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COVIDiary

COVIDiary-Week-One

 

Week 1 – Moving home.

Like so many clients, neighbours and friends, we decided to work remotely, to avoid contact as much as possible, leaving the office looking deserted. And here is the new office set up for the team at the end of the first week. We all traded our spacious office desks for a new smaller spot working at home. Time to create a bit of space in the house that we can dedicate temporarily, so that we can continue to serve our clients.

We already had an article in our Blog called Working Remotely – Communicating Digitally – see here for our tips. This week we have taken our own advice from that very article. See the image of our empty office desks and quiet office. Then see the new set up in the various Living Rooms at our homes. Complete with a backboard to try to look businesslike and to avoid distractions when talking with clients on camera in Zoom or Skype calls. We can do podcasts and webinars using Zoom and Webex.

So far it is working well. We are keeping up with client requests for website updates and doing the website support on existing client websites. New projects are moving along pretty much on time and we have had no real down time. The urgency of getting people online asap is focusing our minds on work we can do to be of service.

Michael is in his living room with his Leaving Cert student sitting at the next desk, a Queens college student in the room next door watching his online lectures and a daughter in the guest room working away online. One other son is in the USA and hunkering down at college, off campus, attending online lectures.

Senior Developer, John Rainey is at home in his living room balancing life with two year old Kaitlin and all the stresses of keeping his extended family safe from COVID19. This is Priority Number 1.

Edel is set up in the kitchen – her choice, managing finances. From there, in the hub of the house, she can work away and prepare food for all five people.

Marketing Maven Maryann McDonnell is using the actual actual Office itself. She says she has solitude and peace, but is not talking with visitors – although to be fair, people are not out much. She is busy helping clients with posting COVID messages and new content and managing our our own posts and communications.

However the phones are buzzing, so they need attention. Everyone wants to get online FAST. There is a realisation that in future a lot more business will be done online.

Graphic Designer Janine was already working from home, so her creativity was responsible for the quick response graphics we are using here.

Damien is also used to working from home and ensuring that website support is done for our support plan clients. So they were already set up and ready to respond to the urgency of the current challenge.

 

After the end of the first working week in voluntary lockdown we have created the space to work, to carry on, to help others and to prepare for the coming months. As of today Friday it is impossible to say what Week 2 will bring for all of us.

How have you managed in the past week. Have you got a new normal? Can you work on? Do you need help? Can you offer help? What does your new workspace look like? By all means share and show how you are innovating. Or share your experience, especially if it can help others.

In Donegal we tend to say that ‘Up here is Different’, but maybe now it is not so much so. Around the country other towns and counties are experiencing the same challenges. Up here it might be easier to be locked down than bigger cities. But the spirit will be the same and we will see the ingenuity and generosity of our people, as they face this challenge together.

#stayapartstaywell  #letterkennychamber  #thisbusinessispersonal #COVID19 #SelfIsolationHelp #coronavirus

See COVIDiary Week 2 here when we publish next week.

 

Most of our current clients are working away behind closed doors. Or they are on the front line and very busy. People like Clare Ryan at ITUS Tech are out setting up Home offices for dozens of companies. Or TFS Ireland cleaning and managing logistics for local businesses. Our MLMG Accountants are helping local businesses manage the implications of new COVID Government supports for them and their staff. Advice First advising worried homeowner lenders.  Simple Simons and Donegal Natural Soap are managing customers needs through their online shops.

Sarah at RINKA has responded amazingly with her Fitness for Kids programmes by delivering online via Facebook Live at rinkaireland. See Sandra and 7 year old AJ every morning at 9.00 am. They have children and parents doing fun exercises together and young AJ has his own fanbase as thousands of people log on to see him. RINKA share loads of games to play indoors. This local initiative is entertaining thousands of people nationally. It is a stand out example of making things work.
For the grown ups, Denise Diver over at Integral Therapy has also gone online using Facebook Live to deliver Yoga and Mindfulness clases at Home Wellbeing Practices.

Some of our clients are taking the new found time to get ready for when this is all over. They are busy planning for the next phase. And that phase will come too, piecing everything back together again. Creating content, getting videos and photos done, looking at website design and hosting and reviewing their own tech set up. And they are planning their advertising strategies, the tactics and best options.

And some Clients have had to take the hard decision to close up for the foreseeable future, until it is safe to get their people back in action again. This is a tough decision, but one that is made mostly in a pragmatic way. Close now and be ready to reopen, prepared for the onslaught to follow.

Some Charity clients are in limbo, waiting to see how people are affected and how that will affect them in turn. Donations may be down considerably and it will be hard to deliver in-person services. It is too early to tell, but we are seeing a lot of generosity of spirit in the community, so they may well be some positive efects in the long run. Again these Charities are looking at delivering content and services online, with advice and phone support.

However, the prevailing feeling, is one a sense of unity. We are all in this together. It affects us all. How often does that ever happen. Truthfully, the business is the least of our problems. Keeping families, staff and neighbours safe is what is of over-riding importance. This is the focus for everyone. Social Distancing, staying at home, being possibly even being locked down and trying not to catch or spread this virus.

CEO at Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce Toni Forrester is keeping business informed about Government initiatives and general business news. She also set up a WhatsApp group for local business owners called Support Local Donegal. With dozens of members already, people are sharing tips, advice, news and initiatives like #thisbusinessispersonal where Fiona Murphy from Citadel Gymnastics asked that members be encouraging for other business people, to help each other and stay connected. Local members are explaining how they are operating, whether is is Pats Pizza offering a limited service or FM Cleaning offering decontamination services. Local businesses are adapting to the changed environment and ensuring that services are delivered and food keeps getting to people. Our local Donegal Business Network started doing their weekly meeting online using Zoom. It worked very well and allowed members join in from home. The meetings are open to visitors, any company doing business in Donegal, at 8.00 am every Wednesday morning. The first meeting had very positive results for the people who attended. Where some members saw roadblocks, others saw ways around them. Getting the input of a dozen other business heads was such a great start to the day. It helped reframe challenges and spot opportunities.

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 40 ‘Professional Services Businesses‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 40 in 2022?

MEANit-Web-Design-Agency-Michael-MacGinty

Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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A Web Presence Checklist, for the senior partner

12 things to oversee the web presence for your legal practice

LinkedIn including company profile page and personal profile for you and all employees. Post some articles about your services, giving some useful advice, sharing insights or sharing industry news. Connect with logical potentially good connections. No sales pitch, just hello with a short line to make the connection, like swopping a business card at a networking event. Read our Linkedin Guide.

Facebook – keep it a basic entry for the practice just to turn up in Facebook in search or get reviews. You could use it to get reviews from people who spend a lot of time on this platform. Or use Facebook to advertise your services, if it is right for your target market.

Website focusing on the services that you want to specialise in, the ones that make you the most margin and that you are happiest to deliver. Bear in mind that you can offer services that you do not personally have to deliver, but make you margin. You do not have to deliver you do not necessarily have to be involved in the process whatsoever. Who is responsible for your SEO Search Engine Optimisation? Read our Guide.

Include SSL – This is the little padlock that appears on the top left corner, to indicate the site is safe. This is not just for eCommerce websites.

Google Business Profile – Have you got one? Is your Google Business Profile profile populated, as in photos, service details, opening hours, blog items, reviews. Independent Google Reviews are fuel for your practice. Get as many as you can. Remember to reply to every single one of them. These are happy clients or people who are in need of attention. Read our Guide.

NAP – Include nap NAP everywhere that you write your address, search Google to see where you appear and ensure the NAP is exactly the same everywhere, including the Eircode.
Do any Google search of your name in an ‘Incognito window’ to see what people see on their computer when they do a search of your company. Whilst you’re there also do a search for solicitors in your town or area. Also do a search for the legal services that you want to promote in your area. Such as conveyancing in Dundalk or conveyancing solicitors in Dundalk.

Recruitment – Your website can also be used for finding new team members, rather than going through the expense of recruitment agencies. This tactic would generally be known as being a part of your overall content marketing strategy. This is where are you create content on your website that will attract people who are looking for certain things. Whether that be a specific legal service or a job in a legal practice that looks attractive to them.

Google Page Insights is a tool that is free and will give you an idea of the speed of your website. Google gives a lot of weight to a fast loading website, especially on a mobile view. Websites are being measured by Google more and more for their mobile view as a key metric.

Google analytics is also free and will give you an idea of the number of people travelling to your website visiting your website on a monthly basis. Use the overview to see how many people visit your website on a monthly basis to see if it’s going up or down. Google Analytics is a great tool but having a high numbers visit your website does not guarantee a conversion to a customer. In order to get conversions you continually need to add content and optimise content and compete with whoever your competitors are. A very simple search for a legal practice in your area will show you who is ranking number 1, 2 or 3. These are the competitors or people you’re competing with, so you need to be better than them. Read our Guide.

Google – With Google Ads you can spend a fortune easily. So if you want to use this platform, get to understand it or engage a specialist. It can be very useful in the short term or to use whilst you are working on your website and SEO. Read our Google Ads Guide.

Conversion. However, bear in mind even if you are number one and you get click through so people visit your website when they land on a page on your website. You have to work on the content in order to get them to convert from visitor to customer. This is your user experience as in UX through your User Interface referred to as the UI.

Reports – Ensure someone is producing a monthly report to measure the numbers. As Peter Drucker said “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so”. Ensure you get a Google Analytics report. And ideally have a report created, so that you can see the numbers at a glance.

Conclusion:
As a senior partner you do not need to do all of this work. This is not what you’re qualified to do and could be way below your paygrade. Unless you engage someone who can deliver a high return in the long term and needs to be well compensated in the short term. Get a proper Digital Marketing Plan drawn up.

However, somebody has to do the work. It would be good if you could use some of these tools to see if the person, practice manager or web agency is doing a good job with your investment.
The bottom line is the practice should be kept busy. And ideally be able to recruit enough staff to deliver services. As a senior partner if you allocate a half hour every month to review these basic reports, you will then be in a position to see what is being done on your behalf.

Read the monthly reports from your Digital marketer. And if needs be, have a conversation about what needs to be improved. The Digital marketer will need a budget to do the search engine optimisation or create graphics for the website. And possibly doing advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook or anywhere where your potential customers are hanging out. Without sounding like an ambulance chaser you can have your content found when people do a search for chiropractor or osteopath or bad back or medical negligence. Get ahead of the curve.

How much time, hassle and money would it save you to have any and all advertising done online through your own website by a competent specialist agency?
Also posted here.

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