PAID MEDIA FOR LEGAL MARKETERS
Is your law firm struggling to reach its target audience with content? Has engaging new audiences and generating new leads proven challenging? While today’s media influx may make it difficult to get your firm’s message heard organically, it also brings with it an influx of methods to promote it. Paid media serves as a method for promoting content and driving exposure, and there are a variety of paid techniques you can use to amplify your content marketing and gain new business leads. From how to use sponsored social media posts, display advertisements and other promoted content to the differences between search engine marketing and search engine optimization, the Paid Media for Legal Marketers eBook outlines how your firm can use paid media to reach targeted audiences and drive conversions.
TABLE OF CONTENTS 01 | WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR PAID MEDIA PLAN
13 | HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA ADS TO ENGAGE NEW AUDIENCES
2. Sponsored Content 3. Social Media Advertising 4. Native Advertising 5. Pay-Per-Click 6. Display Ads
14. Social Media Ad Platforms 16. Types of Social Media Ad Campaigns
17 | HOW TO USE PAID MEDIA TO GENERATE LEADS & DRIVE CONVERSIONS 18. Offer Valueable & Unique Content 19. Develop an Email Campaign 19. Use Lead Magnets 20. Automate What you Can
07 | THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN SEO & SEM
9. Elements of On-Page SEO 10. Elements of Off-Page SEO 11. Elements of SEM 12. SEM vs SEO
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR PAID MEDIA PLAN
Implementing a legal marketing strategy without paid media is like going into battle with a bow and arrow. Sure, you may get by for a while with what you have, but you’re greatly diminishing the potential benefits for your law firm without its inclusion. While the ever-expanding media landscape may make it difficult to have your firm’s message heard
organically, it also brings an influx of methods to promote it. Paid media gives you an opportunity to promote content and drive exposure, and there are no shortage of paid techniques you can use to strengthen your owned media and help you secure more earned media. Here are some tips on what to include in your paid media plan.
Sponsored content is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as material in an online publication which resembles the publication’s editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser and intended to promote the advertiser’s product. Originating decades ago in print publications, sponsored content is a tried and true form of paid media that now expands to online journals or magazines, blogs, podcasts and other various mediums. When done effectively, it provides a new audience for your firm to reach as well as third-party credibility for your message. When it comes to sponsored content, the source of the content is just as important as the message your firm is trying to deliver. Of course, you still want a quality article, feature or blog post that showcases one of your attorneys or the firm as a whole. However, your efforts will be fruitless if the publication fails to reach your target audience or tap into a new market. Do your research and focus on business journals, magazines or other media outlets that will be seen and consumed by prospective clients and business partners.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING
Your firm’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other social media platforms are already a viable channel for driving traffic to your website. Along with maintaining a consistent schedule of new content, incorporating social media advertising into your paid media plan will only enhance the work you have already done. Before you start firing out ads on any and all networks, determine which of your channels would provide the most bang for your buck. Remember that the different channels also come with their own various audiences, so the messaging will likely change depending on where you’re sending an ad. For example, you wouldn’t want to use the same ad on LinkedIn and Instagram due to their vastly different audiences. Don’t just assume LinkedIn would be the best place to start given its status as a professional networking site. Take a look at the engagement numbers from the most successful posts on your firm’s various social channels. Where are members of your audience spendingmost of their time?Where are you seeing the most likes, comments and shares? Where are your followers and prospects having conversations? Because it is one of the most effective and least expensive forms of social media advertising, start with Facebook and test the results before expanding to other channels.
Similar to sponsored content, native advertising fits the style of the surrounding content on a page to make it seem “native” to that site. However, often including a catchy headline or explanation to encourage clicks on the link, native advertising appears more like traditional advertising than its counterpart in sponsored content. The most effective native advertisements are those that seem indistinguishable from the rest of a page’s content. Think about the last time you perused Amazon for a new phone case. You were likely presented with dozens of options to choose from just on the first page of results. Many of those results, likely positioned on the top or side of the page with a “sponsored” disclaimer, were examples of native advertising. You may have even clicked on one of them, proving the worth of native advertising. For those brands, the proximity to the top of the page makes it much more likely to be seen by shoppers, while the similarity in style to other listings draws attention.
Reaching members of your target audience and driving them to your firm’s website is the ultimate goal of your legal marketing strategy, and pay-per-click is one of the most effective paid media practices for accomplishing this goal. Advertisers pay a fee each time someone clicks their ad in exchange for a promoted link. While paying for each time that someone clicks on an advertisement and reaches your page may seem costly, it doesn’t come close to reaching the value of new business. In fact, Google and other search engines will even charge less per click if the ads and landing pages are beneficial and satisfying to users. Google Ads is the most popular form of pay- per-click advertising and while there are many factors that will determine the success of your campaign, it starts with the right keywords. By researching and compiling the most relevant keywords associated with your firm, you can put yourself directly in front of a market that is already searching for topics related to your business. Over time, incorporating these keywords in your ads and content marketing efforts will improve your Google Quality Score and businesses with higher Quality Scores get more ad clicks at lower costs.
The most successful paid media plan is one that includes various different techniques. If you’re not sure where to start or you need help determining the best strategy for your firm, give us a call to schedule your 1-hour free consultation.
As one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, display advertising has been around since the mid-1990s and remains one of the most popular to this day. Relying heavily on images and videos to promote a product or service through visuals, display ads can be found on many websites in the form of banners, images and text ads. While they also appear on a different site than that of the advertiser, display ads are different from native advertising because they are designed specifically to stand out rather than blend in with the rest of the content. Over time, users have become privy to display ads and many have installed software that blocks these ads from appearing on a site. However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t still be valuable for your firm. Display ads can appear on a number of different websites, allowing you to reach a new audience that may not know about your firm. Or, they can be targeted to appear on specific websites to generate interest among members of your target audience. Most importantly, clicks, impressions and conversions from display ads are all measurable, meaning you can assess your campaign based on the results and make changes as you see fit. Just as the most successful content marketing strategies include many different types such as byline articles, infographics, videos and case studies, the best paid media plan is one that utilizes multiple techniques. Your firm might see results from just one native ad or sponsored story the same way you might see results from one blog post, but don’t limit your potential for more traffic, engagement and new business leads by ignoring the other strategies. If you’re interested in creating a paid media plan or haven’t seen the results you were looking for, our team is here to help. We’d love to start a conversation with you about how we can create results for your firm.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SEM & SEO
Just as the English language has evolved over time with slang words, marketing terms and phrases have changed in recent years, most notably search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). While they look similar andareoftenused interchangeably, they represent two different components of a successful legal content marketing strategy, much like earned media
and paid media. SEM is the process of bidding on keywords to rank higher in search engine results, while SEO is defined as the process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial or natural search results. They work hand-in-hand and can provide real results for your law firm when leveraged to their full potential, so it’s important to remember the differences between SEM and SEO.
ELEMENTS OF ON-PAGE SEO
At its core, the purpose of SEO is to make your firm’s website easy to find to improve your rank in results pages on Google, Bing and other popular search engines. A broad term that includes a variety of different practices, SEO is typically broken down into on- page and off-page. Both play a role in refining your website to achieve optimal results and while you have some control over off-page SEO, on-page SEO rests completely in your hands and there are a variety of ways to optimize your page and ensure success. CONTENT In addition to its power to create expertise and generate leads, your firm’s content plays a significant role in determining your search result position. For SEO purposes, good content supplies a demand and is linkable. Before moving on to more specific practices, consider a content audit to ensure any blog posts or case studies are checking off those boxes. METADATA SEO metadata refers to the information given when a website is included on search engine results pages, including the title, description, heading tags and image ALT tags. These descriptions can be customized to include the purpose of that page in the optimum length (60 characters for title, 160 characters for description) and keywords. Keep in mind that keywords are only beneficial when they are relevant and included in a page’s content. URL Believe it or not, even the URL for your firm’s website is considered when determining your rank. Your firm’s URL is essentially your introduction to a search engine, so keep it short (like saying hello rather than telling your entire life story) and include keywords that outline what that page is about. PAGE SPEED There’s few things in life as frustrating as clicking on a result from a Google search only to be stuck in limbo as the page fails to load. Search engines know this, and pages will see their rank fall if it loads slowly. Reducing image sizes and taking out unnecessary HTML is an easy way to improve speed and optimize user experience. MOBILE FRIENDLY As more and more people surf the web from their phone rather than a computer, Google now takes into consideration whether a website is mobile friendly and optimized in its ranking algorithm. Focus on the user experience by ensuring you have a responsive design allowing visitors to get the best experience regardless of the device they are using. Also, consider adding local keywords to your content as mobile users are more likely to search for a business or service “near me.”
ELEMENTS OF OFF-PAGE SEO
After ensuring that all of your firm’s on-page tactics are optimized, there is still work to be done outside of the website to secure the highest possible ranking. Anything done outside of your website to improve its rankings is referred to as off-page SEO. While you lack the same control you have with on-page SEO, there are still steps your firm can take to improve your off-page SEO. Generating linkbacks is one of the most important off-page SEO techniques, but there are a few factors that determine the value for your firm. RELEVANCE While there’s nothing detrimental about being linked on an unrelated page, it’s much more valuable to have that link from a business or individual connected to your industry. DOMAIN AUTHORITY The quality of a linking page also plays a role in determining its value for off-page SEO. Google and other search engines recognize the authority of prominent sites with a large following, and links from those sources will have a greater impact on your rank than links from smaller organizations. “NOFOLLOW” VS. “DOFOLLOW” Done by some publishers in an effort to reduce spam, a “nofollow” tag on your link will eliminate any potential SEO value for your firm. While it might still generate website traffic, it won’t do anything to improve your rank in search engine results pages. Social signals are another component of off-page SEO.Any time a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media post from your firm is shared by someone else, you are reaching a new audience and driving traffic to your website. Even if it doesn’t provide an immediate boost to your ranking, it will still promote your content to a wave of new visitors, increasing the likelihood of a more direct benefit such as a linkback, social mention or even a new business opportunity.
ELEMENTS OF SEM
Even after you’ve exhausted all your efforts into SEO, moving to the top of a results page can be a difficult task. SEM allows you to optimize and advertise your firm’s website to increase its visibility in search engine results pages. Pay-per-click is one of the key components of SEM, utilizing keywords to target prospective clients. When a user searches one of those keywords, a custom ad for your firm will appear at the top of the results page, increasing the likelihood that they will visit your site. Keep in mind that these keywords are only valuable when they are actually used, so include them in the ad copy and any related content. SEM can have an immediate impact on your firm because it puts complete control in your hands. While you can’t directly impact the bidding algorithm, you can set your own budget cap and a maximum cost per click. You can also get specific and target members of your audience based on location, industry, age, income and other factors. Perhaps the greatest benefit of SEM is that every aspect of it is trackable. From clicks and impressions to click through rates and website traffic, your firm can follow the results of your SEM practices from start to finish, allowing you to make any necessary adjustments before starting a new campaign.
SEM VS. SEO
Marketers can debate whether SEO or SEM is more valuable until the end of time, but the honest answer is both. They can each provide a variety of new business opportunities for your firm and are most effective when utilized together. Think of it like the relationship between the rushing attack and passing game for a football team’s offense. Of course teams will lean on one or the other depending on their personnel, but the best offense is one that features a balanced attack. Like any other new strategy, mastering SEO and SEM practices takes time. Don’t get discouraged if your initial efforts don’t immediately put your firm at the top of every Google search. Assess the results, make any necessary changes and get back on the horse. If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between SEM and SEO and the benefits they can provide, give us a call. Let’s have a conversation about how we can create results for your firm.
SEO and SEM practices can provide your firm with a variety of new business opportunities, making them a logical inclusion for your paid media strategy. Creating a strategic planning process that brings about action is one of the key elements in our SAME 4-step strategic process.
HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA ADS TO ENGAGE NEW AUDIENCES
As part of any successful legal marketing strategy, your law firm’s socialmedia channels are a reliable source for reaching and engaging with your audience. However, even with a consistent stream of new content that includes SEO and SEM practices, it can be difficult to expand your reach organically. This is where social media advertising,
or paid social, comes into play as a means of quickly reaching a new, targeted audience. It’s one of the biggest social media trends and can be a valuable tool for your firm to generate new leads, but it’s important to understand all of your options before you start pouring money across your various networks.
SOCIAL MEDIA AD PLATFORMS
Much like a paid media plan gives you an opportunity to promote content and drive exposure, social media advertising allows your firm to put content directly in front of those who will most likely show interest with ads targeted to users based on location, spending habits or personal interests. By putting the control of who sees the ad in your hands, paid social is one of the most effective ways to convert leads. However, as any parent of a teenager can tell you, there’s plenty of social media platforms out there, so it’s important to choose those that are most likely to reach members of your target audience.
FACEBOOK As the most popular social media platform and one of the most visited websites on the entire internet, Facebook is a worthy inclusion to any paid social media plan. Whether your firm has 1,000 attorneys or just one, Facebook ads allow organizations of any size to promote their products and services to specific audiences. INSTAGRAM Designed to share photos and videos, Instagram can also be used by your firm to engage with a new audience. Ads on Instagram can be used in the form of stories, video or lead ads that also appear on Facebook news feeds. TWITTER With its fast-paced atmosphere and 280-character limit, Twitter has evolved into a popular form of news consumption among its more than 320 million active users each month but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be used to gain exposure for your firm. With promoted tweets, your firm can place content directly in front of members of your target audience, while promoted trends allow you to generate a conversation with hashtags. LINKEDIN With an emphasis on professional networking, LinkedIn is a logical selection for a paid social media campaign. It’s also one of the easiest to navigate with its Campaign Manager setup which allows your firm to create objective-based ads to increase website visits, engagement, video views, lead generation, brand awareness or website conversions. YOUTUBE If engaging and interactive video ads interest your firm, YouTube is the place to go. Since it’s owned by Google, YouTube works with Google Analytics to measure conversions and capture leads based on who is watching your content and then visiting your website.
Targeted social media advertising allows your firm to push content directly to those who have an interest or need for your services. To learn more about how we can create results for your firm, schedule your 1-hour free consultation with Ghidotti.
TYPES OF SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
After you’ve gained a full understanding of the various channels and how to advertise on them, it’s time to plan a social media campaign for your firm. Selecting the type of campaign depends on what your firm is hoping to achieve with the ad. Whether you’re in the early stages of reaching out to members of a new audience or trying to convert leads into clients, the right campaign can put your firm on the right track to success. PROSPECTING These campaigns are all about generating awareness about your firm and reaching people that have not previously interacted with your business. Utilizing the right keywords can greatly improve prospecting campaigns as it will allow you to specifically target the audience you are trying to reach. You can then engage them with relevant content that encourages them to learn more about your firm without delivering a sales pitch. Be sure to keep an eye out for any questions or comments. Ignoring them or responding late can end the interest before it even truly begins. RETARGETING While engaging a new audience is necessary to grow your firm’s client base, that doesn’t mean you should overlook those that you know. A retargeting campaign focuses on users that have shown interest in the past by visiting your website, following your social media channel or subscribed to your eNewsletter. The goal of a retargeting campaign is to circle back to that initial interest and engage on a deeper level that encourages them to take further action. CONVERSION As the name suggests, a conversion social media campaign is all about turning interested members of your target audience into new clients for your firm by promoting specific actions. Feel free to break out that sales pitch if your efforts are focused solely on securing new business, but other possible actions include downloading free content such as an eBook, completing a contact form or survey, making a call or subscribing to a eNewsletter. From blog posts and podcasts to videos and infographics, there’s no shortage of content options for your firm to choose from when developing your social media ads. Since those you are trying to reach are being bombarded with messages from their own network as well as other businesses, it’s important to ensure that the content you are sharing is relevant and informative to avoid it being overlooked or intentionally ignored. If you need help fleshing out your social media advertising strategy or just want to bounce around some thoughts, let’s connect. We’d love to start a conversation with you about how we can create results for your firm.
HOW TO USE PAID MEDIA TO GENERATE LEADS & DRIVE CONVERSIONS
While many instinctively think of social media as a way to connect with friends and family, share photos or engage in heated political debates, it’s also a powerful tool for lead generation. From sharing your latest content to engaging with followers, your law firm’s social media channels provide an easy and effective means for guiding leads through the sales funnel. The goal is to have prospective clients find your content, follow you on social media, sign up for your email list and pay attention to what
others say about you. While it’s possible to succeed with an organic approach, social media advertising takes it to the next levelbyallowingyourfirmtoreach new and relevant audiences, making it a worthy inclusion to any paid media plan along with SEO and SEM practices. Rather than attracting everyone, you want to reach prospects who have a genuine need or desire for your firm’s services. Here are some tips on how to use paid media to generate leads and drive conversions.
OFFER VALUABLE & UNIQUE CONTENT Spending money on social media ads will be a fruitless practice for your firm if you aren’t providing content that attracts your audience. With countless others fighting for the attention of your target audience, you must create ads that are worth clicking on. It starts with relevant copy and design. An appealing photo or video will pull users in, while ad copy that is conversational and engaging encourages them to click. If someone clicks on your firm’s ad, you’re off to a good start but there is still work to be done to separate casual visitors from potential leads. This is where gated content comes into play as a means of exchanging valuable content from your firm for contact information from users. While some people will decline, those who take that next step will have demonstrated real interest in learning more about your firm and the services you provide, while also providing an email address or phone number to follow up.
DEVELOP AN EMAIL CAMPAIGN
There’s a reason many department stores ask for your email address before you buy new clothes, shoes or accessories. They’re adding you to their subscriber list because email marketing works, and it can work for your firm. When you start by establishing a clear strategy, an email campaign can generate new leads and even retain past clients. The most effective strategy is one that provides relevant content without bombarding your audience. Aweekly email is a great place to start because it’s consistent enough to keep your firm top-of-mind without spamming your subscribers’ inboxes. Your strategy will also outline the type of content that you will be sharing through your newsletter. People will grow tired of the same things each week, the goal is to not only establish yourself as a thought leader but also as a resource, so try to mix it up by including a good balance of blog posts, news articles, podcasts and other various mediums. Analytics such as open rates and click-through rates will help you determine the success of a campaign. Rather than guessing about any changes that could improve those rates, utilize A/B campaigns with different versions of copy to see which one generates more engagement. After you have established and refined your strategy, create social media ads to promote the campaign and start collecting emails.
USE LEAD MAGNETS
Gated content is an example of a lead magnet, one of the most effective tools you can use to generate leads and drive conversions for your firm. Since people are often hesitant to give out their email address, you must give them a reason with compelling content in the form of a downloadable eBook, case study or video. You know your target audience and the questions they are asking, so provide content that serves those needs and showcases the expertise of your firm.
From an eBook that explains the latest in tax law to a case study about one of your firm’s recent wins, there’s no shortage of content possibilities for lead magnets. Even a video of a previous speaking engagement or a teaser of a webinar you hosted can be a lead magnet. However, try to steer clear of anything that is too long or difficult to follow. It’s important that you maintain their attention to keep that lead and improve your chances of converting them into a client down the road.
AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN
Turning someone from a cold lead into a new client for your firm is a process. Even with the right paid media and content marketing plans, you will likely still need to spend time on the phone or in person with someone before earning their business. Luckily, social media posts, ads and email campaigns can all be automated, leaving you ample time to focus on engagement. Platforms like Sprout Social or Hootsuite are management tools that allow you to schedule social posts days or even weeks in advance, while Facebook Ads Manager makes it easy to create and manage your advertisements. Consider reserving a time on Monday mornings to schedule that week’s social posts, ads and eNewsletter content. That will provide flexibility to your schedule if a question or request froma prospective client presents itself. However, that doesn’t mean that you can just set it and forget it. Keep track of any ongoing campaigns to learn what works, what doesn’t and how to improve over time. Themost important thing to remember is that generating leads and driving conversions with paid media is a marathon, not a race. You probably won’t get a wave of new business immediately after rolling out your social media ads, email campaign and lead magnets, but over time, those tools will work hand-in-hand to drive prospects to your firm. If you’re interested in learning more about the power of paid media, let’s chat. We’d love to start a conversation with you about how we can create results for your firm.
With your target audience constantly being bombarded with content from other businesses, paid media is your firm’s ticket to generate leads and drive conversions. Developing an integrated strategy of earned media and content marketing that increases leads and cases is the goal of our SAME 4-step strategic process.
In today’s competitive landscape, lawfirms can’t grow their businesses without a focus on thought leadership and building trust with clients. In fact, thought leadership executed strategically can create real business results, while thought leadership done poorly can create risks and blow back (and then you’ll need our crisis communications team to help out!). Our agency has particular expertise in helping law firms and legal marketers create thought leadership platforms fueled by an integrated strategy of earned media and content marketing that increases leads and cases, improves brand recognition and reputation, while also equipping attorneys to sell. Which is why our 4-step strategic process was created. THE PROCESS IS CALLED SAME. Why do we call it SAME? Well, it’s easy to remember for one thing, but, more importantly, it’s the same for each attorney and practice area because it WORKS! Our goals for clients in this program are: STRATEGY Create a strategic planning process that brings about action. AUDIT Conduct an audit of current content and get organized. MESSAGE Produce a message map that results in better earned media. EQUIP Train your attorneys to sell. By adopting our SAME process, your results will be anything but that. You will create results for your attorneys that are unique to them and their practice areas, generating real leads through focused and strategic thought leadership. Our proven process gives your firm the right tools and an actionable plan that creates RESULTS!
SAME PROCESS. UNIQUE RESULTS.
If improving lead generation is a priority to your law firm, we would love to be your partner. Schedule your free consultation to discuss what legal content marketing can do for your law firm – and how you can implement a new process that will not only help you curate content, it will help you create results for your attorneys that are unique to them and their practice areas.
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