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4 Ways Your Law Firm’s Homepage May Be Driving Away Potential Clients

 

Your law firm website homepage is the first impression a potential client gets. A well-designed and informative homepage can motivate to explore and get to know your law firm. But a poorly designed homepage can drive visitors away before they’ve had a chance to engage with the rest of your website.

There are many problems that a homepage may have, but below are what we believe to be four of the most prominent problems that can drive potential clients away.

  1. Potential clients can’t tell how your law firm can help them

Website visitors have short attention spans. Your potential clients want to know whether you are the right attorney to help them with their case or matter. And they want to know that quickly.

When they visit your homepage, it should be easy for a potential client to quickly see what type(s) of law you practice, the geographic area you practice in and what kind of clients you serve.

  1. Your homepage doesn’t give potential clients a reason to stay on your law firm website

Your law firm website homepage should encourage potential clients to engage with your law firm. If there isn’t a reason to engage further or it is hard for them to do so, potential clients may not have a strong incentive to stay on your website.

Here are some reasons a potential client may choose to leave your homepage, rather than exploring your website or contacting your firm:

  • Confusing navigation. Your site’s navigation should make it easy for potential clients to learn about your law firm and to find answers to their questions.
  • Your site is hard to use on mobile devices. It is likely that a sizable percentage of your potential clients will use a mobile device to visit your law firm website. It’s important that your site is easy to use on desktop computers and laptops, as well as mobile devices.
  • They can’t see how to contact your firm. An effective law firm homepage lets potential clients easily see whether you are likely to be able to help them with their case or matter. Don’t make them hunt for your contact information. Display your contact information prominently in your site header and footer.
  1. Your law firm website homepage is overwhelming

Homepage design can unintentionally drive potential clients away. If your homepage includes a lot of flashy visual elements–such as multiple sliders, video backgrounds, pop-ups and other moving components–this can distract and overwhelm website visitors.

A good law firm website helps you communicate and connect with your potential clients. Too much visual “noise” can be distracting for your potential clients, and it can prevent you from connecting with them.

  1. You’re sending potential clients away from your law firm’s homepage to other sites

Online ratings and reviews can contribute to building potential clients’ trust and encourage them to choose your law firm over a competitor. However, you should consider whether you want to drive traffic to external review sites from your homepage.

On your law firm’s website, you can control what potential clients see. You control your messaging. However, on other websites, such as third-party review sites, you no longer control what a potential client sees or doesn’t see. If someone clicks that link to your Avvo profile (or another directory or review site), you’re sending a captive audience away from your homepage, where you control the messaging about your firm.

On another website, they may be exposed to positive reviews about your law firm. But they might also be exposed to negative reviews, as well as information and/or advertisements about your competitors.

 

Don’t Forget This One Key Audience When Writing a Press Release

The press release has gone through quite an evolution over the past decade or so. Before the age of the internet, the press release was generally only seen by the press. Companies and their PR agencies would distribute the announcement and hope that it was compelling enough to warrant a story.

Today, the release plays a more dynamic role. The disruption of the web has splintered press releases into a variety of formats to serve different audiences and different purposes, including journalists, customers and industry analysts. Social media and company websites allow for direct communication and interaction with customers.

But there is one additional “audience” that should not be forgotten – search engine spiders, or web crawlers. These automated bots constantly scour the Web for content, and their findings are used to determine which websites are shown when an individual conducts a search using various keywords. If you anticipate that your press release will be posted anywhere online – on your website, through a newswire, or any media outlet with an online presence, then it’s important to consider the language used from a search engine’s perspective. Integrating key words, phrases and embedded links optimize their “findability” and rank within traditional search engines such as Google or Yahoo. In this case, the greatest targets for SEO releases are actually customers, not journalists. Many say that if you’re not on the first two pages of search results, then your company is losing the battle for online mindshare.

When drafting the release, ensure that your top keywords are included towards the front of the release, especially in the headline, subhead and boilerplate. Choose up to three words and repeat through the release – especially in the boilerplate. Search engines seem to pay more attention to the natural bolded words as well as the repeated words toward the top of press releases (first half).

It’s also extremely helpful to use those keywords as anchor text to link back to strategic landing pages on your Website, ensure that those pages are also keyword optimized as well. It’s important not to overuse each word or over link.

Also, be sure to include industry and product names and categories in place of generic descriptors such as, “the product,” “the solution,” and “the company,” throughout the release, without ruining the flow.

Press releases are a mainstay for public relations campaigns. By keeping search engine crawlers in mind when crafting the language within them, releases can continue to provide benefits for a long time.

5 Mistakes Law Firms Make When Advertising Online

When it comes to Google Advertising, the competition is big and the pressure for results is high. Law firms can spend anywhere from $10 to over $500 per click so the key is to focus your marketing dollars in the areas closely aligned with your expertise and with the highest profits. Let’s go over the major mistakes most law firms are making with Google Advertising:

Unfocused Campaign and Keyword Strategy. Most law firms would say that their practice area covers a little bit of everything. However, trying to advertise that on Google when your marketing budget is limited won’t work. Clicks are too expensive and you will end up spreading your budget too thin to excel in any specific area. The first step to avoid this mistake is answering the question: What types of cases produce the most revenue for your firm? Or, what area of practice would you like to expand this year? Stick to effective advertising in one or two areas of practice before trying to expand too quickly. Furthermore, it is important to target keywords that show “buying” intent. The more general the keyword, the less buying intent you can assume.

Not Writing Effective Ad Copy. The biggest mistake law firms make when writing ads is not writing to be noticed. The worst ad is the one people skim right by while clicking on the competitor. Here are some tips to stand out:

  • Include parentheses and brackets in your headlines.
  • Include numbers.
  • Mention specific offers or discounts.
  • Add dollar signs or registered trademarks.
  • Include part of a testimonial or quotation.
  • Focus on a stronger call to action than your competitors.
  • Include the keyword in your ad Headline and in the Display URL to reinforce the message.
  • Keep your ads local and individualized to target specific cities.
  • Don’t focus on how great you are but tell the potential client how you will help them.

Not Having Consistent and Compelling Landing Pages. A compelling ad is what gets your potential client in the door. Then, the first thing the user sees after clicking an ad is your landing page, and it will be the first real impression they will have of your practice. Many law firms link their ads to their website homepages, but did the user search for everything you have to offer? No! They searched for a specific service they are looking for and they don’t want to waste time looking at all the other services. Here are some techniques for making sure your landing pages are designed to convert visitors into clients:

  • Focus on the benefits you provide clients.
  • Have a strong headline that demonstrates your value immediately.
  • Differentiate yourself from competitors and explain clearly why you are the best option.
  • Include social proof and let happy clients speak for you.
  • Make it easy to contact you and provide short and quick forms.

Not Tracking Leads Through to Actual Cases. Your law firm should know how many of your clients came from a Google ad click and how much revenue your Paid search accounted for. This information is absolutely critical to making optimizations that make a difference, but most law firms can’t answer those questions.

Not Testing for Viability and Optimizing for Profitability. Law firms often want to start by bidding on a wide range of keywords with low bids so they can learn which areas are profitable before committing more budget. However, this approach can actually ensure that no specific keywords get enough traffic to learn anything useful so firms conclude that advertising doesn’t work for them and give up. The best way is testing for viability and then optimizing for profitability. Focus on a very small core of keywords to begin with and bid for the top spot on the search results page. It will allow you to quickly test whether or not a keyword can actually produce the types of leads you want for your practice.

If your law firm doesn’t make those mistakes and follows this advice, your Google AdWords campaigns will likely produce more quality leads than your competition for less money!

9 Components to Master Before Crafting Your Next PR Plan

Every PR campaign relies on a clear and attainable PR plan. Having a concise outlook on what your team will do is the key to an effective campaign. Here are 9 crucial elements to consider for your next PR plan:

 

  1. Objective

 

What is the ultimate goal of your public relations campaign?

Clear objectives help set up and guide the rest of the PR plan to your final goal.

 

  1. Goals and measurement

 

What do you want to achieve, and what will success look like?

 

Goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

Don’t let measurement be an afterthought. Measurement should be defined at the outset and tracked throughout a campaign to gauge performance.

 

  1. Publics or audience

 

What target audience do you want to influence?

The key to good PR practice is defining your public as robustly as possible. This may be based on behavior, location or a demographic. Having a clear audience in mind allows for more effective and relevant messaging.

 

  1. Research

 

This may sound like a given, but take the time to research the audiences you wish to reach.

 

 

  1. Insights

 

Your research should reveal insights that drive your strategy. Let the data shape your content ideas.

 

  1. Strategy

 

Your strategy statement should clearly and concisely summarize how you plan to achieve your goals.

 

  1. Creative

 

What content will your audience clamor for? It’s all about what they want.

 

  1. Channels

 

Modern PR campaigns must work across an array of platforms and channels. Earned or owned media content typically leads the way, with paid distribution and social media efforts used as a means of amplification and engagement.

 

 

  1. Calendar

 

Make sure to craft a detailed content calendar that schedules campaigns, channels and timelines.

What makes for an ideal pitch?

When it comes to pitching, there are certain circumstances that create the most favorable conditions for eventual media exposure. Public relation professionals pitch journalists with suggestions for stories on behalf of their clients and it is crucial that they secure and arrange the right opportunity. However, not all pitches are created equal and there are some specific factors that make an ideal pitch:

Business Relevance. The most vital step in any media relations program is to consider what kinds of coverage make the most sense from a business perspective. If you want to sell more widgets, focus on the media whose audience may be interested in those widgets.

Current Events. Make sure your pitch addresses a current event. News, by definition, is the reporting of a recent event and journalists need sources to comment on them. The more you can match the needs of your source to the needs of the journalist, the better it is for everyone. Provide a source for commentary and the chances you are going to be heard are a lot higher!

Source Expertise. Take a moment to consider whether the topic you are pitching aligns with the expertise of your spokesperson. It may seem obvious but sometimes PR people get a little too excited with the media relations before doing due diligence with the source and that`s a mistake. The last thing you want is to have the source decline an interview you got with a journalist because they are not familiar with the subject. Make sure your clients have been following the subject and could speak about it with authority.

Timeliness. What is hot today will be old news by tomorrow. The world of public relations revolves rapidly and media deadlines are short, so timely outreach is vital. PR professionals have to pay close to attention to what is makings news and to what is likely to be making news in the near future. Also, keep in mind that journalists don’t wait so make sure that your spokespeople are available and ready.

Legal Services: Commodity or Brand?

Are your legal services viewed as a commodity or a brand? Law firms are struggling with price pressures from customers and prospects, yet few law firms actively and comprehensively market their services in a branded way.

What is a commodity? It is a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors such as brand name.

What does it mean to be a brand? Branded product marketing communicates higher quality, greater overall satisfaction and the higher likelihood that the product will meet the customer`s specific needs. In the case of branded services, the customer service dimension, including a satisfaction guarantee, is highlighted along with the promised end result.

How are legal services becoming commoditized?

·         There are too many attorneys and whenever there is a wide availability of a service, that service risks becoming a commodity.

·         Many attorneys are using low prices as a weapon to gain market share, which drives their margins down in order to increase their client base.

·         Most people don’t know enough about law to distinguish high quality services so they often focus on low price as their number one factor in choosing an attorney.

How to avoid becoming a commodity?

·         Establish a near-perfect track record of quality and success. What percent of cases that you handle are successful?

·         Improve your processes to increase speed and accuracy.

·         Take time and energy to give clients the attention they need.

·         Create high quality marketing messages.

Law firms that seek to build market share and pricing power should develop a branded marketing strategy and communicate their brand promise in a consistent, comprehensive way. Branded product and service marketing are the key differentiators that make a product or service unique.

If legal services become a commodity, it could harm your law firm`s profitability. You will see price wars, lower margins and higher difficulty in establishing differentiation and brand image.

 

Are Marketing and PR the same thing?

The answer is no. But they need each other. Although they share similar methods and tactics, at their cores, public relations and marketing have different goals. Let’s break it down:

The goal of PR.

The desired outcome of a PR professional is a trusted relationship with his audience. Public Relations main goal is to create awareness and trust by communicating with audiences, directly or through intermediaries such as the media.

The goal of marketing.

The job of a marketer is to stimulate demand in an audience by triggering a response, a need, then directing that need to products and services. The desired outcome here is an interested buyer.

Why Marketing and PR aren’t the same thing?

The methods and tools used by both is very similar, if not the same. However, there a few differences. A PR professional uses the media to create awareness and the social media to communicate with audiences. The publications provide information to audiences and advertising drive awareness to content. PR professionals use trusted third parties like publications to create social proof and trust in the company and its products and services.

On the other hand, a marketer uses the media to generate demand and the social media to trigger need, pose questions and to highlight implicit problems audiences have that the company will solve. Marketers use advertising to reach audiences that are hard to reach organically, but with a different purpose other than awareness: demand generation.

Why marketing and PR need each other?

Awareness needs demand and demand needs awareness. Let’s put it that way:

Demand without awareness and trust is like having a coffee shop that customers can’t find, and awareness without demand is like having a coffee shop that customers never visit. Combined, marketing and PR encourage people to tell each other about the coffee ship, trust that the coffee is good, come to it and buy something from it.

They are not the same thing, but they need each other.

5 Tips for Writing a Good Marketing Plan

Writing a marketing plan is not as hard as it sounds. Whether you are launching a new product or promoting your latest offer, it is worth taking the time to complete it. Planning your strategies will help you direct your day-to-day activities, guide your approach and ensure you are taking advantage of all your available resources. The good news is that a marketing plan doesn’t need to be overly time consuming to prepare. Sometimes simple is better! You don’t need too many details in order for it to be effective and keeping it simple will also give you the flexibility to quickly adjust your tactics if you need to.

Read these 5 tips and learn how to develop a basic marketing plan:

  • Build a precise picture of your ideal customer. The first and most essential step of any marketing plan is identifying your target market, being as precise as possible. Ask yourself questions such as: Who in your current customer base is the right fit for your product or service? What have they purchased from you before? Do their purchasing patterns suggest they might be a good target? Are they the kind of customer you enjoy doing business with? What about reaching new customers outside your customer base? Being really specific will make it easier to craft the right message and tactics for reaching that audience.
  • What do you want to accomplish? Once your consumers are made aware of your campaign or promotional activity, what is your call to action? Do you want them to register for an event, take advantage of a special offer, upgrade an existing product, invest in training, or request a quote? Maybe there are more than one action that you want them to take, so be specific. These actions will drive your messaging and delivery methods.
  • How can you reach your targets? Now you already know who you want to reach and what actions you want them to take. The next step is identifying the best ways and messages to reach them. In order to find the most effective way, consider the following:
  • What associations do they belong to?
  • Are they active on social media?
  • Do they subscribe to your email marketing?
  • What print or online media do they read?
  • What types of messages or call to actions have they responded to in the past?
  • In what ways will they benefit from your service?
  • Work Out Your Budget. When it comes to planning your budget, determine your tactis and price them out, prioritizing what is most necessary. Keep in mind that you can always adjust your budget as you go, so be flexible.
  • Plan Your Tactics. Whether it is direct email, email marketing, print/radio/online advertising, blogs, social media, webinars, case studies, or events, you need actions that will help you reach your target market and accomplish your goals. However, do not rely on one tactic alone. Invest on an integrated approach that delivers a consistent message across multiple, targeted platforms. Above all, be flexible and track your results, keeping a close eye on what works and what doesn’t and adjusting your tactics as you go.

Does your law firm website follow these 5 best practices?

We all know that most people head to the Internet first when they are seeking any service. Legal services are no exception to this trend and that’s why your law firm’s website is so important. Let’s put it in this perspective: your website is the online version of your firm’s front door. This means that the information included should “invite” your potential clients to use your service and it should be tailored to meet their needs and expectations.

But what exactly are people looking for when hiring an attorney?  Here are the 5 tips to improve your Law Firm`s website and make it more effective and consumer friendly:

Showcasing quality of service is important. Legal consumers want to see proof of good service. A good way to provide information about the quality of service provided by your firm is to include links to reviews that are favorable. If your firm has not been reviewed, including client testimonials and quotes is a good option too.

Highlighting client communication is key. Clients value clear, concise communication from their attorneys more than anything else. They are looking for simple explanations and terms that are easy to understand. One great way to show that attorneys at your firm are able to communicate effectively with clients is to maintain a law firm blog. It should include posts where lawyers explain legal concepts in a simple, down to earth manner. That way, you will show potential clients that attorneys at your law firm are knowledgeable and able to communicate clearly.

Emphasize experience. A lot of times, experience is more important than certifications, education, age or gender. If you have been practicing for a while, make sure to include your years of practice for individual attorneys or collectively for the entire law firm. Doing so will inspire confidence in potential clients and will encourage them to contact you.

Certifications are also important! Be sure to include any award or certifications that attorneys in your firm have received. It is just one more way to showcase your firm`s expertise.

Focus on client service. Potential clients value attorney responsiveness. So show your clients that your law firm provides multiple ways for lawyers and clients to interact. For example, if your law firm uses online client portals for communication or incorporates other innovative communications features into its workflow, make sure to emphasize those features on your law firm`s websites.

Does your website provide the information that legal consumers are seeking? Make some changes to your firm’s online presence and see how much more effective it will be!

4 Reasons Why Visual Communication has a Big Impact

The use of visual communication continues to grow and it is happening in all mediums – newspapers, websites, social media, instruction manuals and emails. Whether it is images, animated GIFs or video, visual aids can produce higher engagement than regular texts.

Visual communication creates a more effective and meaningful message, helping content creators get their point across. Read these 4 reasons why visual communication is crucial and more impactful when delivering a message:

  • It saves time by relaying messages faster. Time is money, right? Getting your point across quickly is a huge benefit considering that readers often prefer to scan content rather than read word for word. The media landscape is filled with clutter and it is hard to acquire and retain the readers` attention, so keeping your material loaded with visuals is a surefire way to relay your message in less time. Studies have shown that we can get a sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text!
  • Visual communication ensures that a clear, unified message is delivered. In the business world of communication, less room for interpretation is what you want. It is important that all readers interpret a similar meaning, otherwise it can result in waste of time and confusion. Text-heavy content leaves much to imagination and it works for novels and pleasure reading, but not for business. Short, simple videos or animated GIFs are a great way to make sure everyone involved is on the same page.
  • Visual Communication helps to provide a shared, consistent experience. Branding is an important part of delivering a consistent experience with visuals. Marketing activity is more effective if organizations define brand colors, logos, font, graphics, icons and imagery that will pair with the company`s voice and tone. It will not only make your brand recognizable and consistent, but it will also build brand awareness!
  • Visual Communication results in better retention of the information. Considering that images are directly deposited and stored into the long-tern memory, using visuals helps the audience remember the information more effectively. Studies have found that after 2 weeks, only 10-20% of text or spoken word is recalled, compared to 50% of visual content! Regardless of your communication topic or plan, retention is always something to aim for.

Bringing it all together, the benefits of visual communication are for both the sender and the receiver and it is crucial to an overall strategic communication plan.