Nancy Fox's Successful Icebreaking Strategies for Networking

Nancy Fox, law firm marketing, legal marketing
Nancy Fox

Nancy Fox, one of the most charming and graceful people I've ever met, outlined her top icebreaking strategies for networking.

"Breaking the ice is difficult because people's attention span is so much smaller nowadays, and you have only a few seconds to make a good first impression," she said one a webinar sponsored by LawMarketing. She has coached hundreds of attorneys in marketing, business development and networking.

"Lawyers want to convert our new connections and book follow-up meetings with new people. We we want to use our networking efforts to launch new referral relationships," she said. "But for many of us it's uncomfortable to enter a room with people we don't know."  For this she offers 10 strategies:

  1. Be prepared. Arrive ready with icebreaker questions, like #11 from her eBook, "What business books have you read recently that you've found valuable?" or #26, "Tell me how you got into your business?"
  2. Be proactive. "Make the first move and thus take the pressure off the other person. They will be grateful and pleased that you've broken the ice."
  3. Make consistent eye contact. "This is essential because people really believe when you make eye contact that you are interested in them and are committed to the conversation. If your eyes are wandering, they'll feel that you don't really care."
  4. Break the ice with grace and politeness. "Avoid joining a conversation where only two people are talking -- they may behaving a private conversation. Instead look for people who are standing alone or in groups of three or more."
  5. Listen. "Lawyers are trained to be good speakers, but to break the ice, a person must truly listen actively. Spend more time closing your mouth and opening the door to breaking the ice, by listening actively. People deeply desire to be heard."
  6. Smile. "Most of us are watching others for non-verbal cues, but we should focus on the nonverbal cues we are giving. The more you smile  at people, the more you will open the door to conversation. A smile shows warmth."
  7. Introduce others. "It's a gift to the other person and it makes you look like a real connector, and the ice thaws quickly."
  8. Say something positive about your new connection. "Doing this at the outset of the conversation will break down a lot of barriers."
  9. Break the ice with someone you haven't spoken with for a very long time. "Simply say, 'it's been such a long time and I've been thinking of reconnecting with you. Tell me what's new with you?' People will resonate with this approach, because they too will have people they haven't spoken to in a long time."
  10. Download her free eBook, "55 Great Icebreaker Questions" and you'll never be anxious again in a room full of people you haven't met.
  11. Nancy Fox networking tips, legal marketing, law firm marketing

Successful Icebreaking Strategies for Networking

55 Great Icebreaker Questions, law firm marketing, legal marketingJoin a free webinar with Nancy Fox on Tuesday (tomorrow) January 28 by registering at Attendees will get a copy of her fabulous "55 Great Icebreaker Questions" as well as her expert networking advice.

I've known Nancy for years and recommend that lawyers register and attend this program. When you sign up (no cost), you will receive practical yet powerful tools and strategies for:

Networking Events:

  • Being a masterful icebreaker with preferred new connections at networking events and social venues.
  • Gracefully and politely join a conversation at networking events without feeling like a bull in a china shop.
  • Develop engaging conversation while learning important information for future relationship and opportunity building
  • Break the ice with new contacts and gain lots of follow up meetings with select new colleagues
  • Gracefully wrap up one conversation and move on to breaking the ice with a new person without losing your cool

For Business Meetings:

Covers how to break the ice at follow up meetings, pitch meetings, closing meetings, and leading team meetings:

  • How to re-engage your new connection after the networking
  • How to kick off a follow up meeting that sets a highly positive tone
  • How to lead off a pitch meeting with charisma and effectiveness
  • How to break the ice at the critical “close meeting” for that important deal; how to deal with objections and proposal delays
  • How to break the ice and engage attendees at business meetings you lead
  • How to break the ice when you haven’t connected with someone in a long time

 I'll be on the call myself, taking notes and preparing a report. So join me by registering today.


Branding: How You are Different in a way that is Important to Clients

Janet Raasch, law firm marketing, legal marketing
Janet Ellen Raasch

Following is a guest blog post by Janet Ellen Raasch, a writer, ghostwriter, copyeditor and blogger at Constant Content Blog who helps lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations gain name recognition and new business. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or

Your brand is what makes a client choose (or not choose) you as legal counsel rather than a competitor. Each law firm has a brand in the marketplace – whether by intention or by accident.

Your law firm can accept the brand you have and live with it -- but this can be risky in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Alternatively, you can put some thought into creating and managing a brand that works hard for you in the marketplace -- and thrive as a result. The choice is yours.

Gerry O'Brion, law firm marketing, legal marketing
Gerry O'Brion

Having a limited budget  doesn’t mean that a smaller law firm cannot develop a good brand and take it to market – without breaking the bank. “There are many lessons that a law firm can learn from big businesses,” said Gerry O’Brion. “Once learned, these lessons can be applied at little or no cost.”

O’Brion is a professional speaker and founder of What Big Brands Know, a Denver-based consulting firm. He is creator of a program called The Business Blueprint: Simple steps to grow any business like a billion-dollar brand. His practical advice is based on what he learned in the big-company marketing departments of Proctor & Gamble, Coors Brewing, Quiznos and Red Robin.

Know your law firm

The first lesson law firms of any size can learn from big business is to get clear about what makes them different from their competition. The best brands differentiate themselves in a way that is important  to their customers or clients.

“Recently, I went to the grocery store to pick up some barbecue sauce,” said O’Brion. “When I got there, I was faced with 42 different kinds on the shelf. This quandary is what your clients face when picking a law firm. When making their choices, what do they consider? What sets you apart from the other firms ‘on the shelf’?

“Everything has a brand, either by intention or by accident,” said O’Brion. “What is the brand of Monday? Boo -- back to work. Of Friday? Yay -- TGIF. Your law firm has a brand in the marketplace. Make it purposeful. Is your brand the all-too-common ‘all things to all people’? Or is it something that persuades clients that ‘this is the firm for me’?”

Get your partners together to decide what it is that sets you apart. Where do your talents lie? What work do you most enjoy? Which clients do you serve the best? What work is most profitable? Where does most of your work come from? Where would you like it to come from? Focus. Build your brand and marketing message around this differentiation.

O’Brion used the example of an auto repair shop that branded itself as servicing all makes and models of cars, with little success. When the shop realized that much of its work came from servicing Audis and VWs, it changed its message to specialize in these makes of car and business tripled. Customers wanted to go to a shop that specialized in solving their particular problem.

“Successful branding boils down to just one thing,” said Gerry O’Brion. “You must be different from your competition in a way that clients value. Big brands thrive by continually refining their understanding of what their customers value and by consistently delivering their messages in a way that stands out from the competition. Law firms can do the same.”

You can be an attorney. You can be an attorney representing all businesses, everywhere. You can be an attorney representing hospitality businesses in Colorado. Or you can be an attorney representing restaurant clients in Denver. If you are a Denver restaurant owner, which lawyer will you choose? The sharper you focus, the better your brand and the more-profitable your business.

Know your target market

The next lesson law firms can learn from big business is to know who your clients are and what they want. “The time you spend understanding your clients sets you up for long-term success,” said O’Brion.

The businesses that come to your house to remove vermin like bats or raccoons in the attic belong to an organization called the National Wildlife Control Operators Association. “The NWCOA wanted to provide useful marketing advice to its members,” said O’Brion. “A study of customers yielded some surprising results,” said O’Brion.

“Most pest-control companies are owned and operated by men,” said O’Brion. “Interestingly, 80 percent of the time it is a woman who calls about vermin in the house. These women are concerned about much more than just getting rid of the animal. Among other things, they are concerned about ethical treatment, the cleanliness of their houses and preventing future problems. These customer insights helped wildlife control companies better serve their customers and close more sales.”

All too often, law firms believe that their brand is what they think it is. Rather, they must understand that their brand is what clients think it is. “Your brand is the culmination of all the experiences a client has with your firm,” said O’Brion. “Do some research. Ask your clients, potential clients and referral sources what they truly value in and expect of a legal services provider.”

Often, these are qualities in addition to the basic expectation of legal expertise – things like quick return of phone calls, a pleasant receptionist or reasonable rates. Work these qualities into your message.

“Every interaction between your firm and a client must reinforce your message,” said O’Brion. “Everyone at the firm must be aligned. When answering the phone, for example, the receptionist can say, ‘We see problems like this all the time’ and ‘I am going to pass you along to the very best lawyer who deals with your specific problem.’”

If you are the Denver restaurant attorney, for example, you can join and speak to restaurant groups, decorate your office with restaurant-related art, put restaurant-related materials in your waiting room, and hold events at the venues of clients and potential clients. You can mention this specialty prominently in your electronic and print materials, along with restaurant success stories. Such efforts will help put you top-of-the-list among your target market.

A Coors Light case study

At Coors Brewing, O’Brion was brand manager for Coors Light, a $2 billion brand. He illustrated many of his points on successful branding with a Coors Light case study. Research showed that the taste of all beers in the light-beer category was more or less the same. Coors Light was ranked fourth and needed to find a way to differentiate in order to promote its brand.

Additional research showed that consumers makes their light-beer buying decisions based on eight factors – good taste, value, relaxation, low carbs/calories, socialization, refreshment, coldness and funny ads. Miller Lite had branded itself on good taste and low carbs/calories; Bud Light on socialization and funny ads; and Corona on relaxation.

Coors Light therefore focused on refreshment and—especially -- coldness. They introduced the Frost Brew Liner Can. “This is no different or more effective than any other can liner,” said O’Brion. “We simply made it blue and associated it with coldness.”

Other new and heavily-advertised Coors Light products included the cold-activated bottle, the cold-activated can, the cooler box (simply a case with a plastic liner that turned it into a cooler) and a Super Cold Draft version of Coors Light. Sales improved significantly and Coors Light passed Miller Lite and Budweiser to become No. 2 in the category, second only to Bud Light.

By following tips that work for the big guys, a law firm with a strong brand will keep and grow current clients, as well as attract desirable new clients. It will be less vulnerable to competitors. Plus, the firm can charge higher rates. Customers (and clients) are always willing to pay a bit more for a product or service that addresses their specific challenges.


Stand Out from the Competition with Google Authorship

Google authorship, law firm marketing, legal marketingHave you noticed that when you search with the terms "divorce lawyer Los Angeles" or "Chicago personal injury lawyer" on Google, that several of the lawyers' pictures are displayed?

This is because they've implemented Google Authorship and studies show that it increases the person's click rate by 150 percent.

Not only that, but next to the lawyer's name is a 25-word summary and the number of times the lawyer is included in Google+ circles — a ranking of the lawyer's importance. Google Authorship has become an essential law firm SEO technique.

Google Authorship is a process that includes setting up a profile on Google+ to verify your identity as an author. It helps clients differentiate between trusted, reputable authors, and Web spammers.

There are two simple steps:

  1. Create a Google+ profile. Be sure to upload a high-quality headshot and fill out some profile information such as hometown. If you have a Google+ profile you'll be more visible in search results than if you don't have one.
  2. Go to, sign up with your email and click on the verification link Google sends you.

The benefits of Google Authorship also include establishing your authority on the Web and building trust online. Not only that, it keeps your identity — if you have a common name like "Jim Smith," you'll be able to put the name with a face — and it defeats plagiarism, ensuring that you get credit for your own writing.

It’s great for SEO purposes," says Bill Wallis writing on Business 2 Business. "As you develop more original quality content and post it on your website and Google + page, the more “AuthorRank” you receive and the more credit you build with Google. When you couple this with your domain ranking, social shares, inbound links, comments and engagement on Google + and a few other factors, your articles have a much higher degree of certainty of being found on the first page."

Here's how I turn up in Google when you search on my name. Notice that Google adds how many other people have me in the Google+ circles.

law firm marketing, legl marketing


Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Rights as the Press

free speech, first amendment, free press, bloggers are journalists, law firm marketingIn a major free-speech ruling, the Ninth Circuit decreed that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as the institutional, commercial press. The ruling demolishes the argument that in the eyes of the law, bloggers are not journalists.

The case involved a scurrilous blogger, Crystal Cox of Oregon writing on her blog She was held liable in 2011 for defamation for her attacks on a bankruptcy trustee -- see Lying Blogger Must Pay $2.5 Mil for Defamation.

  • The posts accuse trustee Kevin Padrick of engaging in “illegal activity, “including “corruption,” “fraud,” “deceit on the government,” “money laundering,” “defamation,” “harassment,” “tax crimes,” and “fraud against the government.” Cox also claimed that Obsidian paid off “media” and “politicians” and may have hired a hit man to kill her.

    But the Ninth Circuit said, "Cox’s consistent use of extreme language negates the impression that the blog posts assert objective facts." Because the posts were so hyperbolic, the court said they were unbelievable as facts -- and that she was not liable for writing them.
  • However she was held liable for writing that the trustee committed tax fraud while administering the assets of a company in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and calling for the IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue to investigate the matter.

    The Ninth Circuit said this charge is a matter of public concern, and that the trustee had to prove negligence to win a defamation suit against her. This is the standard applied to institutional corporate TV, newspaper and radio news operations. "This court has held that even consumer complaints of non-criminal conduct by a business can constitute matters of public concern," the court said.

The Ninth circuit added that the blogger could not be held liable for "presumed damages" without a showing of "actual malice" -- that she knew the post was false or acted with reckless disregard of its truth or falsity.

"The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media . . . the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United , 558 U .S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue—not the identity of the speaker—provide the First Amendment touchstones," the Ninth Circuit said.

The case is Obsidian Finance Group and Kevin Padrick v. Crystal Cox, case No. 12-35238.




Get New Business with Mobile Marketing

Worldwide Tablet and PC ForecastMore people are online than ever before and they are looking up lawyers using their mobile phones and tablets. If you haven't optimized your website for mobile devices, you are missing a lot of new business.

Smartphones have been outselling PCs since the end of 20101 and tablets (like iPads) will start outselling PCs in 2015.2 Mobile Internet users have grown over 30 percent in one year to about 1.5 billion users worldwide.3

When you realize that 21 percent of consumers use smartphones to search for an attorney (according to "Attorney Selection Research Study," The Research Intelligence Group, March 2012) you can see it's time to capture this new business.

Mobile websites are very different from PC websites — your mobile content should be action-oriented, and focus on issues that arise when a person's primary access to the Internet is a smartphone, not a PC. A great example is being stopped for a DUI, where a consumer needs an answer instantly.  

Here are other scenarios where you'll want a mobile website:

  • A lawyer's name is given to a client as the best person to handle a matter. The client goes to your website on his iPhone to validate the lawyer's credentials. Your mobile website or profile on a legal directory should highlight your attorney profile, the firm's practice areas and your expertise (e.g., your blog).
  • A lawyer is at a conference and meets a prospective client. The lawyer mentions an alert the firm issued and is able to display it instantly. Your mobile website or profile on a legal directory should highlight your alerts, publications and news.
  • A client is going to a meeting at the firm and needs directions. The client can't recall the address. Your mobile website or profile on a legal directory should highlight your offices, maps and directions.

Think of how often you check your own cell phone when you are looking to buy something or hire someone — and you'll be convinced.

1 IDC, "Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker," February 2011.
2, graph IDC, "Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker," May 2013.
3 Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, "Internet Trends 2013," May 2013.


How to Get a Share of the $100B Corporate Legal Market

In 2014, the high-growth, high-rate law practices in which corporate clients will hire law firms are IP litigation, class actions, M&A, regulatory matters and tax issues (see chart below), according to the Market Outlook 2014 webinar, broadcast today by BTI Consulting.

Michael Rynowecer, President and Founder of BTI outlined these points from the BTI Market Outlook and Client Service Review 2014:

  • The US legal market exceeds $100 billion, of which $60 billion is spent on outside law firms.
  • Corporations will have more litigation work in 2014, but most of it will be handled in-house. There is a $6 billion increase in the amount of legal work now handled in-house when compared with two years ago.
  • Only 650 law firms handle legal work for the Fortune 1000.
  • When seeking a law firm, 80% of in-house counsel will confer with a peer and hire the firm that is recommended first.
  • However only 31.4% of clients are truly satisfied with their leading law firm. The typical AmLaw 100 law firm has 11% of it's clients at risk.
  • Law firms are spending more on marketing and business development, ranging from 2.8% to 2.4% of gross revenues (including the salaries of marketing staff).

BTI Premium Practices Forecast 2014, legal marketing, law firm marketing

Business development opportunities

Average Marketing Budgets
Average marketing budgets, law firm marketing, legal marketing

Rynowecer offered several business development tips:

  • Law firms can make themselves valuable by training the new in-house lawyers who will be handling the additional work.
  • Form a triage team with clients to jointly asses new matters as they come in, and meet monthly or biweekly. BTI says that corporations plan to settle 40% of all their litigation.
  • Offer to sit on clients' new product development committees to help spot IP opportunities.
  • Swarm clients with online value-added tools such as checklists, guidelines and self-assessments.
  • Key law firm marketing activities that will result in being recommended first include demonstrating an understanding the client's business, providing value for the dollar, and showing a commitment to help, that is, showing an interest in solving a client's problems rather than finding ways to bill hours.
  • Successful law firms develop customized presentations for clients and send partners to brief clients in a 2-3 hour session.

The best opportunities for new business arise with global organizations operating in the US and mid-market companies that wish to expand into other countries. "Global companies show an especially strong interest in using both mid-sized as well as larger firms in Litigation, Employment, IP, IP Litigation, Regulatory, Corporate and small- and mid-sized M&A," Rynowecer said.

"Marketing and business development skills will be essential in terms of long term growth for law firms. In this market you are either a predator or prey, there is absolutely nothing in between," he said.

17 activities to develop superior client relationships, law firm marketing, legal marketing.


Most Consumers Go Online to Look for an Attorney

When you read this statistic, let it sink in:

3 out of 4 consumers seeking an attorney over the last year used online resources at some point in the process*

76 percent of consumers went online to find a lawyer

The way consumers look for a lawyer has changed in today's digital age. The advent of social media, smart phones and search engines has dramatically affected the way consumers find lawyers.


  • People send a quick text instead to avoid a time-consuming phone call.
  • People write emails and send attachments instead of going over documents in person.
  • People attend conference calls and web meetings instead of meeting face to face because it saves time and money.

This new kind of communication is more efficient, but it diminishes the amount of direct contact people have with each other. People bank online to avoid tellers, look up phone numbers online to avoid operators and read news online to avoid buying a paper.

Think about it. Would you ask your neighbor whom to call if you were charged with a crime? Would you ask your relatives to help you shop for a divorce lawyer? I don't think so. You'd rather research these issues in private by opening your laptop. And with smart phones now outselling computers, a wide swath of consumers can conduct an online search.

Huge change in consumer behavior

This huge change in consumer behavior has taken place in the last ten years. LinkedIn launched in 2003, Facebook went online in 2004 and Twitter appeared in 2006. Consumers can now get input from family and friends through online directories and social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Social media have grown exponentially so that they've entered every corner of American life. The best example is Facebook, which has grown to 900 million users who spend an average of 7 hours and 45 minutes per month on the site, according to The Nielsen Company. It is now possible to get advice about hiring a lawyer from dozens of contacts and connections by reviewing what they say on  social media.

What this means for 21st Century Lawyers

For lawyers, it is essential to have a website and blog that discuss the legal problems of consumers. An attorney's online presence should feature FAQs, white papers and checklists to be found by consumers conducing online research.

Lawyer websites and blogs must be optimized for search engines, particularly Google, so that they rank high in search engine results. A LexisNexis law firm marketing specialist can conduct a search engine optimization review, compare your site with competitors' and evaluate whether your site uses the latest best practices.

It is clear that a huge conversation is taking place online. The search for a lawyer has moved out of the family living room or neighbor's back yard, and moved onto the Internet. For lawyers who want to get leads and find clients, it means having a robust directory profile, activity on social media and client-friendly websites. Lawyers can join the conversation - or miss many opportunities to find consumer clients.

*Based on a survey of 4,000 adult internet users (internet users comprise 78% of the US adult population and **the US adult population comprises 235 million according to the US Census 2010) conducted by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG), March 2012. **According to The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project's Spring Tracking Survey conducted April 26-May 22, 2011.


10 Tools To Check Your Online Reputation

If you're not worried about your online reputation, you need to read more expert authors. We have ten cool tools you can use to check your online reputation and make sure there's nothing negative (and false) spreading online. Protecting your identity and reputation is very important, even if you're not a celebrity or trying to run a business. Our list is going to help you keep on top of everything so that your reputation isn't smeared online.

Tools for Checking Online Reputation

Here's a look at ten specific ways you can keep track of your online reputation.

  1. BrandYourself - This is a free tool that will help you keep track of where your name is coming up in the search engines - even if you have a name similar to someone who is famous.

  2. About Me - This is a very simple (but useful) service that allows you to easily set-up a webpage that's all about you. Once you have this page, you can direct people from Facebook or Twitter to it to learn more about you.

  3. Social Mention - If you want to know about mentions of you or your brand on social media networks, this is the tool to use as it concentrates on the major ones and others you may not have heard about before.

  4. Who’s Talkin? - For getting mentions and alerts when someone is talking about you or your company online, this is a very simple and free online tool that can help.

  5. NameChk - This tool makes sure no "squatters" are using your name on any of the social media networks. Just fill out the information and let this tool check all the social networks for you automatically.

  6. HootSuite - This is more of a full featured social media management tool, but it's also very useful for making sure you stay up to date on any mentions you get on the major social media networks.

  7. Google Alerts - Google also makes it easy to set up an alert for any search you want - like for your name or brand. You can customize how often you get email notifications as well as what sources Google will check.

  8. Yasni - If you type your name or brand into this online tool, you might be surprised at what you find. The site makes it very easy to keep track of what people are saying about you online.

  9. Better Business Bureau  - If you have an online business, you're going to want to make sure you have an official BBB page and that you're not getting negative comments from anyone.

  10. Hire Someone - This is not an online tool, but you can hire a VA (virtual assistant) to spend time each day scouring the web for your name or brand. They're going to use a lot of the tools mentioned above, but if you want to save time you can spend a little money to hire someone.

Using some or all of the tools and techniques listed above will ensure you have a handle on what other people are saying about you online - automatically.


Sara Xiang likes to read Ally Bank reviews online whenever possible. She has a job dealing with reputation management strategies and likes to do her banking online.


Demographics of Today's Largest Law Firms

The law firms with the most minorities, women, associates, partners and total lawyers are showing in this new infographic from ALM Legal Intelligence. You may be surprised to see that the firm with the most lawyers is not the firm with the most US lawyers.

Law Firm Demographics in Today's Legal Industry

200 Factors Google Uses to Rank Your Website

Tip of the hat to Cindy Greenway of for finding this very useful infographic. Today's infographic, posted on, shows incredible detail on 200 ranking factors that Google uses.  If you want to have your website work better for you in 2014, take note of these factors, and share them with your law firm staff who also contribute to updating your legal website.

200 factors in how Google ranks web sites


The Ten Most Effective Law Firm Marketing Techniques

I originally wrote this five years ago after advising hundreds of law firms in business development. I thought I'd publish it again because what was true then is still true today. Check the list over to see how many techniques you could be using.

The Ten Most Effective Law Firm Marketing TechniquesLarry bodine, web and marketing consultantBy Larry Bodine, Esq.

Many lawyers don't get new clients and files because they don't do enough business development activities, or they waste time on the wrong activities, or they don't get face-to-face with potential clients.

I've helped attorneys generate more clients and get more business by training attorneys what to say, what to do and how to be in the right place at the right time.  I also work with lawyers one-on-one and help them develop personal business plans, and then I work with firms in doing follow-up to assist lawyers who are doing business development overcome any hurdles that they might encounter.

What you'll read next are the most effective marketing techniques. These tips are based on scientific research that I have conducted where we asked 377 marketing partners and marketing professionals in the professional services fields what they did that worked. I'm going to cover 10 particular points.

Number one: You have to spend at least 2.5 percent of your gross revenues on marketing. Otherwise, you're just pretending to market. That 2.5 percent does not include the salaries of any of the people that you may have hired to perform the work. This is money that is spent on generating new business, on taking clients out to lunch, on visiting clients -- it's all direct marketing activities. You have to put your money where your mouth is. If you're not spending 2.5 percent, you're not being serious about marketing, and you're not going to get any results.

The second technique is to put video on your website. The reason that I bring this up is you may have noticed that YouTube is sponsoring presidential debates. It's the number four most popular website online on the internet. That's because roughly 30 percent of the population has grown up with the internet always present in their lives. Just as I grew up with fax machines, touch-tone phones, and microwave ovens - they were something I always accepted as being there. All of these people - the 30 percent of the population that has always had the internet - are looking for video. That's what they expect. It's very easy to record a video and put it online. If you don't have any video on your site, you're really missing a good trick. It's a great opportunity to present how you look, how you talk, what you're like, and make yourself more attractive to clients. It's a great business-getting technique.

The third point: Don't waste any money on marketing that is not measurable. If you can't measure it, don't do it. For instance, advertising and public relations are widely used, but after you've spent $20,000 on it, do you have any way that you can check to see if it actually generated any results? I don't think so. What I would suggest you do is pursue the techniques that you can measure. That would include blogs. You can publish up a blog and see how many people visited. On a blog, you can also see how many people commented. If you really have to advertise, take out a banner ad. A banner will tell you how many people took a look at your banner and how many people clicked on it. The same thing is true with email newsletters. It's possible to send out an email newsletter and get a report on how many people actually opened it, and if there are links inside it, how many of the links were clicked on and who clicked on them. That's all measurable stuff.

Number four: When it comes to business development, start with the low-hanging fruit, and that is your own clients. These are people who love you, they trust you, they send you work, they are sending you checks. It's incumbent upon you to get to know them better to see if you can generate additional files from them. It's much easier to open a new file from a current client than it is to originate a brand new client. Again, this is something that you can measure. You can measure the number of times the attorneys in your firm have actually visited the client, how many times they had lunch with a client or a referral source. Or, if you have an event at your firm, you can count the number of attendees, keep track of all their contact information, and then trace in the new matter reports how many of them turned into new files. The bottom line is you should start at the beginning of any sort of marketing initiative by figuring out how are you going to measure it. If you don't do that, you have no way of knowing whether it succeeded or not.

The next thing is to cultivate referral sources. A lot of lawyers get most of their business from referrals, and that's a wonderful thing, but the point is that it doesn't just happen all by itself. The people who get these referrals are lawyers who cultivated them.

  • Where I would start is with clients. Again, these are people that you're doing work for, but unless you tell them that they're supposed to send you new work and that you would welcome this new work, they won't know that they're supposed to do so. You actually have to tell them.
  • Step two is you tell them what kind of work you're seeking. If you're doing a lot of commercial real estate transactions and they're sending you matrimonial cases, you haven't explained the kind of work that you're looking for.
  • There are lots of other referral sources besides clients. There are people that you will know in other professions such as investment brokers, accountants, and bankers. These are all people that can send you business so long as you tell them that you would like them to and what kind of work to send.
  • The same thing is true with law school classmates. These are people who know you. If you're a litigator, obviously you don't want to approach the litigators because they're in competition with you. Approach all the people who have a transaction practice. Chances are they're going to have some sort of a transaction that went south, and they're going to need your help.

Number six: Get active in a trade association, and get on the board of directors. You'll notice that I said, trade association, and not bar association. You should join an association of clients. You want to get in front of a room full of clients, people who can potentially hire you. You find out about these trade associations by asking your current clients what meetings they go to. Then it's a simple matter of saying, "I'd like to join you at the meeting. Would you introduce me to your friends?" These friends, of course, are all potential clients for you. It's no good just going to the meeting; you have to be visible. Your goal when you join a trade association is not to be just a face in the crowd. Your goal is to get on the board of directors. The way you do that is you seek out the president and you volunteer. You volunteer to help put together programs; you volunteer to help with the newsletter; you volunteer to help in any sort of activity that is going to lead to a board position.

Number seven: Only after you've done all of these things, then pursue target clients. What I mean by "target" is a business executive whom you already know. You don't have to make any cold calls. Whom you're contacting could be a neighbor. It could be another dad or mom at a little league game. I originated a Fortune 500 company by just talking to another dad at a little league game and asking him what line of work he was in and what kind of business problems he faced. You can meet targets in the religious organizations that you go to and the clubs that you belong to and the charities that you're active in - these are all people who have businesses - that's what you looking for - and they all have careers. Ask them questions about it.

Number eight: If you do have a business plan, write it down. It's not real until you write it down. What you want to be writing down is whom you're going to call, when you're going to meet them, and some sort of an outcome that you're expecting to have. The idea of writing it down is now you've moved it on to your calendar. Once it's on your to-do list, you're going to do it.

Number nine: A question I get a lot is "How much time should I devote to business development?" Point number nine is I would recommend 200 hours a year. That may sound like a lot, but when you break it down by week, it's really only four hours a week. You can meet somebody for coffee at Starbucks in the morning. You can meet a client. You can meet a referral source for lunch. You can go to a trade association meeting in the evening. All of this you can weave into your ordinary to-do list, and before you know it, you've devoted 400 hours. I guarantee you are going to get way more back in new business and new clients than the value of the effort that you devoted.

My closing point, number ten, is to track your results. If you are undertaking a marketing initiative such as, "joining the local business owners club, make a point of writing down the people that you want to meet before you go. After you've meet your targets, asked them about their business challenges, later you can to go back and ask yourself, "Did this work? Did I get a new file?" I recall working with a lawyer who was spending money on radio ads, and he was reaching a huge number of people, but he examined his new clients and none of them came from the radio. He wasn't getting any new business out of it at all, so he discontinued it. That's the approach you have to make, but you only will be able to do that if you track your results.

So count to ten, pick the ideas you will pursue, and just do it. The more activities you choose, the more clients and revenue you'll bring in.


E-Mail is a Significantly More Effective Way to Acquire Customers Than Social Media

If you’re wondering why marketers seem intent on e-mailing you more and more, there’s a simple explanation: it works, says the latest McKinsey research.

email is more effective than social media

The report finds that E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined, as shown in the graphic.  That’s because 91 percent of all US consumers still use e-mail daily, according to ExactTarget.

The rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher, accoding to Emarketer.

McKinsey offers three tips:

1. Make the landing page special. "Customized landing pages—which send the user directly to the item or offer featured in the e-mail—can increase conversion rates by more than 25 percent. And don’t forget mobile. Nearly 45 percent of all marketing e-mails today are opened on a mobile device. Yet many marketers fail to optimize landing pages for the platform," the report says.

2. Learn about your customer. 'The best marketing organizations view every e-mail as an opportunity to learn more about their consumer. They define clear learning objectives for each campaign, capture data, and share it within the marketing group and the rest of the organization."

3. Personalize messages. "The best e-mails feel personal—and they are. A targeting engine must be built to guide the right message to the right person. Although it’s a lot of work, it drives real returns: one financial institution increased revenue from target segments by 20 percent by using life-cycle events to trigger personalized e-mails to existing customers."

Print is not dead, because it is more satisfying

Cool Tools catalogDefying conventional wisdom, a founding editor at Wired magazine has pinpointed the formula for succeeding with a print publication in the face competing online alternatives.

“There is something about having that large expanse of real estate in your lap, something about the [print] format, that is extremely satisfying,” says Kevin Kelly. “Having many different things you may be interested in on a page, as opposed to a single thing surrounded by ads as it is on the web, leads to the formation of different connections and leads to a different experience,” he tells the New York Times.

The Internet has demolished the business models of many print publications, ranging from encyclopedias, to newspapers to magazines. According to the NYT, advertising pages for weekly magazines fell 2% from 2012 to 2013, and biweeklies saw a 5.3% decline. More than half the magazines published fewer issues last year.

Yet the print version of the website Cool Tools sold out its first printing immediately, a second printing will go on sale next week and a larger third printing is underway.

Here is the secret to success for a print publication:

  • It is exceptionally-edited. Like the pages of Wired magazine, there are many bite-sized nuggets of interesting information to choose from on the pages. Each one contains a perfectly told story that is hewn to fit its space exactly.There are no walls of text, run-on sentences or sloppy grammar. "Americans lead poorly edited lives," the NYT notes, and it is refreshing to see organized attention to detail.
  • It is highly-designed. Each page features color and black-and-white photos, line drawings and tint blocks of differing sizes. Palettes changes from page to page. Graphic elements are juxtaposed. There is plenty for the cones in your eyes to enjoy.
  • big smile kittenThe combined effect is to make you feel good. As the NYT says of Cool Tools, "Having it in my hands made me happy." It's like savoring a multi-part dessert which you explore in minute detail. The feeling is like nestling in with a good read for as long as the coziness can hold your attention. It captures your imagination like a nice dream that makes you want to stay in bed Sunday morning.
  • It can be shared. You can give a person a book, but you can't do that with an e-book on a Kindle. Sharing means you get to talk about what you've read and enjoy comparing notes. Nothing beats getting a new insight into something you just read.
  • It is practical. People like reading something that can be put to use immediately in their own lives. "Practical" can involve showing you how to make something, demonstrating a method to get something done or giving you a tip on how to live healthier. I'm not discounting reading for entertainment, because nothing is better than doing something for fun. But a practical article will cause you to get a highlighter and start underlining sentences.

When I read that "print is dead" I think only of The Onion's article saying, "the declining medium passed away early Thursday morning. The influential means of communication was 1,803."


Measuring the Return on Investment in Law Firms

tim corcoran
Tim Corcoran

Here's a synopsis written by Frank Strong of a webinar by Tim Corcoran and Chris Fritsch, courtesy of the Make More Rain blog. See below to review their slides.

Following are five lessons from the webinar:

1. Seemingly small but important details matter.  It’s the “little things that count,” according to Fritsch.   Start by getting the entire team focused on business development for just a few hours a week.  Details, such as getting the right people to the right events can make a big difference.  Focus on modest but achievable goals such as improving the click-through rate on email communication by 1%.

Chris Fritsch
Chris Fritsch

2. Measure and reward based on business objectives.  One law firm was recognizing volume – a business development team had completed some 400 RFPs over a given period of time – but the question remains, is volume the goal?  Volume however, may not be the same as focusing on the right things:  relationships with top clients or conducting client interviews.  There’s an aspect of culture to this as well – and it’s a way to ensure that the firm’s young attorneys are being properly trained in business development.

3.  ROI is relative.  Return on investment, or ROI, is by definition the gain from the investment minus the cost of that investment and then divided by the cost of that investment.  There’s a credible argument to be made that ROI in law firm marketing is not always so absolute, rather a firm should “look at all of our expenses and compare to what else we can be doing,” according to Corcoran.  “In a law firm we are asked to do a lot,” added Corcoran but the question is, “What should we do?  Where should we focus?”

4.  Avoid random acts of golf and lunch.  It’s important to ensure the marketing spend is strategic.  Fritsch relayed an anecdote about a firm that noticed complete strangers were showing up to the firm’s box seats at a major sporting event.   When the partners looked into this matter, they discovered that the firm’s associates were giving the tickets to friends, who were in turn reselling them on internet sites.  The firm ended up cutting the program and yielded some $2 million in savings.

5. Target, segment, target.  This was a theme that ran throughout the webinar with several tips for emails, events and content marketing presented at various times.  Corcoran pointed out he often sees law firms create brochures with a long list of capabilities, what he called, “do it yourself selling.”  In other words, if a prospective client reviewed every biography on a law firm’s website, they might find a lawyer that can meet their needs. The problem is, prospective clients aren’t wiling to do this so marketing needs to segment their messages according to who they’d like to reach.