A Google+ Profile Does Matter for Law Firms

On the LexisNexis Blog, Samantha Miller provides  a compelling reason to include Google+ in your mix of inbound marketing for your law firm.

Google+ Local is basically a new business profile that replaces your Google Places page and moves it to Google’s social network, Google+. If you already had a claimed Google Places page, you’re good. Google is simply transitioning your old Google Places page to the Google+ Local platform. 
If you don’t have a claimed Google Places page, it’s time to get moving and work with your online marketing provider. Think of Google+ Local as the new Yellow Pages. Without a Google+ Local page your firm may not appear when someone in your geographic area searches for a law firm.

Nearly two out of every three searches begin on Google.com. Further, Google says 20 percent of all Google searches are for local information, and that goes up to 40 percent if the person is searching with a mobile phone.*
Visitors will now be able to access a law firm’s Google+ Local page by searching on Google.com, Google Maps, in mobile apps or through a search on Google+. So you have to be there. Case closed.

Read the remainder of the article at the LexisNexis Blog.


PR Tips for Enterprising Lawyers

I ran my own successful consulting practice for 11 years, and what I learned about getting publicity applies directly to lawyers. Here's how I made sure  everybody was familiar with me:  

  1. ALWAYS dropped everything to talk when a reporter called. I made sure I got his/her name, followed up and would send an occasional story idea afterwards. If the reporter worked nearby, I'd make sure to buy him/her a cup of coffee.
  2. Wrote a daily blog since 2004 (still do — the LawMarketing Blog at blog.larrybodine.com). It gets 500–700 unique visitors per day. Everywhere I go, people mention that they've read the blog.
  3. Became active in the trade association of my clients, and sought out speaking, writing and presentation opportunities.
  4. Presented Web seminars every other month on my topic of expertise. I kept track of the attendees and added them to my mailing list.
  5. Built up an email list of 2,000 names, which I used to promote webinars, appearances, and white papers.

Read the other five ways I made sure everybody was familiar with me on the LexisNexis blog.


You've had Your Checkup, have Your Client Relationships?

Many of us get so busy building our client base that we forget to perform regular client relationship checkups.  Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas suggest asking 10 power questions when analyzing the current state of your client relationships, in their book titled Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others. Here are the ten power questions:

Client health “screenings” are necessary when managing client relationships. Here are ten questions you should ask yourself when you are considering the health of your client relationships:

1. Do you have access? If there were such a figure as a “client relationship doctor,” Lloyds Banking Group Chairman Sir Winfried Bischoff would be the archetype. The former Schroders CEO and Citigroup chairman is a renowned trusted advisor who has calmly and wisely guided hundreds of CEOs through bet-the-company transactions and deals. Last year Sobel asked Sir Win, “How do you know when a relationship is not going well?” His first response was, “If it’s taking a very long time to set up a meeting, that’s usually a bad sign!”

“Can you actually get in to see important executives in your client’s organization?” asks Sobel. “Some leaders are notoriously busy, and it does take time to get on their schedule. But if you don’t have access, you may not be considered relevant! PS: If you think you have a good relationship, but the client says, ‘There’s nothing going on. It doesn’t make sense to meet,’ that’s still a bad sign. It means they don’t really value your ongoing insight and perspective.”

2. Do you and your client trust each other to do things without extensive documentation, checks, and controls? Trust is the essential foundation of every long-term relationship. It’s the feeling that the other person will come through for you. It’s the belief that they will meet your expectations. It’s the confidence that they will demonstrate integrity, deliver competently, and focus on your agenda, not theirs.

“When trust is present, you don’t need to constantly check up on the other person,” notes Sobel. “You don’t need to put in place endless controls and systems to monitor results. If your client is constantly micromanaging you, then they may not trust you, and you need to find out why.”

3. Does your client openly share information with you? In a healthy, trusting relationship, there is transparency. Does your client give you access to their plans and proposals? Do they freely share information with you, within the constraints of confidentiality?

“When you’re a vendor, you get very limited access to information—it’s on a ‘need to know,’ restricted basis,” says Sobel. “When you’re a trusted advisor, your client treats you as part of the inner circle.”

4. Does your client confide in you and bounce ideas and decisions off you? Does your client ever call you up to run a new idea or potential proposal by you and get your opinion? Or do they make important decisions and then call you afterwards? “It’s not reasonable to expect them to discuss everything with you,” notes Sobel. “However, if they have an issue in your domain, and the relationship is a strong one, they will most likely draw you in before reaching their final conclusions.”

5. Are you the first person the client calls when they need something in your area of expertise? “This is an essential litmus test of a healthy relationship: loyalty,” explains Sobel. “If the client views you as interchangeable with other suppliers, then you’re a vendor, and you’ll be subjected to constant price pressure as the client continually shops around.”

6. Are you treated with respect—like an important advisor? This is hard to quantify, but you usually will know in your gut if this is the case. “I had a client who I felt didn’t value me,” says Sobel. “He asked me to help teach his senior partners how to be better trusted advisors to their clients. But ironically, he didn’t want a trusted advisor himself—he wanted an arms-length ‘expert’ who would be at his beck and call. I finished the project and moved on.”

7. Is working with this client a satisfying, rewarding experience for you and your team? Some clients just drain you. They are overly demanding, they check up on your every move, and they basically drive you crazy. “Sometimes, you’re also stuck with a client who is too low in the organization to really appreciate the impact you have,” notes Sobel. “This is not a healthy relationship! Life is too short—if you can’t fix a situation like this quickly, you should get out and double-down on more promising clients.”

8. Is the relationship economically rewarding for you? You could have a great personal relationship with a client, but for a variety of reasons be losing money on the work! “Sometimes, weak profitability is your fault—you have underestimated the scope of the work or underpriced it,” says Sobel. “But sometimes it’s a sign of a client who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.”

9. Are you having an impact and helping to improve your client’s business? In the best relationships, you have a clear and positive impact on the client’s organization. You help the client improve their business. “If, for whatever reason, this is not happening—it’s a warning sign,” notes Sobel. “Are you working on peripheral issues that are not really important to the client? Are you stuck too far down in the organization? Is the client ignoring your recommendations? Is your good advice simply falling on deaf ears?”

10. Is your client referring you to friends, colleagues, and other organizations that could use your expertise? Active word-of-mouth referrals, arguably, are the ultimate sign of a good relationship. “Are you getting referrals?” asks Sobel. “Would your client give them to you if asked? How enthusiastically would your client recommend you? A testimonial is one thing—it’s passive—but an active referral is a sign of a very different level of satisfaction and delight with your services!”

Go to the author's website for more information.



Last Chance to Register: Using Social Media to Develop New Business

Larry Bodine

Attend the webinar on Wednesday and learn how to market your practice by tapping the keyboard instead of pounding the pavement. 

Join David Ackert and special guest yours truly in this live program about how to harness technology and social media to market your practice and connect with potential clients online.

Click here to sign up for this event.


PRESENTED BY: The Ackert Advisory and the Professional Business Development Institute (PBDI)
SPEAKERS: David Ackert and special guest Larry Bodine, Esq.
TODAY: Wednesday, August 22, 2012; one hour
♦ 10 am Pacific ♦ 11 am Mountain ♦ Noon Central ♦ 1 pm Eastern
LOCATION: on the web, on your computer
WEBSITE: http://bit.ly/OXmpsv

Register now for Marketing Without Leaving Your OfficeIt doesn't get easier than marketing your law practice by harnessing technology and social media. You don't have to leave your office to attract new clients -- in fact you don't have to leave your desk.

If you are frustrated at networking events where you don't know anyone, sitting through boring trade association meetings and competing to get speaking engagements -- this live web seminar is for you.

Register Now
Click here to register instantly with a credit card. Act now and get the early discount of $275. As of August 18 the registration fee will be $300. 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.

David Ackert and I will show you how to:

  • Use LinkedIn and Twitter to make meaningful contact with prospective clients.
  • Convert your blog into a foolproof client development resource.
  • Connect with top executives inside major businesses and strike up a relationship online.
  • Get your marketing message out to a potential audience of 100 million business decision-makers in 200 countries.
  • Create an online persona that generates business.
  • Get carefully selected clients and colleagues to recommend you publicly.
  • Get in tight with leaders of business industry group so that you can follow up with an in-person meeting.

There is a huge business development conversation taking place online. And if you make your presence known in social media, you'll reap new business.


Best Marketing Tips for Your Business

We can always use more tips on how to best market our businesses.  Read some outstanding marketing tips from our guest author, Kate Ford.

Understanding current marketing skills is very important for you in order to expand your business. If you get a good grasp of marketing skills then you can take your business to a greater level. Here are some of the best marketing strategies for your business as suggested by one of the top digital media agency.
  • Concentrate on link building: This is the most important factor that has to be considered for marketing your business; as having a large network will lead you closer to great success. It is an off page optimization technique that will help you in getting maximum back links to your company’s website. 
  • Content marketing: The latest trend in marketing is content marketing. This is nothing but promoting your website through quality content. Make your content unique and creative so that when new visitors read the content, they are interested to know more about your website and the products or services offered by your company. This will ultimately increase the usability of your site and help you in driving good traffic to your site.
  • E-mail communication: It is very important to communicate with your customers regularly. You can update your existing customers via e-mail and let them know about the new products and services offered by your company. This way you can keep your customers engaged with your schemes and also build a good relationship with them. The subject and the content of your mail should be target oriented so that your mail should not be left unread.
  • FAQ Page: It is very important to have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for your website as it will help the customers to have a clear idea about the products and services offered by your company. You can upload all the common questions that might arise in the customers mind, so that they don’t need to contact you for small concerns.
  • Social Media Optimisation (SMO): Social media provides the best platform to give a greater exposure to your business. You can advertise your website on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that will offer both business to business communication and also business to customer communication; getting your site greater brand awareness.
  • Video marketing: Videos have the capability of grasping the attention of the user and making them keen to know more about your product or services. Get an effective video prepared that explains the basic features of your business and advertise it through You Tube; the results will be displayed within a few minutes.
Kate Ford is tech writer and she works for an Online marketing Agency. Catch her @thetechlegend on Twitter and click here to see her profile.  Check out the Online Marketing Agency.



Many Americans Don't Trust Companies with Logos They Don't Like

It may be surprising, but the following research indicates how key a product logo is when a consumer is deciding to buy.


It would appear that companies should be more concerned about their branding, as a new survey has revealed that 41% of Americans don’t trust companies whose logos they don’t like the look of.


The research, conducted by http://thelogocompany.net, polled a total of 2,196 people from across the US as part of research into brands and marketing.


Respondents were initially asked what they thought about companies and brands whose logos they didn’t like, to which 41% said that they didn’t trust them. They were then asked if a company’s logo made a difference to whether they bought or used anything provided by them, to which 32% of those polled said that they wouldn’t buy or use anything from a company or brand whose logo they didn’t like.


When asked why they wouldn’t trust a company whose logo they didn’t like, 63% said it was because it made the brand look ‘cheap’ if they had a badly designed logo.


Those polled were then asked to state the main reason they chose a new brand of product, to which the majority, 59%, said it was the packaging, while 38% said it was the logo.


When asked what they thought made a good logo, 44% of people said they liked it to look ‘simple’, while 41% thought ‘color’ was more important.


Kevin Booth, Operations Director at TheLogoCompany.net, had the following to say:


“We weren’t all that surprised to find out that people might be put off by a bad logo, as we’ve seen quite a lot of shockers in our time here at TheLogoCompany. However, to find out that some people wouldn’t buy from or use a brand purely down to a poorly designed logo was quite interesting to see.”


He continued:


“At TheLogoCompany.net, we’ve designed all sorts of logos for businesses around the world, so we like to think we can spot a bad logo when we see one! If you are looking for a new logo, or if you’re looking to have your logo re-designed, then we can help!”

ALM's Survey of Law Firm Economics Shows Firm Revenues Took Hit in 2011

ALM Legal Intelligence published its annual Survey of Law Firm Economics, which found that average revenues at U.S. law firms declined more in 2011 than in any year since the survey began tracking that metric in 1985. 

After falling in 2008 and 2009, law firm revenue per lawyer (RPL) rebounded to its highest level ever in 2010. Last year, RPL fell back to earth and declined by an average of 4.2 percent nationwide (from $451,000 in 2010 to $432,000 in 2011). Despite that large year-over-year drop, however, the overall average RPL last year is still the second-highest figure ever recorded by the survey.


Firms on the larger end of the survey scale took some of the hardest revenue hits. Those with 76-150 lawyers saw revenue per lawyer decline 10 percent (from $474,000 to $426,000) and for firms of 150 lawyers or more, the drop was 9 percent (from $505,000 to $460,000). In fact, RPL declined in four of the six law firm size categories, with the exceptions being firms in the 10-24 lawyer (increased 4 percent, from $355,000 to $370,000) and 41-75 lawyer (increased 7 percent, from $395,000 to $423,000) niches.


The survey, conducted by ALM Legal Intelligence in association with The National Law Journal, is available online now at www.almlegalintel.com/Surveys/SLFE. The results are also reported in the August 6, 2012, issue of The National Law Journal.


“Law firms, particularly midsize and smaller players, continued to face a challenging revenue picture during the last year, but they appear to have done a better job of managing expenses to keep profitability and partner compensation high,” writes David Brown, editor in chief ofThe National Law Journal. “Despite the mixed results, firms still see plenty of sunlight ahead. We asked a series of questions about how firms view the current state of the business of law. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said they were optimistic about the year to come and, with minor variations, the optimism was shared among firms of all sizes.”


Other noteworthy findings of the survey included the following:


  • No sign of merger fever – although the economy is still uncertain and the law firm business model has been challenged, 58 percent of respondents said their firm is not interested in a merger;
  • Modest growth expected – four in 10 law firms (41 percent) expect their profits per partner to grow by 5 percent or less in 2012 and one in three (33 percent) project their profitability will be flat;
  • Moderate rate increases planned – the vast majority of respondents (70 percent) plan to increase their billing rates by 5 percent or less in 2012, 20 percent plan to hold rates flat, 9 percent plan to increase rates by more than 5 percent and 1 percent plan to decrease rates;
  • Litigation is the hot spot – when asked which practice area they expected to achieve the most revenue growth in 2012, 43 percent named Litigation, far and away the number-one response (Corporate was second, named by 24 percent); and
  • Alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) are not taking off – for the vast majority of U.S. law firms, AFAs still represent a small percentage of billings, with 67 percent of respondents indicating that 0-10 percent of their firm’s billings were valued by an AFA and another 23 percent pegging that share at 11-25 percent of total billings, roughly the same rate of AFA usage we saw in last year’s edition.

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 nearly 10,000 lawyers from 198 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.

300+ GCs Attend Network of Trial Law Firms CLE Event

Network of Trial Law firmsThe 7,000 litigators of the Network of Trial Law Firms have found a brilliant way to market to corporate general counsel -- by teaching them CLE in 20-minute nuggets.

More than 300 GCs will convene in New York today for the Network's "Litigation Management in a New York Minute - 2012" meeting at the Association of the Bar of New York. In an all-day session, two dozen defense trial lawyers will speak in 20-minute sessions on topics such as:

  • Tony Lathrop on “In-House Counsel Perspectives on Litigation Challenges and Trends”
  • David Neave on “Effectively Managing Inter-Jurisdictional Class Actions”
  • David Harris on “Trade Secret Litigation”
  • Jeff Williams on ”Managing E-Discovery Providers - Avoiding Traps for the Unwary”

The Network is a not-for-profit corporation producing cutting-edge CLE and it makes its coursebook available online in a PDF, eCoursebook (ePub) for Nook, eReader, iPhone and iPad and eCoursebook (mobi) for Kindle.

Founded in 1993, the Network has 24 member law firms in 165 offices in the US and Canada, according to Ellis R. Mirsky, General Counsel and Executive Director. "The Network has more boots on the ground in more jurisdictions than a single law firm can cover," he said.

The objective of the Network is to be a branded alternative to mega-firms, to safely share valuable market intelligence and to generate Inbound referrals from network members.

Warren PlattThere are hundreds of free, educational videos by top litigators on the Network website, plus scores of litigation management podcasts online that are also available in iTunes. For example, Warren Platt, the 2008-2009 Network Chair, is interviewed on SkyRadio Network:
Listen | Other Podcasts

Hugh GottschalkOne of the videos is "The Ten Commandments of Cross Examination" by Hugh Gottschalk of Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell in Denver, who discusses the elements of effective cross-examination, il'ustrated by some of Hollywood’s most memorable courtroom scenes.

"We are the home of the 'Litigation Management Supercourse," a program that we have produced and updated more than 60 times since 1993 with various not-for-profit CLE organizations and bar associations," Mirsky said.



And the Survey Says...

The American Bar Association has reported the results of it's 2012 Legal Technology Survey. According to respondents, blogging is the way to drum up new business.Blog

Blogging is a viable channel for unlocking new business for many small law firms and solo practitioners, according to the American Bar Association's 2012 Legal Technology Survey.

In fact, 50 percent of responding small law firms (2-9 attorneys) and 53.3 percent of surveyed solo practitioners that are blogging reported retaining clients directly or via referral as a result of their legal-topic blogging, based on the recently released survey.

That's not just attracting website visitors or fielding phone calls for free consultations, but landing actual new business.

Moreover, small law seems to be far outpacing certain segments of larger firms. Forty percent of respondents at larger firms (100-499 attorneys) who are blogging reported generating new business from their efforts.

Read the remainder of this article at the source.  Then get blogging!


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Job Opening: Director of Editorial and Content at LexisNexis

Lawyes.comWould you like to join the hottest property in online legal journalism? Lawyers.com, a part of LexisNexis, reports legal news consumers can use and our unique visitors have increased 800% since January.

We've built a team of news reporters and video producers nationwide and I'm looking for a managing editor to help me take it to the next level. If you have the talent and experience, please visit the Careers Page and search for job LEX00767.

The Director of Editorial and Content will be the lynchpin manager and creative driver who attracts readers and visitors to Lawyers.com, a site that already receives 3 million unique visitors per month. The Director reports to the Editor in Chief (yours truly) in expanding the editorial focus to publish legal news for consumers, and make Lawyers.com a well-known consumer brand. 


Tell me why you're the right person for the job.







Reap More Clients Through Reviews and Endorsements

Reviewpositive reviewHave you ever felt overwhelmed at the thought of trying to get an endorsement for your practice?  There are actually several ways to get those positive reviews.

Research shows that more and more consumers are depending on reviews and endorsements for products and services before making a purchase. Online reviews of a business or product are viewed as “unbiased”, and therefore more credible. A good review can make you, and a bad review can turn clients away in droves. 

Is there a way to generate reviews and endorsements for your practice? There are several:
Repurpose good reviews. If you have received good reviews or testimonials, post them on your website, in your e-newsletter and anywhere else that potential customers are likely to stumble upon them. And be sure to ask whoever provided you with that great review if they would also submit it to Google so it shows up in search.
Give to get. Social media is, well, social. So if you give good reviews on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networking sites, chances are that the effort will be rewarded with reciprocal reviews.
Request a review. We know of a car salesman who routinely asks satisfied customers to post reviews of his service on Google and other review web sites.   He says it is now responsible for a big part of his monthly new customer acquisition count. If you’ve made a client happy with your service, ask them to submit a review or testimonial saying why they loved doing business with you.
One thing you should never do is fake a review or testimonial. If they sound too glowing or like you wrote them, it will do much more harm than good. And somehow consumers can always tell what is authentic and what is not, so don’ t try to fool them or you could get burned.
Click the link to read the full article, How To Get More Clients Through Reviews and Endorsements.

Using Behavioral Economics in Law Firm Marketing

behavioral economics, psychology, attorney marketing, law firm marketingMarketers have been applying behavioral economics—often unknowingly—for years. A new article in the McKinsey Quarterly outlines a systematic approach that can be used in law firm marketing. Here's an excerpt. 

1. Make a product’s cost less painful.  Retailers know that allowing consumers to delay payment can dramatically increase their willingness to buy. One reason delayed payments work is perfectly logical: the time value of money makes future payments less costly than immediate ones. But there is a second, less rational basis for this phenomenon. Payments, like all losses, are viscerally unpleasant. But emotions experienced in the present—now—are especially important. Even small delays in payment can soften the immediate sting of parting with your money and remove an important barrier to purchase. 

2. Harness the power of a default option.  The evidence is overwhelming that presenting one option as a default increases the chance it will be chosen. Defaults—what you get if you don’t actively make a choice—work partly by instilling a perception of ownership before any purchase takes place, because the pleasure we derive from gains is less intense than the pain from equivalent losses. When we’re “given” something by default, it becomes more valued than it would have been otherwise—and we are more loath to part with it.

An Italian telecom company, for example, increased the acceptance rate of an offer made to customers when they called to cancel their service. Originally, a script informed them that they would receive 100 free calls if they kept their plan. The script was reworded to say, “We have already credited your account with 100 calls—how could you use those?” Many customers did not want to give up free talk time they felt they already owned.

3. Don’t overwhelm consumers with choices.

4. Position your preferred option carefully.

Click to read the full article, A marketer’s guide to behavioral economics.