LegalTech NY Discussion: To Blog or Not to Blog? [video]

At our LegalTech New York 2013 panel — "Taming the Wild West of Social Media: The Secrets of Social Media Success in the Legal Profession" — moderator Steve Mann, chief marketing officer of the Research & Litigation Solutions business at LexisNexis, pointed out that roughly one-half of all law firms are now using blogs as a way to reach potential clients. He asked our expert panelists to weigh in on how firms can assess whether blogging is a good marketing strategy for them.

"I think we've passed the point where law firms should be thinking about whether or not blogging is right for them," said Stephen Fairley, chief executive officer of The Rainmaker Institute. "If you want to grow your number of contacts and expand your business, you've got to have a blog. There are no 'ifs, ands or buts' about it. This is a no-brainer."

"If you're going to get started in social media, a blog should be one of the cornerstones of your marketing efforts," said Larry Bodine, Esq., editor in chief of Lawyers.comSM and martindale.com®.

You can view a five-minute video segment of this piece of the panel discussion. Stay tuned next week for more details from the session.

 

Have You Ever Considered Attending a Rainmaker Retereat?

As a business owner, attending a rainmaker retreat may be a worthwhile investment of your time and money.

 
According to The Rainmaker Blog, here is how you can gauge for yourself:
 
Over 65 different marketing techniques that are proven to work in the real world environment of a fast moving law firm. Only practical techniques are discussed here.
 
The 5 critical numbers you need to be tracking in your law firm and how to measure your Return On Investment (ROI) for all your marketing efforts.
 
The core concepts of search engine optimization (SEO) and Internet marketing for attorneys and how to create a dominant position on the Internet.
 
Specific tools to automate your marketing system and “fix your follow up” to increase your conversion rates from prospects to paying clients.
 
How to fully leverage social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Avvo and JDSupra to drive new leads to your law firm.
 
How to focus your money on the most effective marketing strategies based on your specific practice area.
 
How to better select, train and motivate your partners and staff to do Rainmaking activities.
 
How to reduce your costs by eliminating ineffective marketing strategies.
 
How to utilize the 7 Rainmaker tools for generating more referrals and repeat business from current and former clients.
 
Over 30 low cost (starting at $20/mo.) and no cost marketing strategies to help you stretch your budget.
 
Software tools that will help you automate your marketing system.
 
Easy to use system for tracking all your incoming leads.
 
Specific tools to help you and your staff convert more prospects into paying clients.
 
Learn how other solo attorneys have leveraged Internet marketing and social media networks to beat much bigger firms.
 
These are the upcoming Rainmaker Retreats currently scheduled:
 
May 3-4, 2013 – Scottsdale, AZ
 
May 31-June 1, 2013 – New York City
 
July 19-20, 2013 – San Diego, CA
 
August 16-17, 2013 – Las Vegas, NV
 
September 20-21, 2013 – San Francisco, CA
 
To learn more about the Rainmaker Retreat and to register online, go to www.rainmakerretreat.com or call 888-588-5891.

Shhh! The #1 Secret to Boosting Client Referrals

Stephen Fairley shares with us the #1 secret to boosting client referrals and retention in this blog post that can found on the Rainmaker Blog.

When it comes to communicating with clients, listening is often more important than talking. It is by listening that you learn what clients want, and then you can give it to them. Which makes for more referrals and better client retention.

Here are some important methods you can use to actively listen to clients:
 
Open feedback. Always offer clients a way to provide feedback, through your website, an online survey and in your e-newsletter campaign. Simply asking for their thoughts is often enough to garner some important insights.
 
Transactional feedback. If you’re a regular Starbucks customer, you have undoubtedly received a free survey at some point with your receipt. You provide them with some feedback online and you get a free drink for your efforts. What attorneys can learn from this is the importance of asking clients for their thoughts about their experience with your firm after the case is over or at important points along the way. Keep your finger on the pulse of how satisfied they are with how your firm is treating them, and you’ll have a satisfied client.
 
Social media interaction. Monitor your social media channels to see what people are saying about you. You can search for your firm name on Twitter and Facebook , and you should be regularly monitoring Avvo, FindLaw, Yelp and Google for other comments about your firm.
 
Client satisfaction surveys. Using formal client satisfaction surveys is another good way to gauge client experiences with your firm. Send one out after each engagement is closed and respond immediately and personally to any negative feedback.

8 Ways to Use Your Law Firm Website to Turn Browsers Into Buyers

Once again, The Rainmaker Blog publishes a compelling post. Many times you will have window shoppers on your website, read below for 8 ways to turn those browsers into buyers.

1. Position your firm as a specialist. When people search for attorneys online they have a specific problem (DUI, personal injury, etc) and they are searching for specific answers. If your firm has more than one practice area, the best practice is to have more than one website, especially if they have a very different clientele.

2. Offer free, educational information. Only a small percentage of website visitors are ready to commit to a consultation the first time they visit your website. Providing visitors with educational materials to help them make the best decision is a tried and true technique in Internet marketing. If you are an estate planning attorney, give them a free report on the "Top 10 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Estate Planning Attorney."

3. Use fitting photos. Almost every legal website makes the mistake of using the same photo of the scales of justice or the courthouse steps. Be sure the pictures on your website are congruent with your message and your perfect client.

4. Give visitors easy ways to connect with you. I'm still astounded at how difficult many websites make it just to find their phone number or an email address that goes directly to an individual versus a "faceless entity." Make it easy for prospects to find all your contact information, even on their cell phone.

5. Create a mobile friendly site. Last year smart phones outsold computers! With slower speeds, smaller screens, the need for more immediate information, and the potential desire to easily call your office directly from their cell, a mobile version of your website is no longer a nicety, it is a necessity!

6. Tell visitors what the next steps are. If you want them to download your free report or call your office for a free consultation, tell them!

7. Use video clips on your website. Video is a proven converter. It gives visitors a way to see you as a real person, to hear in your own words how you can help them, and how you are distinct in your approach.

8. Provide a clear and compelling reason why you are different from your competitors. Online buyers of legal services visit an average of 5 websites prior to moving into the decision making phase. Explain to them in an easy to understand manner how your firm is different from others.

 

How to Realize Your Dream of a More Profitable Law Practice in 2013

On Monday, Stephen Fairley of the Rainmaker Blog, wrote about his next webinar that is to be held tomorrow, January 24th at 1 p.m. ET.  Read on to learn how you can register for this webinar that will provide ways to bring your dream law practice into reality.

____________________________________________________________________________

Today we’re celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and I know that many of you have a dream, too...a dream of building a law firm that allows you to live the life you’ve always wanted to live while doing satisfying work that you enjoy.

The question plaguing most of you is, how?

Start by signing up for my webinar this Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT: The 5 Best Strategies to Beat Your Competition in 2013.

Knowing which legal marketing strategies are working in today’s economy gives you a huge advantage. Implementing the correct business development strategies allows you to spend less money and get better results faster!

Join me on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for a one-hour webinar where you will discover:

  • Why you can’t afford to dismiss social media any longer (Google is forcing you to use it)
  • 3 major ways to triple your website traffic in the next 90 days
  • How to use online tools to generate more offline referrals
  • 3 keys all the best law firms are using to turn more website browsers into buyers
  • 2 critical numbers you must track every month to measure your success
  • Specific ways to jump-start your marketing efforts fast…even if you’ve stumbled before
  • Last year many of our clients experienced their best year ever! How is that possible when we are in the midst of the biggest recession our generation has ever faced?

It’s simple, they developed a game plan based on best practices and proven strategies and then they consistently took massive action! Notice I said it was “simple” not “easy.” There is no “easy” way to build a million dollar book of business, but if you’re willing to do the work we can show you the right path to take.

Click on this link  to register now for The 5 Best Strategies to Beat Your Competition in 2013 webinar on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

All registrants will receive a recording of the webinar to watch at their convenience, so if the scheduled time doesn’t work for you, you can still get this critical knowledge by getting your own copy of the webinar recording.

 

Drive More Traffic to Your Law Firm Website

Colleague Stephen Fairley at The Rainmaker Institute, offers 5 ways to bring more traffic to your website.

Attracting more visitors to your website allows you to engage more with current and potential clients, which can result in a boost to your bottom line. Use these tactics to create more traffic for your website:

Fresh content – too many companies create websites and then let them languish. You need to add fresh content regularly to not only give people a reason to return to your site, but also to attract search engines, which love fresh content! 

Add video – video clips add interest and a new dimension to your site, and current research shows that sites with video convert more browsers into buyers. Address a problem that your clients have or discuss whatever is of relevance to your target market, and then post it to your site and YouTube for even more views.

SEO – search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to any website. You need to be sure you have included the right keywords that prospective customers use to search for what you sell. If you don’t know anything about SEO, consider hiring a company that specializes in it to boost your rankings and viewership.

Publish – publishing online articles and press releases can help drive traffic to your site. There are a number of web sites that will publish your articles and press releases for free; just be sure to add a link to your site at the end of each piece you publish.

Comment – identify the top blogs in your industry, visit them and comment on relevant posts. This is not a forum for you to sell directly, but indirectly by adding a link to your site or a relevant blog post with your commentary.  

Read more here.

How to be a Social Media Rock Star With Your Firm's Blog

Here is an excerpt from a recent  paper from LexisNexis demonstrating social media’s viability for law firm marketing purposes.

When a consumer faces a crisis—a failing business, an unfaithful spouse, a family member in trouble—that person is more likely than ever to turn to the Internet looking for answers to his or her legal issues.Three out of four consumers who sought an attorney in the past year used online resources, including search engines, websites, YouTube™, Facebook® and other tools at some point in the process, according to a recent survey.

 
So by including information about legal topics being frequently searched, an attorney’s blog will be more visible on search engines results—and that increases the chances that consumers and referring attorneys will find and select that attorney’s firm.In fact, one out of two respondents to a recent survey (from firms of nine attorneys or fewer) who are blogging reported retaining clients directly or via referral as a result of their legal topic blogging.
 
That’s landing actual paying clients.Enhance your firm’s ability to attract more, higher quality prospects through blogging and social media marketing by following these proven techniques.
 
Read the 10 tips here.

Is your Website's "Bounce Rate" Like Your Blood Pressure?

Samantha Miller, the Senior Director of Product Management for Web Visibility Solutions at LexisNexis, recently posted about high bounce rates.  Is yours too high?

A website "bounce rate" is like a blood pressure reading. If either is too high, it's time to make some serious changes.

A bounce rate is basically the percentage of single-page visits to your website — or visits that do not result in consumers clicking on additional pages, including completing contact forms. For a small law firm or solo practitioner relying on a website to generate quality leads, a high bounce rate can be a problem.

How to Lower Your Bounce Rate

A bounce rate is not the only measure of a website's success. Bounce rates can vary widely by industry, and even by practice area within the legal vertical. There is no agreed-upon standard for acceptable bounce rates. However, if more than 50 percent of visitors to your website view only a single page, ask yourself the following questions:

Is my firm's contact information prominently placed on every page? A visitor may only need to view a single page, if your content is optimized properly.

Find the remainder of the questions here.

 

And the Survey Says...

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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4 Things You Need to Know to Protect Your Online Reputation

The infographic below from Mashable describes:

  1. What's an e-reputation.
  2. Why your online reputation matters.
  3. What potential employers are looking for.
  4. What you can do about it. While there are companies like Reputation Defender out there to help you manage your online reputation, there are still plenty of things you can do on your own. Feel free to check out my PowerPoint slide show "How to Monitor & Enhance Your Reputation on the Internet as a Lawyer."

protecting your online reputation, blog, facebook, google, twitter