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User behavior is changing – give people multiple ways to find your website

integrated search marketingA report released by Forrester Research showing more people than ever are using social media to find websites has been garnering a lot of attention among marketers. For lovers of social networks, the data confirms what they have been trying to convince businesses of for some time: social will overcome search as the primary method people use to find your site.

According to the report, 54% of Americans use search engines to find the websites and information they need. That number is down from 61% in 2010. While traditional search usage is declining, social search is on the rise, particularly among young people. Close to 33% of all Americans claim to use social media as their primary search method, while half of those aged 18-23 prefer social.

Social media is a useful part of any serious marketing plan and will likely continue to become more important as those who grew up (more…)

Whose opinion matters when redesigning your firm’s website?

scrutinyThe reason a website is redesigned is to attract new clients. The old site may be out-of-date or not optimized for the world in which we now live; visitors may be accessing your site from a large desktop computer, a laptop, a midsize tablet, an ebook tablet, or a smartphone. Ultimately, the redesign is about getting new clients.

When your law firm’s website is getting redesigned, it’s natural to reach out to friends and family to get their opinion about the proposed design. Sometimes this can yield good feedback about the navigation and intuitive elements of your website; since you and the your staff probably visit your website on a regular basis, you are already familiar with the navigation. A friend who does not visit your site may be able to point out things that you’ve overlooked.

While friends and colleagues can offer good advice during the design process, whose opinion (more…)

Who is paying attention to banner ads?

One of the challenges of online marketing is determining how to best divide your budget between available methods. A number of forces continue to converge that make this decision ever more complicated. Google’s successful efforts to encourage high-quality, contextually relevant content and penalize sites that try to take short-cuts coupled with the growing influence of apps and mobile search are forcing firms to employ multiple tactics. And the question of how much social media activity and influence may (or may not) affect results adds another layer of complexity.

Within this patchwork of integrated marketing are some tools that have been around for many years, like email marketing and banner ads. Banner ads are ubiquitous, and marketers still like to argue over whether or not they are effective. Certainly, if your firm that predominantly serves small businesses within your local geographic area places ads on a large national site like, you will (more…)

Making less do more for your website

simplicitySimplicity can be difficult. Simplifying your schedule, your inbox, your wardrobe, your clutter, your to-do list: none of this comes easily. The same is true for design. Many people will say that they want a clean layout with simple navigation and good use of white space, but often they will balk at implementing the resulting design. There is an instinct to fill space – with text, or textures, or gradients, or pictures, or any number of things. Clean layouts can look under designed, leaving some to believe they have been put together with little effort. When you are paying for a professionally designed website, it is understandable to want results that appear to be utilizing the enterity of your team’s skills.

From a design perspective, however, the most uncomplicated websites often take the most time to develop. A lot of thought must go into understanding how to best distill the information (more…)

Five tips for getting the most engagement out of your Pinterest pictures

After a year of gathering data about how people interact with images on Pinterest, the team at Curalate believes they can predict whether or not your pictures will get noticed. Curate is a social media image analytics company that counsels businesses on how to optimize pictures for maximum engagement on Pinterest and Instagram. They have been steadily amassing a database of millions of images, which includes physical details about the picture – like colors, textures, aspect ratio and saturation – as wells as statistical information about how often the post received repins and comments.

From this substantial collection of data, analysts sampled approximately half a million images, looking for patterns among popular pins. They have released the results of their data-crunching in (how else) infographic form, along with a report detailing several common characteristics of the most successful images. Here is a sample of their findings.

Color: The most shared images (more…)

Back to basics: How healthy is your law firm brand?

brandBranding is a commonly maligned concept in the legal world, too often associated with low-quality advertising and a move away from focusing on client service. But branding and practice are not mutually exclusive; they can and should work to support each other.

No, a snazzy logo alone will not bring in more business. But your brand is much more than just a logo or a tagline; branding and marketing are not the same thing. Your brand is the sum of everything you do. It is the overall image that comes to mind when others think of your firm. Your brand must convey a sense of your firm’s culture and personality while also reinforcing the benefit you provide to your ideal client. Your brand is a promise. And it must set you apart in a meaningful way from other attorneys in your area.

What is (more…)

Who really owns your content?

Trapped in contract without content ownershipAfter paying for your website, volumes of useful content, and blog entries, you may be surprised to learn that your content does not really belong to you.

If you are like thousands of other attorneys, you will never know, unless you decide to move to a new service provider – at which point, your legal marketing company may inform you that you have no rights to the content that you paid for.

As many law firms assess their online marketing and look for other options, they generally reach out to law firm marketing companies to do comparisons and provide a competitive quote. Most lawyers do this search with the assumption that they will need a new website, but that the content they have spent thousands of dollars on will be transferable.

Technically yes. Legally, no.

While all content can be easily transferred, the problem comes down to the terms of your agreement. If (more…)