Archive for October, 2010

The Best Reasons for Your Law Office to Have a Facebook Page

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

More and more businesses, both large and small are turning to Facebook in order to create an additional online presence, as well as giving their customers a less formal platform with which to engage. Even if you are a true Facebook addict on your personal time, you may wonder how Facebook can be successful for your law firm. Considering that the average Facebook fan logs on a minimum of six hours per month, there are many ways Facebook can increase your legal website’s exposure in the most positive ways imaginable. Some of them include:

  • Search engine optimization is very positively impacted by your firm’s Facebook page. Once your law firm has an up and running Facebook page, it will show up high in the search results for your business because Facebook lists pages on the individual users’ public search listings—therefore each user who “likes” your firm’s Facebook page instantly adds another link back to that business page. This process can provide numerous links back to different areas of your legal website, thus dramatically improving the search rankings of your site.
  • Facebook can facilitate communication between you and your potential client by updating your firm’s Facebook page to let clients know about a new service from your firm. The members of your group then comment about your new legal service, thus opening a positive dialogue, and engaging potential clients. Facebook also allows for customized applications on your firm’s Facebook page, which could include things such as “join our mailing list.” This allows you to add potential clients to your e-mail marketing program sending them out interesting and informative articles each month.
  • The personal communication which takes place on your firm’s Facebook page can be invaluable in giving you feedback regarding your firm’s services. You can see firsthand what clients have to say about your services, which in turn allows you to resolve customer issues and gain valuable feedback you might never have been aware of before. The kind of information you receive from clients can advance your market research efforts and allow you to improve your customer service. Because Facebook’s members choose to become so, you can keep in constant contact with new, old or potential clients through uploading content whenever you want. This content shows up on your client’s newsfeeds, giving them information about your firm in a much less intrusive manner—your clients may even look forward to new content being added!
  • Facebook business pages can be a wonderful addition to your online business presence, and can be a sort of less-formal extension to your firm’s website. The Facebook page drives increased traffic to your firm’s website and with numerous links back to your regular website Facebook becomes yet another way your potential clients can find you.
  • You will gain invaluable information about your clients, including graphs and stats on the types of users your Facebook page attracts, whether they are male or female, ages, locations and other demographic data as well. The average Facebook user has 130 friends in their network, therefore if one of them “likes” your Facebook page, there is the potential for all 130 of their friends to see that, causing them to investigate and look at your Facebook page themselves. If you attempt to do the math on such a phenomenon, you will see that the “reach” of Facebook is literally beyond your imagination.
  • Having “Fans” makes you business more credible and legitimizes your business.
  • Your comments, articles, etc can be distributed to others at no cost to you.

Facebook offers law firms the chance to show a different, less “buttoned-up” side of themselves than what is typically shown in their legal website. Your firm can post photos and videos of a staff function, or an attorney’s television or court appearance. It can show the softer, more personal side of the attorneys who make up the law firm, and give potential clients an insight into the firm they might not otherwise have.

So let’s review: Having a Facebook page for your law firm’s website has a huge reach, is completely customized and branded, is almost as powerful a marketing tool as your website itself….and it’s free!

FREE ADVICE (from real experts, no sales people) concerning Facebook and other social media management services for law firms, lawyer, and legal companies. We also offer custom Facebook design and programming.  Call (769) 218-6099 for free advice.

How Will Google TV Change How Your Legal Website Operates?

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

There is a good chance that the new Google TV—just announced in May of this year– could have a much larger impact on the Internet than we can imagine at this point.  If you feel like you’ve been left out of the loop, and are wondering what the heck Google TV is, well….Google TV is essentially a software platform which, for the moment, Logitech, Sony, and DISH will support. Google TV will sit on top of your existing DISH satellite, etc., and should be compatible with whatever you presently use whether it is cable or satellite box with all relevant subscriptions. Once you start the Google TV device you will be greeted by a simple search bar, much like the search bar on your computer. You type in what you want to watch, whether it is a television station, or a particular show.

Should you wish to watch something that only exists on Amazon’s streaming service, you’ll be taken to Amazon’s webpage through Chrome where the video will stream. With this hybrid mixture of web and television, you can view multiple sources of information in multiple panes on your television screen. Google TV’s hardware specs include Bluetooth and Wi-fi, enabling you to load a webpage on your Android phone and beam it directly to your television set. And speaking of Android—Google TV includes complete access to the Android App Store, and believes that most any app will run fine on Google TV.

Online Advertising

So now you know what Google TV is, just how does it affect your law firm and your legal firm’s website? Well, Google is placing their search at what could possibly be the best place to reach us in our own homes—the television set. Google TV puts the entire web right at your fingertips any time you watch TV; if you happen to see a commercial for an item, or hear something interesting mentioned in a television show, you can then flip over to the web, find the item, and buy it—without ever leaving your couch.  Google TV will put national advertisements—your ads—right in front of multitudes of eyes.

What to Expect With TV Advertising

Television allows you to reach a much wider audience than virtually any other advertising medium, allowing you to expand on the benefits of your law firm’s services, building a trust in your firm’s name, while generating awareness and demand for your services. Television ad campaigns require time and commitment to allow you to reap the very best results; typically ads should air for no less than 3-4 weeks to get your message through and register an impact. Television advertising is a bit different than other types of advertising, and requires a few tricks to ensure your advertisement is noticed.

  • Understand that content is everything; get your users to the content in the most expedient manner possible. Users will abandon a screen when the navigation frustrates them, or they can’t seem to get to the point quickly.
  • Remember you are in the living room or bedroom of your viewers, so think about what viewers would or would not want to do while watching TV with family and friends. Television is a social activity, so consider how groups might use your website as well.
  • Make it as easy as possible by offering simple choices and making actions obvious and easy to select—your navigation must be easy enough for a remote control. Take out anything non-essential, and make the primary action reachable in one click. Make it simple for users to return to their previous location, and limit vertical scrolling as much as possible.
  • Use simple, highly readable fonts and limit each paragraph to no more than 90 words. Break your text into small chunks which can be read at a glance, and remember that light text on dark background is slightly easier to read.

While Google TV may not yet change how your law firm’s website operates, the possibility that it will, in the future, is very strong. With the average American watching over 150 hours of television per month, Google TV will allow you, the advertiser, the opportunity to engage with your potential clients while they are consuming entertainment or information. You will be able to convey your firm’s  message through sight, sound and motion, and build the crucial credibility and trust in your business at the same time. Television advertising can be an incredibly successful way to grow your business, and Google TV is set to make television advertising literally explode.

FREE ADVICE concerning all of your questions or concerns about law firm websites or online marketing. Call (769) 218-6099 to talk with a marketing expert (not a sales rep).

Regus Launches New iPhone App – Virtual Offices For Lawyers

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Regus provides virtual offices for businesses that want to go full virtual or partially virtual.  Virtual offices are a low cost solution for solo attorneys or law firms that want to open satellite office without spending a fortune.

App Features

Locate your nearest Regus center. Find an office or a business lounge. Book a meeting room or day office. All with the Regus iPhone App. It’s like having the entire Regus network on your phone.

App Description

Need an office to work from? Or a business lounge or meeting room to meet with clients? The Regus iPhone app is here to help.

1100 locations. 500 cities. 85 countries. One app.

Use this app to search across Regus’ global business center network to find exactly what your business needs.

Key Features:
• auto-locate and with a single tap find Regus centers globally and view on an interactive map
• switch between maps and augmented reality
• discover unique features about each Regus center and view images
• get directions by road, by public transport and by air
• inquire, book meeting rooms or one tap to call
• share Regus center details with your meeting delegates and clients
• save Regus center details to your iPhone contact list
• multi-tasking support

Click here to download the FREE Regus app from iTunes.

Regus iPhone App

Formal Opinion 10-457 American Bar Association Opinion On Law Firm Websites

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

The American Bar Association just released a formal opinion to address the issues of how to ethically market legal services using a law firm website, offers examples of how problems can arise from website marketing, and provides guidance on how to avoid them.

The ABA has place a copyright on the Formal Opinion 10-457 Lawyer Websites and we will not be able to provide it to you even though we have a copy and have reviewed the materials.

Here are a few things to consider from our experience. (please do additional research on your own and review the latest versions of the U.S. Supreme Court, ABA, local bar association, and state bar association ethics rules, advertising opinions and court decisions for “up to date” compliance. This is not and should not be construed as legal advice. You should seek legal advice n these matters.

  1. Be sure to review all of your current and future law firm website content for violations such as false, or misleading statements.
  2. Ensure that your website has statements that includes who wrote the content and who is responsible for the legal website’s content. (Louisiana has already adopted this so it would be wise to add this as well.)
  3. Disclaimer – your law firm website should include in the disclaimer the difference between legal information contained in your website content and actual legal advice.
  4. Confidentiality/Privacy statements – Most law firm’s do not have a Privacy Statement and they should as a general rule of thumb when it comes to websites publicly accessible via the Web. Make sure that you explain the purpose of the contact form is to provide contact information for a follow up call from your law firm. We recommend that you specifically direct individuals nor to put any case details to avoid various legal issues.
  5. User Agreement – Again, added protection since it spells out the “user experience” and what terms the user must agree to or does agree to while using your website.
  6. Confidentiality of client information and disqualification of the lawyer due to conflicts of interest also may be implicated by website communication, according to the opinion.
  7. When a website visitor submits information about their legal issue, this exchange may create a “prospective client” relationship. This may depend on whether the attorney invited submission of specific details about that person’s case or on how the lawyer responds. Should a “prospective client” relationship be created between the potential law firm client and the law firm (even if the potential client does not retain the law firm) — the lawyer may have a duty to treat the specific details provided by a potential client as confidential. The law firm may also face a conflict of interest which would place prohibitions on representing other individuals involved in the same case or other legal matters.

Again, your law firm could avoid potentially harmful legal issues by posting adequate warnings, disclaimers, legal statements in order to limit, place condition or disclaim any obligation to your law firm’s website visitors.  However, regardless how detailed your disclaimer may be, this protection may be set aside should the responding lawyer act or communicate contrary to the law firm’s website warnings.

Google Responds to Yahoo/Bing By Testing "Shared By" Social Networking Activity in Search Results

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Google is beta testing a new feature of their search results page inresponse to the recent announcement made by Yahoo/Bing.  On October 16, 2010, Yahoo/Bing announced that they have included within their search engine results pages, a link to the number of users that have shared that particular link, content, or web page with other web users.  In response Google integrated in “social shares” into their main search results today as a beta test. In the image to the right you are able to see a screenshot example of this Google beta test.  Note the “Shared by 20+” link that follows the website link along with the number of related articles.

For now the “shared by” links will only appear on Google’s main search results page. What is interesting is what happens when you click on the “shared by” link.  When you click the link you are brought to Google Updates, where real-time sharing activity reporting is displayed. Google has not disclosed whether or not this will be a permanent feature as of yet.

If you have questions as to how this will impact your law firm search engine optimization, call (769) 218-6099 for a free consultation about Social Media Search Engine Optimization for law firms.

What is the best way for a criminal lawyer to generate business?

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

For over 11 years, James Greenier has worked exclusively for criminal defense law firms of all sizes in the area of lead generation. Here are a few excerpts from his new criminal defense lawyer lead generation series, “Retain Your Ideal Client Now.”

“Search engines remain THE most powerful lead generation opportunities online.  In the “old days” when people had a legal problem and had questions they had to call attorneys to obtain those answers.  In the “Age of Information” this step is bypassed altogether as legal consumers can type in their questions on any search engine and instantly obtain the answers.  The added convenience and privacy has created a permanent shift in legal consumer spending habits.”
“Social media sites are excellent devices for distributing content. The response is very similar to traditional advertising in that it is broadcast outward and has to reach the “ideal client” at the moment of need. Social media sites add credibility and show a historical background of operating as a legitimate business which is a plus.  Social media sites will eventually provide directories or will gain more traction in their users’ awareness of using their social media site as a reference tool. We recommend having a presence on these sites, however the ABA and other state bar associations have and are forming negative opinions concerning lawyer marketing on social media websites. So stay tuned!”
“Google changes their algorithm allow properly designed websites/blog to rank content on the 1st page of Google with minutes of being publish instead of month. This is a huge opportunity for any law firm of any size.”
“Targeted keyword research that determines the “ideal” keywords for legal content to be written and distributed on the Web via a blog, website or other legal websites produces high quality leads at a fraction of the cost of all other forms of advertising.”
Want some FREE criminal law firm marketing advice?
CALL (769) 218-6099 to speak with one of our veteran marketers about how to instantly generate business to your law firm. We will also review your website or provide you with ideas for a new one if necessary.

Monitoring Traffic to Your Legal Website To Increase Your Traffic And Relevance

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Monitoring your website’s traffic should be one of your top priorities as you must determine the scope of incoming traffic on your website. Understanding your users and their particular habits leads to substantial increases in your market profits. Ask yourself why your visitors come to your site? Where are they coming from, and how much time do they spend navigating around your firm’s website? Which pages are the most viewed, and which have valuable content, but few visitors? The answers to these questions can give you truly crucial information to enhance the performance of your website. A statistics tracking program can be an invaluable resource which can enable you to vastly improve your web growth by supplying you with the information you need. The ultimate goal, of course, is to understand your visitor’s needs while generating more revenue for your law firm. There are several types of statistics tracking programs available such as:

• Stat Counter
If you are relatively new to the game, StatCounter is a good basic program which is gives you real- time detailed web stats on your visitors. With a simple piece of code on your web page or blog you will be able to analyze and monitor your website’s visitors. You will have a choice of two levels of
service with StatCounter; the first level is totally free and gives you a fair amount of options to track visitors, however it is limited to 100 pages of counting. You can work around this by assigning sections of your website as projects, then each “project” will have the 100 page limit, otherwise upgrade to the second level, which gives you more pages, but costs a fairly small amount. You can go to http://www.statcounter.com for more information.

• Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the web analytics solution that can give you deeper insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness by allowing you to see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. Google Analytics will give you the tools to write better-targeted ads, thereby creating a higher conversion website. While Google Analytics is similar to StatCounter in that you paste a piece of code into your webpages, but also has some great tie-ins with adsense/adwords. Google Analytics is also free, and has a huge page view limit, so no worries. Google Analytics is a bit more complicated than StatCounter, but not impossibly so.

• AWStats
If you are a more advanced user, or have someone on staff who is, AWStats evaluates your website statistics, providing a full log analysis which includes the number of visits, the number of unique visitors, including their domains and countries, and many other personalized reports which will aid you in your marketing strategy. This is considered to be the best free program you can get
to analyze statistics on your website, but is definitely not for beginners; you will be required to
upload the program to your server, and probably make some minor modifications, depending on
where you load it.

Once you have a statistics program in place, you will be able to see clearly where your visitors are coming from, how long they spend on your website, where they stop to read, (meaning the content definitely caught their eye) and any other information that can help you make the necessary adjustments to your website in order to generate the traffic you want.

Want FREE ADVICE concerning how to set up and interpret your traffic reports? Call the 11 year veterans of law firm website marketing at Lawyer Success, Inc. by calling (769) 218-6099.

Google Instant and Google PageRank Search Engine Optimization For Law Firms

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Of course, increasing your law firm’s visibility on the web is your number one goal, and hopefully you recognize that the more phrases your firm website is found for, the more likely you will totally capture your target audience. If you have done your job well, and have keywords abounding, you probably have no worries regarding Google Instant—your website probably already ranks for whatever variation Google Instant is recommending to your potential clients. If you have not been quite so diligent, and have focused most of your resources on a handful of keywords, take a deep breath, and try not to panic just yet!

Perform a Google Search for Your Law Firm

Pretend you never heard of your legal firm, and that you are a confused, frustrated, potential client with a specific problem. What words will you type into Google’s search bar? You need to perform the actual searches in order to see what Google Instant will be showing to potential clients. Once you are aware of what Google Instant will be recommending, your next step is to ensure you add these keywords and phrases to your list of what your website should rank for. Make sure you think outside the box when making a list of additional keywords and phrases, and use Google Instant for a world of great ideas. A word of caution before you begin your search—clear your browser history lest Google Instant base it recommendations on websites you have recently visited.

How Important is Gooogle PageRank for Law Firm SEO?

Although Google’s PageRank can be a great tool, it will not give you a particularly accurate indication of how your website ranks on search engines for desirable keywords. Your website’s PageRank is based much more on the number of inbound links and how many pages of content are on your firm’s website. Therefore, the more high-quality inbound links and pages of content, the higher your Google PageRank. Consider, however, that there is a bit more strategy involved than simply building links and adding content—perhaps the more pertinent question is how your website’s PageRank directly relates to search engine rankings for specific keywords.

Anchor Text Variations

Even more important than page titles, meta descriptions and URL structures is the anchor text of the inbound links on your law firm’s website. While you could have huge amounts of links coming into your website, if the anchor text of all those links happens to be something like “click here,” or “visit our website,” you could potentially have a decent Google PageRank, yet not so decent ranking on search engines for your preferred keywords. Bottom line is that the anchor text of your inbound links must be keywords within your SEO strategy.

While Google Instant and Google PageRank can be invaluable tools in your quest for the holy grail of website marketing strategies, the trick is in knowing how to use them to your very best advantage in creating a high-ranking, professional and trustworthy website with lots of happy, satisfied users.

Want FREE ADVICE about Google Instant or Google PageRank? Call the 11 year law firm SEO experts at Lawyer Success, Inc. at (769) 218-6099 for more information and helpful advice.

Mobile Laterals Present New Opportunities and Challenges For Law Firms

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter and blogger (www.constantcontentblog.com) who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the Web and social media sites as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.

Not so long ago, a young lawyer would join a law firm as an associate, advance to partner and stay with that law firm until retirement. Times have changed.

Today’s lawyers are much more mobile. If their law firms are not providing the support they need to grow their practices and flourish as professionals, they will look for greener pastures – and keep looking until they find the right place.

Even before the most recent round of layoffs, which further weakened loyalty, lateral moves by partners were trending up – from 2,153 in 2006 to 2,775 in 2009 (American Lawyer magazine). A second wave of defections is taking place in 2010.

“Savvy law firms with well-thought-out plans are conducting strategic ‘land grabs’ – scooping up entire offices and practice groups from their competitors,” said Craig Brown. “Mid-tier regional firms, in particular, are gobbling up disgruntled and displaced big-firm talent.”

Brown discussed “what laterals want” at the monthly education program of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association (www.legalmarketing.org/rockymountain), held Sept. 14 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Denver.

Brown is a lawyer and founder of Motivera (www.motiveragroups.com), a Southern California-based business development consulting firm. A large part of his practice is helping lawyers use their strengths to build relationships that lead to strong books of business.

What law firms want

“It costs approximately $1,920,000 to bring on board a lateral partner with a $2 million book of portable business,” said Brown, citing an article by Richard Gary in Law Firm Inc. An acquiring firm does not break even until the third year.”

“In the 2007 land grab, law firms were gobbling up available lateral partners and practices — often without proper due diligence,” said Brown.

“In 2010, we see a second wave of lateral acquisitions,” said Brown. “This time, the acquiring firms have changed from gobblers to picky eaters. Due diligence has tightened up and the packages being offered are less generous. Generous financial incentives are being replaced by loans that will be forgiven if a lateral partner lives up to his or her marketplace potential.”

According to a recent NALP Foundation report, law firms consider four factors when deciding whether or not to hire a lateral partner or practice group:

  • Can the lateral develop new business?
  • Can the lateral strengthen a particular practice area?
  • Does the lateral present a possible conflict of interest?
  • Is the lateral a good cultural fit with the firm?

“Considering that 16 percent of laterals hired during the first wave moved again within two years,” said Brown, “finding the right laterals can be a costly proposition.

“Considering the time, effort and cost that go along with hiring a lateral lawyer or group, you would think that acquiring firms would do everything in their power to help the new lawyer succeed — but often, they do not,” said Brown.

What lateral partners want

Law firms are not the only ones exerting more care with lateral acquisitions. Lawyers, too, are becoming pickier about their choices when they make a lateral move.

“In 2007,” said Brown, “laid-off attorneys were panicked. They were primarily concerned about finding a new position and paying their bills. They didn’t take the time to do their research. As a result, many ended up in firms that were a bad fit. In the current wave of lateral movement, lawyers are being much more careful.” (more…)