Sean Stonehouse fills us in on ways to reach a broad audience when you have a niche practice.
Sean Stonehouse fills us in on ways to reach a broad audience when you have a niche practice.
David Ackert recently interviewed Barry Kurtz for Practice Boomers. The subject was “Niche Market Branding.” Kurtz is a well-known franchise attorney in Los Angeles — a brand that took him many years to establish. It all started 30 years ago when a client of his asked him if he could help them with a franchise matter.
From there, Kurtz he immersed himself in that niche until he knew more about it than his competitors. Now, his reputation attracts business. Everyone in his network knows him as “the franchise attorney.” Most of his clients find him through word-of-mouth or through his website. (If you Google “franchise lawyer,” Barry shows up midway down the first page. And his site has become a significant feeder for his practice.)
Here’s a short excerpt from the interview:
By the way, Practice Boomers offers online video training in business development. Every week you get a 5-10 minute video lesson via email, including action steps to take. The lessons cover everything from goal setting, branding & differentiation, creating a niche, networking, communities, social networking, client service strategies, to time management. I recommend it.
From 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
Lawyers 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:
To read more about his strategy, which is excerpted from his new book The Opportunity Maker, visit the LawMarketing Portal.
|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.
The 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.
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.
"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..
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.
Have 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 prejudice. Don't let this happen to you!
Peter Bilfield gets it. He embraced business development enthusiastically, found a niche, markets in a disciplined way and is on the fast track to being an accomplished rainmaker.
And he is delivering results that his firm respects: Peter has originated a significant and impressive level of fees for Withers Bergman in New York in 2008.
As an associate in the firm's commercial group, Peter made a commitment to becoming a rainmaker for the practice group and the firm at large.
The first step was to find a viable market niche to focus on. By targeting portfolio managers at established firms seeking to start their own funds, his goal is to build a funds practice. Getting in on the ground floor of these operations, Peter assists in the structuring of the fund as well as counseling the client on the expected evolution of the fund (i.e., where investors will come from and what their tolerance will be for certain fund characteristics).
As the attorney-client relationship grows, Peter assists clients in their fund investment activities – venture capital investments, PIPEs, asset sales, refinancings, acquisitions and other liquidity events. He also uses his securities background to advise on securities filing requirements and other regulatory concerns.
Peter Bilfield is a winner of the Originate! 2008 Rainmaker of the Year Awards, judged by the Legal Sales & Service Organization (LSSO). To find out about all 5 winners, see the latest issue online at Originate! - the business development newsletter.
Peter splits his time between the
Outside of the firm, he targeted two organizations for business development purposes: the CT Hedge Fund Association and Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity.
While Peter’s originations are impressive, the inventory of specific wins shows how he worked hard ...
“Your work product is your best source of referrals,” Klee said. “Most of my referrals come from people in the insurance industry referring other people in the industry. And they refer other people to us.”
His formidable record includes:
Peter Klee is a winner of the Originate! 2008 Rainmaker of the Year Awards, judged by the Legal Sales & Service Organization (LSSO). To find out about all 5 winners, see the latest issue online at Originate! - the business development newsletter.
Building a winning team
“I tell the associates if they come with me, they’ll be in trial within one to two years and they’ll be running their own cases,” he said. When he hires an associate he encourages them to develop business on their own, but he provides them with all the work they’ll need. “I don’t want the person who is in the legal profession because they can make a lot of money; I want somebody who is passionate about what they do."