Home Lawfirms


Tweet To Be Heard: 7 Reasons For Using Twitter

 Tweet To Be Heard: 7 Reasons For Using Twitter
When Twitter first came out, many attorneys thought that the microblogging service would be a blip on the marketing radar—here today, gone tomorrow.  However, in 2013, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Twitter is here to stay for the foreseeable future.  If you’re one of the nearly half of attorneys who still doesn’t have an account on Twitter, here are seven reasons that you need to get on board this year.

#1: Twitter Is Growing—Fast

Over 60 million people have joined Twitter in just the last year.  The rate of growth that Twitter has experienced since getting off the ground in 2008 is incredible.  What’s more, the activity levels of users on Twitter swell during big events.  In other words, you can use Twitter to get into the conversation right when people are paying the most attention.

The continued growth of Twitter may be slowing down slightly due to how many people are already active users of the service.  Currently, Twitter claims to have over 200 million total active users—as many as the adult population of the United States.  What’s more, the user population of Twitter tends toward slightly younger people who have a lot of influence in their social circles.  These are exactly the kind of brand ambassadors that can be most effective in bringing your firm’s message to other users on Twitter and people off the internet.

#2: Twitter Conversion Rates Are Through the Roof

When surveys have been done of which social media sites are most likely to generate client conversions, Twitter almost always comes out on top—often by a lot.  Some surveys have shown that Twitter is up to nine times as likely to create conversions than any other social networking site available.

Those numbers are too big to ignore for any law firm today.  If you’re not participating actively in Twitter, keep in mind that you won’t experience these same conversion rates.  Conversions come not from just having a Twitter account, but by creating unique tweets, participating in conversations with other Twitter users, and understanding how to use the site’s hashtags and other features.

#3: It Doesn’t Take As Long As Other Networks

Because tweets are character limited, it’s substantially easier to maintain a Twitter account than almost any other kind of social media account.  Given the fact that tweets can travel fast, there’s a great return on your time investment.  Twitter can be a way to give your thoughts or see what other people have to say.  You can use Twitter for a few minutes to jumpstart your creativity.  The quick nature of tweets means you can read many in just minutes.

#4: Ease of Connection

Tweets travel better than any update on LinkedIn or status update on Facebook.  Tweets can get picked up by people who have national or even global influence and reach, all within a few degrees of even a small law firm.  A good idea travels fast.  If your firm wants to connect, it’s going to need great ideas and content that is concise, intelligent, and without pretense.  Don’t try to be something that you’re not, but don’t sell your own ideas short, either.

#5: Business to Business Twitter Contacts

Keep in mind that Twitter isn’t like Facebook—primarily a way to keep in contact with consumers.  It’s also a very good business to business network if you build the right contacts and retweet the right people.  Keep in mind that business to business contacts are cultivated by slow building of relationships.  You’re not usually going to see immediate dividends in terms of new clients when you start your Twitter account or for the first several months that you have it.  That’s fine—the biggest rewards from having a Twitter account that stays active will come from having a long-term account that has invested in relationships with other people on the social networking site.

If you’re going to maintain good quality business to business contacts, make sure that your tweets sound businesslike and professional.  Don’t make the mistake of using too much jargon or too many internet acronyms.  These kinds of uses can make you seem like you’re trying too hard.  Use hashtags, but use them relatively sparingly, rather than using four or five in every tweet.

#6: Search Engine Optimization

Google weights tweets highly when it comes to its searches.  This means that if you’re ignoring your Twitter account, you’re also ignoring one of the best ways to make sure that your firm’s name is visible when people search using the most commonly used search engine in the world.

An active Twitter account is great search engine optimization for your firm and can ensure that you are visible to people who search for your firm either by name or by specialty area.  If you’re clever about making sure that your brief Twitter description includes a concise and keyword conscious description of your specialty areas, you’ll have a much higher search ranking for your Twitter account than for other types of social media accounts.  This is a positive way to show your company.

If you want your Twitter account to be at its best for search engine optimization, the days of overusing keywords are over.  This means that you must keep your Twitter account looking clean and full of worthwhile content.  People will read your tweets only if you make sure that they’re actually worth thinking about and passing on.  Remember that the better your ideas are on Twitter, the more you’ll be doing for your overall search engine optimization.

#7: Looking Forward

It’s important as a law firm that you’re perceived as doing the right thing and looking toward the future when it comes to your marketing plan. Since Twitter has continued growing, it’s very possible that neglecting your Twitter account will actually start to lose clients for you in a very meaningful way within the next year or two.  Keep your firm looking forward by maintaining a presence on the social media site most likely to maintain its relevance for several years to come.

Step By Step Guide: Making Facebook Work For Your Firm

  Step By Step Guide: Making Facebook Work For Your Firm

Facebook can seem a little bit daunting if you're not used to it.  While some law firms dove happily into Facebook and used it as a tool easily, not everyone has the same amount of internet familiarity.  If your law firm has been hesitant to jump into Facebook because you're not sure what it's all about, don't worry.  Help is on the way.  This guide will give you some step by step instructions on how to make Facebook a vital part of your firm's marketing and brand.

Step 1: Get To Understand Facebook With a Personal Account

If you're really new to social networking, that's fine, but you don't want to dive right in with a business account representing your law firm first.  It's fairly likely that you'll make mistakes in the first days and weeks that you're involved in social networks, and that's okay—you actually want the freedom to make mistakes and be corrected by other people you're connected to.

The best thing that you can do to familiarize yourself with Facebook is to get a personal account first.  A personal account will only be read by people who have a personal connection with you as long as you set your privacy settings to only share your Facebook updates with friends.  This gives you a safe place to experiment, get used to Facebook, and cultivate some friends on the site before you decide to dive in with a business account.

Step 2: Get Started With Your Business Account

Once you feel fairly comfortable with your personal account, including making it personalized with Timeline entries and photographs, it's time to create your business account.  Make sure that you have professional photographs of your attorneys and your office for posting on Facebook.  Having these photographs can give people a better and more realistic view of what it's like to actually consult with attorneys in your office.  This, in turn, makes people more likely to convert.

When you start your business account, you should also consider updating your Timeline to include a variety of important events from your law firm's past.  While not everyone who looks at your law firm's Facebook page will notice these Timeline entries, having them filled out is a nice way to show that you do care about the website's features and are familiar with how to enngage with Facebook users.  Try to give your Facebook Timeline entries a bit of narrative depth while keeping them relatively short and simple.

Step 3: Keep Both Accounts Active and Posting

Both your personal and business accounts should be kept quite active if you want the maximum effect from Facebook.  Forgetting about your accounts is one of the fastest ways to lose friends and stop influencing people.  By keeping business and personal accounts both active, while remaining separate and posting about different things, you'll make sure that you're maximizing how many people contact you about things they read in your Facebook entries.

Step 4: Import Contacts and Make Friends

When you start your Facebook account, one of the first things that you'll be asked is whether you want to invite friends to use the service with you.  If you want, you can even have a program take a look at your address books and let Facebook see if any other users of their service are already people that you talk to.  Importing a contact list can be a great way to make sure that you start your Facebook account with a fairly large number of friends.

Make sure that when you're talking to people and trying to make friendly connections, you also send some kind of personalized message.  Not everyone will take as kindly to someone trying to reconnect, especially if your email contact is several years old.

Step 5: Expand Your Social Network

One of the best aspects of Facebook is that it lets you make friends with people that you might not otherwise have known.  For that matter, when you're using Facebook as a business tool, the website actually lets you target people with your advertising who are friends of the people that you have already established friend connections with.

Using this kind of advertising can be very useful if you're trying to get new clients in a relative hurry.  Remember that people tend to befriend others in similar demographics, and if your demographics are very specific, you're likely to find other ideal clients in their groups of friends.  For example, if you're a divorce attorney whose clients are following your firm's site, marketing to your clients' friends is likely to find a significant number of other people who are considering divorce or separation.

Step 6: Learn What Potential Clients Want

When you're using Facebook, keep in mind that it's a two-way communication medium.  Facebook is not like television or radio, where you're just telling people what to think.  Conversations are shaped by both consumers and brands on Facebook, and if you hear your commenters consistently asking for the same thing from you, you need to make sure that you're listening.

By reading all the comments people leave for you—consider very strongly using a social medialon dashboard, which can streamline this process substantially while ensuring that you don't miss any comments or questions—you'll learn what potential clients care about and what their most commonly asked questions are before giving you a call.

Step 7: Use Social Connections for Referrals and Testimonials

If you can build a rapport with people on your Facebook wall based on long term interactions, gradually it's likely that you'll see referrals start to happen even without asking for them. This does require acting with long term relationships in mind, being authentic and true to your brand for months or even years.

You can also solicit testimonials from past clients that can help you get new clients on your website or through social media channels.  Having real testimonials on social media makes it much easier for people to become new clients and pick up the phone for a first consultation.

8 Tips For Legal Marketing Plans in 2013

 8 Tips For Legal Marketing Plans in 2013

Sometimes, writing out a marketing plan is something that attorneys dread.  Many solo practitioners report that they do marketing on an ad hoc basis rather than implementing a specific step by step scheduled plan.  If you want to organize your firm's marketing ideas into a plan this year, this is the right article to read.  You'll get great tips about how to start your marketing plan and information that will help you make your law firm do well with social media.

#1: Integrate Online and Offline Marketing Ideas

Keep in mind that doing just online marketing isn't enough, even though it's 2013.  It's possible that in ten years, a completely online marketing strategy might work for a large number of law firms, but only a small number of firms can currently be successful with only an online presence.  You're much better off diversifying your marketing budget and making sure that you're putting resources and effort into your marketing and reputation both online and offline.

Your online marketing plan should integrate your online marketing with your offline activities.  This can sometimes be as simple as discussing your offline charitable work on your Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook feed.  At other times, you may want to use QR codes in your print advertisements.  Any time that you can link the offline and online worlds, your online marketing campaign will become more valuable to you.  It's also important to participate in the offline world from an online perspective because local participation tends to make it more likely that your frm will appear early in local search results for people in your area..

#2: Make Scheduling a Priority

While it may seem like a drag to schedule your social media out in advance, you'll probably find in the end that you're much less overwhelmed and more likely to make the updates you want when you conform to a steady schedule.  Keep your schedule a priority when you're working on your marketing plan.  You should have a schedule that includes when you will do social media on a daily, weekly, and even monthly basis.

Keep in mind that your schedule doesn't have to be written in stone.  If other priority issues come up, you can always change your social media scheduling.  You may also find that one particular type of social media is more effective for you.  If this happens, that's fine—consider dedicating more time and effort to that social network rather than just continuing with your schedule for the sake of scheduling.

#3: Use Online Tools For Better Efficiency

Many attorneys are still posting to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn from the websites of each social network.  If this describes your firm, stop!  One of the best things that you can do today to make it easier to run social media campaigns is getting a social networking dashboard.  These programs will help you to post on several different social networks quickly rather than getting bogged down in interface differences.

It's important that even if you're using a social media dashboard, you sometimes take a look at how your company's page displays on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media sites on several different operating systems and platforms.  You should make sure that mobile and app users of social networking sites are still seeing your good side, not pictures that resize awkwardly or generate errors.

#4: Find Your Company's Narrative

If you really want to captivate an audience, you're always better off giving your audience some kind of narrative to hold on to.  If you don't know what your law firm's narrative is, think of the story you tell people you know personally when you're trying to tell them what your firm does and why it's important.  That story can often be modified into a version that will make it easier for you to market your firm online.

Make sure that when you craft your narrative, you don't let the story conflict with the truth.  Misrepresentations always look bad, and you're better off sticking with narratives that make you look great and that are totally truthful.

#5: Understand and Target Your Ideal Client

You probably already know what kind of client you interact with best and would like to see walking through your door.  Imagine who you'd like to see, and then write your copy to them, anticipating their needs.  If you target your ideal clients,you'll be much more likely to actually get the kind of clients you're looking for.

#6: Give Your Social Media Presence Personality

You won't get very far on social media websites by having an impersonal company logo represent you. You should show someone as the face of your social media profile, and make sure that they are following through with representing you.  This may mean assigning someone specific to head your social media presence instead of letting people do it when they can, and that's good—your attorneys can still contribute on the firm page's wall and talk there but you need a main social media presence with a face who can be you for all intents and purposes on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

#7: Maintain Good Information Security

Too many good companies have been felled by this, and law firms are going to catch up as they begin to use the internet more and more.  If you don't maintain good information security standards at work, you risk having not only yourself but also your clients hacked.  Unless you want someone to be able to post on your social media accounts without your permission, you need to make sure that your password isn't anything they could guess.

#8: Respond To Current Events

Make sure that your social media presence sticks squarely in the real world.  That means referencing current events and making sure that your updates talk occasionally about legal news.  Keep yourself informed so that you can respond, showing that you care about more than life inside your law firm.

7 Pages Every Law Firm Website Should Have

7 Pages Every Law Firm Website Should Have

When you put together your law firm website, there are several pages that you should have no matter what other content you decide to include.  But what are the must have web pages for a law firm website?  Ideally, you want the pages you have on your site to be designed to draw in conversions, and to give enough information to clients for them to make an important decision to give your firm a call.  This guide will help you understand what the must-have basic web pages are for a basic law firm website while also discussing why these pages are so important.

#1: Attorney Biographies

The single most looked at page on attorney and law firm websites before a client calls the office is the attorney biography.  This means that if your attorney bio is just a list of awards and some very generic copy, you may be hurting your own bottom line in a big way.  Typically, clients won't just want to see your awards and honors, though they may want to see those, too, so make sure to include them—usually toward the bottom of the page.  Keep in mind that most people who want to see these honors will scroll through to see whether you have them.  Seeing them first can be intimidating for other clients, who may be more interested in seeing an attorney's personality than their list of proudest moments.

Your attorney biography should generally be conversational and informative.  It should feel personal without feeling like oversharing, and should stay free of legal jargon as much as possible.  Maintaining a tone that even a client who has never visited an attorney before can understand, without condescension, is the best way to generate conversions from your attorney biography.

#2: Firm News

Every law firm should have a news updates page, and this updates page should automatically create headlines on your home page.  This gives you a way to showcase new attorneys or staff changes, as well as to publicize your successes in and out of the courtroom.

There's also a search engine optimization reason to have a firm news page.  As long as you update the firm news section of your website relatively frequently, you will be updating your home page as well—and Google and Bing prefer websites that have frequently updated content.  If you're using the same stale content for months and months, you'll start to slip in search engine rankings in favor of firms that are updating more regularly.  Having a firm news page makes it easy for you to do small updates without having to just do busy work.

#3: Firm “About Us” Page

In addition to your attorney biographies, you should also have an overall firm “about us” section that explains how your firm was formed and the values that drive your partners and associates.  This page lets you express your brand voice clearly and succinctly.  Don't make this page too long, and try to make it contain more of the personal than the platitudinous.

#4: Specialty Practice Area Pages

Almost every law firm today is a firm made up of specialists, not generalists.  Your firm's specialty areas are the biggest way that you'll be found by people searching for law firms using Google, Bing, or Yahoo.  If you're not actively marketing these specialty areas with specific web pages or even microsites designed specifically for addressing the concerns of clients needing services in these legal areas, you're not doing everything you can to drive conversions.

If you're an attorney whose practice is consumer oriented, you may want to consider adding your price structure to the pages outlining your specialty areas.  One of the biggest questions today's consumers have about legal services is how much a lawyer is going to cost.  With the economy still limping, understanding costs can make it easier for people to contact a lawyer while feeling assured of their ability to successfully pay your fee.

#5: Consultation Information Page

You should also consider having a specific web page that details what a first consultation at your law firm is like.  By helping consumers understand what they're likely to encounter at the consultation, you're helping them to gain the confidence that they need to place what can be a very anxiety-provoking phone call.  This will also help you to avoid the problem of people calling for a consultation, then no-showing when it comes time for their actual appointment.  By alleviating fears, you make for more informed, more at ease clients.

Your consultation information page should stay jargon free and tell people what they should bring to their consultation, in addition to information about how you will decide whether to accept a case and how fees will be determined.

#6: Frequently Asked Questions

A Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ, page contains questions that your law firm is asked on a routine basis.  Many people will actually look for a FAQ when they have a question about a business, so having one of these pages is crucial for drawing in this market segment and giving them all the information they need in one place.

Your FAQ page can and should link to other pages on your website when those pages are relevant and contain more detailed information than is appropriate for the FAQ.  Typically, FAQ answers should be no more than one or two paragraphs long.  This is also a good place to dispel any myths that people often come to your office believing—just a few lines on a FAQ may be able to help people understand your profession and the particulars of their case a little bit better.

#7: Contact Form

Of course, every law firm's website should have a contact form page.  If you don't have a contact form and only allow contact through the phone or an email address, you won't be able to track how new clients moved through your website before deciding to contact you, which means that you lose a significant amount of information about what is and isn't working to drive conversions. 

Think Mobile: 8 Reasons Mobile Marketing Is Here to Stay

Think Mobile: 8 Reasons Mobile Marketing Is Here to Stay


When you give your phone number out to someone today, do you give your home landline number, or a mobile number?  For an increasing number of Americans, cell phones are an important part of life—in fact, over a third of Americans report that they no longer even have a landline phone.  As mobile phones get smarter and more common, law firms should start thinking about mobile marketing.  Having a mobile-friendly version of your website was once just a novelty.  In today's mobile-based world, it's a necessity.  Here are eight reasons that the legal marketing landscape is changing in a way that is favorable to lawyers who get on the mobile bandwagon.

#1: Smartphones Are Getting Cheaper And More Widespread

When smartphones came out, in the form of the Blackberry and other similar devices, they were regarded as gadgets best suited for high-powered businesspeople and tech geeks.  Today, the situation on the ground has changed dramatically: Over half of Americans now own a smartphone.

Smartphones, in addition to allowing basic telephony features, also let people connect to the internet, watch videos, use maps and global positioning satellite systems, and even play games or use apps.  The huge market share of smartphones has come as the result of steep price drops, including many which are now free with plan purchases.  The ubiquity of smartphone technology means that attorneys can no longer simply assume that their target market doesn't use smartphones—while younger demographics are certainly more likely to have a new iPhone or Android device than older people, all demographics are buying smartphones at an unprecedented rate.

#2: Better 3G and 4G Coverage

The first smartphones had data connections that were extremely slow compared to the speeds available for desktop web browsing at the time.  Typically, the first generation of data connections for smartphones only allowed a connection speed that was about the same as a dial-up modem.

Today, that's all changed.  Third and fourth generation data systems (abbreviated to 3G and 4G) allow for faster transmission and exchange of data than ever before through smartphones.  Today, 4G coverage, which is as fast or faster than many home broadband connections, is rolling out or already exists in hundreds of cities in the United States, while 3G connections can be found even in smaller towns and along major United States highways.  This better data coverage means that people are able to use their smartphones to get online more often and with less frustration—a great thing for marketers.

#3: Less Expensive Data

While some carriers have discontinued unlimited data plans, other cell phone service providers have stepped up to the plate to provide unlimited, flat rate data services.  When the data rate (the amount of internet downloading/uploading you're doing) is lower, people are more willing to do web searches on their cell phones.

#4: Conversion Ready Customers

It's hard to think of a type of client that's better to get than someone who's looking at their cell phone when they see your website.  After all, if they like what they see, it couldn't be easier: all they need to do is simply press the phone number on your website and the smartphone will dial it automatically.  Smartphones and mobile internet make it easier than ever for potential clients to get in touch with you right away, without the kinds of hesitations and second guessing that can make it significantly more difficult to convert new clients.

#5: More Tablet PCs

Smartphones aren't the only game in town when it comes to mobile computing.  With its introduction of the iPad, Apple began the rise of the tablet PC.  While tablet computing had been tried before, the iPad was the first device to become truly commercially successful using a touchscreen tablet interface.

Much like smartphones, tablet PCs often use mobile internet, including 3G and 4G.  These devices are considered mobile platforms for the purposes of marketing, because tablet viewers will see your mobile website, not your main site, first.  Mobile marketing to tablet users looks identical to mobile marketing to smartphone users, because the two types of devices actually use many of the same apps and graphics features.

#6: Social/Mobile Marketing Combinations

Sometimes, two great marketing tastes go great together.  If social media is peanut butter, then mobile marketing is definitely chocolate.  When you get your social media into your mobile marketing, you'll start seeing definite signs of success.  Why?  Because people like to use their social media accounts when on their smartphones.

Smartphone users are more likely to be users of various social websites, like Facebook and Twitter.  This means that whenever you do social media marketing, you should make sure that all your links are viewable by anyone who is using a mobile device.  Try checking on several devices with different operating systems (iOS, Android) before confirming that a web page is necessarily mobile friendly.

#7: The Rise of the Planet of the Apps

One of the other ways people interact with their mobile phones is through the use of “apps.”  Apps are a great way for attorneys to interact with potential clients.  Keep in mind that not everyone uses an internet browser and search functions any more.  Consider having an app that relates to your practice area.  For example, criminal defense attorneys may want to create apps that will help people understand how to interact during a routine traffic stop or a request to search a vehicle.

#8: Decrease in Desktop PC Market Share

It's been about 35 years since desktop PCs for the home market began to see initial sales.  However, the sales of desktop PCs have slowed.  Many specifications for desktop PCs haven't changed appreciably in several years, while significantly more innovation has occurred in the mobile realm.

It's unlikely that we'll see the desktop PC going away any time soon.  However, the ease with which clients can contact you after seeing your firm's mobile website means that you can't just rely on your desktop site forever.

Outsourcing Legal Marketing: Understanding the Issues

Outsourcing Legal Marketing: Understanding the Issues



If your law firm doesn't consider marketing to be one of its strong suits—and studies show that nearly half of small firm partners consider marketing to be the most difficult part of their business—you may be considering asking an outside firm to handle some or all of your legal marketing work.  In today's marketing climate, though, not all elements of your marketing campaigns can be handled equally well by someone from outside your firm.  In this guide, we'll look at four distinct aspects of your marketing that you might be considering outsourcing: social media, reputation management, blogging, and advertising. 

Facebook/Social Media Marketing

Why You Might Want to Outsource It:

Let's face it, not every law office has someone who thinks that Facebook is the best and highest use of your firm's people and time.  Outsourcing your social media has an appeal, especially for attorneys who think they're above marketing to some extent—if you're afraid that your marketing efforts could come off as fake or desperate, it may be time to hire an outside firm.

You'll definitely want to outsource your social media marketing if you've found that you're unable to keep up with it.  If you're not posting regular updates and keeping up your web presence on social networks, you're going to lose followers and connections fast.  If you really need help and the alternatie is not having any social media presence, by all means, find a great professional company with experience helping law firms like yours.

Use Caution If:

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to social media marketing—and most other outsourcing solutions.  If your firm uses a marketing firm that is inexpensive but hires people who don't understand the legal field, you're not going to be happy with your results.  In some cases, hiring a bad social media marketing firm could actually be disastrous.  Unethical conduct or just seeming impersonal, or having a bad command of the English language, could lead to your marketing company sinking your firm's reputation.  Think long and hard before hiring a bargain basement firm to do your social media.

Reputation Management

Why You Might Want to Outsource It:

It's stressful to worry about your firm's online reputation on a day to day basis, but it's also something that needs to be done.  Your online reputation can change in a heartbeat, and not always for reasons that are even your fault.  In some cases, a rival firm or disgruntled client could spread misinformation about your firm.  In other situations, you might find that you're getting criticism because of a specific policy or an interview you did with the media.

Knowing what people are saying about you is great—but finding out can be hard.  Outsourcing gives you the psychological distance to be able to deal constructively with critiques, instead of finding them and taking them personally.  Having a neutral third party looking at the criticisms of your firm can also help you to determine how to work on those criticisms and how best to respond.  In many situations, an online reputation management firm can help you have negative search results removed or pushed so low into the search results that it's unlikely anyone will ever find them again.

Use Caution If:

Online reputation management firms are really only something that your firm needs if you're relatively large.  Solo practitioners and very small firms don't generally need a team of people managing their online reputation, unless they handle very high profile cases that get a lot of media attention.  If you're working for a small firm, you may want to put your outsourcing dollars into an area where they'll get you more immediate benefits for marketing purposes.


Why You Might Want to Outsource It:

You're busy!  Blogging—especially good blogging—takes a huge amount of time and energy.  There's not just the writing, there's also the research, and keeping up with the comments, and maybe even commenting on the blogs of others to help you network.  With all these responsibilities, it's no wonder that many attorneys just want to foist off the job.

Use Caution If:

Unfortunately, this is one where the answer is that you should ALWAYS proceed with extreme caution.  There's almost never a good reason to outsource your blogging.  Think about it: clients and other attorneys come to your blog looking for your original thoughts.  If they're getting the thoughts of a flunky at a marketing firm, and not a well-educated, articulate attorney who's been trained in argumentation and legal writing, they're going to feel cheated—and rightfully so.

Blogs simply can't be outsourced well.  A blog that is generic enough to be outsourced is a blog that is unlikely to bring your website a great deal of traffic anyhow.  Many of the SEO tricks that used to make low-quality blogs shine in search engine results no longer work, so even if you're willing to use tricks and gimmicks it's now very hard to succeed with an outsourced blog.

Online Advertising

Why You Might Want to Outsource It:

Pay per click and targeting and ROI, oh my!  Not all people at law offices want to spend a lot of time figuring out exactly how many pennies to spend on every click of the mouse that leads a person to your website.  For many attorneys, this kind of work feels nitpicky and trivial, and it's hard for them to really feel excited about starting new online advertising campaigns.

Use Caution If:

This is one area where many law firms would do well to bring in outside people, at least for some time.  Getting a handle on advertising online—which search terms you should advertise with, demographics research, and so on—is much easier when you've hired someone who already knows what they're doing to help you out.  Online advertising can be fairly confusing, so hiring some outside consultants to help you get a handle on things can ensure that you don't flush money down the drain on a campaign that had little or no chance of succeeding.

6 Legal Marketing Questions: One Size Does Not Fit All

6 Legal Marketing Questions: One Size Does Not Fit All


When you're starting to develop your strategies for legal marketing, you'll find all kinds of opinions online that make it sound like there's only one way for your firm to be if you want to be successful.  Only one design aesthetic, only one right way to talk to clients, only one right way to divide your marketing budget.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  There's no one perfect legal website that you should model yours after.  There's no one way to get your marketing message out.  To understand what's actually best for your firmwide marketing plan, you need to ask real questions about your firm's priorities.  These tips are best for people who are just starting out with their law firm marketing plans and are in the brainstorming phase of strategic planning.

#1: How Personal Do You Want to Get?

One of the biggest questions you have to ask yourself when thinking about legal marketing is whether you want your content to have a personal, warm touch, or for it to be more formal and traditional?  Traditional approaches are the way that many law firms choose to communicate that they are staffed by serious professionals.  This kind of approach usually doesn't offer much in the way of new content, but if you're going to go with traditional approaches make sure you're doing them well—with professional photography, excellent writing, and fresh, informative content.  If you're dry, at least be dry with a lot of well-organized, easy to understand information.

On the personal side, make sure that if you're trying a personal strategy, you don't let it get unprofessional.  You can be funny, you can be authentic and earnest and folksy, you can do just about any style that fits with your personal style.  What you can't do is let that style get in the way of communicating clearly with people looking at your site.  Don't lose sight of the fact that you want to keep people informed, and tone down your style if it's interfering with your ability to be informative.

#2: What's the Role of Technology?

You need to decide right away whether you're actually committed to using new, online technologies in your marketing campaign.  With over 85 percent of consumers of legal services looking for attorneys online instead of using phone books, you can't afford to be a total Luddite—but how much tech do you want to get involved with?

You're the one who knows your people.  Will you be getting in over your head if you try to download social media dashboards and maintain 7 different social networking profiles?  What are the technologies that excite you?  What are the ones that scare you?  Just because you're using online marketing doesn't mean you have to latch onto everything—use the marketing ideas that call out to you, whether you're working online or off.

#3: Which Social Networking Sites Match Your Clientele?

Some law firms are dealing primarily with hipper, younger clientele who are more likely to have smartphones and use social networks like Twitter.  Other consumer oriented firms are much more likely to have a client base that uses Facebook as its only source of social networking.  Still other firms interact largely with businesses and prefer LinkedIn.

Pay attention to what kind of client you're trying to attract when deciding which social networks to join.  A consumer oriented firm in a small town is unlikely to get much, if any, new business from LinkedIn, for example.  Make sure you know what people are using not only in the demographics you're interested in, but also in your local area.

#4: Focus on Long or Short Term Returns?

If asked, the vast majority of people will say that they want to focus on their long term goals, whether those goals are related to marketing, their personal life, or anything else.  But that's not always really true.  Maybe in an ideal universe we'd always be able to focus on the long haul, but in today's intensely competitive legal world, that's not always what really needs to happen.

If you need short term gains because otherwise you're going to have a hard time keeping the lights on, you don't need to hear more platitudes about long term planning.  Instead, you need to work on the kinds of advertising and marketing that work right away.  Probably the best form of online marketing for those needing a quick fix of new clients is pay per click advertising.  This form of advertising allows you to target specific types of clients based on search terms or demographics.  Using this form of advertising allows you to get new clients within hours or days, not weeks or months.

PPC advertising is very short-sighted if you want to keep your eye on the long term goals, though.  As soon as you stop spending, it stops working.  Consider options with better long term payoffs, like social media and building on your social networks, when short term goals aren't enough.

#5: How Do You Know If It's Working?

Before you get started with your campaign, you need to think about how you'll determine if you've seen the results you wanted.  What criteria are actually important to you?  What do you want your online marketing to do for your law firm?  Only you can decide what results make a difference to you.  Don't listen to what marketing gurus have to say about calculating return on investment—figure out the metrics that make the most sense in your specific circumstances.

#6: Who Do You Trust For Critique?

Everyone—no matter who—could use a good editor and critic.  By having someone you trust to critique your work, you can make sure that you're only putting your best foot forward in your online marketing campaign.  Always make sure you have an extra set of eyes look at any marketing material—one of the fastest ways to a faux pas is to go too quickly and send out copy that isn't yet ready for prime time.

Using Facebook As a Business Tool: 8 Tips

Using Facebook As a Business Tool: 8 Tips


It's the biggest social media behemoth in the world, and no competitor even comes close: Facebook boasts over 1 billion active members in 2013, and 680 million of them take the site with them on their mobile phone.  Tapping into the potential of Facebook is something many law firms are trying to do, but many of them fail to stand out in the social media world.  Why?  Usually, it's because while they understand the basic uses of social media for consumers, they have a harder time applying that knowledge to their law firm's business model and brand.  In this article we'll look at 8 different ways to make Facebook work for you as a business tool, rather than just a way to connect with long-lost friends and distant family members.

#1: Make Your Pages Your Own

One of the worst mistakes you can make with your business Facebook page is to set up your page very quickly, without customizing much.  A generic tagline copied and pasted from your website copy, a couple of hasty photos, and presto, you have an account—right?  Well, sure—but is it really the kind of account you want people to see?

A Facebook page that is just a Facebook-branded version of the same information users could find on your website isn't useful.  You need to make your Facebook page stay with your brand, but with unique information and posts that people can't find elsewhere.  Having unique content on your Facebook page is the best way to attract subscribers and likes.

#2: Appoint Someone As the Face of Your Facebook

Some law firms make the mistake of having all of their posts come from on high, as if they were simply from no person in particular but some sort of firm mascot.  This is a huge mistake.  Instead, you need to have someone who is tasked with being the face of your law firm when it comes to social media.  This lets people ask questions of a real human being (who can always refer the questions to other people for answers) instead of feeling like they have to ask some kind of monolithic entity.

This also ensures that people feel like they're being personally addressed, which can help to soothe hurt feelings and ensure that people feel their critiques are being listened to.  Keep in mind that the person who is the face of your Facebook should be outgoing, personable, and steadfast in their approach to avoiding the kinds of conflict that could lead to embarrassing Facebook incidents.

#3: Bring Attorneys In For Comments

Because you have a face for your Facebook, your attorneys can comment as their own selves on questions and comments made on your Facebook pages.  Your attorneys can also post their own content using a Facebook page for your firm, including links to their blog entries or a list of frequently asked questions about a particular legal issue.

If your attorneys are part of your social media brand, people will be able to get a better feel for your firm and see easy demonstrations of their expertise.  Don't be afraid to let people's individual voices shine through.  You don't always all want to talk as one—it's fine if your attorneys have a discussion with points and counterpoints!

#4: Link to Video and Blog Content

You should try to make sure that your Facebook feed isn't all just simple posts.  Linking to articles (whether they're by people at your firm or just really interesting to the kinds of people you want reading your feed), blog entries, or videos can make sure that people keep paying attention.

When too many of your posts are in the same format or seem the same, people tune out.  Help them avoid this kind of fatigue by giving them content that shakes up the usual.  Sometimes, try posting something that's funny instead of strictly informative—people like to be entertained on their Facebook feeds.

#5: Respond to Commenters—and Critics

Make sure that you're keeping on top of comments made to your Facebook wall.  If you're not responding to at least the comments that ask questions or request clarification, you're not doing your job when it comes to social media marketing.  The point of social media is to socialize—to interact in a two-way fashion, not just to broadcast one-way information to advertise your law firm.

If you're not responsive, it will start looking like you're using social media not to communicate and provide services, but just to reel in clients.  Even if reeling in clients is exactly what you'd like to be doing, that's not the reputation you'd like to build online.

#6: Stay Knowledgeable About Changes to Facebook

Facebook has had its share of changes to how pages are displayed and how users interface with the social networking aspects of the site.  Privacy and account policies can also change significantly from year to year.  Don't get caught unaware of a change that will significantly affect how your Facebook pages look or behave for people reading your pages.

#7: Listen More Than You Talk

When in doubt, listen to what people are asking for.  Try to make sure that you're listening to people's comments and also reading other people's Facebook feeds to see what's making people react.  If you're talking all the time without listening, you may not have your finger on the pulse of social media.  Make sure you're reading social media sources outside of Facebook as well, so that you can see fresh content that your viewers may not have taken a look at yet.

#8: Keep It Up For the Long Haul

Understand that even if your primary goal with your Facebook page is attracting new clients, you're not going to do it overnight.  If you assume after a month without many new page views or friends that no results means you should pack it in, you're wrong.  Shake it up, reach out and network with other people in your area or field, and get involved in Facebook groups that are local and interesting to you.


7 Ways To Make Your Website Conversion-Ready

7 Ways To Make Your Website Conversion-Ready


On average, just 1-2 percent of the people who find your website using search results will actually contact your firm to set up an appointment.  While this number can seem very small, there's some good news in it, too—if you can push those numbers up just a couple of percentage points, you'll start to see a huge uptick in business to your firm.  In this guide, we'll look at how to give your website the best chance of converting clients and bringing you the new business you need to thrive in today's intensely competitive legal marketing climate.

#1: Use Video, Not Just Images

Studies show that websites using video are up to 50 percent more likely to convert clients.  Why is this?  For one thing, video allows people to see you the way that you would actually talk to them in the office.  This can help alleviate some of the anxieties that new legal clients, especially those who haven't needed legal services before, have before they schedule a consultation.

What's more, you can use video to talk about some of the most common issues in your practice areas.  When people watch your videos, they'll gain an understanding about the basic legal issues in cases like theirs, so that they'll come in with more informed questions and have a better idea of what they're looking for in an attorney.

#2: Select Your Images Carefully

Too many attorneys use old standby images, thinking that the typical pictures of gavels, courtrooms, and law books will give the impression that their firm is reliable and professional.  Unfortunately, that's not what most people will get out of these kinds of generic images.  Instead, they'll see a law firm that's literally just following the crowd.  Instead of conveying that you're a good law firm, you'll just be any random firm.

Instead, try to give your website a professional, but distinct look.  Instead of using stock imagery, make sure that you have real, professional photographs of your office, professional shots for your attorney bios, and so on.  These images, which convey real aspects of your office, won't be photos anyone else has.  Try to make your photographs professional, but perhaps a little unorthodox—standing out will make it more likely that people will call your law offices instead of the offices of your competitors.

#3: Link Up With Social

Today, most Americans have some type of social media account, with the most popular website for these accounts being Facebook.  When you link your website up with your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, you make sure that people can see your social presence and understand how you interact with people in the social networking world.

Because Facebook is a comfortable internet environment for many consumers, they may be more likely to convert after reading your Facebook page.  Attorney websites can feel stressful to people who are not used to needing legal services, and having a social media presence helps you meet these consumers in a place that is more likely to feel safe to them.

#4: Get Specialized and Specific

Today, consumers of legal services are much more likely to prefer attorneys who specialize.  Specializing in very narrow legal fields, or having mini-sites designed to help people with very specific issues and emphasizing your firm's experience with those issues, can make it much more likely that you'll convert new clients.

When people see firms that do everything, they often worry that their case won't really be an area you specialize in.  For example, many people who have been arrested for driving under the influence will specifically want a DUI attorney, rather than a more general criminal defense attorney who sometimes handles DUI cases.

#5: Be Informative and Helpful

Today, people aren't just looking for you to advertise to them.  They also want real information about their legal options and what they can expect from the courts and the legal process.  People who have the information they need are ready to call attorneys, while people who still feel uninformed are more likely to continue their web search and call someone once they feel more comfortable.

It's fine to “give away” information.  Keep in mind that when you have information about common misconceptions and very detailed information about what people can expect at your law office, you'll be ensuring that people have their most commonly asked questions answered so that by the time they call, they're confident that they need an attorney and that you're a good fit for their needs.

#6: Design a Mobile Site

Mobile consumers are exactly the kinds of people who are most likely to become conversions right now.  They have their phones in hand, ready to book an appointment or even visit a law office immediately.  This means that you want to get this market—and the best way is by having a website version that works well with mobile operating systems like Android and iOS.

Your mobile site should be distinct from your desktop site but have much of the same feel so that it doesn't feel like it dilutes your brand or design aesthetic.  You should also make sure that you allow people using the mobile site to view your full desktop site, and should make sure that the desktop website doesn't display so badly on mobile devices that information becomes inaccessible to mobile users.

#7: Use Compelling Testimonials

Some of the best people to speak about your firm aren't your attorneys and other staff members, but former clients.  By having client testimonials on your website, you make it easier for people to feel good about calling your law office and scheduling a consultation.

The best testimonials are the kind that give a narrative of your firm, rather than just listing positive attributes.  Anyone can create a list of compliments, but having an honest, authentic story is worth much more than compliments can be.  That authenticity will make your website ready to convert even the most hesitant potential clients.


Getting The Most Out of LinkedIn: 8 Tips

Getting The Most Out of LinkedIn: 8 Tips

As many as 90 percent of lawyers in recent surveys have said that they have a LinkedIn page.  However, the vast majority of attorneys who use LinkedIn are not using the service as well as they could be.  It's not enough to just build a profile and leave.  In this guide, we'll take a look at why LinkedIn is one of the best—perhaps the single best—social media service for attorneys who primarily work with business clients.  We'll also look at eight different ways to maximize the value of your LinkedIn account for finding new clients and making your law firm's social media strategy work well for you.

#1: Use the Right Photograph

When you start creating your LinkedIn profile, you may be tempted to use a generic photograph of your law firm or an older headshot.  The best thing that you can do to make sure that LinkedIn works well for you right away is to have a new, professional photograph taken of yourself.  A more contemporary looking photograph will be more likely to draw in viewers, and will ensure that your firm doesn't look mired in the past.

If you're unsure of whether you're photogenic, the best advice is: don't worry about it, but make sure that you're hiring a photographer who knows how to make you look your best.  Clients want to see that you're taking care with your appearance and that you know how to look your best in a photo—don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you're not gorgeous, you shouldn't post a realistic photo on your LinkedIn profile.  Don't use older photos just to make yourself look younger—odds are, you'll also make yourself look dated.

#2: Complete Your Profile—Completely!

Your profile, complete with skills and summary, is a great place for you to make your profile stand out from a search engine optimization standpoint.  You get enough words in your profile to really be able to fit in a wide array of keywords.  Don't make it obvious that you're putting keywords into your profile—this will usually be off-putting to people who find you some other way than with a search engine.

Instead, make sure that the keywords fit into your content and summaries organically.  Don't overload the keywords—you're better off making your profile informative and have a slightly smaller number of keywords.

#3: Don't Forget SEO In Your Headline

Make sure that when you use your LinkedIn headline, you use all of the most common terms that people might want to use to search for an attorney like you in your area.  If you're not using basic SEO knowledge in your headline, you're missing out on some clients every single day when people search for attorneys using common keywords.  Google weights LinkedIn results highly when looking at the reliability of websites for professionals like attorneys.  Using SEO in your headline increases the chances that your LinkedIn profile will come up early in Google or Bing searches for your name or your occupation.

#4: Get Involved—Don't Be a Wallflower

Make sure that once you've completed your LinkedIn profile, you don't think that your involvement with the website is over.  “Set it and forget it” isn't the key to online marketing success in the 21st century.  Social media requires active participation.  Many attorneys today think that their social media presence isn't succeeding, when the truth is that they just haven't really put in the effort needed to see success.

Make sure that you're posting updates routinely.  You can think of LinkedIn updates as being similar to your Facebook status updates, but targeted to a different audience.  Typically, the people on LinkedIn are more likely to be educated professionals, so you should frame your LinkedIn updates accordingly.  If you're making routine status updates, try mixing it up a little.  Ask a question, try to get discussions started.  Raising questions can often be better for getting people talking than trying to say that you have all the answers.

#5: Answer Questions to Get New Clients

One of the other places that you can use LinkedIn as an attorney is the LinkedIn Questions section.  In this section, people post questions that they have about different problems.  Many of these problems are legal in nature, making this a good fit for attorneys looking to expand their client base.  You can look at people's questions and answer them based on your own legal knowledge and understanding of local and state laws and practices.

You should always steer clear of providing direct legal advice, but you can definitely answer hypothetical questions and talk about your own experiences on LinkedIn Questions.  Make sure to use basic disclaimers so that the people you're discussing legal issues with know that you are not giving legal advice without a consultation.  This can be a great way to show your website's resources for dealing with common legal situations—in many cases, answering a question on LinkedIn Questions can lead directly to new client contact.

#6: Link to Your Blog Content

If you also have a legal blog, you should be linking to some of your blog's content on your LinkedIn account.  Updates should sometimes include links to your newest relevant blog entries.  However, make sure this is a step you're taking only if your blog really has quality content that might be relevant, fresh, and interesting for your LinkedIn readers.  If you give them content that looks like it was just designed as search engine ranking fodder, your readers are likely to be insulted and may stop being connected to you on LinkedIn.

#7: Build Your Connections From Existing Lists

LinkedIn will let you create your list of connections in several different ways.  You may want to connect in several older email addresses in the hopes of getting more connections for your LinkedIn account.  Because LinkedIn provides networking opportunities, many people will simply accept nearly any LinkedIn connection request that comes from somebody they know or used to know at an earlier time.