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In Content Expertise, Clients Trust

September 25th, 2014

Skunkworks Creative Group

In Content Expertise, Clients Trust

The Internet is great place for building relationships. Business relationships.

Building relationships, in turn, is about trust. Often trust and engagement go hand in hand. If you want a potential client to engage your professional assistance, build their trust. If you want a potential client to trust you, start by trying to connect with them. Here are 7 key principles to keep in mind.

1) Consider your voice. And use that voice consistently. You may work with clients who are dealing with difficulties or stressful matters. Accordingly, balance a voice that is both professional and welcoming.

2) Understand your platform. You may have a number of great articles but not much in the way of photo content when it comes to your expertise. Don’t feel like you ought to use photo based platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram just because they are there. This means you tax lawyers. Pick the channels that best allow you to add value to the viewer. If you are fantastic at writing, write a blog, or try tweeting.

Content marketing 3) Consistency. Similar to real life, you are more likely to gain trust by being consistent and reliable rather than flashy.

4) Add Value. While it is important to maintain a channel, don’t feel you have to post a blog/picture/tweet when you don’t have something valuable to say. Fewer well crafted blogs, newsletters, and the like may have more impact on your readers than several written just for the sake of producing content. Think about what your reader is looking for, and tailor your content to make it worthwhile for them.

5) Engage. Social media is social. Don’t be afraid to participate. If someone likes your Google+ post, or asks you a question over Twitter, write them back.

6) Pick your platform(s) wisely. You may be a wonderful photographer, but if you aren’t adding value to your clients, reconsider if the platform is right for you. Also consider how often you can engage meaningfully, and how often your viewers can listen. Just because you can write 5 blog posts a day, doesn’t mean you want to post to the point of saturating your viewers.

7) Search savvy. To help provide engaging and relevant content, search for terms common to your business or service. Social mention, and topsy, for example, allow you to see what is trending right now and can help you steer your next blog post. This will also help you avoid recreating existing online content.

While you may be hesitant to start because you don’t want to risk your reputation or use a social media channel incorrectly, keep in mind that you can start slowly and see what channel or strategy works best for you.

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.Lawyer Domain Names

September 24th, 2014

Skunkworks Creative Group

.Lawyer Domain Names

Lawyer Domain  Names

We routinely advise lawyers on domain name selection. My boilerplate recommendations are:

  1. Think about your email address first and your website second;
  2. Don’t be a slave to search engine optimization (SEO);
  3. Don’t register dozens of domain names if you only need one; and
  4. Choose something distinguishable from your competitors.

There are, however, occasions when new questions emerge. The introduction of .Lawyer and .Attorney generic top-level domains (gTLDs) presents just such an opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Digital Marketing, Google, Law, Law firm websites, Marketing Strategy, SEM/SEO | Comments Off

Put Your Firm on Display

September 23rd, 2014

Skunkworks Creative Group

Put Your Firm on Display

What is display advertising?

You’ve likely noticed banners including text, logos, pictures or rich media when visiting some of your favourite websites. These are referred to as display ads. Imagine a traditional magazine ad with a few unique advantages. Google Display ads allow for flexible ad formats, targeting options to connect with your audience, and a price-point that scales down to small businesses. Another key advantage -you can track the performance of your campaign to measure your clicks and conversions. In terms of advertising, hard numbers beat a “pay and pray” approach. Finally, if someone wants to know more about your firm, it is as easy as a click through to your website. Google Display Network Sample Ad

Sample Ad for Google Display Network

Personal Injury Ad for Taylor & Blair Personal Injury Lawyers

Google Display Network Sample Ad

When should I use display advertising?

The Google Display Network (GDN) allows advertisers to place ads on sites across the Internet ranging from the New York Times, to cooking blogs, to cat videos on Youtube. With Google’s acquisition of Doubleclick in 2007, the GDN became the largest ad-serving network on the Web. As such, the GDN is an appealing way to expand your online presence, build brand awareness, and test creative efforts prior to traditional print campaigns. Viewers of GDN ads tend to in browsing mode – whether catching up on news or reading an article they found on social media. Accordingly the key here is to create an ad that will gain the attention of your desired audience. In most cases, actual traffic through to the site of professional services firms will be incidental to brand awareness efforts.

What about those ads that follow me around the Internet?

Perhaps you visited a website last week and now an ad for that website is showing up when you are browsing other sites. This is called remarketing. Remarketing is a powerful way to connect with individuals who have already shown an interest in your service and can help bring your brand to mind when they are ready to buy. If this makes you weary because you’ve had a remarketing ad follow you to the point where it is creepy, annoying, or both, you will be happy to know you can put a cap on how many times an ad shows. The reason that Google offers this service and that companies pursue remarketing is because it works. That said, we advise firms to use the technology sparingly to avoid alienating prospective clients. There is a happy medium.

Why is the google Display network good for gaining brand awareness?

1) The GDN is big. Really big. While the placements change on a daily basis, there are currently over 2 million sites in the GDN. This means that there is a good chance that we can find appropriate sites to run your ads without having to contact individual websites for ad buys.

2) You won’t simply be shooting in the dark. If you are providing a legal service, it doesn’t do much for you to have your ad showing up on blogs about baking. Google understands this and allows you to target your ads based on audience characteristics, website groupings, or specifically selecting sites where you’d like your ads to show.

Google Display Network Leaderboard Ad

Kelly Russ Vancouver Family Lawyer Display Ad

3) By appearing on sites that are popular amongst your target audience, you are able to familiarize people with your brand. For example, they may not need a family lawyer when they see your ad, but your brand will be familiar if they subsequently separate from a spouse and start making inquiries about hiring a family lawyer.

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New Look and Website for Bankruptcy Trustee G Slocombe & Associates

September 17th, 2014

Skunkworks Creative Group

New Look and Website for Bankruptcy Trustee G Slocombe & Associates

Recently we had the pleasure of working with G Slocombe and Associates, licensed Trustees in Bankruptcy serving Vancouver Island and the Kootenay Region.  The firm offers full service insolvency & restructuring services.

Dealing with unmanageable debts is an uncomfortable experience. Your options may seem like a bitter pill for your financial health.  Whether bankruptcy, consumer proposals, or other debt management alternatives, you want help from someone with experience.  Gareth Slocombe wanted to address this issue when rebranding G Slocombe & Associates Inc.

New Corporate Identity

After 14 years in business G Slocombe and Associates needed to refresh its brand.   They wanted a new corporate identity that was clean, modern, and offered a sense of optimism for clients facing financial challenges.  Our design maintains the firm’s existing colour palette and introduces a new graphic element suggestive of turning things around.

 

G Slocombe & Associates new logo

 

Website

We wanted slocombe-trustee.com to convey both expertise and understanding, two of Gareth’s key business values when assisting clients. The previous website offered free bankruptcy resources loosely assembled over 14 years in business. To connect with individuals in the midst of financial woes, or seeking information on debt management options,  we opted for a large header image that leverages the idea of a fresh start and gives the firm a distinct look and feel. Additionally, we used a warm and welcoming colour palette while balancing a clean and professional appearance.

 

Slocombe Screen Shot Home page

To bring the website up to speed with modern trends, we created large call to action buttons, click to call functionality, added a blog, social media buttons, and embedded google maps so individuals can easily contact Gareth.

We were happy to assist Gareth in developing his website and wish G Slocombe and Associates ongoing success.

You can view the full website here: http://slocombe-trustee.com/

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When Should You Market Your Law Firm?

August 26th, 2014

Skunkworks Creative Group

When Should You Market Your Law Firm?

It’s About Time

In business, as in life, timing is everything. While much of our work at Skunkworks involves developing marketing strategies for law firms, we rarely have an opportunity to influence timing for these marketing efforts. The timing is either now, or just as often, yesterday. These are business-driven decisions. As more of our clients have converted to ongoing retainers, we increasingly have opportunities to develop long-term marketing strategies that track a firm’s overall business goals. This allows for seasonal projects, benchmarking, and much better transparency into the relative performance of campaigns. Like any business, our clients want to see a return-on-investment. Despite our move towards ongoing retainers, we have identified some predictable stages where timing is particularly important for law firms. Seasonal Leaves

New Firms

Starting a new practice remains the most common time to invest in marketing efforts. The proverbial hanging of a shingle is much more involved these days. A basic investment will include a corporate identity package (business cards, letterhead, envelopes) and a simple website. You need to a) be found by people looking for you and b) project both professionalism and a sense of permanence. Just investing in a logo shows people that you are serious about your business and will be around for the foreseeable future. You should start considering these details at the same time you are structuring the new firm. A website should be live, at latest, on the day you start accepting clients for the firm.

Succession Planning

Your firm may have a great reputation, but this reputation is most likely tied to senior practitioners. Some day, they’ll want to cash-in their billable hours for putting greens and babysitting the grand kids. The second most common time for lawyers to invest in marketing is as succession plans are being developed. The trick is to transfer the firm’s goodwill to those carrying-on the torch. This needs to happen well before the retirement party.

Keeping Up With the LLPs

Another strong influence for the timing of marketing projects is because the firm has not kept-up with its competitors. We see firms at each price point moving forward in waves. When a group of firms starts updating, the rest will be close behind. Because marketing efforts take time to execute, you want to make sure that you have a strategy in place that reflects such inevitable updates. Budget for them. Marketing, much like software, is now moving towards a continuous cycle of smaller subscription updates rolled-out as they emerge rather than large overhaul updates every couple of years. This is one of the bigger drivers behind our increased use of an ongoing retainer model.

Slow Periods vs Ongoing Efforts

Most firms are reluctant to do any marketing while they’re very busy. They would prefer to wait until things are slow. This will be too late. Marketing a law firm takes time. The idea is not just to be busy, but to stay busy. The best time to invest is when things are moving along well and you can piggy-back on your existing success. If you receive too many inbound leads, refer the work to colleagues and bank the goodwill. Alternatively, hire some help.

In summary, I want to emphasize that legal marketing needs to be done early. We can only help if there is enough time. By working with more firms on ongoing retainers, we hope to raise the bar on legal marketing by delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time. Our upcoming case studies will show how we make this happen.

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