Blogs - are they right for you?

We have found that blogs have been useful marketing vehicles for some of our clients. The reason? They are inexpensive, easy-to-find, and readership is increasing.

Some background for those of you new to blogs:

“Blog” is a term that is short for “web log,” or a journal on the web. The idea behind a blog is that without knowing the technical side of web publishing, a writer can publish new information regularly. And with the advent of easy-to-use tools, blogging has caught on as a popular medium.

From the reader’s point of view, a blog looks like a website with dated entries or articles.

Relative low cost to blog

In addition to the many great blog hosts and tools that make it easy to blog, the cost is much lower than many other marketing options. For the big names in blog hosting, businesses pay up to $150 a year for blogs. And many services offer free blogs.

The higher expenditure is your time. Because the key to a successful blog is adding new entries often, you need to write often and dedicate time to updating your blog.

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Posted by Sharon Huber on August 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Listing your site in link directories

Here’s another soft spot with me: Owners of sites whose content is comprised of links and advertisements are constantly soliciting link partnerships.

You might hear that search engine rankings are based on having other sites linked to your site. This is not entirely true.

Yes, search engines include ‘link popularity’ as a factor in determining rankings. However, the links are weighed. If the content of the site linking to yours is related to that of your site, it gets a substantial weight. If not, it may get a lighter weight, or, it may give you negative points.

Because the goal of search engine marketing is to help searchers get to pertinent information, I advise our clients that these lists of unrelated links are a waste of time. Don’t include your firm in a site whose name (and URL) says they sell quality DVDs.

Adding your URL to such a site could hurt you more than help you.

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Posted by Sharon Huber on August 11, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should I exchange links with other sites?

In my inbox this last week was an email offering a link trade with some used car website. The email read,

“…The site was established to provide link popularity to sites…The site is very old and established in all the search engines…When I link to you from the above site, your site will perform better in search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo.”

Search engines use complex algorithms to give search results based on keywords that searchers type. The goal of search engines is to provide searchers with information they are looking for. They do so by evaluating a combination of data to rank sites in search results. The data includes links from sites with complimentary or related content.

A used car site and a lawyer marketing site are not complimentary and share no related content. People searching for used cars are searching for used cars, not lawyer marketing.

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Posted by Sharon Huber on August 11, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What is the best search engine marketing plan?

There's no straight-up, easy answer to that question. Because a search engine marketing plan is long-term, all sorts of factors go into deciding on the best course of action.

What you must do, is keep in mind the goal of search engine marketing:
Allow people to find your site (and your phone number) through search engines on the web. These include Google, Yahoo, AOL, AskJeeves, or any other general web search engine that potential clients may use.

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Posted by Sharon Huber on August 5, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supercharging Your Print Advertising and Haircuts

Many law firms advertise in periodicals (newspapers and glossy city-wide magazines). Some firms experience great success with their newspaper or magazine advertising; others do not. One of the things that influence the success of advertising in periodicals has to do with the frequency an advertisement appears, and how readers respond to ads.

This post will show you how to supercharge your newspaper and magazine advertising through understanding how readers behave when they see advertising.

It will not, however, teach you anything about haircuts.

If you already have experience advertising in periodicals, you likely have experienced something that most law firms encounter when they advertise in newspapers and magazines: the ad works well the first few times it appears and then it stops generating telephone calls.

Even great ads, ads that give you a one hundred to one return on investment when they first appear, generate fewer positive responses with each successive publication. Why is that?

To discover why ads lose their effectiveness with successive publications, pick up any newspaper or magazine you read on a regular basis and read through it. Notice that you focus mostly on the editorial content in the publication. If a headline or a photograph grabs your attention, you probably read the first few paragraphs of the article. If the first few paragraphs are of interest, you may go on to read the entire article. However, you won’t continue to read the article if the content does not continue to interest you.

While you are perusing your newspaper or magazine for its editorial content, you also notice the advertising. (Generally, you are not looking for the advertising; you are looking for editorial content.) You use the same criteria for deciding whether you will read the content in the advertising that you use to determine if you will read the content in an editorial piece: am I interested in this?

While reading periodicals, people read the content they are interested in, be it a story, a news report, a stock quote, an opinion, a book review, or an advertisement. When readers are not interested in the content, they continue through the publication until they find something of interest to them. Okay, you already knew that. I just needed to remind you of that so you can better understand the next few things I am going to share with you.

Most newspapers and magazines have greater subscriber circulation than they have newsstand circulation. That means that most of the people reading any given periodical read the issues that came before the one they are reading now, and they will read the issues that come after the one they are reading now. That also means that your advertisement is seen by the same people each day, each week, or each month that it appears.

Maybe that’s a good thing. Most people who sell advertising and most people who teach marketing will tell you that multiple-exposure is a good thing. Multiple-exposure is important to build awareness and relationship. Multiple-exposure is necessary to build business. I agree with those points.

What salespeople and consultants often fail to tell you (what they often fail to understand) is that multiple-exposure to the same ad generates as much interest as multiple exposure to your new haircut! I know that comparing advertising to haircuts sounds like a mighty long stretch; but it’s a very good analogy. And, you are probably relieved to see that this post is about haircuts too. Remember the title, Supercharging Your Print Advertising and Haircuts? You found that title interesting, or you would not be reading this post.

So, you get a new haircut. It looks great. Several of your coworkers, a few friends, and a family member or two, comment on it. They noticed your haircut. The next day, perhaps only one person makes a comment. (That would be the person who did not see your haircut the day before.) Within a few days, nobody notices your haircut. You don’t notice your haircut.

Same thing with a new dress: no matter how stunning it makes you look, people stop noticing it after they have had multiple exposures to it. (Unless, of course, you are a big, burly guy, and then people will probably notice your dress no matter how often you wear it.)

When people see the same thing over and over again, they lose interest in it. Remember: interest is what gets us to read editorials, look at advertisements, go to movies, and order entrées. If you want your advertisement to generate new clients, it must be read. To be read, your advertisement must interest readers.

You want people to notice your ad every time it appears.
At the same time, you want — you need — the benefit of multiple-exposure because multiple-exposure creates familiarity and relationship. Multiple-exposure brands your firm. Multiple-exposure generates phone calls. But, if you run the same ad over and over again, people don’t see your ad anymore. You lose the benefits of multiple-exposure when you run the same ad repeatedly because people stop seeing it.

So, when you want to supercharge your print advertising, create multiple ads. Create each ad with a great headline, a headline that captures the readers’ attention. Create each ad with a stunning graphic, one that draws readers’ eyes to your ad.

Graphics (illustrations or photographs) get attention best when they get people to think, “Hey, what the heck is this photograph about?” (Tempting as they are to use, photographs of lawyers tend not to generate a “hey, what the heck is this photograph about?” response from most readers.)

You might start your ads with stories. People read stories. Stories can be serialized. If people like your first story, they are more likely to look forward to and read your second story, and so on.

Though you want to create different ads to keep people interested and reading, you don’t want to lose the value of multiple-exposure to your brand, so make sure your ads have continuity in their design and theme. Most importantly, make sure your logo, your most identifiable brand, appears at the bottom, right corner of the ad, right next to your telephone number.

Why the bottom, right corner? You will have to call me to find out why the bottom, right corner of any print ad is the most important piece of real estate on the planet.
(800) 554-9939

Posted by Kerry Randall on August 4, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)