Many a lawyer has wondered as they drove past the headquarters building of a corporation, “why aren’t we doing work for that company?” As they roll by, lawyers can even see some of the executives through their windows, working and sending legal work to other law firms. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a free, easy way to identify these executives, contact them and get to know them in person?
Of all the sales programs we present via Apollo Web Seminars for Lawyers, the most popular is Business Development for Litigators. Freshly updated, the next one is scheduled for Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 1 PM Eastern (or 10 AM Pacific, 11 AM Mountain and Noon Central time). You can register now and join the other litigators who will become better at legal marketing.
Business development is especially difficult for litigators, who will labor for months on a case, bring it to a successful conclusion, and then have a gaping hole of billable time to fill. We'll show lawyers how to solve this problem.
50% of all law firms expect their litigation practices to grow in 2011. You can be on the winning half of this equation by attending this must-see webinar.
TOPICS TO BE COVERED
You'll learn how to:
- Pursue groups of businesses where you have clients already.
- Get referrals from megafirms - we'll show you how.
- Identify small-firm lawyers who can send you referrals.
- Focus on the "hot" areas of practice, as identified by market research.
- Use methods to create a good reputation that will attract files and cases.
- Employ the four priorities of business development.
- Build long-lasting relationships with clients.
- Use our #1 most effective marketing technique.
- Penetrate organizations of potential clients.
- Become the industry expert that every business client wants.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND
- Experienced litigators who want to smooth out the peaks and valleys of their practice.
- Young litigators eager to build a career in litigation.
- Marketing partners who plan to build up their firm's litigation practice.
- Managing partners seeking to maintain and grow the revenue from a solid litigation practice.
Registration fee: $300. Click here to register instantly with a credit card. You can display the program in a conference room, put the telephone on speaker mode, and invite as many attendees at your firm as you wish. One connection per registration.
Two-thirds of adult internet users (65%) now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago, according to Pew Internet Research. That’s more than double the percentage that reported social networking site usage in 2008 (29%).
"For those adults online, which includes virtually anyone who would be hiring a lawyer, the rates of participation are higher at 65 percent," writes Kevin O'Keefe in an entry on Real Lawyers Have Blogs entitled "Time for lawyers to wake up."
Sure social networks attract more people in the 18-29 age group (63%), but 51 percent of those in the 50-64 age group are using social networks," he writes. They are "The core group of clients, prospective clients, and referral sources for lawyers."
"It's funny how good lawyers and legal marketing professionals continue to debate the merits of social networking. They're ignoring reality," O'Keefe adds.
Only email and search engines are used more frequently than social networking tools. The report adds that while young adults have consistently been the most likely to use social networking sites, internet users in other age groups have seen faster rates of growth in recent years. In the past two years, social networking site use among internet users age 65 and older has grown 150%, from 13% in April 2009 to 33% in May 2011. Similarly, during this same time period use by 50-64 year-old internet users doubled—from 25% to 51%.
When social networking users were asked for one word to describe their experiences using social networking sites, “good” was the most common response. Users repeatedly described their experiences as “fun,” “great,” “interesting” and “convenient.”
You won't see AmLaw 100 law firms using this technique, but then the vast majority of lawyers practice in small firms with 10 or fewer lawyers. These general practitioners and PI lawyers will be happy to see that the South Carolina and North Carolina state bars are giving the green light to Groupon-style “daily deal” discounts for law firm marketing.
If state bars are issuing ethics opinions about discount coupons for legal services, then it's clear that this is a trend in legal marketing.
It started when a South Carolina lawyer wanted to use “daily deal” websites that offer products and services at discounted rates to market her preparation of wills. Visitors to the website can buy a voucher that can be redeemed for a discounted legal service. The proceeds of the purchase are split between the website offering the voucher and the law firm. The state bar said in Ethics Advisory Opinion 11-05:
"The use of “daily deal” websites to sell vouchers to be redeemed for discounted legal services does not violate the Rule 5.4(a) prohibition on sharing of legal fees, but the attorney is cautioned that the use of such websites must be in compliance with [advertising] Rules 7.1 and 7.2 and could lead to violations of several other rules if logistical issues are not appropriately addressed."
Now the NC Proposed 2011 Formal Ethics Opinion 10 states, "a lawyer may advertise on a website that offers daily discounts to consumers where the website company’s compensation is a percentage of the amount paid to the lawyer if certain disclosures are made and certain conditions are satisfied."
1) Don’t mislead your prospective clients (it has to actually be a discount from your regular fees offered).
2) Disclose the method and remind prospective clients not to act hastily in making decisions about their legal representation.
3) Remind them that there may be some reason why you can’t go through with the discount because of conflict of interest, jurisdiction conflict.
4) Still follow trust accounting rules even if the funds go to the website service first as prepaid fees.
5) If you put a time limit on the discount and the client lets it expire, you can’t go back and charge your regular fee for the same service. You have to return any advance payment on the service or if the client agrees to the higher price, add that advance payment to the revised cost;
6) The legal work provided must still be competent. So if the services exceed what the discount included, you still have the obligation to provide full, competent services to complete the matter for them.
78% of lawyers in firms of all sizes are optimistic about the financial prospects for their law firm, according to ALM Legal Intelligence's Survey of Law Firm Economics, and 50% expect their litigation practices to grow.
U.S. law firms saw their revenues, expenses and income per lawyer increase in 2010, the first time this has occurred since 2007. The survey, conducted by ALM Legal Intelligence in association with The National Law Journal, is available online now at www.almlegalintelligence.com.
Nationally, revenue per lawyer at U.S. law firms increased 9.5% last year (from $412,220 to $451,449), expense per lawyer increased 6.1% (from $159,521 to $169,288) and income per lawyer increased 11.7% (from $252,679 to $282,161). The picture, however, is less positive for midsize firms (9 to 75 attorneys) than at small firms (2 to 8 attorneys) and large ones (more than 76 attorneys). Last year, average gross receipts and income per lawyer grew by an average of 14% for small and large firms, but fell by 2% for midsize firms. The disparity is even greater when comparing gross receipts and income per equity partner (up 19% at small and large firms, and down 5% at midsize firms).
“This year’s survey illustrates that small and large U.S. law firms saw their profits recover in 2010, but perhaps not as quickly as they hoped and certainly have not returned to pre-recession levels,” said Nigel Holloway, Vice President of Research at ALM Legal Intelligence. “Midsize firms are still feeling the pinch.”
According to Holloway, other noteworthy findings included the following:
• Billable hours inched up, but have not returned to mid-2000 levels. Hourly rate increases were reported by small and large firms, but midsize firms have either not changed their rates or have lowered them slightly (-3%).
• Firms are moving away from the billable hour. Some 95% of firms have reported billing via an arrangement not based solely on hourly rates. The majority (62%) have used alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) for up to 10% of their billings and the largest law firms in the survey (more than 150 attorneys) have used AFAs for between 11% and 25% of their total billing.
• Compensation returned to levels that exceeded 2007 compensation amounts for the most senior partners and associates. For instance, median total compensation for 25-29th year Partners increased 8.2% from $322,813 to $349,300. Interestingly, for the fourth year in a row, average starting salaries for new graduates remained unchanged at $85,000. The biggest jump in total compensation for both partners and associates was seen at the largest law firms (150 or more attorneys).
• Staffing continued to be an issue in 2010, with U.S. law firms reporting some of the lowest staffing ratios since the Survey of Law Firm Economics started trending the data in 1985. Ratios were about 70 associates to 100 partners in the early 2000s. After a 1.8% decrease in 2010, they’re now down to just 55 to 100.
First published in 1972, the Survey of Law Firm Economics is one of the most complete, accurate and up-to-date set of economic statistics and financial data available about the legal profession. This year’s survey contains information about 12,952 lawyers including 4,535 associates, 7,306 partners/shareholders (equity and non-equity), 772 active counsels, and 339 staff lawyers working in 202 U.S. law firms. Data is presented nationally and by firm size, geographic location, practice area specialty, population area size, gender, year admitted to the bar, and years of experience.
Recently, Lab42 conducted a survey of LinkedIn users to learn about how they use LinkedIn and how often they use it. (See the infographic below)
LinkedIn Usage by Career Level:
- Top level executives primarily use LinkedIn for industry networking (22%) and promoting their businesses (20%).
- Middle management professionals primarily use LinkedIn to keep in touch with other people (24%) and industry networking (20%).
- Entry level employees primarily use LinkedIn for job searches (24%) and co-worker networking (23%).
Overall, the top activities on LinkedIn are industry networking (61%), keeping in touch (61%), and co-worker networking (55%). "As a social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn seems to be delivering on its brand promise," wrote Susan Gunelius of Forbes.com.
In terms of how frequently LinkedIn users log in and actively use the site, 2 out of 3 members use the site at least a few times per week or more. Specifically, 35% of users access LinkedIn daily and 32% access the site a few times per week. Another 16% log into LinkedIn a few times per month while 8% log in whenever they get an email from LinkedIn.
Compare that to the 2% of users who log in monthly or the 6% of users who access LinkedIn less than once per month. "It's clear that LinkedIn users are satisfied enough with the user experience that they actively return and want more," Gunelius wrote.
You can learn how to make your meetings with clients and prospects yield new work for you and your firm - professionally control the meeting, qualify, sell and close. Even veteran lawyers fumble and hesitate when they have to talk to prospects and even clients about new work. Join Barry Schneider and me on this new, live webinar, and you'll learn how top rainmaking lawyers expertly and comfortably handle business development opportunities with prospects, existing contacts and new referral sources.
• Common Business Development Mistakes That Attorneys Make
• What Clients Care About When Meeting You
• How to Prepare for the Meeting
• Why Pitching Doesn’t Work
• What are the Right Questions to Ask and What to Listen For
• Diagnosing a Clients' Need For Service
• How to Gain Agreement on Next Steps
• Effective Ways to Close
• Avoiding Follow-up Worries and Hesitations After the Meeting
• Applying a Proven Selling Process
Who should attend:
- All Attorneys - both senior and junior - who want to understand and apply the best professional practices of business/referral meeting and master effective selling
- Associates looking to develop the right skills now for business development and to master effective techniques.
- Marketing Directors & Firm Leaders looking for ways to support their attorneys with sound, practical methods.
You’ll find that business development is a skill that you can learn. Done properly, you just leverage your existing professional skills and apply them to business development. You don’t have to change your personality or style and suddenly transform yourself into a glib, glad-handing extrovert. Nor do you have to fear business calls that actually engage the prospect and win their trust.
Click here to register. You can pay online with a credit card. Visit www.sagelawmarketing.com/webseminar63.htm#register.
The new version of Lexis for Microsoft Office by LexisNexis includes significant new efficiency innovations as well as new functionality specifically designed for transactional lawyers.
Launched in 2010, Lexis for Microsoft Office offers lawyers integrated access to LexisNexis, the Web, and firms’ own document management systems with the click of a button without leaving Microsoft Outlook, Word and SharePoint.
“Legal professionals using Lexis for Microsoft Office work more efficiently. For example, they are able to validate citations 32 percent faster using Lexis for Microsoft Office – a substantial time savings,” said Bob Romeo, chief executive officer of Research and Litigation Solutions at LexisNexis. “With the launch of our new core functionality and transactional drafting tools, we continue to improve our users’ productivity while delivering efficiency gains to transactional attorneys as well.”
- PDF Conversion: Users can convert PDF files into Word documents they can edit, allowing attorneys to more efficiently analyze existing work.
- Pinning: Using a “push pin” icon, attorneys are able to quickly save supporting research links for their own or colleague’s future reference.
- Research Browser: The feature creates a seamless bridge between Lexis for Microsoft Office and traditional online legal research, offering direct access to subscription content through www.lexis.com.
- History Map: A graphical representation of users’ research path that can be shared or retained for future reference.
New Lexis for Microsoft Office tools specifically launched for transactional attorneys include Clauses & Contracts and Samples & Forms. This enables lawyers to quickly find legal precedent within the context of their work. Users can locate alternative language for a specific clause by searching SEC filings exhibits as well as leverage relevant sample documents directly from the Matthew Bender model forms collection.
Lexis for Microsoft Office is compatible with Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 and requires a current lexis.com subscription. More information is available at:www.lexisnexis.com/newlexis/office.
Search engine optimization is important because Google handles 88 billion searches every month, which accounts for 65% of all searches conducted on the Internet, according to Darrin Mish, Esq., a Tampa tax lawyer and search engine optimization expert speaking at the Rainmaker Retreat in Las Vegas.
According to Mish, 65% of people begin their search for a lawyer on the Internet. People look for an average of 4.8 attorney websites online before they contact a law firm.
"You must answer the questions that people are asking. Lawyers should make a list of all the questions their clients ask and make videos or write blog posts with the answer," Mish said.
- People search by city, not by county or state. State your city prominently and repeatedly on your website.
- People are using more and more words to describe their legal situation, so your online documents should describe a problem in several different ways. Use the words your clients use when they talk to you. Clients don't use terms like "plaintiff personal injury lawyer" or "criminal defense" when they are searching for a lawyer.
- Organic listings produce 75% to 80% of all clicks. Sponsored pay-per-click ads account for only 20%-25% of clicks. 90%of people will not look past page one of search engine results.
- Link building is how you get your legal website to the top organic search position on Google. This is also known as "off-page" SEO.
What matters most for Google rankings.
- On-page keyword usage and internal linking structure: In the text of your site, use the keywords by which you want to be found. Further, link your bios, practice areas, articles and FAQs back and forth to each other.
- Link popularity: the total number of inbound links coming to your site. You can find out how many there are by searching on Yahoo for the term: site:www.[YOURWEBSITE].com. This counts for 40% of your SEO efforts.
- Anchor text of link: this refers to the text of the blue underlined link. Linking a phrase link "Tampa bankruptcy law" is more effective than "click here."
- The more content you put on your website the better. This way you ensure that the words a potential client uses in a search is a phrase that appears into your site. The best way to creating all this content is by write blog entries every day and using social media.
- Video on your site improves your Google ranking, because video appear in search engine results. They also bring visitors who are more likely to become clients.
- Every page on your website must be written to rank for one to three key phrases.
- The title tags of every page on your site must be unique. This tag produces the title of the page in the browser bar, and is a key element that Google indexes. The title should use key words by which you want to be found.
- Keywords should appear early and often in your web text. When a Google spider visits your site, it will read from top to bottom.
- Use Header Tags for your headlines and subheads. This tells the search engine what you, the webmaster, believe the site is about. These tags made the text very large.
- A page's Meta tags should contain your call to action. The meta description is the text that appears under the title in a search engine result. Some people will see a phone number in the search engine results and call it, without even clicking on the link.
- The name of each page should be a keyword, not a URL with a long collection of symbols and numbers.
- Quality links are better than many inbound links from low-quality sites. A high-quality website has a high Google PageRank, which is Google's assessment of a web site's importance. Examples include Wikipedia and CNN. A few links from top websites have a bigger impact that many links from sites with low traffic.
Is there a way to tell the difference between a blog and a website? "It's very difficult," said marketing authority Stephen Fairley at the Rainmaker Retreat in Las Vegas. "But we've found evidence that blogs rank better in Google than websites. Websites can costs tens of thousands of dollars but blogs are relatively inexpensive."
You can make a a blog look just like a website, but a blog's content will be updated more frequently.
Blogs can build your list of contacts.
The key tactic is to offer a "freemium" to capture visitors' contact info. For example, offer a free white paper, CD or recording after a person registers their name, land address, firm name, title and email."Bribe them with free information," Fairley said. "It's got to me more than a free consultation." Once you have this information, you can follow up with email auto responses or a newsletter.
Blogs build links. Companies with blogs have more inbound links than companies without a blog," he said."He who has the most links wins." Blogs generate 67% more business leads than companies without a blog.
How many leads your generate depends on how frequently you blog. The optimal number of times to post a blog entry for lead generation is five times per week. Most lawyers don't have the time do write this many entries, so many lawyers delegate the writing or outsource it. A typical blog entry should be 150 to 400 words. Fairley offers a blog writing service where lawyers draft 20 blog entires per month plus a social media distribution service of $2,000 per month.
How to build your list with blogs
Create a post on your blog and then distribute it via social media, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and JD Supra. This will improve your ranking on Google. Make sure each social media mention contains trackable links back to your blog, and you will get more qualified leads from your blog,
The best sources of business for a law firm are referrals from current and former clients. At some point a potential client is going to ask a friend or colleague for the name of a lawyer. If they ask one of your clients, you must be sure they recommend you.
Marketing authority Stephen Fairley, speaking at the Rainmaker Retreat in Las Vegas, offered:
Seven ways for lawyers to get more referrals from clients.
- Create a new client intake packet. In addition to the retainer letter, give them a nice folder with "26 reasons why you should hire us" to confirm their decision to hire you,a flowchart illustrating how complicated their matter is, your newsletter, a CD with answers to all the typical questions new clients ask you, and a flier about your other practices.
- Systematically educate clients about who your perfect client is and what a good referral looks like. You must remind clients that they're supposed to refer business to you because otherwise it won't occur to them.
- Create a series of pre-written, educational emails that are automatically sent out when you meet someone at a networking event, someone fills out a free consultation form on your website or a person set an appointment to see you. It takes an average of 7-10 touches per year to stay top-of-mind with your contacts.
- Immediately after a big win or a success story, write a blog post, website update and press release.
- Send out a client satisfaction survey. Your most satisfied clients are your best promoters. Loyal enthusiasts will keep buying your services and refer others. Lawyers can use Survey Monkey or Zoomerang to create online surveys. The key question to ask is: one a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our firm?
- Conduct an exit survey at the end of a successful relationship.
- Send "keep in touch" letters to current and former clients. The letter asks clients to update their contact information, educates them on the services you offer and entices them to come in for a "check up." In the P.S. -- which always gets read -- remind them to tell their friends and neighbors who need help about your firm.
"You can't ignore the laws of physics without consequences. And lawyers can't ignore the laws of business without consequences," said business development authority Stephen Fairley, opening up today's RainMaker Retreat in Las Vegas.
Here's what doesn't work in law firm marketing:
- Yellow pages advertising (R.H. Donnelly Corporation, the Cary, North Carolina publisher of phone directories, filed for bankruptcy in 2009).
- Offering discounts. "This makes you a commodity," he said, "and clients will treat you as a vendor." If you are a low-cost leader, you are competing with the bottom feeders.
- One-time clients. This is the most expensive kind of client, because the acquisition costs often eat up your profits.A successful firm is built on clients with recurring work.
- Being a generalist. Clients will view you as a jack of all practices, master of none. It's much smarter to narrow your practice to a niche, so you can identify your target client better.
- Using firm size as a differentiator. Every boutique firm says they give personal service because they're small. Every big firm says they have vast resources and experience.
What does work in law firm marketing:
- Education-based marketing. Explain the law to website visitors in FAQ pages and they will realize the complexity of what they need, and will call you to help them.
- Target small businesses. There are between 9 and 18 million of them in the US. That's way more than Fortune 500 companies.
- Focus on the practice areas that generate the most profit, and seek out the clients whom you enjoy helping.
- Get face-to-face with potential clients. It's much easier to convert a potential client into a client this way. It's much harder to attract a person over the phone.
- Have a person trained in sales answer the phone when a prospective client calls. Lawyers should not take these calls because the person just wants to pick your brain.
- Differentiate yourself by the number of clients you've served, not the number of years you've been in practice.
- Greet new clients by name and offer them a menu of drinks when they come into your office, . Why? Because no one else does it. The others just offer them water or coffee.
- Micromanage the client experience. Models for customer service are Mercedes-Benz and the Four Seasons hotels. Clients don't compare your customer service with other lawyers, they compare you to every other business.
Thanks to the Internet, an industry of virtual assistants has grown to more than 20,000 people. Virtual assistants are independent contractors who work remotely, usually their home or office, and support multiple clients in a variety of industries by providing administrative, creative, and technical services.
- 32% of the VAs surveyed charge $31-40 per hour for their services with the majority of VAs putting in 31-40 hours of work per week.
- They are much more skilled than typical assistants.
- Half of them their skills on the job, and they are fast learners.
- Using the web, one VA can help professionals across the country.
- Manages the river of email I get.
- Updates several client and email databases.
- Schedules appointments.
- Conducts market and other research.
- Proofreads transcripts, articles and proposals.
- Updates websites, an online store and a webinar site.
- Handles customer service with a smile, and importantly...
- Puts up with me. <grin>
She can be reached at email@example.com and (773) 966-9273. Exemplifying the talent that's out there, she speaks French (she spent a year studying abroad at Université Paris Sorbonne) and has a Masters in Library and Information Science. She has access to my Google calendar and we stay in touch by phone, text and email.
A VA is ideal for a busy lawyer, marketer or consultant who needs a right-hand person, but because of lack of space needs to outsource their work. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough. Why not have a Company Monkey back you up?
There is a free online resource that profiles 223 corporate general counsel in 19 industries ranging from aerospace to wholesalers. When I was an in-house marketing director, I had to pay hundreds of dollars to buy a CD of in-house lawyers that carried much less information.
The free searchable database is published by the National Law Journal.
It's a handy way for law firms to prospect by industry. Computers and technology have been hot on Wall Street lately, exemplified by Internet giant Google. Its stock price has been hovering around $560 recently and the company is on an acquisition tear. It's handy to know that GC David Drummond has an in-house staff of 15 lawyers in Mountain View, CA.
You can see in his profile which law firm's he's using now, including Cleary Gottlieb and others for corporate transactions a M&A, Bartlit Beck and others for IP, Wilson Sonsini exclusively for labor, Keker & Van Nest and others for litigation, and Davis Polk for securities.
Looking instead for a company in trouble? News Corp. is under investigation for hacking into cell phones, it shut down News of the World and it abandoned its bid to take over the BskyB TV network in the UK. It's no surprise that Group General Counsel Lawrence Jacobs left the company "to pursue new opportunities" -- and the company hasn't said who will replace him. You can be sure the replacement GC will rotate the 18+ law firms listed on his profile page, and will be looking new firms with fresh ideas.
MarketWatch lists the US food industry as one of the top 10 best-performing business sectors. YUM Brands' stock price is down from $56.75 on July 5 to about $50, but they have a lock on Americans' fast-food preferences with KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's and A&W franchises. GC Christian L. Campbell manages 40 in-house lawyers in Louisville, KY. If your firm has a lawyer who is a Northwestern grad or attended Harvard Law School, you've got an in with Campbell.
LinkedIn is the most popular social network among business journalists, with 92% having a LinkedIn account, according to the 2011 Arketi Web Watch Media Survey released in July 2011.
Facebook follows with 85% of journalists using the world’s most popular social media site. Journalists use Twitter at almost the same rate (84%) they use Facebook.
Further, almost half of all journalists surveyed say they read blogs regularly.
"It comes as no surprise that more business journalists are participating in social media sites, especially LinkedIn. Journalists are constantly seeking industry sources for story ideas and LinkedIn provides an online outlet for them to research and connect with potential sources," according to Arketi.
Law Firm Marketing Takeaways
- If you want to be quoted in a news story, go fishing in the pond where the journalists are.
- Make yourself easy to find on LinkedIn with a good profile. So far 1.47 million lawyers have created profiles on LinkedIn. Be sure to include a picture, which increases the odds that a viewer will click on your link by six times.
- Don't overlook having a profile on Facebook, which is an excellent source of consumer clients. Many lawyers in solo or small practices, general practice and personal injury law have created business pages on Facebook. This is different from your personal profile, which is where you share family photos and connect with former classmates.
- A terrific way to get publicity is to write a blog. A blog establishes your credibility and ipso facto makes you an expert, as far as the news media are concerned.
Here is a shrewd observation by author, blooger, speaker and consultant Thom Singer of Austin, TX:
Lawyers work hard. There are constant pressures to serve clients to the best of your ability while also meeting the billable hour requirements to satisfy your firm's expectations. Family, friends and other commitments fill in all the rest of your time and this pushes the importance of developing business relationships down to a "nice to have" activity.
When I work with attorneys on developing their personal and professional brands I always ask them to create a list of the three lawyers whose practices they most admire (inside their firm and beyond). I tell them to look for a mix of legal skills, financial success, and industry respect. It never fails that the people who top these list have very strong networks of business relationships. Others like them. They also have very dynamic books of business.
This exercise eliminates the argument that there is not time to cultivate powerful business relationships, as the most successful in the profession often have found a way to balance both the long hours of work with creating meaningful connections with the people who can and will refer them clients.
Many lawyers have lost potential clients to competitors who they do not believe have their same top level of skills. They get angry that the clients often make choices because they "like" people, not because of the facts on the spreadsheets. That is how the world works. If you are a good lawyer, but have a reputation of being a jerk you will still get business.... but you are leaving money on the table. Those who have the mix of skills and a likable personality will win more business.
There are some who take pride in their gruff personalities as a badge of honor, but most around them know they are not getting and keeping all the clients they could have. If you are a successful jerk, good for you. If you want more business, and you are jerk... hmmmmm.... maybe there is a connection. I suggest you try to build more friendships along the way and see if that helps your bottom line.
Thom Singer is a business consultant, speaker, and the author of eight books on the power of business relationships, networking and presentations skills.
Visit Thom's website at http://www.thomsinger.com
Read his blog at: www.thomsinger.blogspot.com
Take The Quiz: www.networkingquotient.com
1. Generate traffic by any means necessary. The more people there are viewing your site, the more people you’ll have contacting you. The number of people who view your website – can be increased through a number of marketing tactics like pay-per-click advertising, banner ads or search engine optimization (SEO). Advertising puts out instant links with a marketing message, and SEO works over a period of several months to gradually move your law firm’s website up to the first page of results in Google. At our legal web design firm, we've found that a combination of the two can provide both instant and long-term results.
Blogging is also an excellent way to generate more traffic. Managing a blog either within the company website or externally (with links pointing back to the law firm’s website) can boost your SEO campaign as well as generate interest from your human audience. Blogging helps brand your legal practice, which keeps clients loyal and interested in you. For tips on how to blog effectively, see Robyn Raybould's post here.
2. Find out what people are looking at on your site. Take a few minutes to sign up for Google Analytics and install the tracking code on every page of your website (if you work with an internet marketing agency, they could do this for you). Using the “Traffic,” “Referring Sites” and “Visitors” tools can help you see which web pages and search engines are sending traffic to your site. You’ll also be able to see which pages are the most popular on the site, and you’ll be able to make changes accordingly.
3. Put links to the contact form on every page. Using banners and buttons around the site with a call-to-action message can be effective, but attorney website viewers may be more drawn by internal links. Be sure that no page is without an internal link back to the contact form. If your site contains informational pages, use Google Analytics to see which of them your viewers are looking at most often and add an in-text prompt to ensure that they can get in touch with you.
4. Be sure your contact form is effective. Your website’s “Contact Us” form is an absolute necessity to find out what on the site is converting. Within Google Analytics, you can set a goal with your contact form to see which pages are leading people to fill out the form. You’ll be able to improve the pages that aren’t converting as well as keep the pages that are converting in top shape. Keep the form itself short and simple – most people don’t like filling out long forms, so three to four fields is preferable.
5. Focus on what physical spaces on the web page viewers will be looking at. Studies show that people tend to first look across the top of a web page from left to right (where a banner would be), and then their eyes travel down the right side. Use this on-page real estate wisely. Choose images of people over buildings or corporate-looking pictures; you want a friendly site to make the user feel more comfortable and signal that you’re a trustworthy, professional law firm. A well-designed page will entice more visitors to contact you for your services. By taking extra care with your law firm's site, you’ll draw in more traffic and make visitors to your website more likely to turn into leads. How much should a website cost? Check out this post for some insight.
I believe that video is the future of law firm marketing:
- An estimated 100,000 law firms have launched video channels for marketing purposes on YouTube.
- Over 3 billion videos are viewed a day on YouTube, which is the No. 2 most-visited website on the Internet.
- More than 60,000 unique visitors per month view selected videos about business development on the LawMarketing Channel at www.lawmarketing.com.
- Putting video on your law firm website will improve its search engine results. Google, which owns YouTube, can detect the code for video online and favors websites with video.
Adding video to your webiste is like getting an audition with every potential client who views it
Tips for an effective video
- Move when you speak, because video is designed to capture action. Most lawyer videos show someone sitting at a desk, which is boring. Try standing up and gesturing when you speak, which is how you talk to people in person.
- Mind the background. What is seen behind you makes a big difference. Do not sit in front of your office window or a lamp, which will put your face into a shadow. There should be no distracting cars or people moving in the background. Get rid of the clutter too.
- Don’t talk about yourself. No one is interested. Instead, talk about what problems you solve for clients.
- Look at the camera as you would look someone in the eye. Avoid the quasi-interview style of looking off-camera at an unseen person.
- Keep your video short – 2-3 minutes tops. Any longer and you’ll lose your viewers.
- Get to the point in 8 seconds or viewers will move on.
- The more light the better. Do not rely on sunlight or office light, which will produce unwatchable, dark and off-color videos.
For more tips see this video.
Where is the overall online activity for law firm marketing? Roughly 40% of it is in search engines, 30% in blogs and 30% in social media, according to Hubspot, which analyzed 33 keywords for the word "lawyer." Within social media, 35% of the activity is in LinkedIn, 33% in Twitter, 21% in YouTube and only 11% in Twitter, according to the Online Marketing Opportunity Report by Industry.
The results are summarized in the graphs below. For example, this means more people are likely to search for "lawyer" than blog about it.
"Do not simply look for the most active area for your industry and conclude that the optimal place to market is the most active space," Hubspot advises. "As with many things in life, it is possible that great benefits can be accrued by following the less traveled path."
The chart shows that search engine optimization is the most competitive area for the term "lawyer," and thus pursuing keywords is a losing strategy. Blogs are a less competitive initiative where a lawyer can stand out more easily.
Social media accounts for about 1/4 of activity for lawyers. Within these channels, most of the activity is on LinkedIn (a happy hunting ground for lawyers) and Twitter (a waste of time for lawyers). My recommendation is to focus on YouTube, where the competition is less and the ability to influence client hiring decisions is great.
"If the video is good enough, you may be able to get enough interest in the video for it to go viral and
ultimately rank well thanks to the number of accumulated views (the number of video views and comments
significantly impact the rankings in search results)," Hubspot report.
Check out Hubspot's Free Webinar "How to Use Online Video for Inbound Marketing."
When Miguel Alexander Pozo stepped down from the podium, 18 eager lawyers and in-house counsel gave him their business cards so they could retain him. Pozo, a partner at Lowenstein Sandler in New Jersey, had spoken at the Network of Trial Law Firms CLE event in New York City for only 20 minutes.
When he got to his computer, he discovered a dozen more email requests for his legal services. The speech wasn’t a home run, it was a bases-loaded business development grand slam.
The formula for law firm marketing success for the 7,000 lawyers in the Network of Trial Law Firms is giving away their time educating fellow lawyers, who are referral sources and in-house lawyers who are potential clients. The New York event at the august Association of the Bar attracted 300 registrants who got more than five hours of CLE credit, including hard-to-find ethics credits, plus a free breakfast and lunch. What’s not to like?
The wizards behind the “Litigation Management in a New York Minute” CLE event on August 5 were Network Chair Tony Lathrop, a partner at Moore & Van Allen, Executive Director and General Counsel Ellis R. Mirsky, and technical magician Edd M. Schillay, MCLE Administrator. "Our presentations at the CLE program were very well-received, and the audience was the largest and best qualified that we've ever had," Mirsky said.
What makes the CLE program so successful is that each topic was concisely presented within 20 minutes. There was such a variety of speakers, topics, video and audio clips and clever PowerPoints that it actually made CLE entertaining. Attendees could join eight separate break-out sessions led by Network law partners. Did I mention there was a free lunch?
For the Network lawyers, all of whom are superb trial lawyers (real courtroom lawyers), each presentation was a 20-minute audition in front of a ballroom full of A-list list referral sources and potential clients. The Network also offers free online CLE eligible for credit in 16 states at www.Trial.com. It is the only organization to do so.
The Network of Trial law firms is a not-for-profit corporation producing cutting-edge CLE. It includes more than 7,000 attorneys in 25 independent trial awl firms practicing in more than 140 offices throughout the US and Canada. If you omitted this extraordinary CLE event, it will be held again next August in New York. Here’s what you missed:Continue Reading...
LexisNexis has rolled out Site Essentials, Site Edge and Site Exclusives, a suite of updated website development products and services — complete with blogging features and mobile device optimization — designed to help law firms establish an effective online presence and attract more clients.
“LexisNexis has updated its website development services to provide law firms with solutions that help them establish an effective web presence, generate robust site traffic and accelerate and track their web-based lead generation efforts,” said David Palmieri, vice president and managing director of Marketing and Consumer Solutions at LexisNexis. “When law firms engage with us, we can deliver higher return on investment with a wider variety of products and services that meet firms’ marketing goals.”
The new LexisNexis® Site Essentials product offers firms:
- An effective, professional website, designed and hosted by LexisNexis, that can be implemented in as little as two weeks
- A creative consultation
- Home page content with suggested content for practice area descriptions
- A website performance dashboard to track key site statistics including phone and email inquiries
- A content management system enabling users to make copy adjustments and site updates
- Basic search engine optimization
- A mobile-optimized version of the site
- Ongoing technical assistance from LexisNexis website experts.
Additionally, LexisNexis® Site Edge includes copywriting assistance as well as the addition of five articles each from three practice areas which update every two weeks, giving visitors a reason to come back to the site. Site Edge customers can also add a professionally produced video to their site.
Also available is LexisNexis® Site Exclusives, a custom, end-to-end web development product. In addition to providing all the features of the other two services, Site Exclusives gives customers significantly more copywriting and ongoing technical assistance, while also providing a fully customized site design and architecture and hosting services for up to five videos on the firm’s website.
While websites from all three services are optimized to render on mobile devices, LexisNexis® Mobile Website Personalization service gives firms the option to create versions of their site optimized for specific devices or to target specific clientele. According to a 2010 report from Gartner, Inc., mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide by 2013, making it more important for firms to communicate their expertise and capabilities effectively on the mobile web.
For firms looking to increase online engagement via their website, LexisNexis® Blog Basics is an easy-to-use integrated blogging tool. LexisNexis Blog Basics provides customers with another effective way of promoting authoritative firm content and maximizing lead generation. According to a 2010 study released by HubSpot, companies that blog have 55 percent more website visitors and generate 88 percent more leads.
To learn more visit the Law Firm Marketing Center at http://lexisnexis.com/law-firm-marketing.
My friend Stephen Fairley of the Rainmaker Institute is offering free previews of his famous Rainmaker Retreat which will take place in Las Vegas, NV on Friday, August 19 and Saturday, August 20. I'll be attending and hope to see you there.
At the Rainmaker Retreat, Stephen presents a proven legal marketing system that has helped 7,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients. Attendees get a workbook is filled with all of the ideas covered in the program, marketing steps to take, templates to use, letters you can adapt, dozens of valued resources, and a 90 day sample marketing plan.Early bird seats are available now for the event at The Platinum Hotel.
Every attendee is assigned to an Action Group with 2-3 other attorneys who brainstorm practical solutions, discusses case studies, and work together during the entire conference.
The free teleseminar previews take place several times in August. Be sure to dial into one of them.
The author of 10 books and 5 audio programs, Stephen is not your typical legal marketing expert. His academic training is in Clinical Psychology and he practiced as a therapist for several years before leaving the field to start and run two technology companies. This gives him a unique perspective on legal marketing.
His advice has been quoted in the ABA Journal. Because he's specialized in helping attorneys create highly profitable and personally satisfying law practices for nearly a decade, I recommend you join me and attend the upcoming conference.
I talk to a lot of lawyers who would like to launch a blog, but they're held back because they don't know where they'll get ideas for what to write about. Here's a terrific list of suggestions from Robyn Raybould Schmidt, Director of Product Management of LexisNexis:
- Google Alerts, newspapers and magazines. Use current events as a springboard for your blog entries.
- Ask yourself,“What’s the next big trend?” or “What’s next?” Everyone wants to know what's over the horizon.
- Read your competitors’ blogs and comments. Seeing what other lawyers are writing about will prompt you to think of a blog topic.
- Ask yourself, “What is my client’s biggest fear or concern?” Writing about what keeps them up at night will always be a well-read entry.
- Conduct an interview. Spend a few minutes on the phone with the head of a trade association, an author in your field or event a client. People enjoy when you put them in the spotlight and you will share in their credibility.
- Write a sequel or follow up to a past post. Look over your greatest hits, using your blog traffic reports. If a topic was worth writing about, it will probably be worth returning to.
- Ask a question. Is there an issue in your area of practice that you’re tackling? Discuss your mixed feelings. You can use Zoomerang to insert a reader poll into your blog for free.
- Make a prediction. You don't have to be right and no one will hold you to account. But it's interesting to read what people think will happen.
- Review the past. How has your area of practice changed over the past year? Five years?
- Create a regular feature. Focus on a recurring basis on a topic of continuing interest -- like a high profile trial.
- Read your comments. If a reader took the time to give their opinion, it could be a topic worth exploring.
- Read your social media group’s questions. What are people chatting about on LinkedIn? Answer on your blog, then go back and provide a link.
- Recruit a guest. Or two. When all else fails, call for backup. Sometimes you just need to take the pressure off so your post-generator has a little time to recuperate.
Check out Robyn's excellent video below for more ideas.
Here's my latest article in Law Technology News:
I know we've been together for about five years, but I think it's time we start connecting with new people. Facebook, I appreciate that you've reconnected me with all my old girlfriends who still criticize my opinions. You've also hooked me up with people from high school that I've deliberately had nothing to do with for 20 years. And your security issues drive me crazy.
Twitter, I have trouble understanding you because you speak in only 140-character blurts. I've unfollowed your most irrelevant messages, but you still jumble my day with noise. I don't have enough bandwidth for you.
It's true. I've found someone new. Yes, I'm a "plussie." I've fallen for Google+.
With G+, lawyers can follow a client, send messages to chosen recipients, and collect information on any topic and share it for business development purposes.
For me, it's a social media do-over. I get to pick the people whose messages I follow by placing them in a Circle (without friending them or getting permission). Being a lawyer, I separate my circles into "clients," "potential clients," "colleagues," "friends," and "family." I can send a message to clients and it's like a business newsletter. When I address it to "public," it's like a blog entry. When I address it to "my circles" it's like a tweet. Lawyers like control and G+ offers it.
Facebook is one of the ten most hated companies in America. Yes, 750 million people use it, but a survey conducted by ForeSee Results found that Facebook ranked near the bottom for customer satisfaction. In contrast, 20 million people joined Google+ over the first three weeks in July. ..."
For the rest of the story visit Adios, Facebook and Twitter ... Hello, Google+
Universal Search Loves Video
The most revealing data from the study is that having a video is one of the best ways of showing up in the top results at Google. The chart at right shows videos are by far the most found results in Google, with image content a distant second:
After video and image content are map results, news, books, shopping, images and then blogs. The key law firm marketing point is that if you want to be seen in Google Universal Search, record and publish videos on YouTube.
- YouTube videos viewed 700 billion times in 2010.
- Video is the #1 reason people go online according to Pew Internet Research.
- YouTube is the #2 most-visited site on the Internet.
- 67% of businesses say video is “useful” or better in acquiring clients and customers, according to the Hubspot 2011 State of Inbound Marketing Report.
YouTube Wins In Universal Search
Content hosted by Google itself dominates, ranking tops in four of the five areas:
- YouTube is the number one video site that shows up for video results. Competitor Vimeo is #6.
- Google Maps is the number one map site that shows up for map results.
- Google Product Search is the number one shopping site that shows up for shopping results
- Google’s Blogger is the number one image site that shows up for image results.
Have you started a YouTube channel for your law firm?
If you would like to start one give me a call at 630.942.0977 or email me about law firm video marketing. Check out the video channels that these law firms have started: