What is the Precedent Set by Your Online Presence?

It’s widely believed that there are seven essential characteristics that people look for when seeking legal representation. Do you know what they are? Chances are that you’re already ticking all seven boxes if you can (honestly) look at yourself and feel that you’re achieving all of your goals. But let’s be honest. Regardless of the size of your firm or practice, you can always afford to bring in new (and better) clients. And to do so, you need to do more than simply ‘know’ what those seven attributes are. So, when approaching your legal marketing initiatives, your success (or lack thereof) will be primarily based around your ability to communicate your aptitude in these areas attributes to prospective clientele. This doesn’t mean blatantly touting your credentials or misrepresenting yourself in a manner that paints your aptitude in a more positive light. Such a removed approach is viewed as a negative in today’s day and age. As an advocate,  there is some expectation that you present yourself as such to those in need of your services. This can only be achieved through transparency, accessibility (or, at least, your ability to convey a sense of both). To put it bluntly, failure to do so reinforces your complicity in (pretty much) every lawyer joke ever made.

So, let’s take a moment to explore those seven attributes in the context of a well-realized online presence, to show the crucial role it plays in converting new clientele.

 

Availability

No matter your strengths in terms of client representation or procedural practice, it means little if you’re not easily accessible. Whether to make initial contact with a new client or to maintain communication with an existing one, accessibility is key.

But this is so much more than just returning a voicemail. Based on consumers’ lacking attention spans and expectations of immediacy, you must be visible by the means in which they seek you out. In order to be successful, your practice must have a thorough and thoughtfully-conceived website, and that website must be easy to find.

Now, some prospective clients might seek you out directly, but others might need to find you as part of an online search. Without a proper Search Engine Optimization strategy, your firm could find itself well beyond page two of a search result, with the understanding that you may never be found. Unless you’re prepared to continue losing revenue, web design and SEO should be a significant focus.

 

Experience

Above, we mentioned both web design and the best means of conveying your aptitudes. An informative website serves as your introduction, the basis upon which a client forms their first impression of you, both professionally and personally.

That said, what does your website say about you? Does it effectively communicate your credentials and background? Does it share your professional experiences, validated by client testimonials? Does it convey your unique perspective and/or approach that makes it compelling to those who might be seeking you out?

 

Understanding

With experience in anything comes a more nuanced understanding of it. Just as clients seek out knowledge and experience in a legal advocate, they are also looking for someone who possesses a genuine understanding of their circumstances, in the hopes of reaching a resolution that serves them well. This, in essence, is the second benefit of a positive testimonial, since it establishes a precedent of your ‘understanding’ from a satisfied third party.

 

Ability to Communicate

This is where your digital strategy needs to expand beyond the static nature of a traditional website. It’s simply no longer ‘good enough’ based on the aforementioned expectations of accessibility and immediacy. But we’re not here to talk about one-on-one consultations. Communication takes many forms, one of which is the sort of unscripted dialog that comes via social media. Whether in the form of active dialog through post commentary or video streaming there are so many ways of engaging your clientele. This only serves to enforce an accessible and personable image, which will help to secure more clients.

 

Rapport

The manner in which you engage with a client exists on three levels. First, in the courtship of prospective clients. Secondly, in the maintenance of your relationship with existing customers. And finally in the resolution of a negative experience with a dissatisfied experience.

The first two points seem like common sense, but the third is a more slippery slope. While you may not seek to leave a client dissatisfied, it might have little to do with you and more to do with their perception. And in a world of social media posting and public review sites, it can become easy to slander any professional in a way that can be damning to their reputation. Addressing such concerns in a respectful and professional manner is crucial, but doing so openly can increase transparency in a very positive way. It reinforces that you care about your clientele and their satisfaction. This will always prove enticing to new clients, who are considering your representation.

 

References

Think of everything we’ve talked about as a means of referral. Through an accessible and well-designed website, active social media engagement and a close eye on the resolution of any issues, you enable clients to see the best of what you have to offer. As a result, they are far more likely to refer new clients to you and endorse your professional ability. Bottom-line, failing to recognize the power that digital marketing (and your online presence) play in your continued success might be the best example of modern self-sabotage.

 

Reasonable Fees

Okay, this one’s on you. After all, you’re not here telling us how much we should charge for our insights, right? That said, we’ll leave you to your business, and we’ll get back to ours.

 

Take the Right Steps With Your Legal Marketing Approach

At the end of the day, a successful digital marketing initiative will combine a comprehensive and client-friendly website, SEO strategy, reputation management and a strong focus on social media management. The above serves to provide a better understanding of how each applies to the legal industry in ways that you might not even recognize.

Now get back to work, because you’re probably reading this while charging someone by the hour.

Oh, don’t worry…we’re just kidding…

I think…

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The Symbiosis of Healthcare and Marketing

It’s hardly a well-kept secret that the healthcare industry exists within a perpetual state of precariousness. As a society, we look to the wide array of healthcare professionals for unbiased solutions to issues related to our personal well-being. However, as with members of any industry, those professionals offer a series of products and services that exist to be marketed for profit. And therein lies the issue, since none of us want to think of ourselves as consumers when it comes to the health care that we receive. After all, our well-being isn’t some kind of negotiable currency, is it?

It is this unease, coupled with the relative lack of transparency offered by healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, which creates a need to re-engage the consumer positively. So, from the perspective of healthcare marketing professionals, the challenge comes in finding new ways to market to consumers, in order to overcome consumer distrust over being marketed to. Talk about a vicious cycle.

And while some might argue that the industry requires no help to turn a profit, its this revenue stream to fund continual research and development which benefits us all. With that in mind, one could argue that marketing (as well as consumer) dollars are well-spent, making it essential for healthcare marketers to ask themselves: do your marketing initiatives employ the right strategy to cultivate consumer trust? Do they encourage continued vagueness, or add refreshing transparency? Do they establish you as a valued resource to those who stand to benefit from your products and services?

If your answer to these questions is “no,” then you’re not doing enough. And if your answer is “yes”…well…you’re probably still not doing enough. After all, if you look at consumer trust of the healthcare industry as a twenty-foot hole, you’ll need more than five feet of dirt dropped into it in order to climb your way out. Although, if we’re going to continue that metaphor, we can think of that first five feet of dirt as the need for accessibility.

 

A Trusted Resource

It seems so simple: anticipate the needs of prospective customers, as well as the questions most likely to be asked, and make that information available to people who need it. When it comes to both pharmaceutical treatments and healthcare services, there is an insatiable demand for such information, and countless benefits to be gained in establishing consumer trust.

For pharmaceutical companies, this means abandoning the saccharin sense of vagueness that has been so over-utilized in marketing to-date. While no-one benefits from a cold, clinical approach, the last thing that someone needs is a two-minute montage of a fun family picnic with a string of possible side-effects recited by a paid voice actor. An evolved online presence is key. Present the information that needs to be presented, and expand upon it regularly with testimonials and blog posts. Share third-party insights, and debate them as necessary to battle the ever-present risk of misinformation. Make healthcare an inclusive experience, rather than the exclusive one which (to-date) consumers feel as though they’re no longer part of.

And for primary care physicians, practices, hospitals, and even insurance companies what better means of presenting such information in a comprehensive and cost-controlled manner than through online web portals? Such secure and personalized sites can establish and reinforce trust upon a foundation of accessibility in this digital age. By making records and data more easily obtainable, and empowering relationships through direct interaction with doctors and nurse practitioners, is a simple solution, and one too obvious to deny.

Add in the ease with which new information and insights can be shared (through blog posts, social media sharing, etc) and it serves to reinforce a more inclusive culture of healthcare.

But this idea of an evolved online presence, in whatever form it takes, it simply the foundation of a modern digital marketing campaign for anyone in the healthcare industry.

 

Battling Misinformation

We mentioned it above, the need to battle misinformation. In this world where technology provides everyone with a platform upon which to reach the masses, it can become easy for inaccurate or uninformed perspectives to be both born and fed. From online reviews to public rants on social media platforms, word-of-mouth has never been so accessible, influential or scathing in its immediacy.

While other industries might require little more than traditional reputation management services to weather the storm on online commentary, the healthcare industry is more unique in the demands placed upon it.

Unlike other industries, effectiveness is about so much more than interacting with unsatisfied clientele. You’ll be engaging with the ill, the infirmed, the struggling, the caretakers, the scared, the underserved and even the litigious. In the face of scrutiny, everything matters, with accuracy, responsiveness and tactful presentation leading the charge. Review your online presence and ask yourself: are people exiting their web sessions feeling confident about the products and/or services that you offer? Do they feel well-informed, despite the previous misinformation? Do they feel as though their concerns were addressed in a timely fashion? Did they receive a personalized experience that put them first?

The above the questions should inform your approach. Remember the twenty-foot hole that you’re still digging your way out of? By creating an accessible online presence and establishing yourself as a trusted resource, you gained about ten feet of soil upon which to stand. With the proper responsiveness to online activity, you’re making your way to a point where you can pull yourself out.

 

It’s Less About Insurance, and More About Assurance

Regardless of which aspect you are a part of, the healthcare industry deals with all of us at our worst. It finds us unable to function at our best, and critically in need of care. Healthcare professionals can no longer be inaccessible, unresponsive or lack transparency. Consumers demand more of everything, and the preservation of their personal health is no exception.

Are you escaping the vicious cycle of traditional healthcare marketing?

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No-one is Disputing This Similarity Between Law Firms and Digital Marketers

Law Firm Marketing

As you sit there either (a) entrenched in the logistics of your own Law Firm marketing, or (b) running your practice on little more than referrals, you’re inevitably wondering how you can build clientele and increase your revenue stream. And while you may fall into the category of legal professionals who (through either education and/or implementation) understand why a digital marketing initiative is crucial for the survival of any business, you may also be among those budgeting for that sweet 1/16 page blurb in the local Yellow Pages. Either way, we should probably talk.

Let’s be frank. It’s 2018. If your firm or practice doesn’t have a responsive website, SEO strategy, social media engagement, reputation management and employ multimedia content on a regular basis, you’re losing both prospective clients and revenue. Simple fact.

The reason we can say this with such confidence is that any good marketer knows their audience. They make it a point to understand perspective, expectations, and needs to ensure a positive end result. One might even argue that it’s similar to the bench and jury-facing side of the legal profession, but we’re not here for judicious sparring, we’re here to get you thinking about how you, your practice and/or firm can become more successful.

 

A Place to Call Home

Several sentences back, we mentioned the Yellow Pages (a generationally-divisive reference that you’re either going to “get” or not). With that in mind, the days of flipping pages to locate a business or service provider are far behind us. And with the Baby Boomer generation becoming ever-more comfortable with advances in technology, we are close to reaching a point where the most senior members of our society are perfectly comfortable with the idea of an online search. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Regardless of the industry that it occupies, a business might as well be counting down to the day it closes, if it doesn’t have an online presence. And that presence begins with a website (and we’re not talking about the Do-it-Yourself options advertised on TV).

Because, while looks matter, an attractively styled website means nothing if it lacks functionality or worthwhile content. This is a common mistake made by law offices, who seem content to serve up an awkwardly posed photo and contact information.

In a Law Office, prospective clients are looking for reassurance in the form of professionalism, proof of competence, transparency, and guidance. A website allows you to sow the seeds of reassurance through simple inclusions, such as photographs and “About Us” blurbs that create a sense of familiarity, prior to first contact. From there you can integrate valuable client testimonials and informational content to create a comprehensive online presence that will be both welcoming and beneficial to those interested in your services.

And remember visitors who reach your page will do so on a variety of devices, ranging from smartphones and smart TV’s, to tablets, laptops, and desktops. This brings us to another common mistake: the absence of responsive web design. Not all web designers are created equal (and Do-It-Yourself platforms even less-so) and many either (i) don’t account for the variety of devices that the site needs to perform on, or (ii) upcharge significantly for appropriate formatting. Since dynamic performance is a pretty standard expectation of today’s consumer, it’s important to know that you’re making the best first impression with those who find their way to you. But what about those who don’t?

 

Be Easy to Find

A well-designed, functional, and responsive website means nothing if prospective clients are unable to find it. Think of the manner in which you utilize an online search, be it Google or otherwise. How far down the first page of search results do you scroll? Do you even bother to look at the second page?

As with web design, any well-designed digital marketing strategy incorporates search engine optimization (or S.E.O.) This ensures that your firm or practice ranks higher in online search results than your direct competitors do. Without an S.E.O. strategy, you might as well be relying upon that 1/16 page blurb in the increasingly more obsolete Yellow Pages.

 

Get Social

While a website serves as a valuable home base, social media interaction is key in promoting the visibility of your services and interacting with your client base in real time. Through posts and live streaming, you are able to present insights and informational content. Through sharing, you are able to serve up case studies and public headlines that can help to initiate conversations.

That said, management of a successful social media profile can be a full-time job in itself. While a practice might prefer to control content themselves, the simple act of managing comments and dialog is incredibly time-consuming, albeit something that can pay huge in terms of dividends. Just as a firm is short-selling their potential by not employing the help of a digital marketer, they’re doing the same if their choice of partner doesn’t offer social media management services. Choose wisely.

 

Managing Your Reputation

It’s the downside to an online presence, isn’t it? The simple fact that anyone can visit your social media profiles or review sites (such as YELP!) and leave a potentially damaging review or comment. While no attorney aims to disappoint a client, there is always the chance that an outcome may not meet their expectations.

With that in mind, proper resolution is achieved by addressing the response in a timely in a constructive manner. And much like the management of a social media profile, reputation management can be more time-consuming, and far more important, than you might think.

 

Not That Different

Just as an Attorney is focused on minutiae that leads to a satisfying outcome in terms of a ruling or resolution, a competent Digital Marketing partner is committed to the steps needed to ensure the continued success of a firm or practice. The question is: are you just as committed to that success, and if so, what is YOUR digital marketing strategy?

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Another Happy Homeowner — Thanks to a [REALTOR] (backspace, backspace) [DIGITAL MARKETER]

Real Estate Marketing

Now, before you get offended, rest assured that we’re not here to bash the noble profession that is Real Estate. And yes, we mean that sincerely. As a Realtor, you possess the unique ability to make a dream come true, to connect hard-working men and women with their dream of homeownership. That’s huge. And if you and your firm are good at what you do, the act of getting more prospective clients in front of you should be prioritized immediately.

So, what does this mean? After all, most buyers contact a realtor as a result of seeing a home that they’re interested in learning more about. That’s what personalized lawn signage is for. In fact, that method of Real Estate marketing (familiarity through signage) had always worked exceptionally well until the early 2000’s. It even put you in contact with sellers and combined with tools like the Yellow & White pages, you never seemed to miss a customer.

Now, consider the impact of today’s online marketing strategies. Whether through the ease and accessibility provided by social media, a well-designed website or through the functionality of digital sales tools, it seems reasonable to say that realtors of the past had probably been limited in terms of their own success. Better customer-centric tools mean fewer demands on the Realtor, and with fewer demands, one can provide more hands-on service and work on converting more clients. By default, today’s realtors have better Real Estate Marketing tools with which to achieve success.

That said, are you making the most of what digital marketing services have to offer, or simply using the tools you know are available to you?

 

Take a Cue from the Food Industry

It’s been about twenty years since programming on The Food Network or cuisine-related fare took over both network and cable television. From that point on, chefs, cooks, and bakers had become ‘the new rockstars’, whether you were talking about Gordon Ramsay or the late Anthony Bourdain. As a result, enrollment in culinary programs multiplied exponentially, and fans were willing to wait in endless lines to experience the fare being offered up by their heroes.

Is it any surprise that house-flipping and restoration programming followed suit? High-pressure and big payoffs make it must-see viewing, and every series from ‘Property Brothers’ to ‘Fixer Upper’ have become family favorites. Even young children have found themselves learning about equity and how to facilitate home improvement projects of every scale. Such programming has reinvigorated interest in real estate, trade schools, even the mortgage industry. As a realtor, it becomes more important than ever to utilize technology, in order to meet the evolving expectations of clients and enthusiasts who are ever-thirsty for information and results.

Embracing a digital marketing strategy sooner rather than later is key. But you might be largely unfamiliar with terms like ‘responsive web design’ and ‘SEO’. And that’s okay since digital marketing professionals are less-than-likely to have your level of knowledge in home-buying. That said, let’s touch on the steps you should be taken to ensure that your business stays competitive against the growing number of entrepreneurs looking to chip away at your market share.

 

More than Just a Pretty Face

That’s right. Why settle for a glamour shot and phone number on a sign, when you have a means of making your services even more accessible to more customers (all while reducing the demands placed upon your time)? Well, enlisting the help of a skilled partner is a great first step, but one of the things they’ll help is with the refinement of your online presence.

This begins with the creation of an attractive, functional and user-friendly website. Sure, we opened with ‘attractive,’ but while cosmetic appeal is certainly important in terms of branding and differentiating yourself from your competitors, it is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Have you ever found yourself on a website that was difficult to navigate, or led to dead ends devoid of any content or value? If so, how quickly did you discount that site as a credible resource? Without proper functionality, a website is little more than a time-killer. Even more so, if the website is trite, or doesn’t provide the informational resource to meet the visitor’s needs. As a realtor, you understand the breadth of information that proves valuable to a prospective home buyer.

And referring back to our mention of “responsive web design,” it’s crucial that today’s websites are just as appealing on smartphones and tablets, as they are on laptops and desktops. Accept nothing less.

 

At the Forefront

But even an amazing website is pointless if no-one can find their way to it. Unless a prospective client has been referred directly to your site, it is far more likely that they would find you through an online search. With that in mind, you should ask yourself whether or not you’re taking the steps necessary to improve your standing in any search results.

Enter “search engine optimization” (or S.E.O.) a process which empowers a website to improve its ranking within any online search. With the understanding that most people in search of a resource will limit themselves to the first page of search results, you could be missing out on countless opportunities to increase revenue if your site falls to page two (or beyond). This is especially true if a direct competitor of yours manages to rank higher

 

Social Media

You must have known this was coming. While a website is informative and provides an initial point of contact, social media platforms allow for real-time interaction with current and prospective clients. And what better industry than Real Estate to employ a social media strategy, since it can create instant accessibility and familiarity? Be warned, though…effective social media use is a time-consuming venture.

 

Reputation Management

Another crucial consideration of any digital marketing strategy is proper maintenance of your online reputation. In a world where you can be publicly maligned on resources such as YELP! or within your own social media profiles, a trusted partner can be your most valuable ally in resolving issues and protecting your professional image.

 

Do What You Do Best

As a realtor, you play a pivotal role in helping people to achieve their dreams of homeownership. In order for you to do what you do best, allow a digital marketer to do what they do best by crafting and managing your online presence. Just think how many happy homeowners will have you to thank.

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Is Your Online Presence Driving Customers TO You (or FROM You?)

Automotive Marketing

The core of any successful business, regardless of its size or the industry it’s found within, comes in the patronage of its clientele. Some businesses thrive upon a large volume of one-time purchases, while others are reliant upon incremental repeat business. Years ago, the difference depended simply upon (i) the quality of product and/or service offered (ii) the demand for that product and/or service within its sales reach, and (iii) the presence of competition within shared sales reach.

You don’t have to be an industry veteran or skilled analyst to understand this, or to recognize that these factors are just as relevant (and influential) today. You’re in automotive marketing for (bleep)’s sake. You know, all too well, that the difference between the challenges faced by today’s business and that of years past, is in the expectations of the consumer.

 

Transparency. Immediacy. Personalization.

These are three of the primary challenges faced by today’s marketers when attempting to address the expectations of an increasingly more powerful and demanding consumer. And a business’s competence in tackling these three challenges ‘head-on’ exists almost exclusively online. That said, ask yourself these questions in regard to your online presence:

  1. Does it provide your customers with assurance of your reputability and professionalism?
  2. Does it meet consumer expectations regarding promptness, if not immediacy of both response and results?
  3. When your clients close a session, be it informational or transactional, do they feel as it the experience was built with them in mind?

Now, in all fairness, you might be employed by a dealership who would answer “no” to one or more of these questions. Perhaps, it’s your responsibility to fix the problem. Or perhaps, you’re building a ground-up strategy and aim to create the best possible results, and are already taking expectations into consideration. Either way, let’s talk about how the quality of your online presence can either strengthen or weaken the experience of the automotive consumer.

Remember, in this age of Amazon.com, customers have been spoiled. And yes, Amazon is the bar which you need to aspire to.

 

Transparency

For starters, “Show us your website.” Don’t be embarrassed, we’re all friends here. That said, we hope that your website wasn’t built by your nephew in 2007 when he took a single-semester web development class that required a real-world application. If so, one can assume it might offer poor navigation, limited functionality and/or a dated aesthetic.

But there’s also the manner in which it’s formatted. Just a few years ago, the design of a website was acceptable as long as it worked well on a desk or laptop. Enter tablets. Now factor in statistics on handheld / cell-phone usage, and just how exponentially it exceeds all other devices. Is your website responsive, designed to work consistently, regardless of the device being used? Let’s take a look.

Oh, you’re embarrassed and don’t want to give up your website? Okay, fine. We’ll Google it.

Transparency begins with accessibility. And according to the All-Seeing Eye of Google, any lack of accessibility in an online search renders you all but non-existent to customers who are looking for you (just like we are). And if you’re not placing in the first page of a search result (if not the first few results listed) you might as well close up your doors. With that in mind, what is your SEO strategy? And if you don’t have (or are ill-equipped to execute one) are you employing an SEO professional to help you improve your standing?

Now, let’s pretend a customer has found your website. Does it provide the information, services and/or functionality that they’re looking for? Remember the ‘A-word’ (Amazon). Through an easy search tool, we’re able to find an existing item, supporting information & documentation, comparable and/or associated items, as well as the option of purchasing that item. Why should a vehicle purchase be any different? In fact, considering the expense involved, shouldn’t any vehicle purchase be afforded the same (if not greater) transparency than Amazon gives us?

But transparency extends beyond inventory, information, and transactions. Your website should empower your customers to understand who you are. Not just by name or face, but through your intention to present your operation to them openly, as a result of your desire to build a relationship with them. This should be echoed (and can be reinforced) through your Social Media presence as well.

 

Immediacy

In many cases, today’s consumers know what they want. In far more instances, what they know best is that they want it now. This expectation is present in an online search, in the loading of a web page, and in the ease with which a customer can obtain information or perform a transaction.

Think of it as your first impression. If you’re early, you’ve done it right; whereas a late arrival is viewed as unprofessional. In fact, it’s been estimated that nearly 80% of prospective customers will choose not to do business with you if your website loads slowly. And that’s just your website! Now think about how demanding (and damaging) a customer can be on your public social media profiles. That said, the speed of effective responsiveness means everything!

  • If a customer wants to know if you have any Certified Pre-Owned Chevy Traverse, tell them fast.
  • If they want to obtain a Vehicle History Report, make it readily available for them to download.
  • If they want to schedule a test drive, be there waiting for them.
  • If a customer wants to know the hours of your Service Dept., give it to them fast.

The circumstances don’t matter, only the results do. Make sure that every aspect of your online presence is facilitated for immediacy.

 

Personalization

It’s not about you. It’s about them. The ability to create and/or manage an online presence which is designed with the customer in mind exudes humility. Through each mouse click or finger swipe, it reinforces your desire to have their business, simply by how accessible you feel to them. That said, look at your website and social media account through the eyes of a stranger. Now ask yourself, in its design, functionality, and use does it come across as being about ‘you,’ or your ‘customer.’

I think by now you realize that there is both a right and wrong answer here. As a dealership, sales goals are in place, and big dollars are at play. Owners, management and marketers alike need to ask themselves honestly, “Is our online presence driving customers TO us? Or away FROM us?”

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The Legal Industry Has Misused Video. Are You Guilty?

Legal

How many lawyer jokes can an industry endure before it loses all credibility? Fortunately, the nature of our legal system (and society as a whole) does all but ensure the longevity of lawyers and legal practices throughout our world. Facilitating everything from criminal and civil proceedings to real estate transactions, there are very few major events and acquisitions in our lives that reach completion without the aid of legal representation. And yet, the general public subscribes to the mass resentment of lawyers, as a whole.

With that in mind, it becomes apparent that there is a gap which needs to be bridged. One one side, we have prospective clients that are in need of legal services. On the other side, we have legal representation in need of clients. But the gap which rests in-between them is cavernous, lined with the cumulative distrust of countless generations.

As with any other industry, legal service providers require effective and strategic marketing initiatives in order to ensure their continued success. However, the legal industry is unique in its need to cultivate a sense of trustworthiness, as well as communicate the services that they offer.

If trust is the goal, it seems ironic that that most powerful tool by 2018 standards, is one that lawyers have been using for years, until (that is) we consider just how poorly they’ve been misusing it to-date. That’s right, we’re talking about video, and it’s about time that lawyers being to use it correctly.

 

Escaping the Stereotype

For the better part of four decades, television commercials promoting legal representation have been a staple of both daytime and late-night viewing. These spots usually feature a senior partner or figurehead, uncomfortably speaking in stilted rhythms and conveying an empathy towards whatever plight a prospective client might face. Viewed by the layperson as little more than modern ambulance chasing, such television spots aimed to humanize the principal(s) of successful firms while branding the viewer’s mind with a phone number or website. Of course, the latter goal often proved more successfully achieved than the former.

Thus, law firms serve as a pioneer of just how effectively video content can be in terms of making an otherwise unrelatable specialist or service provider, accessible to those who require their services. However, accessibility is only the first step of a modern marketing initiative, not the final destination.

Embracing a Wider Audience

As mentioned above, television spots seem to permeate daytime and late-night television. As such, one could argue that such airing caters almost exclusively to the unemployed, the entitled and the disenfranchised. Despite the success enjoyed by exploiting such a demographic, let us never forget that legal representation is required in most areas of our adult lives. With that in mind, we turn our attention to how law offices could embrace a wider audience that is equally (yet legitimately) in need of their services.

Traversing the Generation Gap

With the eldest of Generation Z entering the consumer marketplace at age 18 and the eldest of our population consisting of members of the Traditionalist generation, there are a wide range of legal services to be offered. From first-time homeowners to facilitation of one’s personal estate post-mortem, attorneys count Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y, Millennial and Post-Millennials among the generations they can build a clientele from. But how do you most effectively reach those audiences?

Enter digital marketing initiatives.

With the aging Traditionalists employing their Baby Boomer children as both legal proxies and beneficiaries, it’s import to recognize the latter generation’s ever-increasing use of the internet. A surprising prevalence of social media use and comfort with search engines as a means of modern research marks the evolution away from increasingly ineffective print ads, yellow pages, and television spots.

And as we reach Generation X and younger adults, we find consumers who almost exclusively utilize the internet for research, as we all as a primary means of sourcing reviews and securing service providers. With this in mind, what is the best means of making an impact in the infinite sea of online solicitations?

 

Proper Use of Video

Towards the tail end of 2017, it was reported that approximately 90% of corporate marketers either employed video content or had existing plans to incorporate it in their marketing initiatives for 2018.

And rightfully so. YouTube alone boasts over 1 billion consumers, making up approximately 1/3 of all online activity. With over 500 million hours of video content viewed each day, YouTube has become a go-to resource for both informational and commercial content. It’s really no surprise that businesses which employ video content tend to grow revenue as much as 49% faster than those business who don’t.

For attorneys and law offices, well-produced video content represents a powerful means of crafting a trust-based relationship while petitioning clientele. How? Let’s explore a few of the key video trends being employed in 2018.

 

Top 3 Video Marketing Trends for 2018

Going LIVE

LIVE video is offered on most social media platforms and is widely interpreted as being less-scripted and more organic in nature. Consider the impact felt if an educated attorney were to provide an impromptu explanation of services, especially ones that were topical to a specific audience or demographic. Abandoning the stilted solicitations of late night television spots, a well-spoken and responsive attorney could host live video content where questioned could be asked, answered and relationships built.

 

Animated Content

When creating informational content, it becomes important to find the right means of presenting information which laypeople might find confusing, or overwhelming. Considering the complicated nature of legal proceedings and transactions, prospective clients might find animated content a welcome alternative to lengthy, recited verbiage. The production of such content also shows a strong level of commitment and a desire to create a client-centric experience.

360 Video & VR

While the creation of an immersive digital environment may not seem a natural fit for legal solicitation, innovative marketers continue to find innovative ways to exploit growing trends such as 360 Video and Virtual Reality. Perhaps a digital tour of your upscale offices, for example, might prove enticing to potential clients.

No matter how you choose to employ video content in your marketing initiatives, you are making use of the strength of visual media. But if you have yet to incorporate such content, it cannot be overstated how much you are jeopardizing the continued success of your firm or practice. After all, clientele who rely on word-of-mouth or print ads diminish with each passing day. In order for any business to thrive, an effective online presence is required (not optional), and video content is the best means of maximizing that presence.

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Making the Dream of Home Ownership More Visible

Real Estate Agent
If asked to explain the motivation behind their choice of profession, a real estate agent might provide you with any number of reasons.

In many cases, real estate agents operate as independent contractors, granting themselves the often-coveted ability to ‘be their own boss.’ This empowers them to gain control over the growth of their business, and to build lasting relationships with satisfied clients which could lead to beneficial referrals and even repeat business down the road.

And it’s in those relationships where the role of a real estate agent is most easily romanticized. While many acquisitions of property are little more than business transactions, so many more represent the first stop of building a home or even building a life. They are the means by which we achieve a cornerstone of the American Dream. As such, one could argue that their symbiotic relationship with one of our major aspirational goals grants real estate agents a unique relationship with the consumer. They are, quite literally, selling a dream.

The real question for realtors is whether or not they are effectively presenting their ability to help homebuyers to achieve that dream. In a world that demands more than lawn-planted signs with a polished headshot, are they employing the most current digital marketing strategies to ensure that they are being seen and heard?

If your answer is based around a confirmation that you have a Facebook page, you’re probably guilty of “doing it wrong.” You need to aim higher, incorporating a multimedia strategy because, if increased visibility is your goal, what better way to achieve that goal than through a visual medium. And with that, let’s explore the power of video.

 

You Are Your Brand

As a realtor, the services which you offer are as much ‘the products’ being offered to the consumer as is the property itself. But what makes your product different from that of other realtors? Part of that is the strength of your brand and the consumer’s perception of it.

As you know, brand strength is built upon ease of recognition, positive testimonial, and consistent reinforcement. In years past, this might take the form of a house bought or sold by friends; its lawn adorned with a sign featuring your photo and the words “Another House Sold By…”. Satisfied praise of your professionalism would be showered through word of mouth, and that referral serves as the highest possible compliment.

While all of these steps are still relevant, the digital landscape of today’s business world provides even more effective tools for brand reinforcement. The need for a well-designed, informative and responsive website goes without saying; and the accessibility afforded by diligently-managed social media platforms might be your most versatile tool of all. Frankly, if these aren’t the cornerstones of your business model, you’re more-than-a-little “behind the times.” But when it comes to consistently reinforcing your brand recognition, there is an even more powerful tool at your disposal.

 

Video Marketing

How much time do you spend on YouTube? It is estimated that the average adult American spends a minimum of 1 hour a week viewing video content (and that’s a bare minimum). With over a billion users worldwide, YouTube accounts for approximately 1/3 of all internet use with 500 million hours of content consumed each day. And YouTube is just one platform upon which video can be experienced.

In 2018, studies showed that 9 out of 10 marketers either use or are integrating plans to use, video content as a cornerstone of their marketing strategy. With the American consumer base stretching from the aging Baby Boomers to the freshly-legal Generation Z, businesses need to ask themselves if they’re reaching those audiences as effectively as possible. That said, video is the means of doing so.

Through video marketing, a realtor is able to present themselves as accessible to a wider audience. Done properly, this can create a sense of acquaintance that makes initial meetings more relaxed. It can be informational, educating prospective clients in a relaxed manner, and establishing you as a priceless resource. And do we even need to go over the positive impact of video testimonials, endorsing both you and your services?

And while some forms of video content are best handled by professionals, many others are best-achieved through hand-held devices. A balance of both polished and relaxed content increases the accessibility of your message, appealing to a wider audience. And with that in mind, let’s look at three trends that you might want to explore!

 

Top 3 Video Marketing Trends for 2018

Going LIVE

Less scripted and organic, LIVE video streamed in real time can prove enticing to a social media audience, especially if the content and presentation is engaging. Consider the possibility of using a LIVE video to drive up interest in attendance for an open house. This could be especially effective when showcasing a choice property, teasing one or two of its strong features, generating excitement about what isn’t being seen.

 

360 Video & VR

Realtors understand the power of digital exploration better than most industries. The growing prevalence of virtual touring on property listings is proof perfect of what the expectations are of today’s consumers.

This experience can be upgraded, considering the advances and accessibility of VR technology. And 360 video is another means of spicing up a presentation, allowing the viewer to explore a property, while processing the verbiage.

 

Animated Content

For the first-time (and even repeat) home-buyer, the entire process can seem very confusing. A great tool for presenting complex information in a simplified manner is through animated content. Consider how effective an animated step-by-step could be in preparing a client for the journey they are about to embark upon. Imagine their appreciation, for how easy you made it for them.

These are just some ideas worth exploring, but it’s important to update your strategy for the widest possible audience. With that in mind, do you incorporate video content in your digital marketing initiatives?

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Take Two Minutes of Video & Call Me in the Morning

Healthcare Marketing

In today’s world, so many aspects of the Medical community draw the continual ire of the masses. From outrage over the profiteering practices of the Pharmaceutical industry to constant criticism of the costs associated with Health insurance providers, a large share of the general public has voiced a growing sense of detachment from the healthcare community, as a whole.

Regardless of both the perception from within the industry and the lack of actual influence over the industry enjoyed by the average consumer, it’s hard to discount the important role that marketing plays. And in terms of marketing initiatives, the medical community stands as a perfect example of the power of the visual medium. Why?

 

Appealing to the Generations

Of all consumer markets, the medical industry as a whole distinguishes itself by its near equal relationship with all consumers, regardless of age. From birth until death, people of all ages require medical attention, be it scheduled, preventative or emergency treatment. And prescribed medical treatments are distributed for physical, mental and emotional disorders across all generational demographics.

So how do you get the word out to such a diverse number of demographics? Whether advertisement or informational in nature, it stands to reason that digital marketing has the most payoff. Here’s why…

The eldest of all patients count themselves as members of the Traditionalist generation. With a large portion of these patients utilizing younger family members as beneficiaries and medical proxies, the burden of information falls predominantly on those between the ages of 54-72, the Baby Boomers. Previously the largest segment of our population, many Boomers have embraced the digital landscape with fervor, and are perfectly comfortable with online research. But if we accept the fact that 2/3 of the Baby Boomer generation are aged 60 and above, it becomes easy to see how the pattern will continue. As the Baby Boomers age to a point where they hold the senior demographic, Generation X will assert themselves as beneficiaries and proxies.

Enter your Digital Marketing initiatives. Once we get to Generation X, Y, Millennials, Post-Millennials and Generation Z, online marketing should be the lion’s share of your dedicated spend. And that spend should be diversified across multimedia platforms, to ensure that your message and/or educational content is infinitely accessible.

A major component of an effective online strategy consists of video content. As the preferred means of accessing information content by younger consumers, the statistics on video are staggering. Take YouTube for example; with over 1billion users worldwide; YouTube accounts for nearly 1/3 of ALL internet activity. Each day, users consume approximately 500 million hours of content, and nearly half of all internet users consume a minimum of one hour of content per week. With that in mind, is your consumer base getting their information from you…or receiving misinformation from a competitor?

 

Video Marketing

As we tiptoed into 2018, it was estimated that almost 90% of corporate marketers either include or have planned to integrate, video content into their marketing spend. Are you part of this 90%? And most importantly, are you already using video? If not, you’re already falling behind on the marketing trends that are solidifying the successful companies of tomorrow.

Do you realize that businesses that employ video content into their marketing strategy enjoy revenue growth up to 49% faster than non-video users?

Think of this in terms of pharmaceutical products. Regardless of your audience, it is unlikely that they’re aware of the products and the impact those products can have on their lives. They’re even less likely to be aware of products you might have in development or are ready for release. Whether directed at healthcare providers or the consumer themselves, well-produced video content can get their attention, serving up information in an accessible manner and starting the conversation about how your products might be ideal for treatment.

The same applies to healthcare services in general. Unless a patient has first-hand experience with treatment options or the array of services available to them, they may live in a state of blissful ignorance. Utilizing video content to communicate those options and services can empower a healthcare facility or medical practice, to communicate with their customers more effectively.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at current video marketing trends that every kind of company with the healthcare industry might consider utilizing, in order to remain on top of marketing trends.

 

Top 3 Video Marketing Trends for 2018

 

Going LIVE

The power of LIVE video content is that it allows for more informal, and organic interaction. Consider the possibilities for pharmaceutical companies, to produce content that humanizes them in the manner-yet-unseen. Or think of the impact a hospital administrator, or primary care physician could have on both existing and prospective patients, through interactive real-time videos. Accessibility is key to continued success in today’s digital marketing landscape, and LIVE videos could prove enduringly influential.

 

360 Video & VR

The ability to create an immersive and explorable digital environment allows a patient to grow comfortable with an environs that might otherwise be strange and unrelatable. Consider, for a moment, the intimidating nature of surgical procedures or medical research. With most major procedures preceded by an informational class, intended to help the patient grow comfortable with the events to follow, a digital exploration of surgical facilities might be a perfect translation of this video technology.

 

Animated Content

What better way to explore the benefits of treatment, than through accessible animated content. By presenting (what may be) complex ideas in a simplified visual manner, it becomes easier for the general layperson to both comprehend and embrace the options available to them.

While each of these approaches are proving HUGE for online marketing in 2018, we fully expect each of them to continue and evolve in the coming years. Visual Marketing is the future of any business’s online presence, and the medical community is well-served by this trend. It enables improved transparency and a more dynamic means of sharing of information, improving the general consumer’s comfort with, and trust of, the industry as a whole.

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Making Your Automotive Marketing Worth a Million Words

Automotive SEO

If seeking a real-world example of ‘necessary evil’, one could argue that ‘Marketing’ is a near-perfect choice. A crucial component of any business’s continued success, a well-realized and multi-tiered marketing initiative should be designed to communicate any (and all) messages, to any (and all) demographics, using the most effective platform for each.

Just last month, we were discussing some perspectives that are pertinent to any marketplace, be it automotive or otherwise. That discussion touched on the need to portion out a marketing spend between the various platforms, proportioning each based on their respective prioritization within your planned initiative. But with the dwindling Traditionalist generation soon to exist most consumer bases, and the Baby Boomer becoming more tech-savvy, it’s important to note that each day brings us closer to a unification of platforms.

And newsflash…that unification rests almost exclusively in the hands of younger consumers.

 

The New Superstars

For the first time in generations, adults and professionals alike might have little choice but to set aside their pride and admit a single (and somewhat disheartening) realization. Simply put, today’s youth (Millennials and Generation Z-ers, alike) are driving modern marketing techniques, and have a better inherent understanding of how to utilize technology to achieve greater success. And yes, we’re talking about video.

Consider for a moment, the (oft-lamented) rise of the Vine star. Statistically speaking, 71% of Vine users fell into the Millennial age group with nearly the entirety of the balance consisting of the younger Generation Z. While the short-form video platform only reached about 14% of the U.S. population, it equated to 100 million users worldwide on a monthly basis. If a marketer was planning to proactively target the up-and-coming generations of consumers, Vine certainly helped to solidify video as the ideal platform for doing so.

The impact of video becomes even clearer when we expand our study to include YouTube. With over 1 billion users, YouTube activity makes up approximate 1/3 of all internet use. More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day, and nearly half of all internet users watch than an hour of video content per week. Some even more…

For better or worse, Vine and YouTube are almost exclusively responsible for creating an entirely new industry, with monetized profiles earning millions of dollars (without actually offering a product or service). Of course, this comes as a result of advertisers’ realization that online videos and streaming represent the changing face of consumer engagement.

 

Video Marketing

It was estimated that, as of 2018, just shy of 90% of marketers either include, or plan to integrate, video content into their marketing spend. And right now, you’re either nodding your head confidently, knowing that you’re part of that group, or realizing that you are falling behind the curve of today’s marketing trends.

Over half of marketers worldwide agree that video content provides the best possible ROI, elaborating that businesses which utilize video content generate revenue up to 49% faster than non-video users.

Bottom-line, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business or a Fortune 500 company, if you’re not already integrating video content into your marketing strategy, you’re behind the times. To put that further into perspective, here are three examples of Video Marketing Trends for 2018, that you should already be utilizing in order for your marketing initiatives to be considered up-to-speed.

 

Top 3 Video Marketing Trends for 2018

Going LIVE

LIVE videos might be a gripe for personal social media users, since it means receiving an intrusive notification from friends and followers who might only be engaged in mundane activities of no interest to the viewer. But in a business sense, LIVE videos can be a means of engaging your customer base in an an organic and less-rehearsed manner. By presenting content real-time and (at least, relatively) unscripted, a presenter can engage customers in a manner that increases both accessibility and relatability. It can also assist in promoting special events, be it a Grand Opening, Sale, Limited Time Promotion or Holiday wishes. In a world where business aspire to create greater customer loyalty through stronger relationships, you might be surprised as just how effect LIVE videos can be.

 

360 Video & VR

With (or even without) the resurgence of VR technology, 360 Video has proven to be a captivating manner of creating a fully immersive experience. Can you remember the first time that you scrolled past a 360 photo in your Facebook newsfeed, and found yourself able to explore both the seen and unseen elements of that photo through motion, or the swipe of a finger. With the evolution of that technology to video format, we are now empowered to create even more engaging content that draws viewers into our digital landscape, acclimating them to our professional world.

 

Animated Content

Hardly a revolutionary idea, Animated Content has always been a means of simplifying complex ideas and presentation within a visual format. Accessible to the full spectrum of users, Animated Content can easily engage the viewer, and present content in a manner that is both easy to understand, retain and then apply. But, considering that animation has been around since the dawn of cinema, why is this a hot-button component of today’s marketing initiatives? The surge in popular comes from the ease in which such content can now be created, thanks to today’s technology. With most digital marketing teams employing (or outsourcing work to) skilled graphic designers, the use of Animated Content is usually at the fingertips of most companies, whether or not they realize it.

While each of these approaches are proving HUGE for online marketing in 2018, we expect them to grow in prevalence, continuing to evolve in the years to come. At the end of the day, Visual Marketing isn’t going anywhere, so if you’d like your company to thrive with the same sense of longevity, it’s crucial that you get on-board sooner, rather than later.

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Marketing “Higher Education”: What You Need to Know

higher-education

As an institution of higher learning, you are focused on the use of education to empower your students to find greater success in all fields of business. That said, you mustn’t lose sight of the need to empower your business to find greater success in all fields of education.

Simply put, this requires an ability to attract a greater number of promising students and educators. It means generating excitement about your school, using fresh and impactful strategies to position yourselves as one of the premier destinations for higher education.

That said, higher education is no longer a linear journey built exclusively for young adults. Today, the greatest achievements come from committed and passionate students of all ages, backgrounds, and demographics. Are you doing everything that you can to reach those particular students? Are you confident that you are, in fact, doing enough?

At the end of the day, your approach toacquiring prospective students and staff alike should be based on the unique demands of their generational identity. After all, you wouldn’t market to a ‘Generation Z’ candidate in the same manner as you would a ‘Generation X’ or ‘Baby Boomer’ Adult Learner.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the inherent differences that exist within the generation gaps and how it should inform your digital marketing strategy.

 

Generation Z

The youngest group of potential applicants to your school will have been born after 1999. Classified  as ‘Generation Z,’ they are the product of a technology-driven society with a nearly hard-wired expectation of speed, constant accessibility and immediate results in all that they do.

That said, these tendencies have yielded some negative effects. According to a Nielsen Norman Group study, “Fast-moving teens are also less cautious than adults and make snap judgments; this leads to lower success. We measured a success rate of only 71 percent for teenage users compared to 83 percent for adults.”

Such statistics stress the importance of both brevity and clarity in all communication. In doing so, you are configuring your content to perform well on all platforms and to retain attention in the most effective way possible; and with that in mind, here are a few statistics that help to emphasize the importance of doing so. With that in mind, ‘Generation Z’ is…

More likely to give up on a poor-performing or slow-loading website. While they retain an appreciation for aesthetics, load speed, functionality, and navigability of a site are of higher importance.

With nearly 4/5 of Generation Z’ers (between the ages of 13-18) in possession of a smartphone, their connection to technology becomes clear. With this mind, the importance of responsive, mobile-friendly websites becomes clear (as if it wasn’t already, right?)

More likely to seek out video content, via YouTube or Streaming Services. If you’re relying upon traditional (read “soon-to-be outdated”) marketing platforms such as Network Television or Print Ads, you will miss this audience completely.

Instagram and Snapchat are the leading Social Media platforms of choice (at least until something new comes out). Utilizing Facebook or Twitter to reach ‘Generation Z’ will prove less effective.

And speaking of outdated platforms, would you be surprised to learn that email is considered exactly that? While it will still be actively employed in a professional sense, Generation Zers are approximately 3x more likely to open content sent in a Chat / Direct Message format, than in an email. While this may prove more difficult for solicitations, this is where high-quality, shareable content gains value.

 

Millennials

All too often, there is a tendency to dismiss anyone below the age of 25 as a millennial, which is incorrect on a number of levels. In fact, the eldest among the oft-criticized millennial demographic is now in their mid-30’s. Shocking, we know. That said, applicants born between the years of 1983 and 1999 fall under the millennial classification and represent the single largest living population of any group. With superior buying power and an ever-increasing influence over the decisions of both younger and older generations, the ‘millennial vote’ is one that all businesses would be wise to cater to.

In a study performed by Microsoft, it was determined that the average attention span had fallen from 12 seconds to 8 seconds between the years 2000-2015. This, combined with over 3/4 of millennials claiming that they default to their smartphone when nothing else is engaging their interest, reinforces the importance of brevity and clarity (as stated above).

In terms of Social Media, millennials utilize Facebook but also frequent Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter with equal frequency having helped to solidify each one as a viable platform. That said, millennials aged 25-35 favor the former while those aged 19-24 favor the latter.

Between personal and professional use, millennial spend about 6 hours a day perusing emails. While the majority claim they preferred fewer emails, about 1/3 clarify their position by stating that they’d prefer less redundancy and more value in their email traffic. That said, abandon Spam tactics and look to tailored content, when utilizing email to reach this segment.

And remember, countless studies have established that nearly 80% of Millennials value experience over a material possession. That said, your strongest endorsement might come in communicating the quality of the experience your school can offer. By sharing the positive attributes of your culture and opportunities that are presented to your students, you’re more likely to gain traction.

 

Adult Learners

Whether Millennial, Generation X or Baby Boomers, recent decades have produced an ever-increasing number of adult learners. Represented, in many cases, by service men and women, former students who put their education on-hold in order to start a family, or individuals whose maturity has re-prioritized higher education in their lives, most adult learners come with a built-in sense of commitment. They are properly motivated by the goal of increasing t

That said, adult learners make up approximately 20% of the American workforce, and that number is expected to increase over the course of the next decade. In fact, it’s expected that by 2023 48% of the entire college population of the U.S. will consist of adult learners, over the age of 25.  Such a large segment of our population simply can’t be ignored and should be part of any marketing strategy.

In reaching this group, you should plan to employ a multi-media, multi-platform strategy including even tradition (read “soon-to-be outdated”) marketing platforms such as Print Ads and Network Television.

 

Are You Using the Correct Marketing Strategy?

In the grand scheme of modern commerce, education is no different than any other business field. It requires innovative marketing strategies, facilitated by skilled third-party professionals with their finger on the pulse of today’s consumer. After all, your potential audience is more diverse and more powerful than it has ever been. If you’re using a singular, “same-old, same-old” approach, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And in doing so, you’re only proving that there are far better institutions to educate those prospective students on how to be successful.

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