Archive for July, 2008

Law Web Templates – What's the point?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

According to Google there were over 390 searches within their index of websites for “Law Web Templates.” That means either there are a lot of lawyers looking to cut corners by building a “cheapy” website or there are a lot of web designers out there using these cheapy templates to rip off their clients who practice law.


The bottom line is. There is an enormous amount of legal professionals out there who still do not get the full potential of the Web. There is a tremendous amount of business to develop through web marketing. Since that is the case, why do things half-ass. Seriously.

A website that is attractive, informative and well optimized can generate six-figures or more in new income for a small to mid sized law firm. Take it seriously and you can generate solid clients at the absolute lowest cost per lead.

Call us to show you the money – James

How to increase your law firm's website traffic-to-lead conversion ratio

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

The purpose for a website for most law firms is to generate new clients.  One of the major issues that attorney struggle with is how to convert more hits into leads for the firm.  Here are just a few things I receommend to my customers on generating better traffic-to-lead convertion rates. 


1. Make sure the design of your website give visitors an immediate understanding of the services you provide. Make sure your website contains a legal theme. A lot of law firm websites do not look like a law firm website. Use images like law books, columns and courthouse imagery. Tell them right up front with a benefits-laden headline.

2. Simplify your website by making it easy to navigate.

3. Use psychologically effective colors. The color blue suggests quality, trustworthiness, success, seriousness, calmness – the perfect choice for law office web pages.

4. PLEASE register your own domain name. URL’s that contain names like, “Geocities”, “Angelfire” or “Tripod” have amateur written all over them.

5. Back up your messaging by backing up your claims with cold, hard, indisputable and verifiable facts

6. Use lots of call to action. For example, “Call now for a FREE CONSULTATION.”  Also make sure your name, telephone number and street address is posted on every page of your website

7. Use authentic customer testimonials with complete first and last names.

8. Offer a variety of payment options. Add credit card logos to your website.

9. A strong and effective sales letter can dramatically improve your earnings. If you aren’t capable of writing that type of sales letter yourself, hire a copywriting expert to write it for you.

Web Design Tip for Lawyers

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Your website should have a fast download time!

Our company has performed numerous case studies and have reviewed numerous 3rd party case studies about the importance of quick download times and the user experience.  Through this website user studies we have noted a significant drop off in the number of visitors who stay on the site if a web page takes longer than 15 seconds to download.


If you intend on using flash animation on your law firm’s website, you should always test the pages’ download time to ensure a speedy download time. Flash animation tend to be rather large files and could seriously impact the speed o you law office website download time.

About James

1 Trillion Website on Google and SEO Hints Revealed Today.

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Google stated on their blog today that they have indexed 1 trillion unique websites. Unique meaning they have not counted sites that are auto-generated copies of other websites.


Google also notes that they do not index sites that have duplicate content. An important fact to Web masters and businesses who rely on Web traffic and seo. The reason appears to be multi-facted. Reasons such as removing spam sites and cutting costs seem to be the main reasons for de-indexing duplicate websites.

James

MSN to Reinvest Over $1.2 Billion to Compete With Google?

Friday, July 25th, 2008

According to Microsoft Chief Executive Office Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Corp intends to spend a minimum of $1.2 billion dollars a year to compete with Google Inc. in the online advertising space.


Well, I have an idea for you MSN and this one is “on the house.” Improve your search results!

It burns me when I type in “Lawyer” and 48 out of the 50 1st search results are all subdomains of the same website. People want choice, selection and credible websites.  Just ask Google.

James

How Important Are Attorney Profiles on Lawyer Directories?

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

One item I have been addressing a lot lately is the importance of filling out the attorney bio pages on attorney directories.  I say VERY important. There are a lot of lawyers out there more worried about their Facebook profile then the attorney profile in which they pay thousands of dollars to be listed.


Simply filling out your attorney bio on website directories such as AttorneyPages.com and other important directories does a lot to improve your results.

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. A well written attorney bio on important attorney directories will attract more visits to your profile through the search engines.
  2. Better conversion. Most attorneys don’t bother writing out their bio page. Doing so will position you better against the other competing firms listed within the directory.
  3. Content will increase traffic to your listings through the search engines.
  4. Drives more traffic to your website.

The bottom line is: Your paying for a listing on an attorney directory so get the most out of it by filling out your bio pages.

James

Trends in strategic marketing for law firms

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Setting the stage for lawyers:

Trends in strategic marketing for law firms

 

Janet Ellen Raasch

 

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer and ghostwriter who works closely with lawyers, law firms and other professional services providers – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of articles and books for print and keyword-rich content for the Internet.  She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.


 

 

Imagine that you have arrived at a theater where the stage is set but the actors have not yet made their appearance.  You can anticipate a lot about the play just by looking at the set.  It is bright and cheerful?  Dark and gloomy?  Modern, traditional or old-fashioned?  Before the actors have even opened their mouths, you have formed a pretty strong impression of what’s to come.

 

“I like to use this metaphor to explain the role of institutional marketing at a law firm,” said Norm Rubenstein.  “The lawyers are the actors – the individuals who ‘make the sale’ of legal services.  The marketers are the set designers and directors – the individuals who set the stage and orchestrate the process in order to facilitate the ‘sale’ of legal services.

 

“If a law firm’s marketers are doing their jobs right,” said Rubenstein, “potential clients have formed a pretty strong positive impression of a firm, practice group or lawyer before they even start to ‘talk business.’ If they are not doing their jobs, potential clients will have no impression at all – or will be swayed by the impressions of others.”

 

Rubenstein is a partner in Zeughauser Group (www.zeughausergroup.com).  He is a former national president of the Legal Marketing Association and has served as CMO of three global law firms and as a consultant to many others.  Co-presenting at this event was Melissa Hoff, also a partner with Zeughauser.

 

Rubenstein and Hoff discussed strategic marketing trends for lawyers and law firms at the monthly educational program of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the LMA (www.rockymountainlma.com), held in Denver June 10 at Maggiano’s Little Italy.

 

“Over the past 20 years, there has been a great shift in the roles and responsibilities of legal marketers – mostly due to an increasingly competitive and global marketplace,” said Rubenstein.

 

“In its early days, legal marketing was purely promotional.  Practitioners engaged in a wide range of random activities to promote the firm, its practice areas and its individual lawyers,” said Rubenstein.  “Marketers were not expected to examine the big picture.  Those with the inclination to do so rarely had the time.

 

“Today, at the best firms, legal marketing has become strategic,” said Rubenstein.  “Senior practitioners make a scientific study of the market — and use this information to generate a marketing plan supported by the appropriate legal products, pricing, placement and promotions.  The best legal marketing programs demonstrate the value of ‘market pull’ over ‘product push.’”

 

According to Zeughauser Group research, there are at least ten “best practices” that differentiate successful and strategic law firms from their less successful counterparts.

 

“These best practices do not constitute a ‘menu’ from which law firms can pick and choose a few items,” said Hoff.  “Rather, they are a prescription.  The healthiest law firms incorporate at least some elements from each of the ten best practices.”

 

1.  A strong, differentiated identity.  The successful law firm has achieved affirmative, unaided, top-of-mind name recognition in its targeted service niches.  “A strong, differentiated identify correlates with short-listing, which correlates to increased business opportunity and, potentially, increased revenue,” said Rubenstein.  “The successful law firm markets with a purpose – it has a carefully crafted brand.”

 

2.  Competitive intelligence.  The successful law firm uses the Internet to gather and analyze competitive intelligence – on an ongoing as well as a situational (in preparation for an interview, for example) basis.  “CMOs tell us that the next position they are planning to add is a market researcher or an analyst,” said Hoff.

 

3.  Client service and retention.  The successful law firm creates multi-disciplinary client teams and engages in formal client satisfaction and loyalty programs.  “When done effectively and acted upon, client satisfaction interviews build loyalty and yield extremely useful information,” said Rubenstein.  “We predict a significant uptick in formal CSI programs over the next few years.”

 

4.  Face-to-face business development.  The successful law firm understands the importance of relationships in “sales” – and the fact that the best relationships are created and nourished in person.  “Good individual coaching can help your lawyers develop their face-to-face business development skills,” said Hoff.

 

5.  Constant communications.  The successful law firm communicates constantly.  External communications focus on creating awareness in the marketplace.  “Members of your external target market should be contacted in some way – other than via documents or bills — at least 12-20 times each year,” said Rubenstein.  “These contacts should be personalized whenever possible.”  Internal communications focus on sharing information about the market and the firm’s activities in the market.

 

6.  Technology.  The successful law firm uses technology like CRM systems to archive and share information.  “Software that can search all of a firm’s existing systems — mining them to unearth otherwise hidden relationships – may end up as a well-received alternative to CRMs,” said Hoff.

 

7.  Measure success.  The successful law firm finds a way to communicate the value of marketing internally and to test the efficacy of its strategies.  “Law firms cannot calculate traditional return-on-investment for marketing programs in the same way that corporations do,” said Rubenstein.  “Instead, create, monitor and internally publicize proxy measures like readership studies or Web site page hits to assess impact.”

 

8.  Skill-building.  The successful law firm provides ongoing business-development training for lawyers as well as marketers and other law firm business professionals.

 

9.  Program integration.  The successful law firm understands and integrates all three areas of marketing practice in a continuous strategic loop:  branding and communications, business development and sales, and client service and retention.  “All three are essential to a successful strategic marketing plan,” said Hoff.

 

10.  Marketing culture.  The successful law firm embraces a marketing culture all the way from the top down – making lawyers accountable for their activities and rewarding performance.

 

“The day when an entire law firm could be ‘fed’ by the activities of a few rainmakers is long gone,” said Rubenstein.  “Today, every lawyer must be expected to make a contribution to the development of new business – using the tactics that best fit his or her own personality and the culture of the firm.

 

“For one lawyer, this might be public speaking or involvement in a trade group,” said Rubenstein.  “For another, it might be publishing or teaching.  For another, it might be personal relationships.  For another, it might be creating and maintaining a blog or a wiki — or perhaps carefully mining a social network.  For each lawyer, at least one tactic will be a comfortable fit.”

 

Louisiana Supreme Court Repeals and Reenacts New Lawyer Advertising Rules Effective Dec.1, 2008

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Louisiana Supreme Court Repeals and Reenacts New Lawyer Advertising Rules
Effective Dec.1, 2008

Louisiana attorneys should take note of the new and updated requirements for advertising that will take effect December 1st in 2008. Here is a copy of the new rules. Louisiana Lawyer Advertising Addendum 2008

 

Attorney Directories – An Objective Review

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Let me start by saying there are way too many lawyer directories online to mention. For over 8 years, I have worked for the top 3 legal directories on the Web and I have been paid very well to do comprehensive competitive reviews of nearly 100 of the most trafficked attorney directories. 


The bottom line is – they are replacing the phone book market quickly. There will be a day when a $500 attorney directory listing will cost as much as a yellow page display ad. I promise.

Factors in determining which attorney directories are the best bet.
1. Which directories consistently show up in the search results? Run searches for your city, state, county and practice areas along with lawyer or attorney. For example: Dallas Texas Divorce Attorney

2. How many other law firms are listed? Don’t fret if there are only one or two firms listed. If the attorney directory is ranking well in several key word phrases for your area this may be a great opportunity. Many law firms wait until there are too many competing law firms in a directory before they make the leap of faith.

3. Ask for references or call firms listed within the directory. This is a common practice and many firms will be happy to share their experiences unles you are a competitor.

4. Find out if the lawyer directory offers a top position. Buy it if #s 1-3 are positive.

5. Do they track results? Is there a way to measure the results of your listings? If so, another great positive indication that the attorney directory you are evaluating is a real opportunity.

6. How long have they been in business? I prefer directories with search engine history. Look for directories with 5 or more years online.

Contact us for any specific questions you have about attorney directories.

Free Lawyer Website Design

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

There are a few firms willing to design your firm a free website. Most of the time it is just a way to lure in prospective clients and then perform the old “bait and switch.” In legitimate cases of free web design, a firm is likely to offer it with standard stipulations such as a long term hosting agreement or upgrade charges for maintenance or search engine optimization. Either of these are considered to be a fair business practice.

However, what is most important to your law firm goals and objectives?

Are they short term or long term goals?

These are very important questions especially if you value your domain name. The reason is simple. Search engines place a value on your website once it has been evaluated by the search engine algorithm. If your new website is poorly designed, written, or optimized your domain will have a low value. This could potentially cause you many problems in the future when you desire better search engine rankings.

Call us for a free law firm website design consultation.