Federal Court Throws Out Florida's Advertising Rules on Use of Past Results

Court Throws Out Florida’s Lawyer Advertising Rules on Use of Past ResultsAs reported on Law Practice Advisor:

Blasting the Florida Bar, a federal judge threw out state ethics rules that ban the use of past results in lawyer advertising in indoor and outdoor display, television and radio media. The court held that the rules were unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment.

The landmark ruling on December 12, 2014, is a complete rejection of the Florida Bar’s obstinate efforts to suffocate lawyer advertising in a state with 68,500 attorneys. The court granted the plaintiff law firm’s motion for summary judgment, and went on to enjoin the Bar from enforcing Rules 4-7.13 and 4-7.14, which said use of past results is misleading.

The plaintiffs developed, at great expense, an advertising campaign featuring information regarding past recoveries for clients. The ads include a TV segment animated with a cartoon car accident, a courthouse and dollar signs drawn on a dry-erase board. With an attorney voice over, it depicts the words:

“COLLECTED OVER $50 MILLION FOR THEIR CLIENTS IN JUST THE LAST YEAR! 
Gross proceeds. Results in individual cases are based on the unique facts of each. 

Ruling totally in favor of the law firm, the court ruled there is First Amendment protection for lawyer advertising as commercial speech. It noted that the ethics rules in 44 states impose no blanket restrictions on references to past results.

It noted that the US Supreme Court’s decisions involving commercial speech have been grounded in the faith that the free flow of commercial information is valuable.

For more, read Court Throws Out Florida’s Lawyer Advertising Rules on Use of Past Results.

6 Forecasts for 2015 for Law Firm Marketing

LexisNexis recently asked a several dozen experts for legal industry predictions for 2015, which we will publish here later this week.  Larry Bodine, the editor Law Practice Advisor, provided six for law firm marketing  and we’ve  decided to run his viewpoints as a standalone post.

Here are the first three of Mr. Bodine’s six predictions for legal marketing next year:

1.The firm website becomes the sine qua non of legal marketing. A law firm website is now the essential element of its marketing. Hinge research showed that 77% of professional firms generate new business leads online. 70 percent of law firms in another survey said their website generated new matters, according to Alyn-Weiss research.

2. The rise of the review sites.  Because so many consumers habitually look to review sites before buying anything, lawyers will have to pay close attention to reviews about them on Avvo, Personalinjury.com, Yelp, Google and Facebook.

3. Content marketing takes hold. Google has moved away from keyword searches and so have clients. 62% of searches are non-branded keyword searches (e.g., “Miami personal injury attorney”) and they produce an excess of junk results. 32% of non-branded searches are “long-tail searches” like “Chicago divorce lawyer for family with special needs.” These searches find on-point results from websites with content that goes into detail.

4.

For the remaining three predictions, please visit 6 Predictions for Law Firm Marketing in 2015.

 
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6 Practical Steps to Build Client Loyalty

6 Pointers to Build Client LoyaltyKen Hardison is publishing a new book, “Under Promise, Over Deliver — How to Build the Preeminent Law Firm in Your Market.” Here is an excerpt from Chapter Six.


A loyal client and a satisfied client are not to be confused. While client satisfaction is an element of loyalty, a client could be satisfied and still feel no connection to you or your firm. A loyal client experiences five things:

  1. The overall satisfaction of doing business with your law firm.
  2. The willingness to build a relationship with you and your company.
  3. The willingness to be a repeat client.
  4. The willingness to recommend you to others.
  5. The reluctance to switch to another law firm.

In order for your clients to achieve those five things, there are several rules that you and your employees should follow every day:

1. Greet Clients Promptly

A survey timed the number of seconds people waited to be greeted in several businesses. Researchers then asked clients how long they had been waiting. In every case, the client’s estimate of the time elapsed was much longer than the actual time. A client waiting 30 or 40 seconds often felt like it had been three or four minutes. Time drags when people are waiting.

To read the rest of Ken's advice, please visit 6 Pointers to Build Client Loyalty.

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Law Firms Now Spending 3.4% of Revenue on Marketing

http://www.lawpracticeadvisor.com/law-firm-marketing-spending/Law firms on average firms spent 3.4 percent of their annual collected fees on marketing and business development activities in 2013 — up from a previous level of only 2.3 percent in 2012.

Legal marketing spending has rebounded to pre-recession levels according to a new national survey of local and regional business law firms by Alyn-Weiss & Associates, Inc., a Denver-based legal marketing consultancy.

Another key finding was that law practices must effectively embrace  digital promotion  or they will miss being considered for desirable cases they are qualified to handle.

The drop in 2012 was the first spending decline recorded by Alyn-Weiss since the consultancy started conducting its bi-annual survey of local and regional corporate, transactional and defense firms in 1990. In its initial 1990 survey firms reported spending just 1.45 percent of annual fees on marketing, said founder and president Bob Weiss.

6 Most effective marketing tactics

Analyzing the new 2014 survey results, Weiss said the data makes clear that law firms that fail to employ six tactics are simply missing out on desirable work:

For the details please see Bigger Legal Marketing Budgets Now Fund 6 Most Effective Tactics on Law Practice Advisor.

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How Often You Should Redesign Your Website

How often you shoudl redesign your website - LawPracticeAdvisor.comBy  on Law Practice Advisor:

We had a gut instinct as to the answer — websites should be redesigned every three years. Web technology is changing so fast you’re quite likely to have fallen seriously behind even in that short period. Think about it: social media as we know it today is only seven years old. Trends in web design are accelerating, too. A careful observer can almost pinpoint the year in which a site was designed by its style and technology.

As we see it, the questions to answer are:

Ask a marketing professional how often firms should redesign their website and you will probably get the response “about every two to three years.” But how often are firms actually redesigning their websites?

Hinge and Hubspot surveys

Two studies looked at how often firms revamped their websites. For the rest of the article please click How Often Your Law Firm Website Should Be Redesigned

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Marketing Mass Tort Cases to Hispanics

Marketing Mass Tort Cases to HispanicsHere's a practical article from Law Practice Advisor:

One of the reasons that it’s so hard to interest Hispanics in joining a class action lawsuit is their cultural sense of destiny — that suffering is a natural parts of life. If a person was harmed by a drug side effect or dangerous equipment, it was their fate.

This point was one of many Hispanic marketing insights offered by Leslie Inzunza, a bilingual and bicultural expert in New York.

“Culture is a shared system of beliefs and behaviors passed from one generation to the next,” she says. “Latinos don’t respond the same way as other consumers, because their culture adds another layer of complexity. What makes ethnic marketing so tough is they swim in different waters.”

For example, Latinos in general are risk-averse, and shy away from being the first to try something they view as uncertain. There is a perception that any lawsuit involves risk and this keeps them from filing a claim or joining a class action.

Best ways to get through to Hispanics

To overcome this culture bias, Inzunza, speaking on an HB Litigation webinar, said the solution is to demonstrate that there are people in their group who have gone before them. For example, a website or ad can feature quotes from Latinos who have filed a claim.

The Hispanic market with 54 million people in the US is too big to ignore. Only half of them are foreign-born and many are citizens — but they view the world from three cultural vantage points:

  • Learners are recent arrivals, and includes elderly people who don’t care to learn English, and remain learners for years. Only ⅕ of Hispanics are new immigrants.
  • Straddlers are bilingual and bicultural, and are often referred to as “New Latinos.” Learners and straddlers have little or no experience with the US legal system.
  • Navigators are more sophisticated, speak English, and are further away from their roots but still have a Hispanic cultural practice. “By appealing to their Hispanicism, you get their attention,” she said. Latinos have a pejorative word for them: Americanizar, or Americanized.

For the rest of this article please visit Law Practice Advisor.

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Six Magic Words That Overcome a Competitor's Low Price

Check out this forthright new blog post by Trey Ryder on Law Practice Advisor:


You tell your prospect that you bill at $350 per hour. Your prospect responds by saying, "But another lawyer I interviewed charges only $175 per hour." Now, what should you say?

One powerful way to respond to your prospect's comment is to get out a piece of paper and divide the sheet into two vertical columns. Put your name at the top of one column and the other lawyer's name over the second.

In the first column, write down all the specific services, tasks and documents you include in your fee.
In the second column, write down all the specific services, tasks and documents your competitor includes in his fee. In all likelihood, you won't know everything your competitor includes and neither will your prospect.

So, the certainty of knowing exactly what you provide -- and the uncertainty of not knowing what your competitor provides -- allow your prospect to see clearly on paper "what he gets for his money" when he hires you. But -- what do you do if your prospect raises the issue at your seminar? Or at a luncheon meeting? Or during a phone consultation? In these examples, taking out a sheet of paper for your two-column demonstration isn't practical.

Speak with confidence

So here's what you do instead. Click Six Magic Words That Overcome a Competitor’s Low Price to see the rest of the article.6 Magic Words That Overcome a Competitor’s Low Price

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Using Blog Posts to Generate Leads and New Clients

Get a free Content Review of your website today. Email me the URL of your website -- or call 520.577.9759 -- for your no-obligation content evaluation.

 

For high-growth firms, blogging is the single most important business development tactic – it is more effective than SEO, social media or email marketing.

“What’s really important is that blogging is one of the key things that by itself will help you with your SEO,” said Lee Frederiksen, managing partner of Hinge Marketing, speaking on a recent webinar.

Larry Bodine, The Law Blog Guru, www.larrybodine.com

Combined with the fact that 80% of potential clients will check out lawyers by visiting their websites, it is essential for lawyers to have a blog that is updated frequently with unique content.

A vibrant blog will increase a law firm’s visibility, bolster the firm’s reputation and brand, and communicate the firm’s expertise.

According to Frederiksen, what makes a blog successful is a consistent flow of content, educational posts relevant to the target audience, and a conversion offer -- meaning an offer of something free, like a download, in exchange for getting the visitor’s email address.

He offered several tips:

  • Create an editorial calendar for the blog, so that you plan out blog posts in relation to conferences, dates and events that are important to your audience.
  • Avoid writing about the law firm. Instead, tell stories about successes you achieve for clients.
  • Promote two-way communication, by letting visitors comment on your blog posts.
  • Consider adding video, which improves search engine results.

There are many sources of inspiration, including client questions, news stories, public statements by firm leadership, trade magazines, conferences, webinars, Twitter hashtags and LinkedIn answers.

Hire a professional

He added that a blog post can take two to four hours to write, and for lawyers it makes sense to outsource the writing, and to retain a professional service to provide drafts of blog posts. “You are not going to have the busiest people in your firm doing a lot of blogging. For senior people, work with a writer who can interview them and turn their notes into a blog post,” he said.

He offered several ways to double the volume of leads generated by a blog:

1.     In blog posts, include links to an eBook or free report that can be downloaded.

2.     Display offers about downloads into the sidebar of the blog.

3.     Add italicized offers at the bottom of a blog post.

4.     Measure which topics convert the best, and make a point of blogging on those topics.

5.     Repurpose past blog posts by editing them into best EBooks and special reports.

6.     Optimize posts as you write them by including keywords and links to previous blog posts. WordPress offers plugins that prompt a writer with tactics to optimize a post.

And if your blog just isn’t pulling in as many leads as it used to, redesign the blog completely to boost your traffic. 

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Perfect Headline is Six Words Long

 How to Write Better Headlines [Infographic]

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Death of the Web Conference - New Research from Join.me

wasting time web meetingsAs virtual meetings become more commonplace, legacy web conferencing software is wasting an unacceptable amount of time, according to a new study from Ovum and join.me.

It is based on a survey of more than 3,900 full-time professionals worldwide, regarding their collaborative behaviors and activities. The key findings from this report:

  • Late start times are costing executives 5 days and 19 hours per year in lost time and productivity.
  • Technical difficulties with web conferencing software is the number one cause of delayed meetings.
    • More than 50 percent of employees report that the number of meetings they have is increasing.
    • 32% of all meetings are virtual, a trend that skews higher for younger workers. 

Frustration with traditional web conferencing tools has led 66% of corporate buyers to look for new collaboration solutions to accommodate an increasingly collaborative and connected workforce

You can download Death of the Web Conference (as we know it) for free.

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