Law firm needs refreshed website

Leading legal practice needs a new website with CMS and news blog.

Our client is a leading law firm who has been using a website based on their practice management software.  

 

We need to move to a CMS based site with easy editing and strong SEO.

Website launch end June 2018.

Deadline for costed proposals 5pm, Friday 8th June 2018

Website specification:

4-6 informational pages

News blog

Functionality:

Website needs

  • CMS
  • Recommendations for security
  • Recommendations for plugins
  • On-site Google Search
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search console

Get in touch for a full specification and to find out more…… rebecca@creativeagencysecrets.com

The (b)leading edge of Accountancy marketing

Sage publishes an annual survey of accountants attitudes – what’s interesting is that it is global and the summary report details some good findings about the profession.  It’s called The Practice of Now 2018 

As a marketer who works with professional services businesses, my reading highlights some big numbers in the research about artificial intelligence, fear of competition, lack of optimism and increasingly demanding clients.  The implications for marketing, I will cover at the end of this article.

10 take-outs from the Practice of Now 2018 report

  1. Clients are changing faster than accountants. – 42% of clients expect accountants to provide business advice.  This shows how frontline accountancy is in the mind of the client and how banks and business mentors have failed to take up the slack here, which is an opportunity for growth.
  2. Revenues rise as cloud accounting allows firms to be more productive.  56% of firms saw a revenue rise.  If your firm didn’t see this fee income growth – start to review your working practices.
  3. Practice Management in the cloud is at 53% adoption – clearly we are into the mainstream majority now.
  4. But confidence is lower – 40% feel less confident about the prospects for their practice.  Clearly Xero’s goal of putting accountants out of business is realistic and beginning to come true.
  5. Competition within the industry is more visible – are you buying up a practice from a retiring competitor?  Clients will go to an accountant who serves their needs – even to another city or country.  This is both a threat and and opportunity for new business development.
  6. Artificial Intelligence is helping free up administrative tasks and it’s more than just automation. Moving from data entry, email and diary management to higher value services is a no-brainer… but how to set it up is the challenge as these skills aren’t in-house and they may not be in the IT services organisations who work with accountants either.
  7. Most accountants are doing some workflow automation – 49% want to do more of it.  So the benefits are noticed (see 2 above).
  8. The language of accountancy is changing – “Tell me how much money I have” and “How much am I owed?” is SO refreshing compared to “debtors, creditors and accruals”.  From a marketing point of view, these messages are very powerful and simple – but does your firm use this language?
  9. Advisory services are wanted by 42% of clients – but if you don’t market & position the firm to capture this revenue, clients will go elsewhere.
  10. The BIGGIE – 67% of accountants say that cloud technologies make client collaboration easier. Phew, glad that worked out because it jolly well ought to be this way.

Should I worry about artificial intelligence?

If you’re not sure what A.I. could do for your business, start asking questions now.  Because we all understand automation in things like bank feeds, this is a very small part of the working practice move towards higher functionality for humans and lower functions for machines (or software robots).

The easiest way to understand the potential for AI in accountancy is this extract from the report

Candidates for automation already include assigning incoming bank statement entries with the correct nominal codes—via training the machine becomes able to predict what codes should be used—but in the near future the power of AI to learn means it will become involved with operations like analytics and report creation. For example, software will be able to predict a client’s cash flow based on the company’s previous behaviour. Based on self-generated data, AI will be able to make predictions and decisions. This isn’t limited to client data. By examining things like seasonality data, AI can help with practice management. AI and automation aren’t just desirable because they make life easier. Research has suggested that the tedium of repetitive tasks can lead to a high staff turnover, introducing additional costs for a practice such as recruitment and training. Automating these processes makes complete business sense.”

It goes on to say

“AI can flag the anomalies, saving time and resources, making the accountant more productive.”

Your strategic marketing pathway

And as a marketer, if I am advising a modern accountancy practice this is what they should be doing for strategic marketing.

Firstly get your brand positioning updated to reflect modern working.  Think Nena and Kim Wilde – “Anyplace, anywhere, anytime” and you’ll be on the right track.

How that branding plays out into your collateral, positioning, services and online profile should be straightforward.  The key is to get the strategy right first and the rollout should be clear.  You will need new keywords for SEO, your client communications will become driven by client preference and choice and your language will simplify and align with clients’ choices of words. 

Other than that, it’s marketing business as (un)usual for a modern accountancy practice. 

Heat Mapping Tools

Quick and Easy Guide to Designing a High-Converting Website

(Image Source) Pixabay with permission

Nowadays, countless guides on the internet try to persuade you how easy it is to build a successful website from scratch.

While it’s true that anyone can get a decent-looking site live with the right tools, it’s still not easy for the online community to separate good web designers.

Remember, an experienced web developer knows to have a user-oriented approach when designing websites.

It’s not just about fancy visual effects, animations, and so on — it’s about creating an experience that compels users to take a specific action.

In this post, we’ll drill down into the tools which are the bedrock fundamentals for creating a high-converting website and how to utilise them yourself. (Image Source)

Let’s get started.

1. Start with the Right Platform

When it comes to developing websites, first you must choose a platform that can help you attain your goals.

Content management systems, e-commerce platforms, DIY site builders — each type of software has something unique to offer. And when commissioning a web developer, you can’t take this decision for granted.  It’s important you know and understand the differences and positives & negatives of each option.

Here is a brief explanation of each tool and their strengths:

Content Management Systems:

A flexible platform designed to help you edit, manage, and publish online content.

Wordpress plugins

WordPress plugins

CMS also give developers complete control over the website’s appearance — typically providing pre-made themes to work with.

WordPress is, by a clear mile, the most popular CMS ever. On top of the easy-to-use interface and countless themes to choose from, it also includes a massive plugin library for expandability and functionality – from newsletter subscription forms s to SEO.

E-Commerce Platforms

Shopify ecommerce

Shopify ecommerce

If your main goal is to sell product, you need to check out e-commerce platforms that consolidate everything you’ll need in one place.

For example, Shopify is becoming the go-to e-commerce platform that has all-in-one service including web hosting, online store themes, and integrations with services — from payment gateways to social sharing buttons. It also supports drop shipping apps like Oberlo and BigBuy, which enables shops to launch with a low overhead – but they do charge monthly fees.

Squarespace templates

Squarespace templates

DIY Site Builder Tools

It’s sometimes difficult to understand the difference between a content management system and a DIY site builder. The fact that both also support e-commerce functionalities don’t help, either.

What you need to remember is that site builders like Squarespace and Wix have limited customisability and capabilities, especially if you want modifications in your website’s source code. They do, however, make up for it with the wide selection of themes that hit the spot between pleasant appearance and user-friendliness.

 

2. Optimise Your Website’s Performance

Going back to being user-oriented, your website’s loading speed is one of the user experience factors that can single-handedly kill your search, traffic and conversions.

According to Google, 53% of users abandon a mobile website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. This number is reduced to only 40% for desktop sites, but you’ll still be missing out on a huge visitor stream.

This begs the question, how can you make your website load as fast as possible?

The answer, of course, varies. What you can do is to run an analysis through Google PageSpeed Insights to identify the exact issues that affect your website’s loading speed.

PageSpeed Insights work by providing optimisation suggestions that are specifically tailored to your website’s needs. It is a highly effective tool if you want to optimise your website’s loading times and maximise conversions by retaining more traffic.

To give you an idea of what to expect, below are some of the typical suggestions for your website’s loading speed:

  • Use Lossless Image Compression
    If you have a lot of visual content on your site, use a lossless compression tool like Compressor.io or Smush to reduce their size without compromising quality.
  • Consider a Content Delivery Network
    A surefire way to see significant performance gains on your website is to use a Content Delivery Network or CDN. Basically, it’s a network of servers that are strategically distributed across multiple locations to keep loading times consistent for all users — regardless of where they are in the world.
  • Minimise Your Code
    A handy tool like MinifyCode.com can further increase your website’s performance by removing excess characters, such as white spaces, line breaks, and comments, from codes. This can result in noticeable improvements, especially if you offer a lot of dynamic content and interactive elements on your website.

3. KISS (keeping it simple)

Remember, web pages are instruments that help users achieve a specific goal.  By being aligned with what the audience wants to do, web developers can accurately determine which page elements should be included or removed.

Do you need a prominent call to action? Are you sure banner ads aren’t pulling traffic away from your site?

Accomplished marketers like Neil Patel understand this fully, which is why you can observe the KISS principle at play in their websites.

 

 

 

 

 

(Image Source: Neil Patel)

It’s not rocket science: the fewer distractions presented to your audience, the faster they’ll buy into your value propositions. Apart from branding elements and navigation menus, try to avoid adding anything that contributes little to the user’s journey towards your desired action or goal.  That’s why landing pages often have menus removed.

4. Keep Fine-Tuning

Even veteran web developers find it hard to unlock the maximum conversion

Google Analytics traffic Funnel

Google Analytics traffic Funnel

potential of any given site instantly — let alone do it on their first try.

Heat Mapping Tools

Heat Mapping Tools

Your best bet is to launch your website, boot up some performance monitoring software, and let the numbers show you the way forward for refinements.

The usual route is to integrate Google Analytics to start monitoring key performance metrics, such as web traffic, bounce rate, session duration, and e-commerce transactions. It can also help you identify your best content as well as pinpoint the “drop-off” points where you lose most of your audience.

If you want, you can also slice through the number-crunching and visually monitor how most users interact with your site. You can do this with the help of a heat mapping tool, like Crazy Egg, Sumo or Hotjar.

 

Conclusion

Conversion rate optimisation is a learning experience that requires your direct involvement and regular updates.

The tips above should be more than enough to put you on a more profitable pathway.

Care to share a couple more tips on how to develop conversion-ready websites? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Creative Marketing: How To Get Your Company Noticed In 2018

Trends are indicative of what is popular and selling well. If you want to transform your business, regardless of size or industry, you need to be aware of these trends and then implement them as effectively as you can. Creative marketing encompasses both the creative and the marketing world, and often to great effect. Exciting and attractive marketing is powerful and effective, and strong visuals play a significant role in how well a product is recognized and consumed. Creative marketing is the genius behind getting a product noticed and sold, so using it well only stands to benefit you. Clever and sophisticated creative marketing could give way to the exponential business enhancement and increased revenue you’ve been dreaming of. Below we explore the various marketing avenues available in today’s modern world.

VR Advertising 

Virtual reality has made it into the mainstream after being something only seen in science fiction films. Now, it is becoming increasingly popular and accessible. This style of advertising is appealing across the board and not only because it intrigues the most inquisitive of individuals seeking a view into something otherworldly. The digital age is well and truly upon us, and using digital advances to create powerful visuals is, of course, going to help you transform your business. Virtual reality is truly taking off, and harnessing its power correctly could transform your business into an up-and-coming company recognized for using trendy technological advances.

TOMS

Toms Shoes use VR

Example: TOMS is one brand who used virtual reality extremely well within their campaign. They took users to a remote village in Peru, and each user experienced immersive storytelling, which was both incredibly emotional and moving. This VR advertising experience managed to convey to the audience the impact TOMS charitable donation policy has for children around the world. The founder of TOMS, Blake Mycoskie, has, in fact, said that virtual reality would be, going forward, a key part of their communications strategy.

Be Ready For Growth

If you want your business to grow and get noticed, then you need to begin implementing new designs. If you’re able to use trends such as VR advertising to the best of its capabilities, then expect growth and increased success and conversion. Before you get here, however, you will need to ensure your business is prepared for this expansion. Think about getting technology in place to account for this boost. Consider employing the assistance of a good HR management, a strong customer relationship management (CRM) suite, and creating an effective email service you can rely on.

Activision

Activision

Example: Activision, the leading publisher in the video game market in America, uses the clever CRM marketing platform Marketing Cloud to monitor social media conversations which are relevant to their own products. By doing so, the brand can interact and engage with consumers at a fraction of the expense. It is estimated that using social media as your customer service method saves on average 25% from the expenses you’d use for customer service operators. For a business beginning to their mark, this is valuable resources available to put into other marketing strategies.

Visual Merchandising

Visual marketing involves strategy, and the ability to make informed decisions about what an audience wants to see and feel. Visual content needs to be polished, slick and sleek. Visual merchandising is a powerful tool to harness to communicate your brand or business, using attractive signals to draw in potential customers. Visual merchandising displays its content simply and boldly and maintains the attention of the viewer. It’s a method of trying to get people to buy through means of seeing how a product can make their life easier and more enjoyable. Persuasion is by no means an easy feat, however creative marketing’s job is to persuade an audience that the product they see advertised is beneficial to them and will serve them in some advantageous way.

Kate Spade Valentines

Kate Spade Valentines

Example: Kate Spade’s beautiful blooming flowers theme for their Valentine’s Day merchandising theme made a statement within their store for all the right reasons. Flowers have a calming, relaxing effect, which undoubtedly retailers want to emulate in their stores to promote happy shopping. In addition to the sense of calm, the fresh, inviting scent will welcome customers to the store and add a touch of luxury to make every single visitor feel special and want to spend time inside the shop. Happily, this can work to retain loyal customers.

Personalise Everything

 Marketers and brand managers alike will be well aware of the use of personalization within marketing campaigns. Perhaps the emails to your customers already feature their names in the subject line. However, this trend ensures that every single customer feels valued and listened to, each time they receive notification from your company. Personalization is now referring to the experience each customer (and potential customer) has when they land on your website. If done right, it’s the ideal tool for building upsell opportunities and boosting revenue with the handy use of data compiled through analytics.

Coca Cola personalisation

Coca-Cola personalisation

Example: One of the most famous examples of personalisation being used within a marketing campaign is undoubtedly Coca-Cola’s 2012 ‘Share A Coke’ campaign. Launched in Australia, this clever strategy involved the ever-popular drinks featuring consumer names on the logo, ranging from Rebecca and Ben to Elvis and Mandeep. It sparked a social media frenzy where customers eagerly tried to find their names on bottles and the campaign itself encouraged people to share the drink with their friends. Coca-Cola’s campaign taught marketers that personalised campaigns work extremely well when they are engaging and fun.

Mobile-Friendly Content

For any brand to attract as many viewers as possible, content should be accessible across different platforms from different devices. Many people use their mobile or small tablet device to roam the web, so content needs to be mobile friendly otherwise many users are simply not being reached. Vital revenue is being missed if a site cannot be successfully accessed. It’s glaringly obvious when a site isn’t compatible with mobile phones, as it’s cumbersome to use and half of the content is scrawled awkwardly across the screen. This is merely an inconvenience, and at worst, the content is downright impossible to decipher.

Lancôme

Lancôme

Example: Luxury cosmetics company, Lancôme, is one such example of a brand using mobile ads to their advantage. When they launched their new product, Advanced Genifque, they also launched a mobile ad campaign which targeted their key consumers – women. Users who clicked on the ad would then be directed to an animated, interactive video which showed them what the product was about and how they use it. A case study determined the success of this campaign was due to the time slots when the apps displayed the ad, the mobile devices used to access the ads and the apps chosen to host it.

As the world evolves and adapts to ever-changing technology, so must the marketing world. The increase in mobile technology means consumers are expecting more from their favorite brands, and they want to be simply wowed by everything a company brings to the table. Therefore, to truly make your mark and get noticed in 2018, take note of the above suggestions and how globally renown brands get themselves noticed, for all the right reasons.

How to Migrate to Digital Marketing

Migrating to digital marketing from traditional marketing is a question I get asked frequently.  Giving a talk to the Te Atatu Business Association, I was able to showcase both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) examples of ways to work out these things

  1. Where to start your digital marketing
  2. Which marketing methods will work best for your business
  3. What communications will work best for your clients and customers

The resources on the last slide are worthwhile saving / bookmarking.  They relate to directory listings and tips for local marketing.

Is it a Smart Idea to Buy More Than One Domain Name?

If you are planning to go into business for yourself, you need to be on the web. Just as the company you worked for until recently has their site on the web, you need to establish your own. By doing so, you will put yourself in a position to reach a potential audience that numbers in the hundreds of millions. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can begin to tap into this enormous wellspring of potential profit.

Why Do You Need to Buy a Domain Name for Your Business?

The reason you need to buy a domain name for your business is to give yourself a home on the web. This is the name that visitors will punch into their search bar in order to find your site. It’s the name you will do business under.

Should You Buy More Than One Domain Name for Your Business?

Now that you know why you need to buy a domain name for your business, a new question arises. Is there a reason why you may need to consider buying more than one? This is an interesting question that raises a number of points. For example, are you going to be operating in a crowded arena where many businesses are competing in a cutthroat manner? If this is the case, there’s a reason you may need more than one domain name.

A rival business may attempt to crowd you off the web by buying a number of domain names that are similar to your own business. They may try to make use of these names by causing them to redirect to their own websites. Another way they may try to hurt you is by buying up several “independent” sites that are set up for the sole purpose of mocking and maligning your business.

The way to short circuit these attempts is to outwit your competitors in both areas.

  1. You can buy up a number of names that are similar to the name of your own domain such as common mis-spellings, different domain extensions and have them redirect to your main website.
  2. You can also buy up a number of ” X business stinks” and “Z business offers lousy service” domains to keep your rivals from using them to cause you grief. [Note this tactic could backfire and make you look foolish and so it’s not advised by ethical digital marketers.]
  3. The high quality, preferred solution to “outwitting competitors” is to put top quality content and advice on your blog, use content marketing and provide excellent customer service supported by testimonials and social proof, just like we do on this website!

Where Can You Go to Buy a Domain Name for Your New Business?

There are a number of reputable and professional domain hosting service providers that you can turn to when it comes time to buy domain names for your new business. The more you are able to buy, the better able you will be to shore up support for your new business while heading off any attempts by your competitors to harm you.