2 Ways to Improve Your Law Practice's PPC Advertising

Today we hear from Sarah Kicinski, a CMO in the direct mail business about Pay Per Click advertising.


As Chief Marketing Officer at PostcardMania, I am responsible for staying on top of our Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing. One day our PPC expert reported that we had paid for a click from someone who typed "How to Get on McDonald's Mailing List” into Google. This was a complete waste of money, because obviously that prospect doesn’t want a targeted mailing list; he wants coupons for cheeseburgers, and we just can’t help him with that.

These dead-end leads drive PPC marketers crazy, because they eat up your return on investment! I decided to put an end to the problem once and for all, so we could seal up our marketing and keep out dead-end leads. I only want to pay for leads that have a good chance of bringing my company revenue. You want the same thing for your law practice, so I want to tell you what I came up with. It worked for us, and it will work for you.

Here’s what you do:

1. Use Negative Keywords to Keep Unqualified Leads Away From Your Ads.

PPC works by targeting specific keywords, so your ads get shown to prospects that are already looking for your services. Law practices would target keywords like “legal advice,” “personal injury lawyer,” etc. We call these keywords positive keywords, because they are targeting the people you DO want to see your ads. Negative keywords are the phrases that may lead unqualified leads to your ads. Those are the keywords used by people you DO NOT want to see your ads, because they may click on them before realizing you don’t have what they need. You need to intentionally specify that Google should block leads from negative keywords, because otherwise they may be shown to the wrong prospects, just like what happened in our McDonald mailing list story. The search had “mailing list” in it, so it was technically related to our business. However, the prospect clearly wasn’t looking for targeted mailing lists for marketing purposes, so there wasn’t really a sales opportunity there. Using negative keywords keeps these dead-end leads away, and only shows your ads to prospects with a potential for revenue generation.

2. Use Analytics to Track Which Ads Are Generating Revenue, Not Just Leads

Just because an ad is attracting quality leads doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bringing your practice revenue. Tracking which ads are resulting in real revenue, not simply attracting interest, helps you to see which keywords are your best investments and which ad strategies are the most effective. Even if you’re avoiding dead-end leads, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily heading in the right direction. You need to proactively track your revenue generation to make sure you are driving on the road to profit-ville.

Dead-end leads are the worst. You’re paying for marketing with no hope of a return on the investment. These two methods help you get rid of dead-end leads and maximize the revenue your ads generate for your law practice.

If you would like more advice on maximizing your PPC efforts, download this free report with 12 more tips for increasing PPC targeting.

Sarah Kicinski is the Chief Marketing Office of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania. In the 9 years since she started, Sarah has worked her way through several high-level positions and closely overseen PostcardMania’s transformation from a turnkey direct mail marketer offering graphic design, printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services all under one roof, to a fully integrated marketing firm with a full suite of print, digital and delivery products.

In 2012, PostcardMania reached almost $44 million in annual revenue, and the company now employs more than 195 people, prints 4 million and mails 2 million postcards each week, and has more than 53,000 customers in over 350 industries. Please visit www.postcardmania.com for more information. You can find Sarah on Google+, or call 1-800-628-1804 to speak with a PostcardMania marketing consultant. 

5 Must Haves For Your Website Conversion Tool Kit (Webinar)

Attention Attorneys: You have only 6 seconds to make a connection with a website visitor.

Six short seconds from the time a visitor lands on your website to let them know what you're focusing on, how you can help them, and ultimately to prompt an inquiry from them.

Even if you drive thousands of visitors to your website every day, that traffic is of very little value to your law firm if you're not converting those visitors into inquiries.

Ready to make changes to your website that will prove results?  Join Cindy Greenway, Editor in Chief of LawMarketing.com and Tanner Jones, Marketing Director of ConsultWebs.com on Thursday, September 12th at 1pm Eastern / 10am Pacific, for a complimentary webinar.

5 Must Haves For Your Website Conversion.

Here's what you learn when you join us for this webinar:

  1. Five top items you MUST have on your website to convert visitors to prospects
  2. How to design for human eyes:  ensuring you are approachable
  3. Proven ways to maximize your website conversion
  4. Which data is worth tracking and how it impacts your bottom line
  5. The top conversion tools that are critical for today's Web browsers

This webinar is complimentary. Click here to register.

How to Increase the Page Rank of your Website with the help of SEO and Web Design

Here is a guest post from Rachel Smith, an Internet Marketing Consultant. 

Your page rank on Google correlates with how much traffic you’ll receive through the search engines. Without a high page rank, you can expect little to no traffic. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and web design work together to give you a higher page ranking. Here are some of the things you should bear in mind when looking to increase your page rank.

Quick Loading

Let’s start from the beginning, when someone first clicks on your page. It should load within five seconds. Google actively penalizes websites which don’t conform to this limit. If your site takes longer to load, it could indicate a problem with the design.

Initially, you should ensure it isn’t your connection which is slowing it down.

The most common reason for slow loading times is too many pictures and graphics. Remove all but the most essential traffics. Another reason is the way the site has been coded. Code should be compressed and code used on all pages should have separate linked files.

Keyword Optimized

Basic SEO starts with keywords. Keywords are what people use to search for things in Google. For example, if your New York-based business was selling wedding cakes you would use the keyword ‘wedding cakes in New York’. If someone typed this in, your site would appear on the search engine results.

Use Google’s tools to research which keywords fit best with your website. Aim for about 3-5 primary keywords. Place these keywords in your content without spamming them. Add some variation of each primary keyword and use these as your secondary keywords.

Cater to your reader. Only put in keywords if the sentence sounds natural. If it doesn’t, leave it out.

Using Frames

Frames were once a common part of web design…in the 90s. The 90s were a long time ago in the online world. Most search engines don’t even search for frames any longer. If you’re designing websites using frames, there’s a high chance it won’t even appear on the search engines.

Even if you’re lucky enough to be tailoring your site to a search engine which does index frame-based websites, they’ll likely penalize it anyway.

Anything you can accomplish with frames you can achieve much easier using CSS or Java, or even a less well-known code of your choice.

Updated Information

Page rank is partially determined by how recent your information is. If you last updated your website six months ago, it’s considered less relevant in the eyes of Google. Page rank is essentially a measurement of relevance in relation to the search term the user typed in. If a site isn’t updated often, it’s always less relevant.

You don’t have to keep changing the content on your home page. It’s measured based on the whole site. A blog which you update every week or two will fulfill this activity requirement just fine.

Overall, these are the main things you need to consider when trying to boost your page rank. From these points, you can understand how important good web design and SEO is in making your site more visible.

Author Bio: Rachel Smith is an Internet marketing consultant. He regularly explains to his clients how they need to employ a web designer who takes marketing into account in his designs. He recommends concentrating less on how a website looks and more on how it can perform in the search engines. She loves to travel and write.She also writes for ybinteractive on topics such as Pittsburgh SEM

Webinar: The Secret Ingredients of 5-Star Law Firm Websites

Join us for an encore presentation of our FREE Webinar:

The Secret Ingredients of 5-Star Law Firm Websites

 

Results of the 2013 Law Firm Website Conversion Studyby LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®

 

 


Date: Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Time: 12:30 – 1:30 P.M., ET

It takes the right blend of ingredients to create a 5-star law firm website that inspires confidence and drives leads. Which elements pique a consumer’s interest enough to prompt a call to your firm?

This complimentary Webinar, back by popular demand and presented by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® Web design experts, will explore the results of an exclusive study on how to turn visitors to your website into leads.

We will answer the following questions:

 

·         Which law firm website elements do consumers notice?

·         What do consumers react to in a positive, negative or neutral way?

·         What prompts website visitors to contact the law firm for more information or an appointment?

·         Based upon your practice area(s), which website elements should be included?

·         How can your law firm website stand out among many law firms vying for prospects’ attention?

We will also include examples of best practices for your website and which pitfalls to avoid.

Register HERE for an encore presentation of our FREE webinar and receive a copy of the study whitepaper after the presentation.

Presenters:

Samantha Miller, Vice President, LexisNexis® Product Web Visibility Solutions has held leadership positions at litigation technology companies and has previously practiced law in Philadelphia as a commercial litigator. Ms. Miller is a published author and speaker on the use of technology in the practice of law.
 

Felice Daddario, Creative Director for LexisNexis® Web Visibility Solutions is responsible for the creative design strategies behind the company’s world-class websites for law firms. His design team has won numerous industry awards, including the 2012 Web Marketing Association WebAward for “Legal Standard of Excellence.”

 

Advice on the Importance of a Law Firm's Reputation

I was recently interviewed by Carole Oldroyd of the Reputation.com Blog on the importance of the law firm's reputation. You can read the interview below or on the Reputation.com Blog.

Every business wants to have a good reputation, but the nature of a lawyer's work demands it. Attorneys have been understandably slow and cautious in promoting themselves online. But clients are consumers, and consumer needs and expectations evolve.

Can opting not to build an online presence hurt?

Based on new research by TRiG, The Research Intelligence Group, more than three-quarters of adults who looked to hire an attorney in the past year went online at some point in the process.

If consumers fail to find an online presence, they will form a poor opinion of the firm, in my opinion.

How safe is it to believe that the firm doesn't have an online presence if no one inside the firm created one?

The firm will have a reputation -- and an online presence -- regardless if the firm endeavored to create one because consumers exchange opinions.

Worse, the Web is full of "trolls" who have nothing better to do than say negative things -- and an easy target is a firm with no established online presence. Therefore, it is crucial for a firm to claim and establish its reputation by actively creating an online presence.

Is social media an important factor?

Social media has become a popular form of conversation among consumers since LinkedIn was launched in 2003, Facebook was launched in 2004, and Twitter was launched in 2006.

There is a continuous, influential stream of messages being sent about lawyers and law firms. The conversation can generate new business for firms that participate, or it can send new business to competitors for law firms that ignore the conversation.

How can a firm monitor its reputation and measure the results?

The most important important metric of a positive reputation is the amount of revenue generated. Offline sources of business are notoriously hard to measure. Online sources, however, can be measured and compared easily:

  • Unique visitors and page views for a website.
  • Number of views and leads generated by an online profile
  • Followers and re-tweets for a Twitter account
  • Likes for a Facebook page
  • Recommendations for a LinkedIn profile

Using Reputation.com is a good option to monitor reputation. The best place to monitor is the online venue that clients and potential clients visit.

How can a firm manage occasional negative feedback?

Stifle the natural urge to counterattack; the better approach is to be sensitive and accommodating. The key is never to respond in anger. Even if the commenter is not satisfied, at least you have shown that you are the more reasonable person.

At some point it will make sense to let it die out. At that stage, the only option is to flood the web with "good news" using SEO techniques. Negative comments will appear out of sight.

Can posting videos on YouTube enhance a firm's reputation?

There is nothing more convincing than appearing "in person" to demonstrate good will. Good production values and frequent postings make a big difference here.

On Lawyers.com, we have helped hundreds of lawyers create playlists of positive messages about their practices on YouTube. These videos emphasize how a law firm works and how it proceeds with a legal matter. Sound and motion capture people's attention, and a relevant, helpful message will keep an audience.

How can lawyers drive online traffic?

There is a science to optimizing search engine results for websites and blogs. But in the final analysis, nothing beats fresh new content and unique perspectives.

Readers may be hooked by promoted tweets or online marketing, but only a good story with a practical point will keep and hold clients and new customers.

Are there third-party options to help lawyers get established?

It has become desirable for lawyers to engage marketing and writing professionals to create their web pages and initial drafts of blog posts. For example, many lawyers turn to LexisNexis Custom Web Visibility Solutions to interview them and use the information to write practice descriptions and web copy that attracts new business.

For the copy and content to be authentic, a lawyer must be personally involved in the final expression. This taps into the personality of a lawyer, who will be a better editor than creator of content.

 

How Google Authorship Can Help You Stand Out From The Competition

George Murphy, Owner at The Search Ninjas provided a guest post about Google Authorship.

Google, which is still the preferred search engine for 67% of the United States according to Comscore’s latest report, launched their Authorship program in early 2012 in an attempt to help users differentiate between trusted, reputable authors, and web spammers. Many Internet marketers (myself included) believe that the Authorship program will play a big role in the search engine giant’s ranking factors in the near future, and to plan for this, you’ll need to know more about Google Authorship and how to implement it on your website(s) and/or blog(s).

What is Google Authorship?

You know how, when you do a Google search for something like “Maryland DUI attorney” or “Los Angeles divorce lawyer”, you see a number of other lawyers’ pictures come up in the search results page?  Their pictures are being displayed because they’ve implemented Google Authorship into their website(s) or blog(s), and studies have confirmed that click through rates for webmasters who have implemented Google Authorship are much higher than those who haven’t.

How Do I Setup Google Authorship?

The best part about the Google Auhtorship program is that it doesn’t take a web “ninja” to figure out how to set it up. Here are a few resources that you can utilize to implement Google Authorship:

How to sign up for Google Authorship and link your Google+ profile to the content you create by Google

Rich Snippet Testing Tool to see if your website’s Authorship markup is working correctly by Google

Check Authoship impressions and clicks in Webmaster Tools by Google

A Few Quick Tips

    While you may be tempted to post more personal/laid back images of yourself on other social media profiles, you probably want to keep the suit on for Google+. Surveys have shown that law firms with more distinguished attorney pictures are preferred to the picture of you and the family on vacation.

    In the “contributor to” section of your Google+ profile, add a link to as many profiles as you can- your LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, Facebook page, Superlawyers/Lawyers.com/Findlaw profile, etc- as it adds reputation to your Authorship efforts.

    If you use Wordpress for your website or blog, Yoast’s SEO Plugin will help you to easily implement Google+ Author markup.

Improved Search Engine and Overall Web Visibility

As you continue to:

    Add more content to your website, blog, and other websites through guest posting and contributions.

    Increase your reach on Google+ by following and interacting with others, posting regularly, joining and interacting with communities, and +1’ing other posts on a regular basis.

    Market your Google+ page in your newsletter, e-mail campaigns, and other social media profiles.

    Get added to more people’s circles on Google+ as a result of the above

The more trusted you will be in Google’s eyes and, as a result, the more visible you and your firm will be to search engine users and your target audience.

About the Author


George Murphy is the owner of The Search Ninjas, a Maryland-based web marketing company specializing in website design and SEO (search engine optimization) specifically for law firms and attorneys. George has been in legal web marketing for over 5 years and has worked with a number of law firms throughout the country and in a variety of practice areas. Find out more about their law firm SEO services or follow George on Google+.

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Law Firms: Big Brands Mean Big Business

If there is any doubt about the power of a big brand, check out Graphic Design USA’s recent listing of the favorite logos of the past half century.  Even those that are abstract symbols are easily recognized by millions across the globe.  These brands have gained popularity over many years and consumers choose these companies’ products because they believe in the brand - a strong brand can generate fierce customer loyalty.

 

When someone needs the services of an attorney, the company brand will heavily influence their final choice.   People are used to making choices based on branding – they are bombarded by brands every waking minute of their day, from adverts and product packaging, to television and the ubiquitous internet.   So when seeking legal representation they will automatically assess law firms’ brands and will be attracted to the brand which appears to match their specific needs.

If a law office brand doesn’t send out the right message to the prospective client right from the very first viewing, quite simply its attorneys won’t be hired.  When branding your law office, follow these guidelines to ensure that you have a big brand that will bring you plenty of business:

Use a Professional Branding Company:  This critical step can’t be over emphasized.  A brand is far more than an eye catching logo; a powerful company brand summarizes everything you offer and how you deliver it.  By working with seasoned professionals you can develop a strong branding strategy that reflects your professionalism, your ethics, your experience and expertise.  A big brand will form a firm foundation for all your promotional activities.

Define your Target Market:  A full and complete understanding of your target market is necessary for your brand to be effective.  It must appeal to your audience and make them sit up and take notice.

Define your Unique Selling Point:  Be clear on what makes you different from your competitors.  Maybe you have a great track record in winning your cases.  Whatever it is, make sure it is highly evident in all of your promotional materials.

Choose an Appropriate Company Name:  Partner names can be used but only in moderation, and are far more effective when combined with the area of legal specialization.  ‘Dale & Docherty Family Law’ definitely works.  However ‘Smith, Lewis, Docherty & Slopecki Criminal & Family Lawyers’ is starting to push any reader’s attention span to its limit and is far from memorable.  More creative names are also acceptable so long as they reflect the services on offer.

Design a Memorable Logo:  Your company logo will be shown on everything from your business card and corporate stationery to your website and traditional adverts.  So use a professional brand company to get it right.  A logo which appears unrelated to legal services or is clearly an amateur design certainly won’t instill trust in your would-be clients.

Create a Strong Tagline:  Your company tagline is a short phrase to set the stage for what you offer and to entice the reader to learn more.  It can be traditional and formal, or more modern such as that used by Foster Townsend Graham & Associates, the Canadian firm who opted for ‘Damn Fine Litigators’.  It’s succinct, to the point and definitely memorable.

Produce High Quality Printed Materials:  To make a good impression, your business cards, corporate stationery and company brochures must all be professionally designed and printed on quality paper.  For many this is an indication of your success - and clients will always want to hire successful attorneys.

As with any other product or service, consumers are persuaded to hire an attorney in part by the company brand.  A well thought out branding strategy created in conjunction with a professional brand development company is imperative for your law firm.  By creating an effective brand, it has the capacity to grow into a well known brand – and big brands definitely drum up big business.


About the author: Michelle Collins is an experienced writer in the field of brand design and website development, and works for New Design Group in Toronto, Canada as VP of Public Relations.  


New Design Group is an outstandingly motivated and sought after branding specialist company with expertise in brand identity development, website design, SEM, SEO, and Social Media campaign management.  View the New Design Group website http://www.newdesigngroup.ca or visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/NewDesignGroup

Online Destinations that Influence a Consumer to Buy

According to new research, there are three places online that are most likely to influence a consumer to make a purchase:

  • "Retail" websites like Lawyers.comSM
  • "Brand" websites, like a law firm's site
  • Blogs

Also topping the list were Facebook, and online forums and groups like Ask a Lawyer. The new findings in theTechnorati Media 2013 Digital Influence Report confirm that the best way for lawyers to attract new clients online is to market around the way that consumers behave.

Technorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs. It surveyed 6,000 "influencers" (bloggers), 1,200 consumers and 150 top brand marketers. "Brand managers report an expected increase in budgets for digital marketing in the upcoming year," Technorati reported.

Retail websites

Consumers love to go to retail websites like Amazon.com or Zappos.com - online shopping centers where people can find many brands. In this sense, Lawyers.com, which gets more than 6 million page views per month, is a "retail" site - where consumers can find tens of thousands of lawyer profiles.

On Lawyers.com, consumers can easily find out many lawyers' expertise, website and contact information, and can compare attorneys by peer and client ranking. Online reviews can be a great source of new clients. Lawyers.com andmartindale.com® are the top online directories used by consumers who sought an attorney in the past year, according to the Attorney Selection Research Study by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG).

Brand websites

In contrast, a "brand" website displays information about one kind of product or service, like Microsoft or Google. A brand website is an online store, the digital equivalent of an Apple store at a shopping mall.

"Today's consumers are increasingly comfortable going online to find answers for all kinds of issues, including legal ones," says Samantha Miller, vice president of product, Web Visibility Solutions, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. "Law firm websites need to capture consumers' attention and engage them, while serving as part of a larger marketing campaign."

There's no doubt that attorney websites still matter. More than one in three potential consumers of legal services turn to law firm websites to find a lawyer, and 26 percent have checked out a firm's website in order to validate an attorney, according to the TRiG research.

Lawyer blogs

It's clear to see why blogs also influence people to make a purchase. Consumers begin their search for a lawyer by researching their legal issue. The ideal place for them to learn a particular aspect of the law is on an attorney blog. And once a consumer has read a good blog post, who better to call than the lawyer who wrote it?

To learn more about what we can do for you and get a free Website Evaluation and Consultation, contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.

Basic Design Tips for Law Firm Websites

Donald Rohan, a Law Firm Marketing Specialist with LexisNexis, provides this guest post about basic design for law firm websites.

Bad website design is like a bad tattoo. You went into the process wanting something that highlighted your uniqueness and attracted positive attention. Unfortunately, you got something indistinguishable from thousands of others — or worse, something that stands out for the wrong reasons.

Traditional limits on legal advertising and inexperience with design often lead law firms to overspend on websites that don't deliver maximum impact. Some firms may think they don't need to invest much in their site. But even if your firm maintains a conservative approach to a practice area like estate planning, you can present and promote yourself in a unique, attractive way.  

 

You don't need to be a design expert. Just keep a few basic tips in mind, and check out these examples of firms that are doing design well:

Tell a story with one dominant image.

Before viewers read a word, they should get the message you're trying to transmit. Don't distract from this message by clouding the viewer's perception with different images. Find one dominant image that works.  On this homepage, you would immediately understand the firm's international focus.

Resist visual clichés.

A picture of courthouse steps does not send a message of trial brilliance. Instead, it leaves viewers with the inability to distinguish your firm from the thousands of others with similar imagery. The first people to put a pink flamingo on their lawn might have evoked curious questions as to whether exotic waterfowl lived there, but now those plastic birds are so common, people don't even "see" them anymore. Here's a website that uses symbolism to get away from the typical images of personal injury firms. 

Think like a newspaper editor.

Without reading any of the text, a newspaper reader knows which stories merit the most attention. Those appear on top with the largest headlines and graphics. Other important stories are presented lower on the page. Interesting items that don't merit front-page treatment receive a brief mention in the table of contents with their page number. On this site, the main headline is large, clear, and well promoted, even as the images behind it shift. As you move down and outward from the headline, the secondary items appear and are easy to access.

 

Click here to read the article at the source.

 

Basic Design Tips for Law Firm Websites

Today's post originally appeared on the LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Blog by Donald Rohan, a Law Firm Marketing Specialist.

Bad website design is like a bad tattoo. You went into the process wanting something that highlighted your uniqueness and attracted positive attention. Unfortunately, you got something indistinguishable from thousands of others — or worse, something that stands out for the wrong reasons.

Traditional limits on legal advertising and inexperience with design often lead law firms to overspend on websites that don't deliver maximum impact. Some firms may think they don't need to invest much in their site. But even if your firm maintains a conservative approach to a practice area like estate planning, you can present and promote yourself in a unique, attractive way.  

You don't need to be a design expert. Just keep a few basic tips in mind, and check out these examples of firms that are doing design well:

Tell a story with one dominant image.

Before viewers read a word, they should get the message you're trying to transmit. Don't distract from this message by clouding the viewer's perception with different images. Find one dominant image that works.  On this homepage, you would immediately understand the firm's international focus.

Resist visual clichés.

A picture of courthouse steps does not send a message of trial brilliance. Instead, it leaves viewers with the inability to distinguish your firm from the thousands of others with similar imagery. The first people to put a pink flamingo on their lawn might have evoked curious questions as to whether exotic waterfowl lived there, but now those plastic birds are so common, people don't even "see" them anymore. Here's a website that uses symbolism to get away from the typical images of personal injury firms. 

Think like a newspaper editor.

Without reading any of the text, a newspaper reader knows which stories merit the most attention. Those appear on top with the largest headlines and graphics. Other important stories are presented lower on the page. Interesting items that don't merit front-page treatment receive a brief mention in the table of contents with their page number. On this site, the main headline is large, clear, and well promoted, even as the images behind it shift. As you move down and outward from the headline, the secondary items appear and are easy to access.

At each stage of your website process, you should be able to identify your firm's headline, the dominant image that will accompany it and why it is uniquely matched to your firm.