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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How do I write website content that will attract new business from my ideal clients?
You can choose not to pay attention to grammar. You can also choose not to have clients or customers. It turns out that, very often, those choices go hand in hand.
Of course you don’t want to appear stiff, stuffy, or overly formal on your website. But a “casual Friday” approach to writing means taking off your metaphorical necktie, not showing up dressed for a college frat party. You can (and should) adopt a friendly tone when addressing your readers. At the same time, you must always bear in mind that keeping a professional face on things means maintaining a layer of reserve. Close attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage is an important step in that direction.
Choose a Tone that Will Resonate With Your Ideal Clients
We don’t like to talk about social class in the United States. Nevertheless, it’s important to recognize that members of different socioeconomic classes will react to your website message in distinct ways. Properly shaping your message will allow you to attract the clients and customers you want the most.
For many highly skilled service providers, the ideal client is a member of the upper middle class or above. This population is accustomed to and comfortable with seeking advice from professionals—and they can usually be trusted to act on the advice they receive. They tend to be better educated, wealthier, and more cosmopolitan. They are often active learners who can partner effectively with you as a patient, law firm client, or service customer.
People with lower socioeconomic status may also have critical service needs that you can address; indeed, they tend to have more desperate needs for your services than your optimal customers. At the risk of over-generalizing, these prospects are often less appealing as clients, if only because they demand so much more of your time. They are more likely to be suspicious of experts and authority, and this means they might resist your advice at critical points. They are often insular and less educated, and so may not have the background to evaluate their situations or your instructions.
And yet they are sensitive to being patronized. Your attempts to dumb down your professional website won’t earn you favorable attention. Instead, your potential lower-class customers will feel that you’re mocking them. Your “good ol’ boy” pose will strike them as false—a poorly masked form of snobbery.
In the meantime, your upper-class prospects will be unimpressed by your ungrammatical writing style. Some will think you’re just lazy, or that you farmed out the writing to someone who may not be a native English speaker. Some will think you’re simply incompetent. None will be encouraged to stick around.
Informal Writing for Professional Websites: How Far Is Too Far?
So, as a rule, stick to following the formal rules of grammar and allow your warm, familiar tone to engage readers.
But you can also earn the right to throw away the most rigid rules, now and then. Once you have proved—by producing lots of great content—that you have mastered grammar, you can occasionally bypass the rules. Use “who” instead of “whom.” Split an infinitive, if rewording the sentence would sound awkward. Oh, and sentence fragments! Sentence fragments can really add punch to a paragraph, when they’re used as a rare and exotic spice.
Some things should remain out of bounds for any professional website, of course. No swearing. No instant messaging abbreviations. No emoticons. If you’re at all uncertain, then favor the conservative, classic approach. But if you want the option to be less formal at times, then earn the right to do so by first demonstrating to your readers that you understand the rules and that you’re deliberately choosing to flout them.
Need more specific guidance? Our professional content writing and editorial services are always ready to advise you on an informal, relaxed approach that will win over your online audience and make you a local celebrity for your expertise and wit. Call 888.886.0939 for a FREE evaluation of your current website content and a game plan to get you the clients or customers you want to see.
Are video testimonials better than written testimonials?
Yes, video testimonials are better than written testimonials. It has been shown, time and again, that video testimonials perform better on websites, converting at much higher rates than written testimonials. But why?
Easy Isn't Always Best
Text-format testimonials are much easier to gather and display, I'll give them that. However, this is exactly why they are often perceived as disingenuous. To a wary buyer, there is no proof that you didn't invent a testimonial and post it to your site. The problem is compounded when testimonials are anonymous or initialed. Without details, such as a photo, title or company, these testimonials can be seen as manufactured—even if they're legitimate.
Video testimonials, on the other hand, are harder to fake, and thereby can appear more powerful. They add a feeling of authenticity that text and even audio reviews don't provide. Video clips of clients, customers, or patients show prospects that other people—people who may even look like or sound like them—are satisfied, perhaps even thrilled, by your level of service.
Addressing the Needs of All Learners
Just as teachers need to find out how each of their students learns best, you need to figure out how your audience best absorbs information. We often stress the importance of knowing your perfect client, and testimonials are no exception. While video is often consumed better than text, it doesn't mean that every single person prefers video. You need to determine what your ideal customer or client likes, and then test the theory. Running tests on the effectiveness of video vs. text testimonials will give you a clear picture of what works—and what doesn't.
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, we can help. Our team can assist you with any and every part of the testimonial process. From shooting the videos to loading them and running tests, FWM has you covered. Call 888-886-0939 today to see how our team can help you make the most of your marketing dollar.
I'm so overwhelmed. How am I supposed to find all of the mistakes in my local listings and fix them? HELP!
I've got a bit of bad news. As you feared, it's not as simple as it should be to find mistakes in your local listings and clean them up. Is it possible to do so? Absolutely, and we will show you how in this article. But is it an easy, ten-minute task? No. However, with a little perseverance and patience, we have faith that you can do it. Here's how.
To clean up your local citations, we suggest that you use the following websites:
- Yext. Yext is a fantastic service that finds everywhere your business is listed. This can be a long, long list. In addition to just finding your local citations, Yext will scan all of these listings, showing you everywhere there is incorrect information, missing citations, or missing information. This includes mistakes in your phone number, address, and business name—all of which are crucial to the success of your local listing.
- Whitespark. If your local listings are correct, but you don't feel you're doing enough to take advantage of local search, try using Whitespark. This service will find new, niche-specific local citation sources that you aren't taking advantage of. It will also give you links to your current listings, allowing you to ensure the information found there is correct.
Once you find any mistakes in your local listings, it's time to fix them. Some of the fixes can be as simple as logging into your account and changing a "5" to a "7" in your phone number, but others will be much harder to correct. It can mean contacting each host of the listing sites where your information is wrong and getting them to fix it. And while doing so is possible—we do it all the time—the process can be lengthy and daunting.
There Is Good News, Too
The first bit of good news is that you know what local listings are, and you recognize how important they are and want to ensure that you're getting them right. Huzzah! Also, you have come to us for the answers. At Foster, we are experts at creating and fixing local listings. We love digging into your listings, cleaning them up, and then watching as your local traffic goes through the roof. Seriously, what could be better than that?!
The other good news is that you now have the answer to your question, and you have a choice: go it alone and fix your local citations by yourself or enlist our local-citation cleaning team to help.
If you'd like for our team to take care of your local listing for you—be that creating a new listing, cleaning up a current listing, or helping you change your location—we'd love to help. To get going, just call 888-886-0939, and a member of our SEO team will help you make the most of local search.
What are local citations, and why do they matter?
Local citations are other websites on the internet where your business name, address, and phone number are listed. Back in the day, the only place you had to get your local listing right was the Yellow Pages. Now, your listing is scattered all over the internet and, when incorrect, has the potential to snowball into an avalanche of misinformation and missed opportunities.
How the Local Citation Snowball Gets Rolling
The three big names in local search are Yahoo, Bing, and Google. However, there are many other sites that pull your information from the big guys and one another. So if your information is incorrect on any of your local listings, it's likely listed incorrectly on multiple sites.
When this happens, your listing and your local SEO efforts could be buried under tons of incorrect listings, suffocating your local search power and threatening the life of your practice.
I'm Listed Where?!
Local search is a big deal, so there is a good chance that your information is listed in more places than you know. To find out where your practice is listed, we suggest using the free website Yext. Yext will scan local listing sites and let you know where—and how—you're listed on each of the 50 most popular sites, apps, and maps.
This handy tool can help you find any mistakes in your listings. However, it will be up to you to correct mistakes everywhere your local citations are incorrect. If there are many mistakes across many sites, this can be an extremely time-consuming process.
Another way to check your local citations is to request our free website audit. We will check to see if your local citations are correct and, if they're not, can take over the process of repairing all your listings.
No matter how you get it done, get it done. Incorrect local citations have a huge impact on your local SEO power, affecting your local marketing efforts more than you know. For help digging yourself out, call 888-886-0939 today.
What should I look for in a live chat provider?
When looking for a live chat provider, it's wise to use caution. Live chat has quickly risen in popularity, and too many providers are trying to get in on the game—even if they have no idea what they're doing.
How We Picked Our Recommended Live Chat Provider
At Foster Web Marketing, we recommend the live chat company Ngage. To find the best live chat option for our clients, we vetted many possible companies, and we would like to share the top three deciding factors we used to choose a live chat provider:
- The company must test constantly. A chat provider should spend much of their time testing the effectiveness of their product. They should be on the lookout for issues with their product and alert you when they believe that changes should be made. Example: Ngage was running tests on the optimal pop-up times for the chat window. They found that decreasing the pop-up time led to a 10 percent increase in chats. This led to changes in pop-up times for all of their clients, and we reaped the benefits.
- They must listen to their clients. Your live chat provider may be the best in the business, but if they don't listen to their clients, they aren't doing their job. The company you choose to run the live chat for your website should be receptive to your opinions and willing to work you with on a solution. Example: When we expressed concern over the size of the live chat pop-up on our mobile site, Ngage worked with us to make it smaller. This met our needs and tested well—problem solved.
- They should provide you with chat transcripts in a timely manner. It's important that you know what's going on when people use the chat feature on your website. Top-notch live chat providers should make every single chat transcript available to you. This allows you to see exactly what questions site visitors are asking and ensures that the live chat operators are answering them to your satisfaction. Example: In DSS, we have a built-in feature that allows you to view all live-chat transcripts. For those who don't use DSS, the company emails transcripts to their clients.
We hope that our experience in choosing the best live chat provider for our company will help you find the best provider for yours. If you're interested in adding live chat, please call 888-886-0939. We would love to speak with you about the power of live chat and its importance in improving your website’s conversion rates.
What Is an Email Drip Campaign?
While it sounds like a nickname for your sick toddler, a drip campaign is actually a marketing technique that can improve the health of your overall marketing plan.
An email drip campaign, also known as a follow-up or back-end campaign, is a series of correspondences you send to those who request your free offer.
The most effective follow-up campaigns don't rely solely on emails—a common mistake many doctors and attorneys make. Instead, they vary greatly and can include:
- Mailed letters
- CDs of an interview you did
- DVDs of you speaking at a professional event
- Invitations to your yearly charity event or community function
Ideally, you should send at least 15 types of correspondence over a seven-month period, which means reaching out every other week.
After the Email Drip Stops
Once your follow-up campaign has run its course, it's important to stay in the minds of your audience. The best way to do this is to continue to send out a monthly newsletter via snail mail or email.
Also, if you've done it right, there's a good chance that those who have been getting your follow-up campaign materials have chosen to follow you on social media. This means you will continue to be on their minds long after your last follow-up campaign letter comes in the mail.
If your law firm or medical practice doesn't have a drip campaign, I suggest you begin to implement one as soon as possible. We find that follow-up campaigns for attorneys and doctors significantly increase the success of their free offers.
For more information on how our marketing team can help you implement a conversion-boosting follow-up campaign, call 888-886-0939.
We can take over the process or show you the best way to create and deliver your custom-built free offer and follow-up campaign.
How can I improve my marketing and get better quality patients or clients?
Stop marketing to clients or patients that you don't like dealing with. By identifying your less-than-ideal patient or client type—and focusing in on your ideal—you'll be able to get more of the cases and clients you want. To begin, we need you to get a little mean.
Who Were Your Least Favorite Clients or Patients?
It may seem like bad karma to focus on the bad, but to get a better idea of how to market to your perfect patient or client, you have to know who you don't enjoy working with. Here are some specific examples that we've gotten from clients. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- Personal injury attorneys: Personal injury attorneys usually have at least one type of case or client that they're tired of taking on. Minor car accident injuries, people without proper insurance coverage, and those who overstate their injuries are all examples of less-than-ideal clients.
- Plastic surgeons: Every doctor has procedures or patients they'd rather not deal with, and plastic surgeons are no exception. Examples of this include invasive face lifts, patients who pay with credit, and patients who are extremely high maintenance.
We often speak with clients who complain that they only get cases they dislike. And while we would like to blame this on their local market, the truth is that they have brought it on themselves.
They have been marketing to a too-broad audience or, in many cases, to a demographic that they don't particularly care for. Why? Because they think it's the only way and that they must take on clients or patients that aren't fun or profitable.
Stop Selling Yourself Short
It's time to stop settling for second best. It's time to take the future of your practice into your own hands by defining your perfect client or patient and marketing directly to this person.
For help narrowing down exactly who this is and how to market to them, call 888-886-0939. We know how to help busy professionals build a practice with quality clients and patients that they love to work with. You can enjoy your job again, and we can help.
I heard that mobile search is on the rise. How do I make the most of mobile search for my law firm?
First of all, it's important that you understand the difference between mobile and desktop search:
- Mobile search. When people search using their phones, tablets, or other mobile devices, it's considered a mobile search, even if they are using their phones to search from home.
- Desktop search. When people search using their laptops or desktops, it's considered a desktop search, even if they are using a laptop in a coffee shop.
For a few years now, mobile search has been growing in popularity. More people own mobile devices and understand the convenience of searching from their phones. What's more, those searching from their smartphones are much more likely to act on the search than those searching from their computers. This means that people who search for an attorney from their phones are highly motivated and ready to take action to call the attorney they deem worthy.
Pleasing Motivated Mobile Users
In order to make the most of these motivated mobile searchers, you'll need to have your local and mobile games on point. We suggest using a two-pronged approach that will get your law firm found and meet the expectations of mobile searchers.
- Make the most of local. In order to be found during a local search, you need to ensure that you are listed on the most important local sites. Start with the big guys—Google Local, Bing, and Yahoo. You'll need to make sure that your law firm is not only listed, but listed correctly on all of these sites. If your name, address, or phone number is different on any listing—even just by one number or letter—your SEO power will take a hit. Tip: A service such as Yext can be used to ensure uniformity of listing information. Yext checks over 50 sites, apps, and maps for your listings and lets you know how you are listed on each site.
- Get a mobile site. If you don't have a mobile site, now is the time. If a potential client arrives at your site from a smartphone and gets a traditional site, he or she will click back and try another attorney who has embraced mobile. After all, if you can't offer a modern, mobile site, who's to say you offer modern, competent legal care? Tip: When designing your mobile site, be sure that the main page contains both call and direction buttons. You want to make getting to your office or calling you as easy as possible.
Taking it to the Next Level
If you've ensured that people can find you from their mobiles and that you are meeting their high expectations by delivering a clean, easy-to-navigate mobile site, it's time to crank it up a notch. To do so, our attorney local SEO team suggests that you:
- Create and implement a review strategy.
- Write interesting content that appeals to your ideal client in your ideal city or county. Use keywords that reflect this.
- Use your local phone number in all listings, not your 1-888 or 1-800 number.
- Make your profile picture a professional photograph of you or you and your staff.
- Make sure the description in your listing is interesting and perfectly written.
If you'd like our team to help you take advantage of mobile and local search, request a free site analysis or call 888.886.0939. We will comb over your site, giving you a full report on how your site is performing and what you can do to improve your local SEO efforts.
Google has announced it will no longer provide keyword data about searches. What does that mean for my website?
In late 2011, Google started to encrypt its searches for users who were signed into their Gmail accounts while completing searches in Google. This resulted in an increase in “not provided” keyword data being recorded in Google Analytics. In layman’s terms, this basically meant that, as a website owner, you couldn’t see the search phrase used by someone who found your website while signed into his Gmail account.
Although this was a road bump for search marketers to analyze keyword data, we rarely saw the percentage of “not provided” above 30 percent for lawyers.
In recent weeks online marketers have noticed a steady rise in the percentage of “not provided” data being passed into Google Analytics. This all came to a head on Sunday night when Google redirected all searches completed in its search engine to encrypted search. This has increased the percentage of “not provided” for organic Google searches to 95 percent or more.
What Does This Increase in “Not Provided” Keyword Data Mean for My Website?
First off, this new change will in no way change the performance of your website. What it does mean is that there is going to be a shift in the way online marketers can analyze organic traffic to your site. Some things to keep in mind:
- Don’t freak out. Google is not the only search engine out there and others still provide this keyword data.
- This should only reinforce the fact that you should not be focusing on high-level vanity keywords, but instead long-tailed search phrases that convert.
- As always, write content to inform and engage human visitors to your site and not to help improve your rankings in search engines.
- Choose another yardstick. There is a variety of other measurements to help you understand the success of your law firm’s SEO program.
If you are worried about how this news will affect your law firm’s search engine optimization, please do not fret. Foster Web Marketing’s team of attorney SEO specialists can help make sure your website is performing well even after this big piece of news from the king of search engines. Schedule a free website audit to make sure your online marketing efforts are working the way they should be.
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