In-House Attorneys Now Use New Media Platforms to Find Lawyers

Online social networking, LinkedIn, Facebook, TwitterIn-house attorneys are turning away from print sources, and now are using new media platforms to deepen their professional networks, and to obtain their legal, business, and industry news and information, according to the new Corporate Counsel New Media Engagement Survey.

The social networking and new media tools that in-house counsel most frequently use for professional reasons are LinkedIn, blogs, and -- surprise -- Wikipedia.  Other highlights:

  • Blogs are an increasingly preferred mechanism for obtaining business and legal industry information. Half of in-house counsel agree or somewhat agree that in the future, high-profile blogs authored by law firm lawyers will influence the process by which clients hire law firms.
  • Online beats print: Corporate counsel now are getting more of their business- and legal-industry related information online than from traditional print sources. 62 percent of in-house counsel prefer to access their business and industry news online via publication web sites compared to 42 percent who prefer the print vehicle. While at first surprising data, a glance at a roomful of lawyers accessing Blackberries, IPhones, Kindles, and IPads helps put this shift from print to online in perspective.
  • Wikipedia maintains strong credibility with this audience as well, consistent with its high scores in familiarity, professional and personal use among in-house counsel. This is significant given that its open, uncontrolled platform often is criticized for its inaccuracy. This finding may suggest that respondents appreciate them as a “community generated” offerings, willingly trading off questions about the validity of their data for the “open” process by which they receive their content.

However, a majority of in-house counsel never use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Plaxo, M-H Connected and Legal OnRamp.  This exposes a mismatch between the sites where law firms devote their new media marketing and the sites that clients use to find information about lawyers.

For more surprising results, read the full story at www.LawMarketing.com or http://bit.ly/bz7Z8E

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Join Me at LSSO's RainDance Confernce in Chicago

There's one event every year that I never miss, and it's the Legal Sales and Service Organization's RainDance conference.  I'll be there on June 9 and 10 at the Mid-America Club in Chicago and hope to see you there.

Many studies of the legal profession show that the emphasis has moved away from law firm marketing and to where it should be: business development.  

Marketing is "nice to have," and includes competitive intelligence, CRM, branding, newsletters and e-newsletters, advertising, public relations, brochures, directories and sponsorships.  But today, what law firms "have to have" is sales: lawyers and professionals who can open new matters, bring in new files and attract new business.

That's what I like about LSSO's annual meeting -- it's a gathering of the smartest people who know about sales and making money for their firms. The speaker lineup of speakers is really impressive:

Mike BremerThe keynote speaker is Mike Bremer, CMC, CPA, Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean Bronze, author and President of the Cumberland Group in Chicago, CMC, CPA, Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean Bronze, author and President of the Cumberland Group in Chicago. He's also an Adjunct Senior Engagement Manager for Motorola University, and lecturer for the University of Chicago and Loyola University.

Topics include:

  • Legal Lean Sigma™ Leadership Orientation to Process Improvement
  • Strategic Account Management
  • Process Improvement for Profit Improvement
  • Profitability Metrics and Analytical Methods
  • Selling Skills Workshop
  • An in-house counsel panel that will talk candidly about RFPs and other effective ways to sell
  • A Panel of Sales and Marketing Partners
  • In-house and outside counsel experts discuss pricing strategies
  • Conducting Client Interviews

There are Two easy ways to register:

1. Call 1-800-308-1700
2. Online with West Legal Ed.

Let me know if you're going too and let's make plans to get together.

 

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Top Five Marketing Tips for Legal Professionals

Larry Bodine’s Top Five Marketing Tips for Legal Professionals 

Pick two days every week when you are going to get out of the office and have a face-to-face meeting with a client, referral source or potential client. You won’t get any new assignments by working through lunch or joining your law firm colleagues for drinks. Instead, meet a client for coffee, meet a referral source for lunch or dinner, and meet prospective clients at a trade association meeting. 

All new business comes through relationships with other people. Meet with people, find out how their company makes money, and devise ways to help them with legal services. Now is a great time to start a client visitation program. If you’ve never met your client, it’s time to get in your car or climb on an airplane and visit them at their offices. If all you do is send emails, faxes and Fed-Ex boxes to each other – you don’t have a relationship. Most of the human brain is devoted to vision, so get out and let other people see you.  

The best way to sell is by asking intelligent questions. Spend most of your time listening to the other person talk about their business issues and challenges. You can listen your way to a lot of new business. Don’t “pitch” yourself or recite your credentials. Your clients and prospects have no interest in your firm history, its top-notch practices and the cum laude degree you earned years ago.

Build good word-of-mouth advertising by expressly asking your clients if they are (a) satisfied with your work and if so, will they (b) recommend you to their colleagues. You have to ask because clients have no idea how a lawyer builds a clientèle, and don’t know that they’re supposed to recommend you. Ask clients if you can use them as a reference, or summarize the good work you’ve done in a case history on your firm’s website.

Keep meticulous records about the people you meet. When you get a business card, write three things on the back: the date, where you were and what you talked about. Immediately when you return to the office, transfer this information plus the person’s contact information into an Outlook Contact or into your firm’s CRM system. This way you can search it, and quickly call up the record when you need it. Keep adding to the record. When you’ve got names and ages of the person’s children and pets, you’ve gone deep enough. Remember, you can’t search a wad of business cards with a rubber band around it that was tossed into a drawer.

I am honored to be named among the “Top Five” Legal Marketing Experts identified by MyLegal.com

Here's what CEO Lisa Dimonte wrote: "Many legal professionals become paralyzed at the mention of business development, rainmaking or marketing themselves or their firm’s services. That’s why this week we’re going to turn to my “Top Five” Legal Marketing Experts for some expert advice on marketing yourself in the 21st century. This week we’ll feature our first expert, Larry Bodine, and his “Top Five” legal marketing tips.

"I recommend you check out each of these respected legal marketers, subscribe to their blogs, read their books, listen to their podcasts, watch their videos and attend their webinars and seminars. While each of these experts agree on many of the behaviors needed for successful marketing, I think you’ll find each has a different approach and provides valuable insight and recommendations for successful marketing for legal professionals.

The Top 5 list also includes my friends and colleagues Stephen Fairley, Jay Fleischman, David Freeman and Ari Kaplan.

MyLegal.com is a networking resource exclusively for legal professionals to connect, collaborate and create business opportunities. The site aggregates information that is relevant to the legal community. Member-driven blogs and forums highlight industry trends, technology and business strategies. MyLegal.com’s fully searchable and web-accessible Professional Directory enables clients to find legal professionals around the globe and to be found by those in need of your services and expertise.

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Bingham Runs an ad in Yes, The New Yorker

There among the articles discussing the newest plays on Broadway and the deep thoughts of intellectuals in a recent New Yorker magazine was, yes, a full-page ad from Bingham.  It depicted a flock of flying manta rays, crocodiles, ostriches and geese winging their way across an empty sky.

The ad promoted, "Diversity elevates everyone's talents" and highlighted bingham.com.

Bingham advertisement New Yorker

"Bingham’s target audience is high-level decision-makers in global financial services organizations and Fortune 100 executives. The New Yorker premium brand was appealing to us, and the response has been outstanding," said senior public relations manager Claire M. Papanastasiou.

Here's a link to an item chronicling the firm's  journey from a 200-lawyer regional firm to a 1,100-lawyer global enterprise, www.bingham.com/Page.aspx?PageID=4

Why pick the readership of the New Yorker as opposed to another magazine?

"Bingham always aspires to lead the legal industry in adopting creative and strategic approaches to advertising. In addition to The New Yorker, we advertise in other national and global publications — both the print and online versions. We are constantly looking at high-visibility publications that provide a "pop." The New Yorker is well known for its cutting-edge, award-winning editorial and intellectual audience. The publication carries advertising from top-tier global businesses and B2B advertisers, and it made great sense for us to be in that same space," she said.

Why promote diversity, as opposed to the firm's size, worldwide reach or results?

"The ad aspires to capture a theme in one frame and with minimal words. At Bingham, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is all about harmonizing and harnessing talents, abilities, strengths no matter what the differences, and in many instances, history and previous tensions," she said. "We believe that the ad achieves this message in allegorical form, while reaffirming the global Bingham brand."

Don Easdon, the firm's creative director, designed the ad.  The in-house marketing and branding teams did the internal and internal testing. No ad agency was used.

"Our clients and internal constituents have reacted very favorably to the “Flock” ad, commenting on the power of integrated practice teams as well as the benefits of a broader diversity program," she said.

The New Addiction: Social Media

From the Retrevo blog:

Many people appear to be obsessed with checking in with their social media circles throughout the day and even the night. Among social media users, it appears almost half are so involved with FaceBook and Twitter that they check in the first thing in the morning, with 16% of social media users saying this is how they get their morning "news." iPhone owners stand out in this study as more involved with social media; they use FaceBook and Twitter more often and in more places.

The report concludes that social media can be habit forming. 56% of social media users need to check FaceBook at least once a day, and 12% check in every couple of hours.

 
Social Media All Through the Night
Not only do social media fanatics check Facebook and Twitter throughout the day, almost half of the respondents said they check in on the social media scene in bed, during the night or as soon as they wake up in the morning. Naturally, younger social media users said they tweet by night more than those over 25.
 
Will Twitter Kill the Morning News Shows?
 
"When almost half of social media users say they check FaceBook or Twitter sometime during the night or when they first wake up, you have to wonder if these people aren't suffering from some sort of addiction to social media," said Andrew Eisner, Retrevo's Director of Community & Content.

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Meet The Millennials - and Market by Generation

The Pew Research Center has profiled America's newest generation, the 50 million Millennials who are American teens and twenty-somethings making the passage into adulthood.  A a group they are confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They're less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.

The New Face of America (% of category)

Ethnicity

Millennials (ages 18-29)

Adults (ages ≥ 30)

White

61%

70%

Black

14

11

Hispanic

19

13

Asian

5

5

Other

2

1

Source: PewResearchCenter, December 2009 current population survey, February 2009

Millennials are history's first "always connected" generation. Steeped in digital technology and social media, they treat their multi-tasking hand-held gadgets almost like a body part. More than eight-in-ten say they sleep with a cell phone by the bed, and nearly two-thirds admit to texting while driving.

Three-quarters have created a profile on a social networking site. In addition:

  • One-in-five have posted a video of themselves online
  • Nearly four-in-ten have a tattoo (about half of those with tattoos have two to five and 18% have six or more)
  • Nearly one-in-four have a piercing in some place other than an earlobe, about six times the share of older adults who've done this
  • Most Millennials have placed privacy boundaries on their social media profiles 70% say their tattoos are hidden beneath clothing

At the moment, 37% of 18- to 29-year-olds are unemployed or out of the workforce, the highest share among this age group in more than three decades.

Only about six-in-ten were raised by both parents, a smaller share than was the case with older generations. In weighing their own life priorities, Millennials (like older adults) place parenthood and marriage far above career and financial success.

  • 21% Millennials are married now
  • Half the share of their parents' generation at the same stage of life.
  • 34% are parents. The study estimates that in 2006, more than a third of 18-to-29 year old women who gave birth were unmarried, a far higher share than was the case in earlier generations.

Millennials cast a wary eye on human nature. Two-thirds say "you can't be too careful" when dealing with people. Yet they are less skeptical than their elders of government. More so than other generations, they believe government should do more to solve problems.

They are the least overtly religious American generation in modern times. One-in-four are unaffiliated with any religion, far more than the share of older adults when they were ages 18 to 29. Yet Millennials pray about as often as their elders did in their own youth.

Millennials are on course to become the most educated generation in American history, accelerated in recent years by the millions of 20-somethings enrolling in graduate schools, colleges or community colleges in part because they can't find a job. Among 18-to-24 year olds 39.6% were enrolled in college as of 2008, according to census data.

About one-in-six older Millennials (ages 22 and older) say they've "boomeranged" back to a parent's home because of the recession. Millennials report having had fewer spats with mom or dad than older adults say they had with their own parents when they were growing up.

Politically, Millennials self-identify as liberals and were among Barack Obama's strongest supporters in 2008, backing him for president by more than a two-to-one ratio (66% to 32%).  But about half of Millennials say the president has failed to change the way Washington works. Of those who say this, three-in-ten blame Obama himself, while more than half blame his political opponents and special interests.

Generational names are the handiwork of popular culture, says the report. Some are drawn from a historic event; others from rapid social or demographic change; others from a big turn in the calendar: 

  • The Millennial generation falls into the third category. The label refers those born after 1980, the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.
  • Generation X covers people born from 1965 through 1980. The label long ago overtook the first name affixed to this generation: the Baby Bust. Xers are often depicted as savvy, entrepreneurial loners.
  • The Baby Boomer label is drawn from the great spike in fertility that began in 1946, right after the end of World War II, and ended almost as abruptly in 1964, around the time the birth control pill went on the market. It's a classic example of a demography-driven name.
  • The Silent generation describes adults born from 1928 through 1945. Children of the Great Depression and World War II, their "Silent" label refers to their conformist and civic instincts. It also makes for a nice contrast with the noisy ways of the anti-establishment Boomers.
  • The Greatest Generation (those born before 1928) "saved the world" when it was young, in the memorable phrase of Ronald Reagan. It's the generation that fought and won World War II.

To see the complete report with charts, and to access the PDF file, please visit PEW.

How To Measure Your Law Firm's Marketing Results

Return on InvestmentExcerpted from Lawyers Weekly, in an article by Nora Tooher:

Lawyers often hear how important marketing is to their success. But they often don't spend enough time evaluating the outcomes of their marketing efforts.

To save time and money on fruitless efforts, several experts recommend spending an hour or two each month tracking marketing results.

Pursue high-ROI efforts

Larry Bodine, a Chicago-based legal marketing consultant, advises lawyers to only launch marketing efforts they can appraise. "The starting point is, ‘Don't do something if there's no way to measure the results,'" he said. "So, right away, that eliminates PR, advertising, directories, billboards, radio and bus stop signs." 

Instead, Bodine suggested, pursue low-cost marketing efforts that can be easily measured, such as free listings in Google Local, Yelp.com and LinkedIn. Ask clients to provide recommendations on such sites, and don't be shy about providing a few flattering paragraphs about yourself they can sign onto.

Another way to ensure you can later measure the return on your marketing investment is by sending out marketing materials that require a response, recommends Trey Ryder of Payson, AZ. For example, an e-mail newsletter from your office should contain links for prospective clients to contact you for additional information, or to sign up for a seminar.

Lawyers should establish a benchmark for the average number of prospective client inquiries you receive each month, according to Art Italo, a legal marketing consultant in Smyrna, GA. He advised lawyers to consider the quality of the leads that are coming in, he advised: Can the people who call afford to pay your retainer, and is the inquiry relevant to your practice area? 

"If you're a divorce lawyer and you're getting corporate inquiries, they are not appropriate to your practice, so your marketing efforts are not bringing in the right kinds of leads," Italo said.

Here are some other tips for determining whether your marketing efforts are working:

  • Use inexpensive online technology to measure your marketing campaigns.  For $15, an account at ConstantContact.com will enable you to track how many people open e-mail alerts and e-newsletters and tell you what links they clicked on, said Bodine.

"If you send out an e-mail and you have three articles and you make the title of each of them a link, you can tell what people are interested in and you can find out who was interested in it," Bodine said. "And these are all people who are leads."

  • Conduct surveys before and after a marketing effort. Law firms - regardless of size - conduct pre- and post-marketing surveys to measure outcomes.If a firm wants to increase potential clients' awareness of its tax expertise, for example, it could conduct an online or telephone survey in the community before a marketing campaign and then at the conclusion to determine if awareness has increased.

     

  • Track revenue spent on each marketing method. "Most lawyers have the ability to figure out how much each client has paid them through their billing program," Italo said. "They also, if they're diligent, can ask each client where they heard about them.

"If you have a [referral] source and a dollar amount, it's pretty easy to have a spreadsheet that shows how much you got paid in revenue per source and how much you spent on each [marketing] source, and then just divide one into the other," Italo said.

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Top 10 Family-Friendly Law Firms

familyWhat a great marketing distinction to have: your firm is family-friendly. This means that your law firm is not a golden sweatshop where attorneys are pressured to bill hours and generate big invoices for clients.  It also demonstrates that the firm is not run by sharks, but is instead managed by humane lawyers who respect that people have real lives outside the office.

Yale Law Women announced the Top Ten Family Friendly Firms of 2010. In alphabetical order, they are:

  1. Arnold & Porter
  2. Debevoise & Plimpton
  3. Dorsey & Whitney
  4. Kirkland & Ellis
  5. Mayer Brown
  6. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo P.C.
  7. Perkins Coie
  8. Sidley Austin
  9. Steptoe & Johnson
  10. Wilmerhale

In its fifth annual survey of the Vault Top 100 Firms, YLW found that many firms have already embraced more flexible career paths

  • 24% percent of firms who responded to our survey offer formal “off-ramp / on-ramp programs,” which allow attorneys to leave the firm for a number of years to pursue other types of legal practice or to take time off to spend with their families.
  • Some firms have created child care facilities and Work-Family Balance Groups to discuss issues concerning work-life balance.
  • Firms have organized formal and informal mentoring relationships to support attorneys to stay long-term and advance within the firm.

Flexible and part-time work options are also becoming the norm: 100% of part-time requests were granted on average at responding firms, and 100% of them automatically grant part-time requests if conditions in a written policy are met. On average, 6.3% of attorneys at these firms were working part-time in 2009.

 

YLW found that, on average, 44.8% of associates at responding law firms are women, women make up only 19.4% of partners and 18.9% of executive or management committee members. Additionally, women made up just 28% of the partners newly promoted in 2009, on average. 

Interestingly, six firms identified last year are no longer on the list:

 

  1. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  2. Covington & Burling
  3. Jenner & Block
  4. Katten Muchin Rosenman
  5. Munger, Tolles & Olson
  6. Patton Boggs

“YLW remains concerned about the low rate of retention of women, the dearth of women in leadership positions, the gender gap in those who take advantage of family-friendly policies, and the possibility that working part-time can derail an otherwise successful career,” a YLW announcement says.

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30 Creative Bag Ads and Guerrilla Marketing Examples

I love guerrilla marketing. It is the art of the unexpected. It succeeds in the "Ha! Made you look" aspect of good marketing. Below are 30 Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples in the form of Creative Bags.  I found them at Creative Guerrilla Marketing.

1. Condomi Erotic Shopping Bag Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Advertising Agency: Draft FCB Kobza, Vienna, Austria

2. ASPE Crime Stories Bag Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

This bag was given when you bought a book by Belgium’s most famous crime-writer.

3. Ann Summers – Kinky Whip Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

A guerrilla marketing concept for Ann Summers (underwear and accessories shop). Designed by guerrillaguru © 2007

4. Shumensko Beer Crate Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Advertising Agency: Noble Graphics Creative Studio, Sofia, Bulgaria

5. Volkswagen Golf GTI Bag Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Advertising Agency: Agence V, Paris, France

6. Meralco: Unplug to Save Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Advertising Agency: TBWA, Philippines

Meralco, the Philippines’ top supplier of electricity, aimed to show goodwill to its customers by educating them on how electric consumption works and how to read electricity bills.

Special bags that combined Electricitips or information on how to save electricity and ways to practice smart electrical consumption were given away during Christmas bazaars and Meralco mall events.

7. Greenpeace – Give Me Your Hand Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Advertising Agency: dentsu, Beijing, China

8. Children with Autism Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Art director: Yosef Khouwes | Copywriter: Bipin Jacob

9. Stop’n grow: Nailbiter Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Credit: Jung von Matt, Berlin

10. Panadol Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: unknown

11. Daihatsu Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: Creative Lab, Cairo, Egypt|Art Director: Walid Abd Rabo

12. Red Cross – Volunteers Needed Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Advertising Agency: Lem, Shanghai, China

13. Gaia: Animals Torture Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: Duval Guillaume, Brussels, Belgium

14. Sawney Bean – Cannibal of Scotland Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Creative director/Art Director John Messum

15. ReVital Guerrila Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Antje Gerwien, from the University of Weimar.

16. Muse Bags Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: Tokyu Agency Inc., Tokyo

These bags were designed as color samples of hair extensions for distribution to visitors to a party at muse, beauty salon. So, hair extensions were attached to bags as handles.

17. Yulia Tymoshenko Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Source: blog.ivman.com

Yulia Tymoshenko, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, iconic in Europe for her braids. Funny, but probably fake – the bag looks exactly the same as one of the Muse bags.

18. YKM Shopping Bag: Jump Rope Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: TBWA, Istanbul

19. Fitness Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Publicis Frankfurt | Creative Direction: Gert Maehnicke

20. Clothes in Closets: Knucle Bag Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett Lisbon, Portugal

21. Blush Lingerie: X-Ray Bag Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: BBDO Berlin

22. Floating Magic-i Bag Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Advertising Agency: Grey Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The brief: The agency was given the task to design a shopping bag for Magic-i, a magic shop. The idea: the handles of the shopping bag are made of transparent fishing line, which makes it look like it is being held without handles as if by magic.

23. Wheaties Shopping Bag Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: unknown

24. Alinna Guerrilla Marketing Example

Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: unknown

25. Book Guerrilla Marketing Example

Book Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: unknown

26. Headhunting Agency Shopping Bag Guerrilla Marketing Example

head hunting Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

27. Karl Lagerfeld Shopping Bag Guerrilla Marketing Example

Karl Lagerfeld Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: unknown

28. Olympic Shopping Bag Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Olympics Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Tao Ma Design. All rights reserved.

29. Tom of Finland Shopping Bag Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Agency: unknown

Tom of Finland is a popular gay icon.

30. Samsung TV Bag Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Samsung TV Creative Guerrilla Marketing Examples of Bags

Do you enjoy Guerrilla Marketing Examples? Share it with your friends!

A Majority of Law Firm Marketers Are Investing in Website Redesigns

Robert Algeri53% of law firm marketers said that their firm had recently redesigned their website (since January 2008), according to Great Jakes, a web marketing firm in New York. "If you consider the dismal state of the law business, this seems to show significant faith in web marketing," said Robert Algeri, head of of business development and operations.

Law firm marketing now includes a commitment to promote their law firms by using online social networking. 

  • Nearly all of the firms (85%) are at least “experimenting” with social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs).
  • 47% of the respondents said that their firm was attempting to coordinate the social media efforts of its attorneys. However, “coordinate” to some firms means “encourage” and to others means “control.” The takeaway is that these firms are taking an active interest in social media.
  • A small minority of firms -- 13% of the respondents -- said that they were experimenting with Twitter as an attorney marketing tool. "This is remarkable," Algeri said, "considering that 6 months ago this number was probably zero. Our poll numbers align nearly exactly with a poll by blogger Amy Campbell.

In my opinion, a website should be a potent marketing vehicle that makes the phone ring. It should generate new business for your lawyers. But if your law firm website is an unchanging "billboard in a cornfield," you are wasting your money. It's essential that they:

  • Display the Three Things Clients Look for on Law Firm Web Sites.
  • Conform to web site usability principles.  Your site should not need an instruction manual.
  • Eliminate Flash graphics (which Google cannot index), delete any scrolling text, and remove any animation that distracts readers away from your text.
  • Be updated regularly.

Find out more about making your website an effective marketing vehicleContact me to discuss an analysis of your current website, a plan for your new website and inexpensive ways to get it online fast.

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Top Law Firm Marketing Methods are Social Media, Blogs, and Search Engine Optimization

According to the new "State of Inbound Marketing Report" from Hubspot, inbound marketing is continuing to grow in importance at the expense of outbound marketing. The top three most important inbound marketing techniques are:

  1. Social media
  2. Blogs
  3. Search engine optimization

These three lead generation approaches plus pay-per-click advertising are what Hubspot calls “inbound marketing.” “Outbound marketing” is lead generation using direct mail, trade shows and telemarketing.  Importance is weighed according to how much business spend on lead generation.  (Advertising, directory listings and printed marketing materials are not considered lead generation methods.)

The three key takeaways are:

  • Businesses are generating real customers with social media and blogs. Some organizations are still unsure about the utility of social media and blogs. Are potential customers really reading Twitter? Does Facebook do anything more than build brand awareness? The answer is, “Yes!” For Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and company blogs, over 40% of our respondents who use those services for marketing have acquired a customer through each of those channels. Social media is not just for brand awareness; it can be used to directly generate leads that translate into customers.
  • Inbound marketing channels continue to deliver dramatically lower cost per lead than outbound channels do. Businesses spending 50% or more of their marketing budget on inbound marketing activities spent 60% less per lead than businesses spending 50% or more of their marketing budget on outbound channels. This number is remarkably consistent with the 61% lower cost businesses reported d a year ago. Clearly, inbound marketing channels are maintaining their low-cost advantage.
  • Social media and blogs are the most rapidly expanding category in the overall marketing budget. Social media and blogs are becoming marketing powerhouses. They are the fastest growing category in lead generation budgets and hey continue to be ranked as the lowest cost lead-generation channel. In addition, more than any other channel, social media was ranked as a source of leads that has become more important in the last six months.

Lead Generation Budget (% of Total)

 

2009

2010

Outbound

29%

24%

Inbound

38

39

Not classified

33

37

 

 

While blogs and SEO grew slightly in importance, social media dramatically increased in the percentage of businesses considering this channel important, from 46% in 2009 to 60% in 2010.

Lead Sources Considered Important (% of Respondents; Multiple Response OK)

 

2009

2010

Outbound

   Direct mail

11%

10%

   Trade shows

10

10

   Telemarketing

16

10

Not Classified

   Email marketing

40

42

   Other

16

19

Inbound

   Paid search/ad words

32

22

   Social media

46

60

   Blogs

46

48

   SEO (organic/natural search)

55

59

Source: Hubspot, April 2009

Slightly more than half of businesses are increasing their inbound marketing budgets this year, with 37% enacting no budgetary change.

Inbound Marketing Budgets Compared to 2009 (% of Respondents)

Budget for 2010

% of Respondents

Higher

51%

No Change

37

Lower

12

Source: Hubspot, April 2009

More than four in 10 companies overall have acquired a customer from four major social media channels, according to other findings of the Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing report. 41% of companies have acquired a customer from both Twitter and LinkedIn. That figure rises to 44% for Facebook and 46% for a company blog.

For additional information about the study, including access to the PDF file with charts and graphs, visit http://www.hubspot.com/Portals/53/docs/resellers/reports/state_of_inbound_marketing.pdf

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Recession-Proof Law Firm Marketing in 4 Steps

Making Money with Law Firm MarketingIn 2009, marketing was often one of the first items to be slashed because of the recession. That's a mistake, as I've maintained consistently. The time to be marketing is in a severe economic downturn. But regrettably, a lot of law firms will dump jet fuel while their firm is going into a tailspin. Especially now as the economy is slowly recovering, law firms should market with vigor to expand their market share.

Lawyers USA interviewed me about 4 steps a law firm must take in this slowly-recovering economy. Here's an excerpt of the key points:

• Focus on top clients.

Those are your crown jewel clients, which generate 50% to 80% of firm revenue. Visit them, spend time with them, find out what's going on at their companies and if you can help them.

Set up small, internal working groups for each of your top 10 clients. Then, launch a series of non-billable, quarterly lunch meetings between the clients' executives and the legal teams to discuss new issues or resolve problems. 

• Follow the revenue pipelines.

Determine your high-margin practice areas, and focus on them to increase your pipelines of revenue. For instance, the lending industry needs foreclosure help; real estate developers may have contract issues or employment disputes.  Package a suite of services that demonstrates your understanding and ability to assist them swiftly.

• Communicate your expertise.

Mail out educational letters to referral sources, as well as current and former clients, explaining the economic problems they face and what you can do to help them. In this down economy, a lot of people want to protect their assets, and they want to do estate planning.

• Get a plan.

Make all the lawyers in your firm develop a business development plan, listing the clients they're going to call on, the people they'll build into a referral network and at least one organization they will join.

And don't just join a random organization. Ask your best clients which organizations they belong to and then ask if you can attend a meeting of that group with them. If you go to a Rotary Club meeting with a client, for example, not only will you be introduced to potential clients, but you'll have the opportunity to deepen your relationship with the existing client. 

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Law Firms Add Value while Reducing Cost of Legal Services

Robert Trafford, LawMarketing PortalFrom the Austin Business Journal:

While many in economically dinged industries have attempted to improve performance and lower prices during a recession, the legal industry is doing so this time.

Seeking to hold and grow business amid one of the nation’s darkest economic recessions, law firms are making client-focused changes to their services, billing practices and communications, according to a white paper issued late last year by legal placement agency Robert Half Legal.

The white paper, “Future Law Office: Delivering Value-Added Legal Services in Challenging Times,” says law firms “are fortifying active practice areas, focusing on strengthening their relationships with existing clients and increasing marketing outreach to new prospects.”

In the report, Larry Bodine, a business development adviser based in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and editor of Larry Bodine LawMarketing Blog, said the top priority in the current economy “is to keep the clients you’ve got. Customer service is the way to do it.”

Chief among such efforts, the report says, have been alternative billing that help clients predetermine legal budgets.

For in-house legal departments that hire outside firms when necessary, there has been an increased emphasis on cost containment and predictability that firms have responded to, said Bridgette Roman, general counsel at Dublin, Ohio-based Checksmart Financial Co.

“In the last 12 to 18 months we’ve instituted project-based billing and put out requests for proposals,” Roman said. Those strategies have helped contain costs and have been accepted by firms, she said.

Meanwhile, Roman said she has been scrutinizing periodic budget reviews more closely, and the firms she works with have come to expect that scrutiny.

Employing creative solutions to reduce costs has been one of the strategies used by Columbus, Ohio-based firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, said Robert “Buzz” Trafford, the firm’s managing partner.

For example, Trafford said when Porter Wright is working on litigation that can require reviewing of thousands of documents, it will employ outside companies to do so. By outsourcing this relatively mundane task, a client pays less than if a Porter Wright lawyer conducted the review.

Other money-saving solutions are possible by using technology, Roman said.  In one case, Checksmart worked with a law firm to establish an Extranet system that created a central point of access for all case documents, accessible only by Checksmart and the law firm. It enabled Roman to closely monitor the case’s progress and provide outside counsel with documents they might otherwise need to reproduce.

While firms have improved client relations during the recession, corporate counsel surveyed by Robert Half said more effective communication, rather than just more communication, is an area where there could be greater refinement.

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