Digital marketing has brought the legal industry a wealth of new and, in some cases, updated jargon and acronyms. With this ever-changing landscape, the language continues to evolve with each passing year. While some marketing buzzwords have come and gone, others have had a bit more staying power. Here are seven must-know digital marketing terms I feel every legal marketer should know and understand to perform his or her role in law firm marketing.

A/B Testing

This process (also known as “split testing”), breaks people who view your website – or receive your email – into two groups, allowing you to compare the results. For instance, in an email campaign you might alter your subject line or the call to action, or you might offer a totally different layout to see what resonates most with your readers.

In the case of a website, A/B testing allows you to randomly send visitors to one of two website landing pages that feature different content, visual images or a call-to-action placement to see which garners more click-throughs. This can be valuable information to the legal marketer because it gives you insight on which campaign or landing page worked better. Understanding what your readers or visitors are interested in allows you to offer relevant information in a layout that has the greatest impact for your campaign or website.

Above the Fold

This goes way back to a term used by the newspaper industry. It refers to the top half of the paper. This is the part of the paper that people see first on the newsstand. It is the most valuable location in the newspaper, so the most important headline or photo has to go in this area to grab the reader’s attention and sell the paper. It has since been adapted for the digital world for website design.

While there is no fold on a website, when designing a landing page, you want to keep the key elements above the bottom of the users’ monitors (roughly 700 pixels for desktops). Key elements like your logo, brand message and call to action are some of the elements that need to fall into this area. What you put here will either entice people to stay on your page and scroll down to read more, or encourage them to lose interest and leave your site.

Above the fold will be entirely different on mobile devices, but the same rules apply: Put your best foot forward to entice your visitors to stay and scroll for more information.

Google URL Builder

With the Google Analytics URL Builder, you can tag URLs with custom campaign parameters like your campaign source (such as newsletter or social media project), campaign medium (such as banner ad or email campaign) and campaign name (such as the date of your post or name of your email). Campaign parameters allow you to track which of your promotions are generating the most traffic/conversions.

For example, consider setting up a unique URL for each blog post when including them in an email newsletter. When users click one of the custom links, the unique parameters go to your Google Analytics account. This allows you to identify the URLs that are most effective in attracting users to your content.

By using this kind of tracking code, you can continue to see how often an article is being read through the ongoing sharing of the email campaign or social media post, and how those visitors interact with the rest of your website. This will give you additional information about what content people are interested in reading and the type of information they are following.

Heat Mapping

Heat mapping is a visualization that allows you to see where and how visitors interact with your webpage. This tool is used by marketing, digital media and web development companies to show what percentage of people interact with different parts of your webpage.

The tracking element can be derived from a number of sources, including eyetracking, clicktracking, mousetracking, etc. In the map that is generated, the most-used parts of the page are often displayed using a dark-red overlay, with less-viewed parts displaying as lighter red, orange, yellow, etc. This can be a very powerful tool when preparing website navigation or fine-tuning your existing navigation. Understanding how a user moves through your site navigation will give you in-depth insight and allows you to know your end users.

Heat mapping can also be used in conjunction with A/B website testing to allow you to see how the user moves through each website. With the data in hand, you can then optimize to generate the best results. Websites like CrazyEgg.com, HeatMap.me and ClickTale.com are just some of the options out there to try.

Native Advertisements

Native advertising is paid online advertising that blends in with the form and function of the platform on which it appears. You probably have come across native advertisements and, in some cases, may not have realized it. For example, in Twitter they appear in the stream of your normal feed with a small arrow next to the word “Promoted” near the bottom of the tweet. Another form appears as content in online publications such as Buzzfeed; these look like articles at first glance, but are actually sponsored or branded posts. Normal advertising is highly recognizable and often passed over by the reader; native advertising is integrated into the page and often gets much more attention by the viewer.

Long-tail Keyword

A long-tail keyword is a very targeted search phrase that contains three or more words. It often contains a head term or keyword that identifies the topic of your search. This more-generic search term is then expanded by one or two additional words (or more) to refine the search term. For example:

  • Head term/keyword: bankruptcy
  • Long-tail keywords: bankruptcy attorney in Houston, bankruptcy law firm in Philadelphia, bankruptcy lawyer with real estate experience

Long-tail keywords are more specific, which means visitors who land on your website from long-tail search terms are more qualified visitors. Consequently, they also are more likely to convert to a lead or submit a contact form.

User Experience (UX)

This refers to the overall experience a visitor has with a website. It encompasses all aspects of the user's interaction with the company, its services and its products.

To deliver an excellent customer experience, you have to think like a customer – or at least think about being the customer. To achieve high-quality user experience in a company's offerings, there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.

Don’t confuse “user experience” with “user interface,” which is also very important, but a different side of the user process.

As digital marketing moves forward, professionals will only continue to add more jargon and acronyms. Staying on top of the digital landscape is a must in today’s law firm marketing environment. Do you have any key digital jargon you find necessary to know? Leave a comment below or contact me, Alan E. Singles, at asingles@jaffepr.com.