There are many entire categories of online marketing tools that we’re just going to touch on now. Just as a legal research project is never really done until you say it is, as there’s always one more case or text you can look at, there are always more marketing tasks you can take on. I’m going to just throw out a few teasers on each of these categories, and resources listed in the next lesson will have lots of info for you about them.
After you begin creating content and seeking ways to gain exposure for it, you will want to track your progress in some way. Analytics tools are the standard way to find out what’s working online, other than resorting to random feedback from users. Not surprisingly, Google has the main app in this category, found at http://www.google.com/analytics. There have been many plugins and apps designed to format and interpret the data from Google Analytics to make it easier for you to understand. There are so many that Google has its own directory of these apps at https://www.google.com/analytics/gallery/#landing/start/, just the way that the official WordPress site has its own directory of WordPress plugins. To keep it simple for now, an overview of Google Analytics can be found at http://signaltower.co/novice-guide-to-google-analytics. A common warning about this though: if you install analytics software on your site, you may tempted to constantly check your web site stats to see if your site traffic is getting better, so be aware of the potentially addictive nature of this software.
E-books are provided by many lawyers on their web sites and allow the lawyer to give a more extended treatment of the area of law he/she specializes in. In addition to showing the potential client that this attorney is an authority on the subject, the offer of an e-book is also usually made to entice the web site visitor to sign up for the lawyer’s mailing list or newsletter. The bankruptcy lawyer at http://www.obryanlawoffices.com/free-getting-started-e-book.html uses this tactic in this common way. The Mailchimp service explains how it helps you accomplish this at http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/will-mailchimp-host-my-files-for-me. Many e-book authors write their e-book and then convert it to whatever file format they ultimately need it to be in with software like http://calibre-ebook.com.
You can also simply put your e-book on dropbox or google drive, and link to it from your website. If your e-book is very comprehensive and you want to charge for it, you can set up a shopping cart on your site. There are WordPress plugins like http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/ and http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/ that you can easily install on your site for this purpose. Another option is to use one of the commercial services like Amazon through their https://www.createspace.com site. There are many smaller start-up efforts like https://leanpub.com/, http://www.booktango.com/Packages/Freetango/ or http://sellwire.net/ that you can also create and submit your e-book through. They are generally free to publish your book on, but take a percentage of sales.
We’ve gone over various strategies of outreach on the web to establish contact with colleagues, reporters, bloggers, and potential clients. But also experiment with different methods of establishing contact with visitors to your own site. WordPress and most web site creators will set up some sort of form or comment system automatically, and you can also provide e-mail links on your site. You can also try many other third party services that hook into your web site and provide additional ways to keep users involved on your site. Let’s look at a few.
Zopim at https://www.zopim.com presents a small call-out box on the outer edge of your web site. This service lets you exchange chat messages with a user or, if you are unavailable, lets the user fill out a message form for you. Olark at https://www.olark.com is a similar service, and a law firm shows how this can be used at http://conyerslawyer.com.
There are many of types of survey widgets available if you want to ask your users questions. One such way to do polling is https://www.surveymonkey.com. This is especially useful for when your site is just launching and you want specific feedback on the design and features of your site, and what kind of content they would like to see. A government law office at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/seattle-city-attorney-website-survey shows what a typical survey looks like.
If you want your site to include discussion forums, then https://muut.com is a way to have your site look a bit more like a social network. It sets you up with a separate web page for your discussion area, like the web page creators you worked with earlier do. It’s best to wait until your site has some traffic going before you start a forum page, because you want to know that you will have users populating the forum with posts before you set it up.
The Hello Bar, https://www.hellobar.com, is a popular way to put a headline or featured link at the very top of your home page in its own colored ribbon. This could be used to feature a link to that e-book I know you’ve now been thinking about writing for your site. A law firm uses it at http://www.meltzerlaw.com/about-us to highlight a service they specialize in.
You’ve done a great job sampling all the marketing tools I’ve presented in this online smorgasbord. Now you’re ready to explore what a lot of other marketing folks have to say.