Practical Guide to Marketing for Lawyers

Out now: 'A practical guide to marketing for lawyers' book

The result of several months of hard work, our just-published book titled 'A practical guide to marketing for lawyers' is now available to buy. Our hot-off-the-press publication contains nine chapters ranging from branding and budget setting to social media and strategy, with a series of essential checklists at the end to help you through your various marketing tasks.

Those lawyers and barristers' clerks lacking marketing expertise and operating with more modest funds can find the guidance they need in our practical book which provides a comprehensive overview of each element of marketing communications. Written in layman’s terms, it’s ideal for newcomers and seasoned marketers alike.

Read more, download a free sample chapter and order your copy from Amazon.

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Setting up a PPC campaign

Setting up a PPC campaign

Pay-per-click advertising, otherwise known as sponsored links, appear in prominent areas of search engine pages. To get listed in these prime positions, you bid against other chambers for keywords that are relevant to your services. However, you only pay when somebody clicks on your advert. If you bid more for relevant keywords than another set, your advert will be placed above theirs.

To set up your PPC campaigns, follow these 6 basic guidelines…

1. Define your objectives
What do you want to achieve? Are you trying to drive traffic to your website, get people to subscribe to a newsletter, download an e-book etc? Be clear about why you’re advertising as this will help you select appropriate keywords and write a persuasive advert.

2. Choose your search terms
The keywords or phrases you bid on must reflect what your potential clients will type into search engines when looking for your services. Be specific. “Barrister Watford immigration” is preferable to the too-generic “barristers’ chambers”.

3. Set your budget
Decide what you’re willing to pay for your keywords and phrases, remembering that costs will vary with the competitiveness of your market.

4. Write your advert
Your advert will contain a heading, small amount of text and URL. Stay focused on giving browsers the information that will encourage them to click through to your website.

5. Create your landing page
Direct surfers to a landing page that’s relevant to your advert rather than just taking them to your home page. Make it easy for someone to take the next step – whether that’s a subscription, sales enquiry or other call to action. At all times, make it clear how visitors can contact you straightaway.

6. Track your users’ journey
Experiment with different keywords, approaches and budgets to discover which generates the best results for your chambers. Track where users arrive and, once there, how they interact with your site through Google Analytics.

To outsource your PPC campaign planning and execution, drop us a note.

 

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Making your site mobile friendly

Making your site mobile friendly

Remember Google’s mobile friendly algorithm update in April 2015? Labelled “mobilegeddon” in SEO circles, Google’s changes were designed to favour sites optimised for mobile devices.

Google’s reasoning is to make browsing as easy on mobile devices – such as smartphones and tablets – as it is on PCs and laptops. Websites not mobile friendly have too-small text and too-close links which lessons the user experience.

Research shows that we’re all spending increasing volumes of time on mobile platforms and it keeps rising. So, to keep your clients and prospects happy, you need a mobile friendly format.

Fair enough, but how exactly should you go about it? These 4 handy hints should do the trick…

1. Is your site responsive?
Check your web analytics (via Google Analytics – check out our article on this subject on the Infolaw website) to see what proportion of site visitors come to you via mobile as this will help determine how you might need to consider your design needs.

A responsive design will begin with your desired desktop design or layout with certain elements dropped as the screen size shrinks (for tablet then mobile).

2. Test how mobile friendly your site is currently
There are a number of free-to-use tools to test whether your site is already mobile friendly. Google’s mobile friendly test site is an obvious place to start. Go to https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly, type your URL in the bar and click “Analyze”. Results will show the points you need to address for touchscreen use.

There’s also Google’s PageSpeed Insights (visit https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights, type your URL in the bar and click “Analyze” again) which will calculate how quickly your pages load on mobile. Look at your “user experience” and “speed” rankings (out of 100) as well as your “Should Fix” and “Consider Fixing” lists to resolve any issues.

The speed at which your site loads is fundamental, especially on mobile. Any delay will see your browser’s patience snap and go elsewhere.

3. Find out what clients using mobile devices actually want
Next, think about what clients want when they visit your site so you know what your mobile version should look like. Check your web analytics to look at:

  • What pages are most popular?
  • What proportion of visitors use mobile devices?
  • Which pages do visitors tend to jump to from your home page?
  • What are the most-used drop-down navigations?

4. Keep your mobile design as simple as possible
Based on the above analytics, provide less text, smaller images and fewer menu options accordingly. Here’s a quick checklist:-

  • Include sufficient white space around buttons to avoid users accidentally clicking the wrong link
  • Make form-filling easy with drop-down selections and limited text entering
  • Avoid dense copy and small font size because they’re harder to read on smaller devices
  • Decide which features are a necessity and which you can lose

You’re always welcome to instruct us for guidance.

 

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On-page SEO perfection

On-page SEO perfection

A keyword is a word or sequence of words that a search engine uses to index web pages when browsers type them into the search bar to locate companies, products or services.

Sometimes called organic keywords, these differ from pay-per-click (PPC) keywords in that they’re free. Paid-for results appear under the “Sponsored” headings; organic in the natural listings directly underneath and to the side of these.

Typically, tactics for boosting your ranking on search engines will vary between organic and paid keywords strategies. With PPC, costs are constant. You need to keep paying to appear against certain keywords and ultimately outbid your competitors.

For organic success, however, it’s all about writing content that will index well and drive revenue-boosting traffic your way. So organic’s important.

The way to perfect organic listings is on-page search engine optimisation (SEO). This is both the wording on every page of your website and each page’s metadata. The former needs no explaining. The latter is text such as your page titles and page descriptions within your content management system (CMS).

We’re here with 10 top tips to get you started with on-page SEO…

1. URLs: keep your URLs short and keyword rich. The first 3-5 words carry most weight.

2. Titles: title tags are the most important element here. Where possible, start with strong keywords (rather than use them in the middle or end).

3. Multimedia: images, videos and diagrams reduce bounce rate and increase time on site; both of which influence Google ranking factors.

4. Outbound links: links to external related authority sites boost a page’s rank.

5. Keyword-rich first 100 words: fire your biggest guns first to emphasise your page is all about those keywords.

6. H1 tag titles: check that your CMS allocates a headline tag to your main title. This may be automatic.

7. Loading speed: this is another ranking signal so ensure pages are quick to load. If not, get on the case of your website hosts!

8. Long content: as a general guide, aim for 1500 words per web page, particularly when targeting competitive keywords.

9. Social sharing buttons: search engine algorithms like these plus you’ll engage browsers better if they’re prominently displayed.

10. Bounce rate: with high bounce rates, search engines will penalise you. To reduce your bounce rate, write compelling copy, add internal links, create straightforward navigation and invest in a clean website design.

Get in touch for SEO support.

 

 

 

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10 killer web copywriting tips

10 killer web copywriting tips

Use these 10 copywriting tips for knock-out content that’ll tempt browsers onto your site, lower your bounce rate and encourage repeat visits in the future.

1. Learn to write powerful headlines
All your copy is worthless if your headlines don’t entice visitors to click through and read further from the outset.

2. Be concise
People have shorter attention spans than ever; particularly in an online capacity. Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Of course, there are occasionally exceptions to this rule.

3. Remember the important details
Who, what, when, where, why and how are critical for good copywriting.

4. Use short words
Simple words communicate better than big words and pompous language or corporate speak. It’s easier to read and makes it feel more like a conversation.

5. Make it skimmable
Online readers don’t read everything word for word. Instead, they scan to find what they’re looking for so make your content easy to skim. Use various formatting techniques that break up the text and draw the reader’s eye to important points, for example headings, subheadings, bulleted lists and images (or other media) with captions.

6. Craft a compelling call to action
What happens when your reader’s finished your page? Call them to action by requesting they visit another related web page, complete a contact form, download a white paper etc.

7. Use positive language
Write sentences with positive words ie. “Don’t get left behind” might become “Get ahead of the competition”. Sometimes negative language is necessary and adds variety to your copy, but don’t overdo it.

8. Back up your claims
Logic influences decision making. Use statistics, research data, case studies, testimonials and other sources to prove what you say is true.

9. Balance text with images
Not a copywriting tip as such but incorporating various media (like photos, videos, infographics, slides and more) in your website makes a huge difference.

10. Link to reputable sources
Nothing online exists in a vacuum. Linking out to high-quality websites is helpful for your visitors. And, associating yourself with other credible websites will do wonders for your own reputation.

Contact us for assistance with your website copywriting projects.

 

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How to schedule posts

How to schedule posts

Even the most reliable clerks in chambers have time off work occasionally. After all, everyone needs a holiday and it’s impossible to plan for sickness. Of course, there are many reasons for absences, unexpected or otherwise. The point is this: you can schedule LinkedIn posts in advance. So, if you’re due some time off work, your LinkedIn page doesn’t have to stop with you.

In our experience, Buffer’s a popular tool for scheduling posts. Its free-to-use ‘Individual Plan’ allows you to schedule up to 10 posts at any given time. This is only for one social media account though. To connect up to 10 social profiles and store up to 100 scheduled posts at a time, subscribe to the paid-for ‘Awesome Plan’. Head to buffer.com to make a start.

In terms of monitoring conversations people are having about your chambers on social media (and, ultimately, take part!), Hootsuite’s just the job. It’s purpoted to be the world’s most widely used social relationship platform. You can track your interaction history and analyse conversations around the globe (in various languages). Be exactly where your audience is and join in the discussions. Go to hootsuite.com to sign up.

 

 

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The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide

Content: recycle and reuse

To set the scene, LinkedIn is used by both individuals and businesses to market ourselves and our companies. It’s always in professional mode because people hang out on LinkedIn to meet and learn from other professionals. Therefore, while it’s important to be friendly, act accordingly. Keep the more informal, chatty posts for other platforms.

You can create personal LinkedIn profiles and company pages. We’ll tackle each area in turn…

Personal LinkedIn profiles

It’s highly likely that plenty of your firm's partners and staff already have a LinkedIn presence. All of these play an important role in defining your firm’s online reputation. If they’re strong, consistent profiles, you’re on to a winner as you’re presenting yourselves as an expert, unified team. If this isn’t the case – whether it’s that very few of your staff are on LinkedIn or that the profiles which do exist are of varying quality – some gentle encouragement and guidelines distributed around your organisation wouldn’t go amiss.

Here’s what personal profiles should include:-

1. Photograph
Even on a professional level, people like dealing with people. Getting a good photo of yourself isn’t difficult with the plethora of Smartphones and other devices we use, all of which have high-tech camera technology embedded within them. Believe us, a photo makes all the difference.

2. Summary
The second most important part of your profile is your summary. Be authentic (false claims stand out a mile) and, as well as describing your sector experience and personality, also outline the benefits you offer clients and prospective clients of your firm.

3. Other profile areas
Populate the ‘Experience’, ‘Volunteer & causes’, ‘Skills’, ‘Education’, ‘Additional info’, ‘Organisations’ (membership bodies etc) and ‘Contact info’ sections. But be selective about the information you upload about yourself. If you’ve had lots of jobs, don’t list them all, especially not the more junior roles, and think about bundling some together under one heading. Make it easy for people to scan your profile and instantly understand your career history, qualifications and how to get in touch.

4. Connections
The more people you connect with, the better it is for business. Personalise your connection invitation message to encourage positive response. Don’t connect with anyone and everyone though. Select connections in your industry only. Once connected, treat your connections with respect. Don’t spam your database with marketing messages. They won’t thank you for it.

5. Recommendations
It’s readily acknowledged that recommendations are the best form of marketing there is, so this area’s pretty important too. The way to gather recommendations is to recommend others and hope that they’ll reciprocate. You’ll find that the majority will do so. It’s bad practice to request recommendations from all and sundry. Give something first and they’re likely to give something back in return.

6. Groups
This category falls under ‘Interests’. Find out which groups your peers are part of and ask to join. Thereafter, take part in the conversations. Again, don’t blast group members with marketing. You’ll annoy everyone and risk getting banned from the group for such poor etiquette. Instead, offer advice, comment on others’ posts and generally show your subject area knowledge. And, when confident enough, why not devise your own groups?

Company pages

Next, create a company page. You need a personal LinkedIn profile to do this. Go to ‘Interests’ and ‘Companies’ from the top toolbar then click ‘Create’ under the ‘Create a Company Page’ heading on the right hand side. Your company page should be a mini version of your website so that those interested in discovering more about your firm can from within LinkedIn. Here’s what to do:-

1. Tell the story of your firm
Choose the ‘Home’ tab from the top toolbar and ‘Edit’ to the right of the screen. Only designated administrators can perform this function. You want your followers to be able to read a high-level overview of your firm, its mission and areas of expertise.

Use your website’s ‘Home’ or ‘About us’ pages as a starting point. Bear in mind your keywords to boost search engine optimisation (SEO) performance. Don’t set up your page then let it lie stagnant. Keep it up to date.

Once you’re done editing your page, click on the ‘Publish’ button in the right hand corner (or ‘Cancel’ if you make a mistake).

2. Use images
With your overall firm’s branding your foremost consideration, select images to bring your company page to life. Your firm's logo will appear next to your name at the top of the page. Dimension requirements are 300 x 300 pixels. Your main image reflects your business. This should be 646 x 220 pixels and make it eye catching!

3. Add specialties
You’re allowed up to 20 of these but it doesn’t mean you must fill all 20 available spaces with generic terms. Again, for SEO reasons, list a handful of keyword-specific specialties. You’ll rank higher on Google and people will find your set more easily.

4. Create showcase pages
Every one of your LinkedIn followers isn’t interested in every one of your legal area specialisms. Taking the place of the old ‘Products / Services’ tab, showcase pages allow you to develop customised pages for various target audiences and ultimately develop niche communities around them. LinkedIn members can actually follow these without following your entire chambers. You can then tailor content to your heart’s content.

Click on the arrow next to the ‘Edit’ button located in the top right hand corner of your company page and select ‘Create a Showcase Page’ from the drop-down list presented. Thereafter, choose a page name, assign administrators, write a description, attach a representative image, select an industry, include a URL to a relevant landing page on your website and upload your logo. Click ‘Publish’ at the end to make your page live.

5. Post compelling content
Get into the habit of posting content regularly, be it blog posts, press releases, industry announcements, service developments or other updates. It’s about having conversations with your followers by providing valuable resources and nuggets of information which your audience needs and wants.

This doesn’t have to be freshly written content each time. Sharing articles posted by industry spokespeople is equally acceptable.

Post content through the ‘Share an update’ area on your company page. These posts will then appear on your home screen and your followers’ news feeds. Consider optimum time of day (mornings are generally preferred), length of post (keep it snappy with a link for more information) and imagery. Use photos always and videos where possible (more on this later).

6. Attract followers
Your content (step 5 above) will do much of the work for you but you also need to request that firm employees feature your organisation as their present employer, follow your company page and drum up more quality followers. This could be via LinkedIn’s InMail messaging system, their email signature, PowerPoint presentations and during face-to-face conversations.

Similarly, your Partners and fee earners can invite followers through your website, newsletters, white papers and other marketing collateral.

Not forgetting reciprocal exchanges. Follow others and they’ll follow you in return. Locate esteemed industry figures to follow. You might want to check out who they’re following too.

Maximising your firm's presence on LinkedIn won’t happen overnight. Persistence and patience are vital. After all, the best things in life come to those who wait!

 

 

 

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Content: recycle and reuse

Content: recycle and reuse

It’s readily acknowledged that the more content you produce, the more engagement you’ll drive. Maintaining a steady stream of content establishes your chambers as an authority in your specialist areas, solves problems for your audience and raises brand awareness.

But, none of us have a limitless list of ideas and endless time in which to write new content. So, recycle and reuse instead.

It isn’t cheating. In fact, it’s a good opportunity to put a fresh coat of paint on an old – but highly reliable – machine, and make sure new audiences see past content at more convenient times or places.

Here are some ideas of how to get started with recycling content:-

E-books and white papers
Larger content pieces such as these are robust enough to get you through a quarter before having to push out another one. If you’ve got a lengthy resource in this format, release it at the beginning of the quarter then use it to fuel the rest of your content strategy for those months.

Pull segments, paragraphs or sections and repurpose them into shorter blog posts or emails. All you’ll need is a new headline, introduction and conclusion plus perhaps a few minor text alterations. Link these shorter content pieces to your e-book or white paper as a call to action.

Blog posts and emails
As an opposite tactic to that suggested above, instead of distributing your e-book or white paper at the beginning of the quarter and using it to write shorter content, do the reverse. Use your shorter content to write your longer content, and release the lengthier piece at the end of the quarter.

Pick out the posts or emails related to the larger topic umbrella, connect together like a puzzle and revise accordingly so the content flows smoothly.

Another way to repurpose these shorter content pieces is to simply share them again. To re-share, include an “ICYMI” (“In Case You Missed It”) tag and create a new caption. This tells your current audience that they’re seeing something they have already read, and informs your new audience that this is an important piece of content that’s worth sharing again.

Social media
Social media platforms don’t let your entire audience see each one of your posts, not without paying for coverage anyway, so it’s in your best interests to recycle the content that you post. Again, re-post on a different day with an “ICYMI” in the title or caption.

A few words of parting advice:-

  1. Don’t post the same content twice on the same day.
  2. Don’t re-post to the same channel or page with the same caption.
  3. Don’t post on a business page and then re-share on Facebook from your personal page on the same day.
  4. Don’t forget to tweak the language for different platforms. 140 characters for Twitter, no hashtags on Facebook and LinkedIn etc.

Keep recycling to really see the fruits of your labours. 

 

 

 

 

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How to amplify your email click-through rates

How to amplify your email click-through rates

Click-through rates vary industry to industry, customer to prospect, opt-in to purchased database. An oft-quoted baseline is 15%. We receive more and more emails each day and have ever-diminishing time in which to read them.

A decision is made in only 2 seconds as to whether or not to open and read items in our inbox. That’s reliant on three attributes of your email – from address, subject line an preview header.

Here’s how you can make the most of them and get your emails noticed:-

1. From address
This is all about your chambers’ brand on an individual relationship level. Even if recipients know your chambers, however, they’re likely to ignore info@ email addresses. Emails from personal email addresses are far more likely to be opened.

2. Subject line
In short (6 words or less), you need to show recipients what’s in it for them if they read your email. The more relevant your title, the more opened your email will be. Including the words “you”, “your”, “how to” and numbers will all encourage the reader that the email is about and of use to them.

3. Preview header
Your preview gives a sneak peek into your email. From there, recipients can decide if they think what you’re offering is personal and meaningful. It’s essential that your first sentence is enticing, to the point and matches your subject line.

Play around with these key attributes and see your nurture stream increase to up to 15% click through. 

 

 

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Achieve your 2016 content marketing resolutions

Achieve your 2016 content marketing resolutions

As April draws to a close, how many of your New Year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside? Expensive gym membership wasted? Healthy eating plan abandoned? Not forgetting your professional resolutions…

If you’re a marketer, your promises may (indeed, should!) involve content marketing. After all, without good content, your marketing plan will come to a standstill. You can’t be in front of every customer and every prospect representing your chambers face-to-face, so you have to rely on content to carry the torch for you.

By generating better and more regular content, you can engage your target audience in your brand. But it doesn’t necessarily have to mean more work for your already-busy clerks’ room. Here are some pointers to ease your workload and help you stick to your resolutions:-

Make content personal
Content overload can render your audience blind to your message. The trick isn’t making more content, it’s making smarter content by delivering personalised, hyper-relevant messages to the right people, at the right time, in the right place.

Get the most mileage out of your content
Take the concept of “waste not, want not” to another level. One way to ensure you get the most out of your expertly written content is to repurpose it in as many ways as practicably possible. For example, turn your research into infographics, white paper or another valuable resource.

Encourage sharing to make content matter
According to figures, only 10-20% of your readers will make it to the end of your content piece. To tackle the issue, simply put the best information right up top and make sure you’ve installed social sharing buttons (if it’s a digital resource) to reach a wider audience, even if your readers don’t read every word religiously.

Plan, write and edit
For the actual copywriting process itself, divide your time into three stages. First, plot your ideas. Second, write the first draft. Third, edit meticulously. Allocate sufficient time (and concentration!) to do the task justice.

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