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Danya Hejazeh

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Does Your Law Firm Need Marketing?

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on Oct 16, 2015 2:58:49 PM

Undoubtedly. But what is the best way to find new clients and get the word out? Inbound marketing.

Content-Place-Time-Big-Heart-Final-235x235Wikipedia defines Inbound marketing as "[A set of] marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects' attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content." Inbound marketing automation platform HubSpot says that "Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be." 

Of course, as a law firm, you have a website. Websites are essential for every type of business today - but especially for law firms. Larry Bodine, editor of lawyers.com, a legal news information site from Lexis-Nexis, cites research showing that 77% of professional firms generate new business leads online. He also emphasizes the necessity for quality content linked with extremely specific long-tail keywords to ensure that prospective clients can find the right firm for their needs.

With inbound marketing, you create compelling content you can share with potential clients to let them know you're the right choice. Combined with SEO and a social media strategy, you can stop spending time looking for clients, your clients will come looking for you.

Sounds good, doesn't it? But how do we know that it works? Here are some amazing results from a law firm HubSpot case study:

law-firm

Want to experience this intense increase in leads? Inbound marketing may be the answer for you.

To learn more, download "The 3 most common SEO mistakes made by law firms." This one-page guide explains these typical mistakes and gives tips on how to get your website found so that you can get the clients you deserve. Click the button to begin the download process.

 

Law Firm SEO Mistakes

 

 

Topics: Best Practices for Businesses

Back to the Basics: 16 Key Branding Terms Defined

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on Jul 2, 2015 11:51:44 AM

No matter how large or small your business, branding is key to its success. Branding is fundamental, essesential and basic  -- without it, there is no differentiation between your product and anyone else's and no route to long-term profitability.

Because branding plays such a crucial role in overall business strategy, we're offering a little refresher in this Back to the Basics post.  Here's a list of 16 crucial branding terms every business owner should know.

 

Unknown-1-21.  Brand: A distinguishing symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence or a combination of these items that companies use to distinguish their product from others in the market.

2.  Brand Asset:  
Any aspect of a brand that has strategic value — e.g., visual symbols, slogans, sounds, photos, mascots, etc.

3.  Brand Equity:  A brand’s power derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time, which translates into higher sales volume and higher profit margins against competing brands.

4.  Brand Experience: Brand experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand‘s design and identity, packaging, communications and environments. 

Unknown-2-15.  Brand Extension: 
A common method of launching a new product by using an existing brand name on a new product in a different category. Think Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner.

6.  Brand Identity
: How a business wants its brand’s name, communication style, logo and other visual elements to be perceived by consumers.

7.  Brand Image
:  How consumers actually perceive a brand.

8.  Brand Promise: Consumer expectations about what the brand will deliver. The experience — good or bad — one can expect from a brand. When an organization defines its brand promise, it should be differentiated, relevant, credible and irreproducible. 

9.  Co-branding: 
A marketing partnership between at least two different brands of goods or services. Think Dairy Queen and the Girls Scouts’ Thin Mint Blizzard.

10. Differentiation:  Creation or demonstration of unique characteristics in a company’s products or brands compared to those of its competitors.

11. Positioning Statement: A written description of the position that a company wishes itself, its product or its brand to occupy in the minds of a defined target audience.

12. Rebranding: When a business or organization decides to change a significant element of the brand. Changes can be very obvious such as a new logo or more subtle such as a slight shift in messaging.

13.  Repositioning
: Communications activities to give an existing product a new position in customers’ minds 

images-1214. Tagline: A frequently repeated word, phrase or statement that captures the essence of a brand’s promise. An expression that conveys the most important attribute or benefit that the advertiser wishes to convey.

15. Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
: The driving competitive advantage of a product. 

16. Visual Identity
:  What a brand looks like – including logo, typography, packaging, etc.

 

***Many thanks to Brand Channel, AMA, Investopedia, Financial Brand and Columbia Business School for these definitions.

Topics: Best Practices for Businesses, Branding, Back to Basics

The Best Time to Think & Write Creatively

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on May 11, 2015 2:12:10 PM

BestTimeToWrite

Topics: Content Creation

Social Media Fraud-The Signs to Look Out For

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on Mar 23, 2015 1:50:00 PM

Just this last week, much to the dismay of social media managers everywhere, company Facebook pages saw a dip in the number of likes they had.  Facebook is making efforts to make those numbers more images-3accurate by removing likes from users who have been inactive, which includes “memorialized and voluntary deactivated accounts.”

For obvious reasons, nobody wants to see those numbers drop online.  Marketing teams work hard to grow a company’s stats.  In this day and age, a strong online presence bolsters an organization’s perception of popularity and appeal.  But here’s the thing:  that popularity and appeal needs to be real, which means making sure your page’s fans and followers are legitimate fans and followers.  There are plenty of services that provide fake likes for a fee but companies should resist the temptation to purchase fans.  The reasons:

  • They will never become real customers
  • It’s easy for people to find out if you have fake followers
  • They weaken your brand
  • They will weaken your reach
  • Social networks will take action against accounts that have fake followers

If you’d like to find out if a Facebook page’s fans are fake, here are some telltale signs from our friends at SocialBright:

  1. Sudden spike in followers, then a flatline

This is a good indicator that likes have been purchased from a service.  This can be very detrimental in the long run when it comes to a company’s reach.  The more fake followers you have, the fewer real followers will see your content because of the Facebook algorithim.

  1. Low page “Talking About This” – TAT or pTAT Score

18,000+ fans and only 13 people “Talking About This”? Now this in and of itself doesn’t mean likes are fake.  It could mean a post is just boring.  But chances are something fishy is going on.

  1. Dodgy followers/fans with low/distinct activity

Take a quick look at some of the fans on the page.  Do they have any personal images up or are their profile pictures of things like cartoons and pets?  What kinds of things are they sharing?  Just news and Social_Mediacommercial flyers instead of personal posts?  Lastly, how many individual friends do they have?  If there are no personal touches on a page and very few friends, it is likely a fake page.

Besides these signs, there are other ways to find out how legit a company’s social media presence is.  A quick Google search will bring up additional online tools and apps to make your sleuthing a little easier.

Topics: Social Media ROI, Social Media Best Practices, Social Media Fraud

Social Media Tips for Finance

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on Mar 2, 2015 1:33:52 PM

While today’s investment advisors are fully aware of social media powerhouses like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, many of them are still lost in the dark when it comes to successfully utilizing these outlets as a primary tool in their respective marketing campaigns. This is problematic, as younger investors are gathering steam and pulling ahead of older financial advisors in terms of using social media to better manage their money.

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According to a new study by the social media software provider Sysomos and the business news data channel Marketwired, upwards of 60-70% of all investors surveyed admitted to still using traditional sources of information. These include newspapers and analyst reports like those found in the Wall Street Journal. Of these investors, around 40% of them claim to use social media as a primary investment information source. These are glaring figures, especially considering the relatively young age of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Another study that surveyed 400 U.S. financial advisors found that 48% of them admit to using social media on a daily basis as a means of communicating with investors. Of these same advisors, 50% reported that they’ve successfully used social media to turn prospects into clients.

images-3It’s becoming increasingly clear that the use of social media to reach out to new clients and to communicate and facilitate with existing clients provides a distinct advantage to those advisors who can effectively use social platforms. That trend is only going to grow more pronounced in the near future. There are opportunities to be grasped here by those firms who already utilize social media and its importance is becoming more critical as investors are employing online resources to help them better understand investment advice and strategies.

What follows are some tips that experts say every financial advisor should have in their social media marketing canon:

 Diversify the Usage of Social Media.

Financial advisors should not be using social media for the sole purpose of selling their products/services. Firstly, there is a dizzying array of regulatory concerns that must be taken into account. Secondly, social media platforms are not exactly fitting for the delivery of financial products/services. However, social media can work as a potent distribution platform for content, which can give advisors the ability to display intellectual capital. It can also serve as a vehicle for the promotion of corporate and personal brands. The key is to find a suitable way to make Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms work for you.

 Create and Share Content.

Investment prospects and existing customers yearn for advice and helpful tips that will allow them to plan out, as well as grow and solidify their financial standing. Creating content, such as blogs, videos, white papers and case studies can help these investors to increase their awareness of hot topics that are making waves in the industry.

 images-1Join LinkedIn.

By joining relevant discussion groups, connecting with customers and potential prospects becomes much easier and it’s a great way to build brand awareness. LinkedIn and similar sites allow advisors to use personal messaging to reach other members of a group. Although this can make the process of communicating with customers more personal, this functionality needs to be handled with intelligence and care. Being potentially labeled as a spammer is no fun at all.

 Use Social Media to Support Your Advice.

As previously stated; Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be used to build trust and understanding with customers. Sometimes recommendations are not enough. Trust can be damaged if advisors do not take the time necessary to explain their own advice. A smart option could be to make a recommendation and then push information related to the recommendation using links to outside sources and send them directly to a client’s computer or tablet. This is a quick and easy way to allow the client to spend the necessary time considering your advice.

 

 

Topics: Financial Services Content Marketing, Social Media Best Practices

The Financial Services Industry and Social Media

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on Feb 26, 2015 12:25:15 PM

An important question presently being asked is “What opportunities does social media regulation in the financial services industry afford?” Furthermore, is the risk worth the reward? Social media, if used intelligently and effectively, can improve both trust and precision.

For various reasons, mainly uncertainty, the financial services sector has, up until now, shied away from the integration and use of social media. The industry consensus is that this shift is quite overdue. Much of Social_Mediathe hesitancy towards utilizing social media stems from the assumption that social platforms require the same controls and guidance as conventional corporate media relations. This is not necessarily the case.

Perhaps it would be helpful to use the advent of email as an analogy.  When email was introduced, corporations did not attempt to limit their employees’ access to email. Instead, they urged all members of the company to learn how to use it. With the appropriate blend of training and monitoring, the company-wide use of email kept all sides of the equation safe from regulators.

As a recent Huffington Post article entitled Is Social Media in Financial Services a Friend or Foe? is quick to point out, “There have always been unfortunate information leaks and public-relations gaffs via email, but few people suggest that companies should restrict the use of email. In fact, best practice and management tools have emerged, and as a result the majority of us have become skilled at using email. Social media is the same (sort of).”

We are six years removed from the financial crisis of 2008 and yet a recent study done by Ernst & Young found that 40% of customers stated that they were losing trust in the industry. In addition, there is research that states that executives with a strong social media presence can increase their trust factor. This is the result of social media’s ability to give everyone (both companies and consumers) a voice.

The consumer base of any company on social media is incredibly active. Companies need to embrace this trend and garner the skills necessary to attract and engage their customers in a genuine and appropriate Morgan-and-Stanleymanner. Financial institutions have not already jumped headfirst into the social media pool for a very obvious reason: fear. They fear the immediacy of social media and its uncontrolled and oftentimes unmanageable nature. Public relations mishaps and mistakes happen on a daily basis, but this should not prevent companies from branching out into the social media world and embracing the benefits that it offers.

Social media offers many advantages, most notably the ability to reach younger generations of consumers. Furthermore, it allows companies to respond to fluctuating customer demands in a more effective manner.

Because many companies have not placed value or trust in social media, company-wide training has not yet taken place. A lot of companies actually view social media as a fad or a passing trend. The truth is: social media isn’t going anywhere. It’s only increasing in size and strength. This is an international truth. Companies that hope to stay afloat need to quickly embrace this universal appeal and train their employees accordingly.

There is a great opportunity here for companies to get on board and work to improve profitability, while simultaneously managing their reputation. This can be achieved by developing healthy, mutual relationships through social media and proper policy development between firms and regulators.

Regulation can no longer be used as an excuse to not embrace social media and its benefits. The fear needs to be quelled. The most successful companies will be those who take the reins and work to master this platform. Social media does not have to be a world where the few digital experts reside. It can also be home to savvy business leaders who are willing to push fear aside and get into the game.

 

 

 

Topics: Financial Services Content Marketing, Social Media Best Practices

Understanding the Science of Content Engagement

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on Jan 27, 2015 1:23:28 PM

 

Simply put, the amount of information delivered to consumers today far exceeds the amount we can process. The sum of media delivered daily will exceed 74 gigabytes in 2015. As the number of simultaneous media streams increases, our multi-tasking behaviors increase as well. This causes a great deal of content to assume a secondary role, often being pushed into the background. In this competitive content-is-kingconsumption environment, successful content marketing must effectively disrupt another task and also maintain attention. Only truly striking and persuasive content can emerge and become the dominant stream in a multi-stream world.

In this age of divided attention and simultaneous stimuli, achieving successful content engagement relies on more than interesting facts and useful advice.  It also depends on good design.

Compelling design is absolutely vital to content success, but is often neglected. All design elements have some measure of influence on how well a piece of content achieves the following:

  • Seizing the audience’s attention
  • Maintaining engagement
  • Eliciting emotions
  • Delivering a positive consumption experience
  • Can be easily scanned, understood and remembered

You don’t need to be an InDesign wiz in order to create compelling design (but it certainly helps).  Here are 3 design tips anyone can put to use to attract and seize the attention of readers.

  1. Encourage “F” pattern scanning: Studies have shown that people read differently on the web as opposed to how they read a book, for instance. Most people scan rather than read, and more often than not, their eyes read web content in an “F” pattern. Viewers only read below the threshold if they are adequately entertained by the part of the page that is visible.images
  1. Convey the arc of your story promptly. Text and visuals should be arranged so that universal eye patterns identify them. Headings, subheadings and leading sentences must present the essential content and act as a condensed storytelling arc. Typeface clarity and readability must be quality assured at first glance.
  1. Use visual shorthand. Images, especially moving images, are quickly registered by the brain and should be used to garner attention. Studies suggest that the human brain takes only about 13 milliseconds to identify and determine meaning from a visual cue. Visuals in today’s multi-tasking world are absolutely essential. Visual shorthand is taking on a predominant role in content creation. These include ubiquitous icons, signs and symbols that serve as tools for visual content.

   Let Us Help You Tell Your Story

Topics: Content Marketing

Black Stag Group's Marketing Predictions and Trends You Need to Prepare for in 2015!

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on Jan 7, 2015 4:01:00 PM

 BSG-PofilePic-07

  1. More emphasis on content marketing: The evidence will continue to add up that small businesses will not be able to survive without content. In order to augment the importance of the discipline, the theory behind content marketing will become more complex. content-king

  2. Writers will be in the forefront once again: Small businesses won’t be able to survive without content. This means they’ll need to hire a full-time writer, on staff, most likely with benefits.
  3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will become more complicated and carry less meaning: SEO agencies will most likely continue to slyly tempt unsuspecting businesses with their mysterious and somewhat magical abilities to outwit Google at their own game-so make sure your agency is a credible expert when it comes to SEO.

  4. Video distribution will transform how marketers work: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. will begin to heavily prefer video content that is hosted on their own platforms. This means that marketers will start uploading original video content to each and every social network. These networks will give bonus exposure to directly uploaded videos because they provide distinctive advertising opportunities, while at the same time keeping users on the platform longer.

  5. The focus will remain on community: The concept of a social business is here to stay. Companies and leaders will begin using social media for reasons other than marketing and will begin Engage-customersusing it to connect and develop communities. This is in no small part due to the emergence of social selling, employee advocacy and other social business initiatives. This focus includes investing in the personal brands of employees and empowering customers to have a voice.

  6. Social and mobile will reach new heights: Brands will leverage these two key technologies. Mobile social marketing will increase heavily with mobile advertising apps and crowd-sourced, mobile-driven content. Instagram will most likely continue its surging growth rate because it successfully integrates social and mobile technologies.

  7. Businesses will increase paid media efforts: This will occur as a way to magnify and speed up content distribution, while also contributing to an understanding of how to allocate and control the delivery of content to different types of audiences at different stages of their marketing. This is not easy to accomplish when you’re relying on primarily organic distribution. 

  8. Data will be the driving force of creative belief: What was once considered “the big idea” that content_socialmediafastened all creative marketing campaigns, pitches and programs will be replaced with phrases like, “What does the data say?”

  9. There will be more investments made in data and marketing technology: By investing in better social analysis, companies will jostle to find a way to reclaim their reach. In order to keep up with the data-informed social content, promotion and engagement on the more sophisticated of social marketing platforms, new training will be necessary, as will the development of best practices.

  10. Brands will begin to embrace social conversations: Brands will have a significant awakening by coming to grips with the fact that social media is not a one-way speaker, but is instead, a scottcookconversation builder. They will shift away from the “push out a message” process and lean towards telling exciting, interactive stories. This transition cannot and will not occur overnight, but the willingness to take chances and embrace risk will help them to reach previously untapped markets.

  11. Social automation solutions will become early innovators in an emerging market: These solutions will allow marketers to computerize their brands’ social outreach efforts and the methods by which they engage. In the near future, features will include testing and optimization that rely heavily on precise data. 

  12. More marketing budget will shift to social: With social networks introducing new advertising products while improving on old ones, there will be leverage for companies to spend on these platforms. Some marketing teams will be forced to spend more on their social budgets to contain these changes in advertising efficiency and delivery of content.

  13. Social analytics will take center stage: In 2014, social marketing became incredibly sophisticated. In 2015, listening tools as an individual category will die. More brands will fully realize how social marketing ties to business success, and thus, the ongoing questions about social ROI (return on investment) will begin to diminish.    repaz-SEO


 

Avoiding Compliance Challenges in Finance Content Marketing

Posted by Danya Hejazeh on Dec 18, 2014 10:20:19 AM

Finance content marketers are presently trying to negotiate a way to balance two very different, but equally heavy weights: the continuously changing media landscape and strict regulations.wall_street-300x222

There are ways to deal with these two equally important interests without losing your mind in the blurry haze of online compliance.

1. Involve legal and compliance teams during the preparation stages of your content marketing plan to help avoid unforeseen challenges and start creating a consistently balanced stream of content.

2. Produce content that is unrelated to finance. Articles that concern entrepreneurship, retirement, home ownership and other real-life challenges can help financial firms create a strong bond with their audiences by producing content with strong human interest factors. Besides, finances relate to every aspect of the consumer’s life. 

3. Source licensed content. These pieces of content are verified journalism from established third-party sources and are already legally compliant.  w1-Dedicate-staff_full

Most importantly, companies must adhere to the following efforts in order to better avoid compliance complications – Monitor your workforce, archive your records, enforce company policies regarding media content, and encourage sharing of pre-approved content.

 

 Let Us Help You Tell Your Story

 

 

Topics: Financial Services Content Marketing

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