I recently read an interesting book discussing the changes in the world of digital marketing agencies. In the book, the author talks about the concept of builders vs. drivers. This concept struck a chord with me and I think it's worth sharing.
It's important when your firm is getting involved in a search marketing campaign that you understand where you're at in the process. By this I mean, are you at a stage where you are laying the groundwork for success in the future or are you trying to improve the short-term results of a campaign that already exists? This is an important distinction and it effects the time tables for results, the activities that need to be done, and how you measure the work that is being performed.
There are two main phases that your search marketing campaign falls into, building and driving.
The building phase is used to set the foundation for future success. Most firms that are just getting started with their online marketing campaigns are in a building phase. Building phase activities include:
- Website/Blog Development - Does the firm have a website or blog established? Is the website user-friendly? Is it built on a Content Management System you can access? Does the site have strong calls to action and great content?
- Analytics Setup & Analysis - Do you have analytics in place and ways to measure the traffic and behavior on the site?
- SEO Research Phase - Has the initial keyword research taken place? Is the website optimized including page titles, URL structure, headings, meta descriptions, etc? Do you know what your current link profile looks like (ie: the number and types of other websites linking back to your site)?
- Brand Positioning & Market Research - Do you understand your market and how you differentiate from your competitors?
- Social Media Setup - Do you have the major social media profiles established for the firm as well as individual attorneys at the firm? Are you currently active on any of these profiles?
- Content Strategy- Do you have a strategy in place for producing content? Is the current website content strong, action oriented and focused on the potential clients?
It is essential that these elements are in place before you are able to move on to the driving phase. The difficulty is that many of these elements are not measurable with short-term results. In other words, just setting up a website isn't going to bring in more traffic. Performing initial SEO research won't increase your rankings tomorrow. Setting up a social media profile isn't going to increase your lead numbers this month. Rather, these are all activities that are essential to your success down the road. They are a core part of the process, but the short-term results are not as measurable in terms of new business. For the firms that are used to traditional advertising methods, it is important to understand that your success with Law Firm SEO is a process and it doesn't happen over night. These foundational elements need to be in place to ensure success in the driving phase.
Once the foundational elements are in place, your firm is able to move into the driving phase. The driving phase includes marketing activities through the web, search, social, content, and public relations. These type of activities could include:
- Creation of ebooks, blog posts, infographics, videos, reports, etc.
- Content marketing to increase awareness, generate links, shares, etc.
- Building links to increase the authority of your website or blog.
- Launching a paid search campaign to drive clicks and leads in the short-term.
- Establishing relationships via thoughtful blog commenting, social media, etc
These activities directly contribute to measurable results including:
- Generating website blog traffic
- Increasing awareness of your firm online
- Increasing rankings for selected keyword phrases
- Generating leads/phone calls
It's important that you understand where your law firm is at in this process so that you have proper expectations. If you are just starting out in the building phase, you shouldn't expect immediate, short-term results. However, this isn't an excuse to skip over the crucial elements that are required in the building phase for future success in the driving phase. Success with your online marketing is a process and there are no magic bullets or short cuts to building a healthy, long-lasting online presence.
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