OUR TOP 3 TAKEAWAYS FROM PUBCON 2015
By Mark Homer
Pubcon Las Vegas finished up on October 8 and continues to get better every year. The diversity of content shows the big changes that have happened in search engine marketing over the last few years. Successfully keeping up with all the relevant topics and information and finding leaders in the field to come and share their best tactics and tips shows why this has been named a must attend conference by both Forbes and Inc. magazine.
Again this year both Jabez and I were invited to speak on a variety of topics. We were able to share best practices in topics ranging from social media, link acquisition for local businesses, and growing your agency. While it is an honor to be able to share our experience with many talented digital marketers, the best part of Pubcon is going to listen to and learn from the other experts. Here are just a few of our takeaways from this year.
MOBILE OPTIMIZATION AND REVIEWS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
As you would expect, there was a heavy focus on mobile optimization and the best practice of mobile responsiveness. While we were ahead of this trend over a year ago, there was some great information shared on ways to optimize mobile websites that we will compare to our data and see if we can take advantage of for our clients.
On the Local Search front, there continued to be an increased focus on the importance of reviews and their correlation to conversions. The data is becoming overwhelming. If your website is not mobile ready and there are no reviews on the first return when searching your name, someone under 35 years old is not going to call (nor chat). This aligns with our data, as our clients who have worked to get the most reviews report back that people reference the great reviews they read online before they call.
GOOGLE’S “RICH ANSWERS” ARE ON THE RISE
I personally sought out sessions (and had a follow up questions with fellow speaker Eric Enge) around influencing the knowledge graph and “rich answers” in Google search results.
A “rich answer” is when Google tries to provide the actual answer to a query right in the search results so that the reader doesn’t have to continue clicking to a deeper site. Eric and his team at Stone Temple Consulting have done a lot of research around this and have shown that the amount of queries they tested where a rich answer appears continues to increase every month, growing almost 10 percent since last December. Examples of rich answers are if you try searching, “how did the Chicago Bears do last week,” or, “height of the Eiffel Tower.” Those return two different types of rich answers.
The other question that was brought up was whether or not having your website’s content selected as a rich answer increases traffic to the website. Anecdotal data on a limited number of sites shows that it does indeed increase traffic to the website referenced by the rich answer. So the most logical question we had next was, “How can we influence what Google deems is the correct answer?” Eric provided some early testing they have done to try to influence the rich answers, and he’s seen some success.
The digital marketing team here at GNGF will begin testing some of these ideas in the upcoming months.
YES, CONTENT IS STILL KING
Content continues to be a critical piece in digital marketing. From influencing search results, getting links to your website, and driving social media marketing, to maximizing conversions once someone comes to your website, content was central to many sessions and tactics.
One session in particular that provided great takeaways was about changing the approach to inspiring creativity in your teams to help create better content. Presented by Joe Youngblood, this session looked into recent research in neuroscience and psychology to refute common thinking in the way we approach encouraging creativity in groups. We will be implementing many of his ideas in the coming months to spur even more creative ideas for quality content for our clients.
Another interesting content topic was about thinking like a publisher, given by David Snyder, CEO of CopyPress.
In order to support their revenue model, websites like Buzzfeed, Mashable, and the Huffington Post need their content to be extremely relevant to their target audience, extremely sharable, and of course, more and more so mobile friendly. There are many lessons to be learned by thinking about how content is generated by these websites.
One lesson we took away was about tying the editorial calendar to specific KPIs, like traffic, bounce rates, opt-ins, and sales. It reinforces what we have been doing more and more over the past six months, that is, tying specific content campaigns to goals for our clients’ websites.
Another point that really resonated with me was the focus publishers put on really understanding their consumers and targeting content directly to them, knowing that the best content for their targeted consumer may (and should) repel someone who is not the target. For example, a People magazine reader is probably not an ESPN Magazine reader, and that is okay.
We spend a lot of time in our branding process really trying to push lawyers to define their ideal clients so that we can design the brand, website, and corresponding content to speak to those clients. And this session reminded me that we can be doing even more research in this area and get even more demographic and psychographic information to help define your target audience.
These are only a few of the great takeaways we got from Pubcon. We feel that taking time to attend conferences and surrounding ourselves with people who know more than we do is a critical part of remaining leaders in our industry. While we speak at and attend many legal conferences, it is also very good to step back and include conferences where we can learn from other industries. We were pleased to run into a few lawyers at Pubcon who seem to understand this as well.
The main Pubcon conference is in Las Vegas every year, but there are regional Pubcon events around the country. The next one, February 24, 2016, is the Pubcon SFIMA Summit, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Registration should open up soon; we will have some of our team there and would love to see some of our newsletter readers there too.
ETHICS: How is Wearable Technology changing the Courtroom?
By Jenny Cope
At the constant rate that technology is changing, the courtroom has to be quick to follow. Even ten years ago, there was no such thing as the Apple Watch, Google Glass, or capture devices. However, these technologies are becoming more and more popular as time goes on.
From evidentiary uses to liabilities, the legal sphere must educate lawyers and adapt along side these advances.
While this may seem like a scary (and somewhat confusing) future, utilizing these new wearable types of technology can not only set you and your client’s up for more success during litigation, but it can also help you further understand any technological evidence produced within the courtroom.
How is wearable technology changing the way that we interact with witnesses?
Witness credibility has always been something that attorneys, on both the prosecution and defense side, have always struggled with. The word of the witness is often subject to memory problems as well as bias, which lead to unreliability of the witness’ statements. This sometimes leaves the witness fully discredited.
However, recording devices such as the Apple Watch and Kapture can help with the weaknesses that lie within the system surrounding witness credibility. If a witness was wearing one of these devices when the incident happened, there may be more information and evidence than if they were not.
This is becoming more and more common with the rising popularity of these types of wearables. These types of recordings fall under the evidence category of Electronically Stored Information (ESI). There are certain guidelines and protocols in place determining how and when ESI can be used. But if used correctly, the information from these wearables can very much work in your favor.
Another question that arises surrounding these wearable recording devices lies in the idea of actually using them to record during litigation.
Most wearables are very inconspicuous. With Google Glass, for example, it is very hard for an outsider to tell whether or not it is recording. Google Glass doesn’t have a big flashing red light like your old camcorder. How would someone know whether or not you were recording?
Every state bar has a different law surrounding what can and cannot be recorded during litigation, and while the laws don’t necessarily specify wearable recording devices, they are included, so it is best to contact your local Bar Association if you are wondering whether or not your device can be used in the courtroom.
As with every new technology, there will always be more ethical questions that arise. If you have questions about how to use your wearable device ethically, yet effectively, in the legal profession, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Well Is Your Media Buy Optimized?
Guest article by Smart Set Media.
If you are reading this newsletter, then you already know the importance of marketing your law firm. And we’re guessing that you already understand the incredible value that analytics brings to your digital marketing efforts. Analytics are at the core of digital marketing’s methodologies and are key to its success for your firm. It is the data that helps us ensure that your brand is showing the right message to the right audience at the right time; in post analysis, it helps you to determine which placements or ad types gave you the highest ROI.
But should your firm’s traditional marketing efforts be driven by analytics?
If you ask us here at Smart Set Media, the answer is a resounding yes. As media buyers for law firms across the country, everything we do for our clients is driven by our analytics.
Law firms are some of the largest annual advertising spenders on TV, radio, and billboards in almost every one of the 210 Designated Market Areas (DMA) across the United States, yet many are getting very little by way of media buy analytics.
The rise of analytics has not evolved in a vacuum, yet one of the little known secrets in the ad agency world is that over the last decade, traditional media has seen incredible advancements in behavioral, demographic, and psychographic targeting of audiences and ROI measurement.
Today, there are a multitude of new data sources, direct response tracking toolsets, and even TV-to-web analytics that can show you which of your media purchases are driving new clients to your phone, your office, and—most importantly—your website. Better buying, with better data, and better measurement means new, better clients for your firm.
The sad truth is that most media buyers don’t use these resources. Why? The tools are expensive and they involve a steep learning curve. But by using analytics to drive our traditional media ad buys for you, we make every penny you spend count.
But isn’t traditional media advertising supposed to be dying?
Television by the numbers—i.e. subscribers, percent time viewing, etc.—shows a small year over year decline in audience attention, but the impact of TV and TV advertising is increasing in its importance to businesses.
Statistics reinforce that new client business is waiting to be found on the airwaves.
According to Accenture’s April 2015 Digital Video and the Connect Consumer study, 87 percent of consumers watching television are doing so while using a second “screen” digital device (i.e. smart phone, tablet, or computer). In other words, television advertising is driving consumers immediately online to find out more about your firm’s products and services.
And according to a 2014 Nielsen/ComScore analysis of 75 major pure-play Internet advertisers, 85 percent showed a direct correlation between television spend and unique website traffic.
But is traditional media too fragmented to use effectively?
Where some find adversity, we see opportunity.
We bet that you have a pretty good picture of your current client base and a picture of who you would like your clients to be in the future.
Fragmentation in media just means that you can pay substantially less to show ads to smaller but more highly targeted audience groups that are far more likely to need your services than the general public.
So how do you do this? How do you target the right people at the right time so that your media buy can benefit your business?
Let’s say that you were an elder law firm.
A 2014 Princeton University study following familial roles in our aging population showed that, on average, adult American daughters spend more than twice as much time as the primary caregiver for elderly parents than sons do. Therefore, we can infer that they would be the largest demographic that you would want to target for your advertisements.
If we want to reach out to these women with an elder care message, we would then harvest behavioral and demographic data to identify targeted low cost cable and broadcast programming, radio, and digital advertising to reach them effectively. Using our deep data Forensic Media™ toolset, including viewership data harvested from more than 65M satellite and cable set top boxes, we can isolate programming and times of day that index extremely high for this key audience.
For example, high key audience, low cost programming for this audience includes:
- Daytime Programming – Nickelodeon, CNN, HGTV, Bravo, Food Network
- Late Fringe Programming – USA, Cartoon Network, A&E
- Weekend Programming – BET, TBS, AMC, Lifetime
And this is just the beginning of the analytical way we approach media buying and advertisement placements. Every practice area is different, and so is every geographical area. That is why it is crucial that when you invest in traditional media, you know that your media buyer is making data driven, targeted decisions.
Know that the best advertising placements are won through detailed audience data and efficient planning. And the more your traditional media efforts and your online efforts align, the website traffic and resulting new client cases will reward your efforts.
To learn more about media buying and how your television ads and your website should work hand in hand, email email@example.com.
CELEBRATE CREATIVITY: 2015 CINCINNATI DESIGN WEEK
From the Desk of Haley Moore
This year’s fourth annual Cincinnati Design Week was the best the city has had yet, and not just because it was honored by the governor of Ohio. It was a weeklong celebration of creativity comprised of workshops, studio tours, panel discussions, giveaways, and social gatherings. And this year, the attendance was high and the speakers were top notch. For me personally, this year was especially exciting because it was the first year I helped run the events as Co-Vice President of AIGA Cincinnati. Not only was I able to attend the events, but also I got to be a part of the behind the scenes.
This year we focused on bringing different creative organizations together in the community outside of what was traditionally expected in a design week. Having groups of architects and developers contribute made this wildly successful. All parties involved rallied around bringing together the Cincinnati creative community. It was so interesting to see people in all different stages of their careers, and who are practicing design in a variety of disciplines, come together to learn, collaborate, and inspire.
The celebration kicked off with two teaser events. First, Timothy Goodman from the well-known social experiment, “40 Days of Dating,” visited Cincinnati to help share his experiences with creativity. I’d met one of Goodman’s colleagues, Jessica Walsh, a multidisciplinary art director and designer working as a partner at Sagmeister & Walsh in NYC, at a previous event, so I was even more excited to meet him.
Goodman’s worked with big brands like J.Crew, Airbnb, and Google, and it was rewarding to hear about his approach to design as a practice, not a profession. That, and he was hilarious to say the least.
The second teaser event was an agency crawl. Designers, developers, and other Cincinnati creatives had the opportunity to tour some of the most awesome Queen City companies. The crawl included businesses large and small; from global creative agency POSSIBLE to a small but incredible group of talented animators at Foster and Flux.
Then came the week we were all waiting for: (drumroll, please) Cincinnati Design Week. The week was jam-packed: there were 17 events in just seven days with over 1,400 in attendance. Needless to say, I had a hard time nailing down a digestible list of takeaways. But, here goes:
- Designing is not about you: You’re not designing for yourself. You’re designing for your user. Design, test, prototype, and make it better, then repeat.
- Beer + Design = Yes.
- Take entrepreneurial initiative: Just because you are in a corporate environment doesn’t mean that you can’t apply start-up knowledge to spur growth.
- Collaborate: Different disciplines aren’t meant to remain in silos, but they are meant to be crossed.
- Keep failing: Making mistakes and failing is natural. It’s about what you learn and how you apply it going forward.
- Drink and draw: There is no networking quite like a room full of people competitively drawing for free drinks.
- Feed off of your community: Look for new ways to discover and influence.
- The most important thing is to get rich: Figure out what is fulfilling to yourself, and go do it. Right now.
Our finale of the week was enthusiastically concluded with Brian Singer, the Design Manager for the Brand team at Pinterest and director of the AIGA national board. He’s a great and honest designer who is fun to talk shop with. I was lucky enough to grab food and drinks with him, and I’d recommend you do the same if you ever have the chance.
If you’re interested in getting involved with creatives in your community, and learning about design, I highly recommend looking up your city’s local AIGA chapter and finding time to attend an event. If not for the sake of design, do it for the sake of meeting the talented individuals in your city.
Stay on the lookout for next year’s design week at cincinnatidesignweek.com!
GNGF FINALIST FOR TORCH AWARD FOR MARKETPLACE ETHICS
By Justine Daley
We are proud to call ourselves legal marketing ethics experts, but here at GNGF, we value ethics beyond the legal sphere. Our dedication to our values and doing the right thing, day in and day out, is what keeps us coming to work each and every day, bettering each other to better law firms.
We wanted to share our values and our dedication to ethics with our Cincinnati community by applying to the Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics, an award put on by the BBB Better Business Bureau that honors companies who pave the way in the marketplace by doing the right thing. We’re honored to announce that we are finalists for this year’s award!
To us, this award is a reaffirmation; not only is GNGF a great place to work, but our strength lies in our commitment to our core values and purpose. It is a validation to our team and our tenacity in not always taking the easy way out. To clients and vendors, we hope it is an affirmation that here at GNGF, we practice what we preach. It is confirmation to the leadership team that we can help revolutionize a critical legal industry, and help foster the best experience for lawyers and those in need of legal services, all the while staying true to who we are as a high integrity leadership team.
The application process was no small feat; it called for many examples of ethical practices, asking us to tell stories of how our team exhibited these practices with clients, vendors, and employees. All full-time GNGF team members completed a survey and told stories of times they’d witnessed and partook in ethical decision making, and what our values mean to them. Mark and Jabez told stories of how even from the beginning, they wanted GNGF to be a value-driven company focused on bettering people and bettering businesses the right way.
Countless hours of storytelling, writing, editing, and almost 30 pages later, we’d completed our application. The time, effort, and passion that went into creating and submitting this application made the reward of being named a finalist that much sweeter. While it would be nice to add another trophy to our shelf, the acknowledgement of our value-driven business is award enough.
To learn more about the BBB Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics, please see the Better Business Bureau’s website.
WHY YOUR NEXT HIRE NEEDS TO BE TECH SAVVY
By Mollie Sadler
Clients are beginning to expect your law firm to be using current technologies beyond word-processing. Email, text, chat services have changed how you communicate both internally and with your clients. But did you know that technology has even affected how you should staff your law offices?
From paralegal to partner, your future staff is going to need a deeper understanding of technologies available to your firm.
Professions have changed. Paralegals and legal secretaries are now expected to perform multiple job functions, including marketing, business development, information technology, customer billing, and professional services contracting.
Fifteen years ago, there wasn’t a need to have a technology expert on staff. However, today with the amount of technology integrated into law firm practices, a technology expert is imperative. Having support for databases, website maintenance, web hosting, and management of software programs will create a more fluid process within your firm. A technology expert should also have a deep understanding of database manipulation and document management software programs and how that integrates with state and federal regulations.
These new avenues of service delivery are increasing a law firm’s ability to retain clients and produce more billable hours. Law firms are utilizing their multitalented employees to develop teams that are assigned to each client to better fulfill client needs. Firms are also taking full advantage of legal technology to create pain-free online client portals. This allows attorneys and clients to keep track of meetings, documents, and details of their case in a private, increasingly secure manner.
Staffing your firm with employees that have expertise and the ability to adapt to changing technology trends is important to the growth of your firm. As technology continues to develop, lawyers and legal staff must continue to grow to maintain full function of their firm. Growing with technology will allow firms to provide a better service for their clients.
ARE YOU ADDICTED TO YOUR SMARTPHONE?
By Jenny Lewin
Halloween is over, but we aren’t quite ready to stop talking about the spooky stuff.
At GNGF, we have an unmatched passion for technology. Would I go as far as to say we’re obsessed? Yes, because we are. This obsession could possibly go as far as using our own veins to charge our smartphones.
YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY.
Industrial designer and Israeli graduate student Naomi Kizhner has created conceptual jewelry that would receive energy from humans to charge our devices. It would “plug-in” via our veins.
As always, we appreciate creativity and innovation, but we’re glad to know that this is just an artistic concept—for now at least.
Although we may not be quite as obsessed as using our own blood supply to charge our mobile devices, we have a digital connection that almost cannot be replicated.
We are, essentially, in a relationship with our smartphones: We eat with them, we walk with them, and we feel safer when they’re around. We get in fights with them, but miss them when they’re gone; we can’t take our eyes off of them–or our hands. Heck, we even sleep with them.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU CHECK YOUR PHONE?
Three times a day? Three times an hour? Sometimes, I turn my phone off so I’ll feel embarrassed when I go to check the “home screen” and nothing is there. It’s a nice reality check for me because it reminds me that checking my phone so often only makes me less productive.
Next time you go to check your phone, pause for a moment, and think about whether or not that is the best use of your time.