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Welcome to the Golden Age of Marketing

Back in 2020, I wrote this article in the Business Journal about marketing your business during COVID-19. Since then, I’ve been blown away by how quickly marketing tactics have evolved.

Consider the digital shift our culture has recently experienced: 

  • You can now meet with your doctor over a Zoom call 
  • Children can stay at home and still go to school
  • Many businesses restricted to geographic boundaries are now sourcing new customers across the US

So how has this impacted your marketing?

Since many people are now accustomed to using Zoom or Facetime, doing business with a local company isn’t as important as it once was. This means that many local businesses are now competing with companies across the country, for the same customers.

One example of this trend is the increased competition that attorneys are facing. Just two years ago, most law firms wouldn’t target potential clients outside of their county because it would mean having to repeatedly go out of town to show up in court. But today, most courts use video conferencing which allows attorneys in Los Angeles, for example, to aggressively market in other cities.

This example has played out across numerous industries and it’s resulting in local businesses becoming more strategic and data-driven with their marketing.  

The crazy thing is, this national/local dynamic has resulted in a golden age of marketing where the average local business is optimizing their marketing campaigns based on CAC (cost to acquire a customer), LTV (lifetime value), and CPL (cost per lead). These are things savvy marketers have been doing for years, but many local businesses traditionally lacked the time, knowledge, and budget to get the most out of their campaigns.

And this is what has drastically changed the most in the last year and a half!

Where should you start?

Every small to medium-sized business that has had a ton of success with its digital marketing has done two things better than most:

  1. Create tactics around the top, middle, and bottom of their sales funnel
  2. Define multiple conversion points (or KPIs), track their performance, and optimize based on the success

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 is 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.   

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.

Ways to build trust

Most people don’t just click on an ad and buy since buying a product or service always has risk associated with it. So they mitigate their risk by looking for contributing factors to support their decision to purchase. This is where a blog post (like this one!), a video, or a podcast can really convey your value and expertise. Specifically:

  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 sell 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 the 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.

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 $24m 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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What is the Best Form of Content?

Marketing gurus always talk about the importance of creating content to grow your brand and attract your target audience, but what kind of content will actually help you do that?

The simple (and complicated) answer is that it depends. 

It depends on your business goals, your budget, and whether you’ve built any kind of content library to date. 

Businesses CAN drive more traffic to their website, create a buzz about their product or service, and improve their conversions with great content.

However, a lot of businesses churn out boring or disconnected content because they feel like they should be creating content, not because they have a clear strategy behind it. All that does is create a glut of unread blogs, social media posts, and videos that don’t actually help your customers and waste your marketing budget.

Instead of creating blogs and videos “just because,” we’ll show you how to build a foundation of content that meets your customer’s most pressing needs and also provides an endless fountain of ideas for other advanced, engaging forms of content.

Foundational Content

The power of content marketing is that it provides information that engages your target customer and meets their needs 24/7. Great content is at work even when you aren’t. 

The two most foundational types of content are blog posts and case studies. Not only are they great lead generators in their own right, but they’re also a fountain of ideas from which you can later create other types of content. In our opinion, they’re worth investing in upfront and getting right. 

Blogs

Blogs should be the foundation of your content strategy because they:

  • Are flexible and can provide a wide range of valuable information for your website visitors
  • Pre-answer questions about your product or service to speed up your sales process
  • Build relationships with your customers so they’re already familiar with your offering when you reach out by email or use ad retargeting
  • Combat misconceptions and provide counterarguments for any objections customers may have about using your product or service
  • Provide an endless bank of ideas for other types of content

Great blogs delight and engage your audience and create a sense of camaraderie with your brand. They can make your target audience feel understood and valued.

The issue with how many companies approach blogs is that they don’t invest much time or money into them because they don’t understand the true value and power of great content.

If you create boring, generic blogs that don’t provide a unique viewpoint or information specific to how you solve your customer’s challenges, then no one will read them. Many businesses have invested in blogs half-heartedly with no strategy, then concluded that blogs were a waste of their budget.

Make no mistake — they certainly can be. But done right, blogs are one of the most effective places to spend your marketing budget.

So where do you start?

Think about the most common questions you get from customers about your company, product, service, philosophy, etc. Anything you get asked repeatedly makes a great topic for a blog post.

Your sales team is a great source to tap for blog topics because they usually spend the most time talking to customers and answering their questions.

With just a little bit of brainstorming, you can probably think of at least 10 – 15 common questions, so start there. Make those 10 – 15 blogs detailed and in-depth, and they’ll be WAY more effective than 100 generic blogs that are identical to what’s on your competitor’s website.

You can add more content to your blog over time as you have other ideas for how to engage your audience and provide value, but 10 – 15 provides a solid foundation to start with. 

Case Studies

Case studies are super powerful because they let you show prospects exactly what it’s like to work with you AND they tell the story in your customer’s own words.

Effective case studies will:

  • Answer questions a prospect may have about your company
  • Break down your processes so prospects know what to expect when working with you
  • Show how you and your team solve client issues as they arise
  • Include glowing customer quotes
  • Highlight your expertise and skill
  • Provide social proof that others have used your product and service to great benefit 
  • Share concrete examples of how you fulfill the promises you make in your ads or on sales calls

The best case studies begin with a client interview so you can get real quotes and deeply understand how your customers experience your partnership. 

The added benefit is that they provide great data points to help your company understand what you’re already doing great, AND help you identify any areas where you can improve your customer service and/or product.

Advanced Content That Builds On Your Foundation

Once you have a firm foundation of content, you can start taking that same information and repackaging it into new, bite-sized chunks that are perfect for sharing in emails, on social media, in traditional print formats, as videos, audio, and a nearly endless array of other formats. 

Afraid that sharing the same information in new formats will get redundant? Don’t be!
Today’s consumer is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every day. You need to repeat your message loud and clear many times before it sticks in the minds of your target customers.

The more consistent you are with your message, the better, so don’t be afraid to go back to your foundational content, again and again, to transform it into new formats.

Infographics

Infographics are a visual, engaging form of content that your online fans can easily share with others. They break down complex information and processes into a few steps so viewers can absorb the information quickly. Below is an example.

*Image courtesy of Firefighters Community Credit Union

Types of information that work great for infographics are statistics, processes, timelines, comparisons, lists, specialized information, overviews of in-depth topics, etc. If you have any of that type of content in your foundation (and we bet you will!), then you have the start of a powerful, shareable infographic. 

Because the visual element of an infographic is so central to getting the content right, we recommend using a professional graphic designer to help you create them. If you don’t have one in-house, you can hire a freelance designer for a modest price.

Infographics are perfect to share on your social media channel as organic posts or ads, and they also work great inside marketing emails. You can even add them to related blog posts to make them more visually appealing to your website visitors. 

Some companies even print their infographics to use as handouts for customers as part of the onboarding or relationship-building process to help them understand the experience they’re about to have as a customer of the company.

Podcasts & Audio Interviews

Like blogs, podcasts can take a wide variety of forms and discuss a range of topics. A landscaping business, for example, may use podcast episodes to discuss common lawn care challenges, solutions, products, and processes.

There’s no right way to create a podcast, and the form offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to script and structure. Businesses have found success with long-format interviews, short episodes about industry news, and discussions between team members. So long as you have the right audio equipment, just about any format, episode length, or topic can work. 

If you’re not sure where to start with podcasting topics, go back to your foundational content. You can begin by creating episodes that answer common customer questions and interview a few satisfied customers. 

Keep in mind that the topics need to be relevant and engaging to your target customer, not just tangentially related to your industry or overly salesy. All the better if you have a unique perspective or approach compared to your competitors. 

If you want to make your audio sound particularly professional, you’ll need to invest in audio mixing and mastering. This is especially true if you want your podcast to be widely distributed. Mastering helps ensure your podcast sounds great, regardless of the streaming platform. 

Some simple DIY tools for producing your podcast are Riverside, Zencaster, and Descript. You don’t have to be an audio guru to get started, you just have to have the courage to put your voice out into the world.

If you’re not quite ready to dive into producing your own podcast, you can appear as a guest on existing industry podcasts. They can give you a taste of the experience and expose your brand to hungry audiences.

Video

Like infographics, video content is highly sharable. With the average adult spending about 78 minutes per day watching video content on their digital devices, it’s a great place to put some of your marketing budget.

Many businesses have cracked the code of creating affordable, effective videos by using stock video footage rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars on custom video shooting and production. Our article about optimizing your Facebook video ads has all of the information you need to start turning your foundational content into high-end, engaging videos without breaking the bank. 

Longform Writing

Many companies benefit from pieces of content that are longer than a traditional blog and provide a deep dive into company or industry topics. 

For example, you could compile the most important information from a related series of blogs plus some extra graphics, statistics, and commentary into an informative ebook that you use to generate leads. You may want to gate the ebook by requiring an email address from visitors to download it.

Gated, high-quality content can be a great strategy for building your email list and also providing outstanding value to your website visitors.

Other types of long-form content you may want to consider are white papers and articles for industry-specific magazines or publications. Both of these options position your firm as an expert and expose you to new audiences that you may not encounter in your current marketing strategy.

Creating the Right Content for Your Business

Content can be effective in a variety of formats. What matters most is that it is unique, valuable, and thoughtfully created. High-quality content is still an extremely powerful tool for attracting new visitors and generating warm leads.
If you’re ready to start creating powerful content but aren’t sure where to begin or don’t feel that you have the time and expertise to do it right, get in touch with our team. We’ve helped many businesses like yours create and execute a cohesive content strategy that grows their bottom line.

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The Top Digital Marketing Skills for 2021

Marketing online might sound pretty simple on the surface. Create a few ads, make sure you have an amazing website, and interact with users. However, the skills required to be good at marketing are a bit more complex if you want to have a good return on investment (ROI). 

Salesforce surveyed more than 8,200 marketers in 37 different countries. They found 75% of marketers feel the pandemic changed the way they communicate and collaborate at work. The skills helping professionals excel a couple of years ago may no longer do the trick.

What Makes a Successful Digital Marketer?

If you want your digital campaigns to thrive, you should focus on developing the skills needed to move forward in a post-pandemic world. Here are the top skills all successful digital marketers have and how you can embrace them in your efforts. 

1. Understand Your Audience

All the work you do as a marketer isn’t very effective if you don’t fully understand people. Excellent promotional specialists know how to dig into analytics and figure out the demographics of an audience. 

They also understand the way people tick. Top marketing gurus dig deep into the psychological aspects of why people do the things they do. They understand the emotions driving individuals to make a purchase. 

Learn about topics such as color psychology and how simply changing the shade of your call to action button can lead to higher conversion rates. 

2. Learn Good Communication

Good communicators know which words elicit a response and what questions people might have. They’re intuitive about their audience and they listen more than they speak. Think about the last time you had an amazing conversation with someone. Did they listen to what you had to say? More than likely, the answer is yes.

Take time to study the intricacies of the English language. Why does a word like “snatch” have a stronger impact than the word “get?” Utilize language to drive user action. See higher success rates with your ads simply by focusing on your verbs. 

3. Utilize SEO

You might create the most amazing ad anyone has ever seen. Unfortunately, if it isn’t placed correctly, no one will see it. Figuring out how to optimize your website and your social media presence for search engines gets you in front of potential customers. 

Learn about position zero for search engine placement, study which ads on browsers and social media have the highest response rate and seek keyword phrases your audience is most interested in. 

You can learn a lot by looking at Google’s “People Also Ask” section and utilizing those questions to cover topics on your website. Content marketing becomes much more effective when you solve pain points for your audience. 

4. Get Social Media Standards

Each social media platform has a different feel and personality. Excellent marketers have a firm grasp on the ins and outs of each site. They know beautiful photos work best on Instagram, while a short, fun video reaches people on TikTok. 

The only way to develop skills on various social platforms is by engaging people and learning how each one works. Spend some of your free time following your favorite brands and see how they keep their followers involved. 

5. Stay on Top of Trends

Trends in marketing change constantly, so staying on top of what’s current is a vital part of being a successful marketer. In Criteo’s State of Digital Marketing report, 87% of marketers say they’ll use an omnichannel approach this year. 

The ways people interact with brands varies from what it did even five years ago. People expect a consistent experience, so knowing how to reach them on different platforms makes a big difference in how well received your marketing efforts are. 

6. Get the Right Tools

As a digital marketer, you’ll utilize paid advertising via pay-per-click and impressions. You want every penny to bring results. Make sure you understand the tools available on various platforms. 

Pay attention to the effectiveness of each ad. How many clicks result in sales? Are the ads bringing in qualified leads? If you aren’t reaching the audience you wish, you may need to tweak images, messaging, keyword targeting or even where you’re spending your money. 

7. Learn to Tell a Story

People see and hear thousands of ads in a week. They’re practically bombarded with marketing messages. After a bit, most consumers tune out a lot of the noise just to make it through the day.

Your job as a successful digital marketer is to stand out from the crowd. Tell a story that captures their imagination and makes them want to hear more. Storytelling isn’t natural for everyone, so it is a skill you may need to develop.

If you have a hard time coming up with interesting scenarios for your users, consider bringing in a professional writer to help your team brainstorm ideas and get the language just right. 

8. Develop Agility

The best marketers understand if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. You must learn to think on your feet and change things up at the last minute. 

Some examples include a client who suddenly decides they want to promote a different product than the one you’ve prepared all your materials for. How do you handle the situation? Knowing some tactics ahead of time allows you to adapt and keep your client happy without driving yourself crazy.

Always have a Plan A, B, C and maybe even D. The more prepared you are for possible contingencies, the better you’ll adapt to changes. 

Play Well With Others

Marketing professionals must work with a wide variety of individuals. You’ll need to talk to blog owners about featuring your brand’s story or publishing content. You’ll enlist the help of graphic designers, writers and ad placement specialists. You’ll also have to talk to clients and coordinate efforts with the sales department. 

All successful marketers know how to talk to people without offending. Think before speaking, take a deep breath when you’re frustrated and try to be a people person as much as possible. The relationships you develop today will drive the success of your brand tomorrow. 

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7 Effective Mobile Marketing Strategies

Picture credits: Wikimedia.org

According to Statista, mobile devices made up 58% of global internet traffic in early 2022. That number has been rising steadily for years, with no sign of decreasing. If you ignore mobile marketing, you’re missing out on a huge portion of potential customers. 

Mobile marketing is any tactic you use to reach customers on their smartphones, tablets, or even smartwatches. With an effective mobile marketing strategy, your business can reach people any time of day (because nearly everyone has their smartphone close by at all times), and it also feels more personal and tailored than a display ad on Google.

There are many unique and effective ways to integrate mobile marketing into your overall marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn some of our favorites. 

Optimize Your Current Website For Mobile

Before you put time and money toward driving traffic to the mobile version of your site, you should make sure that it looks great and functions well. Start by visiting your website on your smartphone to see how it performs. Is the site easy to read on a small screen? Do pages load quickly? Can you click on items easily, or are they too small? 

By spending just a few minutes on your site, you may be able to identify some quick fixes you can make to improve smartphone and tablet-user experience right away. If your website needs a bit of help to be more mobile-friendly, here are some places to focus your time:

Mobile First Design

According to Google, mobile-friendly sites will show up higher in search results and if a site is not mobile-friendly, users are five times more likely to leave. Because of that, many developers are now operating under a “mobile first” philosophy, meaning they design websites for mobile screens before designing them for desktops. 

The rationale is sound: mobile is the way of the future. Plus, designing for a small screen means you can only fit the most essential information and features on the page, eliminating any fluff that will cause visitors to become disinterested and click away. 

Your developer can add additional features for larger screens that improve the user experience, like extra visual effects and animations, but starting with the smaller screen means that the most important aspects are a priority for all screen sizes.

Going mobile first is a smart strategy if your entire website needs an overhaul because it means rebuilding the entire site from the ground up.

Responsive Design And Navigation

When a website is “responsive,” it means the content and design automatically adjust based on the size of the screen your visitor is using. Common screen sizes include desktop, tablet, and mobile phones. 

If your website is not responsive, it’ll be tiny and very hard to navigate on a small smartphone screen. If your navigation menu is also not responsive, it’ll be hard to read and even harder to click on the links. 

When your website is hard to use on mobile, users will bounce away quickly and you’ll miss out on any potential conversions that your other mobile marketing strategies queued up.

Improve Load Time

Did you know that about 50% of mobile users will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load? Reducing your mobile site speed by just 0.1 seconds results in an 8% increase in conversions, so you can’t afford to ignore your speed.

A few things you can do to improve load speed are:

  • Keep your design simple — Your site can be visually appealing, but overly complicated designs just take longer to load. Reduce or eliminate animations and pop-ups on the mobile version of your site.
  • Use fewer images or reduce their size — Images beautify a site, but they also slow it down. Focus on images that really enhance your pages and make sure they’re compressed or a small file size. 
  • Hire a rockstar coder — A pro can reduce bloat in your code that’s slowing down your load speed.

Make Your Content Skimmable

While we’d like to think that website visitors carefully read every word we publish on our websites, that’s simply not the case. Most people skim articles in search of the answer to their questions. They’ll read headings and the bits and pieces that catch their attention. 

There are several things you can do to make your content quicker to digest, which is beneficial for mobile and desktop users. Try these strategies:

  • Instead of long paragraphs that fill the entire smartphone screen, break text into shorter sections
  • Include bullet point lists because they stand out and are quick to digest
  • Make sure you use headings and subheadings that are engaging and brief
  • Include graphics or images to break up the text (but make sure they’re compressed or small file sizes so your load speed doesn’t suffer!)

Optimize For Voice Search

Today, 71% of consumers prefer to use voice search rather than type their question into a search bar. A great way to improve your mobile marketing is to optimize your site for voice queries. Here’s how:

  • Use conversational keyphrases — Instead of optimizing your content for an isolated keyword (which is actually an outdated strategy anyway), focus on full phrases or questions, like “What’s the difference between a bank and a credit union?”. 
  • Include an FAQ section on your website — Think about the questions people may ask about your product or service, and include them on your site. FAQ sections are really the heart of voice search. 
  • Speak your customer’s language — Instead of using academic rhetoric or industry jargon, try to speak about your product or service using the same words your prospective customers use.
  • Claim your Google My Business (GMB) profile — Many voice searches are for local businesses like, “restaurants in San Diego,” so make sure you claim and optimize your GMB so it’s easier for local customers to find you. 

SMS and MMS Marketing

Now that your website is ready to be viewed by mobile users, it’s time to dive into the real meat of mobile marketing. 

SMS (text) and MMS (multimedia video or image) marketing mean sending marketing text messages to your customers. A popular way to use text message marketing is to share discount codes or other special offers with your loyal customers. The best part? SMS open rates can be as high as 98%! That’s nearly unheard of in the marketing world, making it a great place to invest some of your marketing dollars. 

A word of caution though: you don’t want to overuse SMS marketing. It’s best to have people opt-in before ever sending them a text and to send messages sparingly. Since people often have their phones right at hand, it can feel invasive to get too many text messages from a brand. Stick to time-sensitive promotions for this type of mobile strategy.

Social Media Ads

The most popular social media platforms have billions of users, so creating content and ads for social media is a part of your mobile marketing strategy that you really shouldn’t overlook. Many businesses are having great success with boosted posts on Facebook, shoppable pins on Pinterest, and influencer marketing on Instagram. 

Social media ads help you target a specific type of customer and reach them in the places they spend a lot of time online. It doesn’t require that they type a search query into Google that relates to your brand, so it gets you in front of them more often and more easily. 

Some social media best practices to follow include:

  • Don’t try to be on every social media platform. Prioritize the main channels that your target audience is on and put your efforts there for the best payoff. 
  • Repurpose your content to multiple channels, but customize it. For example, hashtags really aren’t relevant on Facebook, but they can help boost your reach on Instagram. 
  • Be responsive! If your customers reach out to you through a direct message or leave a comment on your posts, make sure you get back to them. 
  • Size your images and videos correctly for the platform you’re on.
  • Monitor and test your content and ads. If things are working, great! If not, make adjustments. 

If your ads lead to any landing pages, make sure that the pages are optimized for mobile using all of the mobile-first strategies we described above.

After all, it would be a shame to entice a social media user to your website, only to lose them because the landing page isn’t mobile-friendly. 

Location-Based Marketing

Location-based marketing (also called geofencing) uses the GPS on a person’s smartphone to show them ads relevant to their current location. When you create a geofenced ad, you can set boundaries based on the city, state, or specific area code. Then, only people who enter your predefined area will see your ad.

Geofenced ads are highly effective because of how relevant they are to users. When you share a promotion for your store or restaurant with people who pass by your storefront, you entice them to stop by and take advantage of the deal. 

QR Codes

QR codes work like a barcode that you scan with the camera on your smartphone. They may go to a landing page, a restaurant menu, a social media profile, make a phone call, send a text message, or many other things. 

They’re great because you don’t need any specific expertise to make them (you can easily find a QR code generator online) and you can change what they’re linked to if necessary. 

Some great ways to use QR codes are:

  • On your packaging —Help buyers quickly access a how-to video about the product they just bought
  • To get reviews — Have your QR code link to wherever your business collects reviews to remove friction from the process
  • To share discount codes — Increase customer loyalty and satisfaction by offering a discount code for their next purchase
  • As a replacement for a paper receipt
  • To connect customers to your social media profiles
  • To get users to download your brand app

And much, much more. 

Optimize Emails For Mobile

Nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile, so you want to be sure your design takes mobile into consideration. The strategies for making your emails mobile-friendly are similar to how you make your website mobile-friendly:

  • Make them responsive
  • Reduce image file size for quick loading 
  • Make sure links and buttons are large enough to click easily (and lead to mobile-optimized pages)

You should also keep the text brief and skimmable and put your most important information above the fold. Mobile users are often on the go and may delete the email if you don’t get to the point quickly.

Make An App

Mobile apps can improve a customer’s experience with your product or service and increase engagement with your brand, but not every business will benefit from creating its own app.

Before you hire an app builder, consider what you can potentially offer to your customers through an app.

  • Would it help them book an appointment with your business more easily, or get reminders about existing appointments? 
  • Do your users have accounts with your business that would benefit from a quick mobile sign-in option? 
  • Are you selling products that they may want to buy quickly when they’re on the go and thinking about your brand? 
  • Are you offering educational content that they may want to consume during their commute?
  • Would they want to place a to-go order on their phone and pick it up curbside at your business? 

If you think any of these use cases fit your business, then it may be time to consider building your own app to better serve your target audience. 

Be Strategic About Your Mobile Marketing

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the mobile marketing tactics at your disposal, which is why it may help to have a trusted professional in your corner. If you’d like to learn more about what Nettra can do to help your business reach more mobile users, get in touch with our team. 

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How to Build a Lasting Brand Identity

Investing in brand identity may feel like something that only massive businesses like Nike and Amazon do, but in reality, every business can benefit from defining and investing in their own. 

When customers have a clear picture in their minds of what your business is and what it offers, they’re more likely to buy from you, recommend you to others, and remember you in the future when they need your product or service again. Creating a brand identity helps customers recognize your business in a crowded marketplace and is a great way to set yourself apart from your competition.

Creating a distinct brand identity may seem like an elusive challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’re digging into the elements of brand identity and the steps you can take right now to build yours.

What Is Brand Identity?

Brand identity is the visual elements of a brand that set it apart from competitors in a customer’s mind. It includes aspects like:

  • Colors
  • Fonts
  • Logo
  • Shapes or other visual elements in your promotions

It also includes how you speak to your customers about your product (your messaging) and how you want them to feel when they interact with your brand (your customer experience). 

Each of these items needs to work together and match the core aspects of a company. For example, if your messaging claims that you’re a young, hip company but your logo is outdated and boring, you send conflicting messages to your customers. If they don’t understand who you are, they are less likely to trust you and buy from you. 

How Do You Build Your Own Brand Identity?

Branding isn’t actually about how you see your business; it’s how the outside world sees you. Sometimes, this can be totally different from how you want to be perceived. Customers have different experiences with your company, and if your branding isn’t cohesive, they may get the wrong perception of your brand.

The more consistently you present your company across various channels (your website, social media, storefront, ads, print assets, etc.), the better your chance of creating your desired business image.

So, how do you create a cohesive, desirable brand identity? Well, it’s going to take more than a great logo. Here are a few places to start: 

1. Create a Brand Strategy

Before you can dig into the work of creating a brand identity, you need to do some strategizing about how you want your company to be perceived. What is your brand personality? Make a list of distinctive adjectives that describe your company, such as:

  • Strong 
  • Bold
  • Delicate
  • Feminine
  • Comedic 
  • Youthful
  • Classic
  • Refined

Then, think about the key challenges you solve for customers. Do you:

  • Save them money?
  • Provide the absolute best-in-class product?
  • Save them time?

What are the most important concepts or facts you want customers to know about you? Are you:

  • Locally owned?
  • Nationally recognized?
  • Passionate about sustainability? 

While you can’t always control the outside world’s perception, you can present information about your business that aligns with how you want others to see it. Intentionally defining the information you present is a huge step in the right direction. 

Consider involving your stakeholders, employees, and customers in this process. You might be surprised by how they see the company. Their ideas aren’t right or wrong. Instead, they serve as a reference to what you’re best at and where you need more work.

2. Choose a Color Palette

A color pallet is simply a set of complementary colors for all your brand’s visual elements. The combinations are endless, but a few examples of pallets are below. 

The most recognizable brands, like Pepsi, have a defined color palette that they don’t deviate from. Some of the places you’ll see their company colors include their:

  • Logo
  • Website
  • Social media
  • Product packaging
  • Shipping boxes
  • Printed material
  • Advertising

You can say a lot through your color choices, so make sure they match the adjectives you used to define your brand. If you want your business to be perceived as feminine, you may want to steer clear of bold colors like orange and green. If you want your company to be perceived as strong, you may not want to choose muted neutrals. An experienced graphic designer can help you create a color pallet that brings your ideal brand to life.

3. Make Your Logo

Now that you have a color palette, you can either make or revamp your logo to match your choices. Keep in mind that there is a psychology to colors. If you choose red, you can create excitement. Blue may signify reliability.

While it isn’t an exact science and people’s life experiences mean their reactions vary, you can use color to drive emotion.

Take the time to develop a logo that represents your values as a brand. People should understand what you’re about when they see your emblem. For example, if customers see a green leaf in a logo, they probably assume the company is natural or eco-friendly.

A logo is often the most recognizable aspect of a brand, so it’s worth investing in. Some logos are so powerful that you don’t even need to see the company name beside them to know who they belong to. 

The fonts you pair with your logo and use on your visual assets should also match your brand’s personality. Remember that there should be cohesion, so a young, hip brand may not want to pair a sleek logo with an antique font. 

4. Standardize Employee Interactions With Customers

Your brand identity goes beyond visual elements like your logo to include how your brand makes customers feel. Your customer-facing employees have a huge hand in creating the emotional experience you envision for your brand. 

You may want to invest in detailed employee training if you haven’t already. Consider things like how you want your team to handle customer complaints, questions, and even kudos.

Companies like Apple, Chick-fil-A, and Publix are well-known for how employees interact with customers. You can be sure that these companies all invest considerable time and energy into training every team member so that no matter which location a customer walks into, they receive the same outstanding experience. 

5. Nail Your Messaging

Your messaging is the words you use to communicate the value of your product or service and what your company values are. 

When you get your messaging right, it will clearly and concisely communicate what you offer to customers, why they should buy from you, and your brand personality. 

Nailing your messaging starts with understanding your customers and the challenges they face that bring them to you, then articulating your value in the same language your customers use to describe their challenges. 

Messaging includes your company tagline or slogan, your value proposition, and the benefits of your offering. 

6. Study Your Competition

According to a recent State of Competitive Intelligence Report, researchers found that 94% of businesses are looking more closely at competitive intelligence (CI) than ever before.

They’re tracking what others in their industry do well and finding holes in their strategy so they can take advantage of that opportunity to fulfill consumer needs.

When you study your competition, your goal shouldn’t be to copy what they’re doing but rather to find ways that they’re not serving the market as well as you can. Then, your branding can hone in on this differentiating factor and help you appeal to new customers who aren’t being served.

7. Create a Style Guide

Once you’ve done all of the work to define your brand identity, you should create a comprehensive style guide so that every creator on your team can easily create content that matches your identity. Things you should include in your style guide are:

  • Color palette
  • Logo – where to use it, sizing, positioning, etc.
  • Typography – preferred fonts, sizes, and placement
  • Messaging pillars
  • Voice & Tone
  • Brand personality
  • How you want your customers to see you

Be as specific as possible by creating sections in your guide for easy reference. If someone new works on your website, they can refer to the guide to ensure they use the same style as previous designers. Having a clear guide is a great way to make sure your brand image stays consistent over time and across creators. 

8. Create Visual Representations of Complex Topics

A great way to implement your branding and educate your customers is by creating infographics. These handy images are a great way to visually represent data and tell your company story in an engaging, easy-to-digest way. 

So how do you create meaningful infographics that benefit your customers? Start by thinking about questions you commonly get from customers. Is there a way to explain the answer simply through an image or infographic? 

Many people are visual learners, so infographics are a great way to share data in your marketing that aligns with your style guide and messaging while also engaging your audience. 

It’s also a great way to showcase your company as an expert in your field and make a lasting impression on people who interact with your brand.

Monitor Your Reputation

Even after your brand identity is in full swing, it’s inevitable that someone, somewhere, will have a poor experience with your product, service, or employee. That person may even leave a negative review for you. If you don’t address that negative review, it can keep people who find your company from becoming paying customers. 

When possible, reply to the review or reach out to the person directly and try to make the situation right. If you solve their issue, you can turn an unhappy customer into a lifelong fan. Even if you aren’t able to change their mind, future customers will see that you made an effort to make things right. 

A Word Of Advice: Keep It Simple

It’s tempting to sing your own praises. You may be great at multiple things and want your customers to know about them. However, for the purposes of branding, embrace only one or two UVPs (unique value propositions). Make sure they’re ones your competition isn’t promoting to give your business a distinctive edge.

Sticking to basic messaging also allows you to drive the same point home over and over. Every time consumers see an ad, your tagline, a post on social media, or get an email from you, they should get a similar message.

You may be afraid that using the same message over and over will get redundant, but we promise it won’t!

People are inundated with advertisements. According to Forbes, people see an average of 4,000 – 10,000 ads every single day. Phew! If you want customers to remember you, you need to say the same thing more than once, or your message won’t stick.

If you’re not sure where to start with developing your brand or just don’t have the time or resources to manage it yourself, reach out to a professional SEO agency or marketing agency. Companies like ours have helped businesses just like yours define and create impactful brand identities. Get in touch with us if you’re ready to get started. 

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4 Benefits of Hiring An SEO Agency

Your customers are online, so it’s more important than ever to make it easy for them to find your company online. The challenge is that very few people browse past Google’s first page of search results. If you’re not on page one of Google’s search results, your company basically does not exist to your potential customers!

Building an SEO campaign is a great way to gain more customers. An effective campaign will spread awareness of your brand, build your company’s credibility, bring more organic traffic to your web pages, improve your user experience, and ultimately convert more of your website traffic into potential leads.

Search engine algorithms frequently change, and your potential customers search the web in different ways as technology evolves. Consider the increasing popularity of voice search: People who use Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home for voice search will often use different search phrases than what they type in a Google search on their phone or laptop.

SEO is a continually evolving practice that requires diligent research and adaptation to new technology and processes. For most businesses, the best way to approach SEO is to hire an experienced SEO company

Below are four reasons why most businesses benefit from working with an SEO agency rather than trying to do their SEO optimizations in-house.

  1. SEO and Website Design Improvements

Getting visitors to your site is only one piece of the SEO puzzle. Once they arrive, you need to provide a great experience so they stick around, browse your site, learn about your product or service, and eventually make a purchase. Here are some ways an SEO agency can improve your website design.

Improve Site Structure

If your website structure isn’t logical, people won’t be able to navigate your site and find the information they need, so they’ll leave. If humans can’t navigate your site, Google won’t be able to either, which means it isn’t likely to recommend your site to searchers. 

An SEO agency can assist you with creating a logical hierarchy for your pages with clear pathways to the information that your visitors want to find.

Make Your Site Easy For Google To Index

You can do several things to make your site easier for Google to understand, making it more likely that Google will recommend your site to searchers. An SEO agency can assist with adding:

  • Alt text — Describes the images on your site and is a great way to include keywords
  • Transcripts for video or audio files — Helpful for people with disabilities and makes it possible for Google to understand
  • Meta descriptions — Short blurbs of text that tell Google what each page is about and is another great place to add keywords

Make It Mobile Friendly

For many industries, mobile devices now make up the majority of web traffic. Many sites are not optimized for mobile users, so they’re slow to load and difficult to view on a small cellphone screen. 

SEO agencies can help you optimize your web pages for all devices by creating responsive, stripped-down pages that load quickly.

Improve Your Load Time

Did you know that 53% of users will leave your site if it takes more than three seconds to load? You may be losing half of your traffic before they ever get to see what you have to offer!

Partnering with an SEO agency can solve this issue so you never lose customers to a slow-loading page again.

 you’re curious about Nettra’s results with website design, check out the case study about our work with Kuykendall Solar, a California solar subcontractor. We were able to optimize their web design and make their site more appealing to their target audience. This produced a 24% conversion rate, which led to a 408% ROI with Google Ads and a 550% ROI with Facebook Ads.

  1. High Ranking Backlinks Using Strategic Link Building

Link building has always been an essential element of an effective SEO strategy. A backlink is simply a link from one website to another. For example, if the CEO of a credit union writes a blog about mortgage interest rates and it appears on Forbes and links back to the credit union’s website, that would be a very high-quality backlink.

Google’s algorithm utilizes over 300 different ranking factors to determine how every website ranks for its specific keywords. Backlinks are a crucial factor because they help Google determine the most relevant results for every search. They also give your site credibility because they position you as an expert in your field.

If someone is searching for a credit union in San Diego, the site with more high-quality backlinks is going to rank higher than a site without quality backlinks.

How To Build Good Backlinks

Knowing that you need backlinks and actually getting them are two separate things. For many businesses doing their SEO in-house, this is one of the biggest challenges. How do you convince a website to link to yours? That’s where an SEO agency can come in handy. 

Agencies have a portfolio of sources to tap for backlinks that fit your business. These may include:

  • Being a source for reporters or bloggers through Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
  • Publishing high-quality blog content on your own site that others WANT to link to!
  • Publishing in popular formats, like “ultimate guides,” “why” and “what” posts, and infographics
  • Reaching out to high-quality sites and asking them to feature you

Backlinking Mistakes To Avoid

When it comes to backlinks, quality matters more than quantity. The following backlink mistakes can actually hurt your search ranking:

  • Links from low-quality, spammy sites
  • Buying links — Google only likes natural links, so buying fake links can get you banned from the search results
  • Getting links from irrelevant sites — Having a cooking blog link to your credit union site isn’t likely to help you
  • Building links to just one page on your site, such as your homepage

If you’d like help building a successful backlink strategy, an SEO agency can help you avoid these pitfalls and identify which strategies will be successful for you.

  1. Digital Marketing Services That Include Your Businesses Ideal Marketing Channels

While SEO can be a standalone service, it’s usually a component of a more comprehensive digital marketing campaign that includes social media marketing and content marketing. This is often where great SEO agencies separate themselves from everyone else because it takes a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to manage and optimize a cross-platform marketing campaign successfully. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing isn’t just about posting to Facebook or Instagram. Instead, it uses those platforms to target potential customers and then push them to your website through ads. 

A post on Facebook or Instagram only reaches a small percentage of your audience. However, ads reach your fans AND people who haven’t heard of you yet. They spread your message much more effectively and at scale.

An SEO agency can help you develop a social media ad campaign that targets the right customers with the right message, which will amplify your reach tremendously. 

Content Marketing

When was the last time you clicked on an ad and immediately bought something? It’s probably been a long time! 

Most people do at least a little research before they make a purchase. They’ll start by browsing for solutions to their problem, then reading reviews on a few options, and then making a purchase. 

The majority of prospects who visit your website are looking for great information to base their buying decisions on, and that’s where content marketing comes in. Having helpful articles and videos on your website can guide them to making a purchase from you. 

If your website does nothing but ask for a sale, people will leave. But if you provide education and insightful information, you’ll help visitors understand what you really have to offer, which makes them more likely to trust you and buy from you. 

On our own website, we have several blog posts and videos designed to inform and educate instead of asking for a sale. Some companies will implement the strategies and tactics we teach and have success. Others are looking for an agency to help them with these tactics and view our content primarily to see if we know our craft. By offering many insights into our internal processes, how we manage campaigns, best practice, and more, it slowly positions us as an expert in our reader’s eyes.

The goal of content marketing is to get your potential customers to perform their research on YOUR website, trust you, and then buy from you.

How Social Media & Content Work Together

Having high-quality content is a great start, but you also need to get visitors to your site to view the content. An SEO agency will create ads on the social media channels where your customers spend time, as well as Google, to push targeted traffic to various blog posts and videos to answer questions related to your product or service. 

A good website design means visitors will see similar blogs or videos they may be interested in, which increases their time on your site and builds your reputation. Over time, this leads to higher conversions.

  1. A Tailored Approach to Reach Your Target Audience

Your business is unique, so the approach for optimizing your SEO and growing your customer base needs to be unique as well.

Not all businesses need a website design overhaul, and not all businesses will find their target audience through Instagram ads. An agency that treats your business exactly the same as their other clients is probably not the right fit.

Our tailored approach starts with understanding your company’s customers and current web presence. Once we do this, we can identify your strengths and areas for growth, as well as which channels your target customers are most likely to find you. Then, we’ll check out your competition to find opportunities to outrank them.

Our strategic plan will take all of these factors and more into consideration as we launch your SEO campaign. We also meticulously track our campaign to identify what’s working and where we need to realign our efforts. This approach has helped us be successful with companies like Kuykendall Solar and can help your business find success as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can assist you, get in touch with our team.  

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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 After COVID-19

It’s become increasingly difficult 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 from a new customer/member. 

Adding to this complexity, once a new customer is acquired, 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 for 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 its customer’s lifetime value: the longer the customer relationship, the higher the chance the customer will become profitable. 

However, with nearly one-quarter of new customers closing their accounts and more than 1 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?

The 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 the degree of a customer’s intention to recommend your bank to others and continue investing in your 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 long-term 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

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 when customers simply leave their existing accounts open but open a new account at a different bank or credit union. 

Monitoring hidden defections can help banks distinguish loyal customers from satisfied customers. 

Many financial institutions are unaware of the extent of their customer retention issues because of blind spots in their retention efforts. Banks track standard defections, 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. 

Give Your Members Reasons To Stay

Hidden defections make customer attrition challenging to manage and highlight the importance of customer retention optimization — but what’s the best tactic to figure out if your customers are considering defecting?

To start, you need to figure out when customers have left and which customers are at the highest risk of defecting. Then, you can work on giving those customers reasons to stay. 

1. Find Out When Customers Leave

Use customer data to track the customer journey from acquisition to departure to find out at 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 on 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

Once you fully understand your customer’s behavior, you can start to craft a targeted retention plan. 

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 and retain 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 and loyalty. 

Newsletters also show long-time customers that you appreciate their business, and can build the goodwill you need to earn their referrals.

In your email newsletter, consider discussing industry trends, best practices for banking safety, or new features that you offer. 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 seamlessly 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 satisfaction surveys, banks can:

  • Analyze customer behavior and user experience
  • Achieve an accurate understanding of their overall customer experience
  • Identify and resolve urgent issues and weaknesses in the customer journey
  • Evaluate loyalty and customer satisfaction
  • Identify 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

Customer surveys capture unbiased customer reviews to help you assess your institution’s best practices, understand customer expectations, and determine how market and competitor developments are changing customer behavior. 

With customer satisfaction surveys, customer success teams can pinpoint the most pressing retention threats to address and 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 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. Why? It could be because five out of six consumers surveyed didn’t know that their bank provided customer loyalty programs in the first place. 

To address this lack of awareness of your services, you should be intentional about promoting the discounts that you provide. You can:

  • Put signage up in your bank
  • Train your front-line staff to make personalized recommendations to customers who visit in person
  • Post about your loyalty programs on your social media
  • Make sure that you promote your programs in your email newsletters

Customers can’t take advantage of deals they don’t know about.

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 a 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 their mobile apps. Otherwise, banks risk increased customer churn, as customers may opt for a bank that provides superior financial services.

Apps also offer an opportunity to introduce loyalty programs that may be applicable to specific customers based on their purchase habits. If you offer discounts for restaurant purchases or travel, include marketing pop-ups in your app for frequent restaurant visitors or travelers. 

5. Focus On Your 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. Then, make sure that you offer adequate training to your branch staff to be sure they’re ready to recommend the perfect product or service to each customer.

6. Elevate Your Marketing Without Breaking The Bank

Your strategies to attract and retain customers don’t have to have an exorbitant price tag attached. You can offer an outstanding experience that competes with national banks without breaking your own marketing budget. 

If you’re ready to take your customer acquisition and retention strategies to the next level, then check out this article with 5 tips you can use to out-market the big banks on a shoestring budget

Great Banking Experience = More Profit

The banking industry has a unique set of challenges in the area of customer defection, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for high customer turnover and low lifetime value. 

Developing retention strategies based on data about your user’s behavior will help you provide meaningful and effortless banking experiences for new and long-time customers. In turn, industry data is showing that this kind of improved experience will drastically improve retention rates and lead to increased profitability. 

If you know that you need to work on your retention and loyalty but aren’t quite sure where to start, get in touch with our agency. We’d be happy to help you design a retention strategy that fits your institution and customers. 

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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, let’s suppose you invest 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. Compare that to Google Ads where 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 on page 4 or page 5 of the search results. 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.