Should Law Firms Invest in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has been a hot marketing topic for well over a decade and a half, especially amongst law firms. However, PPC is also a significant investment—and it is anything but a one-size-fits-all strategy to attracting more clients and generating new streams of revenue. And when it comes to law firms, this couldn't be truer. So, when the question "should law firms invest in PPC advertising?" is posed, our team's short answer is: It depends.

Ultimately, before diving into the heady world of PPC, every law firm needs to analyze their own business and answer some specific questions, including:

  • Is PPC part of the firm's overall marketing strategy or the only marketing tactic on the table?
  • How much is the firm willing to spend monthly?
  • Who in the firm will be responsible for screening and vetting leads?
  • Is the firm willing to spend the time to analyze the data, or will this be left up to a marketing agency?
  • How is success viewed and measured?

And finally, one of the most important in our eyes is:

  • What type of law firm are you?

Frankly speaking, that last question is poignant. Our opinion at YGL Enterprises is that while PPC can work for a plaintiff's firm in appealing directly to consumers, it is less likely to be effective for a firm that deals in a B2B capacity without the help of other marketing strategies.

The Realities of PPC

The truth is that PPC for law firms is an incredibly complex topic—and it is expensive, to boot. As a marketing approach, PPC presents the possibility of yielding an extraordinarily high ROI—but that's not a guarantee. Effective PPC advertising requires careful strategy, evaluation, and an understanding of legal industry nuances, along with the ability to align this knowledge with the mechanics of paid search.

And that's not easy. Here's why.

PPC advertising is based on a bidding system. So, no matter if you are a personal injury attorney who seeks to appeal directly to consumers or a business attorney whose ideal client is another business, the legal market is crowded online—and it is beyond competitive.  As a point of reference, we encourage you to check out Wordstream's blog detailing the top 20 most expensive keywords.

Note that the words "lawyer" and "attorney" rank between $42 to $47 per click. That's not chump change! And there isn't a guarantee that a click on your PPC ad converts into a paying customer ready to walk through your office's doors. That "clicker" could spend a matter of seconds on your website before bouncing off, and it's you who gets stuck with that bill.

Now, let's factor in location and practice area. This example, on how much a Google Ads campaign could cost, will take your breath away!

Bad news if you are a maritime attorney located in Houston, Texas.

Additionally, we haven't even factored in the cost of agency PPC management. This expense can run anywhere from 15% to 40% of your firm's PPC campaign's total cost, meaning the total monthly fee will be significant.

Plus, you must also consider transparency, or the lack thereof, in the PPC process. After all, an agency can represent more than one law firm specializing in a specific type of law within any given market.  How effective is a PPC advertising campaign if you and your closest competitor have hired the same marketing agency for the same purpose? Ultimately, if you are considering partnering with a marketing agency, it is imperative that you ask the agency about their past work with law firms like yours and their active client list. Also, inquire on the front-end about whether they offer market exclusivity—meaning that if you sign a contract, you will be the only maritime attorney in Houston, for instance, that they are representing.

Additionally, it is essential to understand that no agency should "guarantee" results, as it's impossible to promise a specific outcome with PPC ads. Results will vary and depend on many factors. A reputable PPC agency will instead focus on analyzing the data and making intelligent decisions on how to make your firm's current campaigns better while strategically planning for the future. The agency should focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) related to:

  • Clicks
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)
  • Quality score
  • Conversion rate (CVR)
  • Cost per conversion/acquisition (CPA)
  • Average position

Plus, the agency should be willing, able, and eager to share and explain all of this to you so that you understand what is working and what isn't—and how that translates to ROI.

The lesson here is simple: If you are a law firm investing in PPC, you should understand how this tactic contributes to your overall marketing strategy and how it impacts your business.

How Does Google Determine Ad Visibility?

First, let's explore a critical fact: Determining factors regarding ad visibility change frequently as Google updates its algorithms. However, four competitive metrics stay relatively static as your campaign competes against other accounts in the ad auction. They are:

  1. Search impression share: This represents the number of impressions received divided by the estimated number of impressions you are eligible to receive. So, if your score is 57%, that means your ad shows on the search engine results page 57 out of 100 times.
  2. Search top impression share: This indicates the percentage of time your ad shows in a top position, above organic results. This metric is calculated by looking at the number of times your ad shows in a top position vs. the number of times it was eligible to receive an impression in a top position.
  3. Search absolute top impression share: This is the percentage of ad impressions that are shown in the very first paid position. It is calculated by taking the absolute top impressions number and dividing it by the times your ad was eligible to receive an absolute top position impression.
  4. Click share: A relatively new metric, this is the number of clicks your ad received on the search network divided by the estimated maximum number of clicks that were possible.

Considering Lead Quality

A final point of consideration is the actual quality of the leads you receive from PPC, which can vary widely. For example, while B2C law firms operating in the areas of family law, auto accidents, worker's compensation, personal injury, or products liability—to name a few—can receive considerable benefit from a PPC campaign, the same cannot be said about B2B law firms.

Rather, B2B law firms will be hard-pressed to generate quality leads. Firstly, the audience size for a B2B law firm is much smaller than that of their B2C counterpart. After all, a B2B firm is targeting other businesses, not the general population. As such, keyword search volumes are considerably lower in B2B than in the B2C space.

Secondly, in a B2B setting, the web surfer could be one of many people from the different departments at a company—including an administrator, the CEO, an accountant, etc. So, with that in mind, the PPC campaign will have to be designed with varied audience targets, which can be tricky.

Finally, B2B buyers tend to comparison shop, especially when long-term contracts, ongoing relationships, and significant dollars are involved. On the other hand, B2C transactions have a shorter sales cycle and are driven by emotion or immediate need.

Our take? PPC for a B2B law firm is risky. But there is a caveat.

PPC for B2B Law Firms Must Be Part of a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

PPC on its own isn't going to cut it for a B2B firm. However, suppose your firm is interested in engaging in PPC advertising. In that case, it must be part of a comprehensive marketing strategy—it cannot be standalone if you want to get results and show a return on your investment.

It is here that YGL Enterprises can help. We regularly partner with B2B law firms in developing and deploying inclusive and thorough marketing strategies that effectively address both short-term and long-view targets. We would love the opportunity to speak with your firm about how PPC advertising can complement a well-thought-out and all-encompassing approach to your marketing. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.


YGL Enterprises, Inc. Recognized as one of the Leading Branding Companies in North Carolina by Clutch

Founded in 2008, YGL Enterprises, Inc. has been helping companies manage their brands, create marketing solutions, and deliver stellar content strategies throughout the Carolinas. This dedication to pushing the boundaries in our industry has secured us a spot on Clutch’s prestigious list of top companies in North Carolina.

We are thrilled to be featured on Clutch especially as one of the forerunners in our industry for North Carolina. This is a huge honor and privilege for our team! We are thankful for Clutch and their team for making this award happen.

For those who don’t know, the 2021 research by Clutch features industry leaders from different industries and different states.

Companies and agencies who are featured in this list are considered the highest-performing B2B companies in their respective industry and state.

Of course, we would also like to shout out our clients for supporting us throughout these years. You have been vital in our company’s success and we are forever grateful to each and everyone of you.

You might be wondering what Clutch is, well, they are a premier ratings and reviews platform. They are the go-to resource in the agency space for anything about the B2B industry. Their review process is reliable, transparent, and is considered as one of the best available out there.

Are you looking for the best agency for your next project? Don’t worry, you are in the right place! Contact us today and let’s talk about your business. Apart from branding, we also provide marketing strategy, content, and a whole lot more services that can help in reaching your goals.


Photo of People Using Laptops and Sharing Ideas

Want to Turn Your Customers into Superfans? Follow These Tips

When we say the word “superfan,” what picture pops into your mind? Do you envision a passionate sports enthusiast clothed in their team’s colors, screaming encouragement from the first row in an arena? Or do you think of some fun cosplay—a comic junkie bedecked in a Spiderman or Wonder Woman costume, standing in line for an autograph at Comic-Con?

Sure, it’s easy to think of both individuals as superfans whose love for a sport, hobby, or some other endeavor goes well beyond loyalty alone, toeing the line with obsession. However, did you know that it’s possible for your professional services business also to turn your customers into superfans, making them your brand’s most devoted advocates?

It’s true!

In this blog, the branding and marketing experts at YGL Enterprises will discuss what makes a superfan and how to cultivate this vital group of committed supporters for your business.

What is a Brand Superfan?

Let’s begin with a definition. A brand superfan is someone who offers unaided and unprompted backing for your business’s brand.  They are your true fan, perfectly comfortable telling others about your product or service, tirelessly recommending you, and wholly invested in your long-term success. A superfan is your brand’s top-tier customer base, and they don’t simply love what you do but how you do it.

A superfan believes in you as well as the value of what you are offering. They will stand next to you come hell or high water.

Why Professional Service Businesses Need Superfans

Now, while there’s no denying that your business needs superfans, there is also a stark reality. Namely, too many professional services businesses neglect to focus on cultivating their customers—and because of this, they miss out on an important opportunity that could significantly grow brand awareness, enhance the company’s reputation, and generate sizeable revenue.

In today’s competitive market, it is getting consistently harder to reach a targeted audience and equally challenging to connect with the prospects who say they want to hear from your businesses via social media, B2B networking, email marketing, and other platforms.

Why?

Because technology and supporting algorithms are constantly changing and evolving, and people are stretched increasingly thin and have short attention spans. Well, A superfan helps cut through the clutter and provides others with valuable insights about their customer experience. Think of a superfan as an insurance policy that you can rely on during the peaks and valleys that all businesses face.  And they will help ensure you have more ups than you do downs.

How to Cultivate Superfans

Now that you have learned why it is so important to have superfans, the next step is to discover how you cultivate these people and bring them into your brand’s fold. Indeed, it takes time, strategy, and a concerted effort across your enterprise. Fortunately for you, the team at YGL Enterprises has some tips on how to create hyper-engaged brand superfans.

  • Identify current company superfans. To do this, you must know what to look for to accomplish this goal. Use social media monitoring software and Google alerts to keep an eye out for company mentions online as well as the products and services you provide. Here is a handy list of some tools you might want to check out. When using a monitoring tool, you may uncover a few individuals who consistently mention your brand and heap on positive praise. This is your superfan. Make sure you communicate with them to let them know how much you appreciate their support.
  • Redefine your approach to customer service. Go the extra mile and show your customers you genuinely care. Offer them personalized service and attention that goes way beyond your billed fee. Make your company’s mission centered on humanized service that focuses less on a transaction and more on becoming your customer’s trusted partner and counselor. Your customers want to know that you recognize they are unique and have short- and long-term needs and goals. Don’t be a one-hit-wonder.
  • Look to exceed your industry’s expectations. Mediocrity, unfortunately, is an all too familiar business norm. Therefore, break free and set your business apart. Empower your employees and give them the resources that make your company the clear leader in service, support, and overall experience. Create and champion an internal culture that is effectively conveyed to the outside world, no matter if it is with a customer, referral partner, vendor, or any other group. Go beyond simply raising awareness about your brand, but instead drive a strategy that makes your company the brand of choice within your industry and market.
  • Don’t be afraid of starting conversations with your brand community. Whether this is on social media, via virtual events offered to select customers or groups, or through intimate in-person affairs, inviting your engaged audience members into an inner circle and getting to know them personally is a magic bullet. Ask open-ended questions, engage in your blog or on your social media’s comment sections, listen to responses, and respond. Show that you are just as passionate and committed to listening to them, that you care about their response, and that there is a human behind your brand.

A personal anecdote that we would like to share relates to one of our law firm clients: in the early stages of the rebranding process, we suggested that the attorneys identify a handful of dedicated clients who would be willing to provide input about the proposed name change. Not only did the clients feel “honored” to be part of the rebranding process, but they also offered helpful insights and provided several fantastic client testimonials. It was a total win-win!

Activate Your Superfans

Superfans are more than just great customers; they are your evangelists. They want to share your brand with the world. So, to start activating your superfans, begin interacting, always be listening, create a sense of community, reward loyalty, and provide unmatched customer service.  Implementing these strategies will allow you to develop a base of superfans who will become your committed champions today, tomorrow, and in the future.

For more information about how YGL Enterprises can help you develop a brand building and marketing strategy that grows and sustains superfans, reach out to our team today. We are eager to consult with your professional services organization.

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Digitial Tablet with Images

Repurposing Your Content Across Channels: Why This Action Saves Time and Money

Taking the time to create meaningful and insightful content requires dedication and consistency—and likely takes you away from your core business, which means it costs you money. Ensure that each piece of content you pen—be it a blog post, a social media update, a white paper, or anything else—allows you to make a considerable impact, garner attention, and get the most bang for your buck.

In this blog post, the marketing experts at YGL Enterprises will explain why repurposing content across all your channels makes good sense and enables your content to realize a longer lifespan.

What is Content Repurposing?

Firstly, let’s break down just what we mean when we reference content repurposing; within the world of content strategy, it can also be referred to as content recycling.  This approach means you are taking a piece of previously written content for use on a platform such as a company blog and use it differently to expand your audience, gain more exposure, and potentially drive more business to your primary website.

Some ways to repurpose content include:

  • Taking a blog post and blasting it out in a newsletter sent to existing clients and prospects on your email list.
  • Breaking down blog content into individual tweets for Twitter or status updates for Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • Identifying individual tips and quotes from a post and creating a graphic for use on social media or in an infographic.
  • Converting the same blog post into a video, live-action feed, or animation and sharing it on your website or social media so people can watch what you have to say. (Remember, many people find it easier to digest visual information than reading text, which could lead to immediate audience expansion.)
  • Returning to a blog post you wrote months or years ago and heavily adding to and/or revising information based on market or industry changes to offer more value to a reader.
  • Applying for syndication on a website like Business2Community or setting up an account and posting on Medium. On the former, every time you post a blog to your site, it will automatically be pushed to the B2C site. On the latter, once you publish enough content and gain some followers, you will likely be invited to participate in “online publications” and share content on pages that have large audiences.
  • Compiling blogs that share a theme and creating a whitepaper or an eBook—and then offering these materials as a “bonus” to people who opt-in to a mailing list or take some other conversion action.

Indeed, these are just a few ways that you can recycle and reuse content—but at the end of the day, this approach allows you to avoid getting stuck in a seemingly never-ending loop of trying to come up with new content ideas.

Repurposing Content Can Be Beneficial to SEO

We all know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex endeavor, primarily because the search engines constantly change their algorithms and consider so many criteria when determining search results. Fortunately, recycling content can potentially boost your SEO efforts. Here’s how:

  • You invest your resources wisely and reach a broader audience in the process. For instance, let’s pretend you have a blog post that consistently performs and drives traffic. It resonates because your prospects reference this article when they call you to schedule a consultation for a specific service. Therefore, if you create an infographic and a video on this topic, as it is already popular, you will boost your organic traffic without investing time and money to figure out what speaks to your potential audience.
  • When you repurpose your content—adding to it or revising it—you give that piece of content a more recent update record on your website. This tactic appeals to the search engines and signals that it is still relevant, meaning it is more likely to end up on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • You can put your SEO knowledge to good use. For instance, maybe when you wrote a blog, specific keywords were hot and sought after, but today, they are not. In this regard, you can rework the content based on what keyword data is trending now and give the content new life.

How to Determine What Content Should Be Repurposed

Simply put, not all content can be considered evergreen or even revisable. So don’t drive yourself crazy trying to make a seasonable or outdated piece of content relevant again. Therefore, we recommend the following tips:

  • Assess your goals and find content that aligns with what you are trying to achieve. For instance, are you trying to partner with a specific industry player? Are you seeking to build relationships with prospects who specifically operate in the C-suite of their organization? Whatever your goal may be, identify content that speaks to this audience.
  • Check your website’s analytics and see what content is performing well. Then determine what blogs rank for organic visibility, reach, linking structure, the number of shares, and other key performance indicators.
  • Identify evergreen content. This is the content that never goes “out of style.” This content is an easy and effective go-to for creating social media updates, graphics, videos, and the like.
  • Spend some time looking at any comments you have received on your blogs. Often, a reader will leave constructive feedback if they have questions about a concept you discussed and would like to know more.  If someone took time to read your content and comment, pay attention to them.
  • Employ the “skyscraper technique.” Research your competitors, check out what they have written about, and repurpose their content (no, not plagiarize—this content will be new to your business and should be original). Create a better and more complete version of what your competitor offered. If you want to put the cherry on top of this tactic, reach out to blogs and websites that may have linked to your competitor’s content and share your new and improved version. If your timing is right and the stars align, they will remove the old link and replace it with a link to your new and updated interpretation.

Consult with a Professional

Repurposing content is an effective strategy for any business that does not have the time or capacity to constantly strategize and push out new content. Instead, harness the power that your existing content holds and make it work harder for your company.  Of course, if you love the idea of this strategy but need some creative inspiration to give your old content new life, contact the marketing professionals at YGL Enterprises.  We would love to have the opportunity to consult with you, analyze your content, determine where there is an opportunity, and get your business more attention.

 

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Marketing Strategy Graphic

Six Steps To Build a More Effective Marketing Strategy

Having a great product or service does not mean much if people are unaware of its existence. An effective marketing strategy is essential to generating awareness and driving sales. Businesses need to plan BEFORE investing in tactical marketing initiatives. As noted in a previous blog, developing a successful marketing plan that consistently drives results is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to gain momentum and determine if your strategy is reaching and converting your target audience.

Let’s take a closer look at six critical components of a well-crafted marketing strategy and discuss their importance.

Marketing Strategy Graphic planning, price, placement, product, promotion, performance

  1. Planning

Start with a plan. What is the goal of your marketing campaign? What do you want to achieve?

  • Do you want to generate more inquiries about your legal services?
  • Do you want to add prospects to your mailing list?
  • Are you trying to increase awareness about a new product launch?

Set specific objectives to tailor marketing efforts. Having a broad scope will reduce the tactical impact. You don’t have to be everything to everyone.

Define your target audience—there is no sense in going after everyone. Consider who uses your product or service, be it members of the C-suite, office managers, or another demographic.

  1. Price

Analyze the market and decide on a pricing strategy. Be competitive without making a lowball offer.  You must still be profitable and meet your margins.  Conversely, ensure you are not engaging in overpricing and excluding a large segment of your audience.  Research and evaluate similar products and services and strike a happy medium.

Also, consider your marketing budget. How much money has been allocated to this campaign, and for how long? Divvy up funds between strategies, including:

  • Paid advertising
  • Commercials
  • Videos or images
  • Direct mailers
  • Events
  • Other initiatives

Spread expenses strategically and allocate funds on generated results and performance.

  1. Placement

Decide which channels are key to promoting your product or service. Base this on where your target audience spends time and how they interact with your business. Explore varied opportunities, including:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • Print advertising
  • Digital advertising
  • Radio/Television

Don’t waste your time, effort, and resources on channels that your customers do not use.  Place a focus on media that will result in ROI.  Know that you can broaden your reach once things are underway.

  1. Product/Service

You know your product/service is excellent, but do other people? Spend time researching and analyzing your competitors. Determine what sets you apart and what makes your product/service a better fit for the customer.

Highlight compelling features, benefits, or advantages.

  • Does your business specialize in a specific area of law?
  • Does your product outperform others on the market?
  • Do you offer a lower cost or finance rate?

Identify your product or service’s compelling value proposition.  If you have problems establishing this, you may want to go back to the drawing board.

  1. Promotion

Once you know what you are selling and to whom, you must promote it and drive interest. Give customers a reason to try your company—and encourage them to become repeat customers.  Ensure you factor the cost of promotions into your overall budget.

Here are a few options that can add incentive:

  • Free samples
  • Discount codes
  • Limited time offers
  • Contests
  • Referral programs
  • Loyalty programs

All are great ways to increase customer engagement and draw them in; however, they are tactics you must plan to ensure smooth deployment.

  1. Performance

Finally, how will your marketing strategy’s success be tracked? Ensure key performance indicators are measurable and you have defined goals alongside monitoring tools.  Software like Google Analytics, Salesforce reports, and feedback from customer surveys all could prove helpful.

Remain aware of where the most traction and ROI occur while allowing your marketing plan enough time to take effect and reach the intended audience—then examine underperforming areas.  You may want to tweak your approach or reallocate funds to a place that has shown better performance.

Consult with a Professional

If you need help navigating these six steps and developing a marketing strategy that works for your business and its goals, contact the professionals at YGL Enterprises. We customize plans to align with your unique needs and budget and deliver a focused approach to drive realistic marketing solutions.

 

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services organizations and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping companies devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Putting the Customer First: The Importance of Surveys for Professional Services

What used to be a rarity is now commonplace: companies want your feedback. Whether you buy a product online, see a health care professional, or have your accountant provide tax advice, you likely expect to receive a follow-up email or text asking you to rate your experience. Increased competition, online review sites, social media, and savvy consumers continue to drive businesses to seek feedback to gauge customer experiences.

And yet, many businesses fail to invite consumers to rate and comment on their experience. This is a missed opportunity that ultimately impacts long-term client satisfaction and the company’s bottom line. Today, we explore why many professional services businesses are hesitant to ask for feedback and how they can overcome their fear of the process. Whether you provide legal, consulting, accounting, engineering, or other business-related services, implementing a customer experience program will set you apart from the competition.

Here are just a few common reasons why professional services fail to survey their clients:

  • The client will not reply, so why bother?
  • Fear of negative reviews and uncertainty of how to respond.
  • Customer feedback programs are too expensive to implement.
  • My clients have all the information they need.
  • Because the company is small, the professional service provider already knows what its clients think or need.

All of the above are common myths. Every business should consistently seek client feedback about its product or service. If companies are not asking for feedback, they are missing out on significant opportunities to:

  • Improve business operations.
  • Enhance customer loyalty.
  • Turn a negative experience into a positive outcome.
  • Encourage “social proof” by urging users to rate and review your products and services experiences on online reputation platforms.
  • Tweak product or service offerings to better align with their customer base.
  • Identify areas of opportunity to reach new customers or fill a gap in the market.

Capturing Customer Insights

Luckily, there are numerous resources that professional services can use to solicit feedback, such as:

  • Live Chat
  • Customer satisfaction software
  • End of engagement email surveys via SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or Polldaddy
  • Face-to-face surveys
  • Telephone surveys
  • Hard copy surveys with a personalized letter from senior management
  • Any combination of the above

Businesses should carefully reflect on which option will likely generate the most participation and meet the outlined goal. For example, are you surveying many clients about their general perceptions of the business, or is the survey targeted to a handful of “key” clients who represent a significant portion of the firm’s revenue? Complex services such as legal or accounting will benefit from using face-to-face surveys or telephone surveys. Additionally, experience shows that clients are more likely to respond when going through a neutral, third-party source to give honest responses.

Professional services organizations can also take advantage of online tools tailored toward their unique needs and insights. Companies such as SoGoSurvey and ClearlyRated offer secure platforms to conduct online legal surveys and analyze feedback.

More specifically, ClearlyRated provides Net Promoter® Score surveys to measure and improve customer loyalty. Many customers weigh others’ opinions heavily when deciding which firm to engage with, so maintaining a positive reputation is essential. Survey results can complement reputation management efforts by showing businesses where there are opportunities for improvement.

But keep your expectations realistic – you’re unlikely to achieve a 100% participation rate, but that’s OK; even a 10% response rate can provide valuable information. Consistently fine-tuning the customer experience will increase customer loyalty and set you apart from the competition.

Creating Meaningful Survey Questions

One frequent pitfall that many businesses succumb to is not planning BEFORE launching a survey. Rather than asking vague, generic questions that have little value when it comes to measuring satisfaction or how to improve, focus on specific, targeted questions around crucial aspects of the business. For instance, break down experiences into essential points, such as:

  • Was the professional and/or team responsive to your questions or concerns?
  • Did we clearly explain our fees and billing structure based on the scope of the project?
  • Did we exceed your expectations?
  • Did we keep you informed about the progress of the project/matter?
  • How likely they are to recommend the company/product/service to others.

Have a plan for the type of information you want to collect and how and who will respond to any customer concerns. Remember to keep the survey short; no more than six to eight questions for optimal client response. Additionally, it’s helpful to mix up the types of questions by providing a variety of multiple-choice, scale ratings, yes/no, or short-answer depending on what kind of information you want to elicit. Also, let customers know up-front approximately how long the survey is expected to take and why their feedback is important. Finally, always thank them for their time and participation.

Managing Feedback

When implementing a client experience program, a business must commit to accept and act upon ALL feedback. Just because a company doesn’t like a response doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Clients expect that their opinions and concerns are not only heard but addressed promptly. Ignoring negative feedback can result in the client airing the grievance online, which can quickly tarnish a company’s reputation.

For example, if several people respond that the business is not responsive to returning phone calls or emails, be prepared to execute change quickly. This could mean creating a policy of a 24-hour timeframe for replying – and sticking to it! Note the change on the company website, and other social media venues, so clients know that you listened to their concerns and care. Implementing positive changes can mean not only a greater financial return but also improved customer loyalty.

If a specific client has an issue, senior management should be ready to step in and personally address the problem promptly. This simple act can go a long way in forging improved relationships. It shows clients that they matter.

Implementing Client Satisfaction Surveys

Are you ready to take the next step? Implementing a plan for a client experience program for your business or professional services firm can be easier than you think. Working with a marketing professional such as YGL Enterprises can help you implement a plan that fits your business’s unique needs and generates the type of feedback you can use to drive continued success. Contact YGL Enterprises today to learn more and develop a focused strategy to realize marketing solutions.

 

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Navigating the Ups and Downs Through Online Reputation Management

Reputation plays an integral role in a business’ success or failure. A negative review or poor experience can spread like wildfire in today’s digital world, making online reputation management a must when companies are crafting their marketing strategy. It is not enough to deal with issues as they arise and hope for the best; being proactive and having a plan can help curb problems and build brand trust.

According to Reputation X, “Americans tell more people about poor service (15 people on average) than about good experiences (11).” Online review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and numerous industry-specific rating sites are some of the places customers visit when researching a business or want to share their experience. That means that you must continuously monitor these platforms and respond to customer comments.

Respond to both negative and positive comments. Remember the adage, “Silence is golden”? This saying does NOT apply in today’s consumer-savvy world. Quickly addressing a customer’s complaint to learn more about the issue and providing a positive resolution shows consumers that the business listens and cares. Otherwise, negative reviews can have a damaging effect on a company’s brand. Learn from what people are saying to implement meaningful changes and prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.

At the same time, build trust and relationships by replying to customers who had a positive experience and thanking them for sharing. Many companies focus only on the negative reviews when showing appreciation for 5-star reviews can also be beneficial. Reputation X notes that “Every additional one-star Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%” (e.g., improving from a 3-star rating to a 4-star rating) while “reviews that only gave 1 or 2 stars failed to convert 86% of prospective customers.”

Consumers trust online reviews, so making a conscious effort to get more people to share their positive experiences and turn around the perceptions of people who had a poor experience can boost your bottom line.

How to Manage Online Reputation More Effectively

The vast amount of information available on the Internet can be overwhelming. Combing through search results can be tedious and still leave gaps in data.

Take advantage of online reputation management tools. You don’t have to scour the Internet by hand. Programs like Google Alerts, Social Mention, Reputology, Trackur, and Mentionlytics do the work for you and put data at your fingertips. You can track your online brand presence and see where your business name and other keywords you select are popping up in articles, reviews, and comments across the Web. Alerts can let you know where to focus your attention and what issues you need to stay on top of before they get out of hand.

Leverage social listening. These tools can also play an integral role in crafting a transparent reputation management strategy. Engage with your audience on social media. Monitor all of your relevant channels and remember to:

  • Respond quickly and consistently.
  • Answer questions.
  • Resolve problems.
  • Acknowledge recommendations.
  • Offer solutions.
  • Build connections.

Set expectations internally regarding who has the authority to respond and offer compensation, and determine what issues require management approval. Train your frontline employees on how to respond professionally and not engage in emotional conversation online.

Building a Positive Reputation Takes Time: Get Started Today

Just one negative comment can cancel out the impact of dozens of positive ones. Remember, once a business has broken the consumer’s sacred trust, it takes a long time to rebuild its brand and reputation. Stay on top of online reputation management so you know exactly where your business stands and what people are saying. Your marketing strategy needs to not only focus on how to ensure customers have a positive experience, but also how to minimize the impact if they do not.

Through YGL Enterprises’ “Focused Strategy – Marketing Solutions Realized” approach, we help you incorporate online reputation management as part of your overall marketing strategy and effectively manage your brand presence online and off. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

 

Author Bio:

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services organizations and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.


How to Strengthen Your Marketing Strategy Through Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis seems to be a "no brainer." However, I think that we can all agree that business leaders, managers, and marketing professionals frequently forget to incorporate consistent scrutiny, examination, and monitoring of the competition as part of their marketing strategy. Sure, we say that we know our competition, but it's usually on a superficial level. One of the first questions that I ask a new client is, "Who are your competitors?" The typical client response is a shortlist of competitor names, with little accompanying information. So what is missing?

A lot!

Any marketing strategy must take into consideration what is happening at other businesses, not just your own. By understanding and monitoring your competitors' offerings, e.g., size, marketing campaigns, rankings, ease of contact, unique offers, and customer engagement, you can adjust your marketing efforts to better align your company with your target customers' needs.  To do this, you will need to conduct a comprehensive competitive analysis.

What is Competitive Analysis?

Entrepreneur.com defines competitive analysis as the following:

"Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service."

A detailed competitive analysis can provide insight into:

  • Industry trends.
  • What products/services are similar to yours, and how you can differentiate yourself.
  • How competitors are marketing their products/services.
  • What your competitors are doing right and where they are falling short.
  • Your value proposition as it relates to the competition.
  • What customers are saying about competitor services.

Identifying Your Competitors

To get started, identify businesses that share the same competitive space and whose products or services are similar to your offerings. But remember, just because a business is in the same industry does not necessarily mean it is a direct competitor. For instance, a law firm that focuses on family law will have little impact on a firm that focuses on commercial real estate or employment law.

Competitive analyses take time, so pick the top three or four competitors rather than a list of a dozen or more. A quick way to find out who you're up against is to conduct a keyword search via Google

You can also leverage search listening or social listening to gather more insight. Investigate:

  • What brands are consumers talking about?
  • What products or services receive the most recommendations?
  • What are customers saying in their reviews?

Finding Where You Fit In

The better you understand your competition, the easier it is to take advantage of unmet customer needs. If you want to boost sales of a particular service, look at how others are marketing similar services, what is most attractive about their offer, and how their service measures up. You may find notable differences in pricing, warranties, customer loyalty programs, and convenience offerings.

By studying and evaluating the data against your businesses' offerings, you begin to develop a clearer picture of your standing in the marketplace, where there are opportunities for improvement, and ways you can refine your own sales process.

Measuring Up - Where Marketing is Taking Place

A competitive analysis examines not just the sales volume but how a competitor interacts with the consumer. Spend time reviewing your competitors' websites and social media. Take note of things such as:

  • Social media channels and engagement.
  • Audience response to blog topics.
  • What topics are generating the most likes, shares, and comments.
  • Marketing platforms: Is the competition using video, podcasts, webinars, or eBooks?
  • How customers can connect.
  • Campaigns and promotions.

Studies have shown that recommendations on social networks are the most significant driver for consumer purchases, with 37% of consumers finding purchase inspiration through the channel. If you're not keeping pace with your major competitors, you're losing out on potential sales.

Adjust your marketing approach based on your research and how those changes may better position your company. Actions may include:

  • Revamping your website to include FAQ or customer testimonials.
  • Providing in-depth information about your products or services, including tutorials, chat boxes, or hotlines.
  • Building an editorial calendar that focuses on topics customers are most interested in or where you have expertise.
  • Establishing a presence on different social media sites such as LinkedIn, Instagram, or YouTube to present your products/services in a new way.

How Often Should I Conduct a Competitive Analysis

The primary purpose of market research is to provide a business with current and relevant information about trends, opportunities, and threats in the marketplace. Every day, a new business is launched, and an existing business closes its doors. Therefore, systematic market research is a necessity. I recommend conducting research, at least quarterly, if not monthly. However, a new product or service launch or a territory expansion necessitates further analysis.

Boosting Your Marketing Efforts

Effective marketing is flexible and forward-thinking. Balancing a macro approach with a microfocus (think tactical) enables you to create a marketing strategy with all of the elements necessary to position your business as a leader within your space. Use the data about what your competitors are doing to challenge yourself to do better and fine-tune your marketing plans.

Once you define your goals, you can implement strategies to generate positive results. You don't have to reinvent the wheel; just tailor your efforts to align with your unique selling proposition and target audience.

Conducting a competitive analysis should be a starting point when it comes to developing a marketing plan. YGL Enterprises can help you gather all of the information and insight you need – and decipher what it means for your business. Contact us today to get the process started.

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services organizations and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, the approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Marketing Strategy Graphic

Planning for a New Year: 6 B2B Marketing Strategy Projections for 2021

Heading into the new year, there are many takeaways from 2020 that can help shape some marketing strategy projections for 2021. Current events have, certainly, shredded our planning documents and made a mockery of our expectations. Does that mean we should stop evaluating, planning, and developing strategies to market our business? Absolutely not!

No one expected a global pandemic, environmental crises, and social unrest to create such a massive disruption in our lives, economy, and society. No industry was left untouched, or human experience unaltered. However, I'm a firm believer that change provides new opportunities and new ways of thinking. Life is not static; therefore, our marketing approach should not stay the status quo. Because 2020 forced us to adapt or die, now is the time to reflect and prepare for 2021. During this crisis and beyond, you can maintain and even gain a competitive advantage by investing more, not less, in your marketing strategy.

Here, we'll explore what we expect to see in B2B marketing strategies for next year:

  1. A re-evaluation of COVID-related changes.

Even before COVID, B2B marketing was dramatically evolving as consumers continue to have a vast array of information at their fingertips. The pandemic accelerated the desire and need for quality content and accurate information. Marketers should carefully review and analyze their marketing initiatives over the past nine months, and then thoroughly evaluate that period's successes and failures.  Ask yourself:

  • What did you offer, and did it resonate with your prospects?
  • Was your messaging on point, or did you lead with the same tired words about your product or service?
  • What marketing tactics will carry-over because they better meet customer needs and demands?
  • Which ones will fade out as business operations return to some semblance of pre-pandemic days?

Virtual consultations, online events, or appointment apps are here to stay, even as we return to the pre-pandemic lifestyle. The best strategy is to incorporate a combination of tactics with the flexibility to respond and act as market conditions warrant.

  1. More strategic budgets.

Has your business adjusted to doing more with less? Many businesses had to re-prioritize spending and make cuts to certain areas. Some smaller B2B businesses were already running their marketing programs on a shoestring budget. Then COVID-19 forced many companies to invest in online marketing outreach for the first time to compete with the competition. It was about surviving, not maintaining the status quo. Think content marketing, email campaigns, and virtual education.

Take a close look at your current marketing strategies and budget, then adjust your plan accordingly. As we move into the new year, businesses will continue to face extraordinary challenges just to stay open. Marketing must be a dedicated part of the plan. If consumers can't find you online, you have little chance of ending 2021 on a positive note. Be creative to get the most significant return on investment.

  1. A prioritization of digital advertising.

With more people working remotely, online interactions have soared. In a recent McKinsey & Company post, the writer notes, "With continued pressure on household income, consumers continue to try new brands and channels, with convenience and better value being the primary drivers of the new behavior. Three out of four American consumers have tried a new shopping behavior, and most intend to continue the new shopping behavior even after COVID-19 subsides." Therefore, virtual engagement is here to stay, as all of us have become more tech-savvy and more budget-conscious. Therefore, businesses must continue to invest in digital marketing activities. As a reminder, your total marketing budget should usually be between 5% and 15% of your total revenue, and businesses should allocate 10%-50% to digital marketing. These marketing activities include:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Native Advertising
  • Marketing Automation/CRM
  • Email Marketing

All businesses should continue to invest in at least a few of these areas. At a minimum, SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing should be the basis of any digital marketing strategy.

  1. The human touch and user experience.

Marketing strategies in 2021 will continue to emphasize personalized content and a commitment to sustainability and social justice by putting a human touch on how the business presents itself and showing an understanding of what is important to customers. With the launch of Google's Page Experience Update set to launch in May 2021, it will be more essential than ever for marketers to focus on the totality of the user's experience on a website. Google wants users to enjoy their experience and will reward those websites that "show the love." Check out Neil Patel's recent blog for more information.

  1. A focus on data-driven decision making.

Along the same lines, data will continue to play an integral role in 2021 marketing strategies. Businesses will continue to use and invest in data analytics tools to understand how users think and interact with your brand. Accessing and evaluating data should be an integral part of every business's marketing strategy. Some of the best analytic tools I've found include Google Analytics, Google Trends, Answerthepublic, keywordtool.io, and Hubspot.

Be intentional about using data to guide decision making and deliver value.

  1. Optimization of social media marketing.

New social platforms will continue to evolve, while others become less relevant. Marketers will continue to use social media to expand brand awareness and facilitate leads. Targeted marketing applies to social just as it does with other marketing tactics. Remember, not every social media platform is right for every type of marketing.

Bottom line: know your audience and how they gather information before selecting a social media venue. Facebook is relatively universal and allows for advertising, linking, videos, images, and conversation. Twitter does much of the same, but messages are shorter and more concise. Instagram is ideal for eye-catching graphics, images, and videos. LinkedIn targets the B2B space and continues to update their offerings to compete with the other major platforms.

Building an Effective Marketing Plan

These marketing strategy projections for 2021 will give your business a starting point for kicking off the new year. No one knows what the next 12 months may hold, so while you may be drafting marketing plans for the entire year, when it comes to execution, focus on two or three months at a time and adjust accordingly.

Now more than ever, be strategic with spending and where you concentrate your marketing efforts. Partner with YGL Enterprises to develop a clear strategy and targeted solutions to support your business moving forward. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

 

Author Bio:

Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services organizations and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Why Patience is Key When Developing a Marketing Strategy

Developing an effective marketing strategy that consistently drives results is a marathon, not a sprint. Did you know that it can take between six months and one year to start seeing meaningful results from your marketing efforts? It takes time to gain momentum and determine if your strategy is reaching and converting your target audience.

Don’t forget that developing a strong foundation is just the first step in creating a successful marketing plan.

Begin the process with:

  • Defined goals
  • Detailed personas
  • Well-researched SEO and keywords
  • Targeted content
  • An optimized website
  • Key performance indicators

Based on the above directives, you begin to understand why it takes time and patience to see results.

Let’s drill down for a deeper understanding of one marketing component for reference.

Ranking for Your Website and Content

Think of the Internet as a vast global kingdom, and Google as the monarch. You can search for anything on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean every website or blog will appear on page one. Google uses bots and algorithms to rank websites and pages. Just because your business publishes incredible content doesn’t necessarily mean your target audience is reading it – but that also doesn’t mean you should stop.

Part of your marketing strategy should include the “whys and hows” of website ranking. There are numerous factors to consider:

  • Is it visually appealing?
  • Have you clearly defined your target audience?
  • Are you using landing pages?
  • What about link building?
  • Does each website include internal links?
  • Is it easy to navigate?

Paying careful attention to these details will help rank your website, but don’t expect miracles overnight. SEO takes time, particularly when the competition is high. Neil Patel, marketing guru extraordinaire, writes a lot about this subject.

As you begin to produce relevant, high-quality content consistently, you’ll start to build momentum. By linking to other reputable sites, gaining page shares and comments, and targeting the right keywords and phrases, your ranking will slowly improve. Be patient. You may be tempted to halt or dramatically change course after a couple of weeks, but this action can unravel thoughtful planning and positive results over the long term.

Remember, building trust and credibility take time, as well. Once a potential customer visits your site, your content and messaging should leave them wanting more. You need to capture their attention, so they click on other blogs or visit your service pages. Return visitors can be just as important as new visitors when it comes to marketing.

How Do I Know if My Marketing Strategy is Working?

Having patience is only one aspect of the marketing plan. Monitoring, surveying, analyzing, and adjusting are equally crucial to the process.

Set measurable goals. Use data analytic tools to your advantage so you can track how well your marketing strategies are performing. Measuring sales and web traffic are two of the easiest ways to determine if your marketing strategies are working. Use a tool like Google Analytics, which can easily calculate a broad range of data for any business; plus, it’s free. Begin with setting realistic expectations for growth or conversion rates. Aiming for a 50% increase in traffic or 100 leads within a month is likely setting yourself up for disappointment. Be reasonable, remain focused, and start small.

Avoid drastic changes. As noted above, the more changes you make to your marketing strategy in a short timeframe, the more difficult it is to gauge results. Resist the urge to continually pivot when things aren’t going as you had hoped. Remember, it can take several months to see actual results. Give your plan time to work and time to reach audiences and rank across the major search engines.

Make small adjustments. As you monitor progress, you may begin to see trends regarding what performs well, and what is of interest to customers. If blogs with videos or graphics are getting more hits, continue incorporating those features in future posts. If you’re getting a lot of traffic from a specific topic, consider building it out and going more in-depth; on the other hand, if there is another topic that is not doing well, move on for now. You can always readjust and come back to it later with a different approach.

Trust the Process

Our society thrives on instant gratification; people are easily distracted and expect immediate answers to their questions. If not, something must be wrong. Trust the process and give it time to work. Once you’ve done the research and put the pieces in place, you must take the long view. Marketing is a fluid process. As market conditions change and trends rise and fall, there are always opportunities to improve your plan.

If your business isn’t seeing results from its marketing efforts, it’s time to partner with YGL Enterprises. We can audit your current strategies, identify areas for improvement, and develop a plan tailored to your unique needs and goals. With the right tactics in place, positive results will follow. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services organizations and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.