Implementing a legal marketing strategy without paid media is like going into battle with a bow and arrow. Sure, you may get by for a while with what you have, but you’re greatly diminishing the potential benefits for your law firm without its inclusion. While the ever-expanding media landscape may make it difficult to have your firm’s message heard organically, it also brings an influx of methods to promote it. Paid media gives you an opportunity to promote content and drive exposure, and there are no shortage of paid techniques you can use to strengthen your owned media and help you secure more earned media. Here are some tips on what to include in your paid media plan.
Sponsored content is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as material in an online publication which resembles the publication’s editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser and intended to promote the advertiser’s product. Originating decades ago in print publications, sponsored content is a tried and true form of paid media that now expands to online journals or magazines, blogs, podcasts and other various mediums. When done effectively, it provides a new audience for your firm to reach as well as third-party credibility for your message.
When it comes to sponsored content, the source of the content is just as important as the message your firm is trying to deliver. Of course, you still want a quality article, feature or blog post that showcases one of your attorneys or the firm as a whole. However, your efforts will be fruitless if the publication fails to reach your target audience or tap into a new market. Do your research and focus on business journals, magazines or other media outlets that will be seen and consumed by prospective clients and business partners.
Social Media Advertising
Your firm’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other social media platforms are already a viable channel for driving traffic to your website. Along with maintaining a consistent schedule of new content, incorporating social media advertising into your paid media plan will only enhance the work you have already done. Before you start firing out ads on any and all networks, determine which of your channels would provide the most bang for your buck. Remember that the different channels also come with their own various audiences, so the messaging will likely change depending on where you’re sending an ad. For example, you wouldn’t want to use the same ad on LinkedIn and Instagram due to their vastly different audiences.
Don’t just assume LinkedIn would be the best place to start given its status as a professional networking site. Take a look at the engagement numbers from the most successful posts on your firm’s various social channels. Where are members of your audience spending most of their time? Where are you seeing the most likes, comments and shares? Where are your followers and prospects having conversations? Because it is one of the most effective and least expensive forms of social media advertising, start with Facebook and test the results before expanding to other channels.
Similar to sponsored content, native advertising fits the style of the surrounding content on a page to make it seem “native” to that site. However, often including a catchy headline or explanation to encourage clicks on the link, native advertising appears more like traditional advertising than its counterpart in sponsored content. The most effective native advertisements are those that seem indistinguishable from the rest of a page’s content.
Think about the last time you perused Amazon for a new phone case. You were likely presented with dozens of options to choose from just on the first page of results. Many of those results, likely positioned on the top or side of the page with a “sponsored” disclaimer, were examples of native advertising. You may have even clicked on one of them, proving the worth of native advertising. For those brands, the proximity to the top of the page makes it much more likely to be seen by shoppers, while the similarity in style to other listings draws attention.
Reaching members of your target audience and driving them to your firm’s website is the ultimate goal of your legal marketing strategy, and pay-per-click is one of the most effective paid media practices for accomplishing this goal. Advertisers pay a fee each time someone clicks their ad in exchange for a promoted link. While paying for each time that someone clicks on an advertisement and reaches your page may seem costly, it doesn’t come close to reaching the value of new business. In fact, Google and other search engines will even charge less per click if the ads and landing pages are beneficial and satisfying to users.
Google Ads is the most popular form of pay-per-click advertising and while there are many factors that will determine the success of your campaign, it starts with the right keywords. By researching and compiling the most relevant keywords associated with your firm, you can put yourself directly in front of a market that is already searching for topics related to your business. Over time, incorporating these keywords in your ads and content marketing efforts will improve your Google Quality Score and businesses with higher Quality Scores get more ad clicks at lower costs.
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As one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, display advertising has been around since the mid-1990s and remains one of the most popular to this day. Relying heavily on images and videos to promote a product or service through visuals, display ads can be found on many websites in the form of banners, images and text ads. While they also appear on a different site than that of the advertiser, display ads are different from native advertising because they are designed specifically to stand out rather than blend in with the rest of the content.
Over time, users have become privy to display ads and many have installed software that blocks these ads from appearing on a site. However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t still be valuable for your firm. Display ads can appear on a number of different websites, allowing you to reach a new audience that may not know about your firm. Or, they can be targeted to appear on specific websites to generate interest among members of your target audience. Most importantly, clicks, impressions and conversions from display ads are all measurable, meaning you can assess your campaign based on the results and make changes as you see fit.
Just as the most successful content marketing strategies include many different types such as byline articles, infographics, videos and case studies, the best paid media plan is one that utilizes multiple techniques. Your firm might see results from just one native ad or sponsored story the same way you might see results from one blog post, but don’t limit your potential for more traffic, engagement and new business leads by ignoring the other strategies. If you’re interested in creating a paid media plan or haven’t seen the results you were looking for, our team is here to help. We’d love to start a conversation with you about how we can create results for your firm.