14 free or low cost tools to improve your marketing

Marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune thanks to many free and affordable tools to help you with every aspect of your marketing. I haven’t personally used all the resources below, but those I haven’t tried were recommended on well-established blogs. The great thing is that you can experiment with these to learn what works for you without making a huge investment. (more…)

7 tips for effectively marketing your niche

Developing a niche is a great way to attract clients and build a distinctive brand for your firm. It differentiates you and your marketing will be more successful and effective because you are focused on your unique expertise and who you want to attract. (more…)

8 marketing musts for your firm

Marketing or building market strategy

Everyone wants tips to help market themselves. We’re all hoping to hear the one thing that we can do to magically bring in business. Unfortunately there is no one thing, but there are lots of little things that can help. I work a lot with lawyers and was recently on a radio show to talk about Marketing Tips for Attorneys. To prepare, the host, Ken Landau, asked me to come in with 30 tips. I’m not sure how many we actually got to, but here’s a sampling to get you started whether you are a lawyer or other kind of professional:

1. Have a strong LinkedIn profile. When someone googles your name, your LinkedIn bio is usually one of the top results. What do you want people to see there? It’s your opportunity to impress them and stand out from the competition. Don’t waste it. And don’t rely on people going to your website to read your bio there. Some may only look at your LinkedIn profile.

2. Share content regularly on social media– both your content and other people’s. Social media is like networking. You have to be out there consistently, get involved, follow up with people you meet and stay in touch. Every time you share something on social media your network will see it. Post your own stuff, but also like and comment on other people’s posts, ask questions, and start a discussion. It will build your credibility and a lot of people will reciprocate, which will expand your reach to everyone in their network. And remember to join and share posts within groups. That gets you in front of members of the group even if they aren’t part of your direct network.

3. Focus on a niche. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Focus on a specific area, type of client, business model, etc. It’s better to focus limited marketing resources on a niche area rather than spreading them all over multiple areas. Ultimately it will bring you better leads and more money. (Check out Inc.’s, How to Narrow your Target Market for more tips.)

4. Position yourself as an expert. This goes along with focusing on a niche. Identify a topic, issue, specialty, etc. where you have experience and you can speak with authority. Get known for that by speaking and writing about that area consistently. Make sure your marketing message highlights that expertise. Again focusing on a narrow area brings better results than saying that you can help anyone with any problem.

5. Blog regularly. In determining how to rank a website, search engines look for sites with high-quality relevant information. They also look for websites that are updated frequently and have lots of pages. Blogging helps with all of these. It boosts a firm’s organic search results when prospects are searching online. And it also makes firms more credible (because they have lots of great content) for prospects who are now on the website and evaluating their services.

6. Involve employees. A recurring problem professionals have is coming up with good topics to write and speak about. Employees can help you create content that is interesting to your readers since they are often dealing with day to day issues with your clients. You want your blog posts, newsletters, presentations, etc. to address the real questions that your prospects have about their problems. Employees can also help promote your content by sharing it via their own social media channels.

7. Seek out relationships with other experts, organizations, and media. Get to know others who speak to the same market you are targeting and are well-known. They can help you build your own credibility and spread your message. But remember you have to help them first.

8. Have a marketing plan. Random acts of marketing are not effective. Create a written plan outlining who you want to specifically target with your marketing and how you’re going to do it. Then make sure you allocate resources (time and money) to getting it done.

For more tips, listen to the radio program.

Social media tips for professional services firms

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Are you taking advantage of social media marketing? There are lots of benefits, but it also takes time. Like all marketing, social media is a process of taking lots of small steps to build your presence and reputation. A recent Legal Marketing Association webinar offered some great tips for firms to help them make the most of their social media efforts.

1. Have a plan. Don’t rush into a social media campaign. Determine your priorities and goals. Build a strategy. Be clear about your message. What do you want to say? How do you want to be seen by others? Who are you targeting?

2. Do your homework. Look at what your competitors and clients are doing on social media. What kind of conversations and industry trends do you see? What are others saying about you online? Use this information to help determine your own strategy. Remember too that social media is a great tool for researching the needs and interests of your clients and prospects. It can help you be more proactive in your practice instead of waiting for them to come to you.

3. Build consensus internally. If you’re within a firm, not everyone will be equally supportive, but it won’t work if there isn’t some consensus. There needs to be advocates for social media within the firm to keep it going.

4. Focus on quality, not quantity. Yes it’s very important to be constantly visible on social media. Consistently sharing information is a key component in getting noticed and staying top of mind. However, quality matters a lot too. Better to produce really good material less often, than lots of mediocre stuff.

5. Measure results quantitatively and anecdotally. It takes time to see results. In developing your strategy, you need to decide what kind of results you are looking for (more new visitors to your site, time spent on your website, followers, likes/shares of your content, etc.). Then you need to make sure you measure those results over time. The numbers are important, but anecdotal results are also key. It may be great that your web traffic has increased by 20%, but it feels pretty good too when someone calls you to say they liked your article. Those personal stories can be great motivators and confidence boosters.

6. Provide training. Make sure you and others at the firm get appropriate training.

7. Help rising stars. The strongest benefits from social media may be seen by professionals who aren’t as well-established. Those who already have strong networks and reputations should still use it to market themselves. But social media provides an opportunity to new and lesser known professionals to develop their reputation as experts and grow their network.

For more tips on using social media, see Do’s and Don’ts of Using Social Media to Grow Your Business.

If you need help with your social media, contact us.

5 things not to do if you want people to read your content

Stressed and Overworked Businessman sleepingDo you feel like no one is reading your content? Why bother blogging, sending newsletters and creating other content if everyone is too busy to read it. Giving your clients and prospects valuable information is a proven way to market yourself. But how can you make your content interesting so people will want to read it? There are plenty of dos and don’ts to get you started. We covered some of the do’s previously, here are some don’ts:

1. Don’t just report the news or new developments. There are lots of sources for news. Yes there is value in passing along items you think might interest your audience, but you want to take the extra step. The real difference you want to provide is to talk about how the new development impacts the client’s situation. Offer insights and practical advice. That’s what will help you stand out from your competition.

2. Don’t be self-promotional. It is okay to talk about your activities and awards to demonstrate credibility. However, keep it to a minimum. Think of the 80-20 rule – 80% useful content; 20% promotional content.

3. Don’t use canned content. There are lots of sources of canned content. Even though the content can be well-written, it’s also very basic, generic and boring. It doesn’t focus on the specific issues of your audience, won’t be enticing to read, and doesn’t showcase your unique value proposition. It’s also “duplicate content,” – that is, content that appears on lots of websites. Google will penalize you for that and it will hurt you in search engine rankings.

4. Don’t worry about perfect grammar and syntax. Just recently I read a blog post from Top Rank Marketing that reminded me how we get caught up in writing like it’s a term paper. Write in a way that’s comfortable for a real person to read and also shows your personality. You can still be a professional and not have your writing feel like a treatise.

5. Don’t forget about headlines. A great headline entices people to read more. A lot of lawyers, accountants and other professionals write very dense factual headlines. Give your audience a reason to read on. Even if you can’t find a way to be clever or funny, make sure you’re clear about why they need to know something; how it’s helpful; and what’s the benefit or risk of not knowing.

It’s hard to create compelling content. Keep these tips in mind to help make sure your information gets read.

Do you need help producing great content that will attract clients? Contact me for a free consultation.

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