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.

Free Webinar: How to Attract Clients in Today's Marketing Jungle

When it comes to law firm marketing, it is truly a jungle out there! Mastering social media, SEO and Internet marketing strategies – and making sure your efforts align with legal marketing rules – can give even the most eager attorney pause.
 
In his new one-hour webinar, Stephen Fairley will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues. You will learn:
  • How to target market to get your ideal client
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
  • What is critical to have in place today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace
This FREE webinar will also give you a preview of the 65 different marketing techniques and strategies taught at his 2-day legal marketing boot camp.
 
Click on this link to register now for the FREE How to Attract Clients in Today’s Marketing Jungle webinar.

 

Attorneys, Pay Attention to Content Marketing Tactics that Work

Lawmarketing.com posted the results of the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs second annual study on B2B content marketing trends.  Here are the results:

Lawyer Biographies Remain the Most Popular Content on Law Firm Websites in Communicating Expertise

LexisNexis® Legal & Professional ( www.lexisnexis.com ), a leading provider of content and technology solutions, last Thursday announced results from the latest LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® study on how international B2B law firms are using their websites as part of their marketing programs.

Based on initial qualitative interviews conducted in April 2012 and an online, quantitative survey in July, the study "The Use of Websites in Law Firm Marketing" reflects the views of 209 law firms across six world regions (excluding the United States). Amongst all participants, offline tactics currently account for just over two-thirds of all marketing spend, compared to 38% for online - though many respondents expect this to change in the future as online methods become more widely adopted in their marketing programs.

Steve Corney, senior digital marketing manager at LexisNexis International, commented: "The study shows that the legal industry is finally recognizing the role and importance of online content in lead generation, alongside traditional offline techniques. The 38% of marketing budgets allocated to online tactics now brings the legal sector slightly above the market average of 36%."*

As the table below illustrates, survey respondents across firms of all sizes do seem to be prioritizing their budget in online investment - reporting to allocate at least 3% of their marketing spend when developing a new website, and a further 1% on sourcing external support for the site once launched:

Size of legal practice

 

Small firms (1-20 lawyers)

 

Medium-sized firms (21-50 lawyers)

 

Larger firms (51+ lawyers)

 

Total annual marketing budget

 

Up to US$155,000

 

Up to US$775,000

 

Up to US$1.5 million(lower end)   up to $7.5 million(higher end)

 

Website development budget(involving a major revamp)

 

Up to US$15,500(10% of total budget)

 

Up to US$31,000(4% of total budget)

 

In excess of US$46,500(3 % of total budget)

 

Ongoing external support budget(annual)

 

Up to US$1,550(1% of total budget)

 

Up to US$7,750(1% of total budget)

 

Up to US$15,500(1%                                    of total budget)

 

Firms that responded to the survey perceive their website to be 'very effective' (34%) in helping to build their reputation and awareness of their brand. A disparity, however, lies in the role that their websites play to help generate new work. Here respondents are seemingly more ambivalent, with more than one third (36%) feeling that their website fails to sufficiently support lead generation - though this view was more prevalent among respondents from smaller law practices and firms that had not revamped their website for more than three years. On average, all firms surveyed tended to run their websites for two to three years before considering a re-design.

A quarter of all respondents report taking a formal approach to managing content on their website, with 25% (small, medium and large firms) using a content calendar to schedule regular updates, whilst the majority (66%) have yet to put this structure in place. When asked about the most popular content on their website, lawyer biographies are the most visited pages (85% of respondents), followed by information about practice area/sector expertise (52%) and thought leadership articles, case histories, etc. (50%).

The popularity of such content helps to explain why respondents also ranked online legal directories (61% 'very' and 'somewhat' effective) as the third most effective lead generation tactic, behind their website (74%) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO, 62%). Adding relevant content about their lawyers, market expertise and thought leadership to online directories provides firms with further SEO benefits beyond their own website and helps to surface their content to a wider online audience to help prove credibility and generate new leads.

Whilst 71% of firms do take time to track how content on their website is used, many recognise that there is room for improvement in this area. Of these firms, only 11% report extensively using the available reporting tools and data to help measure effectiveness and return on investment, whilst 43% make little or no use of the data available.

Derek Benton, director of International Operations at Martindale-Hubbell, commented: "Technology is one of the factors that is changing the competitive landscape in the legal sector. It is positive to see how firms are using relevant content on their own website and third party sites to help produce leads more cost effectively, rather than rely only on offline channels. The challenge for marketers is to use the available reporting tools to monitor engagement and continually measure and improve the impact of online content to deliver the best return on investment."

Download the full report of "The Use of Websites in Law Firm Marketing: Examining how corporate law firms use their websites in marketing and business development" here.

*Source: "The Marketing Budgets 2012 Report", Econsultancy, in association with Experian Marketing Services, Feb 2012.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional

LexisNexis® Legal & Professional ( www.lexisnexis.com ) is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organizations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal and Professional harnesses leading-edge technology and world-class content, to help professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways. Through close collaboration with its customers, the company ensures organizations can leverage its solutions to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase profitability and grow their business. Part of Reed Elsevier, LexisNexis Legal & Professional serves customers in more than 100 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide.

Martindale-Hubbell® helps international law firms to enhance their online presence and drive more prospect enquiries through professional profiles on martindale.com® and coordination of Martindale-Hubbell lawyer ratings. martindale.com is a leading online law directory with over 13 million unique visitors every year.

3-Lawyer Firm's $50,000 Marketing Makeover Gets a Thumbs Up

Lexis Nexis Marketing Makeover, Case Rajnoha Boudreau, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketingI was just on a webinar about the $50,000 Marketing Makeover that LexisNexis awarded to the 3-lawyer St. Louis firm of Case Rajnoha & Boudreau.  I was also a judge in the competition that named the winner in January. Work was still proceeding in March and now the wraps are finally off of the website.

And it's a beaut. By several measures, LexisNexis did a great job:

  • The site features people and faces (including the ever-cute blond Meg Boudreau). There's not a trite gavel, column or blind justice in sight.
  • The phone number is right at the top of the page, where it should be. Websites are supposed to generate leads.
  • The site says callers get a free consultation. It's important to make this statement or else callers will think otherwise.
  • I'm not a big fan of Flash, but theirs is pretty cool. The pictures of Sally Rajnoha, Joel Case and Meg remain stationary, while the blue background swishes by and changes. When you visit a lawyer bio, the picture of the person in question lights up brightly.
  • The navigation is obvious, and you can immediately see what the firms three primary practices are.
  • The site has videos, including one on divorce right on the home page. Videos help with search engine optimization and are one of the first things visitors look for. The video depicts typical clients, not the lawyers -- a smart move.
  • The home page has a quick contact form, again, making it easy for visitors to contact the firm.
  • There are social media links to Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • The site has an FAQ page. This is always good, because you should answer common questions that your visitors have, so that all they need to do is call you. The info for clients continues in the "newsletters" section, which is actually a collection of articles.
  • The firm has a blog, and clicking on the link to it brings up the latest posts on the home page.
  • It has testimonials. A third-party endorsement is powerful marketing.
  • The practice descriptions are written in plain English, not legalese, and explain the process involved in a criminal, divorce or other case.
  • There's a sitemap, which also helps with search engines.
  • As part of the makeover, Joel got his AV rating and Sally got her BV rating, and the site has a link to their Martindale-Hubbell bios.
  • There are unique <title> and <meta> tags for each page, which helps with search engines.

And the site definitely works. During the webinar, Meg mentioned that she's been overwhelmed with all the leads the site produces. That's a problem every lawyer would love to have.

QR codes can add websites, bios, PowerPoints to your business cards

QR code, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketingFrom my article in Law Technology News:

A lawyer hands her business card to a potential client at an industry conference. The prospective client, the CEO of a technology company, notices a square block of code on the back of her card. Impressed, he pulls out his smart phone and taps an app to take a picture of the code. The screen reveals all the information on the business card plus a detailed bio.

He'll be calling soon with an assignment for the lawyer.

The hottest trend in law firm marketing technology is Quick Response (QR) codes — digital records that can contain entire web pages, v-cards and marketing information. QR codes are a bridge from something on paper to digital information about lawyers and their services...

Click to read the entire article, Be Square.

News Stories Get it Wrong: Facebook is Indeed #1

If you see the headline “Social Media King: Facebook lost its Social Media crown” or “Data: StumbleUpon Beats Facebook As Top Social Referrer” – they are WRONG!  The news writers referred to data from StatCounter - http://bit.ly/flFAPk -- but set they the date parameters incorrectly.

The top social media sites are:

  1. Facebook 63%
  2. Stumbleupon 18%
  3. YouTube 8%
  4. Twitter 5.6%

lawmarketing blog, statcounter, facebook, stumbleupon, twitter, law firm marketing
According to StatCounter, its data is based on the analysis of four billion page loads per month among StatCounter's two million members.

The Elements that Clients Look for on Your Law Firm Website

Hubspot, Lawmarketing blog, website elements

From Hubspot: We all know our website is a key part of our marketing and lead generation strategy. But when prospects visit your site, what are they looking for? What do they want to see, and what do they consider most important? To find out, RainToday surveyed more than 200 buyers of B2B services -- in companies of all sizes -- to rate the importance of various elements of a service provider's website.

The top 4 elements should come as no surprise:

  •  Service descriptions (87%)
  •  Description of industries served (78%)
  •  Success stories / case studies (73%)
  •  Professional website design and presentation (69%)

These elements are the core of most firms' websites. If something is amiss here, it will raise major questions with buyers from the get-go. Getting these elements in place is just the price of entering the game.

However, if you want to win clients, don't overlook the remaining six elements. Even podcasts and audio content, at the bottom of the list, were rated by 40% of decision makers as being "extremely" or "very important" when deciding to make initial contact with a service provider. 

Whatever marketing you are doing, the first stop for most buyers is a visit to your website. It can either draw them in further with online resources and content, podcasts, videos, and news, or it can say the same thing as your competitors' sites, providing a laundry list of services and a nice look, but neither helping nor hurting your chances to start or enhance a relationship.

Web Elements Working Together - An Example

Say you are going to run a webinar. You may send an invitation by email (a top way to generate attendance at webinars), directing buyers to register for the event on your website. During the registration process, you can ask them to sign up for your newsletter, allowing you to add them to ongoing marketing communications. And, on the confirmation page, you can direct them to blog posts, case studies, or podcasts on related topics to the event, further engaging them with your brand and thought-leading content.

Pull People to You

You can go a step further and share information about the webinar and the related content items via social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Doing this allows you to reach your followers and fans, some of whom may not be on your email list, as well as enhancing your Web presence. As more people use the Web to find services, you want to make sure you have compelling content that is findable in search engines and draws people to you.

Buyers may not indicate elements such as blog posts, podcasts, and video as being the most important features of a website, but leveraging content can really help your product or service stand out in a crowded market space.

What type of content do you have available on your website?