Be Neutral
A Publication of the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution


This is one in a series of marketing articles that will explain e-marketing in layman’s terms.  This information is provided to help you modify your online presence to get your practice noticed.

Marketing Tip: Prepping Your Fall Marketing Campaign

Surprise! Christmas is basically 150 days away, which means the year is more than half over.  What happened to all the great marketing plans you made last January ?  It’s time to set a new goal – you’ve got a month before Labor Day, so you have time to get your marketing back on track for a great final quarter of the year.  Let’s review the checklist:  

If you don’t have even the most basic of websites up, now is the time to do it.  People should be able to go to your site and find out everything they need to know about you, from the areas in which you practice, to your training, to your availability and contact information.  But most importantly, your website needs to answer the question, “Why Should You Hire Me?” and if it doesn’t do that, then it isn’t worth having.

For those of you who already have a site, now is the time to review it.  First of all, update all of your information.  If you’ve taken new training since the site was created, then add it.  If your picture is out of date, post a new one.  If you’ve written articles, add them to the resources page. In other words, show your site visitors the real you !

Whether you are creating a new site or freshening up an old one, take time to optimize the site for the search engines so you show up in the famous Top 10 in a Google search.  To do that, you need to determine which words people are using to search for a practice like yours and immediately embed them in your text.  How do you find those words ?  Take a trip to the Google Keyword Estimator Tool and key in the words you think people would use to find you.   Google will show you how many people searched for the words you think are appropriate and then up to 400 alternatives.  Take the most used words and find a way to use them on your site – thus when people search for those words, your site is more likely to come up higher in the search results.  Remember, using those words in larger, bolder text will increase the chances of your landing in the Top 10.

Social Media
If you’re not active in social media, then now is the time to get in there, if for no other reason than because your competition is !  If your practice lends itself to referrals from professionals, you must be on LinkedIn, but if you tend to get contacted by parties directl,y then Facebook is the place you need to be. 

If you’re new to LinkedIn, you’ll need to create a profile.  Make sure you take time to get this right . . . it’s your virtual business card.  For those of you who are already on LinkedIn, then take a few moments to , update your profile so it’s current.  Once you’re on LinkedIn, search for people you know and ask to “connect” with them.  Once connected, look at others in their list, and if you see someone who would be a good referral source, ask to connect to them.  This is a time consuming process, but well worth it. 

After you’ve built a list of contacts, your next move on LinkedIn is to join discussion groups and get active.  You don’t need to make a comment every day, but watch the questions and get involved in discussions where appropriate.  Answering a question for someone in a group may well lead to a future referral.  If nothing else, you’ve established a trusted, professional persona for others to see.

If you’re on Facebook, you’ll need both personal and business pages.  Your personal page MUST have its privacy settings at the highest possible option.  You don’t want parties to know anything about you personally when heading into a mediation !  Once you have a personal profile, then you can establish a page for your practice.  By default you are the administrator, but if you practice with others, they can be administrators, too.

Once your professional page is up, then you need to start posting content.  Take your first few posts and “share” them on your personal page so your friends will fan your professional page.  Next, once you have some content and a few fans, make sure you add a link to “Find Us On Facebook” to your website and e-newsletters. 

Consistency is critical in your social media efforts.  You need to post at least once per day.  If you are making a comment, make sure you attach the comment to an image that you upload.  Comments without photos get very little notice.  The same holds true if you are sharing an article you read in the media – don’t share articles unless there is an image associated with them.  Don’t have the time to look for content to share ?   Go to Google News and do a search for “mediation” or “divorce mediation” or whatever words apply to your niche and see if any of the articles that pop up are appropriate to share.  Still stumped ?  We publish 3-6 articles per day on Facebook at Georgia Mediators Network, and you’re welcome to “share” any of those that fit your market.

While social media puts you in front of people on a daily basis, your e-newsletter puts you in front of others once or twice a month.  You need to remember that this isn’t an organ designed to publish your writings – it is a device to share articles with others that might be of value to them.  By providing value to them, you become an important resource, and you gain implicit trust.  Thus, when it is time to hire a mediator, you are at the top of their minds, exactly where you belong !

Your newsletter needs to look and feel like your website and include links to that site and your social media accounts.  Then we recommend that you share 4-6 articles trending in the media that might be of interest to your target audience.  Because this isn’t content that you own, you should “tease” the article with 2-3 sentences about it and then a link to it.  This preserves the original author’s copyright while at the same time providing a valuable service to your reader.

Will people delete your email without even reading it ?  Maybe, but if you put your name at the front of the subject line (e.g. Jon Doe’s Mediation News), then they’ll at least be reminded that you exist.  Please remember that by law you need to include an opt-out option so that people can choose not to receive future mailing from you.  If you’ve developed your list correctly (do not buy a list, build it) then you’ll find that your opt-outs are very low in number.

Now you have your challenge for the next month – go take a critical look at your marketing and bring it current.  If you don’t have a website, aren’t active on social media, or aren’t publishing an e-newsletter, now is the time to remedy that.  Get ready to market aggressively this fall.  Your competition is !



Michele Gibson is a Georgia-registered neutral and a certified emerging media consultant.  She is the president of Digital Smart Tool, LLC – an e-marketing firm offering website design, SEO, electronic newsletters, social media coaching, and marketing training seminars.


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