3 Key Evaluation Points as You Plan for 2019
It's time to evaluate your conference schedule. Make 2019 the year you break conference bad habits, stop attending the same conferences that no longer yield anything, and start connecting meaningfully with existing clients and potential new partners in a way that earns you ROI for your marketing dollar. As you look at the calendar and evaluate your options, think about these key points:
1) Step out of your comfort zone
Not many people thrive on change. It's uncomfortable and there's an inherent risk involved when we shake things up. There's also an opportunity for growth and reward. Your law firm likely focuses on a core practice area, default servicing for instance, and has spent years cultivating and marketing that practice area. However, it's not your only practice area and there could be value in branching out to other focused events like bankruptcy, litigation, or collections. Replacing just one conference with a new event allows you to assess the opportunity without losing your standing in your core practice area.
Every communication is a chance to build, or sabotage, your brand identity. Obvious spaces like ads or brochures convey a certain, hopefully deliberate, image. But does that well-crafted image translate to your other communications like events, email, and social media? Mindfulness and consistency will set you up for success so define your voice then get everyone on board.
Defining your brand’s personality doesn’t require an executive retreat (although it can and we are happy to help you strategize and execute such an event), just start thinking about your brand like a human. Consider this, if your brand was attending a conference reception, who is it? What does it look like? How does it speak? What does it order and what appetizers fill its plate? And remember, you’re thinking of your brand, not you personally. Although in many cases the faces that our clients see are an extension of your brand, they do not have to be an exact replica of the named partner.
Having a newsletter is the first step in improving your newsletter. Is a newsletter going to be the thing that takes your business to the next level? No. Will a newsletter truly inform your clients of breaking legal content? Maybe. Should a newsletter none-the-less be part of your regular marketing communications strategy? Yes.
For the longest there was only one premier neighborhood on the internet and it ended in .com. We weren't doing this in the 1990s but we're pretty sure no one ever started their web address brainstorm session with a desire for ".net" UNLESS you were the genius folks over at fishing.net back in 1997. Yeah, those folks where about two decades ahead of the rest of the world when it came to domain-as-marketing-tool ideas.
Now the internet, out of basic real estate necessity, has caught on to what the fishing.net team already knew: there would eventually be no more real estate in .com and we'd have to branch out. Now of course websites registered in other countries have different domain extensions (such as .co.uk for the United Kingdom or .pe for Peru). But the real gold standard was always a US-registered .com.
Well welcome to the new wild west of domains. Besides the old standards (.com, .net, .biz, etc.) there are now 367 new domain options available with 277 more coming online soon. The new domains are meant to diversify away from .com and allow businesses to associate themselves immediately via their domain with either a product, service, or place. Some examples (these aren't real web addresses):
If you're reading this blog then you're already somewhat familiar with the concept because you came to SQFT.Management. The reality is that the internet needed to develop new neighborhoods as a result of literally every thing on earth having a web presence. The smart use of this is that you can now have a domain that reflects a Google search for a business, product, or service. Look at the examples above. If you're aiming for cold Google search results and hardcore SEO, then consider something that is less brand-driven and hit the "what" right on the head with a new (or secondary, defensive domain). What's a defensive domain, you ask? It's a secondary domain you buy to protect your brand and search results. You own it so a competitor won't (either point them to the domain you use or just let them lie fallow).
Head over to GoDaddy.com and check out all the new (and soon-to-be-released) domain names if you think it's time (it probably is) to rethink your domain name game strategy. Check them out here or reach out to us to strategize if you need some creative help.
It's important to name things. Things like children, as the title of this post suggests, or your fears as your psychologist might tell you to do (for some of us that's one and the same). But for your brand, your name game is a true opportunity to extend, deepen, and associate your core brand with other (new!) things the reliable ole' mothership might not touch. You offer a client or lead newsletter, for example. The YOU-ALREADY-KNOW-MY-NAME-SO-I'M-REPEATING-HERE NEWSLETTER. Or maybe you've attended someone's conference, you know--The YOU-ALREADY-KNOW-MY-NAME-SO-I'M-REPEATING-IT-HERE-TOO ANNUAL CONFERENCE.
The core issue is that it's boring AF and a wasted opportunity. You want to excite and engage clients. Your branding opportunities (newsletters, events, other things at arms length from your core brand) are an opportunity to be a bit more playful because, especially in business, our core brands are the most buttoned-up version of ourselves. And this is America. Where business, and life, is quite a bit more casual than the rest of the world. Think of these as opportunities to dress your brand up in shorts and a t-shirt for once. Why does this make sense? Because if they're reading your newsletter or attending your networking event or going to your user conference, it's because they already know your core brand. It also means they're more comfortable with you, your products and services, and hopefully on a first name basis with some of your team members. Consider the connection between the core brand of American Airlines (AA) and it's customer loyalty program, American Airlines Advantage, or AAdvantage. It's a tad more playful, true to the core brand identity, but an extension none-the-less:
Or in the legal space, consider the blog. Or blawg, as they're known. The ABA Journal publishes a list called the Blawg 100 Hall of Fame. (check them out here). One thing you'll notice about some of the best blawgs is that they're sophisticated extensions of the authoring firm's core brand identities but notably more casual. Why? Because if you're looking at Ballard Spahr's Consumer Finance Monitor or Stenson Leonard Street's Arbitration Nation, it's because you're either already aware of the core brand (and their subject-matter expertise) and you're into the more direct, content-driven blawg; or, their SEO efforts are killing it and you're introduced first to this way cooler (and friendlier) version of their brands. The concept works magically both ways, regardless of where the traffic begins and it allows them to do two things: attract the folks who want the buttoned-up, old school experience and gets the children excited because hey, these folks get it.
Want to push your brand identity a bit (or a bunch) beyond its dusty old shelf?
Give us a call or connect with us here. We'll take a look and happily walk you through some ideas.
The SQFT SQD.