Estate Planning Web Site Service
Marketing Tips from our current clients

How To Make Your Web Site Work For You!
A compilation of successful marketing tips from our clients.

Overview

These pages cover techniques our clients are currently using and having success with. They are designed to help increase traffic, maximize the chance for a visitor to contact you, network with your community and quantify the value of this web site service. Below is our 3-Step plan to maximize your web site's usefulness.

STEP 1
Education

This is a tremendous benefit that should not be overlooked. The very FIRST thing you need to do is to let your site save time and money. What is your time worth? If you charge $180 per hour and you can save even just 30 minutes of your time per month (by letting your site handle the client's basic education), the service has paid for itself. At that point, any other time saved in this fashion or new business is icing on the cake.

Sample Marketing Tips (discussed below):
Pre-Meeting Education, Post-Meeting Followup, In-Office Education, Ongoing Client Relations, & Fresh Content.



STEP 2
New
Business

Having a site is like opening a physical office - if you don't tell people about it, they won't know to come. Although we market your web site at estateplanning.com and send you leads, the best way to boost your site's usefulness is you.

Sample Marketing Tips (discussed below):
Conventional Marketing, Internet Marketing, Mailings, Free Information Kits & Word of Mouth.



STEP 3
Track
Leads

The last step, and an extremely important one, is to track your leads. If you don't ask every person if they've seen your site, you will not be able to quantify your site's usefulness. We can't stress this enough. We have many professionals receiving new business from leads we sent them, and they were completely unaware of it. Don't make this mistake! It's easier than you think to incorporate this tip into your daily routine.

Sample Marketing Tips (discussed below):
Lead Tracking

TIP: Pre-Meeting Education
Your Time Investment: (A few seconds per conversation)
Cost to Implement: (None)

When you schedule meetings with new prospects or existing clients, tell them to visit your web site the night before the meeting. Phrase it in a positive way, "Before you come in on Tuesday, visit my web site on Monday night. I have a ton of free information there so you don't have to pay me to learn the basics. And when you come in, we'll talk about your specific situation." You've done two VERY important things here. First, you have saved yourself time and avoided having to start from scratch with each client. Second, your client has already received value from you without cost. In our experience, this almost always elevates the client's view of you and enhances the chance of them doing business with you.

TIP: Post-Meeting Followup
Your Time Investment: (A few seconds per conversation)
Cost to Implement: (None)

This can be used in conjunction with the Pre-Meeting Education tip or by itself. After you have completed a meeting with a prospect or client, tell them to visit your web site to review any topics you've covered. This also gives them access to a reference source in case they don't understand things you've given to them to take home.

TIP: In-Office Education
Your Time Investment: (None)
Cost to Implement: (None; if you have an extra computer and Internet access)

One of the most overlooked marketing tips is also the easiest to implement. Put a computer with Internet access in your waiting area or conference room and load up your web site. Leave it running for people to browse while they wait. Make a small V card that says something like, "Free Online Education - See The Computer To Your Right" and place it on the table to draw more attention to it. One of our professionals purposely starts five minutes late to let his clients have time to peruse his site. You can also use the site as a visual aid or quick reference during a meeting. One professional has one-on-one meetings in his office and turns his monitor around for the client to see.

TIP: Ongoing Client Relations
Your Time Investment: (Varies, depending on how often you do mailings & update content)
Cost to Implement: (20¢ per postcard or 33¢ per letter or $0 for emailing)

This tip involves a little more effort than some of the others, but serves a vital purpose. Distributing new content to your clients is a costly endeavor, so some of our professionals have opted to modify this marketing idea. Put the new content on your web site and mail or email your clients a small note to visit your site to see it. Some professionals go completely electronic (the content is on their site, and they email their clients) which bypasses all the costs of mailing and producing the materials. Postcard mailings (discussed below) are an inexpensive way to incorporate both traditional mailings and the content on your site. Although normal mailings of content still have their place, you can experiment with this tip to see if there is room to save some money.

TIP: Fresh Content
Your Time Investment: (10-20 minutes to convert a document into a web page; or we do it for you for free)
Cost to Implement: (None; other than the time you already invested to make the content)

Although we provide you with updates (updated tax information, new estate planning articles on a regular basis, etc.), it is important that you do everything in your power to create the impression of "fresh content," or content that is updated every day, week or month. This kind of content can bring people BACK to your site and make other sites more interested in linking to yours. Your "blank pages" and "Interactive Forms" provide a great opportunity for you to explore this. Some of the ideas below make your site more "interactive," which allows people to actively do something on your site. This can be a powerful tool, which you should explore. The best site are a good mix of educational content and interactive areas. Here are a few suggestions that you can put online in just a few minutes:

1)

Monthly raffle at your site for a prize (tickets to a local sports event or production)

2)

Monthly/weekly coupons for discounted services offered only at your site

3)

Small cash gift for bringing a friend/family member into your office as a new client

4)

Daily quotes from stock market

5)

Daily/monthly estate planning "hot topics"

6)

Quote of the day

7)

Excerpts from your last seminar for people who missed the discussion

8)

Answers to questions you are asked most often (FAQs)

9)

Local estate planning resources you've come across (use our "HotLink" area for this)

10)

Create FUN forms for people to fill out on your site. Not only will they enjoy themselves, but you will receive email from people!

11)

Create USEFUL forms for people to fill out on your site. Financial Organizers, Questionnaires, and other things that will save you and your clients time.

TIP: Conventional Marketing
Your Time Investment: (Varies, depending on how much you do)
Cost to Implement: (Initial printing, ad cost or mailing cost)

A) Print Your Web Site Address On EVERYTHING
Include enticing copy to emphasize your site's content, such as "FREE estate planning educational information at http://www.estateplanning.com/yoursite." Your marketing materials probably include some or all of the following: letterhead, fax cover sheets, business cards, brochures and other handouts, advertisements, customized office items you give away (such as pens, desk calendars, etc.). One of our professionals has mouse pads and mugs with his web site address on them that he hands out. The simple and inexpensive way to get started with this is to print up a page of labels and stick them on everything. Make certain to use language that will intice the recipient to visit your site.

B) Contact Local Media
If you can land yourself an article in the local newspaper or a mention on local radio or TV station, you might be surprised by the number of hits you receive on your web site. For example, talk to a neighborhood newspaper about writing an article on your site's free educational content, up-to-date information and ongoing free seminars. The papers LOVE to write about things that the public can get for free. One of our professionals received a great response from even small articles in local papers--as many as 700 hits in one day! If only 5% of those people were to ask you for free information, you would have 35 new leads to call! You only need to convert one to a client and you'll increase your profits--with no marketing costs! Be sure to write down your web site's statistics (see Lead Tracking below) before and after the ad runs to see how well this marketing worked.

C) Mailings to Existing Clients and Other Professionals
Send a mailing to your current contacts--both clients and professionals--and invite them to use your site! Don't limit yourself to estate planning professionals. Include local business people and merchants you frequent, too. This is a great way to announce your web site and get the traffic started! We can't stress this enough... don't underestimate the power of the "word of mouth" generated from your mailing. Be sure to write down your web site's statistics (see Lead Tracking below) before and after the mailing to see how well this marketing worked. Here's a quote from one of our clients, "I already have nearly 200 direct hits because of a limited mailing that I did to some lawyers, professional associates and clients. I used their feedback to make improvements. I am doing three repeat post card mailings to my full client base and other names mailing lists. I will stagger the mailings depending on the number of hits over the next month or two. I am using this site to reinforce my referral base and I expect it to do well and possibly generate a few more unexpected clients in the process."

TIP: Internet Marketing
Your Time Investment: (Varies, depending on how much you do)
Cost to Implement: (Usually nothing)

A) Search Engines
Although it is hard to prove that search engines can help increase your traffic, it certainly can't hurt to get yourself listed on the more popular ones, such as Yahoo, InfoSeek, Lycos, Excite, AltaVista, HotBot and others. At these sites, you can locate a register or submit a link to be listed on that engine. We will submit your site to the top five engines, if you want ask us to. However, many engines take several months before they add you to their system. And that doesn't have anything to do with where you are placed in search results. There are companies that specialize in getting you high search engine placement. To find some current ones, run a search using a popular engine for "search engine placement" or "search results." The costs for this service vary greatly.

Almost all of the engines use different methods for determining where your listing appears in the results of someone's search. These criteria can change often, making it difficult to retain high placement. However, one of the most common things they all use is called META tags. These tags are put at the beginning of your "welcome" or "home" page automatically by our web builder. It defaults to using tags such as "living trust" and "estate planning," but these tags can be anything you want. If you would like to customize these, you can edit it yourself (if you have the proper software) or you can just email us what you want, and we'll do it for you.

Although you can register at each search engine individually, some web sites specialize in registering you to ALL the search engines. You can try them and see if they work for you. To find some current ones, run a search using a search engine for "traffic boost," "search engine placement," "promote your site," or something similar.

We gave a presentation about Building Your Business on the Internet at the Heckerling Show in Florida, which you can download here in PowerPoint format or Acrobat Reader format (requires the most recent version of acrobat reader, which you can download for free here).

B) Cross-Linking with Affiliates, Charitable Organizations or Local Businesses
One of the most powerful methods of increasing traffic to your site is something called "cross-linking." In short, you put a link on your site to someone else's site and, typically, you would reciprocate by putting a link on their site back to yours. By doing this, any traffic that the other web site gets has the potential of coming to you. The more sites you exchange links with, the more chances you have of getting bonus traffic. It's exponential. The obvious benefit is that you are creating ties with organizations that already have establish traffic.

If you run some quick searches on Yahoo and other search engines for "estate planning," the result will be "gazillions" of listings. (Not really, but it will be a LOT.) If you limit your search to your local community, city or area, you can find a wealth of sites with whom you could potentially exchange links. Other good "crossing-linking" possibilities for you could be local charitable organizations, local business (any type), sites dedicated to seniors, and information-based sites like on-line newspapers or magazines.

C) Build a Page for Affiliates, Charitable Organizations or Local Businesses
This takes the idea above one step further. Using the phone book, local newspaper, Internet Yellow Pages or just driving down the street, you will find that many local entities that do NOT have a web site at all. Here's your chance to shine.

Offer to create a web page exclusively for them, filled to the brim with their information, background, services, etc. Simply collect this information from them, and use one of your 10 blank "custom" pages. Keep in mind that the custom blank pages will give this organization a link on almost EVERY page on your site. So, not only are you hosting their web page free of charge and giving them an "Internet Presence," but you are also MARKETING them to all the people visiting your web site. Once you have explained this to them, let them know to start telling people to come to your site to see this information. Now you have other organizations marketing your web site!

D) Banner Ads & Link Exchange
Another popular method of getting traffic is by using banner ads or link exchange services. Their are MANY of these, which you can find by doing a search in a search engine for "link exchange," or "banner exchange." Many of these services include statistics so you can see how many times your banner ad appeared on other people's sites and how many people clicked your ad to visit your site. Here are two popular ones: Link Exchange & HitExchange

E) Ongoing Seminars
Seminars can bring you new prospects in a way that nothing else can - even if you don't currently do them. By offering free seminars every so often, you can attract individuals who would not inquire otherwise. Even if you don't currently give seminars, you can still use this powerful idea by giving a "mini" seminar in your own office. Your agenda? Simply go over one of our highlight brochures or use one of our slide/CD Rom presentations. Include wording like, "Seating is limited" to give the impression that this information is a hot topic (which, of course, it is). Or give a series of seminars with a theme like, "Bagel & Coffee Series: Living Trusts." Be creative. Our system automatically generates a seminar form for each event you create, allowing visitors to register right there and then. The benefit? As always, to get people to contact you. Keep in mind that every public seminar you offer at your web site automatically appears on estateplanning.com for additional marketing exposure.

F) Publish Articles
Informative Articles are always requested by Prospects! We can't stress this enough. Every article you add to the ARTICLES section of your web site, will automatically appear on estateplanning.com's consumer area for additional marketing exposure.

G) Listing Services
You can find several services on-line that give you free or paid listings to increase your "Internet Presence." Here are a few: lawyers.com, lawlead.com & lawfind.com. Most of these type of sites allow you to include a link to your web site (your site with us, for example).

TIP: Mailings
Your Time Investment: (Varies, depending on how often you do mailings & update content)
Cost to Implement: (20¢ per postcard or 33¢ per letter or $0 for emailing)

As mentioned in other tips, mailings are a fantastic tool in conjunction with your web site. We use to spend thousands of dollars to produce full color products marketing our products and services. Then, we spent a fortune mailing them out to you and our other clients. With the intense growth of the Internet over the last three years, we quickly discovered a brilliant alternative - postcard mailings. At 20¢ per postcard, it is absolutely the least expensive way to keep in touch with your client base. The down side has always been the lack of information you can put on the postcard. That's where your web site comes in. We have discovered that most people prefer the postcard to a thick booklet, especially when you don't overwhelm them with information in small print. And if they want a hard copy, they can print it out. One of our clients sent a postcard that simply said, "It's the new millennium. Stay up to date with today's financial issues and ensure your family's future. Visit free educational web site at..." Large text, a nice picture, to the point and the all important word, "free." This method not only keeps you in contact with your clients, but increases the chance for referrals when they method your site to their friends and family. You can also send out email mailings that say the same thing as the postcard. We find that a healthy mix of email and postcard mailings works best.

Lead Tracking Note: Make sure to include a different extension in every mailing. For example, your postcard could read, "Call 800-728-2665, ext. 95" And when someone calls in and mentions that extension (or more commonly, you ask them how they heard about you and they mention the postcard and extension), you have tracked the lead to this mailing. This way, you can distinguish new business based on your marketing.

TIP: Free Information Kit
Your Time Investment: (None)
Cost to Implement: (A couple dollars for the brochures and postage)

One of our most popular marketing tools is the "free kit" idea. By default, it is turned on when we turn your site on, but you can disable it at any time. The content of the kit default to products we can sell you, but you can make the kit be anything you want. It can be just our products, just your products or a combination of the two. It's up to you. But the concept is (as always) to get people to contact you. For a couple bucks of free information, people are willing to volunteer their contact information, when they otherwise wouldn't. Don't underestimate the value of the word, "free."

TIP: Word of Mouth
Your Time Investment: (Almost none)
Cost to Implement: (None)

Perhaps the most overlooked method of building interest and traffic to your site is the most basic: TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT. Talk it up. Inform every caller of your site. How many phone calls do you get in one day? What do you think would happen if you asked every caller, "Do you have Internet access? We have an incredible wealth of free educational material on our site which you can read at your own pace without costing you a penny." Did you know that more than half of the people who call your office have access to the Internet? You'd be surprised how many seniors have a child or grandchild with Internet access. And a good many of them will love going to your site to pre-educate themselves!

TIP: Lead Tracking
Your Time Investment: (Almost none)
Cost to Implement: (None)

Make sure you track your leads so you will know who came to you from your web site. When you get an e-mail or free kit request, it is obvious they came to your site. But what about a phone call? One great suggestion is to add a unique extension number to the phone number you advertise at your site (e.g., 310-728-2665 x50). If you can, try to make sure this number goes straight to one person's phone. That way, you can have ONE person receiving and documenting all the Internet calls, and asking if they have an extension number. When they say, "Extension 50," you know the person came from your site!

 

Send Us Comments and Feedback
Let us know what ideas you are trying and how they are working for you. Are you have great success with another technique? Did one of your marketing attempts bomb? We'd love to hear from you. Just e-mail us at marketing@estateplanning.com !