You may remember the days of placing an ad in a local or regional newspaper or running a 30-second spot on a couple of radio stations to let consumers and potential clients know about your law firm. Perhaps you even produced a short TV ad describing your practice and included your phone number to encourage referrals. Today, websites are an integral part of any marketing plan and robust tools for referral development. Sharing information about your firm can increase consumer awareness and engagement with your brand.
You probably already have a website to connect with clients and potential clients. However, do you know how effective your site is? Can you track how many new clients come into your office or connect with you for services because they saw your website? Can you measure results? Even if a visitor lands on your website, what compels him/her to stay and click on successive pages or links? What might set you apart from your competitors? This is as much science as it is “art”. Compelling graphics and images are only part of the story.
Here are some best practice tips — do’s and don’ts — in selecting and working with a marketing group to enhance your website.
- Assess your existing website. A new marketing company should evaluate your present website and any current advertising campaigns and make recommendations on changes and improvements based on hard data. They should look at Google marketing and advertising platforms including Google Analytics, Google Ads and Google My Business, along with social media platforms for business development, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Also, make sure they analyze and check for accuracy your website back end, codes for application and data access, and inbound links, hyperlinks back to your site from other websites.
- Pay attention to quality versus quantity. A marketing company can post lots of articles to your blog or social media profiles, but if they’re not relevant or don’t follow best practices, they’re unlikely to drive business. Even if your marketing contractor’s search engine optimization (SEO) team generates thousands of backlinks (a link to an external website), they will not be helpful or support your objectives if those links come from bad sites or don’t follow best practices.
- Make sure you have a content marketing plan. Your marketing contractor should work with you to develop a content marketing plan outlining pages, blogs and social media posts which are relevant to your firm’s needs, designed to get and convert traffic, and lead to more business.
- Track the data. Resist placing the importance of form — the “look” of the website — over function. If the site doesn’t convert users into potential new clients, its design becomes irrelevant. Make sure your marketing firm is measuring conversion rates on landing pages, especially if you are running campaigns on YouTube, Facebook, or other channels, for example.
- Don’t transfer website ownership to your marketing company. Although you need to give your selected marketing contractor access to your website domain (DNS) and social media domains, do not transfer ownership to them. This is particularly important if you decide to change marketing providers.
- Don’t base your decision to hire a marketing company predominantly on costs. Consider the potential return on investment (ROI) from digital marketing efforts; also study customer service and problem resolution response times.