We know the phrase that goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but let’s rethink this concept.
When it comes to marketing like email marketing, we do judge a book by its cover. The cover of this proverbial book is where law firms grab users’ attention.
Within email marketing, as well as website designs, there is a concept known as above the fold. It refers to the website or email that being visible when the user first opens the page without having to scroll down. This concept evolved with the birth of print media and the way newspapers were, and still are, read. (It dates way back to the 1700s!) Incredible, isn’t it?
Although it was a rule of thumb to always place the centerpiece content above the fold (digitally speaking), in today’s world it carries a heated argument in regards to its functionality. So, how exactly does the above-the-fold content placement work? And is it really still relevant? Is it applicable to law firms?
Stay with us as we uncover pros and cons, fun facts, tips, and tricks for above the fold.
Pique your visitors’ curiosity
We’ve mentioned that the concept of “above the fold” dates back to the 1700s. The reason is that the entirety of the printed newspaper was too large for a newspaper stand, so the paper was folded in such a way that the front page was split in half. Because of this, the concept of above the fold and below the fold emerged.
Still to this day, if you decide to buy a printed newspaper you’ll notice the upper half is where the attention grabbers, shocking headlines and initial interest takes place.
The same concept can be applied to digital media. In the realm of email marketing and websites, above the fold is considered the visible section without the need to scroll.
Before a user decides to scroll (or exit), it is crucial to grab the user’s attention… and this usually proves to be easier said than done.
According to Tribute Media, the current human attention span is shorter than a goldfish’s. We have an attention span of 6-8 seconds while a goldfish has an attention span of a whopping 9 seconds. (So, our ADD is up to 30% worse than a goldfish’s. Isn’t that mind-blowing?!) Digital-first impressions clearly require a lot of work in sight of this. OptiMonk states that whatever you place above the fold does matter.
OptiMonk argues that content placement above the fold optimization should be part of content marketing. To do so law firms can:
- Optimize a responsive design – if a website and email look great users want to stay for longer periods of time, interact and purchase more. (For law firms, it could mean calls and cases).
- Add Calls to Action at the beginning – Powerful CTAs can directly impact conversions.
- Place the important content first – Headlines, calls-to-action, other vital information should be the first thing a user reads.
OptiMonk argues that if the user is not initially intrigued, they will leave and find someone else.
While all of this may be relevant, others argue the contrary. Let’s look into that…
“In Your Face” Sales and Marketing Can Be Too Much
On the other hand, the counterargument is that above the fold is now outdated because it is too much of a “in your face” sales approach.
Users online are very different from users in the 90s and early 2000s. Before, the internet was evolving. Now, the internet is intuitive. Let’s face it, in this day and age, even babies can scroll without giving it a second thought. The big difference between then and now is that back then information was limited. Now? It’s the opposite! We have too much information that is readily available.
For this reason, VWO argues that not all the necessary information has to be above the fold. To support this argument, they add:
- Users are familiar with scrolling. Users already expect information below the fold.
- There are a lot more mobile users than desktop users according to Perficient. This means it’s near impossible to define where above the fold is for all types of devices and a single content piece.
- “In Your Face” approach by adding too much above the fold can counterattack and drive people away. Plus, it may increase the user’s anxiety.
Neil Patel reiterates this. He emphasizes that “Higher conversion rates have nothing to do with whether the button is above the fold, and everything to do with whether the button is below the right amount of good copy”.
Learn to Pave The Way
We’ve given you the pros and cons. But whatever road you decide to take, you can pave your firm’s way with some actionable tips.
As MailChimp adds; you can ‘break the rules’ with email marketing and make it your own. There is not a one-size-fits-all and what works for your firm might not work for another. Be flexible with what you want versus what works for your clients. At the end of the day, you should always have your clients in mind.
Hubspot also adds that what your firm should focus on is grabbing attention, and to do so you must:
- Keep a simple design – don’t overwhelm your users.
- Create engaging content – use your unique brand voice.
- Design with usability in mind – have content that is easy to interact with and see.
- Solve problems – Include answers, keywords, images, and designs that will help your user.
The Ball Is In Your Court
There are clear pros and cons for focusing on what content to place above the fold for email marketing (and your website). Like it was said earlier, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to digital marketing for your law firm. Every firm requires a unique digital marketing approach to get quality results and cases.
At the end of the day, the ball really is in your court. But whether you decide on the extent of your firm’s needs to implement optimizations to your current content placement strategy (or not), you’ll need a strong digital marketing team by your side.
Do you want to know how you can implement a plan of action for growth? You don’t have to go through all the trials and tribulations by yourself. Get started with us now.