Identifying Hidden Referral Sources

In order to maximize the number of referrals you receive, you should understand where the referrals came from.  Stephen Fairley at The Rainmaker Blog, recommends ways to identify hidden referral sources.

Too often, attorneys sign a new client without having a true understanding of how that client came to them. 

How can you repeat your successes if you don’t know what you’re doing right?

If you start examining the ways that new clients come to you, you will begin to reveal referral sources you didn’t even know you had.

Here are some tips for discovery:

Whenever someone calls to inquire about your services, have whoever handles the call ask how they found your firm. If they say on the Internet, ask what search terms they used. If they say they saw an ad, ask where. If they say they were referred, ask by whom (and be sure you follow up with that referral source to thank them promptly!).

Create a spreadsheet so you can track how prospects find you. The idea is for you to be able to tell at a glance what law firm marketing method is bringing you the most leads.

Track how many times you “touch” each lead before they become a client, and what methods you used to keep in touch.

Examine the data for which activities you are currently doing that result in the best quality leads, and which ones are bringing in prospects that are not a good fit for you.

Track costs and how much time you are spending for each of your law firm marketing activities so you can determine your ROI for each activity. 

Have your clients provide feedback on your services – likes, dislikes and be sure to ask if they feel good about referring you to friends and family.

 

Once you are able to tell what you’re doing right, you can then put your resources to work in areas that bring you the best quality leads.

Read the post at it's source here.

 

Swimming with Sharks

Steven Long provides some advice for swimming with sharks when you are a big attorney in a small pond.

Some clients like to look for attorneys with prestigious addresses or those who are part of a bigger firm. But here in the Dallas area, a lot of clients prefer an attorney who is a big fish in a small pond. Many clients and would-be clients are more interested in working with a local attorney in a small office nearby, rather than one in a large office where they have to travel miles and miles to visit. However, small firms and solo practitioners often lack the marketing dollars and muscle of their big-firm counterparts. Without those, attorneys who may be off the beaten track need to be smart and savvy to stand out and get noticed by people needing legal advice.

Social media can be the equalizer that allows you to get noticed by clients in your neighborhood when you don't work for a big firm — as long as you take the right approaches to maximize marketing time and money.

Read the remainder of his article here.

56% of Law Firm Website Visits Go to Attorney Bios

lawyer bios, law firm marketing, legal marketingAccording to Great Jakes web marketing, most traffic on a law firm website goes right to lawyer bios (see the chart). This is exactly where marketing-savvy lawyers want it to go. So, why are they neglected?

The reason is deep in the attorney psyche, according to marketing consultant Amy Knapp. "Attorneys are slow to accept the real way that clients make hiring decisions. The person whom the client (1) Knows, (2) Likes and (3) Trusts, in that order, gets the job. So why wouldn’t the purpose of a bio be to make one known, likable and trustworthy?" she says.

Before I tell what works, here's what does not get new clients:

  • Old articles (over 3 years) and anything you wrote in law school.
  • Neglect: a bio that is out of date.
  • Text that goes on and on (and the opposite: one content-free paragraph).
  • No picture.
  • Bios that start out with where you were born or went to school.
  • No links to your speeches and articles.

Elements of a bio that do generate new business are:

  • Peer reviews and recommendations from other lawyers.
  • Client reviews and testimonials.
  • Case histories of results obtained for clients.
  • Text describing how you work with clients.
  • A recent color picture. See How to Pick a Good Picture of Yourself.

Here's a great example:lawyers.com online bio, law firm marketing, legal marketing

Read "Turning Your Bio into a Magnet for Business," a short article I wrote about how you can create your own personal brand.

Winning Legal Business from Mid-Cap Companies

Silvia Hodges, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketingDid you know that advertising, unsolicited newsletters and the legal press are irrelevant in getting legal work from a medium sized business? 

However, there are several sure-fire ways to reach decision-makers at these companies, and we'll discuss them during our Webinar next Thursday June 9, "Winning Legal Business from Mid-Cap Companies."

 

Our featured guest is Silvia Hodges, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing and Management at Fordham Law School. She spent 4 years studying how mid-sized companies find and select law firms and just published a book on the topic: Winning legal Business from Medium-Sized Companies.

In the webinar, I will interview her on how to communicate, market and sell to these excellent, paying clients. 

But medium-sized companies are different -- they don't have an internal legal department and typically lack legal expertise. They don't issue RFPs and will consider one or two law firms before making a choice. Often the CEO or the HR director will search for and choose the company law firm - not the purchasing or procurement department.

Among the topics Dr. Hodges will cover are:

  • The unique two-stage process that mid-size companies use to find a law firm and then select a lawyer.
  • Why many standard types of marketing - like branding and advertising - are a waste of money to reach mid-size companies.
  • The communications, marketing and selling techniques that are proven to work to reach the CEO or company executive who makes the hiring decision. A tip: they don't have to justify their decision so being a brand-name firm doesn't matter.
  • How to position yourself as a lawyer so that mid-cap companies will find you.
  • How modern Internet applications like blogs, Facebook and Twitter have become important. 85% of executives consider law firm websites important sources of information in their search for lawyers.

winning new business, law firm marketing, webinar, legal marketing, Register Now

Please see the description of Winning Legal Business from Mid-Cap Companies to find out more.
MORE INFO: Program Director Laura Kresich; (Tel) (773) 966-9273 or Lkresich@LawMarketing.com
WEBSITE: http://bit.ly/ilfrRh

Law Firm Marketing for Rainmakers

Law firm marketing, marketing for rainmakers, business developmentFrom the LawMarketing Portal:

Rainmaker Marketing -- 52 Rules of Engagement to Attract and Retain Customers for Life by Phil Fragasso is a must-read for professional service marketers, rainmakers and rainmaker wannabes -- according to book reviewer Cecelia Alerts.

By organizing his points into 52 Rules of Engagement (ROE), Fragasso provides a road map of principles for becoming a better rainmaker.  Alers recommends that you read this book from front to back and then keep it for reference.  Each month, you should take the book from your reference shelf, close your eyes and open it to a random page.  Try incorporating whichever ROE you land on into your professional journey.  If you do this, you will become a better service provider as well as better rainmaker. 

Big picture invisible dot connectors

The author reminds us what many before him have said:  Today’s clients are looking for more than technical expertise.  They are looking for collaborators.  The best rainmakers, Fragasso says, focus on proving how valuable they are instead of how smart.  On the other hand, the author talks about the important role knowledge plays in keeping your business from becoming a commodity.  Whether it is through technical expertise or strategic knowledge, the author believes that rainmakers are “big picture invisible dot connectors.” The ability to find and connect invisible dots is a truly unique ability.  However, unlike the author, Alers is not sure learning how to connect invisible dots can be learned.  She believes some traits of rainmaking are either inherent or learned so early in life that they appear to be inherent.  Being driven is one example.  By the time you are in your 20s, you are either driven to success or not.  If you are, you will make good use of this book.  If you are not, you will wonder with detached emotion why some of your colleagues and friends stress so much.   

Throughout the book, the author talks about the important role of passion in rainmaking.  He tells us passionate enthusiasm is the most engaging and persuasive force to making rain.  Choosing a career that you believe contributes to “the greater good” moves you from a worker to an evangelist.  When you are evangelical about your work, making money becomes the byproduct of your core mission.  The author tells us to learn to describe what we do in simple, heartfelt terms. 

He offers this description of what attorneys do as an example.  “I protect clients from the enemies they don’t even see.”  "I love that!" Alers writes.

For the rest of the review by Cecelia Alers, visit Marketing for Rainmakers at http://www.lawmarketing.com/pages/articles.asp?Action=Article&ArticleCategoryID=58&ArticleID=866

Make Friends, Not Contacts

Ari Kaplan, law firm marketing, networkingLawyers need to meet people to generate business and to retain clients, according to author Ari Kaplan. He suggests lawyers join a sports league, the chamber of commerce, and hook up with law school classmates.

Start with those you have already met and have them introduce you to their friends, recommends Elizabeth “Betiayn” Tursi, the founder of Tursi Law Marketing Management. “I have gotten business from friends with whom I went to elementary school,” she notes.

Ari had a method for making contacts that generate new business:

  • Make Friends For a Reason
  • Participate in non-legal activities
  • Become active in your local chamber of commerce
  • Start with Alumni of Your Alma Maters

To read more about his strategy, which is excerpted from his new book The Opportunity Maker, visit the LawMarketing Portal.

Book Review: Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women

Get your copy of Some Assembly Required: a Networking Guide for Women in the LawMarketing store for just $22.95

Review by Margaret McCaffery:

This book is a sequel to Thom Singer’s Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow, and Keep Your Business Relationships.

It springs from a networking relationship: Thom’s publishers had suggested a book specifically for women and Thom realized he wouldn’t be able to write this one alone. Who should he meet in the airport but Marny Lifshen, someone who had been part of his network for years.

I have to admit, I cringed a bit about reading this pink- covered book in public places like restaurants or the subway. I mean, we should be able to network without needing lessons, right? And why should women need different advice from men? I needn’t have worried: the authors are refreshingly down to earth about the fact that yes, networking comes naturally to some, but even they can benefit from being more strategic with their efforts. And yes, networking is in large part the same for men and women, but women face both challenges and opportunities that differ from those men face.

There is much common sense in this 184-page, simply written book. I particularly liked the focus on the differences between personal and professional friendships. Being someone who likes to keep home and work reasonably separate, I’ve often struggled with the concept that you should develop client relationships into friendships (“make your friends your clients and your clients your friends”).This book looks that issue squarely in the face and defines the difference, recognizing that business decisions will often test friendships, especially if you have to give performance feedback.

Starting with a clear description of the four steps in networking, the authors lay the groundwork for the idea that you will always network, not just when you need a job, or clients. I liked their analogy that networking is like dieting: it doesn’t work if you stop. They list the four steps as Introduce, Educate, Build, and Maintain. I was pleased to see the emphasis on maintaining already strong relationships, having seen many lawyers take their biggest clients for granted (“Oh, they’re just putting out an RFP because the rules say they have to; the work will still come to us, don’t worry”).

For the rest of the review, please visit the LawMarketing Portal.

Portland Law Firm Boosts Website Visitors who became Leads by 400%

John Gilroy, law firm marketingThe law firm Gilroy & Napoli multiplied traffic from target clients to their website nine times by using a combination of search engine optimization and paid search marketing using Google Adwords.

More importantly, the firm received an increase of almost 400% in the total number of visitors who converted into a lead during the five-month campaign.

The firm employed sophisticated online techniques that any law firm could use, to make certain its top 10 most important search terms appeared on the first page of search results on Google. As a result, the firm enjoyed the massive increase in traffic and the higher conversion of visitors into leads.

More law firms are realizing that in the midst of an uncertain economy, it is paramount to focus on marketing efforts that increase results and reduce costs. Therefore, now is the time for your firm to embark on acquiring new clients through the world’s most effective, and most measurable, media channel: online search engines.

Google is No. 1

Google is far and away the most popular search engine: according to statistics from Compete.com, 69.4% of all online searches as of August 2008 were made on Google, Yahoo trailed far behind with a 20% search share, and the rest were in single digits.

The percentage of users searching on a typical day has risen again, from about 40% to 49%, according to a Pew/Internet research, “Search Engine Use - August 6, 2008.”

“What has changed in the search world that might account for this increase? One likely reason is that users can now expect to find a high-performing, site-specific search engine on just about every content-rich website that is worth its salt,” the report states.

Cost effective means of acquiring new clients

...to read the rest of this story, visit the LawMarketing Portal.

Web Marketing Association Honors Chicago's Schiff Hardin

The Chicago law firm law firm marketing, law marketing firm, attorney marketing, marketing for law firms, law practice management, business developmentSchiff Hardin has been awarded the "Legal Standard of Excellence" WebAward from the Web Marketing Association.

This annual competition recognizes the people and organizations responsible for developing some of the most effective and best Web sites on the Internet today.  Among the seven categories judged for the WebAward, Schiff Hardin received high marks in content, interactivity and copywriting, scoring well beyond the industry and WebAward average.

Schiff-Hardin is a general practice law firm with over 400 attorneys in offices located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Lake Forest, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

The 2007 redesign was the culmination of more than two years of research and development. Immediately after the launch, traffic to the new site increased between 30 to 40 percent and has remained at this level.

law firm marketing, law marketing firm, attorney marketing, marketing for law firms, law practice management, business development"Our goal for the redesign was to develop a more robust, user-friendly Web site that focuses on the experience of our attorneys and the firm," explained Tina Johns, Schiff Hardin's Manager of Marketing Technology. "We put a lot of time and effort into rewriting and reorganizing our content and are extremely pleased to be recognized for that effort."

Johns leads Schiff Hardin's Web team, which includes Meg Stuart, Web Site Specialist, and Nat Panek, Marketing and Communications Web Site Writer. Schiff Hardin's graphic designers, Kristi Fox and Wade Thrall, provided design assistance.

Working with Schiff's in-house team, Web developer Bridgeline of Chicago created a new web application that offers visitors engaging content and intuitive access to practice groups, firm promotions and attorneys..

  • Repeat visitors to the site are remembered and provided quick access to information they have previously visited.
  • Users accessing an attorney profile by drilling through a particular practice area such as Patent Litigation, will see that practice area highlighted in the attorney profile as it is of interest to the site user.

The Web Marketing Association was founded in 1997 to help set a high standard for Internet marketing and development of the best websites on the World Wide Web. It is the producer of the WebAwards Competition. Now in its 12th year, the WebAwards is the premier annual website award competition that names the best Web sites in 96 industries while setting the standard of excellence for all website development. To learn more about the Web Marketing Association, please visit www.webaward.org.

 

Law Firm Loses Web Trademark Fight for its Own Name

law firm marketing, law marketing firm, attorney marketing, marketing for law firms, law practice management, business developmentHave you trademarked your law firm name?  If not, it's a big mistake and invites cyber-squatters to buy a domain, hijacking your firm name. Just because you've been using your law firm name on stationery and marketing materials may not be enough to create a common-law trademark for you.  Look what happened to GableGotwals, a 65-lawyer firm in Tulsa, OK.

A National Arbitration Forum decision denied the law firm's demand that the domain name gablegotwals.com be transferred to them, and refused to take it away from Schlund+Partner Ag, a cyber squatter based in Naples, FL. The ruling was Gable & Gotwals, Inc. d/b/a GableGotwals v. Dave Jackson, Claim Number: FA0806001212305.

The law firm had been using the GABLEGOTWALS mark in commerce since January 1, 2006, by using its name on letterhead and marketing materials.  The firm demanded that the domain name be transferred to it. Yet the law firm lost even thought the cybersquatter failed to respond to the complaint!

The squatter registered the gablegotwals.com domain name on August 26, 2006 and has a placeholder site online, saying that a real web site is "coming soon."

However, the decision said, '[a]lthough it has been held that there is no requisite showing to establish common law rights, common sense dictates that something beyond mere proof of business establishment is necessary.' In this case, Complainant has produced nothing more than its establishment of a law firm operating under the name GABLEGOTWALS."

"Other than Complainant’s assertions, there is no other evidence indicating that the GABLEGOTWALS mark has acquired secondary meaning or source identity in commerce, and use alone is not sufficient to prove this assertion," the decision states.

The law firm lost its rightful domain name with prejudiceDon't let this happen to you!