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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.

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How to Run Facebook Video Ads Without Breaking the Bank

If you have a Facebook page for your business and you’re posting on a regular basis without using Facebook Ads, you’re wasting your time.

While the Facebook guru’s out there would have you believe otherwise, the only industries where you can get away with social posting with no ads are restaurants, sports, fashion, (and sometimes) animal causes. If your business is not in one of those categories, each of your posts only reach 6.5% of your fan base!  So when you factor in four to six hours a month to post on a regular basis, only reach a small percentage of your fan base, it just doesn’t make a ton of sense.  

Unless you’re also doing Facebook ads.

The thing is, so many businesses (and probably your competition) are already running Facebook Ads, so What’s the secret to managing effective Facebook Ads campaigns that create new customers AND Don’t break the bank?  Well, I’m glad you asked because that’s the focus of this blog post!

More specifically, we’ll cover why you should forget static image-based ads and commit to running video ads on Facebook, instead.

Video ads are expensive…right?

Whether your creative is a video ad or a still image, Facebook’s advertising platform is structured to charge the same. Because video ads often perform better than their still-image counterparts, Facebook rewards the better-performing creative by charging the advertiser less. This metric is Facebook’s Relevance Score.

So, with better performance potential and no additional charge from Facebook, the only barrier to entry is the cost of creating the video ad itself. 

And this is where the roadblocks have traditionally occurred since producing your own video ad usually meant you’d have to incur the following costs:

  • Model or actor fees
  • Location or studio rentals
  • Equipment rentals
  • Videographer fee
  • Editing fee
  • Audio licensing
  • Voiceover acting fees

These costs can easily exceed $20,000 which is cost-prohibitive for many businesses, so they end up skipping video ads altogether.

While we’ve used high-end production like this for some campaigns, this approach just doesn’t make sense for many of our clients.  So to still end up with high-quality video ads, we utilize stock video and simple editing software. 

Why you should use stock video for Facebook ads

You probably know all about stock photos. Maybe you use them on your website and in social media posts. 

But were you aware that you can affordably purchase stock video too? 

There are thousands of free and affordable stock videos on the web. Sure, there are some cheesy stock videos out there (same goes with photos), but there are also very simple, clean, and professional videos that business owners can use to grab the attention of their target audience as they’re scrolling their Facebook feed.

Especially for small business owners, we recommend that you first use stock video, even if you have the budget for a custom shoot. The reason for this is that you can test different creative concepts against each other. You can later create a custom video for the winning concept. What’s more likely is that you’ll get ROI without a custom video and you’ll decide to just keep using stock footage. 

There are so many reasons why video ads are worth trying (especially when using stock footage to save money):

  • Nearly 60% of marketers report that Facebook video ads drive more clicks. 
  • Video ads get shared more often, meaning you get free organic reach from those ads. 
  • Video ads provide more effective branding and brand awareness (Facebook ads come first in our two-phase funnel so people remember your brand when they’re searching for companies like yours).

Examples of using stock video in Facebook ads

We’ve run Facebook video ads for numerous clients. Let’s take a look at some examples and how video ads stack up against image ads. 

Here’s a video carousel ad that we ran for ZooLights, a holiday event at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

And here’s an image ad with date and time details that we tested as well.

From the campaign performance below, the video ad got much higher post engagement (9x), and it also received more clicks. 

We’ve also run Facebook video ads for several of our attorney clients.

This video shows someone being arrested for a DUI and being put in the back of a cop car.

And here’s an image ad from the same campaign that ran concurrently:

The rate of engagement with the video ad was much higher (4x) than with the static ad. 

When looking to drive higher rates of registration, Fresno City Community College turned to us for help with their Facebook ads. 

We ran this video ad:

And this image ad:

As you can see, the video ad gained more engagement (22x) with a similar amount of reach. 

There’s no one easy answer as to whether video ads are better or worse than image ads. It can depend on the other aspects of the creative used (concept, text, etc.). 

However, because video ads tend to perform better, they’re absolutely worth testing, especially when using free or affordable stock footage.

Where to find great stock videos 

If you want to use stock video in your ads, you need to know where to look for quality footage. These are our favorite sources for stock video:

As an example of what you might find, here are some videos of solar installation found in Adobe Stock. 

The pricing for most of the Adobe Stock videos is $79.99 each, which is a steal when you consider the cost of filming a similar video on your own. Pexels has thousands of free videos, but they’re more creative and Don’t cover all business use cases. 

How to pick the right stock videos

Now that you know where to look, you also need to know what to look for. You Don’t want to just choose any video related to what your business does. You need an overall concept for your ad, and to tell an engaging story.

Here are some different ideas for videos:

  • A potential customer experiencing the pain point you solve 
  • A satisfied customer whose problem has been solved 
  • An employee performing quality work, doing the service that your company offers so your customer doesn’t have to bother with it
  • Eye candy: focus on an image that is somewhat related to your product or service but is very interesting.  Wells Fargo did this using Promo by finding the video below of a dog catching a snowball in slow motion:

How to edit video ads

85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. That’s why your video ad should make sense and be engaging even without sound. To do this, incorporate short text overlaid on your video ad, or make sure that the ad description is informative enough. 

Even though video ads are watched without sound a majority of the time, it’s still smart to include music and possibly voice overs in your ad so that the content is even more engaging for the people who do turn on the sound. 

Our top tools for quickly, easily, and affordably editing Facebook video ads are Promo, InVideo, and WeVideo.

Key takeaways

  • No one sees your organic social media posts 
  • Use social ads along with your social posts to effectively reach your audience
  • Static image ads are lame, focus on video ads
  • Video ads get better engagement, more shares, and more clicks
  • Instead of spending thousands of dollars on video production, use stock video
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What to Do When Google Ads Don’t Work

Sometimes it’s fun to reminisce about the good old days of PPC. You know, when the Google Ads platform was called Adwords, things were simpler, and everything seemed to make more sense.?

I was just having a moment like this after optimizing a client’s Google Ads account: I thought back to 2013 when the majority of our Google Ad campaigns required much less work and still yielded strong results. Back then, we created a handful of ad groups with a few ads in each. Creating a great landing page wasn’t necessary since the client’s website usually did the trick. And we might have spent a few minutes per week optimizing ad performance.

Fast forward to today and we’re spending hours per week optimizing ad platforms, but that’s still not enough to create more customers!  In addition, we’re not only A/B testing landing pages with segmented messaging, images, and design, but we’re creating complex sales funnels. These funnels tie together video production, various ad platforms, sequenced email marketing campaigns, and attribution models, all designed to inform a customer, make them feel comfortable, and eventually land the sale…all while collecting all relevant data points.

While this digital marketing arms race has gotten more complex over the years, it’s also created an unintended consequence: the cost to acquire a customer in almost every industry has skyrocketed.

So while Google Ads remains a very viable customer acquisition channel, only the best campaigns produce an ROI.

Below, I’d like to share with you some of our most successful techniques that allow our Google Ad campaigns to perform in ‘the top 3% in the United States‘ (according to our Google Ads Rep). 

Here’s what we’re covering in this post:

  • The problem: why ROI from Google ads is declining
  • The solution: an introduction to our two-phase funnel
  • Examples of the two-phase funnel in action
  • Why the two-phase funnel works
  • One bonus tip
  • Key takeaways

The problem: why ROI from Google ads is declining

The buying process is no longer as simple as AIDA (Awareness – Interest – Decision – Action) would have you believe. Today’s consumers and B2B buyers tend to hunt for reviews and alternatives online instead of going with the first option they see. 

With the internet at your prospect’s fingertips. They can (and will) research products and services before buying because it’s easier than ever to do so.

At the same time, more and more companies have begun advertising on Google. Before the 2010s and in the first half of the 2010s, the number of Google advertisers was far lower. Because of this increased competition, the cost-per-click has risen across nearly every industry. 

In addition, people have gotten used to clicking on Google Ads over the years so it now takes more clicks to produce a lead. 

So considering the rising costs of Google Ads and the amount of clicks they take to convert into a sale, the bottom of the sales funnel has gotten much longer over the last six years.  Which means your cost to acquire a customer could very easily outpace your customer lifetime value, putting you in hot water.

The solution: an introduction to our Thunder & Lightning two-phase funnel

What should you do about it?

Well, if you’re in B2B (where Google advertising is particularly complicated and costs are very high) you should stop using Google for the first touchpoint with a prospect. 

Instead, you need to create a two-phase funnel, with the first phase focused on building trust, not making a sale. We call this the Thunder & Lightning funnel!

  • Phase 1 on the Facebook Ads network (Thunder) – Because Facebook and Instagram have incredibly advanced targeting criteria, you should first build up a custom audience using Facebook’s ad network by getting your ideal audience to click on your ad. This allows you to build trust/value and educate your target audience, all without asking for the sale.
  • Phase 2 on Google (Lightning) – You then retain the audience that clicked on your ad, and you use Google remarketing so that your Google ads ONLY show up for someone who has searched a keyphrase you’re targeting AND has previously clicked on your Facebook/Instagram ad.

With this Thunder & Lightning funnel, you’re no longer spending money on expensive Google ad clicks from people who have never heard of your business. Facebook not only has awesome targeting capabilities, but it also costs far less for each ad click, so you can build up a worthwhile audience more affordably.

And for both phases, you can of course include location targeting to match the region where your business operates. 

Here’s the Thunder & Lightning funnel in a nutshell: use Facebook to identify the right audience, then use Google to capture prospects who are actively in the market for your product or service and who already know about your business. For B2B companies, the result is greater ROI than advertising on either platform separately.

Examples of the Thunder & Lightning funnel in action

We’ve addressed how the two-phase funnel can solve the common problems that companies face with Google ads, but what about specific, unique problems?

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Solar subcontractor

One of our clients is a solar subcontractor with a very unique customer base.  Instead of targeting homeowners, they only work with other solar contractors. So Google ads doesn’t yield a lot of business because they can only target solar subcontractor-related keywords across California.  

When we implemented the Thunder & Lightning funnel, we focused the Facebook ads on building an audience of solar contractors. We targeted project managers of large fortune 500 solar companies across the US with a variety of ad creative designed to position our client as the best solar subcontractor in California. Once we built up our targeted list, we then used Google Ads only as a retargeting tactic.

The campaign ended up creating a 550% ROI with Facebook Ads and a 478% ROI with Google Ads. 

B2B roofing company

With our B2B roofing company, it’s a similar story. Not every B2B buyer will include a word such as ‘industrial’ into their search query when searching for a roofing company, so we also targeted searches that could be conducted by consumers. We learned that by running ads for business-centric keyphrases, there was a lower search volume and also very high cost per click. 

When building the Thunder & Lightning funnel, we were able to protect our client from paying for consumer clicks even when targeting more generic keyphrases. This campaign has resulted in numerous large commercial contracts being won.

Commercial truck dealership

One of our clients is a commercial truck dealership that typically sells fleets of vehicles to other businesses. Yet there are tons of B2C truck shoppers who are looking for a vehicle that can tow their RV, which is not their target. So their Google Ads campaign was initially getting a lot of clicks from consumers, instead of their target audience.

After we set up their two-phase funnel to only show Google ads to small and medium sized business owners who had previously clicked on their targeted Facebook ad, their overall ROI drastically improved. 

Why the Thunder & Lightning funnel works

It’s important to understand some of the deeper reasons why the Thunder & Lightning funnel works. Yes, it’s about targeting, re-targeting, and being smart with your ad spend. But there is an important psychological factor at play: trust.

The Thunder & Lightning funnel works because it builds trust while simultaneously lowering your Google ad spend. Anyone who clicks on your ad is already aware of your company. Trust is the most powerful psychological marketing tactic there is.

The world’s best UX/UI doesn’t stand a chance against trust. 

Don’t believe me?  Google personal injury attorney Los Angeles.  The top three to four ads lead to outdated landing pages with below-average design and cookie-cutter content.  So why would these attorneys spend $150+ a click only to push traffic to these landing pages? That’s right, trust.  They’ve built trust within the community for months and sometimes years.  

So stop wasting your money by using Google Ads to ask for the sale before your customers know who you are.  Use Facebook and Instagram to convey your value, tell stories, and build trust…your Google Ads campaign will thank you for it!

Bonus tip

In our 2-phase funnel, Facebook does the hard work by finding your potential customers.  Then over time you build up your retargeting list to serve Google Ads to them. The biggest issue you’ll run into with this strategy is that Facebook only holds your retargeting list for a maximum of 6 months, then it’s gone!  

So keep your data by using a third-party analytics platform like Mixpanel when you start your campaign.  Similar to Google Analytics, these third-party analytics platforms track all of your advertising traffic, but they have the advantage of exporting the IP addresses of your website visitors. An IP address is a data point that both Google and Facebook uses to serve retargeting ads to your audience. By warehousing this IP address data yourself, it becomes your data, not Facebook’s!  This will allow you to build an incredibly targeted marketing campaign over time. 

Key takeaways

Here are some of the key takeaways from this post: 

  • Google Ads have become too expensive for many B2B companies because of increased competition, higher costs per click, and a longer buying process
  • Facebook/Instagram advertising offers great targeting and lower costs. When retargeting a Facebook audience on Google, you can find people who are actively searching for a business like yours (and have already been identified as an ideal customer).
  • Build a lot of trust with Facebook BEFORE heavily investing in Google Ads
  • Use Mixpanel to keep the IP addresses of your target audience
The Biggest Mistake We Made With Attorney Marketing

The Biggest Mistake We Made With Attorney Marketing

Mistakes are painful, especially when they cost you time and money. So while I?d like to say every attorney marketing campaign we’ve ever managed has been successful, there have been a few that were not. So after doing a review of each campaign, there was one issue they all had in common that was so powerful that it even overcame extremely targeted and optimized marketing: