• Creating a Powerful Online Presence for Your Business
    Live Podcast Recording Video Transcript from the video: Rick Nuske: Hi, and welcome back to the My Future Business Show. My name is Rick Nuske and I’m on the line with Marc Apple from How are you Marc? Marc Apple: I’m great, Rick. How’s it going today? Rick Nuske: Oh, we’re doing very well. Got two feet and a heartbeat. Cannot complain. Rick Nuske: Now Marc and I were speaking a little earlier about hosting and some of the challenges it can cause for your business. And interestingly from that point on, Marc was talking about a recent client and how he helped them move over, not only hosting but started to do all their marketing and all these wonderful things which we are going to be focusing on today. But before we jump into digital marketing and social media, Marc, I’d love to learn a little bit about you and how you got to be, what you’re doing and what you do today. Marc Apple: Sure. Great question Rick. So I’ve always been into marketing ever since I was a teenager. I fell in love with music at an early age and I decided to start a magazine when I was 14 years old. And by the time I got out of high school, you could get that magazine all over the U.S. I just created this distribution network where it was available where people would buy it. And back in those days, people would actually send you a letter and ask you to send them the magazine in the mail to them. That started my career in marketing, which eventually led to me working for various record labels and radio stations, doing their marketing and promotion around the U.S. So I lived in plenty of different states throughout the U.S., all the way from Detroit to Colorado, to Seattle, to San Francisco. And now I find myself in Atlanta where I currently run the ad agency, like you said, Forward Push. Rick Nuske: Yup. That’s great. And I’ve been looking at your bio. You’ve worked with some pretty major corporations. Has that helped shape your perspective of digital marketing landscape and the marketing process overall? Marc Apple: Yeah. 100%. A lot of times when I’m meeting with a small business client, I’ll share with them my background of working at these major companies. And I really believe… Read more »
  • 20 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Web Designer
    Don’t Make These Mistakes As a web design agency, we see some of the biggest mistakes people make when hiring a web designer. In an attempt to help you avoid the same concerns, we’ve compiled the top 20 for a comprehensive list of what to look for. Whether you’re a CMO or small business owner, these points will help you hire the best web designer for your company based on your needs. Let’s get started! Focusing Only on Design, Not Development Most people refer to building a website as designing a website, but there’s another crucial factor: developing the code that brings your ideas to life. And while a website designer can also be a developer, they are two different skillsets. Hiring a team that has specialists for each role ensures your final website is beautiful and functional. Ignoring the User Experience Websites are more than combining design elements with some text. The user experience is how well your website serves visitors’ needs, and we often see owners ignore this in favor of a design element. But when implemented, a quality user experience can improve conversions like purchases or signups by 400%. It’s possible for exciting design and user experience to live in harmony, but we always recommend prioritizing ease of use. Make sure all text is easy to read, links easy to find, and that design best practices are followed so that your visitors turn into clients. Not Focusing on a Mobile-Friendly Design Over 60% of internet browsing is done on mobile, and 74% of people are more likely to return to a website if it’s optimized for mobile. Without a mobile website of your own, you could be losing potential customers as they get frustrated with the difficult user experience. A mobile-friendly design is typically a part of your website template, but there are varying degrees of flexibility with it. Your website design company can help you decide the best way to implement a mobile-friendly design so you won’t be leaving revenue on the devices. Building for You, Not Your Customer It’s important to like your website. But it’s more important for your customer to engage with it well. This means making relevant information like your prices, location, and FAQs easy to find. If a piece of content doesn’t result in a resounding “yes” when looked at through an audience filter, then it shouldn’t be on your website.… Read more »
  • Marketing Help for Metro Atlanta Real Estate Agents
    Marketing as a real estate agent is more than posting new listings on Instagram. It’s developing a strategy that focuses on providing value for your farm area through expert local knowledge, engaging with local businesses, and implementing local SEO on your website. With this focus, you can grow your career and your personal brand. Here’s what you need to know to market yourself as a Metro Atlanta real estate agent.  Become the Local Expert You’re already a source of knowledge for clients new to the area, so it’s time to put that knowledge to work. Become the expert in your area, covering everything from interior designers to new restaurants to farmers markets and seasonal events on your website, in email newsletters, and on social media. The goal is two-fold. The first is to keep you top of mind in residents’ heads, and the second is to show that you’re knowledgeable in what is available in the Metro Atlanta area. Focus on events and information your target client would enjoy. If you’re working with families, you’re going to share different information than if you worked with millennials who aren’t looking to start a family. A family-focused realtor could share about KidZone Atlanta’s latest offerings, while a millennial-focused realtor could share about the Peachtree Road Farmers Market opening for the season. Becoming the local expert builds the foundation for future growth as those in your farm area become more familiar with you, your experience, and your results. Another way to build a local impact is to sponsor lunch & learns with local businesses. Sponsor Lunch & Learns with Local Businesses Lunch & learns are an opportunity to bring lunch to a local company and present information on a topic relevant to them. When done well, you can begin to build the rapport that is so important as a realtor. So, what does “doing it well” mean? It means ensuring the topic fits the business and their team’s interests and needs and having a clear value add. If you’re going to a property development firm with the goal of future clients for their luxury urban high-rise, you won’t want to present on events in the suburbs. Alternatively, a lunch & learn for a fast-growing company’s HR team would be about building company culture and attracting high-quality talent. Here’s the secret to a valuable lunch & learn: you don’t have to be the… Read more »
  • Top Marketing Tips for Real Estate Agents
    All industries can benefit from marketing, but real estate agents have a unique opportunity to maximize social media, email marketing, their website, and other strategies to build relationships with current and potential clients. The stronger your relationships are, the more likely you’ll be to grow your business through referral and non-referral leads. Let’s get started with the foundation of every online presence: your brand. Build Your Personal Brand Your online presence needs to be more than the houses you sell. It’s how you serve clients and integrate yourself into your farm area. Build your brand around being the local expert who provides up-to-date, helpful information and people will remember you. Promote local events, hot new restaurants, interior designers, and other highlights that are unique to your area. The more you associate yourself with these characteristics, the more value you’ll provide to your audience and the more likely they’ll be to call you when looking to buy or sell. Once you’ve established who you want to be online, back it up with your social media presence. Be Active on Social Media Social media requires a strategy with a personal touch. After all, it’s a place where people come to get to know each other. It’s, well, social! Integrate your interests with real estate-related content and the occasional “just sold” post. We say occasionally because, while it shows you’re good at your job, it doesn’t provide as much value to potential future clients. Instead, rotate through content about local events, home buying tips, and interior design inspiration. Create Pinterest boards with different interior design styles for clients to reference, repost local interior designers images (with permission) on Instagram, and share a client-focused market update on Facebook. Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms We often hear from realtors that they don’t have time for all the platforms, or that they aren’t seeing any progress. It’s tricky, especially as Facebook and Instagram decrease engagement. It’s not the time to give up, though. You just need a switch. When you focus on where your audience lives online, you’ll succeed on social media. If you’re targeting millennials moving for tech industry jobs, test Twitter. If you want to work with Gen X-ers looking to downsize, Facebook and Pinterest may be the right choice. Test a platform with consistent content for at least three months, and then determine how you can further evolve from there. As helpful… Read more »
  • How to Get New Clients for Your Law Firm Through Blogging
    People look for lawyers in times of crisis, and in today’s search engine-focused world, that search is done online. When law firms create blog content focused on their specialty, they can bring in website visitors who need help during that time. They get the information they need, and if they’re ready to proceed with a consultation, they can engage with the call-to-action. But before they can use that call-to-action, they need to find that blog post valuable. And this is how to do it. Write About Your Specialties Blogging for your law firm is only helpful if the information relates to your area of law. If someone comes to your website looking for family law but you focus on tax law, that’s a visitor who won’t convert into a client. When you focus on your chosen specialties, you’ll deliver the quality content people need when they’re anxious, frightened, and looking for answers. Your specialties also give you ideas for blog posts, so we always encourage lawyers to blog on their chosen area. Consider frequently asked questions, common trouble spots, and mistakes you see clients making before they come to you. All of these points are potential blog posts. We use this strategy with Taylor Law Group, a family law practice in Marietta, Georgia. Their content has been optimized so that most website traffic comes through blog posts. Once people see the value within a blog, they are more likely to click through the website to learn more. At that point, some will engage with our call to action to call for a consultation. By optimizing your content based on your specialties, you can focus on bringing in visitors interested in what you offer and begin the conversion process. That’s not the only way to choose blog topics, though. You can also narrow your choices down further by search volume. Choose Topics Based on Search Volume The best blog on the Internet won’t be seen if no one is searching for it. When you choose topics based on search volume, you can further optimize content for those searching for it. We don’t recommend search volume be the only determining factor of whether a blog is written, but it should weigh into the decision. It shows users’ browsing habits, which is an important piece of data when looking to increase website traffic. You can find search volume by using tools like,… Read more »
  • How to Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising for Your Law Firm
    Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is one way that firms without significant advertising budgets can compete with law firms using billboards, buses, and daytime TV commercials. While those placements can improve brand recognition, it’s more valuable to be where people are searching: online. Using PPC advertising for your firm can help increase lead generation to help you reach your growth goals. But before we get into our strategy tips, let’s review exactly what pay-per-click advertising is. Building a Foundation in Pay-Per-Click Advertising Pay-per-click is a type of advertising where companies pay, yes, per click. Instead of a blanket cost per 30 or 60-day advertising period like outdoor signage or a TV or radio spot, PPC lets you pick a budget that works for your firm. This makes it much more approachable for smaller firms with limited advertising budgets. You purchase these visits by placing a bid on specific keywords related to your firm. If you win the auction against other advertisers bidding for that keyword, then your ad is shown. If your bid isn’t high enough, your ad won’t be shown. Most PPC advertising comes through search engines like Google and Bing, platforms that offer access to their millions of daily searches – for the right price. But bidding is only one part of a PPC campaign. You also need the text that accompanies the link to your website. It’s important that these ads are engaging with a strong call to action so users are enticed to click to head to your website. We always recommend using multiple ads per campaign so you can quickly assess which are working and which need some improvement. Start with five ads per campaign, and refine as your campaign runs. Another important quality about PPC advertising is that it is highly trackable compared to outdoor or TV placements. We use URL parameters and other tools available from the chosen search engine to help us maximize the best performing campaigns. Now that we have the foundation for PPC set, it’s time to look at how it can work for your law firm. Making PPC Work for Your Firm Whether small or large, your law firm can maximize PPC advertising to increase lead generation to grow your practice. It’s competitive, which can increase costs, but even then, firms with limited advertising budgets can still see success. This is done primarily through a hyper localized strategy. Choose keywords that… Read more »
  • How to Use Video Marketing & YouTube for Lawyers
    Today, YouTube is for far more than viral challenges. It’s a valuable way to reach potential clients. By choosing the right topics and including a call-to-action, you can begin to take your part of the 300 hours of video uploaded every minute in order to share your expertise and grow your law firm. People engage with video at a higher rate than other types of content. This provides you with a chance to introduce yourself to viewers so they can get to know you, all before they call you or walk through your door. YouTube’s scale can be intimidating, but the low barrier to entry to video marketing today offers an incredible opportunity to be discovered somewhere that Avvo or Yelp. We’re going to explore a few ways that you can use video in your law firm, and then review how to begin implementing video into your online presence. How to Use YouTube for Your Law Firm It’s easy to start overthink videos for your law firm; the most important thing to remember is to just start. Producing videos helps you reach more people and interact with them in a way that mimics one-to-one communication—without the time commitment. These are our four key ways to utilize video at your practice. Answer Common Questions When people search online, they ask questions. And while you could take advantage of this through a blog-only strategy, YouTube videos appear near the top of Google results and can positively impact your brand awareness and increase leads. Those questions people ask? All potential content. For example, this video highlights a question this firm receives along with their answer, which shows their perspective on the legal system.  If you’re not sure what questions to answer, consider the top questions you get from potential clients. This could be about how attorneys work with clients or the top concerns within your area of practice. Some possible video topics are: What questions should I ask before hiring a lawyer? What should I know about attorney-client privilege? How does the legal process work for [insert specialty]? What does it mean to settle a case? As you begin to develop videos around these questions, you’ll further establish your thought leadership, which you can use to your advantage in a call-to-action. Include a Call-to-Action with Every Video After watching your video, some viewers will be ready to visit your website or call.… Read more »
  • How Law Firms Can Use Website Directories
    Do you want to improve your law firm’s SEO presence overnight? While this may sound like a one-way ticket to get blacklisted from search results, this is a completely search engine-legal way to improve your law firm’s presence online. The secret is utilizing website directories. These websites are an aggregator for attorneys in a geographical area and contain basic information about your firm, a link to your website, and reviews from clients. We’re going to first review the benefits of website directories and the top choices available to lawyers. Then, we’ll finish with how to ensure your law firm is using these resources to the fullest extent available.   The Benefits of Using Legal Website Directories These directories always appear at the top of a search, which means you can harness that SEO power to improve your website’s visibility without investing in an extensive SEO strategy. These websites also have a search functionality, so those looking for an attorney in your specialty can find you without scrolling through disorganized search results. Directories also utilize user behavior for your advantage. Most consumers will visit a directory first, then go to your website for more information before calling. The most significant benefit of these, though, is that other firms can’t appear on your profile. This is very different from Yelp, where companies can pay to be a featured profile and a better ranking in search results. Although Yelp certainly has a robust platform, using these legal website directories provides a better result in a less crowded space. Website directories for law firms will also offer listing categories specific to your area of expertise, along with space to include all relevant information like education, credentials, and payment methods. Let’s use Hoffer & Webb, an Atlanta law firm, as an example. As trial attorneys focused on immigration, workers compensation, discrimination, and other related fields, it was important that their directory listings showcased their full capabilities. The better we could do that the more likely people would be to call for a consultation. We chose to create listings for the firm and the partners. This meant they had a higher chance of appearing in results for more search terms. Now that we’ve established how important these directories are, it’s time to share our recommendations for your law firm. Top Website Directories for Lawyers The benefit of using a website directory exclusive to lawyers is two-fold.… Read more »
  • 7 Elements Every Legal Website Needs
    How to Increase Leads for Your Legal Practice Imagine you had an opportunity to bring in potential clients while you were fighting for your current ones. With a fully optimized website, you can. These best practices will help you determine exactly what you need to improve your website’s success. Let’s get started with some basics: can website visitors tell what your law firm does? Make Your Services Clear When a potential client visits your website, they need to know your specialty within five seconds. It’s the ultimate test of a website’s effectiveness. If that potential client can’t tell, then your services need some clarity. Ensure your core services are on your home page with a short description for each. Then, link those sections to full pages for each service. This prevents information overload while still helping potential clients discover who you are and what you do. Once you make your law firm’s services clear, you should begin to see an increase in extended website traffic with increased contact form submissions or phone calls. Another way to make your services clear is to use video to share your story and services. Utilizing Video to Share Your Story Stories connect with people, and video does that better than any other type of content. It’s tempting to focus on the facts of the case more than the story, but both have value. There are three types of videos every law firm should have on their website: a profile video, testimonial videos, and topical videos. Profile videos share the story behind your practice and introduces the viewer to the partners. The best videos include a mixture of straight-to-camera interview scenes paired with shots of the team working in an office or walking near the local courthouse. Testimonial videos offer an opportunity to share successful cases and the stories behind them. Choose past clients whose cases are within your core services, so these videos highlight your expertise. A testimonial video can include multiple clients in one, or a series of in-depth videos. (Or both.) Topical videos share your expertise on your practice areas, and can be combined with testimonial videos. Ideally, there would be one video per core service, though one video will suffice. A family law firm’s topical videos could include establishing prenuptials, child custody, or the legalities of separation in your state. With the right videographer, even the most hesitant of lawyer can… Read more »
  • EAT-ing Your SEO to Remain Competitive
    * If you haven’t read Part One of this series, EATing Your Way to an Improved Google SEO Ranking, start here and come back. How Your Business Can be Competitive Online SEO has become highly competitive, albeit more restricted, in the last five years. This means that focusing on an up-to-date and thorough strategy is essential to delivering the results you want. In our first article on the EAT strategy, we shared how you can improve your SEO by focusing on your website’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. By using this Google-driven strategy, you can improve your ranking for topics important to your business. There are three core ways to implement this strategy: 1. Publishing relevant, high-quality content. 2. Focusing on SEO basics. 3. Establishing your authority early in a user’s visit. Remember, while this is important for YMYL websites (those dealing with money and health), all websites can benefit from this strategy. We’re going to cover how each of those three pieces can help your website, starting with content. Publishing High-Quality Content If the website’s design is the skeleton, then the content is the organs. You can’t keep your website going without the skeleton, but your content is the vital piece that will bring people back and entice them to buy. High-quality content refers to how it’s produced as well as the topics themselves. You want great writing, recording, illustrating, designing… whatever type of content you’re creating. A poorly written blog post will reflect poorly on your brand, and no one wants that. The topics themselves should be highly relevant, culturally appropriate, and timely. It’s important to note that this isn’t any high-quality content. It’s high-quality content that’s relevant to your niche. Consider your customers’ top questions about your product, service, or industry. Use those questions as idea starters for blog content. Publish at least two blogs per month, ideally four. When you publish high-quality content regularly to your website, you’ll support an improved Google ranking for your website. But that’s not the only way! Now let’s review the SEO basics. Focusing on the SEO Basics SEO can get technical. We know that. But it is possible to improve your SEO ranking with a few basic updates. These are: • Focusing on building backlinks. • Installing an SSL certificate, if you haven’t already. • Building up internal links. Backlinks are hyperlinks on external websites, and are built through testimonials, news… Read more »
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