The online presence of law firms: can the public really access justice?

Internet marketing, as I highlighted in an earlier post has emerged as the current dominant feature that is being incorporated into a lot of business models today. Law firms are not exempt from this. Internet marketing is however a broad, and for many law firms, uncharted territory but as more potential clients research their legal questions online, and through social marketing, the need for law firms to have an online presence is apparent, as a strong online presence is vital for law firms looking to attract new client.

Research and online data tracking has shown that a business website is a prime tool for attracting a potential client. So, in other words, a potential client is likely to check out the online presence of your firm before deciding to retain the firm’s services. If your website is not geared towards helping potential clients find and evaluate you on the basis of whether they can indeed gain access to justice from you, then you will be operating at a cost. While referrals are a good way of marketing and gaining clients, with the current digital age we live in, it is always worth having a digital perspective in mind and re-evaluating your approach to online marketing.

Three of the top four professional services research methods are directly related to a legal online presence: social media, website, key word searches. This means that along with client references, a law firm needs a robust and ethically sound social media campaign manager, and a mobile friendly and professional website. It is therefore a good business strategy to have a social media expert working alongside you, creating fresh, relevant and accurate content for your law firm to share and attract potential clients.

Viral marketing techniques

Digital marketing campaigns have proven to be all the rage now, however for businesses, simply having a social media page and posting new content every day sets up the unrealistic expectation that your posts will go viral. So how do you get your content to go viral? What exactly is viral marketing? Viral marketing is reserved for content that spread like wildfire. The goal is to get a consumer A, who receives content, to be motivated and excited to pass along this content to other consumers. In other words, Viral marketing is a form of word of mouth, only in the digital era.

How to implement a viral marketing strategy

So as viral marketing is a form word of mouth, how do you get other people to talk about your content? Here are a few steps to get your content to go viral

STEP ONE

Who is your target audience?

This is a key factor when thinking about your viral marketing campaign because knowing your target audience and where they live online is important to going viral. Marketing to your target audience through the wrong channel will not generate interest and so conducting proper research and finding your target audience and where your online they are based is important.

Once you have found your audience and their base, you have to critically think about the content you are creating and tailor it. Here more research needs to be done, specifically social media analytics as social media is where viral marketing goes down (here are some digital experts specialized in social media analytics https://sparkstrand.com/). Your research should include trending social media topics, demographics, and audience engagements.

STEP TWO

Videos
Now that you have found your target and done your social media analytics, an important tool at you should have at your disposal is a video sharing platform. Video sharing is a highly effective viral marketing technique that should be a part of your overall marketing strategy. As proof of this, one need not look further than King Bach, who made a name for himself through viral videos. Videos capture the imagination of the consumers and pique their interest in a quicker way than the traditional print media.

STEP THREE

Have a voice

What makes your content more appealing and will be more likely to drive your viral marketing forward is uniqueness. Chances are that the trending topics that your content will revolve around to appeal to your target audience has already been discussed by someone else. So how do you stand out? It’s simple. Give your OWN opinion. Take a stand. Your opinion may be either popular or unpopular. The point is to ignite passion and generate conversation either way. It is the same logic behind the infamous saying that, “no press is bad press”.

The best CRMS currently available

CRMS – Customer Relationship Management System is one of the best tools there is for running a successful business. This is because feedback from customers and customer satisfaction is critical to growth. As the name suggests, CRMS is a tool used by businesses in managing their interactions with current and potential customers. It creates a simple user interface for a collection of data that helps businesses recognise and communicate with customers in a scalable way. This strengthens customer loyalty and increases the chances of customer retention. Below are some of the best customer relationship management system currently available:

1. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot is widely regarded as one of the best CRMS today because of its duality. It is great for small businesses and independent contractors while at the same time being highly scalable. It is also very popular because it offers a whole array of sales and marketing related tools and provides a free version which appeals to startups and small businesses as it helps scale back on cost. The free version can be paired with HubSpot marketing hub and sales hub and this increases its functionality.

2. Zoho CRM
Zoho offers businesses affordable tools for custom app creation, accounting, document management and most importantly, customer relationship management. Zoho is great for startups and businesses, building its tools with SMB users in mind first. It is easy to implement and use Zoho tools and offers a lot of functionality at a reasonably competitive price point

3. Salesforce CRM
salesforce is widely known and utilised because it has established itself as a full-features CRM that can meet the needs of even the largest businesses. Salesforce has been recognised as innovator of the decade by Forbes in 2016 and has maintained a great reputation of being one of the top fastest-growing enterprise software companies in the world and its size makes it a great option for your business in terms of scalability.

4. Freshsales CRM
Freshsales boasts better lead management that gives a robust view of customer details, streamlined sales management that lets businesses manage the sales pipeline from within the system, in-depth insights, multi-channel support that eliminates the need to go through various channels to communicate with clients, and a powerful integration support that plays well with other businesses; seamlessly integrating with existing tools

5. Bpm’online CRM
This CRM is regarded for its process-driven technology which encourages users work with their own rules, test and modify their business processes. It comes with a free trial that allows users access to all its key features.

6. Less Annoying CRM
Less annoying is a great pick for its affordability. At just $10 a month, this CRM takes the complexity and expense out of adopting a customer relationship management solution. Less annoying focus on attracting small businesses sees it offering comprehensive customer service access to everyone, including non-customers.

7. Insightly CRM
This CRM is great for small businesses as well as larger ones such as Bloomberg, Bosch and Sanofi among others. It comes with a workflow automation tool which support complex business processes, and in addition to building customer relations, it provides lead routing mechanisms that enables businesses to connect clients to the right agents, increasing efficiency and driving the sales pipeline

8. Pipedrive CRM
This CRM mostly attracts small business owners and independent contractors because of its simplicity and easy to use feature. It is a highly visual platform which allows ease of navigation on the dashboard and relative ease in terms of data accessibility

9. Apptivo CRM
Apptivo is a good CRM as it combines contact and lead management with project marketing software, leading to better business-customer relationship. It is adjustable for all businesses and easily accessible anywhere.

10. Base CRM
This CRM is focused on using data to help businesses make wiser and more informed sales decisions by closely monitoring sales pipeline, sales rep activities, goals and quota.

The growth and future of chatbots and IVRs

Customer service has seen a huge leap forward in terms of efficiency with the introduction of chatbots and interactive voice response services. While human communication is also an important part of customer service, handing off the less complex part of customer dealings to chat bots and IVRs help speed things up and allow the human customer service focus on more complex inquiries and problem. With the advancement of technology however, the use of these machines can even be taken a step further, replicating the context of human interaction, including subtle reactions. Today, the use of chatbots and IVRs are at an all-time high when it comes to customer service and this has completely transformed customer services. Proof of this can be found in the recent data of Facebook IQ, and it is easy to see these machines becoming the future cornerstone of customer service.

First and foremost, in a world where everything is moving to digital, and various social media chat forums keep popping up, business marketers need to be on constant alert in order to attract potential customers with a comprehensive and interactive customer experience. This is where chatbots and IVRs come in. These machines “draw on multiple data sources, such as customer history, sentiment ratings and browsing history.” In other words, these machines help provide a seamless customer engagement experience.

When chatbots and IVRs were first introduced, they were a bit off putting for their stilted and binary conversations. Now they are able to analyse proper conversations and its usage, enabling them to have human-like conversations, some with even funny quips and a wide range of accents that appeals to customers, strengthening the business-customer relationships. These machines are also able to manage a high volume of queries and with chatbots for example being incorporated into smartphones, they can be used to reach out to new audiences without language being an obstacle.

In fact, with the inclusion of chatbots and interactive voice response services customer service has prospered and this growth is sure to continue in the future as the use of these machines all but guarantees stronger customer relationships.

Simplicity is key: How too much information is killing your advertising

Information on your website is a crucial part of generating buzz online about your business. You have created your website and it’s time to market it online. You are happy with the amount of information you have included in your ad, it’s similar to the information on your website. It covers everything, leaving nothing to the imagination but the buzz is nowhere to be found. Why is response slow? One reason for this could be that YOU LEFT NOTHING TO THE IMAGINATION.

The information is what your website is for. The ad should have the effect of whetting the viewer’s appetite, leading them to go and check out your website. This is what effective advertising is all about. It is simply to get people from the ad page to the business website, to the content, down to the store to buy what you are selling.

Research has shown that the attention span of the average online consumer is about 8 seconds and loading your ad with a ton of information is a sure-fire way to get them to pass over your ad. Simplicity is key to effective advertising online. So when it comes to the amount of information you have and you are in doubt, shave off half.

Mobile application ideas for your next business

From small businesses to big corporations, mobile apps have completely dominated the market. They provide a gateway into a huge segment of potential customers. Mobile apps are so hot right now they have become synonymous with business growth. In other words, every successful business has a mobile app, and every growing business has to have one. Below are some mobile application ideas for your next business (source: blog.sagipl.com)

1. Scan and Shop apps that let you scan any items to find it online by the image so you can search and buy from them online

2. A digital mall navigation app that will store a digital map of all the shopping malls in an area

3. Graphical restaurant reservation/booking app that allows you to check the graphical layout of the restaurant, choose your desired seats/table and make the booking for a specific time.

4. An instant messaging app that has the features of all the popular IM apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Viber and FB messaging. For example, it will offer great messaging service, video calls, audio calls, internet calls, sharing, emojis, sharing of business cards and data, sharing of big files and more

5. A criminal alert app to help users stay alert of wanted criminals on their area. The app will be fitted with an alert button to inform the police and GPS features to show your location to the police.

6. A virtual exam study app where students can meet and prepare for the exam along with other students of the same disciplines. The learning can be promoted via study tools, discussions, help, guides, and free study materials.

7. An online navigation app that operates like a tourist guide, taking the user through a less explored but interesting routes based on their likes and interests

8. An online flower and gift delivering app where you can schedule deliveries for upcoming birthdays of your friends, relatives or anyone else. The app will automatically choose the best flower/gift and place an order for home delivery to them on your behalf

9. Fast supermarket checkout app that lets you automatically scan the products on your mobiles app while shopping in a supermarket and also makes payment automatically through integrated e-payment options.

10. A food recommendation and review app that shows suggestions from actual people that the user trust. The app will allow users to follow other people whom they trust and see their recommendations while selecting a product or service.

11. A goal management and sharing app that will allow you to create life goals, keep track of them, share them with others and find those who share the same goals so that users can support each other in the completion of such goals

12. A virtual interior designer app that will allow you to take a picture of your room or whatever place you wish to design and visualize it with various available design options, like colors, objects, wall stickers, curtains, etc. It will also recommend the places from where you can buy these interior items

Generating new application ideas for your business

Creating new application ideas for your business is no easy feat. While it is admirable to want to go at it alone because it is more cost effective, generating an app idea for the first time can be extremely daunting. This article highlights the benefits of hiring experts to help generate application ideas for your business.

Globalization and increased speed in business intensify competition, and most firms need to continuously innovate to ensure long term competitiveness. Consequently, they also need a continuous stream of ideas as fuel for innovation. Mobile apps are so hot right now they have become synonymous with business growth and with each new business getting on the band wagon, a need has been spurned for the continuous generation of new mobile application ideas. The knowledge needed to discover, invent, and innovate often involves not only existing knowledge but also the generation and acquisition of new knowledge, shared knowledge, and learning. Social networks have been identified as important for increasing learning and the creation of new knowledge. And the structural and relational aspects of social networks within an organization can be explored with social network analysis. Significant advances can be made by using the social network approach in research in organizational setting and this technical know-how is something experts are well vest in.

Experts also take away the load of having to conduct market research, leaving you focused, sparing you cost on the long run, and providing you with a tailored solution (for an in-depth discussion of why hiring experts is better see https://sparkstrand.com/pencraft/2017/06/05/five-reasons-why-hiring-an-expert-is-better-than-doing-it-yourself/). Furthermore, in terms of generating ideas, research has shown that experts are more likely to come up with ideas that are feasible and easily applicable to real world situations. Generally, Ideas could come in two forms, the major being, a certain type of market research in the course of a business’ ordinary dealings could reveal user needs that are not yet met by commercially available products. This needs-based information might then serve as a start for the business to guide its idea generation efforts. Thus, while the business could potentially come up with defining what a new potential product could be, they may not know how the product should work. This is where experts come in. Besides creative thinking skills and motivation, the expertise of research and development and marketing personnel in terms of technical, procedural and intellectual knowledge is a central driver for generating novel and useful ideas.

By hiring experts, you can always avoid elements that failed in the past. More generally, the more competence and experience inventors possess (in terms of generating ideas), the higher the expected quality of the idea.

Promoting content through paid social media ads

As more than three billion people use it, social media has become one, if not the most popular way to market your brand/business/products. The average person spends 135 minutes per day on social networks! In today’s global climate, chances are if you do not get on the social media train, your business runs the risk of falling behind. In light of this and in light of a growing interest in the use of social media marketing, below are a few reasons to consider paid social media advertising:

1. Visibility
As earlier mentioned, billions of people use social media every day. As of 2019, a whopping 3.4billion people have been recorded to have at least one social media application on their smart devices. A further 366 million new people have been reported to have started using social media this past year, meaning that a million people are joining the social media train every day. This is good news for marketers because simply promoting your content through social media (without paying) guarantees you instant visibility. You do not have to try too hard. However, because everyone and their grandmothers are on social media, post from family and friends tend to receive more priority, and so organic reach for brands is on a sharp decline. Promoting your content through paid social media ads guarantees you a place on the consumer’s feed.

2. Brand awareness
This is pretty self-explanatory as it is a point that follows from visibility. With paid social media ads guaranteeing you a place on potential customer’s feed, and doing so regularly, recognition of your brand becomes inevitable. Recognition draws attention and attention is always a good thing.

3. It gives you marketing insights
The paid ads platform e.g. Instagram gives you an insight as to how your ad is performing – what type of ads performed well, whether videos translated well, and what demographic gravitated towards that. The data gathered can boost your performance and place you ahead of your other competitors in the game.

Digital marketing and the most effective methods

The internet has been around for a while – a product created by people, for people, about people, and we live in a time where most business models today are advertiser business models. Generally, as Bill Gates succinctly puts it, advertising is seen as a means by which to “fund the creation and delivery of software and services along with subscriptions and license fees”. The reality of the online world has thus been one where these businesses have focused on ways to generate revenue despite a seemingly free to access internet service. A common way this has been done is by creating traffic on websites and turning it into revenue streams. However, it is really difficult to measure traffic with integrity, considering having to include the definition of consumer satisfaction, the meaning of hits, page views and unique users. So, what is the most effective method of digital marketing? I have highlighted four:

  1. Custom emails

Have you ever gotten a random email not addressed to you from an automated sender, trying to sell you something you never asked for? What was your immediate reaction? Did you immediately ignore and delete? If yes, that is the most common reaction to such emails. The truth is that people would rather open emails received from a person than emails coming from an auto “no-reply” address, better still, if the emails have titles that capture their interest. Never underestimate the power of a good custom email

  • Blog posts

A major problem with digital marketing and advertising these days is that; customers are starting to distrust your typical run-of-the-mill advertising. Research and studies have shown that such advertising is among the least trusted source of information on products and services and have a lower impact in terms of perception of the quality of the product by the customer. However, lack of trust does not take away from the customer’s need for information. Articles published on the company’s blog play a significant role in defining the company’s image across the prospects and the competition and their quality can attract or lose customers. The quality content on a topic of interest for the customers will increase their level of trust and loyalty towards the company.

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO involves the use of the most searched keywords by users and identified using Google Analytics tool. It has a dominant role in the digital promotion strategy and is an effective tool in digital marketing, since it influences the positioning of digital channels available to an organization such as: web sites, blogs, social network accounts, etc. So, web pages can be optimized to become “the most attractive” for the search engines in order to be first displayed when searches are performed using browsers.

  • Display advertising

Display advertising conveys its advertising message visually using text, logos, animations, videos, photographs, or other graphics. This is a particularly effective method because display advertisers frequently target users with particular traits to increase the ads’ effect, using cookies which are unique identifiers of specific computers to decide which ad to serve to a particular consumer. Advertisers may also deliver advertisements based on a user’s suspected geography through geotargeting.

  • Social networks

The importance of social networking in digital marketing cannot be overstated. From Facebook, to Twitter, to Instagram, there is a social networking site for all age groups, and social networks are a specific environment for digital marketing. This is because with them, prospects can be identified by the company and the communication is customized based on the type of network used and the audience. Moreover, according to Fleishman-Hillard, “79% of consumers said they like or follow brands on social networks to get more information about the company and its products and services”

Hot tips for creating content on your webpage

A catchy headline and an interesting content on your webpage is one of the surest ways to generate traffic on your webpage. One of the challenges that content marketers face is the challenge of continually creating new content, so here are a few hot tips for creating content on your webpage

  1. Read the news centred around your industry. This can be used as a prompt and inspiration for your next content
  2. Hire an expert. No man is an island. If you want to succeed in something that is not your core business, why not hire an expert? That way your focus can be shifted to other aspects of your business in need of your skills
  3. Brainstorm with friends. Two heads are better than one. Inspiration can come from brainstorming and a ton of ideas can be generated this way
  4. Ensure there is an FAQ page and always read it. Chatter from consumers is important, and your headline can lead to questions from your consumers, which in turn leads to inspiration for new content
  5. Keep in touch with the latest trends. This will serve as a source of information for creating new content. Check google trends around your industry to see what is hot and incorporate that into your post to boost your rankings and generate traffic
  6. Network. Socialising is very helpful when it comes to creating content. Attending industry events and meeting and interacting with key players in the game can serve as a source of inspiration and give a different vibe to your content, as you will be talking from personal experience. This is a great way to connect to your audience.
  7. Recycle. Go through your old content, and approach it from a different angle.
  8. Take an unrelated topic and relate it to your field. This way, you can attract a different demographic, while still piquing the interest of your current one
  9. Interviews. Conducting interviews with an influencer in your field and including it on your webpage can serve as good content, and generate more traffic to your website
  10. Videos. Never underestimate the value of the visual medium. Think of useful videos to add as part of your content and give your webpage a diverse look.