If you are revising your website you will learn all about SEO – search engine optimization. It involves a lot of factors that have to work right on your website but basically it means the things that Google cares about. So if your website has good SEO, Google ranks it highly. If your website has bad SEO, it is hard to find your website unless someone knows that exact URL address.
What most professionals do not hear about when choosing a vendor to revise their website is REO(sm) – referral engine optimization. Professionals often get a large number of new clients from referrals and referrals are critical to growing their firms. For lawyers and accountants, the second most popular page of their websites is nearly always the partner bios. The third most popular pages are the service areas. Why? Because most people seeking a new CPA or attorney generally ask their friends and get referrals. When faced with more than one answer, statistics indicate that over 90% of people go to the Internet.
While we find most website vendors at least competent at SEO, we worry that our clients have a sales system that needs to be supported by their websites but are not. We make sure that every website Ingenuity delivers supports your actual buying cycle.
Some of the ways to make sure REO(SM) works on your website include:
Remember your website is being viewed by real people with real problems, not just search engines. Figure out in advance what types of prospects might visit your website and when in their buying cycle they might do that. Prep your website accordingly.
Make sure the look and feel of the website compares favorably to your competitors. If the prospect gets three referrals and your website is five years old while your two top competitors have terrific websites, you lose before they even call you.
Have terrific bios. Spend money on photography to make the people look interesting, trustworthy and credible. Spend time documenting their experience but also giving people a “taste” of their personality.
Detail your service area pages. The prospects will want to know that you have the experience they need. Do not skimp on talking about what you do and who you do it for.
Lots of good Google mentions, PR and social media. When a prospect Googles you and finds you speak, write, have a LinkedIn page, Tweet and comment on local issues, you have a leg up on your competitors with a stilted bio and ugly photo.
Updated content. Websites get stale fast. We advocated new content on your website AT LEAST once per month. Google likes the fresh and new.
Strong calls to action. If you create your website to focus on prospects, make sure you tell them what to do. Ask them to sign up for a free whitepaper, or call you or download your newsletter. Get them to interact.
If you would like more information or an assessment of your website’s REO or SEO, contact us at 651.690.3358 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you read the headline, you probably think this is another article about the latest and greatest online widget and how to leverage the social network flavor of the week.
Surprise! This is an article about people…real live human beings.
It’s easy to forget in a world of smartphones and computer screens and status updates that business development and marketing still boil down to people. There are people out there who are a great fit for your firm. Use these proven tactics from great online marketers to find them.
Let Prospect Questions Drive Content
Michael leads a company within your target audience. He has a thorny problem regarding a mechanic’s lien and he’s not content with the answer he got from his lawyer, so he goes online to do a little research. Typing in the keywords, “defense for mechanic’s lien,” he finds a handful of articles on the topic, but one in particular answers his question and does so in a friendly, accessible tone.
Did your firm expert write that article? I hope so!
Because this article spoke plainly about Michael’s problem, he looks up the author. He reads a few pages on the firm website and subscribes to the firm blog or follows the article’s author on a social network. If he doesn’t call today to set an appointment with the firm, he’ll probably call about another issue within the next few months — especially if he sees another great article or two.
A recent case study by Scripted, a ghostwriting service, found that visitors to their website who first saw their blog (or articles written by their people and posted on external sites):
What’s key about this tactic is not just getting some articles online, but knowing the questions your prospective clients are likely to ask when they’re feeling pain. When you have content that speaks right to your prospects’ needs, you have some of the highest levels of online engagement possible.
Think about how your clients might search for information online. Think about the questions they often ask you. Use this information as an outline for helpful articles, blog posts and links to resources your firm provides.
Nurture Leads Efficiently
Maybe you’re absolutely sold on putting some content online, but then you ran into one of these common problems:
To create the best lead-nurturing content, you need an overall strategy and process that works with the unique needs of your firm. Let’s look at another example:
Lisa is the CFO of a large manufacturing company. She has a list of publications and other online resources she reads to stay updated on industry trends. In one of these publications, she reads an article authored by an expert at your firm. A month later, someone Lisa follows on LinkedIn alerts her to another article from your firm. She downloads the article, then gets an email blast inviting her to attend a webinar presented by your firm.
Now you’re squarely on Lisa’s radar as a firm with top knowledge. She may not need your services yet, but when she’s ready to engage, you’re going to be high on the list of potential firms.
Let’s look at the back end of this process. Your firm creates an editorial calendar of topics that you know are key to your clients and prospects. Maybe you worked with an outsourced marketing firm or hired a ghostwriter to take the burden of writing off your partners. The plan took into account:
After this strategic process, when one of your experts is involved in the creation of one article, here’s how it gets to Lisa. The article idea is pitched to an industry journal. It is placed on your website under a service or practice area. The link to the article is posted on your LinkedIn company page. You design a presentation around the topic and submit it to a target event or host it as a firm webinar or seminar.
In the long run, this strategic approach to online content marketing actually takes less effort and gets more results. Use a seasoned writer who understands marketing and media strategy to interview your expert and write the content, and you can develop content while waiting for a flight or attending a tradeshow. Get interviewed, edit the content and you have a piece for several marketing opportunities.
Curate, Archive and Recycle Content
All great online marketers know that your firm website and social media pages are critical publishing tools and must be set up to efficiently post and promote content and measure readership. To keep this process simple, remember that you can share content from other sources (not competitors), point people to content you’ve already created that is archived by topic and author and also take past content and recycle it for a new use.
For example, Lisa and Michael may have just learned about your firm. Why not take those two to three years worth of newsletter content and recreate them as a Top 10 e-book for manufacturing or a compilation of your best content for real estate or construction defense? E-books are one of the top ways that you can capture leads like Michael and Lisa by offering downloadable bonus content specific to their needs.
Maybe you subscribe to an association newsletter or alert that you share with clients and prospects. Rather than posting the content as is, take pieces of it and rewrite it to come from your firm. (e.g. “A recent alert from the AICPA noted…we recommend that all clients should…”) Translating industry information into action steps for your clients will help them see your firm as the authority on critical information for their businesses and lives.
These are the basics of great online marketing: getting great information out there where your clients and prospects can see it, benefit from it, and develop a trust impression with your firm because of it. At its base, it’s about connecting the smart people in your firm to the eager people who need them. When you consistently share your firm’s knowledge with a focus on the needs of the people involved —including the people in your firm — you have a huge opportunity to attract the right prospective clients.