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Marketing Your Business During (and After) COVID-19

I originally wrote this article in the Business Journal about marketing your business during COVID-19. Yet, one thing I didn’t address is how the needs of your potential customers have changed in the new economy, and how pivoting to meet their needs can establish your business as a market leader.

So I’ve updated this article, below:

These are some challenging times. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of consumers have stopped buying nonessential products and services, impacting tens of thousands of businesses. In addition, any advertising a company is running that’s asking for a sale can appear callous and insensitive.  

While the above may be true, your business still needs to survive!  

So the issue many companies are currently wrestling with is how to pivot their marketing strategy to be more reflective of the times.

Reduce your marketing budget?

As a business owner, one of the worst feelings is when you realize you’ve wasted money on something. This can be especially true for companies that offer nonessential services and continue to spend a lot of money trying to gain customers. In other words, why continue to advertise if no one is buying?  

Many of these kinds of businesses have asked themselves this same question, and as a result, they either reduced their marketing budget or eliminated it.  

However, by severely cutting your marketing budget, you will miss out on one of the most significant opportunities to earn future customers!

Opportunity 1: People Are Online More Than Ever

Hootsuite, a popular social media management tool, recently did a survey that found the average person spends 6 hours and 42 minutes online every day. With the majority of Americans now spending more time at home, they inevitably are going to spend more time on their devices. This can potentially increase the amount of time they spend online by as much as 50%!  

The issue is, fewer people are looking to buy right now. So your marketing strategy needs to appeal to your potential customers that will need your product or service in the future.

Top of the sales funnel

When advertising to potential customers, you should consider their stage in the sales funnel. Potential customers at the top of your funnel usually haven’t heard of your product or aren’t very familiar with it. So the primary goal of marketing at the top of the funnel is brand awareness. Top-of-funnel marketing channels include traditional outreach like TV, radio, and billboards; and also generally-targeted digital banner ads, Facebook, and Instagram ads as well.  

Middle of the sales funnel

Potential clients that make it to the middle of your funnel have heard of your company or the product you sell, and they’re doing research, comparing you to your competitors. So the goal to reach potential clients in the middle of the sales funnel is to educate and persuade them – but not yet ask for the sale. Targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are great middle-of-funnel marketing channels enabling you to reach potential customers.

Bottom of the sales funnel

Finally, the bottom of the funnel is where someone is ready to purchase; they’ve done their research, and they are focused on getting the best deal—this where your company asks for the sale. Popular bottom-of-funnel channels include Google Search Ads and Bing Search Ads. Ads on these channels can appear when your potential customer is ready to buy based on their search query’s intent.

To make the most of your target audience spending more time on their devices, your marketing strategies must focus on building brand awareness at the top of your funnel and educating your potential customers in the middle of your funnel.   

Here’s a video we created that highlights this strategy:

Importance of building trust

No matter how you’re reaching your target audience, people prefer to do business with companies they trust. This is why focusing on top and middle of the sales funnel strategies is so important because once you’ve built trust, your marketing will produce more customers.  

As an example, Google “Los Angeles personal injury attorney,” click on a few of the Google Ads, then take a look at the websites those ads are promoting. Most of the sites won’t win any design awards, and yet those attorneys are gaining a lot of clients with Google Ads because they’ve taken the time to build trust among their target audience with top and middle of the funnel strategies.

What do you promote?

During the pandemic, people aren’t buying as many products or services right now. But they’re still online and still looking for ways to improve their lives and their careers.  

So to appeal to potential customers tastefully at the top of your sales funnel, consider the following strategy:

  1. Write a blog post or a new web page on how your industry is affected by COVID-19 and the specific steps people are taking.  
  2. Then create Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn ads around this blog post to inform your target audience, but not selling them. This could even become a series of blog posts, depending on how long the pandemic and its effects last. It could first discuss who/what is affected by the virus, and then, later blog posts could explain how your industry is recovering from it. 
  3. You will also want to install a remarketing pixel that enables you to stay in front of your potential customers throughout the sales funnel.
  4. Now that your audience is aware of your business, develop middle of your sales funnel ads (both static and video ads) that detail your company’s value, experience, some case studies, and further industry insights. The goal of these ads is to only appear to people that have seen your COVID-19 related ads and have read your content.  
  5. Over time, as your potential customers consume your content, your company will become an industry expert in their eyes.

Trust = New Customers

After three to six months of running your top-of-funnel and middle-of-funnel ads and reaching thousands of people multiple times with timely and helpful messaging, you’ve finally created some powerful brand awareness and trust.  

Then, once the COVID-19 pandemic has receded, you can then target all of these potential customers with bottom-of-funnel channels like Google Search & Bing Ads. These search ads will be even more effective because you’ve educated your potential clients, so they’re now aware of your product or service, they’ve already compared you against your competition, and many of them are ready to buy.

Opportunity 2: Thriving in Our New Reality

While economists’ opinions vary greatly on how quickly our economy will recover, many agree there will be a partial bounceback as people return to work. 

The issue is, the needs of your potential customers might have changed. Sure, they’re still price and value-conscious, but many of them won’t buy from your company unless you can prove you’ve taken all the proper health precautions to ensure their safety.  

Then once these precautions are installed, the next step is to “out-precaution” your competitors. Many of your customers will pay more for this increased level of vigilance.  

Like it or not, this is our new reality. This is also your biggest opportunity.

To date, most businesses have taken all of the necessary steps to ensure the health of their customers. Yet, very few of these companies have done a great job communicating this on their website and their marketing outreach. And still, even fewer of those businesses recognize the potential of their precaution protocol as a customer acquisition channel.

For these reasons above, it’s a great time to pivot your current marketing strategy to meet this current and future need.

Creating a Post-pandemic Marketing Strategy

For companies with an established marketing strategy, the good news is they don’t need to start over. And for companies without a plan in place, it’s the best time in the last 50 years to create a marketing strategy!

When companies hire us as their CMO (chief marketing officer), we always start with a competitor analysis and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to understand our clients’ services, products, values, goals, and competitors. So this will also be an excellent place for your company to begin, in light of our new economic realities.

After gaining a better understanding of how your company is positioning itself and where your competitors stand, it’s time to assess every available customer outreach channel to determine the best ways to convey your message.

There are twenty client acquisition channels to consider:

  1. Business development
  2. Referral programs
  3. Public relations
  4. Unconventional public relations
  5. Content marketing: blog posts, social media ads, display ads, video ads
  6. Search engine marketing: Google, Bing, and Yahoo ads
  7. Offline/traditional advertising: TV, radio, billboards, newspaper, direct mail, etc.
  8. SEO (search engine optimization)
  9. Email marketing/marketing automation
  10. Viral marketing
  11. Engineering as marketing (ex: creating lead capture forms)
  12. Hiring a sales force
  13. Blogger targeting
  14. Trade shows
  15. Offline events: meet up’s
  16. Swag products: branded promotional material 
  17. Webinars
  18. Influencer marketing: hiring a brand spokesperson
  19. Networking 
  20. Guerilla tactics

Here’s a more in-depth description of every customer acquisition channel.

When going through every channel, we create one to three ideas for each. Once they’ve been recorded, we grade them based on their ICE score, which rates the idea’s impact, confidence, and ease of implementation, on a scale of 1-10. The top-scoring ideas then become phase one of the new marketing strategy.

This pragmatic approach to growth requires a company’s stakeholders to all contribute to the formulation and ranking of each idea. It’s only when there’s complete buy-in by every department head that the best ideas can be identified and implemented.

After managing thousands of marketing campaigns and over $19m on the Facebook and Google advertising platforms, we’ve learned the hard way how to ensure a successful campaign. So by employing the same measures we use above, your business can be confidently positioned as a market leader in the new economy.

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Attorney Branding in 2020

It’s more difficult than ever to run a successful law firm. Attorneys must not only be experts in their specific field, but they must also excel with client intake, attorney marketing, and branding their firm. While many law firms are focusing on their client intake process and their advertising, the majority of attorneys neglect building their brand, which is a huge mistake.

Branding drives your law firm’s image, sets you apart from competitors, and often is responsible for your clients choosing your law office over other firms. So crafting an effective and innovative attorney branding strategy is one of the essential elements of running a law firm. 

What is Attorney Branding?

Your law firm’s brand is the overlap of your firm’s reputation in the legal field, and your brand promise to your clients. Your law firm’s brand is the foundation of your legal practice and includes your client outreach, law firm marketing plan, and your firm’s mission and values.

Whether you run an established firm or are just getting started, attorney branding can seem overwhelming. Yet, the right branding strategy can help you distinguish your legal practice and grow your client base. To succeed in the competitive market, you’ll need to implement powerful digital marketing strategies, experiment with innovative law firm marketing ideas, perfect your sales process, and track your business goals and metrics.

Building Your Law Firm’s Website

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Yet for the majority of attorneys, the first impression their website makes is a bad one!  

A bad website can cost the average personal injury attorney over $400,000 a year in lost cases. While some attorneys still don’t see their need for a great website, the majority of law firms understand the importance of an optimized site. The issue is, these law firms don’t know how to create a website that converts traffic into potential clients.

For an easy solution, many attorneys use legal website companies to create their site. These templated sites look professional, but they often use cheesy stock images and boilerplate content, resulting in a lackluster performance.  

Instead, your website should be a reflection of the value your firm provides. For example, when we designed the website for Freedman Law, we focused on two sustainable competitive advantages they have: 300+ Google reviews and $1.25B they’ve won for their clients. This info is located entirely above the fold of the website, meaning there’s enough information at the top of the site so that their potential clients don’t even have to scroll down. New content was created, and photos were taken for this website project, and since it launched, it’s converted an additional 35% of their site traffic into a phone call or email inquiry.

In addition to investing a lot of time and resources into your home page, your “About Us” page is usually the second-most popular page on a law firm’s website. Your “About Us” page should explain your mission/values and tell the story of your firm’s brand. This is important because potential clients make decisions emotionally, then they justify them rationally. That is why it’s crucial that your homepage and About Us page outlines your sustainable competitive advantage, your values, and your extensive experience.  

Additionally, add specific practice area pages that lists the legal services you offer and the type of law you practice, client testimonials, a blog, case studies, and a FAQ page to your website. Over time, create new content for your law firm’s website, such as videos, podcasts, and blog posts, to foster a relationship with potential new clients. 

Digital Marketing for Law Firms

With over 1.2 million lawyers in the United States, integrating digital marketing into your law firm marketing strategy can help you promote brand awareness, build a loyal client base, and differentiate yourself from the competition.

SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves optimizing your law firm website content and website design to help your website rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). When making your law firm website search engine-friendly, it’s crucial to consider numerous SEO strategies and best practices, including keywords, links, local SEO, and metadata. 

If you’re new to SEO, write each web page as if you’re talking to your target audience. This approach can help you create high-quality content and rank higher in organic search results. 

If your marketing budget allows, consider hiring a team of legal marketing experts to optimize your web design and help you create great content for website visitors. An experienced marketing company can help you create a mobile-friendly website design to optimize your website for mobile devices, build your brand identity, and take your SEO efforts to the next level by implementing a strategic SEO campaign.

PPC Ads

Pay per click advertising (PPC) like Google Ads, are online ads that attorneys pay for when potential clients click on them. These ads are very effective because they only appear when your specific keywords are searched. So when someone clicks on your PPC ad, they’re actively searching for your service.

When using PPC ads, one vital thing to remember is that ads should always link to a designated landing page associated with the specific ad. In other words, your landing page should match what the ad offers. For example, if your PPC campaign was for personal injury services and clicking on your ad sent potential clients to a page about estate planning, you risk losing the business of a new client looking for a personal injury lawyer.

Social Media Ads

There are two main channels to consider with social media: organic posting and using their advertising platform to reach potential clients. For the majority of law firms, posting consistently on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t create a lot of clients. This is mainly because your organic posts on Facebook typically appear to only 1% of your fanbase. And how many people that used a personal injury attorney or a criminal defense attorney, plan on using them again?

In other words, when it comes to social media for attorneys, forget about continually posting on social media. It’s almost a waste of time. Instead, focus on utilizing social media advertising platforms!

With the Facebook/Instagram advertising platform, you can target people based on age, demographics, where they work, and where they live, to name a few. And when these people click on your ad, they’re pushed from Facebook to your website! This is a great way to cost-effectively build your brand by reaching your target audience multiple times a month, with various content focused on your sustainable competitive advantage, your mission/values, and your expertise.

Attorneys that invest in branding like this find that these efforts improve the performance of their other advertising channels, since they’re building trust.

Legal Online Directories

Listing your law firm in online legal directories and local directories can help increase your law firm website’s search engine rankings and help you build credibility in your practice area. Listings in some directories are free, while other directories, like FindLaw, charge a fee to list yourself.

Google My Business

Attorneys should also create a Google My Business profile. With countless prospective clients using Google to search for attorneys over legal directories, creating a Google My Business account for your law firm can help increase your online presence. Keeping your profile updated, responding to online reviews, and adding an FAQ to your listing are great ways to boost your SEO, increase your visibility in SERPs, and build your reputation.

Email marketing

Email marketing campaigns can help law firms attract new leads and concurrently build a robust referral process. Whether you send updates about your firm, recent cases you’ve won, or various ways you’re giving back to your community, email marketing can help your firm make an impression on potential clients and generate referrals from past clients.

Guest blogging

This is another effective way to drive new business to your firm’s website. To start guest blogging, create a list of legal publications and blogs you’re interested in guest posting on, check the guest blogging policy, and apply to be a guest blogger. By doing this, it will help you build your website’s authority in Google’s eyes, and it builds credibility among your target audience. 

Client testimonials

Online reviews and testimonials are powerful SEO elements for attorneys. Although word-of-mouth referrals are essential to lead generation, many of your potential clients visit Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook to read reviews from former customers. Reviews from satisfied clients provide instant credibility and often result in new business.

Does Traditional Advertising Still Work?

Over the last ten years, digital marketing has taken the wind out of traditional advertising’s sails. Channels that were once very popular like billboards, TV commercials, radio, and newspaper ads, are now seen as expensive and not as targeted. Yet, while traditional advertising may have suffered, it is still a very effective way to reach a broad audience.  

For example, if you’re a personal injury attorney, your target audience is very general since people can get hurt at any age. This makes targeting them both easy and hard. On the digital marketing side, it’s impossible to predict when someone will get injured and need your services. Google Ads is a great way to get in front of people once they’re injured and are searching for your services, but these ads are very costly.  

This is why targeting a broad audience can be much easier by utilizing a traditional marketing channel like radio or a billboard. Sure, your ad appears to many people that do not need your services, yet, but over time, these kinds of traditional advertising channels build brand awareness and trust among your target audience.

While there’s pro’s and con’s to traditional and digital advertising, the most successful law firm’s use a combination of both methods of outreach to win more clients.

How to Measure Success

To measure the success of your marketing efforts, you must first define what KPIs (key performance indicators) you’ll be monitoring. The top KPIs are phone calls and emails from potential clients. But it’s essential to define other metrics of success that can lead to new clients, like dwell time (duration of time on site), where users clicked on your site (use Hotjar heatmaps for this), and how long they watched various videos on your website.

If you’re not sure where to start, use Google Analytics to track website visits, create SEO-specific goals that focus on increasing your page rank, and determine which type of content is trending on your website. 

Once these KPIs are determined and your marketing campaign has launched, you must review its performance on a weekly or biweekly basis. Keep in mind that your goals may change due to new service areas your firm offers, an increasing number of new leads, new relationships within the legal industry, and growing awareness of your law firm’s brand.

Converting Visitors into Clients

Digital and traditional marketing can help you attract potential clients, but that’s only half the battle. The most successful law firms have invested thousands of hours into perfecting their sales process. This process begins by educating people with their marketing messaging and is reflected across the entire client intake process, all the way until the case is settled. 

The Bottom Line

Crafting an effective legal marketing strategy and sales process takes time and effort, especially if you want to build a strong brand and distinguish your firm in the legal industry. If you don’t have the time or experience to devote to attorney branding, working with a professional SEO agency can help you achieve the best results. Whether you’re a new attorney or a partner in a large firm, an experienced marketing agency can help you navigate the branding process and create a strategic law firm marketing plan that ties into your sales process.

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Growing Your Bank’s Customers During (and After) COVID-19

It’s become increasingly harder for financial institutions to create and retain their customers. For example, due to the higher customer acquisition costs in the banking industry, it can take two or more years for the average bank or credit union to profit on a new customer/member. Adding to this complexity, once a new customer is created, it has become even harder to retain them over a two-year period. Here are some key banking retention statistics to consider:

  • Customer churn rates hover around 11%. Yet the annual churn rate on new customers hovers around 20–25% during the first year.
  • Banks spend approximately $200 to acquire a new customer, yet their average customer generates $150 in revenue annually.

A bank’s profitability is linked directly to their customer’s lifetime value—the longer the customer relationship, the higher the chance the customer will become profitable. But with nearly one-quarter of new customers closing their accounts and more than one in 10 current customers defecting to another financial institution, a significant attrition problem exists in the banking industry today. 

So, how can you drive new business while retaining customers?

Importance of Customer Loyalty

Customer satisfaction is a measure of how products and services provided by a company meet or exceed customers’ expectations. Customer satisfaction signifies how much customers “like” your financial institution and how happy they are with your products and services. On the other hand, customer loyalty is determined by the degree of a customer’s intention to recommend your bank to others and continue investing in products and services.

Customer loyalty is more difficult to earn than customer satisfaction, as it requires regularly exceeding your customers’ expectations. Consequently, not all banks can successfully earn customer loyalty. Ultimately, failing to prioritize customer loyalty can lead to customer churn and lost profits. To keep customer retention rates high, banks must search for opportunities to foster customer loyalty.

Issues With Tracking Customer Retention

Monitoring hidden defections can help banks distinguish loyal customers from satisfied customers. A standard defection is when a customer closes all of their accounts at your bank or credit union and leaves for another financial institution. A hidden defection is where customers simply leave their existing accounts open, but open a new account at a different bank or credit union. Hidden defections make customer attrition challenging to manage and highlight the importance of customer retention optimization—but what’s the best tactic to detect if your customers are considering defecting?

Many financial institutions are unaware of the extent of their customer retention issues because of blind spots in their retention efforts. Banks track client exits, which are the most visible form of attrition because they’re easy to monitor. Yet this approach doesn’t account for hidden defections that comprise the majority of customer attrition.

Hidden defections might not match the traditional definition of customer attrition, but the impact on your bottom line is still the same. Whether new users stop using their account, open a new account at a different credit union, or purchase financial services from another institution, the net result is the same. 

The good news is that banks and credit unions can reverse attrition and increase customer retention rates by studying their customer behavior and investing time and resources into customer relationship management.

Give Your Members a Reason to Stay

To keep customer retention high and attrition low, it’s imperative to find out what customers are at the highest risk of defecting and give them a reason to stay.

1. Find out when customers leave. Use customer data to track the customer journey from customer acquisition to departure to find out what point customers leave during the onboarding process. Analyzing when loyal customers depart can help you craft a customer retention strategy to target their pain points during the onboarding process and once they become a customer.

2. Predict which customers might leave. Apply predictive analytics to determine which customers are at the highest risk of defecting. Next, focus your customer retention strategy toward loyal customers who have a high customer lifetime value but are at risk of defecting. Can you move high-risk customers into new features or services like online bill pay, debit cards, freebies, or a customer loyalty program?

The best way to craft an effective customer retention strategy is to consider the following attributes of your existing customers: 

  • Length of relationship with your bank or credit union
  • Log of credit union visits, customer service phone calls, or live chat interactions
  • Types of financial products and cards owned, i.e., home mortgages, debit cards
  • Customer behavior, average order value, and transaction histories across multiple channels
  • Automatic payment, online bill pay, and web-based channel usage

Customer Retention Strategies for Banks

Members used to think that switching primary banks was a time-consuming, inconvenient task. Yet, according to Accenture, this perception has changed. Today, millennials believe switching banks isn’t as challenging as it used to be. 

So here are five ways to gain more members during and after the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Start a newsletter email campaign. Encouraging customer interactions beyond branch visits can have a significant impact on the success of your customer retention program. Email marketing can help your bank foster long-term customer relationships. Newsletters also show long-time customers that you appreciate their business, and can build the goodwill needed to obtain referrals.

In your email newsletter, consider discussing industry trends, best practices for banking safety, or new features. Additionally, link to your social media profiles and send out quarterly customer satisfaction surveys.

You can segment your email recipient list based on the specific services your members are receiving. This approach allows you to create much more targeted content, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Many banks utilize a CRM to manage customer interactions.  These CRMs also allow financial institutions to design the e-blasts, segment their recipient list, and monitor the campaign’s effectiveness.

2. Send out customer satisfaction surveys. Customer surveys can significantly influence your bottom line by collecting valuable insights about customer behavior. By requesting customer feedback through customer satisfaction surveys, banks can:

  • Analyze customer behavior and user experience
  • Achieve an accurate understanding of overall customer experience
  • Identify and resolve urgent issues and weaknesses in the customer journey
  • Evaluate loyalty and customer satisfaction
  • Identify your customers with a high customer lifetime value (i.e., promoters who are likely to provide referrals)
  • Obtain valuable insights to improve new products and services

Capturing customer feedback is essential to reassess your institution’s best practices and determine how market and competitor developments are changing customer behavior and their expectations. 

Customer surveys can be helpful to capture unbiased customer reviews like whether fees or a lack of customer support may influence user experience (micro-level). Or whether a large number of customers complain about specific customer issues or subscription services (macro-level). With customer satisfaction surveys, customer success teams can pinpoint the most pressing retention threats to provide a better customer experience.

High customer satisfaction not only increases customer retention but also promotes customer engagement and increases your average customer’s lifetime value. When customer satisfaction is high, customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, post online reviews, and refer your financial institution to others.

3. Go the extra mile to provide value. In an Accenture customer survey, almost half (45%) of all respondents reported they would remain loyal to their bank if their institution offered them discounted financial services or products. Customer retention improves when customers are given a wide range of discounts and incentives on travel, auto loans, and home goods, 

So your customer retention strategy should offer discounts and freebies to expand your membership and reduce your churn rate.  

However, banking institutions often find it challenging to get customers to sign up or use loyalty programs. Approximately two-thirds (67%) of existing bank customers do not participate in rewards programs or loyalty programs offered by their primary bank. Because five out of six consumers don’t know that their bank provides a customer loyalty program in the first place, customer relationship management is the first step to optimizing customer retention and promoting customer acquisition.

4. Offer robust mobile services. According to a recent Bain & Company case study, banking customers who are frequent mobile users are 40% less likely to switch banks than the average customer. Mobile banking can have a significant impact on customer experience and loyalty, making mobile banking an excellent way for banks to reduce churn and encourage brand loyalty.

Mobile apps create strong relationships between banks and customers. Banks should aim at making their mobile app a valuable tool to help customers meet their financial goals. For example, banks can add a personal touch by providing customer support with routine banking needs, eliminating the need for a branch visit. When banks introduce mobile apps with new features that assist with reaching personal savings goals and monitor purchase frequency, customers feel satisfied and respected. Combined with friendly user experience, banking automation is a powerful tool in bank customer retention.

While most banking mobile apps group purchases into specific categories (bills, groceries, etc.), banks should help customers track purchase frequency, track vital metrics, and provide valuable insights into spending habits. To retain loyal customers, banks should help them track their long-term financial goals with a mobile app. Otherwise, banks risk increased customer churn, as customers may opt for a bank that provides superior financial services.

5. Focus on delivering a better customer experience. It’s essential to prioritize user experience to ensure long-term customer relationships. Make customer support and excellent customer service your bank’s principal focus. Adjust your sales, customer service, and marketing strategies based on customer feedback. Craft a retention strategy that focuses on offering customers a better understanding of how your bank’s products and services can meet their financial goals.

Great Banking Experience = More Profit

The banking industry has a unique set of challenges in the area of customer defection. So developing customer retention strategies based on user behavior will help financial institutions provide meaningful and effortless banking experiences. In turn, industry data is showing that this kind of improved experience will drastically improve retention rates and lead to increased profitability. 

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Attorneys Win More Clients With SEO and Content Marketing

Advertising on Google can get very expensive, especially for attorneys. It’s not uncommon for lawyers to pay over $100 for one click on a Google Ad! And on top of that, a Google Ad is only ‘renting’ space at the top of Google. So once you reach your daily allotment of clicks, your ad disappears until the next day.

It’s a costly reality. So the goal of many law firms is to stop paying for ad clicks and start investing in an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy to rank on page one of Google.

Sure, investing in SEO can also be costly, but it’s often much less expensive than Google Ads and it can be more effective. For example, your investment in an SEO strategy and you eventually rank on page one of Google for the search ‘personal injury attorney.’ Depending on the size of your geographic area, this search can produce 300+ organic clicks to your website in one month. Assuming one personal injury-related Google Ad click costs $100, the monthly value of this SEO campaign is over $30,000!

The internet offers an extensive Rolodex of qualified legal services? unfortunately, many of those services get lost in the back pages. So how do you ensure your website lands at the top? A good, strategic SEO strategy can be the answer to landing your law firm’s website and not your competitor’s on the first page of Google’s search results.

Prospective clients turn to Google, Bing, and other popular search engines to ask specific questions, such as: What is my case worth? Will my personal injury case go to trial? What happens if I’m partially at fault for a car accident? Should I hire a personal injury lawyer? Who’s the best attorney near me?

When your target audience searches for information related to your law firm’s services, will they find your law firm’s website? If you integrate an onsite and offsite SEO strategy designed to respond to these questions, they eventually will.

For Attorneys, Rank Is Critical

If your law firm ranks on page one for specialty-specific target keywords like ‘dog bite attorney’ or ‘workers comp lawyer’, you will drive more organic traffic and increase your website traffic to attract new leads. The goal is to prove to Google that your firm is the most relevant search result for the specific searches that are the most important to you. When clients ask Google for legal advice, your page should be the one that answers their questions best.

For example, SEO strategy utilizes relevant keywords within the content of your website to increase the quantity of organic search traffic Google sends to your website. SEO can directly help your law firm’s website improve its ranking for target keywords and place your practice areas, landing pages, and blog posts in front of your target audience. This is all without paying for Google and Facebook ads for new clients.

The Benefits of SEO for Law Firms

Since law firms are in one of the most competitive, locally-based industries, many law practices fall into the trap of investing a lot – sometimes too much – money into PPC advertising like Google Ads and Facebook ads. While this method can bring businesses to the first page temporarily, it’s more effective in the long run to focus on optimizing your website to organically rank for your specific keywords.

Unlike Google Ads, search engine optimization involves creating high-quality content designed to help your target audience. This will allow you to rank for your desired keywords and just as importantly, you’ll be positioned as an expert in your field based on the advice and insight you provide.

Practicing SEO can take a lot of time, leading many firms to seek out the services of an SEO digital marketing agency. A team of digital marketing professionals with specific experience in legal marketing can provide you with a detailed audit while helping you set specific goals for your personal injury practice. They can also and maximize your ROI (return on investment) and conversion rate by connecting you to your ideal clients.

Getting a Head Start

The best way to understand how SEO works is to think like Google for one second.  If a new law firm just launches their website, will Google want to list it on page one?  Of course not! Their website has only had a handful of people on it and their are 100+ other attorney websites in the same area that have had thousands of people on their website.  

Google rewards relevancy so whether you have a new website or an established one, it’s your job to prove to Google that you belong on page one. So here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Google’s goal is to provide specific, relevant answers to searchers’ queries.
  • Google uses an algorithm to index billions of web pages and selects the results deemed most relevant to the query.
  • Google ranks organic search results by the popularity and authority of each website.

Consequently, a powerful SEO strategy must focus on improving your website’s relevance, authority, and credibility level among potential clients. The first thing to do is set up a Google My Business (GMB) account to list your law firm as a local listing. 

Listing your legal practice as a local business influences the kind of results your law firm shows up for and allows your business to rank higher for local searches. Snippets of information such as online reviews – along with your law firm’s email address, phone number, and other contact information – will appear there.

The next step is to ask past clients for online reviews on both Google and Yelp. Whether you’re a small firm or a bigger personal injury firm, online reviews and testimonials carry a lot of weight in search results, as they can help you perform higher in local SERPs (search engine results pages). 

According to a 2018 survey by Moz, positive reviews can also help you perform better in local SEO. For better results, strategically ask your clientele for reviews at the right place and the right time.

SEO and Content Marketing

To attract more potential new clients to your law practice, you need to implement both a powerful SEO and content marketing strategy. Marketing for personal injury lawyers requires upping your game to the next level by:

  • Optimizing landing pages and FAQs for target keywords
  • Offering a smartphone-and tablet-friendly web design
  • Incorporating high-quality backlinks and citations
  • Creating relevant content worth finding

What Makes a Powerful Strategy

Digital marketing and content marketing work like peanut butter and jelly. One without the other, especially for law firms, is only a half effort. To enhance your strategy and achieve the best results, improve your search engine rankings, and broaden your online presence, high-quality content is necessary.

Regularly post relevant, new content on your legal website and across social media platforms like LinkedIn and your firm’s Facebook page. In addition to social media marketing and posting content on your new website, a quarterly email newsletter or an email marketing campaign are effective ways to stay on the mind of past clients and earn new referrals. Over the last seven years of hundreds of attorney marketing campaigns, we’ve proven that 80% of new clients Don’t even come from marketing, but from referrals.

An effective content marketing campaign will improve your credibility, build public relations and establish rapport with potential clients, and provide a boost in search engine results. Optimized content that showcases your expertise in the legal profession can help your landing pages and target keywords rank higher in search engine results, allowing you to genuinely connect with prospective clients.

Relevance and Specificity

Google operates by identifying the intent of every search. An example of an informational search might be, ‘What does a personal injury attorney do’? A solution-based search would sound something like, ‘Personal injury attorney near me.’ If your law practice provides direct answers to these queries, it could give your legal website an advantage at the top of Google’s search results page.

When combined with relevant content discussing how to choose a personal injury attorney, which is more high-intent, you can strengthen your marketing strategy and connect with new clients at all stages of your sales funnel.

Major Takeaways

Search engine optimization is the best long-term solution to gain new clients as long as you provide relevant (and well-structured) content that answers prospective client’s legal questions.

Also, by measuring your organic search results with tools like Google Analytics, you can refine and improve your online marketing strategy. By pairing SEO with an effective content marketing strategy, you can directly improve your search engine visibility, attract qualified leads, and build your firm’s credibility as a leader in your area of law.

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Using a CRM in the Banking Industry

When you sit down to brainstorm marketing strategies for your bank, chances are you cycle through some of the same tactics that left your institution feeling stale in the first place. You can’t blame yourself. For years, the customer banking experience reflected what banks represented: generic sign-up incentives, stuffy gray offices, and financial stress.

Now, banking customers are savvier and much more willing to personalize their banking experience. The digital age has pushed the industry forward, giving marketing teams every opportunity to keep the evolution feeling fierce and fresh.

One way to further push this personalized experience is to invest in a solid CRM strategy. A great CRM can work to finesse your relationship with your customers and their ever-changing needs. The CRM can pull and manage data that will inform you what your people want and when.

A great way to see your customer’s needs through is to find a solid CRM strategy that can respond to shifting dynamics in a way that feels immediate, relevant, and personal.

Using a CRM

Customer Relationship Management sounds straightforward enough, but sometimes changing dynamics within your customer base make identifying a clear strategy challenging. In the banking industry especially, the client’s needs are always changing. A customer’s employment status, where he or she lives, or whether or not he or she is inclined to bank in-person or on mobile may cause banking needs to fluctuate. Loyalty to a specific bank is rare, and many times, customers use different banks for different services.

A solid CRM strategy responds to these shifting dynamics. It can identify where there are holes in communication between your bank and your customer base, and fill needs that may be currently missed. For example, if your bank offers excellent rates and lending terms but doesn’t do its job communicating these terms to your audience, the point is lost. There is a lot of information on the Internet, so above all, people want to trust you.

Staying on the same page as your customers will keep you informed about what their needs are. When you step in to feel those needs, the customers will feel cared for. This feeling leads to higher customer retention which leads to loyalty.

Before you get the warm fuzzies, challenge your team to a step back and look at where your cash is going. If it’s going into advertising, stop. The key to an improved customer relationship in this digital era isn’t in advertisements, in but personalized communication, reliable customer service, and engaging leads.

The heart of CRM is the response customers give your business. Like any successful relationship, the flow of communication goes both ways. If you give better service, you will receive loyalty. If you offer incentives, you will gain clients. And most importantly, if you smile, they will smile back. 

Curious as to how a CRM system could bring your financial institution to the next level? Here are a few of our favorite benefits:

  • Customer Satisfaction and Retention
  • An Efficient Inbound Marketing Strategy
  • Increased Productivity

Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Especially for local businesses, the marketing strategy we can’t stress enough is to keep and maintain a relationship with your existing members. (This is why it’s essential to have a referral strategy.)

Customer outreach can be done through email marketing and a few well-thought-out Facebook or Instagram advertising campaigns. A CRM system makes it easier to keep tabs on your customers’ communications with your credit union or community bank.

An Efficient Inbound Marketing Strategy

Have you ever heard someone say: “It’s like the blind are leading the blind”? Without a CRM (or analytics software or another way to gather data) this is the best way to describe your current inbound marketing strategy. A CRM system gives you the power to see which strategies are working and which aren’t.

In addition to seeing where your leads are coming from, CRM software allows credit unions and community bank owners to sort customers based on specific factors such as age, interests, gender, etc. (How else are you going to reach millennials?) 

Using this information, you can create customized marketing materials for each customer who walks through your door, whether that means coming up with a witty social media post, crafting a blog, sending out a newsletter, or adding a variety of keywords to the backend of your website.

Increased Productivity

Financial institutions that use a CRM system also see higher staff productivity and increased sales. (How’s that bottom line looking now?) Having easy access to customer data up-front helps tellers work quickly and efficiently, while also providing better customer service.

Three top banking CRM vendors to research: 

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 CRM for banks features an elaborate customer view profile that includes account and interaction history, profitability, banking preferences, and other individualized tracking. The goal is to create a clear customer picture by pulling from as much specific data as possible. The system also helps project a sales forecast by identifying patterns in repeat sales. The forecast can help identify an ideal time for a promotion or product launch.

Pega CRM

Pega is ranked as one of the best CRMs for banks because of its elegant analytics system. It processes customer data and generates forward-thinking next steps to take with each customer. The platform is also customizable with basic coding, so marketing teams can tackle some support on their own. Pega automatically generates the code that will make your CRM customizable to how you want it. Pega also offers Better Business software that can make the client onboarding more in-depth and efficient.

SugarCRM 

SugarCRM is most lauded for its customization capabilities, and has both on-premise and cloud accessibilities. The secure system is especially beneficial to banks, as they know your client (KYC) master data management (MDM), and advanced analytics systems help drive choices by context. It is also friendly to a myriad of devices for client-facing employees to utilize.

In this age, it’s critical to take advantage of where customers are doing their finances: online. Utilizing digital marketing from chatbots to digital financial service to features that are friendly to mobile devices will warrant a faster and more approachable customer-service strategy. Your younger audience will thank you for the easy-to-access mobile offerings.

Throw It Back To Traditional Banking

When you hear the term “traditional bank,” maybe you are taken back to your childhood. You may remember running down the street to brick-and-mortar locations with your parents, seeing a friendly teller with a hot pot of coffee and a bowl full of lollipops. Or if you are one of the Baby Boomers, maybe you become nostalgic for the days when your kids were young.

The truth is, in the digital age of the financial industry, the model isn’t that different. Digital experiences can be just as personal if you know how to work them. Clever blog posts, personal copywriting, and strategic Vimeo videos can hook and retain your audience.

Let’s face it: Big data shows that many people are suspicious of big banking, mega insurance companies, and federal credit unions. Ease their concerns with a content marketing strategy that makes your folks feel at home.

Leverage Your Marketing With Attention to Detail 

Figuring out how to design a solid marketing strategy takes time. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the grand scheme of things, set actionable goals one task at a time. A strong CRM implementation can help answer these goals by streamlining your marketing process, making your life easier and more organized. The customer experience drastically improves when the customer feels listened to and responded to.

If your marketing department is still feeling a little weary about implementing brand-new tech into your marketing strategy, don’t worry. Banking is an industry where successful marketing ideas Don’t run dry? everyone needs a bank. Finding digital growth is about harnessing what makes your business uniquely resonate with people. With a few personalized strategies, leveraged by an effective CRM, your marketing efforts won’t go in vain.

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What’s Your Marketing Secret Sauce?

The term ‘secret sauce’ was originally coined by Jack in the Box in the early 1980’s as a way to distinguish their flappy fast food burgers from their competition.  While their mix of mayonnaise, mustard, and chili sauce (oops, I think I just gave it away!) may have increased sales, fast forward 30 years and the term ‘secret sauce’ is more often used to describe what makes a company unique.

So What’s Nettra Media’s marketing secret sauce? 

Simply put: as a marketing agency, we Don’t rely on paid advertising to create explosive growth for our clients.  This is a big statement for us since we’re the most established Google Partner & Facebook Partner in Central California.  But more importantly, this is a huge paradigm shift since 98% of all marketing agencies scale in two ways: paid ads and billable design hours.

The issue with a typical marketing agency approach is twofold:

  1. Advertising never comprises more than 30% of a business? new customers.
  2. The majority of a company’s new customers come from referrals, business development strategies, and other non-advertising sources.

The current advertising agency (or marketing agency) business model can really help businesses that already have a marketing strategy in place since they’re asking the agency to carry out specific client acquisition tactics like SEO (search engine optimization), Google Ads, Facebook Ads, social media posting, or web design.

Yet many companies spending thousands of dollars on Google Ads have not spent a dime on creating a dynamic referral process.  This blows our minds since this kind of referral system can easily outproduce the best marketing campaign on Google!

Every business knows it’s usually 20% of their customers that comprise 80% of their business, and yet they have very few business development strategies aimed at creating more relationships like these. 

So to create scalable growth, we started developing non-advertising-related strategies that not only worked but outproduced a typical advertising campaign by up to 3X, creating millions of dollars of new business for our clients, above and beyond the performance of any advertising campaign.

This realization led us to develop one of most growth-centered approaches of any marketing agency within California.

We’re a marketing agency to some of our clients

As the most established Google & Facebook Partner in Central California, creating new customers with digital media comes pretty easy to us. So some of our clients that already have marketing and client acquisition strategies in place, hire us as a traditional marketing agency to fulfill specific tactics like SEO, Google & Facebook Ads, and email marketing, to name a few.  We love these relationships and are experts at scaling companies through these tactics.

We’re also an Outsourced CMO if you need big growth

To help companies create big growth, it requires us to wear the hat of an outsourced CMO (chief marketing officer). The CMO approach gives us greater visibility into a company’s customer acquisition channels, their business development outreach, and similar strategies with the goal of developing/refining new methods of outreach, their implementation, execution, and optimization.  In other words, as an outsourced CMO we become our clients? growth partner, focused on increasing the lifetime value of their customers and also decreasing the cost of acquiring customers.

Marketing summit

The success of our outsourced CMO service is reliant upon gathering as much relevant data as possible, understanding the client’s organization, services, goals, and competition.  Then we outline all of the potential customer acquisition channels and with the client in the room, we hold a series of meetings we refer to as the Marketing Summit. 

In our Marketing Summit, we come up with a viable idea for all 20 client acquisition channels, and then we rate each idea based on its impact, confidence of its success, and its ease of implementation.  The top scoring ideas then become the basis of a phased marketing plan.

For more insight, here’s an outline of our Marketing Summit:

WEEK 1

Getting to Know You (and your Competition):

  • Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis
  • Nettra will access your digital presence before this first meeting and we’ll review the findings
  • Nettra will perform a competitor analysis before this first meeting and we’ll review the findings

WEEK 2

Focus on Acquisition Channels:

  • Cover 10 to 15 of the customer acquisition channels, create an idea for each

WEEK 3

Finish Acquisition Channels, then Rate Ideas:

  • Complete the remaining acquisition channels
  • Rate each idea (from 1-10) based on it’s impact, our confidence in its success, and it’s ease of implementation
  • Sort the top ideas into Phases 1 & 2  of the marketing plan

WEEK 4

Present Details and next steps for Phase 1 of the Marketing Strategy:

  • Nettra will take the findings from Week 3 and do the research before this last meeting to determine what roles Nettra and client will play, and the costs associated for each client acquisition channel we’ll initially target
  • For each channel, we’ll determine performance goals to gauge success

Our clients love the Marketing Summit because it helps them strategically allocate their marketing budgets instead of copying the marketing of their competitors or hopping on the newest trends.

In our experience, simply spending a lot of money on digital media will never produce substantial growth.  The key in successfully scaling a business is uncovering the levers of growth that are often hidden within the product or service itself, then optimizing the product offering so that your customers will rip it out of your hands.

So by gathering the above data over a series of meetings, coming up with customer acquisition ideas and rating each idea with the clients in the room, we create a concrete foundation to scale future growth. 

20 client acquisition channels

There are many ways to create clients, but we’ve invested thousands of hours to identify 

every client acquisition channel and we’ve listed them below:

  1. Business development
  2. Referral programs
  3. Public relations
  4. Unconventional public relations
  5. Content marketing: social media ads, display & video ads
  6. Search engine marketing ads (Google, Bing, Yahoo)
  7. Offline / traditional advertising (TV, radio, billboards, newspaper, direct mail, etc.)
  8. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  9. Email marketing / marketing automation 
  10. Viral marketing
  11. Engineering as marketing (creating lead capturing platforms)
  12. Hiring a sales force
  13. Blog targeting
  14. Trade shows
  15. Offline events (like organizing a meetup) 
  16. Swag products (branded promotional material)
  17. Webinars
  18. Influencer marketing (hiring a brand spokesperson)
  19. Networking
  20. Guerilla tactics

The truth

Your potential customers are out there! You can target them, reach them, and even engage them, but that doesn’t mean they become your clients.  

Companies that take the time to develop, implement, and optimize their marketing strategy will keep winning new customers.

The businesses that continue to market like their competition, spending thousands of dollars on advertising without investing any resources in other client acquisition channels, will continue to lose customers and market share. 

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The Most Powerful Marketing Concept You Keep Ignoring

What’s the most misunderstood, underutilized and even ignored concept in online marketing?

Data-driven analysis

Marketers tend to want to spend all their brainpower of generating killer strategies and ideas, designing brilliant marketing automation, and writing hooky ads. But if you don’t analyze before you create, you’re wasting your money.

In some ways, it’s the oldest problem in marketing. Claude Hopkins, the father of modern advertising, railed against ‘creative’ ads with no analysis behind them a century ago. 

And yet the problem persists in the modern, online age. Even though analysis tools are more powerful than anything Uncle Claude ever dreamed of!

So what does data-driven analysis look like for a business?  Well, it varies a bit based on each situation but here’s how we typically attack it:

  • Analyze user data, Google Analytics, and advertising data to uncover the service or product’s actual aha moment (instead of its assumed aha moment) 
  • Uncover opportunities by analyzing competitor data
  • Utilize surveys to gain deeper insights since data often creates more questions than it answers

Data-Driven Analysis in the Real World

For example, an ag tech company that builds cloud-based drip irrigation software hired us to increase their user base to gain user data and to ultimately increase their retention. 

So, instead of leading with a popular growth hack that’s helped similar startups, we first committed to analyzing their data and making relationships between KPI-based data points they never analyzed.

We followed this following sequence: We reviewed their Google Analytics data and current/past user data to establish their baseline KPI metrics, and compared them to the metrics they were using.

  1. We reviewed their Google Analytics data and current/past user data to establish their baseline KPI metrics, and compared them to the metrics they were using.
  2. We lined up the KPIs for each segment of their product suite, then analyzed the lifetime value of each segment against its specific cost per acquisition.  
  3. We loaded all the data into Microsoft’s PowerBI platform to visualize the trends between these previously separate data sets.

Results That Changed Their Business 

From this we noticed a correlation between their highest-valued organic traffic visiting their most underperforming product segment. This opened their eyes because this product was primarily viewed as a value-add to the main product offering. The data also suggested they were spending the majority of their time promoting the segment that appeared to make the most revenue but to their surprise had the highest cost per acquisition when factoring in the year-long sales cycle; it also had the highest churn rate! This data confirmed the fears of the founders that something was wrong but they couldn’t put their finger on it.

Spotting this trend enabled them to pivot their business by focusing on the value add product to build initial interest, build loyalty, then focus on up-selling their customers into higher tiers of their service.  

The results have been staggering over the past year:

  • 5x client base
  • 68% of clients upgrade to higher tier
  • Churn is down 58% YOY (year-over-year)
  • Retention rate has also improved by 73% YOY 

All of this before one creative ad was ever written.

Growth Hacking For the Win

By the way, it turns out had we started our relationship with this company with that popular marketing tactic that works with many of our clients, they might have gone out of business! That specific hack focuses on acquiring real-time user data from Facebook mixed with grabbing competitor data. Then modeling the competition’s ads and beat them to the punch with a more compelling product, pitch, placement, and price. It works almost all of the time. Yet had we begun our service with this hack, our client might have gone out of business by now because their burn rate was outpacing their sales cycle and they were unaware of it.

This is where businesses waste a ton of time and money: instead of doing the work themselves, they implement tactics and growth hacks that worked for similar companies and get limited results, at best. 

Key Takeaways: 

  1. Aggregate their data (user data, analytics, marketing, surveys, create new data utilizing Facebook)
  2. Create and prioritize numerous tests that can be continuously run
  3. Focus this effort on your entire customer funnel: activation, acquisition, referrals, monetization 

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Cutting Through the Marketing Noise

I subscribe to the law of contrary public opinion… If everyone thinks one thing, then I say, bet the other way…  -Al Pacino as salesman Tony Roma from Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) 

Your greatest enemy as a marketer is not your competition. it’s not the economy. it’s not even the IRS.  

it’s noise.

If your marketing message doesn’t cut through the noise, it will be lost. Notice I didn’t say ignored. Nor did I say considered and dismissed. But lost. It will evaporate into the ether without ever being heard or seen.  It will be drowned out by the incessant din of all the other marketing noise being blared at your potential prospects. All day. Every minute.  

So, your job as a marketer is to figure out the best way to cut through the noise.

And the worst thing you can do is to blow your trumpet in the same band as 97 other trumpets and expect to be heard.

Here’s what I mean.

If you decide to advertise on Facebook just because a similar startup did it and got 100 shares, you’re probably wasting your time and money.

Be Everywhere Your Competition Isn’t

What’s the alternative? Be where your competition is not blaring their horn, and make your best prospects believe you are EVERYWHERE.

Let’s talk about that first one. Be where your competition is not blaring their horn.

I attended a big marketing seminar a few weeks ago. And one very successful marketer explained how he had spent a fortune on:

  • Facebook and got thousands of clicks but no conversions
  • Google Ads and broke even on his CPA (cost per acquisition) 
  • Email lists and made a few sales but not enough to create any lift

Then he hit the jackpot. And raked in a ton of quality leads that converted at high profitability.

What was the traffic source?

Full-page newspaper advertisements!

That’s so old school that it’s downright embarrassing, right?

Revenue > Channel

Just like owning an iPhone 10 instead of a Samsung Note, many marketers have their preferences of marketing channels.  When the conversions on Facebook and Google decrease by 25% YOY, the majority of marketers won’t even question the validity of those two channels.  Instead they’ll focus on their CRO (conversion rate optimization) tactics. Almost like there’s some t-shirt they’re gunning for that says I created a 40% Lift in Sales on Facebook, and All I Got Was This Lousy Shirt.  

The problem is that t-shirt doesn’t exist (yet) and the market doesn’t care what channel you used to find product market fit and create a substantial lift.  The only thing that matters is that you figured out how to do it, regardless of the channel (yes, even a newspaper ad)!

Now, newspaper readers may not be your target demographic. But what other advertising media are you overlooking because it’s not trendy? Or because ‘nobody else is doing it.’

Are you thinking like everyone else? Or are you looking for advertising media your competition has overlooked?

How do you start Cutting Through the Noise?

You first must stop wasting your money and time marketing and start looking at your data:

  • Customer data in your CRM
  • Google Analytics
  • Competition data
  • User surveys

Then based on your data, create a series of hypothesis-based tests about your customers. Center these tests around:

  1. How you acquire clients
  2. Various methods to get from a ‘Freemium’ client into a paying one
  3. Creating referral incentives
  4. Ways to get your existing clients to purchase more services   

Once you’ve determined the kinds of tests you’d like to run, now you’ve got to figure out what channels can reach your prospects where your competition is not blowing their horn. Below are some channels we’ve used in the past to help our clients gain traction:

  • YouTube
  • Webinars
  • Pinterest
  • Seminars
  • Twitter
  • User groups
  • Phone
  • Skype
  • Podcasts
  • Email / marketing automation
  • Newspaper
  • Catalogs
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Books
  • Direct mail
  • Games
  • Radio

By experimenting on various channels, you’ll gain market share on your competition that’s busy duking it out on Google & Facebook, and more importantly, you’ll uncover new customers at a lower CPA!

What are some ways you’ve cut through the noise in your industry and gained significant traction?

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How Well Do You Know Your Clients?

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I Don’t know which half.

-John Wanamaker, advertising and marketing pioneer

This quote gets dropped around marketing circles all the time. Wanamaker lived back in the nineteenth century when determining which HALF of your marketing was wasted was a difficult proposition.

So how has Wanamaker’s quote remained relevant 100 years later? Because advertising has always lacked one essential thing: feedback systems

The feedback systems available to marketers at that time were slow and inaccurate. And the ones that did exist were often ignored by marketers. Why because they thought ‘Getting your name out there’ was more important than testing and tracking.

And the situation hasn’t improved much since Wanamaker’s day because many marketers still refuse to build one of the most powerful feedback mechanisms into their sales funnels: Surveys.

Surveys Help Build Marketing into Your Product

Dropbox owes much of its early growth to surveys.  They asked ‘How disappointed would you be if Dropbox went away today?  40% of the respondents said they would be EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED which indicated they had a very loyal user base.  This lead them to create one of the most successful SAAS referral systems to date.  

At the time, Dropbox was using AWS (Amazon Web Services) for their cloud storage service and they had a ton of excess space.  So by creating a referral program that rewarded their users by increasing their storage space, both Dropbox and their customers got what they wanted: 

  • Their customer’s eyes bugged out when they referred Dropbox to their friends to get up to 32gbs of storage.
  • Dropbox won because this excess storage space within AWS didn’t cost them anything extra. 

As a result of the program, their customer’s LTV (lifetime value) substantially increased and their CPA (cost per acquisition) went down.  This opened up many new advertising channels for Dropbox which put them on the fasttrack for world domination.

And it all started with a survey.

it’s All About Creating Feedback Loops

Surveys are one of the simplest but most profound feedback mechanisms available to you as a marketer. Savvy marketers SHOULD always be gauging their clients? satisfactions and dissatisfactions with their product or service.

Do they love it? If not, what don’t they love? How would they like it changed so they will love it? And once we get them to love it, how do we get them to refer others?

Yes, many of these questions are basic but I find the majority of marketers commit the sin of thinking they know their audiences inside and out.  You may know your audiences better than anyone else in your company but your audiences likes and dislikes are a fickle thing that changes more than we’d like to admit.  So surveys are a great way of aggregating real-time data to optimize your customer’s experience as well as minimizing the steps your potential customers take to discover your product’s aha moment.

Have you had a lot of success utilizing surveys?  I’d love to hear a few questions you use to illicit some great responses!

Tip:
As we’ve helped businesses gain product market fit and scale growth hacking protocols, we’ve used four to five different surveying tools.  All of them have pros and cons but for my money (partly because it’s awesome and free), Typeform is hard to beat.  Btw, we’re not compensated by them in any way, this is a true recommendation! 🙂

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How Negative Reviews Help Your Business

Handling negative reviews isn’t scary, difficult, or pointless. it’s a critical task that you should take very seriously. (Sorry to add to your to-do list.)

If you’re in business, chances are that you have more happy customers than unhappy ones. However, happy customers are less likely to leave a review online. When people have a bad experience, they are 21% more likely to leave a review than if the experience was a good one. 

Chalk it up to tribe mentality: humans are simply trying to protect others from having something bad happen to them too. 

In one study, researchers found that 86% of the respondents said their buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. Yikes!

So how can negative reviews possibly help your business? Read on to learn how to turn any negative review into a great opportunity. 

Stop ignoring the power of reviews (including negative ones)

Unfortunately, too many business owners assume that online reviews Don’t really matter. Perhaps they are so concerned with getting negative reviews they end up sticking their head in the sand and doing nothing. 

Even worse, some business owners mistakenly believe that since they didn’t sign up for a Yelp account, Facebook page, or Google listing, customers can’t review them there. This isn’t true. Unclaimed business profiles exist on all of these platforms and they continue to rack up reviews while their owners ignore them. 

Before we explore online reputation management (the practice of actively responding to reviews and collecting more), let’s first look at why reviews matter:

  • People read them. 86% of consumers across all age groups read reviews for local businesses, while 95% of millennials (people aged 18-34) do the same, and 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. 
  • People base their decisions around them. There are all sorts of studies that demonstrate the influence of online reviews, including: 72% of consumers Don’t take action before they read a few reviews; 70% of consumers need to read at least 4 reviews before they can trust a business; only 6% of consumers Don’t trust online reviews at all. Let that sink in.
  • They have a huge impact on SEO. Your Google My Business page helps drive traffic to your website from organic searches. Gaining more online reviews is one of the top ways to improve your Google My Business listing, which can help you rank in the map view of high-value keyphrases such as ‘Fresno defense attorney’ or ‘San Francisco credit union.’

Now that you understand how important online reviews are, it’s time for you to look at getting negative reviews in a different light.

The benefits of getting negative reviews

Reviews are important – even the negative ones! Now it’s time to make negative ones less scary.

There’s actually a silver lining to receiving negative reviews. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Makes your listing more realistic and trustworthy than only having positive reviews
  • Shows how you handle conflict (based on how you respond to the negative ones)
  • At the very least, when you respond, it shows that your business has a pulse and is managed by real people

Just think of some of your own recent experiences with searching for products and services online. When you discover a business with only good reviews, you might assume that many of these are fake, or were written by family and friends. 

Most people are reasonable and they understand that mistakes happen and life isn’t perfect. Your favorite restaurant probably has dozens of negative reviews from when the waitstaff was swamped, and yet it’s still your favorite restaurant despite occasionally long wait times. 

When potential clients and customers are checking out your online reviews, they Don’t expect perfection. However, they will harshly judge the way that you respond to negative reviews. You have the opportunity to make a good impression on dozens or hundreds of people with your response. 

The impact of how you respond to negative reviews on Yelp or Google can be more impactful than a business with a bunch of good reviews.  

Tips for handling negative reviews

Your responses matter. 89% of consumers read businesses? responses to reviews, which gives you a critical opportunity to tell your side of the story. While some online platforms show the top review first (typically the longest and/or written by a top reviewer), many display them in reverse chronological order. 

Since 90% of people read fewer than 10 reviews to form an opinion about a business, that means that if you’ve gotten negative reviews recently, some readers won’t scroll down far enough to get to the good ones. Responding to negative reviews allows readers to form an opinion of your business that isn’t solely reliant on dissatisfied customers.  

In order to make a good impression on the people who will read your response for weeks or months to come, follow these online reputation management tips:

  • Don’t write canned responses
  • Don’t come across as defensive or aggressive
  • Don’t fail to address the issues brought up by the customer
  • Do respond within 7 business days
  • Do respond as the business owner, not an employee
  • Do get help writing the response from a sensitive, well-spoken employee if needed
  • Do have a system in place for making use of feedback (track similar issues monthly or quarterly in a spreadsheet so you can find common threads and fix problems in your business)

Have you ever received an insincere apology before? they’re very obvious. The same goes with how you respond to negative reviews.

Essentially, you want to write like a human: apologize for the issue or error and address it in a way that is personalized (not robotic or insincere). 

How to get more positive reviews

Reputation marketing isn’t just about responding. It also requires that you actively collect more positive reviews from your happy customers in order to balance out the negative ones. 

Getting more positive reviews actually represents your business more accurately. Since people are more likely to leave negative reviews, you’d be doing yourself, your business, and your potential customers a disservice by expecting your reviews to balance out all by themselves.

To get more positive reviews, send follow up emails, follow up SMS, or even run Facebook ads to a custom audience of your existing customers. Let your customers know how much online reviews help you and remind them that it will just take a few minutes of their time. 

One strategy we’ve used for many of our B2B clients is creating a postcard that outlines how to leave them a review on Google, Yelp, and Facebook.  This postcard is then giving out when the service is completed. While many people intend to go online and leave a review, most do not. So we have our clients call the customers back after a few days to follow up and ask how they’re doing.  Then they ask the customer to pull out the review card and they walk them through leaving a review.

One of our law firm clients has used this strategy so well that they’re now the top-rated personal injury attorney in California, with over 300 Google reviews!

Handling negative online reviews might never be your favorite way to spend an afternoon. But I hope you now feel empowered that getting bad reviews is not not the end of the world and actually, a great way to showcase your customer service.