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Making Sense of Online Marketing Options…With A Circle

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Consistent with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the entropy (or in lay terms, randomness) of the array of online marketing options is ever-increasing.  But thanks to this diagram (and post) by Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends, there’s hope of imposing some order on all of the chaos.

You need to link here to view an enlarged version of Campbell’s diagram of online marketing options for small businesses.  Arranged in a target, concentric-circle fashion, the business website lies at the bulls-eye center of the chart.  The second layer directly around the center consists of Search Engine Optimization, blog, email marketing, pay-per-click ads and online press releases.  The largest and outermost circle contains many of the familiar social networking sites – Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In as well as other media type sites such as You-Tube, Flickr and podcasts.  Here’s what Campbell has to say about each of these:

Center circle – At the center of the chart is your website, which should be the core of your online marketing plan. Hopefully if you are reading this article, you already have a website and it’s not a question of IF you should have a website, but how you can improve it. First impressions count and today’s prospects and customers will form impressions of the quality of your products and services from your website. Plus, by investing in smarter technology you can make your website work harder to generate leads and sales. Consequently, spending time to improve your website can bring the biggest payoff. (If you don’t have a business website, get thee to a Web designer now!)

Second circle – The second circle outlines activities that most businesses will see a meaningful return from. Investing in search engine optimization, setting up a blog, growing and leveraging your house email list, issuing press releases through an online distribution service such as PRNewswire or PRWeb, and doing PPC ad campaigns are key strategies most small businesses in America can get value from commensurate with the time and money invested.

Outer circle – The light yellow circle on the outside contains activities that generate a lot of the “noise” that confuses most small businesspeople.  Not that I’m against those activities — not at all. In fact, some of them bring excellent results for the right kinds of businesses. It’s just that the return from such activities tends to be lower compared with the time or money you put into them.

While I like the Campbell’s “concentric circle” way of prioritizing, I don’t think that her model works as well for solo and small law firms, as I’ll discuss below the jump.

First, Campbell omits many sites that lawyers should use to establish a presence online.  These sites include where lawyers can set up a professional looking profile for free, JD, where lawyers can also set up a profile and upload documents and, another site for creating a database of files.  Either one or all of these tools should fall into one of a lawyer’s concentric circles.

Second, while I agree with Campbell that you need some kind of professional looking online destination at the center of the chart, hese days, it needn’t be a website.  For some lawyers, a professionally designed, or content-packed blog might serve as the landing point.  For other lawyers, it could be an Avvo or JD Supra or Linked In profile.  The point is to have some central point online  that you can readily update and where you can direct prospective clients to learn more about you.  Sure, a website or professional blog are optimal, but if you don’t have the time or money to put them together, the other options offer a good temporary fix.

What’s your opinion of the marketing diagram?  When someone looks for you on the Internet, where do you want them to find you?

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