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How to Write Content that Captures Your Readers’ Attention, Part 2: Email

This is part 2 in a series of posts about how to write content that people actually want to read and share. Part 1, which you can read here, focused on legal marketing article titles.

email subjectMarketers have been trying to invent new ways to get people’s attention since the invention of the profession. This is particularly true online, where visitors’ already short attention spans are even shorter. Email marketing is not new and shiny, but studies show that it is still one of the most effective direct marketing methods. SEO concerns are less relevant to your subject lines; your goal is to get people to open that email.

Writing click-worthy email titles

Similar rules apply to writing good email titles as do to writing good article headlines. People must be told up-front why they should bother to click on your email when they have so many others to occupy their time. (more…)

7 Ways to Enhance Your Local Search Marketing Efforts

localWith the release of Penguin 2.0 in May, Google made it apparent that, among other things, a business’s location would play a little more heavily in search results. You may have noticed over the last few months that businesses near you are getting preferential placement in results for non-geo-specific terms like “sushi” or “veterinarian.” Your firm can take advantage of this development by adding a targeted local strategy to your online marketing efforts.

Google wants to see more diverse link profiles and higher quality content in its quest to provide relevant and useful results. Old-fashioned link exchanges and over-optimized, location-based keyword stuffed pages will do your firm more harm than good. Google may be giving physical proximity more weight, but it will still recognize and penalize geo-specific keyword spam.

Instead, local search marketing efforts must be organic. Here are some things you can do to make sure (more…)

Your law firm’s outbound links still play an important role

resourcelinksThere is a lot of discussion within the search engine marketing community surrounding the Google Penguin 2.0 updates and how they affect inbound links to your firm’s website. In last month’s issue of the Bigger Law Firm magazine, the author created a framework for how to think about search engine marketing moving forward. It’s about connections, not just links to your website.

Connections involve social connections, citations, websites which mention your firm (even if not linking to it), inbound links, and outbound links. The outbound links are often overlooked, but are extremely important.

An outbound link is essentially an endorsement from your website — an extension of your reputation. Imagine networking at a dinner party. You stand up and introduce your friend who has a Ph.D., is a professor at M.I.T. and currently works with NASA developing nuclear reactors to be used for galactic space travel. Your status at the dinner party is (more…)

How to Write Content that Captures Your Readers’ Attention, Part 1 – Headlines

typewriterThis is part 1 in a series of posts about how to write content that people actually want to read.

Some tried and true marketing tactics are no longer effective, especially when speaking to online viewers. People have been hit with so much hyperbole, so many empty, information-free articles, and so many offers that seem – and are – too good to be true that they have simply begun ignoring some forms of message delivery. Users have seen so many sites that are just pure spam that words like “free,” “award-winning,” “save” and “innovative” can actually cause a negative reaction. Headlines that contain over-the-top promises and shameless self-promotion will cause people to click away or overlook the piece altogether.

Good content must catch the reader’s attention and prompt them to do something. And good content starts with a good headline. If you cannot convince people to read your posts, you will (more…)

Find your inspiration – a holiday grab bag of helpful design resources

giftIn honor of America’s birthday, here is little a gift for everyone: links to provide you with inspiration for your next marketing project along with some bonus tools to help clear clutter and enhance your productivity.

Typography

Fonts are an often overlooked design element – a smattering of Arial, Verdana or Times arranged into paragraphs for general consumption. But your typography is actually the largest design element on your website. Your visitors are interacting primarily with the words on the page, so you have to think carefully about how your type choices affect them. Well-formatted type is also important to maximize the effectiveness of print materials. These type tools help illustrate what good typography can be:

The Kerning Game: Kerning is a design term that refers to the space between letters. Some fonts are very good at auto-kerning and others are not, leaving awkward spaces in the middle of words or (more…)

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 Bloomberg.com, 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…)