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    The Lawyer's Guide to Blogging: Why Should You "Blawg"?

    Last updated 9 months ago

    As the world of online marketing expands to all industries and business categories, more professional services firms are jumping on to the blogging bandwagon. Law firms have started to realize the benefits of having a blog and the positive effect that it can have on their website’s search rank and the credibility of their firms.

    So, why should your law firm or solo law practice have a blog? Here are three reasons you should start one.

    1. It Improves the SEO of Your Law Firm’s Website 

    Maintaining a blog is a great way to add fresh, new content to your website, which can improve your law firm’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means that by creating a blog with keyword-optimized content, your law firm’s website may appear higher in search engine results when that term is searched. The more frequently you blog, the more assets and credibility you build. Creating quality content should be a top priority for your law firm, as Google has made many search algorithm updates such as Panda and Penguin, which are known for rewarding websites for producing quality and relevant content with higher rank on the organic search engine results. 

    2. It Boosts Your Law Firm's Social Media Marketing Strategy

    A law blog can complement your social media marketing strategy by providing you with material that you can post on your firm’s social media sites, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. Blog posts on social media sites help increase your firm’s visibility, drive inbound links to your website, and help you to become more engaged with your social media audience. One way to drive social shares from you website is to write a call to action that engages your readers and encourages them to take next steps. For example, you could include a CTA like “If you enjoyed this post, please share it,” along with share buttons to post the blog post on their social media pages.

    3. It Gives Your Law Firm a Forum for Thought Leadership

    A law blog is an excellent tactic to help position your firm and your partners as thought leaders in the various areas of law practice. The more frequently you and your firm’s partners blog, the more exposure your firm gets and the more credibility you build with your audience. You become a public expert in your field, which helps you generate more followers and prospects. 

    A great way to start the blogging process, whether your law firm is large or small, is to form a blog team.  Each team member should focus his or her blog posts on a different area of practice or have a specialty topic within that practice subcategory. Define a leader of the team to create an editorial calendar that outlines the topic for each week’s blog post and assign one blog per week to each team member. This technique works well for busy lawyers as they can plan out their topic weeks ahead and have sufficient time to dedicate to research and writing. If you can, create a team of at least five lawyers so that each one is responsible for no more than one blog post per month.

    Once you have your team in place, it is time to start blogging. Here are some basic blogging tips to help make your blog posts a success:

    1. Keep your blog conversational in tone.
    2. Present your information in a quick and easy-to-read manner.
    3. Think about pain points that might affect your audience and develop your topics around them.
    4. Always use a clever, attention-getting headline.
    5. Use your own voice; let your personality shine through.
    6. Keep it brief – 400-600 words is sufficient.
    7. Use bullet points for better readability.
    8. Keep it simple; stay away from difficult jargon.
    9. Get to the point; don’t ramble.
    10. Conclude your points.
    11. Use imagery in your post (like a graphic or infographic) to emphasize your point.
    12. Make sure you understand the audience you are writing for.
    13. Show off your knowledge; don’t be afraid to share your secrets

    So, form the team, or simply get started writing a blog on your own. The more you blog, the easier it becomes. You’ll be surprised at the ideas that start presenting themselves to you! Remember, be true to your voice and keep the blog post simple and concise. As Mark Twain said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”.

    What tactics have you tried to create a blog for your law firm? Let us know!

    About the Author

    Carolyn Rayner is the Sr. Manager of Marketing for the Professional Services division of ReachLocal. She helps provide small- and medium sized law firms with information on how to grow their practice through online advertising, social media, and content management. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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    Bickford Senior Living Case Study: 3 Important Online Marketing Lessons

    Last updated 9 months ago

    Bickford Senior Living’s 50 locations around the country provide a family environment for senior residents who can no longer live alone. A longstanding ReachLocal search engine advertising customer, Bickford wanted to drive more leads through their website rather than relying on lead aggregators that provide the same lead information to multiple assisted living facilities. However, Bickford’s new website wasn’t showing up in organic search results, so they turned to ReachLocal for help with search engine optimization (SEO).

    Within four months, the SEO project delivered great results. Most importantly, Bickford has seen 100% increase in the number of resident move-ins coming from web leads. All the other important web metrics have also improved.

    Here are three important online marketing lessons from Bickford Senior Living's SEO case study

    1. All Web Traffic Is Not Created Equal

    Sometimes people focus on metrics that look good but don’t really impact the business. Overall web site traffic is one of those metrics. The old adage, “It’s quality, not quantity” couldn’t be more relevant to online marketing. You want to bring visitors to the site that are actually interested in your product or service and have the potential to convert into customers. While this may seem intuitive, some businesses concentrate more on bringing “eyeballs” to the website rather than attracting a lower number of more qualified visitors.

    Why is unqualified traffic bad? Search engines look at the quality of your website as part of the algorithm that determines search results. A high bounce rate along with low time spent on a site indicates that visitors are not finding the information they are looking for. Search engines are constantly trying to weed out spam sites, so pages with high bounce rate risk being penalized or even banned from appearing in search results. Bickford had used a number of different domain names to redirect web traffic to their main site so the overall traffic was high, but so was the bounce rate because they had too many visitors coming to the site and not finding the information they were looking for, causing a negative impact on their rank in organic search.

    2. Incorporate SEO Into Your Website Before You Build It

    SEO best practices should be incorporated during the planning and building of a new website, not afterwards. Retrofitting SEO into an existing website takes more time than implementing SEO tactics while the site is being constructed. Some elements of SEO are structural, so making these changes can be very difficult once the design and coding is complete. The technology used to build the site should be SEO-compatible. For example, using Flash for animated graphics can be visually spectacular, but is disastrous for SEO since search engines can’t read Flash content.

    Since SEO best practices include everything from site structure to load times to optimized content, it is easier – and more effective – to build all of this from the ground up. Rewriting copy to include relevant keywords, editing or adding tags, speeding up page load-times and other SEO modifications takes additional time and money that could have been spent on other revenue-generating activities. Bickford’s website is beautiful and engaging, but SEO principles weren’t adequately incorporated in the initial construction and most of the optimization work had to be done after the site was live.

    3. SEO & Search Engine Advertising Work Better Together

    Studies have shown that using SEO and search engine advertising together improves the performance of both and drives incremental traffic to your website. Analyzing the keyword and conversion data from both tactics can tell you what high value keywords to focus on. Since you can only effectively optimize a limited number of keywords using SEO, search engine advertising can provide more broad coverage of other good value terms. While clicks from organic search results are free, SEO is a long-term process, while search engine advertising can bring instant results.

    Optimization of landing pages can also bring up the quality score in Google’s AdWords paid search. Higher quality scores enable your paid keywords to show up in better positions for less money. Once Bickford’s site was optimized, their SEM campaigns began performing better with lower cost-per-click than before.

    Bickford’s SEO Results

    • 100% increase in resident move-ins coming from web leads
    • 176% increase in visits
    • 51% increase in organic visits
    • 80% improvement in bounce rate on home page
    • 91% of location pages with page 1 Google rank for at least one non-branded keyword

    Want to learn more about how this senior learning community boosted their online marketing results with ReachLocal SEO? Download the entire Bickford Senior Living SEO case study to learn more about the project and results.

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    About the Author

    Karen Platt Bearman specializes in online marketing issues related to healthcare and wellness businesses. She regularly contributes insights to the ReachLocal blog and can be followed on Twitter.

    More Students, More ROI: One Education Client's ReachLocal Success Story [Video]

    Last updated 9 months ago

    One of our goals at ReachLocal is helping local businesses of all types reach their customers online. With one education client, we did just that.

    In this customer review video, a local art school reveals how ReachLocal helped them increase new business, allowing them to open a second location in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hear firsthand how Young at Art uses ReachSearch search engine advertising, TotalTrack offline advertising tracking, and the ReachLocal mobile app, to not only get leads, but also to measure the number of leads they are getting from their marketing efforts so they can spend their budget more effectively. The result?  More leads for a lower cost. 

    Watch the video review now to see how they did it:

    “After we brought ReachLocal on to help us with our advertising, we did a TotalTrack of our paper ads and found that the phone calls we were getting were far less than what ReachLocal was providing us. Our company Young at Art has grown because of ReachLocal’s online advertising.” – Paul Wood, Owner, Young At Art

    Visit the ReachLocal Education website to see more ReachLocal Reviews from other education clients. 

    About the Author

    Paul Herrera, Marketing Manager for Education and Specialty Services, provides small and medium-size businesses and B2C brands with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

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    Report: 61% of Mobile Searchers Say Click-to-Call Most Important Feature

    Last updated 10 months ago

    When it comes to online search, the phone call is still an incredibly valuable path to purchase for both consumers and small businesses. And, now that mobile search is increasingly more common, it’s no surprise that consumers want the ability to call a local business directly from their mobile website.

    In fact, a recent Google survey of 3,000 mobile searchers found that the majority, or 61%, of consumers said having click-to-call functionality was important in making a purchase. This illustration from Search Engine Land shows that it’s more important in the purchase phase than in any other phase of the consumer buying journey

    This ability is extremely important in the local space, with 76% of consumers saying they would use mobile call features to schedule an appointment for local services. This fact further emphasizes the need for local businesses to not only have a mobile-optimized website, but to also have visible click-to-call functionality to aid consumers in their purchase process. 

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    3 Easy Ways to Stay Top of Mind With Your Leads

    Last updated 10 months ago

    After prospects have visited your website, called, or emailed you, they’ve converted into leads. But chances are they’re not ready to make a purchasing decision. This stage of the customer buyer journey is typically research-based; i.e., your leads need preliminary information about prices, products, or services. They’re also evaluating your company for its overall customer service and professionalism. And, they’re most likely contacting your competitors during this phase, too.

    After your leads have expressed initial interest in your company, you need to continue to stay top of mind with them throughout their purchase process. That way when the time does come for them to make a decision, you’re the company they choose. This doesn’t have to be a difficult or mysterious process. With some basic lead management practices, you can stay top of mind with your leads and ultimately earn more of their business.

    1. Bring Them Back With Retargeting

    After leads have visited your website, you can continue to reach them with banner ads as they surf the Web. Using technology known as site retargeting, you can remind them of your business so they return to your website. For example, let’s say you’re a dentist in Dallas, Texas and a prospective new patient visits your website. After reading several pages on your site, he leaves your website and visits other potentially unrelated sites across the Web. Because he has already visited your site, the retargeting technology can identify him as an interested shopper and show your display ad to him as he continues to surf the Web. It’s a perfect opportunity to re-engage him with a promotional offer like “Half Off Teeth Whitening” and a strong call to action like “Book Your Free Consultation Today” so he will click the ad and return to your website. By staying top of mind with your lead while he was in the consideration phase, you can encourage him take another step toward becoming a customer. 

    2. Call Your Leads Back Quickly and Ask Questions

    Did you know that up to half of consumers buy from the businesses that respond back to them first? If you rely on a voicemail system or answering service to help you manage the calls coming into your business, it’s important to return those quickly – within the first hour is ideal. The longer you wait, the greater the chances that a competitor will reach your prospects before you do. When you do follow up with your leads, be prepared to collect pertinent information such as their email address, location, and the reason for their call if they didn’t tell you when they contacted you. For instance, did they want to set an appointment for an initial consultation? Were they interested in a specific product? Do they need pricing information, etc.? This information not only enables you to help your lead, it also gives you background information you can use in follow-up communications.

    3. Follow Up With Emails

    Emails are a great way to stay top of mind with your leads and previous customers. Following up with these consumers with links to relevant industry articles, alerts about upcoming sales and special promotions, news about your products and services, and testimonials from happy customers are just a few topics you can include in follow-up emails. By providing timely, personal, and helpful information, you can build your business relationship with your prospects so that when they’re ready to buy, you’ve increased your chance at earning the sale.

    How do you stay top of mind with your leads? Let us know with a comment!


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    ·     Retargeting: Your Search Advertising Sidekick

    ·     5 Signs You Might Suffer From Phone Failure

    ·     Email Marketing 101: Crafting an Engaging Subject Line


    About the Author

    Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog. Connect with her on Twitter.


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