Sometimes it’s a global pandemic. Sometimes it’s just a personal storm. Either way, no matter how much time and energy you put into making your business a success, there are times when there’s something outside of your control that drags you down.
The COVID-19 crisis is just the most recent and widely shared example of the kind of unexpected event that can send businesses—even whole industries—into sudden chaos. And, sure, it always pays to be prepared. But what do you do when something comes up that totally blindsides you?
Whether it’s a global health crisis that’s got you down or some other unforeseen event, you basically have two choices. You can let it paralyze you—or you can start looking at what you can do NOW to usher in the brighter days ahead.
Along with the routine things you already check regularly and do to maintain your website, there are plenty of other little tasks and touches that you might be overlooking—and most of them are cheap, free, or simple to DIY so you’re not taking any big risks in a tough time.
Have time to spare while you’re stuck in an unexpected lull? Looking for some little improvements you can make beyond the regular maintenance you already do? Below, we share 12 things you can do to position yourself for wins when it feels like you’re losing.
1. Improve Your Core Website Pages
A lot of folks get into the routine of adding new content to their websites, but they forget to check up on the core pages their websites started with. It’s a huge mistake because these are often the pages that new visitors to your site will see or seek out first!
Take a look at your website’s core pages, like:
- Your homepage
- The landing pages for your main practice areas
- The landing pages for your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns
- Your office page and “About Us” pages
- Your staff bio pages
Then, think about how you can tweak each of these pages to get more out of them. Is the content compelling and relevant to your potential clients? Does anything look old or outdated? Is the messaging in line with your current marketing strategy? Are there elements you can add or take away that will put a better spotlight on your priority areas?
While every page on your website is important, those core pages get a lot of traffic and tell people a lot about your practice. It’s worth the effort to make them great!
2. Get More Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials and reviews are huge motivators for potential clients. While a lot of doctors and attorneys wait for clients to say something on their own, the best strategy is to simply reach out and ask:
- Touch base with past clients that really fit your “perfect client” avatar and ask them if they’d be willing to offer a testimonial.
- Send out an email blast asking for client feedback. Ask your happy respondents if they would review your firm on an outside site.
- Make plans to make asking for testimonials and reviews a standard part of your intake and client communication process.
- If a client or referral source emails you a nice comment or says great things about you in person, ask if you can use it as a testimonial on your website—or encourage them to leave you a review!
- Respond to reviews—positive or negative—as soon as you can, to show that you’re active, listening, and ready to resolve any issues that come up.
Now, here’s the really hard part: make sure you follow through on your end! If your best testimonials are still sitting around in a Word doc on your laptop instead of featured on your site, they aren’t doing anything for you. If you wait six months to respond to a review or nice email from a client, you’re probably too late.
3. Attract Amazing Team Members
Your website can do more than just market your practice. It can also attract new, talented team members!
Consider building a “careers page” or keeping an updated list of openings on your website. And don’t forget to work your “low tech” options, too—some of the best employees come from word of mouth, referrals from colleagues and employees, and the “buzz” that you run a great place to work.
4. Update Your Photos and Images
When was the last time you really looked at the photos and images on your website? Revisit your logo, bio image, homepage images, and even the photos and images you use in your blog and other content. The quality of images supported, as well as the little design touches that make them look and feel modern, change little by little over time.
It doesn’t take long for those images to look dated! Until you see it in comparison to other websites, you might not even realize it’s time for an update.
We’re also going to take this opportunity to call out all the readers who are using still using office photos, staff photos, and headshots from 10 years ago. Seriously, stop putting it off and get a current photo taken!
5. Explore the Marketing Tools You Already Have
You and your marketing team probably already use your content management system (CMS) to post content and make changes to your website and campaigns. However, chances are that you don’t know everything it can really do.
So, if you’ve hit some downtime, do some exploring. What tools haven’t you used? What can you do that you didn’t know about? What are you confused about or having trouble using to its fullest? Are there tips and shortcuts that might save you time?
And hey—if you’re a DSS user, don’t forget to join the monthly DSS users’ group!
6. Clean Up Your Contact List
This is a tip that we’ve shared many times before, but it’s important enough to mention again. Absolutely critical, in fact!
Your email contact list is a precious thing that is unique to you and your practice, and it often represents many years’ worth of names and contact information you’ve collected. Unfortunately, it’s also a very delicate thing—if you make one or two critical mistakes with your contact list, your whole email marketing strategy can come crashing down.
If you haven’t looked at it in a while, now is a great time to get your list in line with the most current best practices, weed out any contacts that shouldn’t be there, and start building up more contacts that should.
Not sure how to get started? Check out our critical tips for managing your email list.
7. Google Your Brand
Google the name of your practice—what do you see? Most law firms and medical practices will see their website as the top organic search result, often as an enhanced result that includes a few links to popular pages on their site. They might also see their Google profile, reviews, ratings, and other profiles and listings for their business.
Now here’s the hard part—act like you’re a potential client and take some time to explore all the links, profiles, pages, and elements you see “above the fold” on the Google search results page. Are you happy with the overall sense of your business that you get? Are there prominent pages and listings that can be improved, expanded, or leveraged better?
Putting your energy into this can make a huge difference in your traffic, conversions, and contacts because these are the pages—on your website and off—that people really see when they first get curious about who you are and what you can do for them.
8. Update Your Social Media Profiles
If you just Googled your brand for #7, then you may have noticed that links to your social media pages show up in the second, third, and maybe even more spots on the search results page. So, give your social media profiles the treatment as above!
Add or update the photos and videos you use in your social media profiles. Add or expand the text blurbs about you and your business to make them more compelling. Take advantage of any new features that have been added since last time you visited your profile page, and give everything a little extra polish.
Even if you use social media often, your profile can quietly go stale in the background. This is a great opportunity to freshen it up and get excited about social media again.
By the way, any attorney directories you’re listed with count here, too! Find out how to make the most of your attorney directory profiles.
9. Set Up Brand Mention Notifications
Do you know who’s been talking about you? There are LOTS of tools out there that will let you know when you’ve been mentioned on the Web. While there are way too many to get into an exhaustive list here, here are two easy places to get started:
- You can set up a simple Google Alert for your brand name to get an email notification any time Google finds new results that mention it.
- You can use the Reputation Management Tool in DSS to keep tabs on all kinds of stuff, including reviews, mentions, social mentions, and local listings.
When you automatically monitor for these kinds of changes and mentions, you’re never in the dark about what people are saying about your business.
10. Get into Long-Form Content
Content is essential all the time, so you can never go wrong by stocking up your website and scheduling ahead. However, if you have some extra marketing time on your hands, or if you work with a writer for your website content, consider diving into some deep blog posts or super-rich articles.
Aim for longer pieces that really educate your potential clients on topics that are relevant to them. Do some research. Share some “insider” tips. Break down complicated ideas, and clarify confusing terms. This is your chance to show them that you know your stuff AND know how to break it down for a layman audience.
And don’t forget to stick to “evergreen” topics. While it might take a little extra “oomph” to produce a long, compelling piece like this, that one piece can keep educating clients and attracting new ones for years into the future.
If you really get into it and want to dive deep, you might even consider turning that long article into a book or informative guide instead!
11. Tweak Your Email Signature
This is so simple, but it gets overlooked so often! If you do any email marketing at all, take a few minutes to think about how you sign off. Most businesses cut and paste the same email signature into every message—and there’s nothing wrong with that! However, if it’s just your name or a picture of your signature, then you’re missing out on an opportunity.
People see your email signature over and over, so you might as well take advantage of it. Consider sprucing up your email signature with:
- Your photo, logo, or another small image
- Your contact information, such as your website URL, phone number, and email address
- A short tagline that links to your bio, promotes an event or service, or even just reinforces your brand message
A little goes a long way here, but those little touches can make a big difference in how people see you and when they choose to reach out.
12. Learn Something New About Marketing
There is ALWAYS something new to learn about marketing your practice. If you want to hone your knowledge while you wait for better days, here are some recommendations to get you started:
- Listen to the World of Marketing podcast for some inspiring stories and tips.
- Read a book to brush up on your skills or get a new perspective.
- Sign up for the FWM print newsletter.
- Sign up for some coaching and training—or educate your team about marketing!
Position Yourself for Success in a Storm
If you’ve worked your way through this list, then you’re in great shape to start forging ahead again when it’s time to act. Great work!
However, if you read through this list and left feeling more daunted than motivated, don’t worry—take a deep breath and schedule a marketing analysis with my team or call us at 888.886.0939.
We’ll give you a breakdown of what’s working, what’s not, and where you can prioritize your efforts to get the most bang for your buck. We’ll even show you how you can do it one step at a time to slowly build a marketing machine that really works for your practice.