of reasons. The most common? They’re intimidated. It’s confusing.
While I remember feeling that way the first time I tried to use Twitter, it truly couldn’t be farther from the truth – if you look at it just a little bit differently.
Below, we’ve provided some hints and steps that you can take to begin to find a comfort level with this powerful platform. This is a very cursory level introduction, and at the end, we provide our Easy Twitter Start Checklist. For more detailed, higher-level strategy, schedule a one-on-one consultation with our team, follow this blog or attend an upcoming social school class.
Twitter is simplicity. It is a continuous conversation in a global room full of people in short bursts. Done correctly, it may be the most powerful tool in your arsenal.
It is a social network where people share “microblogs” or status updates of 140 characters or less. People who follow you or who search for a particular keyword you may have tweeted about, will see your status updates. Anyone who views your profile may see your status updates. Twitter differs from Facebook both in the length of your updates and in that the community available to you through Twitter is very motivated, outspoken and powerful. They are willing to share value when it’s provided, so consider that as you begin crafting your updates. This group is more likely to show up, share, advocate, purchase and engage with your brand than most others, and therefore, provides a unique opportunity for many businesses and individuals.
At first glance, it may seem that Twitter is moving at a breakneck pace, full of spam and self-promotion. All of these are accurate assessments, but while content seems to have a 2 second shelf-life, and it seems that with the large amounts of content coming at you, this platform may need to be continuously monitored, there are some things you can do to make Twitter more manageable:
Twitter is simply a community. Just like any community, there are ups and downs, and just like every community out there, you will find lurkers, haters and supporters, all there for one reason or another. Just as you work to build community in your neighborhood or place of worship, you cannot get to know your community if you’re isolated and uninvolved. Twitter will only help you find success if you are social, and choose to engage.
Just as the graphic at right says, hashtags are merely a form of organization for the content that you share. They allow others who may not be familiar with you or your brand to search for content on a topic and to become connected with what you’re sharing. A few tips for using hashtags:
Social media can be extremely time-consuming – research, conversations, crafting content. For that reasons, we recommend setting aside time each day to update your channels, and to create a blend of updates that are both live AND prescheduled. One tool we absolutely love is Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a free tool that allows you to monitor the vast amount of information coming through Twitter, and to preschedule content so your account never goes “quiet.” It allows you to monitor any mentions of you or your brand, to search for sentiments or new business and, perhaps most importantly, it allows you to schedule content to post while you’re busy doing other things. Check it out at Hootsuite.com.
As you’re first building your audience on Twitter, it helps to consider what you wish to achieve or what your brand (personal or professional) is looking to connect with. Find others in your space who are utilizing Twitter, and are doing is well and take note of:
“No one cares what I had for breakfast,” is the #1 complaint I hear from folks looking to harness Twitter for the first time. I tell them to “fake it until you make it.” Think out loud. Share until it becomes more natural.
Here are some possible ways for your to engage on Twitter:
and finally…. if you’re looking to use Twitter to bolster your business, then share what you do. Twitter should never be used for OVER-promotion, but if you shoot for 80% non-promotional, 20% promotional to start, you aren’t likely to alienate your hard-won audience.
By Danni Eickenhorst
This month, we had the good fortune of having Kesha Brown on tap for a small-session workshop on personal branding. As consulting, freelancing and entrepreneurship are on the rise – especially in St. Louis – we are frequently asked by our clients how they should approach positioning themselves as a brand.
In this intimate workshop, Kesha worked with attendees to help them find their own way to stand out from the crowd – to find their unique promise of value – and to take the first steps toward sharing their brand.
If you’re an entrepreneur, your personal brand and your corporate brand should align. Your mission and vision should reflect your personal values. Whereas a corporate “brand” may be constituted by a font, logo, colors and the like, your personal brand should reflect your interests, values, personal experiences and goals.
You can’t appeal to everybody. So many people are afraid to offend or insecure of what people will think if they share who they really are. If you are driven toward a specific goal, especially if you are stretched on time and resources, it is critical for you to determine who your audience is, who you want your audience to be, and to start speaking to them. This will keep you on course, and it will attract like-minded people who may open up doors to you and your brand, much more quickly than if you meander to the point. While you can offer content that is appealing to a wider audience, it’s important that your specific niche or area of expertise is on display – and that you’re forthcoming about your passion and your goals.
The first step is self-reflection. We need to know who we are, and what our boundaries are. Take some time to consider the following:
When it comes to sharing your first post or shooting your first video, Lakesha says you should “Just do it.”
“Action creates confidence. If I waited until I was confident and comfortable with everything, I’d never do anything, but everytime I try something for the first time, I feel like I’ve accomplished something and I become more confident.”
Kesha, is the Creative Director at Uncommon Chick Media a multi-passionate Rebelpreneur who loves to work with over-achieving solopreneurs to break old and tired business rules to create profitable brands. A digital strategist and web maven, she powerfully supports business owners struggling with website design, personal branding, and owning their unique style.
FINALLY, we are launching episode 3 of the Social School Podcast.
Episode 3 is finally here! We had some tech trouble, but were able to clean it up with the help of Charles Purnell. Thank you, sir. So much great info here from Wesley Hoffman and Vernon Ross. Couldn’t bear the thought that it would be lost. Take a listen!
An informal conversation with Wes Hoffman & Vernon Ross.
Today, we’re talking about how to overcome social awkwarded from social media/digital space to real world, and our personal experiences being a digital brand, and networking in the real world. Wes is the founder of Treehouse Networkshop, and a man of pure genius.
Vernon Ross is also known as @RossPR. He is fearless, brilliant and a great friend of mine from the board of Social Media Club. Check him out at www.vernonross.com to learn more about his work and to subscribe to his podcast.@TreehouseNetwrkshop
Facebook has the potential to be a game-changing social platform for businesses of all types, but as it grows in popularity, it also grows in complexity. For that reason, many businesses making the leap from traditional marketing to digital marketing find themselves overwhelmed. As corporate trainers specializing in guiding individuals and companies through the digital and social marketing realm, we are always looking for ways to simplify social media and the best way we’ve found to do this is by making people take a step back and consider the guiding principles apart from the ever-changing technology.
The principles of marketing have not changed – the methods have. Your marketing plan should be less tied to technology and more centered on the value and messages you’re providing and the behavior and needs of your audiences.
Consider for a moment the position of someone viewing an ad to like your page. Chances are that they fall into one of these categories:
Each of the categories above represents a different degree of connection – a different level of warmth to that lead. Studies consistently show that former customers that opt in to stay connected are going to be your warmest lead. They’ve purchased before and are likely to purchase again. These people are also most likely to convert into a brand advocate – liking, sharing and pushing your content on a variety of platforms because they love what you do. A 2012 study by Hubspot showed that people are 71% more likely to purchase a product or service when they are connected to your brand through social media. Yet another study revealed that that number increases to 80% if a friend or acquaintance has endorsed or reviewed your product or services positively.
When you are logged into your own Facebook account and you choose to connect with a brand’s page, whether you know it or not, you are saying, “I am cool with being passively marketed to.” Maybe you believe their information will provide some sort of value to your life, professionally or personally, but on some level, you’ve taken the next step to learn more about what they are offering.
We mentioned earlier that, separate from a technological platform, your marketing strategy should focus on the needs and behaviors of your audience. This can be done by developing detailed profiles of your audience. These should include psychographic, demographic and community details. Without undertaking this exercise, every step you take after will likely be flawed, or less effective than it should be. This is the foundation of your marketing strategy. People often report that they don’t always see the return on investment (ROI) that they’d hoped with their Facebook outreach and this is in part because they did not spend the time they needed at this level, considering and developing an understanding of their various audiences’ needs and what value they are perceived to have – how they would go about providing a solution for those audiences through their product or service. <itemprop=”articleSection”>Community snapshot
By psychographic, we mean that you will spend some time thinking about your audience’s experience and emotionally putting yourself in their shoes. Better yet, if you can feel what they are feeling, you will have a better chance at communicating a message that evokes an emotional response. A deep psychographic profile of your audience focuses on feelings, rather than facts. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of an emotional exercise, another option is to attend an industry event where many of your targets are in attendance and then to LISTEN. Hear the problems they’re working to solve. Decode the underlying needs they hint at it in conversation. Investigate to find out what keeps them up at night. Ask questions – but most importantly, LISTEN.
A demographic profile will consider their age, race, gender, occupation, interests, connections and relationship with your company. This will be key in Facebook advertising, which we will go through in depth later on today. This profile will tell you where you are most likely to find these customers. This data can be gathered from your Google Analytics Tools (Audience > Demographics) if you have them configured to gather this data. (If you don’t have that feature enabled, go enable it now for a future check!) Facebook also provides this information in the “Insights” area at the top of your page. Google’s information will be your strongest source, because they do a deep-dive into interests, technologies preferred, and more, in a way that Facebook does not yet offer outside of their paid tools. Your website data will also be stronger, because it will be more likely to paint a picture of a more interested consumer who has searched for your information and taken the time to engage with your brand on a deeper, more focused level.
Finally, one tool that will help you develop an idea of where your ideal consumer “lives,” in terms of community, interests, businesses frequented, etc is Facebook’s Graph Search. This is a free tool provided to all Facebook users – and it’s likely one that you didn’t even know you had access to. Graph Search allows you to search phrases such as “Favorite interests of people who like PAGE NAME,” “Restaurants visited by people who like PAGE NAME.” and more. This will give you a sense of the communities they hang out in, what events you’re most likely to find them at and likely other insights, such as their general political or social leanings. This information can be used in a number of ways, including ad targeting. For more on Facebook Graph Search, click here.
Once you have taken the time to develop a well-rounded picture of your various audiences, you are ready to engage in marketing. You may also have a better sense of whether Facebook is where you will find that audience.
Truly impactful Facebook content marketing can be difficult to achieve and sustain. Just as with any other type of marketing, it’s all about being in front of the right people with the right message at the right time – but unlike many other forms of marketing, today’s digital platforms and the level of engagement are at the mercy of the platform developers and their overarching philosophy for what their channel should be used for – such as Facebook and Google., which both seek to provide users with the content they are looking to The principles you followed to develop these profile are foundational for any marketing strategy, but they will remain the same, regardless of what changes Facebook, Google and other platforms will make in the future.
Developing an effective marketing strategy is an emotionally exhausting exercise at its best – a constant guessing game of intentions and actions, which we now must blend with data and analytics. Chasing a constantly-changing algorithm doesn’t make it any easier, but it is crucial to keep in mind that regardless of the way you format a post or how often you post, the most important part of your Facebook engagement is the value you provide and the way that you target that message. Rather than grumbling about the changes that are coming your way, it would the most productive use of your team’s time to roll with the punches and take the challenge to continuously develop stronger content. At the end of the day, their cousin’s cute baby will always out rank your customers’ interest in your brand – ALWAYS – but Facebook is still an amazing tool to demonstrate your expertise, grow a brand – and, maybe as important as those – have some fun.
So, how does Facebook’s strategy of content delivery to their users affect you and your marketing strategy? I mean, right place, right time – right? Right – BUT if you take this thinking to the next level, you’ll quickly realize that Facebook users are primarily on Facebook to engage with their friends and family and to memorialize their own life experiences. They engage with brands because it is part and parcel of the Facebook experience – but a picture of someone’s adorable baby is always going to beat out your brand’s latest thought leadership blog. ALWAYS.