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.”

 

Differentiate Your Practice By Dominating Your Niche

My friends at The Rainmaker Blog posted an article about the impact dominating your niche has on differentiating your practice from your competition.  You may read it at the source here.


The law of marketing is once you become known as Wal-Mart, you can never become a Tiffany's. By not discovering - and emphasizing true competitive differences, you are relegating yourself to be just another lawyer who is casting their fishing line into the vast ocean of legal marketing. 


Here are several great ways an attorney can start to set himself or herself apart from competitors:

Emphasize Your Service: I'm not referring to the services you offer, but how you serve your clients. At the Rainmaker Retreat, our two day legal marketing seminar, we use the phrase "micromanaging the client experience" to describe how law firms can create a unique and powerful experience for clients by treating them like VIPs (without spending a lot of money).

Market Like a Specialist: It's always easier to build a financially successful law firm that focuses on a specialty area. The more practice areas your firm promotes, the fewer referrals you will receive. There are several major benefits to specializing, including:

  • You can command higher prices.
  • More people can send you referrals because they don't view you as a competitor.
  • And you can develop a deeper knowledge about your clientele and their legal issues.

By choosing to specialize, you increase opportunities to form alliances with other professionals.

Create a "Double Niche": Focusing on a particular industry is a great way to niche your firm. Jeff Matsen is a well-respected estate planning attorney and a long-time client of ours, but over the last two decades he has become a nationally recognized asset protection attorney (first niche). 

Even further, he has created a niche targeting asset protection for doctors and dentists (second niche) because he knows it's easier to position himself as a true expert when he applies his first niche (a specific niche within a practice area) to a specific industry (like doctors and dentists) thus creating a "double niche."

Clearly Define Your Perfect Client: Once you have narrowed down your niche, you need to determine who your perfect client is. This puts you in a much better place to educate potential referral sources. 

Here's a good example of a target market: small to mid-sized companies that are privately held with 2 to 100 employees, in the construction, high-tech, or professional services industries. They may need help establishing their company, are having challenges growing their company, looking at adding a partner, or want to acquire another company.

Be Smart About Your Office Location: You've heard the importance in real estate of "location, location, location." The city you practice law in will determine a lot of things; it can also be a factor in your success. 

Targeting immigration law in San Francisco provides you with more opportunities than practicing immigration law in Fargo, North Dakota.

There are many ways you can dominate your chosen niche. Below are the top 10 ways I've seen work in the legal industry.

1. Focus your website on your primary area(s) of expertise. Whether it's a doctor or a lawyer, we all want to be treated by a specialist. Find a targeted, focused legal niche where you can specialize and ensure your website focuses on just that niche. Do not create an online presence that makes you look like a general practitioner. Most savvy consumers will check you out online before they ever pick up the phone and call you.

2. Own your niche's keywords. Select 20-30 keywords or phrases that prospects likely use to look for you online and work with a search engine optimization company to help you get to the top of Google for those keywords. Don't make the mistake of just targeting the obvious key terms.

3. Get a Blog. Subject matter experts (SMEs) are well-read in their niche and they can and do comment on what the big topics are, the major cases, and emerging trends. One of the best ways to position yourself as a SME is to blog several times per month on your niche.

4. Become a Guest Author. Target high-traffic or highly influential industry blogs that appeal to your specific target market and offer to write a guest column.

5. Create a Special Report or an E-book. Publications are viewed by many as a sign of authority and prestige. You don't need a major New York publisher to "discover" you to become an author. Write a simple 5-10 page special report, white paper or turn it into a PDF and call it an "e-book."

6. Speak at Live Events-Your Own or Others. Few things are more authoritative in the field of marketing than speaking at events, either events you offer or for other associations, whether live or online via webinars, speaking positions you as an industry expert. We have several clients who have built million dollar practices simply by speaking 2-3 times per month at local and regional events. 

7. Send out a Press Release. Press releases are a great way to build your online credibility. Create a media list of target publications that reach your perfect clients and regularly send them press releases. You can do a press release on almost any topic like: Is your law firm growing/hiring (while other firms are downsizing)? Did you expand your offices to better serve your clients? Are you involved in philanthropic work? Did you recently win a big case? Is there a specific legal issue facing local people that you can comment on? Are you giving a seminar you would like to promote? 

8. Create a Radio Show. With modern technology you can easily create your own "online radio show." For only a couple hundred dollars per year you can use platforms like BlogTalkRadio.com to create, host, and post your radio show. They can even help you promote your show online. There are thousands of online radio shows currently and if you don't want to create your own you can contact the owner and ask to be interviewed on his or her show. Most of them welcome professional guests.

9. Publish an Industry Survey. Surveys are powerful tools that can open doors to high profile interviews with industry leaders, media attention about the results, and inbound leads when you publicize the results. There are several good online survey tools like SurveyMonkey.com and Zoomerang.com. Target a specific topic like "The impact of the new estate tax laws on small business owners in Phoenix" or "The Top 10 Biggest Legal Issues Facing Divorced Women in Arizona."

10. Create information products. Write and distribute articles, e-books, free reports and other information products that demonstrate your authority in your niche.

I have personally used every single one of these to build The Rainmaker Institute's credibility and national presence. In addition, we have hundreds of law firm clients who have used these with great success. Just remember, there is no easy button and there is no "magic wand." You have to work at it to create a niche and it will take time and consistent effort to position yourself as a true expert. 

Getting Potential Clients to Watch Your Video

According to David Wodnicki, a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist, when potential clients view videos of attorneys, it can create a powerful connection like nothing else on a law firm website. But even an Oscar-worthy video won't help, if viewers don't bother to actually launch it. So, how can you get them to watch? Here are a few ideas.

1. Make them worth watching
You don't need to hire Martin Scorsese to direct your attorney-profile video, but you don't want a video that looks and sounds cheap. Fortunately, digital equipment has become so inexpensive that you don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to hire someone to create simple, effective videos.

The videos also don't need to be long. Potential clients aren't looking for a law-school lecture or a bragging session. They just want to get a sense of who you are as an attorney and why they may want to talk to you about their case.

2. Make the videos easy to find
Feedback from the LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® 2013 Law Firm Website Conversion Study points to the success of putting videos on the home page. You want to be careful about how you use this valuable real estate, but creating links here can pay off in a big way by encouraging people to watch them.

3. Optimize videos for desktop and smartphone viewing
Consumers who go online to look at law firm websites are most likely to use laptops and desktops, according to theAttorney Selection Research Study by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG). However, more than one-fifth of potential clients accessed online resources with their smartphones. You want to make sure computer and smartphone users alike can easily view your videos.

4. Be sure to comply with all your jurisdiction's ethics laws
But you knew that, of course.

Optimize Your Law Firm's Website for Mobile or Keep Losing Clients

Samantha MillerVice President of Product, Web Visibility Solutions at LexisNexis, wrote an important piece back in November about the importance of optimizing your firm's website for mobile users.  Here is an excerpt. Read it at the source, here.

Have you ever tried to navigate a website with your mobile phone or pad, when that site was NOT optimized for mobile devices?

The text is too small and the images are too large. There is way too much content and that material is basically unreadable. Pictures are not sized or placed properly. If you can even find the scroll bar or tabs, you have to keep swiping. And forget about trying to find any contact info.    

In short, the website looks and feels terrible.

If you are a consumer in urgent need of legal information or actually need to find an attorney, you're moving on to another firm's site.

LFM Second Annual AmLaw 200 and Global 100 Mobile Web Survey

Global 100 firms with mobile sitesThis is a guest blog post by The Law Firm Mobile (LFM) blog. In December, LFM released its second annual research on which firms from the AmLaw 200 and Global 100 have entered the world of the mobile web (the first report can be found here).

Below are following sections: an overview of the report, statistics describing the extent of mobile web site penetration for large law firms, statistics regarding the type of content used in firm web sites, and a final section on mobile web best practices. The final section of this report provides a detailed list of the names of law firms with hyper links to a screen shot of each respective firm’s mobile site along with the URL for that site.

Overview

  • Of the firms on the 2012 AmLaw 200 list, 54 firms (27%) have mobile sites. This is an increase of 46% (17 additional firms) from 2011. Of the firms on the 2012 Global 100 list, 29 firms (29%) have mobile sites. This is an increase of 32% (7 additional firms) from 2011.
  • Of the firms on the 2012 AmLaw 200 or Global 100 list with a mobile websites, most firms (67%) have from 7-9 total content types for the mobile site.
  • Of the firms on the 2012 AmLaw 200 or Global 100 list with a mobile website, the most popular type of content offered to users is Professionals/Attorney Biographies (59), Offices (53), and Practice Areas (52). The next set of content includes News (45), About the Firm (42), Careers (40), Events (38), and Publications (34). Some of the least used content types included Contact Us (13) and Industries (9).
  • Even with the increase in firms with mobile sites, the majority of large law firms in the AmLaw 200/Global 100 do not yet have a mobile web despite the significant growth in smartphone use.

See the remainder of LFM's findings on the LFM blog here.

 

Turn Law Firm Website Visitors into Potential Clients with Live Chat

Manish Bhargava's article, "How Live Chat Turns Law Firm Website Visitors into Potential Clients," teaches us how to transform those visitors into clients.

To generate more clients for your law firm from your website, that site needs to attract visitors AND convince those visitors to contact you and request a consultation.

Let's say you're succeeding in driving visitors to your website with referral networks, a Google paid search (pay-per-click, or PPC) campaign, your search engine optimization program, a blog and other marketing techniques.

Congratulations!

But that is just half the battle.

What happens when after investing all that time and money to draw traffic to your website not enough visitors are calling or emailing to ask for a consultation? You have a "conversion" problem.

The solution: live chat.

Here's why:

Live chat conversion1. Round-the-clock engagement.

Live chat operators can proactively engage your website visitors before they abandon by addressing their questions immediately, in real time, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Think about it: A potential client under stress, possibly upset and impatient, is searching your website but can't seem to find what they're looking for. Up pops a live chat window with an operator — not a software program, a professionally trained live operator — who answers questions about your firm.

Rather than abandoning and moving to another site, the visitor sticks around and is now engaged with your firm. Chat operators ask specific questions that are carefully placed in the transcript by you. The operator, after the chat session ends, forwards the information collected "as is" to you immediately, even after hours and on weekends.

 

Read the remainder of Manish Bhargava's article here.

 

 

The Use of Websites in law Firm Marketing

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.

Register Now for a Free Webinar on Search Engine Optimization

law firm marketing, search engine optimization, SEO, keywords to success, LexisNexis, legal marektingYou are invited to tune into LexisNexis' new, free webinar, "Keywords to Success: How to Generate More Business for Your Law Firm with Search Engine Optimization" to be broadcast on Tuesday, December 6, 2011.  LexisNexis is applying for CLE credit* for the program.

You can register for free at www.lexisnexis.com/webinar.

I'll host the webinar and will describe how your law firm can focus its online search marketing strategy to drive more business.  The program will show you how to optimize your website to promote the areas that matter most to your clients and prospects.

At a time when more and more consumers are searching online before meeting with a lawyer, this seminar will show you how to make your website more visible to prospects searching for the areas of law you practice.

You will learn:
      •     How keywords and search engine marketing works     
      •     The difference between organic links and paid links, off-site and on-site optimization     
      •     How to promote specific business initiatives at your firm such as entering a new market and targeting new types of clients.

There's no charge and no obligation. You can register at for free at www.lexisnexis.com/webinar.

*CLE is in the process of approval. LexisNexis is approved for telephonic/Webinar training on this topic in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York†, North Dakota, and Utah (self-study only).

†Only experienced (having completed their first 32 hours of CLE) NY attorneys may take telephonic training for CLE. New York regulation requires that all CLE sessions must be conducted by a JD or an attorney in good standing.

Another Reason Not to Advertise in the Yellow Pages

the yellow pages are dead law firm marketing legal marketingA California appeals court has reinstated a jury's $17.35 million damage award to more than 100,000 businesses and individuals who took out ads in Pacific Bell phone books that were delivered either late or not at all.

The Yellow Pages advertisers' money was wasted. 

Jurors awarded damages to advertisers in 66 of Pacific Bell's 163 directory service areas in the state, including the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, finding that the company had failed to use its "best efforts" to deliver the books as promised. In most cases, those were districts in which fewer than 94.5 percent of the directories arrived on time.

A Superior Court judge had overturned the verdict in June 2009 and dismissed the suit. But the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overruled the judge on Tuesday and restored the verdict. The court said the advertisers had relied on a delivery verification survey by Pacific Bell's contractor, the nonprofit Certified Audit of Circulations, which offered the only data available.

The jury found that the plaintiffs "paid for advertising distribution services they did not receive," the court said, and they are entitled to compensation even if "precise proof of the amount of damage is not available."

The evidence, including admissions by phone company distribution managers, showed "ongoing, severe problems in delivering directories," said Presiding Justice Ignazio Ruvolo in the 3-0 ruling.

The suit was a class action on behalf of 380,000 advertisers in the yellow pages in California between 2002 and 2004. Plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Schrag said somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 would be eligible for damages in districts where the jury found inadequate deliveries.

If you haven't canceled your yellow pages ads yet, now is the time to do so.