Legal Marketing

4 Things to Factor in When Picking a Marketing Company

by Ryne Goertz

Unless I receive a direct referral from a happy client, most of the prospective clients I discuss digital marketing strategies with are also talking to other potential digital companies, as they are looking for the perfect fit to help their business reach peak performance. During these conversations, it always seems like marketing companies are pulling the prospect in different directions, “You need to be only doing Pay-per-Click”, “You need a new website”, “For this type of campaign, you should really be focusing on Facebook Ads”, etc. So who is right? Who is wrong? How do you differentiate between all of the different website and digital agencies when you are being pulled in so many directions? How do you know you’re making the right move?

Here are four key factors you should be asking your website company about that can best help determine where you are on the map and how to achieve business goals:

Page Speed Update

In the past year, Google has updated its algorithm to start penalizing websites for how fast (or slow) they load or function on mobile devices. This can be a driving force in mobile rankings as well as help overall Google Ad Quality Scores. Google has a developers tool called Page Speed Insights. Plug in your website url in its entirety to get an accurate reading. For ex: Plug in “https://www.williamskherkher.com/” not just “www.williamskherkher.com”. If your website isn’t where you want it to be, ask your current company to look into the issues raised by the Page Speed Insights tool and make the necessary changes.

Pay-per-Click

Your PPC campaign can get expensive really quickly. Before you agree to an SEO company telling you to spend “X” amount, have them send you over a PPC forecast showing the amount of money it would take to be competitive. Google Ad’s forecasting tool allows companies to plug in your geographic area and search terms to determine a budget for the campaign. Based on Google’s historical data, they can predict cost, impressions, clicks, click-through-rate, cost-per-click, and how many conversions you can expect. Cost per click varies greatly per market, so it’s smart to know where your ad dollars are going and how you are allocating among keywords related to your business.

Hotjar or Crazy Egg

These two are tools that can help you see the activity of visitors on your website. They create what is called a “heatmap” that tracks how far down visitors are going on your page as well as where they are clicking. If your website is having trouble converting visitors, this tool could find the problem. These two are both great, however, don’t keep them on your site for long periods of time as they can tend to slow down your website speed, but one month’s worth of data could help you in the long run.

Tracking Leads

One of the things I hear the most from attorneys is that while they may be getting traffic to their site, the leads that they are getting may not be the types of cases they want to bring on. You should be tracking your leads that are coming through your site and listening to the calls or reading the contact forms/live chat transcripts (if you use one). How were they referred to your site? Are they quality leads? With these programs, you can track the keywords that were searched before the visitor landed on your page and called you. If you are repeatedly showing up for terms and getting calls that you don’t want, you should communicate that to your marketing company so they can adjust keywords and campaign strategy accordingly.

All in all, there are many different platforms that are available that can help you make an educated decision before even calling a potential marketing company. If a marketing company is just throwing out a number for you to spend without providing screen-shots of the problem and detail on their strategy to enhance your business’s performance, that is a red flag and something you should consider when choosing your digital agency. Choose an agency that knows your business, your goals, and is willing to share insight on how they will be managing your campaign. Transparency creates comfort in knowing that you are in good hands.


Is AdBlock Killing Your Digital Marketing?

How you can save your digital marketing campaigns from AdBlock

We love AdBlock.
If it weren’t for AdBlock, we would have to face all of those annoying, pop-up, pop-under, spammy, and obnoxious ads.

Figure 1: Remember these?

Surfing the web with ads blocked can feel like a real-life cheat code – you get away with something that you aren’t supposed to… as a consumer.

But as marketers, we must understand the impact that ad blocking software has on our work – especially when the software is literally intended to kill our digital campaigns.

Just to make sure we’re on the same page, let’s analyze how these ad blocking extensions came to be installed on nearly a quarter of global online users.

Figure 2: Ad Blocker study results from IAB

 

How did “ad block” happen?

As you surf the web, you take part in an exchange with the sites you visit: their content in exchange for your payment. However, the payment is not with currency but rather with your attention, view, impression, click, etc. of the ads shown on the site.

Whether you like it or not, this ad revenue is how a large portion of websites make money. Without it, they can’t cover costs to keep the website running and keep bringing you the content you want.

Since Day 1, ad blocking software is so highly sought after because it helps alleviate symptoms arising from core internet problems.

These core internet problems are:

  1. Little control over privacy
  2. Disruption of web experience
  3. Ads in excess
  4. Ads with bad intent
  5. Ads with bad presentation

If you’ve seen a pop-up instruct you to pay for the removal of a computer virus – then you fully understand why the concept of ad blocking software is so appealing.

In fact, 64% of people agree that ads are annoying and support the idea of ad blocking software.

On top of that, 79% of ad-blocking software users agree that their browsing experience improved with it.

These two stats make it clear that browser extensions AdBlock Plus and AdBlock have made a significant impact in the history of internet advertising, but what exactly is their impact today? And more importantly, what is their impact on your digital marketing campaigns?

 

Does AdBlock / Adblock Plus Affect Your Digital Marketing Campaign?

 

Paid ads on Google are largely unaffected because Google is a member of the Acceptable Ads program. Most users unknowingly opt into this program when installing an ad blocker. But what is it?

Acceptable Ads, defined by AdBlock Plus (ABP), are “respectful, don’t interfere with content, and are clearly labeled with the word ‘advertisement’ or its equivalent.” They also follow standards set forth by the Coalition for Better Ads, a group formed by leading international trade associations and companies involved in online media.

By default, AdBlock & ABP allow the whitelisted ads to show. To disable this feature, you have to manually go into the settings and uncheck the box next to it. Or (if you don’t exit out of the welcome page as soon as you see the donation part) you’ll see that ABP actually tells you about the whitelist and even provides a link to the settings page. (See “Figure 4” below.)

“The Acceptable Ads Committee (board that controls the program) gives advertisers, such as Google, a pass to show their ads – for a fee, of course. With these gatekeepers in place, advertisers must create ads that fall in line with standards produced by the expectations of online users.”

For users that do disable the whitelist, their Google experience will be free of all search and display ads.

A Google search, with ad blocking switched to “ON” will undergo these changes: (drag slider to compare)

Check out how different websites on the display network look with
1) no ads,
2) acceptable ads, and
3) all ads.
I counted 26 ads – but ABP’s number is a whopping 78.

As a result of the Acceptable Ads whitelist, Google ads in the search and display networks remain unblocked. Not only must a user install an extension, but they also have to change additional settings. ABP cleverly adds the Acceptable Ads notice below the donation box on their welcome page (highlighted in green below). By the time users get to the donation box, they’re already opening a tab to test out the ad blocker on YouTube.

How do ad blockers affect YouTube campaigns?

YouTube Ads are really just Google Ads run on the YouTube.com domain. The effects are similar to those observed with display ad campaigns. YouTube ads have banners that appear over the video player and in the sidebar above the queue of next videos. You can see how different the view is with and without AdBlock below.

Video ads are also blocked on YouTube. With AdBlock enabled, a user on YouTube avoids seeing all ads for an uninterrupted experience.

How do ad blockers affect Facebook campaigns?

On Facebook, the “acceptable” type of ads begin to appear more subtly. Adblockers are able to block most ads that are seen outside of the main timeline. Within the timeline, you still see ads in the form of sponsored posts. They will be presented in a more organic manner, but it is still a paid placement. Using standard settings, ABP will not block all ads on Facebook.

However, customizing advanced settings gives the user the option to block all ads, including acceptable ads. Remarketing campaigns using the Facebook pixel also suffer. The advanced settings can be configured to prevent the user’s browser from being tracked by the pixel code on your website or landing page. This is alarming because anyone willing to take the time to adjust settings can essentially become invisible on the internet (in terms of advertising). This ghost-user browses the web with ads blocked, and browser tracking tools thwarted.

Luckily, ABP by default will allow acceptable ads to pass through their filters. See the difference for yourself:

How do ad blockers affect SEO campaigns?

Your rankings are unlikely to fall victim to ad blockers, but your SEO campaign can still suffer.

An ad blocking extension can prevent your site’s Google Analytics from tracking users correctly, similar to the way they block the Facebook Pixel. With Google Analytics, we can see valuable data from a client’s website to draw insights from. This data helps us develop and implement changes to an SEO campaign. So when a visitor using ad block also blocks Analytics, we lose data about their on-site behavior such as how much time they spend on a webpage, which links they click on, and what websites they come from. This data is automatically processed daily and is a crucial factor of any good SEO strategy.

In short, ad blockers might be causing you to plan out your SEO campaign with inaccurate numbers.

How do ad blockers affect Hulu campaigns?

Hulu is impacted when streamed on a web browser. Like many other subscription services, Hulu’s website is able to detect ad blockers and combats it by directly requesting the user to enable ads on their site. The screenshot below shows the message that appears over the video player when the user would normally be shown an advertisement.

To take it a step further, Hulu forces the anti-adblock message to display on screen for thirty seconds, the same time a typical commercial would be shown. There is even a link to a guide in Hulu’s Help Center instructing users how to stop blocking ads on their site. The guide is even split into sections to show specific instructions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Users that persist with ad blockers skew reach and impression numbers from Hulu because the ad-blocking user is counted as a viewer of the programming even though they were not served any advertisements. This means that your ad campaign may be using inaccurate projected figures in its strategy.

However, this is typically not a negative occurrence. If a significant portion of your campaign’s reach was never exposed to your ad, Hulu’s ad algorithm can make up for the lapse with repeat exposures. You might be paying a higher rate for less reach, but if you exclude ad blockers when measuring the performance of your campaign, metrics like cost per view, cost per click, and conversion rate will reflect more accurate, higher quality results.

While users are able to avoid watching ads on Hulu, they still have to wait through pauses in their streaming, which could encourage them to enable ads. At this point the user must choose between sitting through empty gaps or watching ads.

Figure 4: Hulu raising an eyebrow

Is Your Digital Marketing Ad Blocker Proof?

Ad Block is an obstacle that must be addressed when planning out any digital marketing campaign for your law firm or small business. Whether a user is on a search engine, social media website, or television streaming service, these internet browser extensions intend to stop your online advertising. With the population of users increasing every day, it is crucial that you understand the impact ad blocking software has on your ad spend and more importantly your law firm or business’ growth. If you are concerned your marketing/advertising is suffering because of ad blockers, fill out a form or give us a call at (512) 806-7955. We’ll be more than happy to discuss how we can best optimize your campaigns.


Rumor has it, Google Local Service Ads will soon be available for lawyers!

What are Google Local Service Ads?

These special ads appear above paid search ads, maps, and organic results. For example, if you search for Plumbers in Austin, you will see these results:

google LSA ads for plumbers in Austin

These Local Service Ads appear above the Pay per Click Ads, map listings, and organic listings.

The other unique feature of these ads is their fee structure. Advertisers who are using Local Service Ads pay per call received, rather than for each click.

As with all digital marketing, you will want to track the results of your Local Service Advertising closely to make sure you are spending your marketing dollars wisely. We are in communication with Google to see when they will be available in your market.

Stay tuned!


What Attorneys and Vendor Do Wrong at Legal Conferences

What I would love to accomplish is a better experience for both lawyers and vendors at all legal conferences.

Vendors

We spend a lot of money to be at these conferences, from the high cost to attend, building booths, giveaways, sending salespeople and entertaining our prospective clients. That being said, we probably put too much pressure on our salespeople to obtain new business. This results in our salespeople being too darn pushy and a bit slimy at times. This results in attorneys hiding from the “dreaded” exhibit hall.

Here is the solution in my not so humble opinion. We (vendors) have a lot of expertise and knowledge that can help attorneys grow their practices. Therefore, we need to become trusted advisors, not just another salesperson. In my company, we have many clients that have known us for years before coming on board and I think the biggest contributor to this is the fact that we preach to our team to be AUTHENTIC. You don’t have to “sell” but just be your normal self. Take your time to educate the attorneys and create a TRUE relationship. How do you create great relationships—pretty easy… Give more than you receive. Give attorneys helpful advice that they can implement before they give your company a dime. Be committed to growing the attorneys business, not your own. We have a very long term view when it comes to partnering up with a firm. If we are not selected now, that is okay because it probably means someone OVERSOLD the attorney in the past. These attorneys come back over time, albeit a bit jaded.

Lawyers

Okay, we really gave it to the vendors and now it is your turn ;-).

Have you ever found yourself looking at the competition with a hint of jealousy of their success? Have you ever wondered how they get all these great ideas? Or how they are so knowledgeable about marketing/operations etc…Well, one of the reasons could be that these attorneys BRAVE the exhibit hall and take the time to speak with almost everyone. I truly believe that if you don’t spend the time to chat with these folks you are doing yourself a HUGE DISSERVICE. We live in our respective spaces as you live in the legal world. It is virtually impossible for you to stay up with all the latest and greatest digital marketing trends, video marketing trends, what is the best CRM, etc. I have been in this field for 20 years and know most of the vendors personally, and there is a TON of knowledge in the “hall” that can help you grow your business. Take the time to go meet with them, learn about what they offer and gain insights to help your firm. Don’t feel pressure to sign up and if the vendor is pressuring you, it is probably not a good fit. On the other hand, do not be afraid to take a RISK on an idea that you think might work because you have been burned in the past. If a person had a terrible experience with a lawyer, would you recommend against lawyers in the future? Just like anything, there are good vendors and bad vendors, your job is to find the best company for you your firm.


New Design Alert: Hart, McLaughlin & Eldridge

We are excited to announce the launch of a new website design for Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge!

Overall, the site’s new style reflects the efficiency and the professionalism of this experienced Chicago legal team. Our designers focused on sharp lines with minimal clutter on each page, conveying a formal sense of simplicity and directness. The clean presentation of information, coupled with the crisp lines and the lack of distracting features, should inspire site visitors with confidence. We have found that frustrating or confusing website designs can discourage potential clients from ever contacting the business in question. Our goal with this site’s structure was to create a simple, easy online experience that can flow smoothly into a call or an email to this skilled legal team.

Stylistic Features

The homepage of the new design features rotating images of Chicago in the background. Our attorney’s targeted clientele will most likely recognize Millennium Park and the Buckingham Fountain. The first thing site visitors will see on the homepage is the assertive, reassuring directive “Start with the end game.” Scrolling down the page reveals what the end game is: “Results.” New site visitors will be heartened by the sense that this legal team already has a history of favorable outcomes for their clients.
The other main pages on the site—”Legal Team,” “Practice Areas,” “Accomplishments,” and “Contact Us,” are all tidy and structured. The Legal Team page presents uniform black-and-white photos of the firm’s employees. The consistency of the photos conveys a sense of respectability and attention to detail.
When it comes to simple ease of access, our “Practice Areas” page presents the legal firm’s various fields in neat, direct rectangular boxes. A quick scan can familiarize a viewer with many of their practice areas. The fact that the attorneys handle such a wide variety of cases should impart the idea that this is an experienced team with a wide array of skills.

Contact Us

We are certainly proud of this new design and excited to offer it to a respected client! If you are interested in learning more about how we fit our website design to our customers’ business needs, feel free to contact us at (512) 806-7955.


New Website Launched: The Mokaram Law Firm

Today, The Search Engine Guys is excited to launch a new website for The Mokaram Law Firm.

This new web design features a stunning video at the top of the landing page, showing the attorneys hard at work and highlighting the professionalism with which they carry themselves. The firm’s total settlements of over a billion dollars is prominently overlayed on top of the video, sending a powerful message of success.

website design for lawyers

This site’s use of video and parallax effects is compelling and draws visitors in to see more. This is of incredible importance in web marketing, as most people leave a website within seconds of getting to it. If you are looking for a website design for your law firm that can help you retain visitors, call The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955 and speak with our knowledgeable web development experts.


TSEG at AAJ

The Search Engine Guys will be in attendance for the American Association for Justice Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on July 26th through July 30th. Say hello to Koby Ackie our Director of Business Development. Koby’s been involved in SEO non stop for the past 6-7 years, so if you have general questions about SEO, or specific questions about your website and how you are doing (or for that matter, questions on any number of topics related to online legal marketing)…find Koby and demand answers!

Ready to start working with us? Call (512) 806-7955 or Email Us Now