Why an Associate Needs a Mentor

Michael Cummings and I explain in this podcast why an associate needs a mentor to be successful at business development.

Click http://recordings.infiniteconferencing.com/pmforum_012506.html
to listen to or download this short podcast. Be patient, it takes a few seconds to download this .WAV file.

For an associate to become a rainmaker, he or she needs someone to be personally invested to see that you succeed. They introduce you to clients, debrief you after meetings and teach you how to present. But you need to pick the right person, and Larry and Mike identify who that is.

Mike concludes by giving you the 5 things you need to do to become a successful rainmaker in 2006.


For law firms, names are the brand

MSN has an in intersting article entitled, "For law firms, names are the brand." Highlights:

It's traumatic to lose a name partner.

A name change in the law firm business can cause confusion and hamper branding efforts. Clients will wonder what caused a founding partner to split, and some will travel to the new firm with the departing partner.

There's money in the brand and, in most cases, a law firm's name is its brand. As surely as the golden arches is money in the bank for McDonald's, a law firm's name - if it outlives a premature split - becomes a valuable commodity that shall not be tampered with.

Law firms are skinnying down their names.  Instead of Alpha, Beta, Chi, Omega and Eplison, they're shortening them to "Alpha." See Law firms Gain Notice by Adopting Shorter Names for details.

Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan thus has become Smith Anderson. Think Parker Poe instead of Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein. Or Womble Carlyle as opposed to Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice. Manning, Fulton & Skinner's brand is simply Manning Fulton.


Patrick McEvoy Shows Lawyers Niche Marketing

Patrick_mcevoy_4 Here's a program you won't want to miss: "How To Create a Precision Niche Marketing Campaign That Will Start Bringing Results in 21 Days or Less." It's presented by my admired colleague Patrick McEvoy at 90 Minute Teleseminar - Thursday February 2nd at Noon Eastern Time.

If you register by Friday (January 27) the cost is a bargain: $147.

The program is designed for partners, lawyers and law firm marketing directors who are serious about growing their practices by more than 20% this year. The teleseminar, including all printed course materials, instructions and telephone bridge access code sent to you in advance.

Description: Here's your chance to create a precision niche marketing campaign that will work for you in 2006. Take the mystery out of the niche marketing process by discovering"

  • The "Gigantic 4 Part Obstacle" you face in your niche marketing efforts that will NEVER go away.
  • The ten biggest mistakes ALL law firms make in their niche marketing efforts.
  • The difference between "tactical" and "strategic" marketing and why it's killing your niche market development plans.
  • Just how much a new niche client is really worth to you--and the answer will surprise you.
  • Seven things you MUST do in your niche marketing and sales efforts to get results quickly.
  • The real problem with law firm niche marketing that no one wants to talk about and--how you can solve the problem simply and mathematically.
  • How to use "Relevancy Based Marketing" in your niche.
  • The five step formula for getting niche prospects to call you.
  • Follow up tools that massively increase niche penetration rates.
  • How to attain your 2006 marketing goals with absolute assurance using the "Execution Imperative."

To attend, click here.

If you're not familiar with Patrick McEvoy, he is a former practicing Canadian Chartered Accountant and has consulted with over 11,000 CEOs and business owners during the past 24 years. He has been in senior management with KPMG, Ernst & Young and Orion Capital along with establishing and owning many of his own successful business ventures outside the accounting and consulting fields.

Today he is the president of Rainmaker Best Practices in Toronto Canada, a boutique marketing consultancy. Patrick is a prolific writer and is often quoted in the press and in newswire stories concerning his views about the state of the worldwide accounting profession.

Attendees also get their choice of one of the following: 1. One website critique certificate. I'll personally critique your existing website and discuss the results with you via telephone, or 2. One 20 minute niche strategy consulting session conducted via the telephone.

If you wait after Friday, the program costs $277 including all course materials plus valuable bonus materials. There are only 15 seminar spots available. When they're gone...well, they're gone for good. 


Personality: Why 25% of Lawyers Can't Sell

Larryrichard135Only 20% of lawyers are natural born marketers, according to Dr. Larry Richard, a Director of Hildebrandt International, in Somerset, N.J. He found that an additional 55% of lawyers can learn to be rainmakers.  "They will makre efforts to do marketing; so your goal should be to reduce their discomforts," he said.  The remaining 25% are hopeless at marketing and should be ignored.  "The trick is to figure out who they are and not to waste time on them," he said.

"Personality is a key factor in business development," Richard emphasized. Lawyers are very different from general population in 6 of 18 traits - and no other profession has more than 2 deviations.  For example, 2/3 of lawyers are introverts, but in contrast, of the general population in the U.S. are extroverts.  In analyzing lawyer personalities, Richard employs the Caliper Profile, which has been used for more than 40 years to measure personality traits. 

Further, lawyers differ dramatically from marketers.  Lawyers are analytical, detached, introverted and reflective. Marketers, in contrast, are creative, enthusiastic, extroverted and interactive.  "The good news for marketing is that lawyers are a quick study--you don't have to do a lot to teach them," he said at the Marketing Partner Forum in Florida.

The six traits that distinguish lawyers are...

For the rest of the story, visit The LawMarketing Portal.


Marketing Excellence Awards

Greg_curry_small_2 You heard it here first: The winners of the Excellence in Legal Marketing Awards, sponsored by Thomson Elite at the Marketing Partner Forum, are:

Elizabeth_chambersMarketing Director of the Year

Elizabeth Chambers, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for Bingham McCutchen

Marketing Partner of the Year
Greg W. Curry, Partner, Thomson & Knight
Marketing Initiative of the Year
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice for interoffice client visit program.

For the full story visit the LawMarketing Portal.

Whatever you say, don't say "No Comment"

Dan_abrams"No comment" sounds insidious, like you've got something to hide. The public perceives "no comment" in a negative way. It's better not to return the reporter's call than to say 'no comment,'" said Dan Abrams, MSNBC Anchor of "The Abrams Report" and NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent for "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw," "Today" and "Dateline NBC."

He spoke this morning at the Marketing Partner Forum in Florida on "How Law Firms Should (and Should Not) Present Themselves and their Clients to the Media."

"There is no presumption of innocence -- it's a legal fiction.  The police don't presume the defendant is innocent and the media doesn't presume innocence.  Instead the media will say what evidence the police found, what they've charged him with and what the defense attorney says," Abrams said.

"It's a big mistake to ignore the media. If you do, you are a fool. You may choose to avoid the media, but it should be a concerted decision, not a decision to ignore the media," he said. "For example, defense attorney Alan Dershowitz only will talk to the media when it will help his case, and only when the prosecution has talked to the press," he said.

He gave examples of how lawyers prevailed and bungled in high profile cases.

He said the Scott Peterson case was an example of a disaster.  Peterson, over the objection of his lawyer, spoke to the media and the videotapes were used against him in his trial. "He got caught lying about the relationship with the person he killed," Abrams said. "He also didn't have sympathetic stories to tell - Peterson was having an affair when his wife went missing - that's a tough position to defend.  As a result it was far more detrimental than it was helpful to him."

Mark_geragos_3In the Peterson case, Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos overpromised and underdelivered, according to Abrams. When Peterson was arrested, Geragos said Peterson was factually innocent and that he was going to find out who actually killed Laci Peterson and her son. "He didn't do anything close to proving that Peterson was stone cold innocent; he relied on showing a reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence," Abrams said.  Peterson was convicted.

On the other hand, in the Michael Jackson case, lawyer Thomas Mesereau had everyone talking about the accuser's family, that the mother was a scam artist.  "He was very effective about getting information out about his accusers.  Jackson went into the trial with a presumption of innocence," Abrams said, and was acquitted.

In Bush v. Gore, which decided the 2000 presidential election, the Bush administration framed the issue publicly that "it's time for us to move ahead," Abrams said. The Democrats had to rely on the courts, saying we need to assure one man, on vote.  "By the time the Supreme Court rendered decision, the public wanted it to be over, was general acceptance of the decision, even though the country was still divided.  Republicans made the Democrats in rely on legal definitions and the courts,"

The Martha Stewart represents all the issues that come up, according to Abrams. Her livelihood depends on her public image," Abrams said. She initially went after the prosecutors and got indicted for the statements she made publicly, as an effort to boost her stock price," Abrams said.
"It's a lesson, when you go after the prosecutors; you have to consider the ramifications.  For example Texas lawyer Dick DeGuerin has gone on TV asserting that the DA Ronald Earle is going after politician Tom DeLay for political reasons and is minimizing criminal case. There are risks of going after the prosecutors.

"The worst thing Martha Stewart did was saying she didn't lie; when you heard the evidence it was a no brainer that she lied." A better issue was that the government wouldn't have gone after her if she weren't Martha Stewart. It's not an argument you make in court, but can make outside court.  Her legal team should have had statistics ready, that when person worth is more than $500,000 have been only x number of prosecutions.  But instead they decided to use the bunker mentality: we need to avoid speaking about this case," Abrams said.

"It's always a mistake in high profile cases to ignore the media," Abrams said, but don't go overboard. "Don't 'do a Bill Ginsburg,''' Abrams said. Ginsburg was the first attorney for Monica Lewinsky.  He went on 5 TV talk shows in one weekend - he became a joke, his appearances became the story."

Lin_wood Abrams said that one of best examples a lawyer helping a client in terms of public perception is what libel lawyer Lin Wood of Atlanta did for parents of John Benet Ramsey.  "For years was a cloud of suspicion over the parents. The parents became public figures and were perceived as parents who probably killed their daughter.  When attorney Wood took over the case, a lawyer who's filed cases against the press.  He decided to rehabilitate their image, to go public and arranged private meetings with parents. "They weren't' concerned what was said about them.  Took position that they were innocent and had nothing to hide." 

Importantly, Wood started holding reporters accountable for what they're saying about the Ramseys - "calling reporters and screaming at them, threatening to sue them - when they thought the Ramseys being treated unfairly."  Reporters were successful intimidated and now the iinvestigation is focusing away from the Ramseys. 

Theodore_wells_2The rules are different for politicians. Perception is everything. Lawyer Theodore V. Wells, Jr. of New York, who is representing Scooter Libby, made two mistakes, according to Abrams:

--- A broken promise - he said wouldn't speak to the press.  But he did when there was favorable information released about the case from Bob Woodward.

--- He made a public statement without vouching for his statement.  "We're not going to try this case in the press. Mr Libby has declared that he wants to clear his good name and wants a fair trial," Abrams said, quoting Wells. "I liked the language because it was tough, but it wasn't vouching for the client, it was saying what client was saying."

    Libby was indicted for lying to the grand jury in the Valerie Plaine CIA outing case.


    Boo to the Ritz-Carlton

    RitzlionDon't you hate it when an extravagantly expensive hotel nickel and dimes you with surprise charges?

    This morning I self-parked my rental car at the Key Biscayne Ritz at the Marketing Partner Forum.  A valet came up to me and handed me a blue ticket, saying there was valet parking only.  I asked if there was a charge.  He said if I was there for the "legal conference," it was complimentary.

    So as I left at the end of the day there was a different guy working the dispatch desk.  He told me the charge was $18, even though they didn't do anything, because I had parked the car.  I beefed, saying I was told it was free.  He said "no."  So I pulled out a $20 and gave the change to the driver who  brought out the car.  I figured it wasn't his fault that I got ripped off by this overpriced faux chateau with its quasi-classic oil paintings and imitation mahogany Colonial furniture.

    Remind me never to stay at these overpriced travel traps that send out their managers who talk at marketing seminars about supreme customer service and then pick the pockets of visitors who fall for the phony pitch.


    Five Tips on Marketing to General Counsel

    Barbara_kolsun_small Read "Five Tips on Marketing to General Counsel" by General Counsel Barbara Kolsun at http://legalmarketing.typepad.com/blog/2006/01/five_tips_on_ma.html.  She outlined ways that law firms can get new business from general counsel at a session this morning at the Marketing Partner Forum.


    AM notes on the Marketing Partner Forum


        -- There are 300+ attendees.  It's bigger than ever. IMHO, this is THE conference of the year to attend.

        -- Dan DiPietro of Citibank said that the most profitable firms spend half as much on marketing per lawyer than less profitable firms.  This is drawn from the bank's database of 147 law firms -- from AmLaw 100 to small firms.

        -- Jolene Overbeck, CMO at Shearman & Sterling has 50 people internationally on the marketing staff; 37 are in NY, and the rest overseas.  "It's not nearly big enough," she quipped.

        -- Patrick Lamb, a litigator with Butler Rubin in Chicago, finally got the lawyers at his firm to market by putting a part of their compensation at risk based on their marketing activity.  As a result "the amount of marketing we do now is astounding," he said.


    Marketing Partner Forum

    Legalworks_1 I just got into Miami at about 9 PM tonight for the Marketing Partner Forum, out on Key Biscayne.  I'll be sending live reports on the programs and events starting on Thursday.

    The attendee list is impressive, with CMOs and partners from big and medium firms all over the country.  Highlights of Thursday's program include:
        - The state of the industry address, including speakers like Patrick Lamb, a prominent legal blogger.
        - Bulletproofing Your Existing Crown Jewel Clients by Gerald Riskin, author and blogger.
        - A general counsel panel. they'll be talking about "convergence," which I see as fading away.  Let's see what they say.
        - Marketing by Practice Area and Industry -- an approach I highly recommend.  This is a panel discussion with people from White & Case, Littler Mendelson, Anderson Kill and Cooley Godward, among others.

    This will be the first full-fledged Forum by Thomson, which now owns it. This means that no one from Lexis, Interface or Martindale will be here.  Also, the LegalWorks president, Kent Zimmerman, resigned 3 months ago, so it'll be interesting to find out who's running the show now.   I've been coming to the MPF for more than a decade -- starting when Julie Savarino held it as a conference just for clients.  She sold it to Steve and Lynn Glasser, who turned it into a 250 person, monster event.  And as I mentioned, Thomson bought it a year ago.

    Stay tuned.

    Canadian Bar Association Launches Podcast

    MP3 File

    CbablogOver the years, law firms have learned that quality service alone isn't enough to attract and retain clients. Now, delivering quality merely gets you in the door. The new focus is on client retention.   The association offers 5 key client service techniques in a highly-polished, professionally-read podcast.  You can also read the article "Create a Winning Client Retention Strategy in 5 Steps" covered in the Podcast above (click the start arrow or download the MP3 file).

    To see the same podcast with video visit http://www.envoyglobal.net/elawmarketing/cba. It's a Flash video that shows a slide show that is synchronized with the sound.  Way cool. It's perfect for today's ADD, short-attention-span, reading by skimming Web visitors.

    The podcast was created by the skilled experts at eLawMarketing, which creates lawyer blogs, podcasts and Web sites.  If you'd like to have a podcast like this one, contact Josh Fruchter at josh@emailmessaging.net and (718) 793-7168.


    One Marketer's Trip Through Hell

    The following is a true story.  Only the names of the marketer and the law firm have been omitted.  The marketer has more than 25 years of marketing experience, including 9 at law firms. Most professional staff marketers at law firms have horror stories to recount, but this one makes others pale in comparison. An experienced veteran, this marketer had previously worked at a major metropolitan firm with more than 500 attorneys with numerous offices.  The average tenure of a law firm marketer is 3 years, but this marketer was able to endure less than two years at this 350-lawyer firm in a major metro area. After you read the story, you'll know why.

    It is a long, ugly story. In a nutshell, my 15 months at the law firm provided me with the worst professional experience in my legal marketing career. I was the third CMO in 2 years and in spite of working my heart out to make the job a success, I literally became their "intellectual punching bag." They were taking their anger at the previous CMO out on me. She had quit after less than a year and tried to recruit their best associates as she was leaving.

    It was a totally schizophrenic environment. I was told I was doing my job too well and that caused the partners to revolt. Huh?  I never knew what was wrong. I was just wrong. Even when I thought all was going well. Here's an example of one of many encounters: the Managing Partner called me into an office with the COO.  The Managing Partner ("MP") told me that another partner complained about me and we had to address the issue.

    Me: I'm sorry to hear this. Can you tell me about problem?

    MP: No.

    Me: Can you tell me the partner's name?

    MP: No.

    Me: Can you tell me the practice group?

    MP: No.

    Me: Can the three of us meet with the partner so he/she can tell me what happened?

    MP: No.

    Me: If I don't know the who, what and why, I can't know how to fix it.

    MP: Well, that's your problem.

    Me: I'm sorry, I'll make an effort to be more sensitive in the future.


    I swear this is a true encounter and one of many similar encounters.

    Made up rules as they went along

    The firm has no formal marketing policies or guidelines, so they made up rules as they went along. The MP would also change the rules in the middle of the game. Naturally, I was not advised. As a result, I actually became quite adept at crisis management. I also took to carefully monitoring every activity that came into and out of my department.

    • The MP cancelled contracts that were approved by the Executive Committee in the middle of their run.
    • The MP entered into sponsorships only to delay payments until the organization threatened the firm with collections agencies.
    • The MP would overrule practice group leader marketing budget requests and led the PGLs to believe that the decision to veto a marketing expense was mine and not hers.
    • If I recommended an expenditure of $10,000, the MP would demand that I make it $25,000. When the Executive Committee would not approve the higher figure, the MP would turn around and demand that I reduce the expenditure to $7,500, even though she knew that $10,000 was the minimum.

    And so on.   

    Although the Executive Committee approved my hiring, the MP hated me from day one. She was totally indecisive and easily swayed, whereas I am very comfortable making decisions and taking control of given situations. She decided to create a Marketing Committee and appointed partners who were demonstrably hostile to any marketing effort and completely ignorant of even the basics of law firm marketing. The head of the Committee believed that "glad-handing" was the only way to market and didn't know the difference between a design firm and a P.R. firm.

    I would go to meetings and be completely ignored. They would talk around me as if I weren't there. Naturally, being me, I wouldn't let them ignore me and even went out of my way to offer meeting agendas so that they would have something to work from. I circulated marketing articles that I thought would be helpful and informative only to find them thrown away in the meeting room garbage can. However, one of the members of the committee decided to make crib notes on 10 marketing books she thought would be useful to the Committee. She produced 47 pages of notes, with chapters, sub-chapters and sub, sub chapters.

    Add to this mix, a back-stabbing, undermining manager who wanted the CMO position but was considered not capable of doing the job and you start to get the picture. For the record, I tried to fire her and had enough data on her to fire anyone else, but was not allowed to do so. She was and still is very close with a male member of the Executive Committee and therefore untouchable.

    In spite of this, I accomplished quite a bit in the 15 months that I was there:

    • I completed and launched their first national advertising campaign
    • Restructured the marketing department
    • Hired 5 marketing professionals in six months
    • Redesigned and repositioned the firm's intranet newsletter
    • Developed an internal attorney referral site for cross-selling purposes
    • Finished and launched their Web site
    • Worked with the Strategic Planning Committee on issues of law firm leverage, making presentations to the offices and practice groups on the strategic use of leverage in generating revenues
    • Created a marketing budget accountability process
    • And more. 

    I was determined to make the best of an ugly situation, but it was grueling and I put on 30 pounds out of sheer frustration. I was treated so badly that I didn't even know how to address it.

    I stayed only because during my tenure at the firm, I found and bought wonderful house. It is my dream house. I fell hopelessly in love with the place, pure love at first sight, and I decided that I would do whatever it took to buy it. If you've ever fallen in love with a house, you will understand why I would do nothing to compromise or jeopardize this purchase. The house continues to be one of the great joys of my life and is my sanctuary from a cold, cruel world.

    Backstabbing manager

    They fired me two days before the backstabbing manager returned from vacation and turned the department over to her. I was told to leave immediately. I was stunned. I heard rumors that they would pull something like this, but gave the firm credit for more class. I was wrong. They treated me like a criminal. They wouldn't even let me transfer my files or notify people that I was leaving. The HR Director let me get some of my personal things and some of my staff assured me that they would take care of my things. Members of my staff were equally stunned and couldn't even talk.

    I did nothing to deserve this kind of treatment. It is my understanding that most of the partners were not told.  I've never been fired before and became extremely depressed and extremely angry. I wasn't fired because I wasn't competent. I was fired because the firm and I were a bad cultural fit and an incumbent was hell-bent on getting my job, and there was nothing I could do about it.  I am consoled by the fact that she was not given the position and was named "Acting Director" until they decide on another CMO.

    There's so much more to my trip through Hell, but I think you get the picture. By two months after I lost the job, I was over the anger and depression and was truly glad to be free of the place. I want to find a firm that needs a proactive CMO to run their department. I have an impressive resume and an otherwise sterling track record in legal marketing. Hopefully, I won't be out of work for too long. For now, I am enjoying the rest and catching up on my readings and writing.


    Watch out for Protest Sites!

    Wouldn't it be awful is someone set up at "you suck" site?  Apparently they can get away with it, according to New York lawyer Martin H. Samson of Phillips Nizer.  In his e-newsletter he writes:

    Respondent Permitted To Continue Operating Protest Site At Home Depot Sucks.com, Homer TLC, Inc. v. Green People, Claim Number FA0508000550345 (NAF October 25, 2005).

    In this domain name dispute resolved in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("UDRP") the Panel refused to direct Respondent Green People to transfer the domain name Home Depot Sucks.com, at which Respondent operated a "protest site," to Complainant, owner of the famous "Home Depot" trademark.  Rejecting the majority view, the Panel found that the disputed domain was neither identical nor confusingly similar to Complainant's mark because it included the pejorative term "sucks" in addition to Complainant's trademark. The Panel further held that Respondent had a legitimate interest in this domain, which had not been registered in bad faith, because Respondent had used the domain for seven years as the home of a web site critical of Home Depot.  The Panel accordingly found that Complainant had failed to establish its entitlement to relief under the UDRP, and denied its complaint. 


    What's in Your Marketing Diet?

    Newslettergraphic_1When you take in marketing nutrition, are you getting healthy information?  Or are you going to high-fat local marketing trade association meetings and listening to vendors hawk their own products?  Why do this when you can get nourishing, high-fiber content online, by e-mail and from your bookstore?

    What prompted this thought was a letter from my doctor: my cholesterol is 159 (less than 200 is good), HDL cholesterol is 53 (over 45 is good), LDL cholesterol is 91 (under 100 is good) and triglycerides are 77 (under 150 is good).  "Everything looks great," the doc wrote.  To quote Ren and Stimpy:  "Happy happy joy joy!"

    Now that I'm mature enough to make withdrawals from my IRA, I make a point of eating oatmeal for breakfast, salads for lunch, salmon for dinner (full of Omega-3s), no desserts, no alcohol and no smoking.  Sometimes I even go to a gym to exercise. I avoid high-risk activities like mountain biking because I broke my collarbone doing it last year.

    I recommend you apply these principles to your marketing intake.  Keep your mind sharp by reading nutrient-rich blogs that will help you resist stress from dunderhead partners and enrich the body of your marketing strategy.  Read newsletters from other professions to learn new tricks.  Try the blogs in my blogroll.  Attend a Webinar. Subscribe to the LawMarketing Newsletter. These things will keep your mind healthy.

    Go to meetings where you actually learn something.  Avoid the local marketing trade association meetings where the advertisers are the speakers.  I decided to drop out of one marketing organization because they elected a vendor as their president.  With the fox in charge of the hen house, I got out, and you should too. Instead I attend conferences about new and cutting-edge techniques to keep my mind sharp, like those offered by the Business Development Institute.

    Nakedconversations Actually read a book.  Yeah, sure, we're all busy. We're exhausted at the end of the day.  But take a can of gasoline, pour it on the TV (do this outside) and set it on fire.  Throw your DVDs in to the bonfire. Stop watching the damn thing.  Instead read a book that will fire your imagination.  For work, I am reading the new book by uber-blogger Robert Scoble called "Naked Conversations -- how blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers."  He's got a chapter about people like me. For inspiration I'm reading "River of Doubt" about Theodore Roosevelt's fateful journey on an unexplored river in Brazil. This was the last adventure of the energetic ex-president, and it led to his death.  I want to know where he went wrong.

    I absolutely, positively guarantee that if you enrich your diet of incoming information, you will be better at your job, your will make more money and you'll be much happier all around.


    Beautiful Website, Invisible on Search Engines -- Why?

    Ralph_wilsonDr. Ralph Wilson identified 7 reasons that many Web sites don't turn up in search engine results.  It's the result of using old-fashioned technology and the wrong cutting-edge technology --ignorantly, at the same time.  In a nutshell, he examined the site of a large church in a city of 5,000 and found these flaws:

    1. The homepage has a "splash page" made up of a single GIF image and no text content that is spider food for search engine spiders.  [I see this a lot on professional firm sites too.]
    2. The navigation system on the splash page is an image map. It contains no text links on the homepage, but since search engines can't read image maps, the search engine is stopped in its tracks. It has nowhere to go and nothing to index.   
    3. The site is built using HTML frames, a technique that was the rage of website developers in the 1990s, now rather widely denounced for its search engine unfriendliness.   
    4. The homepage within the frame system contained no text content, just a title and a frame system.   
    5. NOFRAMES tags stopped search engine spiders. Because this was the main frameset page that contained no content or navigation links whatsoever, the search engine spiders are stopped again. They have no URLs to go to, no links. Nothing.
    6. The interior webpage URLs all point to the website developer's domain, such as:
    7. None of the interior webpages can be bookmarked or linked to. Not only are search engines prevented from entering, but humans can't link to parts of the site that interests them.

    Read the full story on http://www.wilsonweb.com/art/design/invisible-website_htm.htm.


    Your 2006 Strategic Plan -- 12 Areas Where You Can Say "No"

    Sam_decker According to marketer Sam Decker, "Saying "no" is the most strategic decision we can make. By saying "no," we focus and improve quality of the 'yes' areas. We improve ourselves and our firm's effectiveness. "No" empowers people because it simplifies. Our businesses succeed on the basis of what, where and how we say "no."

    Find the entire list on his blog.  Here are the highlights:

    1. What strategies, initiatives and activities will you say "no" to? This is a big one for me.  For a long time I got sidetracked into a business that I was not naturally adept at.

    2. What measurements will you ignore? From now on, I will measure myself against my own personal best performance.  Staying later at the office is going to drop off #1 on the list.  I will stop comparing my insides to other people's outsides.

    3. What customers will you not target?  No more clients who request my advice and then never get around to taking it.

    4. What people will you not keep?  No more people who are users.

    5. What competitors will you not follow?  Never occurred to me to follow.

    6. What will you remove from your web site? This is a good reminder for me to take a closer look at Lawmarketing.com.  I need to simplify it and follow my own advice on Web marketing.

    7. What money will you not spend?  No more individual stocks.  No more print magazines published at my own expense. No more memberships in associations I get nothing out of but flak.

    8. What meetings will you decline?  There's a big one in March that I'm going to skip.  I will focus on the conferences where I learn cutting-edge ideas.

    9. What trips will you not make?  No more trips to please someone else.

    10. What slides will you not create?  No slides without a picture.

    11. What will you not say?  No more online squabbles.  I will, however, continue to tell the truth, point out when the Emperor has no clothes and when the fox is guarding the hen house.

    12. What thoughts will you not entertain?  Anger, or at least not acting on anger.


    Public Speaking Tip: Dueling Flip Charts

    Tom Antion offers a very interesting way to use flip charts. Put one on both sides of the stage and pop back and forth between them. You can have an audience member volunteer at each flip chart helping your record input from other audience members. This has a tremendous Wake em Up value.  Check out his Great Public Speaking blog.


    Law Firm Web Sites Missing Marketing Basics

    Even though I've been saying for years that law firms need to put 3 things on their Web sites to attract business clients, the message isn't getting through.  I've been making these points in speeches, articles and blog posts.  At a very minimum your Web site must list:

    1. Industry experience
    2. Representative clients
    3. Success stories

    Now comes an article researched and written by Greenfield|Belser brand design, "From Bland to Brand" on page 42 of the November/December 2005 issue of Law Firm Inc. that says, "Simply put, law firms are failing to create Web sites that effectively market their organizations."  See http://lawfirminc.law.com/display.php/file%3D/texts/1105/web1105 (registration required.)  Among the failures are:

    • No "Industries" button on the site. Less than 25% of firms display their industry experience, which is "surprising, because our research consistently shows that a firm's industry knowledge factors into a client's decision to hire it."
    • 20% of practice area pages do not link to relevant content such as articles, updates, newsletters and the like.
    • Only 44% of the sites surveyed display a slogan or tagline.
    • Blue or white dominate 66 % of large law firm sites. "Why? Studies have shown people associate blue with trust."  That's nice, but it makes all large firm sites look the same.
    • Only 13% of firm sites offer in-depth case studies, and only 5% percent put case studies on their home page.
    • 28% of sites use stock legal images such as spectacles, gavels, columns, scales of justice sheafs of paper and laptop computers.  Borrrring. Triteness is bad marketing.
    • Skyline shots are popular on large-firm sites.  As a result, their sites end up looking almost exactly alike.
    • Only 31% of the home pages included a link to the firm's extranet.
    • Only 17% had information for law firm alumni, who are a great source of referrals.
    • 97% of sites displayed at an 800x600 screen resolution, even though the most popular setting on people's computers is 1024x768 now.
    • 35% of sites incorporate Flash.  Flash is search engine repellent; it's a graphic that search engine spiders and bots cannot index.  In my opinion, nothing on a law firm web site should be moving, because it distracts the eye away from text.  On amusement park Web sties, Flash is OK.

    In conclusion: "Law firm Web sites are more alike than different.  That's not surprising given an industry bias towards precedent.  But it's lousy marketing."