How to Reach a Broad Audience with a Niche Practice

Sean Stonehouse fills us in on ways to reach a broad audience when you have a niche practice.

For many attorneys, reaching new clients is a challenge. For those with hyperspecialized niche practices, the task becomes exponentially harder. Consider the difference between attorneys who handle divorces and attorneys who focus on handling assets in divorces. When you are a general divorce attorney, your practice is easy to explain and you can assume some of your clients will eventually know others who are getting divorced and can recommend you. But when your practice focuses specifically on handling assets in divorces, your potential circle of new clients contracts significantly.

With niche practices, attorneys often rely on referrals from their peers and have not had many opportunities to see worthwhile ROI on traditional advertising methods. So when seeking to expand their practices or increase revenue, these attorneys must wade through territory that is new to them.

robust online presence that combines actively participating on social media sites, regularly blogging, and maintaining an informative, engaging website can allow you to set yourself apart from all the other attorneys in your area who are practicing a similar, but more general, type of law.

Start with social media. This is your first channel to connect through peers who can recommend you (typically through LinkedIn) and to the people who may hire you directly (Facebook is generally the first choice here). Through LinkedIn and Facebook, you can promote your blog, which you can use to set yourself apart as a thought leader. When people find your blog, either through your social media profile or by Internet searches, you can guide them to your website. Once they arrive at your (well-designed) website, potential clients can quickly learn how you can help them with their unique legal issues.

Read article at the source here.

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.

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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.

 

Law Firm Marketing: How Unforgettable Are You?

Barry Kurtz, practice boomers, law firm marketing, legal marketingDavid 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:

Barry Kurtz interview – excerpt

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.

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!

Rainmaker Peter J. Bilfield - Taking Control of Career as an Associate

Peter Bilfield, law firm marketing, rainmaker, business develoopmentPeter 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.

Rainmaker award, Originate newsletter

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.

Throughout his firm, all attorneys are encouraged to offer fully integrated services for fund clients including estate and tax planning for the principals in order to minimize any gift and estate taxes they might incur.  Peter effectively coordinates with partners to cross-sell estate and tax planning for these principals and strongly believes that the firm’s private client services will create additional value to the client and translate into substantial, additional fee income to the firm

Peter splits his time between the New York and Greenwich offices allowing him exposure to a large number of attorneys in the firm, spread across several practice groups.  He also switched practice groups in 2007 which was beneficial to understanding the workings of the firm’s Funds & Tax group and building on those relationships to cross-sell services to their commercial clients.

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 ...

See the rest the story for free in the Originate! newsletter at http://www.pbdi.org/Originate/