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If you are a business owner who still uses outdated marketing methods like print ads and radio spots as your only forms of advertising, then you may as well use stone tablets and Morse code.
While the yellow pages has been a popular way to get the news out about your business to locals, especially for lawyers and doctors (you have probably seen the 4 page spreads these types of businesses often print in your local phone book), more people are connected to the internet than ever, making social networks like Google+ a more efficient way to advertise.
Andrew Hacker, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Queens College in New York, once said that “Every time a message seems to grab us, and we think, ‘I just might try it,’ we are at the nexus of choice and persuasion that is advertising.” That’s very true, which is why compelling content is an important aspect of marketing, whether you are selling a product or offering professional services.
In today’s digital age, if you want your marketing to grab and persuade people beyond your own backyard, then your advertising needs to go beyond those boundaries as well. Take for instance a legal firm that, for the past decade, limited advertising to a full page spread in the local yellow pages and a handful of radio spots per month. While this is absolutely a great way to bring in new clients, they can reach more clients by adding social media to their marketing plan.
Social media reaches more people for less money than any other form of advertising. If you don’t believe it, consider this – if Twitter was a country, it would rank #12 in the world in population with more than 105 million residents. Every time someone makes a tweet it’s like sending it out to an entire country. There is no form of traditional marketing that compares to this type of statistic.
And people aren’t just social networking from their computers. They’re also taking it mobile! As of September 2012, according to Facebook’s statistics page, more than 600 million active users used mobile versions of the social media network on a monthly basis (www.newsroom.fb.com). Here are some other reasons why you should transition from transitional to digital advertising, whether you sell products through Amazon or represent a personal injury firm.
SMS-Friendly – The acronym SMS stands for Short Message Service, and is another way to describe mobile messaging. As of December 2012, more than 100 countries from Argentina to Uzbekistan and practically everywhere in between supported some type of mobile service that allowed users to access Twitter.
Professional – Social networks are not just for sharing pictures of amusingly captioned animals or tweeting what someone had for lunch, but there are also a number of professionals that use the format. LinkedIn boasts more than 185 million members and as of December 2012 added another 2 million from South Africa. Even law students are encouraged to join social networks as a way to attract new clients.
Marketable – Of the people who blog professionally, 13% are entrepreneurs and more than 65% of them blog in order to attract new clients. When combined with SEO and other current marketing strategies, blogs can prove invaluable as a digital advertising tool, especially for those who offer professional services.
Popular – Social networks are popular. The Press Center for Instagram for Android devices reports that the site has more than 30 million registered users that post more than 5 million photos every day.
Global – By the time 2013 arrived, more than 675 million houses located in the far corners of the earth used some kind of broadband connection in order to access the internet. Asia Pacific alone represents nearly 40% of the world’s residential WiFi households. This is not only useful for reaching a wider range of potential new consumers, but also for situations such as Skype consultations between a client and his lawyer, therapist, or other professional offering some kind of a service.
Diverse – Internet browsers like Google Chrome offer extensions to help those using digital advertising stay organized. For example, Hootsuite allows content managers to make one post that updates multiple social media networks. Another great app is After the Deadline which offers last-minute proofreading for spelling, grammar, and word usage issues.
Creating an online presence is imperative to a digital marketing strategy. This is true for all businesses, but especially for those who offer professional services, such as criminal attorneys or doctors. For example, while a law office might have the budget for full-page ads in telephone directories like the yellow pages, they will find that the benefits of digital marketing are practically endless.
That is because when a criminal attorney advertises online, it creates a more engaging relationship with clients. One way to strengthen the bond with clients is to have a blog using WordPress. Adding well-written articles that use keywords on topics that are relative to legal services offered by the practice, such as bankruptcy, DUI, or estate planning not only keep the audience interested, but it also helps Google rank the website higher in the natural search listings.
WordPress offers plug-ins that help by linking your content to any social networks to which you belong. Publishing new content is automatically Tweets, becomes your new Facebook status, and is listed on Google+ or any other network that you’ve set up to receive automatic updates. While full-page advertisements in print media and direct mailers are useful for reaching new local clients for a law office, online marketing can reach potential new clients from around the globe.
Finally digital advertising allows you to obtain constant feedback from your customers and other consumers. Because practically everyone has access to the internet, they can ask questions or address issues that would usually require a lengthy period of staying on hold to speak with a telephone operator who may or may not resolve the problem. Because the internet is so visible, it prompts better customer service.
In addition to constantly communication from customers, businesses can also share information about products and services. Video tutorials that show exactly what to do – or perhaps what not to do, sit well with a lot of consumers. And video testimonials are even better received. Unlike text which can be written by anyone, video testimonials are sincere and will encourage new consumers to try out your business.
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