This Friday, July 24th, Claim Academy is proud to host Danni Eickenhorst of Blank Page Business Consulting for a Social Media seminar for Start-ups. Learn a little more about Danni, and sign up at this link today!

Tell us a little about yourself! Danni: Growing up, I was easily the most intense and passionate kid in my small town. If I wasn’t walking the streets with a mason jar to raise funds for the MDA telethon or a family in need, I was advocating for a 5K or some other cause that tugged my heartstrings, and that I was sure I could impact.

Back then, I wasn’t necessarily tactful or overtly strategic – but I was successful in winning the hearts and minds of the people around me and getting them involved in making a difference too. I like to think that its that same bright-eyed optimism that’s gotten me to where I am today – the unwavering belief that if I can share the story that I believe in, others will get on board and help further the cause.

Today, I am a business and marketing consultant specializing in digital and social strategy for non-profits, the public sector and small businesses. I believe strongly that every client should have a solid business plan before they take it to market. With my degree and background in organizational studies and business management science, I blend my passion for business strategy with my gifts for marketing in order to provide the strongest support for our clients.

Today, you will still find me mobilizing people for the causes I care most about – but I’ve retired my mason jar, and mastered the digital sphere. Instead of standing on a soapbox, I’m coordinating major media attention. Instead of holding lemonade stands to raise funds, I’m writing powerful content and working with some of the best minds in the region to see that change is realized.

What are some of your favorite projects that you've worked on? Danni: I’ve been fortunate in my career to play an active role in making the St. Louis region a better place to live through my marketing work with Great Rivers Greenway, The OASIS Institute, Pakt Community Center, Athleticare Sports Health Foundation, Bike St. Louis, The Trestle, The Salvation Army, United Way of Greater St. Louis and others. To learn more about my work and to flip through my portfolio, click here.

I also serve as a board member for Social Media Club of St. Louis. In this capacity, I am presently overseeing the launch of a new event specifically targeted to help non-profits utilize social and digital media to develop brand ambassadors, and to help them reach and exceed their fundraising goals.

How did you get connected to Claim Academy? Danni: I spoke on a panel at the Pulitzer Foundation with Ola Ayeni about a year and a half ago. We were asked to speak on data - its uses, the various ethical questions it creates. We were part of a panel handpicked by my good friend Travis Sheridan, who is known for creating great conversaitons by purposefully seeking out interesting perspectives and diverse participants. I recall that I was very "rainbows and unicorns" talking about data and social media and digital marketing - while Ola and our other panelist Sultan Meghji both brought a totally different perspective to the conversation, speaking about data's impact on innovation and business growth.

Since that day, I've been connected with them both. I always work to surround myself with people who challenge me, who inspired me and who I deem smarter than me so that I have something to aspire to - and they both fit the bill.

Tell us about Blank Page Business Consulting! Why consulting? Why marketing? Danni: I started Blank page for the purpose of giving small businesses and nonprofit organizations affordable and effective partners in growing their business/org. We were doing really well in this area, strictly offering marketing services, but we realized that many companies would come to us with a marketing need that really was the tip of a larger problem. We could get them leads, but they couldn't convert them - or maybe they could convert them, but they couldn't sustain as a business. We were giving our clients full organizational structure advice and guidance - perhaps unsolicited - but it began to work, and we decided to offer it as an expanded service earlier this year. Now, we offer businesses full strategic planning, accounting help, AND marketing.

What's the most exciting trend in Social Media right now? Danni: In my humble opinion, the growing ways that we can track data and measure a business's return on investment is the most exciting trend. I pulled up some old lecture notes and presentations from earlier in my career the other day and it was funny to see how I was asking people to try social media, and to just TRUST ME, it would work. Today, I'm able to be scientific in my targeting and response in a way that it not only benefits my clients, but in a way that also benefits their end users or customers by providing them with a better business experience.

You've done a lot of voluteering and pro-bono work for non-profits! Tell us a bit about that. Danni: One early goal was to get to a place with my business where I could afford to donate 5 hours a month to some deserving nonprofit or startup. Once we hit that milestone, it quickly grew to 10, then 20. We have an internal goal of donating at least 10 hours per month to help out someone that needs our services, but can't afford it. This summer, we were lucky enough to donate our marketing intern 15-20 hours per week for the entire summer to one nonprofit I'm very passionate about. This is something we hope to continue to expand, and to find support for. One hope is that we can gift these services more to businesses that are a year or two into existence - a reward for their sticking it out and working so hard - that we can start helping growing businesses figure out their next steps with our pro bono work. We're tossing around ideas of how to make this time sustainable over the long haul, and we have a lot of options up in the air. One thing that won't stop: our passion for helping people. The form it takes over the long haul is likely to shift and change over time. Stay tuned to see what's next on this one!

What can attendees of your seminar this Friday expect to learn? Danni: We're going to cover the basics of inbound marketing and to learn some strategies that will hold true, regardless of the social media platform that you choose to utilize. We will look at marketing that works, and marketing that does not work. We will do some hands-on work on Twitter and Facebook during the class, so we want everyone to come prepared with a laptop and accounts already set up and ready to go!

What's one interesting fact about you that people wouldn't expect? Danni: Though I'm immersed in screens and the digiverse all day, my one true love (in terms of communication) is setting pen to paper. I've been a writer all my life, and it all started there. There's nothing more intoxicating to me than a brand new notebook - a blank page (hence the name of my company) - unlimited potential.

Join Danni at our Social Media for Startups Seminar this Friday! We'll see you there.