Many family mediation services have been shocked at how quickly referrals have reduced since 1st April – whether private or legal aid. It appears this is due to confusion or solicitor’s offering special deals such as fixed fee and pay-as-you-go.
Some mediation services predicted this would happen. They starting new marketing strategies, including online marketing campaigns to obtain a ‘digital presence’. But are these effective ways to find referrals?
Whether your mediation service is large or small, ignoring the internet is no longer an option. However, creating and maintaining a ‘digital presence’ can become a huge drain on resources. Whether that’s time, or finances if you employ marketing consultants to do the work for you.
If you’ve not taken the plunge into internet marketing, here is our short guide for family mediation – clearly the principles can be applied to other business sectors:
- First and foremost, you need to get a website – preferrably built on a Content Management System (CMS). This will enable you to make changes yourself to the website instead of having to pay a company. The site needs to be Search Engine Optimised (SEO) to ensure that the search engines can easily find the content on your site, and include it in it’s results. Make sure your content is not built into the site as images or flash presentations as search engines will not be able to read it.
- Start a blog – this may be included as part of your website, or get a free Word Press account. Search engines love fresh material, and see blogs as a source of this. Keep it updated (say once a month) with something interesting. Don’t make it too long and in depth.
- Get your mediation service listed with search sites (such as findmediation.co.uk, Yelow Pages, etc). When people use search engines, your service will be included in the results.
- Ask clients or referring solicitors for recommendations – it will help both in search listings AND people help people make an informed choice. You can include these on your website or add to search sites (such as findmediation.co.uk).
- Once you have steps 1-4 in place, you can start using social media tools (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google plus, etc). They reach different sectors, so you may wish to use one for marketing, another for professional development. Social Media is a whole new ball game and would require a large blog all on it’s own! One recommendation is to open an account, follow / link with a few people and observe. Remember, everything you upload to the internet forms your digital footprint.
One tip for using social media – limit the amount of time each day/week you assign to it. Without noticing, it can become a drain with often nothing to show for it.
Findmediation.co.uk was developed to help family mediation services to be seen on the internet, particularly appearing in search results. Our entire database is indexed by search engines, enabling mediation services to be found when people search for local services. The site currently has over 1100 visitors a month from over 200 towns around the UK. We’re here to help and it’s free!