Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Website Design and Marketing for Attorneys, Doctors, and Other Professionals
Below are some questions many clients have when they first contact Foster Web Marketing about the online marketing world.
The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find your answers here, you should contact us for answers to any questions specific to your firm.
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Why aren’t people downloading the free offer on my website?
"Free" is a powerful word. Study after study shows that using free books and offers on your website dramatically increases conversion rates. So, if you are already offering a free book (or other offer) on your law firm’s website, then you’ve already taken a huge step and probably have most of the really hard work out of the way.
However, if it just doesn’t seem like you’re getting much interest in your free book offer once it’s live on your website, don’t give up just yet. Instead, here’s a little troubleshooting guidance.
Make Sure Your Book or Free Offer Is Something Your Perfect Clients Want to Download
If no one seems to be downloading your book, we recommend that you start troubleshooting at the root. Look critically at what you’re offering, and work through these diagnostic questions:
1. Is your free book offer relevant to your potential clients? Although “free” is a powerful motivator, the most powerful motivator is relevance. If your book focuses on probate law, but most of your practice is devoted to divorce law, the potential clients who find your book probably aren’t interested because it doesn’t really address their concerns.
By offering free items that appeal directly to your ideal clients, you are putting out bait for an audience that is already ready to listen—and, hopefully, ready to hire an attorney. If your offer speaks to them and helps them in their time of need, then they are much more likely to hire you over a competitor that has nothing tangible to offer.
2. Does your free book offer suffer from thin content? “Thin content” is content that doesn’t really deliver enough guidance or information to satisfy your readers. For example, if your book is very short or only focuses on pitching your law office, then potential clients may not find it useful or worth the download.
Take a critical look at what you’re offering. Does it really offer something of value to the people you want to attract as clients? If not, consider expanding and improving your book’s content to improve download rates and avoid making a bad impression on your readers.
3. Is it easy to request your free book? If your website visitors can’t immediately find a way to request your book, they probably won’t keep digging. Make sure you have clear links to your offer page and incorporate an easy contact form. Test your contact forms to make sure they work as expected and are delivering the right message.
Keep in mind that your contact forms should be specific to the book you are offering, and they should be brief (while still collecting the information you need). Be sure to get visitors excited about your book with compelling calls to action.
If your book is already relevant, robust, and easy to download, then it’s time to move on to the next phase of troubleshooting. Let’s look at how—and where—you are promoting your free offer.
Promote Your Free Book or Offer to Increase Interest and Get More Downloads
You can’t expect people to get excited about a book or offer they don’t know about. If you have a great offer on your website, but downloads are struggling, the next step is to find a way to inform and remind your clients that it’s available:
- Feature it on your website. Using DSS, it's simple to add new books or offers to your website, create landing pages for your offers, and create professional contact forms for download or mail requests. Adding a “thank you” page and follow-up “thank you” email are additional touches that let readers know you’ve received their request. For maximum effect, you should also promote your book or offer on your homepage, relevant practice area pages, and the sidebars of relevant supporting pages.
- Include it in your newsletters. Mention your latest book or legal guide when you send out your newsletter, and maybe offer a “teaser” of the content. Let people know how they can get it and that you are offering it for free. If people are interested enough to read your newsletter, it’s likely that they’re interested in reading your book, too!
- Make it your call to action. In relevant blog posts, articles, and FAQs on your website, use your book offer as a call to action. Since your readers are already engaged with the content on the page, moving on to the additional content in your book is a natural step—but you have to let them know that next step is available.
- Embrace social media. Using your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to promote your book is a great idea, but don't overdo it. The last thing potential clients—or your friends and associates—want is to hear about every hour of every day is your book. You definitely want to let people know when you publish a new book and promote it while it’s fresh. After that, though, occasional reminders will suffice, especially when you can tie it to a relevant campaign or message.
- Engage readers with an email follow-up campaign. The people who download your book share their contact information with you, so look at it as an opportunity to stay in touch. A “drip” campaign keeps you top of mind after people download your book and helps convert them into clients. It also increases the chances that your readers will recommend your book or offer to their own friends and family.
We Can Write a Book for You and Give You Everything You Need to Promote It
If you haven’t written a book yet, or if your current book is struggling, FWM has a solution that can explode your growth. With a Practice Expansion Campaign, you choose the focus, while our team writes your book, creates the landing page for your website, writes your email follow-up campaign, and provides the supporting content you need to bring it all together. You even get personalized coaching that will hone your strategy and get you focused on exactly who your perfect clients are and how to reach them!
From brainstorming topic ideas to promoting your book, a Practice Expansion Campaign makes the process of adding a free book to your website not only painless, but fun. Questions? Call 888.886.0939.
I want to offer a free book on my law firm’s website. What should it be about?
These days, most of your online audience is likely to have a hard drive that is clogged with all kinds of free e-books and downloads from different sites. And, as unfair as it might sound, your online audience expects more than ever from your online marketing freebies.
We are not saying you shouldn’t write a book and offer it on your website for free—quite the opposite actually. We’re just saying your book needs to meet the needs of your potential clients and the needs of your law firm, and it all starts with the topic you choose.
Your Topic Should Be Relevant to Your Potential Clients
You are writing a book to attract more of the kinds of cases and “perfect clients” you want. That means your topic planning for your book needs to start with what is most relevant to that audience.
Think about who you want to reach and what you can share with them that will be valuable and relevant to their lives. If your free book isn’t relevant to most of the clients you hope to attract, then they probably won’t download it, even for free. Why would they?
Instead, you need to focus on why they are visiting your website or searching for your law firm and what matters to them:
- Choose a topic that helps your readers handle a crisis. For example, a personal injury lawyer might write about what to do at the scene of an accident. A criminal defense lawyer might write about what you should do after your loved one is arrested, or an estate planner might address what to do after a loved one’s death. Aim to provide the information your perfect clients need at the point of crisis, and they will remember that you had the answers they needed in a difficult time.
- Choose a topic that makes the legal process easier. Walk your readers through a common legal process in your practice area. For example, you might give a timeline and more information about how a personal injury case proceeds in your state or talk about the steps in bankruptcy and loan modification. The idea is to break down complex legal topics into digestible—and truly useful—information that addresses what your potential clients face.
- Choose a topic that focuses on a specific segment of your audience. If you have more than one practice area, it’s hard to come up with a topic that will be truly relevant to everyone. If you have a broad practice area or highly varied client base, it’s hard to speak to everyone’s needs. By choosing a topic that focuses on one niche, practice area, or portion of your audience, you deliver the most relevant information to exactly the right people. Think “A Woman’s Guide to Divorce” or “What You Need to Know After a DUI.”
Your Topic Should Be Interesting to Your Potential Clients
When was the last time you enjoyed a boring book? Relevance is crucial, but you don’t want to make your potential clients wade through a bunch of dry information or boring definitions to get the information they need. A boring book is not an effective conversion tool!
You’ll attract more readers and make people happier if you can present relevant information in an intriguing, exciting, or interesting way:
- Choose a topic that expands upon current news and events. Is there a big story or trend that relates to your area of law? Have there been recent changes to the law that people need to know about? Has a case related to one of your practice areas had a lot of media coverage? People are probably already curious about these kinds of topics, so a book that explains or expands upon popular subjects in accessible language can be a huge draw. For example, you can use your book to explain why a prescription drug was recalled, how a change in tax laws affects your estate planning clients, or the lessons your potential clients can take from a trending story.
- Choose a topic that offers “insider” knowledge. Some of the most irresistible book topics give readers a unique peek into a particular process or industry. That kind of “insider” information not only establishes you as an authority on the subject, but it also helps your readers orient to the topic and avoid making “rookie mistakes.” For example, you might write about “5 Secrets of the Hail Insurance Industry Revealed” or “Why Injured Patients Don’t File Medical Malpractice Claims.”
- Choose a topic that highlights what you do best. Every law firm is unique, so focus on what makes you stand out. Are you the go-to person for a certain kind of case? Do you have expertise in an unusual area or with a highly specific client base? Do you have a unique point of view you can share with your potential clients? Choose a topic that shows you as the authority you are and offers a glimpse into why your law firm is different. This is a great place to use stories of past clients and cases to bring your book to life and illustrate important points for your readers.
Your Topic Should Be Robust Enough to Warrant a Book
When looking for topics that are both relevant and interesting, it’s easy to end up with ideas that are a little too narrow to warrant a whole book on the subject. If your free “book” is very short or seems to mostly just be a pitch for your services, your potential clients are likely to be more disappointed than delighted.
Don’t be tempted to just “pad” thin information with useless information for the sake of the word count. If you can’t write enough useful, unique information on your original topic to come up with a 30-page book, you might consider combining several related topics or publishing the shorter document as a “guide” or “report” instead.
If you’re having trouble coming up with enough for a substantial and valuable book offer or guide, you might also think about other kinds of free offers that are relevant to your potential clients and can reinforce your core message. Would a first aid kit, mobile app, checklist, or other offer be relevant and helpful? Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Partner With a Marketing Team That Understands Free Offers and Book Writing for Attorneys
If you’re having trouble coming up with a topic for your book, our book writing services team loves brainstorming ideas from scratch and talking through clients’ ideas. We can even partner with you to create a book that will be a great resource for your potential clients and make you look like the professional you are. You don’t have to have it all figured out before you come to us!
Ready to see how a book can change the way you market your law firm but don’t want to do it all yourself? Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to get a book written for you and see all the marketing parts in motion for your success. With a Practice Expansion Campaign, you can get focused on your perfect clients in one practice area, get a book written that will attract their attention, and build a strategy that keeps that investment working for your law firm.
What is the best length of time for an email campaign?
Email campaigns are a powerful way to reach out to your perfect clients, whether you are breaking the ice, following up, or letting them know about something new. The problem is that, if you send email too often, you end up seeming pushy. If you don’t send email often enough, then you risk your contacts forgetting who you are and what you do.
So, what is the right length of time for an email campaign? It all depends on who you are reaching out to and what you want to accomplish.
1. It Depends on Your Goals for Your Email Campaign
What are you trying to do with your email campaign? Your goals have a lot to do with how many emails you should send and for how long.
If you are just trying to introduce yourself or a new service, a handful of emails over a few weeks might be just right. If you want to educate clients who have already signed up for your services, it might be more appropriate to break up the information over many emails that are sent out over 6 months or a year.
Here are some “ballpark” ideas for 2 common goals to get you started:
- For following up after a book download, we usually recommend starting with weekly emails over 8 to 12 weeks.
- For a “blast” campaign about an upcoming event or special offer, we might recommend sending a few emails on an increasingly smaller time scale as the event date approaches.
Feeling lost? If you are a Foster Web Marketing client and need help figuring out the right length for your email campaign based on your goals, just reach out to our team at 888.886.0939 for guidance.
2. It Depends on Who You Are Reaching Out To
People who don’t know you probably don’t want to get stuck hearing from you for the next year or two. People you do have a relationship with will be happier to hear from you more often.
If you are managing your email contact list with appropriate tags, then you should know exactly who you are reaching out to with a particular email campaign—and that will help guide the length and frequency of contact.
For example, if you are sending email “cold” to new contacts, we might recommend that you keep it short and sweet, with prominent options to either “unsubscribe” or officially sign up for more information. If you are reaching out to past clients, then we might recommend that you reach out less often (for example, monthly instead of weekly), but over a longer period of time.
This is also the time to think about how many of your other campaigns your contacts are subscribed to. If a big portion of your audience is already receiving your newsletter and your book’s drip campaign, they may not be as open to getting yet another intensive, long-term series of emails from you.
It’s all about thinking through what your contacts and perfect clients want to see from you and tailoring the length of your campaigns to meet their needs and expectations.
3. It Depends on How Long it Takes to Convert Your Perfect Clients
How long does it take to convert the contacts that are most important to your business? We can give you “ballpark” ideas based on who you’re reaching out to and why, but nothing will give you concrete answers about what works like testing the campaigns you try.
Ultimately, everyone’s perfect clients and contact lists are different, and what they are selling is unique. You can start with an informed guess, but the real answers will lie in the numbers you get from what you’ve tried. For example, you might start a drip campaign for your book offer with a length of 8 weeks. If you see a lot of engagement fall off after week 6, then you might want to test a 6-week campaign. If there is still a ton of engagement at week 8, you might want to test a 12-week campaign. This is a simple example, but the cool thing about email is that you can get very granular in your testing and analysis.
Track your emails. Look at how well they have performed for your goals. Look at the emails that performed the best, and adjust your future campaigns to replicate that success. The data you analyze from your email campaigns is really just your perfect clients telling you exactly what they want.
All the Tools and Expertise You Need to Do Email Right for Your Law Firm
Email is one of the oldest and most effective digital marketing tools out there. It’s easy to get started, but there’s a steep learning curve to true mastery.
Do you need help building email campaigns that convert or figuring out the “sweet spot” for frequency of contact? We have you covered. Find out how we help attorneys get on top of their email marketing, or sign up for a demonstration of the email tools available in DSS.
How can attorneys get review stars displayed in Google search results?
When a law firm’s website comes up in Google’s search results, users might see rating stars displayed between the link and the page description:
Compared to other Google SERP features, law firms actually have a lot of control over the ratings and reviews that are displayed to users in these kinds of “rich snippets.” While there is no guarantee that Google will display your review stars every time your pages come up in search, taking full advantage of this feature can make you stand out to Google’s users and stimulate more click-throughs from search.
What Your Website Needs for Review Stars to Display in Google Search
Google can only pull from what you have set up, so you need to use “review schema” on your website if you want review stars to display for your law firm. Review schema is a bit of code that lets search engines know that the review information is there and makes it possible for them to incorporate it into the results they show their users.
Essentially, you choose the reviews and ratings you would like to display, add the appropriate code to your website, and hope that Google chooses to display enhanced results for your firm.
If review stars sometimes display next to results from your website, then you already have review schema on your website. However, you still need to make sure you are using it the right way to get the most out of it (and avoid potential Google penalties):
- Don’t use review schema on your homepage. There is no need to add review schema to your homepage. Due to past abuses, Google no longer displays rating stars for homepages in organic search.
- Do use review schema for other core pages. While you can’t use review schema for your homepage, you should add it to the service area pages, office pages, about us pages, and bio pages on your website—basically all the main pages that talk directly about your firm, your attorneys and staff, and your services. At FWM, we do not recommend that you try to add review schema to blog posts, articles, or other supporting pages on your site because the reviews are almost never directly relevant to those pages.
- Reviews listed on a page must be relevant to that page. If you use review schema on a page, you should choose reviews and ratings that are directly relevant to the page. This is especially important for law firms that have multiple attorneys or many practice areas. For example, you wouldn’t want to add a review for the wrong attorney on a bio page or a review from a personal injury client on your estate planning page.
Why Aren’t Review Stars Showing on Google SERPs for My Law Firm?
If star ratings do not show up in search for your law firm, but you have already added review schema markup, the problem is probably due to:
- Messed-up code. If the review schema code you add to your website is a little off, then it could prevent search engines from using that information. If you think your code might be the source of the problem, you can contact your web provider or use Google’s Structured Data Testing tool to check for problems.
- Wrong page or place. Like we said above, Google won’t display review stars for homepages, and you should limit the use of review schema on pages that aren’t directly relevant. Google won’t display review stars if you aren’t playing by the rules.
- Google’s mysteries. There is no guarantee that Google will display review stars in every search that brings up your marked-up pages. If you only sometimes see stars for your law firm on the search results page, then everything is probably working as intended.
Keep in mind, too, that Google can and will penalize you if you abuse review schema on your website or try to “trick” search engines into enhancing results for your firm. The end result could be completely stopping your traffic, and extra traffic is the whole reason to even get involved with review schema in the first place!
Need help getting review schema to work for you? Want to take advantage of more SERP features that enhance the search results people see for your firm? Give us a call at 888.886.0939, or let’s talk about what a fresh website design can do to bring more clients through your door.
How do I properly optimize images for attorney websites?
Great images draw the eye and bring your website content to life for your potential clients. Using them effectively, though, is not as simple as choosing great images and adding those images to your website.
You also need to optimize your website’s images so that they are accessible to users, understood by search engines, and ready to be a part of an engaging online experience for your perfect clients.
Need help whipping your images into shape? Below, you’ll find our best tips for optimizing images for your law firm’s website.
Optimization Starts With the Names of Your Image Files
You should always optimize your images with descriptive files names, including little touches that make those file names play nicely with your website.
Image file names are typically NOT the place to target high-level, vanity keywords. Instead, you should stick to short, simple descriptions of what the images show.
That being said, though, the photographs on your bio pages can be the limited exception to this rule. For example, if you want to name your bio photo “des-moines-personal-injury-attorney-carmen-sandiego.jpg” instead of “carmen-sandiego.jpg,” that is acceptable because it still appropriately identifies the subject of the picture.
We also recommend that you always use dashes between the words in your image file names. Spaces in filenames aren’t always handled well when they’re uploaded, and you can sometimes see some crazy characters, like this:
Those “%20”s replace the spaces and make a mess of the filename in the URL. When you instead use dashes in your file names, there are no spaces to worry about.
It might seem like a lot of concern over something small, but you and your users get a lot out of the few extra steps it takes to name image files appropriately.
Need some concrete examples? Take a look at this picture:
Let’s say that we have three options for naming this image file:
Example A, “img-377863702.jpg,” is a terrible file name, from an optimization standpoint. It gives no information about the file and doesn’t help anyone understand what it contains.
Example B, “san-antonio-medical-malpractice-attorney.jpg,” is an unacceptable file name. Again, it does not help anyone understand what the image file contains, and it adds salt to the wound by rudely stuffing keywords where they do not belong.
Example C, “medical-patient-in-hospital-bed.jpg,” is a good file name and the best choice of the three. It describes exactly what is in the image, and it does not try to shove keywords in your face. Imagine, too, how much easier it is to find and use this image if you download it or want to use it again later! You know what to expect from the image before you even open the file or see a thumbnail.
Compress Large Images to Retain Quality and Protect Load Speeds
If your site loads quickly, that’s a good thing. Google likes fast sites, and so do your site’s visitors. That is why you may have to do a little balancing act with the images you use.
Few things slow down page load times like humongous image files, particularly huge image files that have to be shrunk to a small display size on the page.
You may think you’re doing the right thing by using the 4MB, 2080x4056 pixel version of your photo. However, that huge image is going to considerably hamper how quickly your page loads, and you might be shrinking it to a 200x300 pixel image anyway to fit the layout of the page.
Fortunately, you can quickly and easily compress an image (while retaining its original quality!) to reduce the file size of your image. I like to use TinyPNG, though JPEGmini (notice a trend?) is also a fine option for fast, free, in-browser image compression. Simply drag and drop your image. It will be compressed, and you can download your new, smaller file. This compressed file is the one you should upload to your site.
Keep in mind that, along with the size of the image file, the size of your image as displayed on your site matters. If it is too small, it lacks visual effect and can be hard to understand. If it is too big, it can mess up the text formatting on the page and become a distraction. For example, an image that is over 500 pixels wide is so big that it will cause problems with the way your website displays. As an example of an image that is too small, here is our image from above shrunk by half:
Are you squinting to figure out what is happening in this picture? Does the smaller picture have the same visual impact as the larger version of the image? An image’s display size can make a surprisingly big difference!
Use Alt Text to Help Search Engines and Screen Readers Understand Your Images
“Alt text” is a text description of an image that is added to your page code with the image file. Alt text helps users with visual impairments, users using screen readers, and search engine crawlers understand what the picture should show, even though they may not “see” the image directly.
Alt text can also help visitors understand what they should be seeing in the event of technical difficulties that prevent images from load properly on the page.
Like image file names, you want your alt tags to be short, simple, and descriptive of the image. Remember that the alt text you write is there to help people understand the picture on the page and make your website more accessible. While keywords can naturally fit into alt text, trying to over-optimize or stuff keywords here can get you in trouble with Google and disappoint your users.
If you are having trouble thinking of alt text to add to your images, imagine they are being described to you by a screen reading device. Screen readers already tell users that they are describing an image, so you don’t have to worry about prefacing your alt text with words like “picture of” or “photograph showing.”
You want your description of the image to be straightforward, but as descriptive as possible. For example, the alt text for a photo of the Statue of Liberty could just be “Statue of Liberty,” but you can provide a better user experience by being a little more specific. For example, you could use alt text to more accurately describe your image as an “aerial view of the Statue of Liberty” or a “stylized Statue of Liberty holding U.S. flag.”
Give Your Images Some Space to Look Neat and Professional on the Page
Sometimes, images speak for themselves. However, most of the time, you are using the images on your attorney website to help illustrate and bring interest to your text content. They need to look nice, but they can’t interfere with the text on the page.
DSS gives you a lot of flexibility for stylizing your images and formatting text. One of the best and most common ways to get started is to learn how to add margins to a website image and use wraparound text.
Wise use of margins and text formatting gives your images a professional-looking touch, and the extra “white space” between text and image improves the reading experience.
Get Help Making the Images on Your Law Firm’s Website Perform Better
Little optimizations and extra steps are what make the user experience on your website stand out to your perfect clients. However, it can be a challenge to keep up with every detail and follow through with every best practice on your own.
If you need help optimizing the images your law firm’s website, or if you have questions about how DSS can make it easier to do it yourself, reach out to our friendly team at 888.886.0939. Our goal is always to help you get your time and energy back with solutions that let you work smarter, not harder.
How can doctors get review stars displayed in Google search results?
If you are reading this FAQ, you probably already know that some websites can display review stars between the link and the page description in Google’s search results:
For doctors and medical practices, taking full advantage of these review stars can be an easy way to build trust with potential patients and stand out from other search results. It is a feature that we recommend for our clients and think has a lot of benefit.
There is no cost for the review stars that show in Google’s organic results. However, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to get your website set up and in line with Google’s review-star rules.
Make Sure Your Medical Practice’s Website Tells Google You Want to Display Reviews and Ratings
Google only knows about the reviews and ratings your website’s code tells it about. That means that your website provider needs to add “review schema” to certain pages on your website. This little bit of code makes the review information you choose available to search engines. The search engines can then choose to incorporate that information into the results they show their users.
If you sometimes see review stars for your practice in Google’s organic search results, then you already have review schema working on your website. While you have total control over which reviews and ratings are displayed by this feature, only Google controls when and where that information is seen by its own users.
Avoid Google Penalties by Using Review Schema the “White Hat” Way
There are right ways to use review schema, and there are wrong ways. Abuses of review stars and review schema typically lead to Google penalties, and the search engine has even made major changes to how it uses the review-star feature to curb misuse in the past.
That means that, if you want to use review stars for your medical practice, you need to make sure that you’re using review schema right:
Review schema does not belong on your homepage. Widespread abuses of review schema in the past led Google to stop displaying review stars for website homepages. For now, at least, there is no need to use it on your practice’s homepage.
Review schema does belong on other core pages. You should add review schema to the pages on your website that talk directly about your practice, your doctors, your staff, and your services. These should be core pages on your website, like service-area pages, office-location pages, about us pages, and bio pages.
Relevance is the main concern. Google is most interested in displaying review stars that are directly relevant to a particular page. The review schema on a doctor’s bio page should only point to reviews of that doctor. The review schema on a service-area page should only point to reviews of that service. This is also why we recommend that you stick to using review schema only on your main pages. Your practice’s ratings and reviews are almost never specific to a particular blog post, FAQ, or minor supporting page on your site.
Review Stars Still Not Showing for Your Medical Practice?
Even when you add review schema to your core website pages, you won’t see review stars in every search for your practice. Google is a little mysterious about when and how review stars and other search engine results page (SERP) features are displayed.
However, if you never see stars for your doctors or practice, your problem probably lies in one of two places:
The code on the page. Contact your website provider or use Google’s Structured Data Testing tool to check for errors in the code used on your pages. Any problems with the review-schema markup could interfere with search engines’ ability to display your star ratings.
The page you added the code to. Google does not display review stars on certain types of pages, and we talked about why above. If you have checked your code and still don’t see review stars, it may be a sign that you are trying to use review schema on the wrong kind of page. Remember that you want to stick to main pages that are about the people in your office and the services you provide.
Google gives medical practices a lot of options for enhancing the search results that potential patients see. If you need help leveraging review schema or other search features, reach out to our team at 888.886.0939. We would also be happy to talk with you about how to build better functionality into a fresh, modern website in a website design consultation.
What is the difference between email clicks and opens?
Tracking and analyzing performance is crucial to the success of your email campaigns, but it isn’t easy to make sense of the numbers you see when you’re first getting started.
One of the most frequent sources of confusion is the difference between the similar-sounding email “opens” and email “clicks.” While they represent very different actions from your recipients, both are key numbers to look for in your analysis and to aim to improve as you move forward.
Any email marketing solution worth using will give you reporting about these metrics, but for the purpose of answering this FAQ, here is what a version of this data would look like in our DSS CRM software email marketing dashboard:
The first step, though, is understanding what you’re looking at. Is “opening” an email really different from “clicking” on it? The answer is yes—and here’s why.
What Do Email “Opens” Mean for My Email Campaign?
“Opens” or “open rates” measure how many people opened up your email and looked at it. Hopefully, they read it, but there’s no guarantee they did any more than glance at it, and there is no way to track how long they looked at the email.
While that may seem really straightforward, there is a hitch. The number of “opens” you see may not represent everyone who viewed your email.
To collect data on the “open,” the recipient must allow HTML and images in their emails. Some people do not, especially on mobile, so you have no way to know if those recipients opened the email you sent. Instead, you’ll see a separate section of your CRM email reporting data that shows those emails were “delivered, not tracked.” This is something to keep in mind as you review an email campaign’s performance, especially if it was targeted for mobile-heavy audiences.
It also worth noting that, since “opens” happen before the recipient has read the content of the email, open rates often have more to do with how your compelling your subject line is and the relationship your law firm has with the recipient.
If your open rates are struggling, you can work on improving your numbers by improving the subject lines you write for your emails.
What Do Email “Clicks” Mean for My Email Campaign?
“Clicks,” “click-throughs,” “click rates,” or “click-through rates” measure how many people clicked on a link within your email.
While “opens” only measures how many people look at your email, your “clicks” represent how many people read the content of your email and were compelled to click through to your target page. For example, the “clicks” for an email about your new book might represent how many people clicked on the link to the offer page from the email you sent.
This is an important number because it helps you measure how effective your emails are at driving traffic to your website and convincing readers to take action.
If you’re getting lots of “opens,” but your “clicks” are suffering, you need to look at the “meat” of your email campaign:
- Do your emails look good? Find out how to build eye-catching emails with the DSS Advanced Email Editor.
- Does your email content speak directly to your audience? Does it make sense and explain how your message or offer is relevant to their lives?
- Did you include a call to action that asks readers to click on the link or button? Do they understand why they’re clicking and what they’ll find when they get there?
Your “click rates” have everything to do with what people see (and how they feel) after they’ve opened your email and started to read, and everyone’s “perfect clients” are different. As you improve and adjust your email content, keep testing your ideas and measuring the results. Good tracking and analysis are the only ways to make sure you’re hitting the mark with the people who matter most to your business.
Do you know how well your emails are performing? Are you happy with the numbers you see when you look at your campaigns? If you need help tracking, analyzing, or improving the emails your law firm sends, reach out to our team at 888.886.0939. You can also learn more about how to do it yourself in DSS.
What is Project Beacon? What do beacons mean for my business?
Did you get a little box from Google’s Project Beacon with a strange device inside?
If so, you probably didn’t get a lot of information about what to do with it or what it means. The information included with the new beacons is sparse, and—so far—the packages are only going out to a few, select businesses.
What Is a Beacon?
Google describes beacons as “one-way transmitters that are used to mark important places and objects.” In practice, the Bluetooth-powered beacons can send information to users’ mobile devices when they get within a few meters of the physical beacon location.
This might mean that someone could walk down the street, get near a local restaurant’s beacon, and get specials sent right to their phone. If a law firm has a beacon-enabled, potential clients could park nearby and get step-by-step walking directions from their phones to the front door.
Beacons can be used in offices, stores, public buildings, and other fixed locations, and they can also be used on vehicles, like buses and taxis.
There are a lot of possibilities, and there are a lot of potential uses to explore as Google reveals more. Beacons are still a little new and mysterious, and there are lots of musings out there about their potential benefits, especially now that Google has entered the ring.
Why Do I Want a Beacon From Project Beacon?
If you’ve received a beacon, you’re among a lucky few. For now, what we know is that the beacon can help businesses by:
- Helping you get more reviews. Beacons from Project Beacon help stimulate reviews, photos, and more from people who have stopped by your office location.
- Refining location and proximity. Beacons can put you on personal maps for users that have turned on Location History, and it can reduce confusion because it transmits from where you actually are.
- Improving the client experience. Beacons make it easier for people to find you and engage with your business, and it brings your online and offline messages together locally—where it matters most.
Getting involved with Project Beacon now also means that you get access to additional features as they are released.
Keep in mind that the beacon doesn’t give information directly to business owners, and it’s hard to say exactly what kinds of metrics Google may provide for beacon users in the future. Having a beacon doesn’t automatically improve visibility in local search, but the benefits it does provide are the right mix to support most local strategies.
It’s optional for now, but it is something cool to try that might improve the experience of clients visiting your physical office location.
How Do I Get One for My Business?
As part of Project Beacon, Google has started sending free beacons to some businesses that:
- Have a physical location
- Have enabled local extensions
- Use Google’s ad services
Do you have questions about how to leverage Google’s beacons or how to take your local SEO strategy to the next level? Contact us at 888.886.0939, and let’s start talking.
How often should I redesign my medical practice's website?
Websites for doctors and medical practices need to evolve as patients’ tastes and expectations change. While most practices find that they’re ready for an update or overhaul of their websites every few years, there isn’t a set-in-stone schedule. Instead, it is a decision that depends on your practice, your patients, and how well your current website is working for you.
Are you having trouble deciding how often is often enough to redesign the website for your medical practice? Here are four major signs that the time is right.
Your Medical Practice’s Website Looks Outdated
Take a good look at your website. Now, compare it to websites for similar practices in your area. Does it measure up? Does it look as modern as the other websites you visit every day? Do you like the current design and how it showcases your practice and your doctors? If not, then a redesign could do a lot for your practice.
Ultimately, looks matter online. Patients notice when you’re behind the times, and they are often suspicious of medical websites that look and feel a little abandoned.
Updating your design, adding high-quality photos and video, and adjusting for modern aesthetic expectations gives your website that healthy glow that lets patients know you’re still there for them. It is also an excellent chance to highlight new staff, new services, new locations, and other changes since you last gave your website a major facelift.
Your Website Is Built on a Crumbling Foundation
Redesigning a website is about more than just looks. The technology behind the Web can change as quickly as design trends. Redesigning and updating your website every few years—or when there is a major change in best practices—means that you are always on top of the game.
If your current website is hard to use, hard to update, or limited by old technology, it is definitely time for a redesign. Even if you choose to keep a very similar design, this is the kind of thing that can affect every part of the user experience, from how fast your website loads and the kinds of media you can feature to how your offer forms work and how visitors navigate through your site.
You Are Concerned About HIPAA and Online Security
If you haven’t updated your medical practice’s site in a while, then it probably isn’t as secure as it should be. Digital security and privacy are big issues right now, especially for medical websites, and patients are increasingly savvy about protecting themselves online.
Because of this, Foster Web Marketing has taken steps to ensure that all protected health information (PHI) communicated through our clients’ websites is safe and secure, but a redesign may be in order if you have an older site. Find out more about HIPAA-compliant enhancements on FWM websites.
Your Website Is Not Ready for Mobile Visitors
How does your practice’s website look when you pull it up on your phone or tablet? Is it easy to use? Is it easy for patients to find the information they need? Mobile search accounts for a huge number of visitors to most modern websites, and all indications are that it is here to stay.
Older websites force mobile users to zoom in, zoom out, and tap through tiny links and menus to get what they need. A redesign will help you build a responsive, mobile-friendly website that looks and works great on all kinds of devices.
Freshen Up Your Online Image With Our Award-Winning Website Design Team
So how often should you redesign your medical practice's website? If it's been a few years since your site launched, or you've gone through this list and decided that your practice’s website is ready for a change, we can help put your plans into action. Reach out to us for a free website design consultation, and let’s talk about how to update your website so it can better attract, convert, and retain your perfect patients.
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