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Marketing Consultant Myths Debunked

1. A marketing consultant won’t understand my business

You absolutely do not need your marketing consultant to fully understand every aspect of your business. You don’t hire a marketing consultant to manage your business, you hire them to hone in on the critical pieces of your business and do market research that will help them create an effective marketing strategy.

Having fresh eyes on your business practices often helps narrow in on what’s working, what isn’t and allows your marketing consultant to be creative and think outside the box you might have unintentionally put yourself in. While you will obviously want whoever you hire to have a general understanding of what it is you do or sell, you ultimately want them to be focused on their own area of expertise, not yours.

 

2. SEO is expensive

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts do involve paying for someone who has a certain expertise as well as the hours it will take for them to carry out a variety of tasks such as researching your industry, doing market research, writing keyword-rich content, building links, and analyzing results. Many business owners believe their money is better spent on Pay Per Click (PPC) efforts, which are faster to set up and have immediate results.

While it’s true that SEO cannot compete with the speed and ease of PPC, it most certainly wins out when it comes to lasting effects and cost over time. Keep in mind that if you want to pay for clicks, you’re going to have to work those costs into your budget every month because as soon as you stop shoveling money into your Google Adwords account, your traffic will plummet. SEO efforts, on the other hand, keep working for you long after you signed the check to your marketing consultant. The truth is, SEO is the much more cost-effective option.

 

3. No one will read or respond to long-form content

This myth is likely perpetuated by people’s severely shortened attention spans when browsing the internet. However, those 30-second attention spans generally pertain to things that appear on users’s Facebook feeds or as a suggested video, not something they actively searched out. This analysis definitively shows that in-depth, long-form content outperforms short content over and over again when it comes to search results.

 

topic authority chart marketing consultant st louis

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So if you are publishing a 200-300 word blog every so often to cover your content marketing efforts, you are not very likely to see any results. Marketing consultant services can be a very valuable asset when it comes to things such as creating in-depth content that draws people to your business and delivers results.

 

4. You don’t need a marketing consultant to run social media

Businesses often avoid allowing marketing consultants to set up social media accounts because they believe they can just handle it on their own, or pass it off an intern. If that’s what you think, consider the unfortunate Twitter mishap Digiorno suffered. A clueless employee at Digiorno Pizza saw that #IStayedBecause was trending on Twitter and tweeted “#IStayedBecause he had pizza,” accidentally offending millions because the #IStayedBecause hashtag was actually an outlet for victims of domestic abuse to speak out about reasons they had stayed with their abuser in the past. Ouch.

That’s just one of the many cringe-worthy social media mishaps that brands have suffered, many of which could have been avoided if companies had had a dedicated marketing consultant team in charge of their social media instead of an intern or some random millennial they assumed would understand Twitter.

The truth is, social media can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, both through organic content and paid advertising, as long as you have a consistent strategy that is carried out by people who are dedicated to the task and knowledgeable in the nuances of social media.

 

5. Marketing consulting services are too expensive

Obviously, hiring an expert in any field involves paying for the expertise you are going to receive, but marketing consulting services don’t have to break the bank. Blank Page Consulting can go work with you to design a marketing strategy that fits into your budget, and start working on projects that will bring a return on your investment, because that’s what hiring a quality marketing consultant is – an investment in your business. If you don’t think you can afford to budget for marketing, consider this – can you afford not to, and risk losing customers to your competitors who were ready to take their marketing to the next level?

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4 Steps to Rebranding Your Company

So you are considering reinventing your business. You feel ready for new and exciting branding, but where do you begin? It’s important to give this risky decision a lot of thought, as rebranding your company can really backfire if you don’t approach it correctly. Make sure you are confident that your company is in need of and ready for a new branding and marketing strategy. Talking to a marketing consultant about your plans could be a great option. When our clients decide to rebrand, we tell them to consider their target audience and make sure their new marketing is moving in the same direction as they are, and make sure their new branding strategy speaks to them. When you are ready to take the plunge, follow these steps to rebranding.

1.Figure out your target audience

old spice rebrandingAre you trying to recapture the interest of your current audience whose interest is waning, or are you looking to reel in an entirely new audience? It’s important to understand what direction your company wants to move in so you can properly lay the foundation for a successful rebranding. One excellent example is the Old Spice rebranding. In 2010, Old Spice did some research and discovered that 60% of men’s body washes are actually purchased by women. Armed with this valuable information, they worked on marketing that targeted the female audience and launched the “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like.” The results were incredible and immediate, with a 300% increase in website traffic and 200% increase in sales and subscribers. (Source)

Knowing your audience is essential when it comes to branding. Make sure you do your research and come up with the best target audience for maximum return on investment.

2. Don’t fix what isn’t broken

Too many companies make the mistake of rebranding for the sake of rebranding; essentially trying to fix what isn’t broken. If things are working, don’t change them!

One rebranding fail was the Netflix/Qwikster debacle. Netflix, which was already an incredibly successful DVD rental-by-mail and online streaming service, attempted to split their business into two by keeping the streaming aspect as Netflix and the DVD rental-by-mail as a new brand, Qwikster. This introduced a second pricing model, essentially costing previously loyal customers more money for the same services they were getting before the rebranding. To add insult to injury, Netflix failed to research social media profiles before choosing the name Qwikster, and discovered far too late that the Twitter username, @Qwikster, was not only taken, but it was owned by a high school student whose online persona was a drug-using Elmo. Ouch.

Netflix reversed its decision fairly quickly, but not before losing 800,000 subscribers. Total rebranding fail. (Source)

It’s important to identify what is working and what isn’t before you make any huge changes. If customers love your product but you can’t seem to get new customers to give you a chance, don’t change the product, change your marketing! Do your research before you take any big risks, and make sure you are changing the right aspects of your business, and leaving what is already working alone.

3. Develop your story

Your brand needs to tell a story, so you have to develop it. Everything from your logo to your advertising needs to flow together and have the same look, feel, and overall message. You can’t have a super serious advertising campaign and then come out with a cartoonish logo. Figure out what you want your brand to say, and then decide how to convey that message. What are you trying to say with this rebranding effort?

radio shack rebrand

In 2009, Radio Shack was struggling, so they attempted a rebrand. The problem was that all they did was change their name to The Shack. All of their services, products, and overall philosophies stayed the same, so the story was basically just “new name, same old store.”  Obviously, the rebrand was a complete flop and lead to over 1,000 store closures and yet another rebranding effort in 2014.

 

4.Promote and be proud

If you want customers to get to know the new you, you have to promote the new brand. Get out into the marketplace and make sure your new brand is displayed loudly and proudly. Let the public know what your new story is all about, why they should care, and how they can benefit from the new brand.

Once you’ve made the leap to a new brand, stand behind it proudly. Confidence in your brand will allow you to push forward through the transitional period, and come out on the other side as a more successful business than before. Rebranding is a huge step, but it is something that can reap great rewards. If you’re ready to change up your branding and marketing, do your research, follow these steps, and become a rebranding success story.

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FREE GUIDE: Marketing your seasonal business during the slow season

marketing-seasonal-businessSeasonal businesses such as landscapers, construction firms, summer restaurants, snow removal services, and the like struggle with feast or famine business cycles in an extreme. During the leaner months when business is slow, or perhaps non-existent, there are a number of things you can work on to ensure that your content marketing and outreach efforts continue to get your company in front of the eyes of potential customers all year long.

 

Owners of seasonal businesses such as ski lodges, farmers markets, and seasonal destinations can download our new guide, “Marketing your seasonal business during your slow time,” to learn five important marketing activities they should prioritize when the phones aren’t ringing.

 

Proactive marketing can ensure that when your target audience is actively searching for the services that you offer, that your company is top of mind, and hopefully at the top of search engine results as well.

 

Our guide covers activities such as:

  • Content marketing methods
  • Link building for SEO
  • Reputation management
  • Competitor research, and
  • Testing calls-to-action that will support your business.

During your busier times of the year, consider relying on the digital marketing experts at Blank Page Consulting. We know that as a small business owner, especially one with a seasonal focus, your time is best spent focused on the work you’re known for providing. Partner with a company known for providing excellent marketing services and assistance that will help your company achieve stability and growth all year long.

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Consulting is a St Louis marketing agency, working with home service organizations, restaurants, nonprofits, and growing businesses nationwide. Learn more about our support services for your business:

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hire danni eickenhorst to speak at your event, public speaker, marketing speakerAbout Danni Eickenhorst

Danni is one of the top social media strategists in the United States, having been nominated for multiple awards for her strategic digital marketing efforts. She recently launched her online course for small business owners, Universal Marketing Theory, and serves as a marketing and business coach for businesses of all sizes. Read more about Danni’s impressive career, including an award from Governor Nixon, successful election outreach, and her coverage of a major national disaster here. Feel free to reach out to Danni with questions or to have her speak at your next event.

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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 […]

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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.

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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

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Creve Coeur Marketing Resources

As a full-service marketing firm, based in Creve Coeur, we wanted to share a list of marketing resources for St. Louis area businesses looking to grow in the West St. Louis suburbs.

Networking Opportunities

For businesses growing in the area, there are 3 really active hyper local groups for B2B, B2C and nonprofit organizations:

Creve Coeur-Olivette Chamber of Commerce: The chamber offers networking opportunities several times a month, including a small monthly B2B networking group, lead sharing coffees, monthly luncheons and yearly events. Blank Page Consulting has been an active member of the CCO Chamber since 2014 and we’ve benefited from both the resources and referrals this group provides. Click here for their event calendar.

Young Professionals Network: This West County-based networking group primarily serves those working in the real estate and home finance industries. They host regular events related to real estate industry advocacy, career growth and peer mentorship. Check out their LinkedIn Group here.

Hyper Local Media

Patch.com: Though less active than they have been in previous years, we still see benefit in sharing news with Patch.com’s Creve Coeur site. The hyper local online paper provides local bloggers and businesses with an opportunity to showcase their stories, job openings, press releases and events for free. Low-cost on-site advertising options are also available. Check out the local Patch.com here.

St. Louis Jewish Light: Since 1947, the St. Louis Jewish Light has provided an award-winning Jewish community newspaper. They offer both print and online formats. They focus on serving the St. Louis Jewish community and has a weekly readership of around 14,000. The paper is based in West St. Louis, but serves the entire region. Learn more and check out advertising options here.

Local Print and Mail Media

Money Mailer: Perhaps you’ve seen their monthly envelopes in your inbox stuffed with coupons and local opportunities? Creve Coeur Chamber member Jane Massey represents Money Mailor, a low cost opportunity tends to work for local shops, retail and restaurants very well. Choose from 37 locations and 12 different sends each year. Coupons are also shown online and in a downloadable app. Contact Jane for pricing and recommendations for your next campaign.

MarketVolt: You may be familiar with the small MarketVolt logo on the bottom of many emails you receive. That is because MarketVolt is a Creve Coeur based company who is taking over email marketing as we know it all over the globe. They aim to help businesses streamline operations, increase revenue and generally prosper, using email marketing and other interactive technologies. Learn more about how MarketVolt can help your business here.

Promotional Products

Two of our local favorite for promotional products are Big Frog and Tessler Promotions. For uber-personal service, Larry Tessler works strictly offline – phone calls and personal visits with samples and extraordinary service. From pens to coasters and even branded flash drives, Tessler Promotions offers the lowest cost promotional printing we’ve found in the area. Call Larry direct at (314) 995-9977.

Big Frog, based off Old Ballas Road, offers quick turnaround printing on promotional t-shirts with no fees, no minimums and completion in as little as 24 hours. Check them out online here or stop in to their shop at 10552 Old Ballas Road 6 days a week.