What do you REALLY need in your marketing mix?

We’re frequently contacted by clients who already have a clear idea of what they want from their online marketing firm. Sometimes they’re dialed in to the point where they already have a list of items they need help with and a clear roadmap for where they’re heading. However, this is far from the norm.

More often than not our prospective clients come to us either having previously worked with an agency (or multiple agencies) or as a blank slate looking to create an online footprint and start marketing their practice online.

In most cases, the bulk of our initial conversation is spent talking through the client’s goals and identifying which channels and tactics make the most sense in order to get them where they want to go.

For anyone asking, “what do we need to do in order to be successful online?” the response is always the same: how are we defining success?

In our experience, there are a few ways clients typically define success:

Success = Profit
I want to make money. If revenue is climbing I’m going to be happy.

Success = Specific Case Types
I want to target a specific type of case. Inquiries from other practice areas are a distraction or a bonus.

Success = Flexibility
I want to pick and choose which cases I can take. I want a high volume of inquiries and will pick which ones I want.

There’s merit to all three of these approaches, and each one necessitates a different set of tactics. This is one of the few aspects of our client’s practices where we can’t make an effective recommendation or provide any useful guidance. It’s up to each individual attorney to decide how they’re going to measure success and then let us adopt a plan that will help them achieve those results.

Stay Focused on the Big Picture

Once you’ve clearly defined what a successful marketing campaign looks like, it’s important to benchmark against your most relevant metrics (revenue, signed cases, or total inquiries) and make sure the tactics you’re prioritizing will help you achieve your overarching goal.

As an example, if your primary goal is to drive revenue, you shouldn’t get bogged down worrying about whether you’ve published any new content in the past month unless you’ve firmly established that new content is the best way to generate revenue.

Similarly, if you’re making a huge push for DUI cases it’s not worth obsessing over your site’s organic rankings for the more generic term “criminal defense attorney.” You’ll be better served keeping your eye on results directly relevant to the cases you’re trying to generate.

This isn’t to minimize the value of setting intermediate goals or looking at multiple trends, it’s merely a reminder to stay focused on what’s most important instead of getting paralyzed by the massive amount of data available on a monthly, daily, and even hourly basis.

So, what’s the most important thing in your marketing mix? Reliable data.

Measure What Matters

Almost no one comes to us specifically asking for business reporting, yet it’s arguably the most valuable service we provide. With all the data available through Google Analytics, AdWords, CallRail, Search Console, and countless other tools, it’s easy to identify which pieces are contributing to the success of your business and which ones are distractions.

Did you publish 5 blog posts and get zero clients and zero backlinks as a result? That’s probably not something you need to keep doing?

Is one channel driving 75% of your inquiries for car accident cases? You might want to expand your budget there…assuming your goal is either more PI cases or more revenue.

There’s no substitute for knowing what’s actually working. Gut feelings or informally polling your new clients about how they found you is unreliable at best and comically misleading at worst.

If you want to win at search, you should do the things that work and ignore the ones that don’t. That may seem simplistic—because it is—but it’s not possible if you don’t clearly define a goal, configure your infrastructure to accurately track everything you’re doing, and then allow data to guide your marketing efforts.

Why Does Scorpion Think Your Data is Theirs?

I received a disappointing email today from a law firm who I’ve been helping assess the efficacy of their current marketing efforts with Scorpion.  Our discovery process centers around performance through Google Analytics and I find again and again agencies who have failed to a) add GA to their clients’ sites (FindLaw is notorious for this) b) refuse to provide any access to the account or c) fallaciously believe that the law firm’s data actually belongs to the agency.  The latter is the case we are dealing with for this Scorpion client.

But let’s stop first and make these points very clear.

  • Your site’s data is your data. Not your agency’s.
  • You should control how it is configured (even if they do it for you).
  • You should control who has access to it.
  • You should be able to take it with you if you leave your agency.
  • You should be able to kick your agency (or ex-agency, or ex-employee) out of the data if you want.

And if anyone is hesitating in any way to provide you with access to your site’s performance you must ask yourself:

What are they trying to hide from me?

Imagine investing in a 401(k) plan without knowing what your annual rate of return was?  Well that’s what you are doing if you don’t have access to your GA account.  And don’t rely on your agency to tell you how well your agency is doing with your agency’s proprietary reporting platform.  Everything you need to know can (and should) be housed in GA – putting you in full control of both the data and the analysis.

Now back to my client’s email:

You told me that I needed to get control of the Google Analytics account. I made the request to Scorpion and they provide “view access” for my gmail user account.  They said that they cannot transfer G.A. because it is a mixed account.  Ignoring the technical feasibility of the transfer, it doesn’t appear that they are willing to transfer the account.
My question- is view access to G.A. account sufficient to obtain valuable information for future effort?  Unfortunately, I don’t have permissions to delegate views to others.
<sigh>
And to the law firm’s last question…. is view access to GA sufficient?  The answer is usually no….  because depending on the configuration of the account, you can’t even view all of the data.  But would Scorpion really hide critical information from you through their configuration of Google Analytics?  You bet they would.  In the graphics below (taken from another Scorpion client), note how the limited Client Access doesn’t show data on things like….. conversions.
scorpion-hiding-data
Kind of important if you are dropping $75,000 monthly on Google Adwords don’t you think? Wouldn’t you want to be able to see if people are actually calling? filling out forms? chatting?  Without that conversion data, you just have to rely on what your agency tells you.
As far as Scorpion’s explanation that “they cannot transfer G.A. because it is a mixed account” goes… remember, we put a man on the moon in the 70s, we should be able to provide appropriate access to a simple website tool. And Google Analytics has had this functionality for years.  Mockingbird does this for all of our clients, as have most of our reputable agency cohorts.  And Scorpion, if you are stuck…. here’s Google’s guide to their User Permissions.

6 (not scary) Steps to Setup a Google Account [Gmail] with an already existing Email.

Be honest: how many email accounts do you have? Now actually be honest: How many email accounts do you use? If your answer is “one” to both questions, congratulations! You win at the internet! If it took you a while to count, please read on.

Logging in to tools is a major reason why many of us have multiple email accounts. Things like Google Analytics, Search Console, Google My Business, Google +, and Bing Webmaster tools all require emails registered with either Google or Microsoft to gain access. Nobody has time to keep track of all of this (unless we are your VP of Marketing).

I’m about to share with you a step by step guide on how you can clean up your logins and use a single email account with these tools. It’s as simple as setting up an already existing email account with Google. There’s a very similar process to setting up a Microsoft account with a non-Microsoft email that I’ll cover in a different blog some day.

I highly, highly, highly (did I say highly?) recommend that you create/dedicate an email on your company’s domain name rather than using a free Hotmail, yahoo or inbox account. If you don’t have an email on your firm’s domain give us a call so we can help.

Please note: if your firm’s email is hosted through G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Business), then you’re already registered with Google! If you’re firm’s email is hosted through Exchange or Office 365, then you’re already registered with Microsoft!

Quick Steps to Setup a Google Account with a non-Gmail Email:

Step 1: Log out of any Gmail account(s) you’re currently logged in to, then open https://accounts.google.com.

Step 2: Click the Create Account link below the gray “sign in with your Google Account” box.

Step 3: Below the “Choose your username” field, click I prefer to use my current email address link.

Step 4: Enter your non-Gmail email address you would like to register with Google.

Step 5: Finish filling out the new account form and accept Google’s Privacy Policy and Terms.

Step 6: Confirm your new account with the email address you provided.

Longer Explanation and visual guides for Setting up a Google Account with a non-Gmail Email:

Step 1: Log out of any Gmail account(s) you’re currently logged in to, then open https://accounts.google.com.

If you’re already signed in to a Gmail account and this is the same address that you’d like to use for Google’s suite of tools, you’re done! You address is already associated to Google.

Step 2: Click the Create Account link below the gray “sign in with your Google Account” box.

google account create new account login

Step 3: Below the “Choose your username” field, click I prefer to use my current email address link.

prefer to use current email for gmail

Step 4: Enter your non-Gmail email address you would like to register with Google.

Once you’ve clicked this link, you’ll be able to enter your current (non-Gmail) email address for this setup process. This is the most important step in this process. As mentioned, I highly recommend setting up or dedicating an already existing email that is on your domain (example: admin@bestlawfirmever.com).

fields for creating google account with current email

Step 5: Finish filling out the new account form and accept Google’s “Privacy and Terms.” This includes:

  • Name (first and last)
  • Password & confirmation of Password (don’t make it the same as your luggage combination)
  • Birthday
  • Gender
  • Mobile phone (use a number that accept texts messages for recovery purposes).
  • Default homepage (as if your homepage isn’t already Google.com)
  • Location

google privacy terms

**Google’s Privacy and Terms are likely to change**

Step 6: Confirm your new account with the email address you provided by following the final instructions given (normally this is to simply click accept in the email you’ve received to the email address you’ve just registered).

Now that you’ve registered your email address with Google, you can give access/ownership of Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google my Business and any other Google tools that you use to this email account. If you’ve taken my recommendation of using a dedicated email that’s on your domain, you’ll never have to worry about the temporary front desk/law student/in-house marketer from leaving and taking all your data with them.

Now Celebrate. You’ve just made your life a whole lot easier.

A/B Testing: How To Improve Contact Page Conversions Using Google Analytics

What Is A/B Testing?

In our context, an A/B test is an experiment that tests two different variants of a webpage against each other to determine which one will deliver better results (more form-fill submissions, more phone calls, longer session time, etc.) The two different versions of the page will be randomly served to users on the website to determine the winner based on statistically accurate data.

How Can I Use A/B Testing On Your Website?

One of the best, most impactful ways to use A/B testing is on your website’s contact page. Currently, we’re running A/B tests across all of our client’s contact pages to see which page format is delivering the highest conversion rate. We’re testing the placement of the contact form — middle of the content versus before all other contact info and content.

How Do I Set Up A/B Testing?

There is a multitude of companies that offer A/B testing software (one of Mockingbird’s preferred: Optimizely), but in this post, we’re going to explain how to use Google Analytics “Experiments” feature to test your contact page.

Important note: the following process is for any website that is set up on WordPress and has Google Analytics installed on the site.

Step 1: Create an alternate page to test in WordPress and make sure the following Yoast SEO settings are set:

  1. Index
  2. Follow
  3. Set canonical to original page you’re testing

Yoast Seo Settings

Pro tip: I also like to make the URL the same as the page you’re testing but with “alt” at the end (ie: example.com/contact-alt/) but feel free to make the URL whatever you please.

Step 2: Install and activate WordPress plugin “Simple Google Content Experiments”

Step 3: Open Google Analytics and navigate to > Behavior > Experiments

Step 4: Create a new experiment and use the following settings:

  1. Name your experiment appropriately (ie: Contact Page AB)
  2. Assign 100% of traffic to experiment (assuming it’s not something extremely drastic)
  3. Email notifications to yourself
  4. Set 2 week minimum time to run
  5. Set a confidence threshold of 95%

Contact Page Google Analytics Experiment

Step 5: Configure the experiment

abtest

 

Step 6: Set up your experiment code

  1. Select “Manually insert the code”
  2. Edit the WP page and create a new custom field labeled “google_content_experiment_code” and insert copied code as value

AB Test Experiment Code

Step 7: Validate your experiment code and launch experiment.

Step 8: Sit back and wait for the results to roll in.

For more information on Google Analytics Experiments, view this help article: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1745216?hl=en.

Top Announcements From Google Ads & Analytics Innovations Keynote

This morning, we tuned into the Google Ads and Analytics Innovations Keynote at the Google Performance Summit. The theme, overwhelmingly, was a focus on mobile;  “mobile is everything” and we’re living in a “mobile-first world.” Here’s what we learned:

Upcoming Changes to Google AdWords

  1. 50% more ad text. Ads will soon be made up of two 30 character headlines and an expanded description (up to 80 characters).
  2. Display ads. Where as currently you (or your designer) must create different ads in different sizes for each device, the process will soon be made much easier. In the future, you will only need to submit an ad headline, description, and image, and site URL and Google will create responsive ads for you.
  3. Individual bid adjustments for each device type. Instead of desktop being the default, you’ll be able to choose a base keyword bid for whatever device matters most to you, and then adjust for the others accordingly.

Location-Based Advertising Changes

  1. Location Extensions Expansion. Location extensions will be richer and more expanded, and will be shown on google.com, the maps app, and Google Maps.
  2. Promoted Pins in Google Maps. Promoted pins will display to users as they’re navigating. For example, on your walk to the bus stop, you may see a promoted pin for a nearby Starbucks.
  3. Enhanced Accuracy. Using Beacon signals, accuracy will be improved allowing advertisers to better track in store conversions after a user clicks a mobile ad.

New Features for Display Advertising

  1. Similar Audiences for Search. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads currently allow advertisers to target users who have already been to your website. Using Similar Audiences for Search, you’ll be able to create a list of Google users who have not yet been to your site, but have similar demographics and interests to users who have visited your site.
  2. Demographics for Search Ads. This update will allow advertisers to adjust text ad bids based on age, as well as other user demographics.
  3. Extending reach of Google Display Network. The GDN will be expanded by giving advertisers access to Cross Exchange Inventory.

Finally, in the more distant future, advertisers can expect a complete overhaul to the AdWords user experience. There will be a new homepage dashboard, and a new campaign creation flow, among other updates. For a complete list of all changes announced, check out Search Engine Land’s coverage.

What do these changes mean for law firms?

The announcements, while exciting, have ambiguous release dates ranging from “in the next few months” to “2017”. So while you can’t implement these new features now, it’s a good time to make sure your advertiser is on top of these changes. If you run your own advertising, make sure you’re staying on top of release dates. If that sounds unrealistic, think about if now might be the right time to bring someone else in to help you out.