Legal Marketing Guru - Dan Hynes Blog

Welcome to my blog. I will try to provide updates to some of the monthly changes Google makes to their algorithm. I will also provide articles on various internet marketing to help you build a successful law practice.

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YouTube as a Marketing Strategy

Social networking is the process of using Internet websites and applications to connect with other users and share information, ideas, comments, and thoughts. There are hundreds and thousands of social media networks available on the Internet, but only a select few of these have a large enough following to make them worthwhile as marketing strategies. When most business owners or marketers think of social networks that can be used for effective marketing, the big sites such as Facebook and Twitter come to mind. It's true that these networks can be quite effective for marketing services such as attorney and legal services. However, there is an enormously popular network that often gets neglected: YouTube.

Most consumers view YouTube simply as a fun website where short Internet videos can be viewed and shared. They don't often associate YouTube with advertising and marketing. This is good news for the marketers, though, as it means that consumers will not have tuned out marketing strategies and become deaf to ad campaigns.

Create Advertisement Videos

One of the easiest ways to use YouTube as a social network marketing strategy is to create videos for your brand, business, or firm. Thousands of businesses use online video posting as a marketing technique because it is easier to get consumer to pay attention with visual media. Consumers, frankly, are tired of reading advertisements about products and services. They are not, however, getting tired of endearing, emotional, funny, and captivating videos that communicate the importance of a particular service, product or idea. A perfect example of effective video marketing is Target's always popular holiday marketing videos. By combining humor with nostalgia, Target has created videos that are shareable and informative. Attorneys can create videos that show precisely why certain legal services are needed and how consumers can benefit from legal professionals. The key to effective video marketing, however, is creating videos that are likely to be shared by consumers.

Share Videos that Enhance Your Brand Image

If you are incapable of creating your own videos, you can still use YouTube as an effective marketing strategy. By locating videos that have already been posted and sharing them with contacts, you can access the brilliant video-making of others and harness that power for your firm.

Post Videos to a Website

You can also post YouTube videos directly to your business website. Consumers who visit legal websites that contain videos are far more likely to remain on the website for a longer period of time. When consumers stay on your website, the chance of transforming those consumers into paying customers is much better.

Put Ads Before Videos

You can also create an ad campaign that will run before popular videos on YouTube. Many videos on YouTube show a brief advertisement or commercial before the selected video is played. By advertising before videos that are popular amongst your targeted audience, you can reveal brand information and offered services to a large group of consumers.

YouTube is not just a fun video website. It can be an effective and beneficial marketing strategy for legal professionals, attorneys, firms, and other businesses that know how to tap into its marketing potential.

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Writing the Perfect Marketing Ad

The perfect marketing ad will capture the attention of a consumer, communicate a need, provide a solution, and encourage consumers to invest in services and products. How, though, can a business craft such an effective and elusive advertisement?

The Captivating Title

The most successful marketing ads begin with a captivating title. The title of an ad must be quite brief; usually twenty-five to thirty characters is the maximum amount that can be used effectively. This title, however, must communicate exactly what the ad is about in just a few words. Using keywords to capture consumers' attention is important, but the title must also read clearly and be easy to understand.

The Attractive and Well-Written Copy

The copy of your advertisement must be well-written. Obviously, the content must be free of all spelling and grammar errors. Additionally, though, it's important to choose powerful words and avoid fluffy content that adds verbosity without adding information.

The Call to Action

An effective marketing advertisement must also include a powerful call to action. The call to action is considered by many to be the most important element in an advertisement. This simple sentence or phrase invites consumers to act immediately after reading the ad. A call to action may include a contact number, a link that will direct consumers to a website, or even a time constraint that causes consumers to feel that immediate action is warranted and necessary.

Additional Media

Crafting the perfect marketing ad is difficult because consumers are surrounded by advertisements of all kinds on a daily basis. When a consumer logs on to favorite social media network, he is bombarded by advertisements on the sidebar of the network home page. When a consumer checks her email, she receives messages from businesses with which she has interacted in the past. When a consumer performs a Google web search, paid advertisements line the top and sides of the results page. Many consumers, therefore, have begun to tune these ads out. This decreases the average effectiveness of many marketing ad forms.

By including some additional element in your marketing ad, you can stand out from the crowd of mundane and repetitive ads that are clogging up a consumer's Internet experience. Adding photos, videos, or even a ratings system for customer satisfaction can give your ad an edge that other advertisements do not possess. Consumers are incredibly visually oriented. Many consumers will simply scan the content that you have painstakingly written, but their eye will be immediately drawn to and held by a high quality photo or image. If your ad campaigns are failing to attract attention, consider including a well-crafted logo or an eye-catching image. The results of your campaign will likely improve immediately.

Crafting a high quality advertisement for marketing purposes is a difficult and challenging process. This process often requires a great deal of trial and error, so don't be afraid to make drastic changes to your ad content if the campaign is proving ineffective. Analyzing other ads may be a great way to learn new marketing strategies that will help your business.

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Why You Need to Hire a Web Designer

Designing a website is the first, and most important, step in a successful online marketing campaign. Without a well-designed website, consumers will never be able to use the Internet to find information about your company and its services. Often, consumers have to resort to third-party information about businesses in their area. You, however, will have no control over this information, and consumers may be hesitant to deal with a company that doesn't even have a website.

Spend Money on the Important Stuff

Since web design is such an important part of online marketing, it's important to allot an adequate portion of marketing resources to this element. Hiring a professional web designer is costly, but a professional will be far more able to execute your web design concept.

Web Designers vs Web Templates

Many business owners try to skip the process of hiring a professional web designer by using web templates that are available online. The problem with using these templates, however, is that it is very difficult to customize the template to suit your business's unique set of needs. Also, consumers are able to detect sites that have been designed using a cheap template. This can affect their impressions of your company as a whole.

Customization in the Future

When you hire a professional web designer to handle your design project, you will be able to customize your site with new pages and content in the future. So, when your business expands and new service pages are required, you will already have a relationship with a professional who can quickly enhance your current site.

Fix Bugs and Other Issues

Another important reason to select a high quality professional web designer to tackle your web design project is that a designer is able to handle any troubleshooting or performance issues that your website experiences. Web design is complicated, and it requires the use of detailed codes in order to be efficient and effective. These codes can often cause problems when new content is uploaded or site pages are rearranged. If this happens, and you've attempted the web design process yourself, you may not have the knowledge and expertise necessary to repair serious web design problems. This can have an effect on your site's search engine rankings. For example, if your website has many links that go to non-existent pages, Google may penalize your site. When you use a professional web designer, on the other hand, you can identify these problems and request that the designer fix the issues.

Web design may be the most important aspect of your company's online marketing strategy. More important than social media activity, advertisement campaigns, and even the content that you create, the way customers feel when they reach your website will dictate whether or not they feel comfortable investing in your services. If your site looks cheap and poorly designed, consumers will automatically assume that your services are also cheap. Invest money in the most important part of an online marketing strategy by hiring a professional to tackle your design project.

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What You Need to Know About Penguin

Penguin isn't just the species of a chilly-weather bird. It is now the name of a recent Google algorithm update that is wreaking havoc on the SEO and marketing communities. This algorithm update has dramatically changed which website factors elevate a site's search engine rankings. So, how does the Penguin update affect you? That depends on your approach to SEO.

Penguin Wasn't Created to Frustrate You

It's important to understand that the Penguin update was not created to frustrate web designers and SEO specialists. It was simply created to refine the algorithm and reward those websites that are devoting hours of time and energy to creating helpful, useful websites. Penguin takes the algorithm into the realm of consumer value. If a consumer can benefit from your website, your site will likely do very well with the Penguin algorithm update.

Penguin Can Change Your Website Performance

Regardless of how diligent you have been in implementing White Hat SEO strategies such as high quality content, earning links, and creating multiple web pages that link to one another and guide consumers through a high quality conversion funnel, Penguin may be picking up some old SEO strategies and punishing your website because of those strategies. This is why it is so important for all business owners to evaluate their website performance data and identify problems. Even if you have committed to focusing on consumers rather than search engine bots, there still may be issues that Penguin is having problems with.

One such example may be pages of your website that lead to nowhere. If you recently redesigned your business's website, there may be links to pages that no longer exist. If Google crawls your site and stumbles upon these empty web pages, your site may be penalized. If you notice that your site ranking has decreased dramatically since the release of Penguin, it's a good idea to evaluate the algorithm updates and determine what is going wrong. Another common problem with Penguin is the existence of bad links that are still directing consumers to your website. If other websites are linking to your site with anchor text that is stuffed with keywords, your site may be penalized. Even if you are not responsible for these links, your site can suffer. If this happens, you need to contact the individuals who are hosting the linking website and ask that the links to your site be removed. If you can't get the links removed, you should contact Google directly to know you have attempted and failed to resolve the problem.

Penguin has caused a lot of headaches for marketers who were trying to take the back alley route to search engine optimization. Additional algorithm updates will likely go one step further in making content marketing the best practice for search engine optimization. By jumping on the content marketing bandwagon now, you won't have to worry about future algorithm updates. Instead, you can create a long term SEO plan that focuses on the development of high quality, helpful content that satisfied your clients and customers.

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What is Website SEO?

Internet marketing is a complex and many-faceted strategy. With an Internet presence, businesses such as legal firms and attorney offices are able to access an enormous population of potential customers. However, the Internet is vast, and competition for consumers is tough. Many businesses use a strategy known as SEO, or search engine optimization, to improve their ranking statistics on search engine results pages.

Optimizing for Search Engines

Consumers use the Internet to find out information about every topic imaginable. There are billions of web pages on the Internet, so it would be impossible for a human to sift through every site to find the information for which he or she is searching. Search engines, such as Google, take care of this sifting process on behalf of people. When consumers search for terms such as "legal advice" or "attorneys in Ohio," Google evaluates all the websites on the Internet and displays a list of results that it has determined to be relevant. Ranking high in the search engines will drive more traffic to your website. Greater traffic means a larger population of leads who can eventually become paying customers.

How Does Google Measure Site Value

Google and other major search engines have algorithms that "crawl" over the visible and hidden content of a website to evaluate the merit, value, and quality of the website in question. Google's algorithm searches for evidence that website is authoritative, managed regularly, helpful to consumers, and valued by other industry leaders. The algorithm's intention is not to make web designers jump through hoops. Rather, the entire purpose of the algorithm is to make Google's sorting process as efficient and worthwhile as possible.

Inbound Links

Inbound linking is another effective strategy for search engine optimization. A search engine algorithm like Google's assumes that if several different websites are linking to a specific website, the site that is being linked to must be an authoritative and beneficial site. Often, Google evaluates the anchor text that is used in the link. If several websites are linking to your site with anchor text such as "attorney" or "lawyer," Google will assume that you have a reputable website for consumers looking for an attorney.

Site Content Communicates Expertise

The amount of content featured on your website is another important element of an effective SEO strategy. Google's search algorithm assumes that a website with a great deal of content related to a specific industry is a website with authority and expertise in that particular industry. Content, however, must be high quality, well-written content in order to have any SEO merits. Poor content that is simply stuffed with keywords will actually cause a website's rankings to suffer.

Put Customers First

The best SEO strategy is one that puts the customer first in all things. Writing content that appeals to consumers, creating the most attractive and easily navigated website possible, and attempting to be an authoritative and helpful resource for Internet searchers is the best way to rank well with the search engines.

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What do Consumers Look for in Web Design?

The way your website looks and functions is the single biggest contributing factor to your website's effectiveness as an Internet marketing tool. There is a lot of buzz right now about Internet marketing strategies. These strategies do have merit, but they can't compete with the benefits of a high quality website. Social media marketing strategies are effective because they help businesses engage with consumers and drive them to the company website. Advertisement campaigns through Google or Facebook, for example, can also be effective at driving traffic to the company website. However, if that website is poorly designed, consumers will simply click out of the site and start their search again.

The idea of Internet marketing is to get consumers to a company website. The website's responsibility, then, is to take the consumers that have landed on the home page and guide them through the content included on the various web pages. If your site is poorly designed, consumers will simply leave. The consumer, therefore, should be the main focus of all web design projects. When you create a website with the consumer in mind, you are more likely to create a functional and effective website.

Usability

The first thing consumers are interested in is the usability of your site. The pages contained within your website must communicate everything that a consumer needs to know about your company. Some businesses think that presenting consumers with "teaser" content is the best way to encourage consumers to contact the business directly. This is a misconception. Businesses that keep information hidden from consumers are perceived as untrustworthy. Instead, provide as much information to consumers as you can.

Professionalism

The professionalism of your website is also something that interests consumers. The average customer can tell immediately if he or she has stumbled upon a poorly designed and executed website. If your site is perceived to be the least bit unprofessional, consumers will assume that your company is likewise unprofessional.

Aesthetic Quality

It's also important to consider the aesthetic qualities of your site. Consumers are constantly bombarded with information on all sides. With an information overload, a consumer may begin making purchase decisions based on other senses such as sight. By using colors, design elements, lines, shapes, and fonts that appeal to a consumer's aesthetic sense, you will maximize the potential of your site.

The Unique Factor

There are billions of web pages on the Internet. These web pages are competing for the attention of the consumers that you need to turn into paying customers. Consumers like to see sites that are unique and different from the average website that is prevalent on the World Wide Web. Include an element that helps you stand apart from the crowd.

Additional Media

Finally, consumers like websites that have more than just words on a page. Content is important for search engine optimization, but the videos, images, and other media that you post to your website is what will encourage consumers to stick around and learn more about your company, products, and services.

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Web Design with Multiple Pages

Designing a website is one of the most important processes when a business owner decides to market his or her company's services and products online. Without a high quality website that has been designed by a professional, there will be no authoritative and trustworthy landing page for consumers to learn about a business and walk through the conversion funnel process. A web design should be attractive to the eye while still remaining functional and simple to navigate. Businesses have succeeded or failed based solely on the quality of their web design.

For this reason, it is important to assess the different elements that make up an effective website design strategy. Font choice, color choice, and overall layout choices are all important, but there is one element that must be decided first. Mapping out the structure of your website is necessary before any of the aesthetic elements can be put in place.

The Pages of Your Web Design

The pages of your web design can be equated to the bones in a human skeleton. Without a skeleton, the other organs and systems of the body would have no effective support system. The body would not be able to function without an effective and efficient skeletal system. The pages of your web design are the bones of your entire website. These pages direct consumers from subject to subject throughout your site. Customers must be able to determine exactly what information is contained on a page before they navigate to that page. Without an effective page creation strategy, consumers will easily become lost within your website. When a consumer feels lost, he or she may decide to abandon the site and begin his or her search from the top.

Also, consumers who get lost within a website are less likely to find their way to the conversion pages of a site. Conversion pages that present calls to action to visiting consumers are incredibly important for generating new paying customers.

Linking Pages to One Another

One way to solve the navigation problem is to ensure that all pages are linked to one another. So, if a consumer decides to learn more about your company by clicking on the "About Us" page at the top of the website, the content contained on that page should end by leading the consumer to another website page. If the content, for example, ends with a link to the "Contact Us" page, the consumer will naturally click this link and remain on the company's website.

Pages Your Website Must Have

There are a few pages that are necessary for a website to be effective. Sites that do not contain these pages may be perceived as being incomplete or untrustworthy by consumers. Be sure to include a home page in your web design. This page presents basic information and an overall company profile to consumers. Pages such as a Contact page and About Us page can communicate more in-depth information about a company's history and location. Service pages are also recommended to inform customers about the options they have when they select your company.

 

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Using Keywords for Website Marketing

Marketing your website for search engine optimization is an important step in leading potential customers to the information contained on your site. One great way to rank well for certain topics and in certain industries is to choose the right keywords to include in your generated content. A keyword is an industry-specific word that is repeated several times throughout the text on your website. Choosing the right keywords and the right frequency can drastically improve your marketing strategies.

Goldilocks Keywords

One good strategy for choosing high quality keywords that will effectively drive traffic to your website and help with marketing efforts is to think of the story of Goldilocks. This fairy tale story is about a small girl who visits the home of three bears. In the home of the three bears, Goldilocks tries bowls of porridge, chairs, and beds that belong to the bears. The first two tries of each of these things is too extreme. Goldilocks, however, discovers that the third choice is always "just right."

With regard to keywords, it's important to choose words that are "just right." Keywords that have too much competition will be difficult to rank with. There will be so many other businesses vying for those keywords, that your own website will have trouble competing with established websites. On the other hand, if you select keywords that are too obscure and that are used by no businesses, you may have a monopoly on those keywords, but you likely won't find any consumers who are searching with those keyword strings. Often, businesses use keywords that are too specific or too popular. For example, an attorney who uses the keyword "attorney" will have difficulty making any marketing headway. There are too many websites using this keyword. On the other hand, an attorney who uses a keywords string such as "Northern Ohio attorneys open on Sundays" won't get a lot of traffic because consumers aren't likely to search for all those words at once.

Choose keywords that are not too popular and not too obscure. Remember Goldilocks when searching for appropriate keywords, and stick to middle of the road words that are "just right."

The Keyword Stuffing Epidemic

Some businesses try to over-optimize their websites by virtually stuffing content full of industry relevant keywords. This, however, is not an effective marketing strategy. In fact, stuffing content full of keywords can actually be detrimental to your website. New search engine algorithms have begun to equate too many keywords with low quality content. Because so much keyword-rich content on the web is poorly written and useless, Google and other search engines believe that content stuffed with keywords is not relevant to the average consumer.

Don't Be Afraid of Keywords

Marketing with keywords can seem like a complicated and difficult process. Most marketers, however, don't have to be worried about choosing the right keywords. When you focus simply on creating high quality content that your targeted audience will enjoy reading, keywords will naturally start occurring in your content. If you're overwhelmed by keyword research, focus instead on generating the most informative, helpful, and interesting content you can. Let the keywords take care of themselves.

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Using Facebook to Connect and Market Locally

Facebook was created initially to be a source of connections amongst college students. Since its inception, however, Facebook has expanded globally. Today, millions of users access Facebook on a daily basis. Facebook can be an incredible marketing opportunity, but many business owners and marketers make the mistake of reaching too far with their marketing experts.

This is especially problematic for attorneys and legal professionals who use Facebook to advertise services. When you spend money to create ad campaigns and generate high quality content, those marketing dollars will be wasted if the content is not seen by consumers who are physically capable of seeking out your professional services. This is why learning how to market and connect locally via Facebook is so important.

Why Connect Locally?

Connecting locally allows you to pare down the enormous Facebook population to a group of consumers that is much easier to manage. Attempting to market to the entire population of Facebook users is a waste of time, money, and other resources. For attorneys, prospective clients must live near the area where attorneys are able to provide assistance and practice law. Without local constraints on ad campaigns and Facebook fan page targeting, a huge portion of Facebook activity will be directed to consumers who simply live too far away to be valuable customers.

Encouraging Local Sharing

It's also important to encourage consumers to share Facebook posts and activity with other local Facebook users. By posting content that is relevant to a specific location, you will improve the chances of users selecting local consumers with whom to share articles, photos, and industry news. Local sharing can dramatically help your business expand its potential leads.

Start Focused, Move Outward

When using Facebook as a marketing device, it's a good idea to begin with a very intimate population grouping. Start with a local area that is quite close to the physical location of your firm or place of business. By starting with the most intimate grouping of potential clients possible, you can ensure that you develop a core group of interested followers. Much of the outward spread of your focused target group will occur naturally. As your Facebook followers begin to share the posts and updates you include on your Facebook fan page, the reach of your page will spread outward. Most Facebook users have a large population of friends that live in close proximity to them. However, Facebook users also have friends that are spread out across the country or even the world. When you market your services to local customers, the outward reach of your page will occur organically.

Facebook can be an excellent resource for businesses and firms that want to market their services to customers within a set area. Attorneys often need to market their services only to consumers who live close to specific offices and in specific jurisdictions. Facebook offers an excellent opportunity to create lead lists that are grouped by area. Because Facebook encourages consumers to include hometown information in their public profiles, the process of finding consumers in a specific area is quite simple.

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Top 4 Social Media Marketing Mistakes

If you are considering adopting a social media marketing strategy, it is crucial to avoid some of the most common mistakes that can quickly derail an otherwise effective marketing platform.

Failing to Post Regularly

The first mistake that many social media marketers make is the failure to post regularly. Your social media presence is ranked largely on how often you update your social network page. Continually uploading content is the only way to be noticed by your target audience.

Offensive or Unimportant Content

It likely goes without saying that offensive content is a huge mistake with regard to effective social media marketing. However, there is quite a bit of gray area regarding what constitutes as offensive content. If in doubt, err on the side of safety. It's also important to avoid posting content that is unimportant or uninteresting.

Selling Too Aggressively

One mistake that is made quite often through social media marketing is the tendency to sell too aggressively to consumers. Social media, above all else, is a place for consumers to share information and interact with other users on a global basis. Consumers don't involve themselves with social networks because they want to hear a sales pitch. The sales process is secondary to the communication of helpful and interesting information. This is a crucial part of effective social media marketing. If all your posts are about your own services, consumers may become frustrated with your brand as a whole. Offer information for free, and consumers will seek you out when they need further assistance.

Lack of Conversion Funnel Guidance

The final mistake that many marketers make when creating and managing a social media account is the failure to include effective guidance through the conversion funnel. The conversion funnel is a marketing term that refers to the process of gathering leads and turning them into paying customers. Most websites have an integrated conversion funnel. As consumers explore the pages of a website, they learn more about the company and offered services. Eventually, their exploration leads them to a page that includes a call to action. The consumer, now well-informed about the company's history and expertise, chooses to contact the company for more information. A conversion has taken place.

Social media marketing, like website marketing, needs to direct the consumer through the conversion funnel. The simplest way to do this is to include links to a company website. By linking from social media to a website, you will pull consumers away from competitors and place them in a location where only your services and company information are provided. This will help to keep consumers in your circle, and it will dramatically increase your conversion rate through social media marketing. Never forget to make website links prominent and easily located elements on your social media network pages.

Social media marketing can be one of the most effective and least expensive ways to market your firm or legal offices. However, it is crucial to avoid common marketing mistakes that first-time social media users make.

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Top 4 Email Marketing Mistakes

Email marketing is making a comeback in the marketing industry, but there are four big mistakes that should be avoided to guarantee an effective campaign.

The False Promise

Emails that are too emphatic or that contain promises that simply cannot be true may be discarded as spam by wary consumers. Spam email is one of the biggest threats to effective email marketing, and it is crucial to avoid sounding like a "spammer" when you craft a company email.

The Generic Email

The worst type of email marketing strategy involves an email that is simply too generic to resonate with consumers. The problem behind this email marketing mistake is usually an audience population that is too large and unrefined. By breaking up your target audience into smaller, more intimate groups, you can create several different emails that appeal to consumers who need different services and different information. You wouldn't send an email about corporate tax law to a consumer who is unemployed, for example, because the content contained in the email is irrelevant to that consumer's life situation.

The Bland Subject Line

A common mistake that marketers make when sending emails to potential customers is neglecting the value of an intriguing subject line. Many marketers feel that a subject line with flashy words or bold promises will be read as spam and rejected by the consumer. It's true that businesses should avoid false promises or statements that seem too good to be true, but subject lines must still be interesting and engaging. Using keywords and phrases that are interesting to your target audience will increase the likelihood of an email being opened and absorbed by consumers.

The Annoying Daily Email

Unless your target audience has specifically requested to receive daily email updates from your business or firm, avoid over-contacting your potential customers. The balance between an effective number of consistent updates and an annoying constant presence in a consumer inbox is very delicate. It is crucial to send updates on a regular basis, but too many updates can cause a consumer to lose interest in the content you are sending via email. Consumers rarely want to hear from businesses on a daily basis. Weekly emails or biweekly emails are much more appropriate.

One way to solve the over-updating problem is to create email tiers and make consumers aware of the difference in emails. You might send one large email blast a month that includes a subject line such as "Monthly Happenings" or something similar. This subject line will let the consumer know that the information contained in the email covers all the important details of the past month. You can then send more specific emails in shorter emails, and consumers can choose to read these emails or ignore them without feeling like they are missing out on important content.

Email marketing can be a highly effective way to reach a large population of interested consumers. Avoiding these common errors will help to elevate your email marketing campaign and increase the positive responses generated from your email strategy.

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The SEO Benefits of Blogging

Blogging is becoming one of the simplest ways to improve search engine optimization. This SEO strategy is popular because it is simple, straightforward, and filled with opportunities for finding followers, linking to other professionals, and capturing the attention of huge search engines such as Google.

Blogging: A Simple Way to Add Content

Blogging is one of the simplest ways to add high quality content to your website on a regular basis. For attorneys, the company website rarely experiences frequent changes. Information about legal services, contact information, and information about the firm are listed on the various pages of the website. This information doesn't change, so it's difficult to keep fresh content on the site. However, a blog must be updated regularly. Adding a blog to a company website will provide businesses with incentive to create new content daily.

Consumers Love Blogs

Blogs can also help to humanize your legal company and become more approachable with the general public. Because a blog is so personal and intimate, consumers may feel more inclined to trust your company and contact you when they are in need of your services. The voice of your blog can be kind, compassionate, and honest, and these characteristics will be associated with your company as a whole.

Gaining a Following

One of the best benefits of blogging actually has very little to do with search engine optimization on the surface. Search engine optimization is a complex process that is intended to make your website rank highly on search engine results pages. If your blog, however, is able to gain a large following of regular readers, the need for new visitors from search engines starts to decline. When you have a huge number of followers, you'll be able to attract new clients and customers through word of mouth and organic sharing.

This may not seem relevant to search engine optimization, but Google actually rewards websites that experience regular sharing and recommendation by consumers. When people start buzzing about the content on your blog, Google pays attention. One of the best ways to rank well with the search engines is to stop worrying about ranking well with the search engines. Focus, instead, on your consumers. Write content that will make them sit up and pay attention. For attorneys and legal offices, this can be accomplished by answering the real life questions that consumers have about the law. Break down the barriers between an attorney and a client. This is easily accomplished with a high quality blog. Blogs are stream of consciousness forums, and blogs encourage consumers to write comments and instigate conversations. When you communicate to consumers through a regularly updated blog, you'll start ranking exceptionally well on search engine results pages.

Blogging takes a great deal of time and effort. It can be frustrating to update a blog on a daily basis. Sometimes, blog writers feel like they've run out of things to say or feel as though they are repeating themselves. Persistence and dedication are the best tools a blogger can have in his or her arsenal. Stick with it, and blogging can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your website.

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The Power of Colors in Web Design

When you want to take your business's day to day operations to the next level, creating a high quality and effective web presence is a great first step. The Internet is filled with companies that have exponentially multiplied their profits simply by opening up their brand to the World Wide Web. However, the Internet is also flooded with countless companies and businesses vying for your targeted audience's attention. How, then, can you compete with so many other web presences on the Internet?

One great way to establish your brand as a reputable and high quality resource for consumers is to invest money, time and effort into the design of your website. Web design is a study in psychology. Consumers can be dramatically affected by specific design elements, colors, lines, shapes, and even fonts that are included in a website. A professional graphic designer or web creator will be able to help you select the right feel and appearance for your website. One aspect of web design that your professional designer will likely discuss with you is the color palette featured on your site.

Color has always had a dramatic impact on emotions, intellect, and behavior in humans. In fact, the colors of nature have been proven to have an effect on the average disposition and emotional climate of people. Bright fall colors may be a contributing factor to a more positive emotional climate that is often seen in Autumn. Spring colors that emerge after a colorless winter may contribute to the decline in depression that begins during the early spring months. Color has an incredible effect on the human psyche, so choosing the right colors for web design is crucial.

Warm Color Tones

Warm color tones like red, orange, pink, and yellow communicate vibrancy and livelihood to consumers. They can also elicit feelings of power, passion, and drama. If your website wants to encourage consumers to act quickly or communicate austerity and professionalism, warm colors may be appropriate.

Cool Color Tones

Cool colors, on the other hand, do the opposite. Cool colors, like blue, green, and purple, can help to soothe frazzled consumers and help them feel immediately at home on a website. Cool colors can help communicate an approachable and personal image to consumers.

Contrasting Colors

Contrasting colors, colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel, heighten the drama of a website and make a great impression on consumers. By using contrasting colors, you will increase the likelihood that your site is noticed.

Monochromatic Color Schemes

A monochromatic color scheme, on the other hand, is less effusive and emotional than a contrasting color scheme. If you want your site to be understated and simple, a monochromatic theme may be more appropriate.

Colors and Emotion

Color may seem like a simple and meaningless element of web design. After all, isn't the content of your site much more important than your site's appearance? Web designers, however, are discovering that the minute aesthetic elements of a website may be just as, or even more, important than the content contained therein.

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The Ineffective Social Media Marketing Strategy

Thousands of businesses around the world are discovering the marketing potential that social media networks have to offer. Most social media networks are completely free to use, and businesses can create accounts and start marketing products and services in no time. When a business owner first discovers the power of social media in marketing a product or service, the discovery usually occurs because the business owner sees the efforts of a competitor. "If they can do it, then so can I," may be the predominant thought process. However, these business owners who hastily create social media accounts, are quickly discovering that the marketing process is much more complicated than originally thought.

How to Know if Your Strategy is Flawed

For attorneys and legal firms, social media marketing is complicated and often ineffective. An ineffective social media strategy is usually a strategy that is filled with flaws and mistakes. How can you tell, though, if your social media marketing strategy is flawed? There are three major mistakes that attorneys make with social media marketing. Avoiding these three mistakes will most likely reveal an immediate increase in the effectiveness of your social media presence.

Your Content is Sales-Oriented

The biggest mistake made in social media marketing is an overemphasis on sales-oriented content. If you treat social media like your own personal billboard, and all you ever post is advertisements that encourage consumers to spend money, you aren't going to find a lot of marketing success. People are not logging on to social media to hear sales pitches. They are logging on to social media networks to hear worthwhile, interesting, and engaging content. By posting too much sales-oriented content, you may actually be driving consumers away from your business and brand.

Instead, focus on posting content that offers free advice to potential clients. Share your industry knowledge with no strings attached. You aren't going to make legal experts overnight, so you can stop worrying about eliminating the need for your services. What's more likely to happen? Consumers will begin to trust your company and your experience. When they need legal advice, they'll turn to you.

Your Posts are Infrequent

Another common social media marketing mistake is the failure to post frequently. Unless you are updating social media content several times each week, consumers will not have the opportunity to learn that your social media presence is a reputable and reliable source of high quality information. Keep posting and keep sharing, and you'll quickly gain followers who will boost your reputation.

Your Interactions are Stiff and Impersonal

If your social media marketing efforts still seem to be falling on deaf ears, it may be time to loosen up a little bit and be a little more personal. This is often difficult for attorneys who want to appear professional and knowledgeable at all times. Social media, however, is a place where barriers are shattered and real communication takes place. By making yourself appear slightly vulnerable and sharing personal information, heartwarming stories, and casual content, you will attract the attention of more social media users.

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The Importance of Selecting Appropriate Fonts

Web design is a form of marketing that requires years of professional training, education, and experience. There are thousands of factors that contribute to high quality web design and execution. The pages of a website, the color palette used, the lines and shapes featured in the overall design, and the coordination between logo design and website design are all important factors to consider. However, one factor that often gets overlooked is the selection of fonts.

What is a Font?

A font is simply a style of script or print that is used for the content of your entire website. Common fonts include Times New Roman, which has historically been the font of choice for newspapers and other print publications and Arial font which is the default font featured on many word processor programs and applications. There are, however, millions of different fonts from which businesses can choose when determining how they want their content represented online.

What is Font Theory?

Font theory is the study of how different fonts affect consumers and their online behaviors. There is a great deal of research that supports the idea that fonts can encourage consumers to invest in services and products or make consumers wary about specific brands and companies. Font theory isn't something that can be learned overnight. It takes years of experience and training to identify successful fonts for web design purposes.

Fonts that Communicate Austerity

Some fonts can be used to communicate austerity and professionalism when used in a website design. Fonts that include serifs, horizontal tags on the top and bottom of letters, are often perceived as being more formal and less casual than sans-serif fonts. Fonts with serifs can also be used to emphasize page headings or other important text.

Fonts that Communicate Personality and Relationships

If your business is striving to be approachable and personal in its relationships with clients, a more causal font may be appropriate. It's important, however, to find the balance between a font that is casual and a font that is juvenile. Many businesses fail in web design because their font usage is not taken seriously by consumers.

Font Help

If you are having trouble selecting appropriate fonts for your website, hiring a professional web designer may be a great decision. Web designers with experience in font selection can turn your communication about the image of your brand into a set of font choices from which you can select your ideal font. Web designers know how different consumers react and respond to different fonts. Business owners who design their own websites using online templates often neglect the power of a high quality font. However, consumers often make instantaneous decisions about a company based on minute web design factors. Font choice is one of these factors. A consumer may not realize why he or she feels compelled to search elsewhere for services, but the font featured on your web page may be a contributing factor. Hire a professional to help you select the right font, and your website will draw consumers to your company rather than repel them.

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The Benefits of Expert Status for Attorneys

The marketing world is filled with changing strategies for gaining consumer interest and attracting potential customers to a business's online presence. When consumers visit a website in droves, they can be guided through the conversion funnel. Site visitors are changed rapidly into paying customers. However, an effective marketing strategy, such as inbound marketing using your brand's expert status, is necessary to convince customers that your website is worth a second look.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has very little to do with traditional search engine optimization strategies. However, the same practices that work for search engine optimization can be used to facilitate an impression of expertise amongst consumers. The real difference lies in the purpose of the strategies. For example, an attorney that wants to rank highly for search terms such as "insurance fraud" and "tax law" has two basic options. He can pursue search engine optimization by creating content that contains keywords, using meta tags to attract the attention of search engine algorithms, and attempting to earn links from other websites. This is all search engine optimization. With inbound marketing, however, the attorney tries to establish himself as an expert in insurance fraud and tax law. When this expert status is established, consumers will automatically search for that specific attorney when they need answers to tax or insurance questions.

The process of establishing oneself as an expert may involve the creation of high quality content or the earning of links from other industry websites. The focus, however, is not on impressing the algorithms. The focus is on impressing consumers. This is the fundamental difference between inbound marketing and search engine optimization. By focusing on consumers and the establishment of your expert reputation, you will never have to worry about managing algorithm updates or implementing cheap SEO strategies. Your consumer audience will associate your brand with high quality services.

What Does it Mean to be an Expert?

If inbound marketing revolves completely around an established reputation for expertise, the next question is "What does it mean to be an expert?" An expert is not necessarily the highest qualified or most educated industry professional. In the Internet world, expertise simply means that consumers trust you to provide accurate information, helpful content, and answers to all of their industry questions. Target, for example, is an expert in the retail industry. When consumers want inexpensive clothes, accessories, toiletries, electronics, or home d├ęcor items, they consider Target an expert with something to offer. Target isn't necessarily the best or most highly qualified retail brand on the market, but its expert status makes it valuable to the consumer.

How do You Become an Expert?

So, how do you become an expert? The first step is always the creation of content that meets consumer needs. If your consumer audience wants answers to pressing questions, write content that fulfills that need. If consumers want information on industry news, include those subjects in your created content. When the content featured on your website consistently provides the solution to a consumer problem, your brand will begin to have an established reputation as an expert.

 

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Taking Advantage of Mobile Marketing

When cellular phones were first distributed to the general public, no one anticipated the myriad of ways in which they would change consumer lives. The first cell phones were used solely for emergency communication. These large and bulky devices gave way to streamlined mobile phones with text message capabilities. As more and more cellular towers were created and connectivity improved, cell phones transformed into personal connection devices. Now, consumers use their smart phones to check email, manage social media applications, check stocks and financial information, receive news updates, and stay connected with friends, colleagues, and businesses around the globe.

Increased Mobile Usage Across the Board

The number of consumers who own and regularly use a mobile device is expanding rapidly. Uses who own a cellular phone use the device several times each day, and it is anticipated that consumers will begin checking their mobile phones almost five times as frequently as they use a personal computer throughout the day.

Resurgence of Email Marketing

One effect of the increased presence of mobile smart phones is the resurgence of the email marketing trend. Because consumers are now directly connected with their email accounts during all hours of the day, businesses have realized that email marketing offers the quickest way to connect with consumers.

Targeting Local Consumers

Mobile marketing also allows businesses to connect with local consumers. Because social media applications use mobile tracking to assess location information and attach that information to social media posts, businesses are able to discover consumers who are posting locally. Targeting local consumers is especially important for attorneys, as most of the services provided by a legal firm must be accessed and used by local consumers.

Creating Mobile Applications

Another great way for attorneys to take advantage of the increased usage of smart phones is to create helpful, informative, and attractive applications that consumers can use to solve daily problems, stay connected with the legal industry, and share important information with friends and family members. Application design and creation is not an easy process, so if you plan on using this route to extend your marketing potential, it's important to hire a professional for app creation. Successful applications are easy to use, pleasing to the eye, and loaded with helpful features that will keep a consumer engaged. Examples of apps that attorneys are using to market to mobile smart phone users include traffic regulation apps, accident diagramming apps, legal advice applications, and industry news applications. When a user has downloaded an app that you have created, you can send direct updates and messages about services to the consumer.

With the increase in mobile phone usage, and especially the prevalence of smart phones, a new marketing strategy has opened up to business owners and professionals. Mobile marketing is a relatively new industry, but it is an industry that offers countless opportunities for directly accessing consumers who may be interested in the services you offer. Because consumers are rarely separated from their smart phones, you can market on a daily basis no matter where your target audience happens to be.

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Spend Time, Not Money, on Marketing

There are hundreds of different techniques that businesses can use to market their services. Marketing is especially important for companies such as attorney offices and legal firms. Because consumers are already hesitant to hire legal counsel because of stigmas and negative associations, high quality marketing is required to provide the encouragement boost that the general population needs to be transformed into paying customers and clients.

Marketing Must Be Valuable, Not Expensive

Your marketing efforts must have value, but they don't have to be expensive. Too often, businesses associate the highest quality marketing strategies with the strategies that cost the most to create and implement. This is not always the case. With the introduction of free marketing strategies such as content marketing via a website, social media marketing, email marketing, and mobile marketing through apps and mobile content, marketing has dramatically shifted to a very cost-effective process.

Investing Time and Energy over Money

The general rule of thumb, however, is that the less expensive your marketing efforts are, the more time must be invested. Marketing must be valuable, and that value has to come from somewhere. Marketing strategies such as social media and email marketing may be free, but they require a great deal of time and energy to pull them off successfully. Content marketing is also a low-cost marketing strategy that requires a great deal of time and dedication. For content marketing to be successful, fresh content must be created on a regular basis. This content must always be new, informative, and helpful to your target audience. Creating content so frequently is quite time-consuming. If saving money is an issue with your business, however, the investment of time may be a reasonable alternative to a huge marketing budget.

When is Money a Necessity?

Sometimes, a business must invest some money to create an effective marketing strategy. Depending on the type of business, marketing through the Internet with social media and high quality content may simply not be enough. Businesses such as attorney offices and legal firms must invest some money in things like high quality website design, logo creation, business card development, and even additional media advertisements like TV spots and radio commercials. The key, however, is to use these monetary marketing investments in tandem with other inexpensive marketing efforts. If you put all your eggs in one basket, you will likely be missing out on a huge portion of the market population.

Marketing is a necessary part of successful business operations. Without marketing, consumers will be unaware of your brand, your reputation, and your services. Consumers need to be made aware of the quality of your services, and they need to receive this information on a regular basis. Think of consumers as an incredibly forgetful friend. Until your brand is synonymous with your services in the mind of the consumer, marketing must take place. Because marketing is a perpetual process, the investment of time rather than money is a great way for businesses to save money on creating brand recognition.

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SEO for People Instead of Algorithm Bots

Search engine optimization is a relatively new field of study for marketers. When more and more consumers started using the Internet to research and access information about various businesses and industries, forward thinking businesses determined that a solid and established web presence was a necessity. Soon, the Internet was flooded with millions of websites in industries from shoe sales to legal counsel.

With so many websites flooding the Internet, it became necessary for search engines to evaluate these sites and display results that consumers could use. Search engine optimization is the process of working a website to the top of a search engine results page. The better a website's optimization is for search engine algorithms, the more likely consumers are to see that webpage when they search for specific keywords.

A New Approach to SEO

However, many marketers began focusing too much on the algorithm and lost track of the initial purpose of a website. Websites were created to help consumers find the information they were seeking. When marketers started to focus on bots and algorithms rather than people, the quality of websites began to deteriorate. Now, new updates to the search engine algorithms are penalizing websites that fail to provide high quality content to consumers.

Creating Content for People, Not Bots

Instead of creating content that will attract the attention of a large search engine algorithm such as Google, create content that will be valuable to consumers in your target audience. Content that answers questions, provides information, entertains, inspires, or shares news and industry updates is all helpful to the consumer population.

Focus on the Consumer

Above all, focus on the consumer when you are planning your search engine optimization and marketing strategies. Stop thinking about bots and algorithms. Those computer programs were created simply to mimic the needs and preferences of real people. A Google algorithm is not a person. It doesn't have feelings. It cannot truly evaluate a website. The algorithm, however, is created to "think" in similar ways to a real human who is using the internet. All of the updates and changes to the algorithm that affect links, content, keywords, meta tags, and other detailed information are simply tools that the algorithm is using to think like a person. The end result, ideally, is that the algorithm selects sites from which a real person will be able to find value and assistance.

Stop focusing on the algorithms, and start focusing on people. When you think about your desired consumer audience, you'll know exactly what types of content to create, how to market your services, how to get in touch with potential customers, and how often you should post new, helpful content. If your consumers are craving articles about what to do after an automobile accident, for example, don't worry about trying to stuff the articles with legal keywords. Simply create a high quality article that answers consumers' questions. The bots will recognize the benefits of the content you are creating. Consumers will be happy, Google will be happy, and your website will start ranking more highly on search engine results pages.

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Rising Above Social Media Saturation

Social media networks are some of the most visited websites across the board on the Internet today. As social media networks grew in popularity, many businesses began to recognize the potential for marketing via social media. However, this quickly turned into a problem. Networks became so saturated with businesses, firms, brands, products, and services that consumers started to tune out all the marketing strategies that were being used. This process is often referred to as social media saturation. Because social media networks are so saturated with advertising campaigns, consumers are less likely to notice the marketing efforts of an individual business or firm.

Make Your Content Count

Content is the most important part of an effective social media marketing strategy. Without high quality content, your social media presence is almost guaranteed to slip through the cracks and be rendered completely ineffective. An attorney who only posts comments inviting consumers to contact him for legal services is not offering high quality content. On the other hand, an attorney who stops trying to sell to clients and starts offering valuable legal insights, helpful articles, and even happy-ending legal stories will captivate the attention of consumers.

Be Personable

One important way to avoid being lost in the social media marketing saturation is to be personable with the users who interact with you via social media. Your comments, content, and information should be valuable and interesting, but it's also important to post personal comments that tell what is happening in your firm. Consumers like to have an insider look into the businesses with which they interact. If an attorney posts information about his location, his firm, or his personal life, consumers will be more likely to take notice.

Follow Up with Social Media Contacts

One of the best ways for an attorney firm or other business to rise above the social media saturation problem is to invest in regular follow-up with consumers who are interacting with you via social media. Many businesses spend a great deal of time and effort posting content to their Facebook fan pages or via Twitter. However, these same business completely drop the ball when it comes to personally interacting with the people who are commenting on articles, sharing posts, and retweeting popular tweets. When a business takes the extra step to send a short message or respond to a Facebook comment, the consumer immediately feels like what he or she posted was valuable and appreciated. This can go a long way in helping a brand rise above the other social media marketing strategies being employed by competitors.

Social media is a prevalent marketing channel, and the prevalence of this channel is causing it to become slightly ineffective for many businesses. As consumers grow more and more accustomed to hearing sales pitches via social media, the power of the sales pitch begins to fall. By engaging in a few strategies to rise above social media saturation, businesses and firms can continue to use social media as an effective marketing strategy.

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Disclaimer: * Attorney Daniel Hynes is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. If you retain our services, ultimately, you are respsonsible for following the Rules of Professional Conduct in your Jurisdication, particularly as it relates to advertising. Attorney Dan Hynes accepts no resposibility, and disclaims all liability for any contribution he may have to providing you with services related to your lawyer website or law firm. Google+ Dan Hynes

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