The Rainmaker Blog

The Rainmaker Blog

Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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How Lawyers Can Reach Financial Independence

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

How Lawyers Can Reach Financial IndependenceTomorrow is Independence Day, when we celebrate the founding principles of our country — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So how happy are you about your pursuit of financial independence through the practice of law?

If the answer is, “not very,” then it’s time to started taking the necessary steps to build what I call a “lifestyle law firm” — one that lets you do what you want, when you want to do it. There is no magic formula for getting there; there is hard work involved before you can reap the rewards. But once you get there, your life and your work will be immeasurably better for the effort.

The road to gaining financial independence and building a lifestyle law firm starts at a Rainmaker Retreat, our two-day law firm marketing and management workshop. Here are things lawyers who have attended this event have to say about what they learned:

The Rainmaker’s lead conversion system is unlike any other conversion process I have ever seen. If I didn’t attend the Rainmaker Retreat, I would have never learned this system. I would recommend this retreat to any attorney who would want to beat their competition and gain more clients.”- Patrick Wright, Family Law, Solo, Dallas, TX

There were 50 reasons I could and did give for not attending a practice building and educational program such as this one. There are 500 reasons I can now give for why attending this program is a must for anyone serious about building a successful practice.”- Kevin Black, Generalist, Wilton, CT

“I consider Stephen Fairley and The Rainmaker Institute to be the best of the best. When it comes to marketing they are at the top of the field and no one is even a close second. I’ve personally spoken to many other attorneys who are also achieving great results with the strategies and proven techniques they have learned from The Rainmaker Institute. In these tough times estate planning and business lawyers cannot rely on traditional methods to get them through. If you want to do more than just survive the next few years, you need to pay attention to what Stephen is teaching his clients.—Jeff Matsen, Esq. (Partner and Founder of Wealth Strategies Counsel)

Half of 2015 is already on the books; isn’t it time you started taking the right steps toward your own financial independence? Here are the dates for our upcoming Rainmaker Retreats:

July 17-18, 2015 — Atlanta, GA

August 21-22, 2015 — Las Vegas, NV

October 2-3, 2015 — Miami, FL

Click here to learn more and register online for an upcoming Rainmaker Retreat, or call 888-588-5891.

 

How to Use Your Law Firm Blog for Better Lead Conversion

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

How to Use Your Blog for Better Lead ConversionMost of the solos and small firms we know have a finite amount of time to dedicate to legal marketing, so having a process in place that nurtures a lead along the path to becoming a client is a great benefit.

One of the best ways to capture and convert leads is through education marketing and your law firm blog plays a singular role in this regard.  Blogging allows you to initiate the conversation with prospects who are having the kind of problems you solve. Once you establish your expertise and gain their trust by providing stellar and relevant content, they are much more likely to take the next step to engaging you, usually by visiting your website or landing page that you are using in your blogs to direct your traffic.

In addition, offering a free report on your blog or website in exchange for a prospect’s email address is a true win-win:  it’s a great way to capture those leads that may not be ready to pick up the phone or send an email and your prospect gets a free guide that helps them understand their legal issue better.

So here is how the process goes when you automate it correctly:

  1. Prospect becomes engaged through content on your blog
  2. Prospect enters their email address to get your free guide, either on your blog or your website/landing page
  3. You have an auto-responder system established that emails them the guide and a little more information about your firm
  4. An automated drip email campaign begins where your prospect is sent pre-written emails according to a schedule you establish in your system that educates them more about your firm, the steps they should take next, testimonials from previous clients, a free consultation offer, etc.

The goal is to lead the prospect along the buying path and get them to do what you want – call, set an appointment, etc.  Beyond adding content to your blog on a regular basis, everything else is done automatically, with no intervention from you or your staff needed until the prospect calls and your regular intake process begins.

You can also use the same system to nurture qualified leads until they become clients, sending a series of emails to prospects that miss an appointment or fail to hire you after the initial consultation.

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How to convert leads into paying clientsOn-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now.

 

 

How Thought Leadership Helps Law Firms Drive Business

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Last fall, Hinge Marketing, which provides marketing expertise for professional services firms, released a book entitled The Visible Expert, which is based on their research into how reputations are built and what they contribute to a firm’s bottom line.

Their extensive research has shown that thought leadership — i.e., visible expertise — is a significant driver for business development in professional services firms.  Hinge conducted an exhaustive survey of more than 1,000 purchasers of professional services as well as 130 thought leaders.

When it comes to the impact of thought leadership on firms, 66% of respondents said that firm leaders who were highly visible had a measurable impact on business development and firm growth:

How Thought Leadership Helps Law Firms Drive Business

The research broke visible experts into five levels, with Level 1 being a local expert and Level 5 being a globally recognized authority.  It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Level 5’s command a much higher hourly rate than Level 1’s, but the difference is still pretty staggering:

How Thought Leadership Helps Law Firms Drive Business

Hinge also looked at how buyers of professional services evaluate providers.  The top source is your firm website, followed by an online search, personal referrals and social media:

How Thought Leadership Helps Law Firms Drive Business

The Hinge research also found that the marketing tools and techniques with the greatest impact — those that deliver the highest ROI — include (in order of importance):

  • Books
  • Speaking engagements
  • Firm website
  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Email marketing

The good news is that if you are not already on a path to becoming a thought leader, this is a skill that can be learned.  We teach it every month at our Rainmaker Retreat, the popular two-day legal marketing seminar.  Here are dates for upcoming sessions:

July 17-18, 2015 — Atlanta, GA

August 21-22, 2015 — Las Vegas, NV

October 2-3, 2015 — Miami, FL

You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.  National Trial Lawyers members receive a discount. Please contact National Trial Lawyers at 866-665-2852 to receive the discount code.

Turn Your Law Firm Website Into a Moneymaker, Not a Money Taker

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, Law Firm Websites

Turn Your Law Firm Website Into a Moneymaker, Not a Money TakerIf you’ve been practicing law for a decade or more, you probably hated the first time you had to create your law firm website. Chances are that it was too expensive, took too long to develop and probably doesn’t even have half the functionality that today’s sites do.

If your site is still hobbling along on its original legs, it’s time to chuck it. If it’s been even a few years since your site was overhauled, you need to give some serious thought to an update. In fact, there are a number of valid reasons to undertake a redesign right now:

Dated design. If you’re still wearing wide ties and lapels, you’re probably fine with your old website, but designs change and an old website just makes you look out of touch.

Nothing to share. Social shares are online currency, so if you site has no way to share your content — or worse, no interesting content to share — that needs to change.

No blog. There’s no better way to speak to prospects’ pain than a blog, where you can discuss problems relevant to them and offer solutions. This brings you leads. No blog, less leads.

Not optimized for mobile. If your site doesn’t incorporate responsive web design — where it displays your content in the right format to users on desktops and mobile devices — you are not prepared to serve the majority of consumers who now use smartphones or tablets to go online.

Inflexible. If you have to go through other people outside your firm to make updates to your site’s content, you’re wasting money. Get a content management system that allows you to make changes any time you want or need to do so.

Content is all about you. If your website content reads like your resume, you are turning off prospects right and left. They don’t care about you; they care about what benefits, value and results they will gain by hiring you.

Text heavy, visual light. People respond to videos and photos. Having videos on your website that shows people just who you are and what you know is imperative today, both for attracting clients and for ranking better in search.

Navigation. Is it easy to get around your website? Or are you sending people on a wild goose chase to find what they want? Your site needs to be easy to navigate or people will leave.

Calls-to-action. If you’re not giving people something to do on your site — download a free report, sign up for a free newsletter — you’re missing a golden opportunity to collect email addresses so you can keep the conversation going. Your site should be sprinkled with obvious calls-to-action.

Your website is the face of your firm in a very competitive marketplace, so if it’s showing its age, it’s time for a facelift.

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How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought LeaderFREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. Inbound marketing firm Hubspot released a report based on a marketing benchmark study of 7,000 companies and found that when it comes to blogging:

Companies that blog 15+ times per month get five times more traffic than firms with no blog.

B2B companies that blog at least twice a month get 70% more leads from their websites than firms with no blog.

Companies that increase their blogging from 3-5 times per month to 5-8 times per month almost double their leads.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • 7 ways that blogging can help your law practice
  • How to create your blog strategy
  • 10 ways to build an audience for your blog
  • 4 sources of information for writing blog posts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader.

How Law Firms Can Use Dashboards to Save Time, Increase Productivity and Close More Cases

Posted in Law Firm Management

How Law Firms Can Use Dashboards to Save Time, Increase Productivity and Close More CasesDo you have the critical numbers you need to run your law firm efficiently at your fingertips?  Dashboards have been used by businesses for years, but law firms have been slow to adapt them to running a more efficient, effective enterprise.

A dashboard provides you with insights into what is working — and what is not — in your marketing programs and other areas of your business.  It can give insights when analyzing what marketing works better, which cases make you more money, and which attorney converts higher.

Listen in to our free webinar as the Chief Operating Officer from one of the top personal injury law firms in the nation explains how their law firm went from paper and pen to a very sophisticated dashboard and how it significantly improved their productivity and profitability!

Rainmaker Institute CEO Stephen Fairley and law firm management expert Micki Love, COO of Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, lead you through this free webinar where you will learn:

  • 5 key metrics every law firm must be tracking every month
  • How to save 100 minutes a day with dashboards
  • Key performance indicators for law firms
  • How a business dashboard can help you grow your law firm
  • 3 areas to audit each month to ensure staff compliance
  • 5 critical questions to ask yourself to create your own dashboard

Hughes & Coleman is a personal injury law firm with seven offices in Kentucky and Tennessee. Micki has demonstrated the knowledge it takes to lead a staff of more than 100 employees and to grow a firm across the country. She has consulted with countless law firms on law firm management, giving them direction and building their knowledge of legal management and marketing.

Register online now to get immediate access to the free one-hour webinar on How Law Firms Can Use Dashboards to Save Time, Increase Productivity and Close More Cases.

How Lawyers Can Stop Failing at Facebook

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

I had a comment on one of my Facebook posts the other day saying that, for attorneys, Facebook is a waste of time because you’re just preaching to the choir. The writer said that your friends on Facebook are already your friends in real life, so why waste time on it for business purposes.

He couldn’t be more wrong.

I currently have 4,894 friends on my Stephen Fairley Facebook profile page. I also have a Facebook fan page for my business, The Rainmaker Institute, with thousands of fans. I post a lot of the same stuff on both pages because I am the very public face of my company. But any personal stuff I post I keep on my profile page. People know they can get the business tips and freebies in both places, plus they can see my photos from my travels on my profile page. It works for me.

How do I know it works? We are currently getting 150-300 leads per month from social media, including Facebook. It is certainly something that is well worth our time.

One of the most difficult things attorneys who want to succeed on Facebook face is getting a good fan base. I came across this excellent infographic from Quicksprout that tells you, step-by-step, how to grow your Facebook fan base. If you implement these steps, you will see your sphere of influence on Facebook grow.

How Lawyers Can Stop Failing at Facebook

Learn How Your Law Firm Can Break the 7-Figure Barrier

Posted in Law Firm Development, Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing for Solos

Learn How Your Law Firm Can Break the 7-Figure BarrierFor the solo practitioner or small law firm, breaking the 7-figure barrier in profits is often considered an unobtainable goal.  But there are ways to accomplish this, and you shouldn’t let lack of knowledge stand in your way.

I recently interviewed small business guru Michael Gerber, who INC Magazine has called “The World’s #1 Small Business Guru,” on how attorneys can take their firm to the next level of success.

As the author of a number of books on entrepreneurship, including the best selling Awakening the Entrepreneur Within and The E-Myth Revisited, Michael is arguably the most famous consultant for small companies. He coined the phrase “working on your business versus working in your business,” which has become the mantra for tens of thousands of business owners.

Michael has worked with over 70,000 small business owners over the last 40 years, teaching business owners who possess significant technical skills but few business skills how to transform their companies into world-class organizations.

The time I spent with Michael was transformative for my own business, and I know what he has to teach can transform yours as well. That is why we have created a new FREE audio interview that you can access at Breaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael Gerber.

In this exclusive interview, Michael discusses with me:

  • How the E-Myth Principles apply to law firms
  • The 4 stages of business and how to move from a job to a practice to a business to an enterprise
  • How to compete in an aggressive marketplace like legal
  • Why services don’t matter anymore and the power of differentiation
  • How to build a law firm that works without you
  • Why you must shift the conversations you have with prospects from money to value and how to do this
  • Tips to creating a lifestyle law firm

Sign up now to get this free interview and we will send you a link to download the audio interview as well as a PDF transcript.

Why Law Firms Need Marketing Automation

Posted in Law Firm Management, Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing Strategies

Why Law Firms Need Marketing AutomationCould you still do your job without the Internet? Yes, you probably could. But would you want to? The Internet has become an indispensible tool for everyone and I certainly could never envision doing my job without it.

Compared with how things used to be before it, the Internet is almost like having super powers.   It makes you smarter. It makes you faster. It allows you to get more things done in a day. It saves you money. It opens up new opportunities. It lets you meet interesting people you’d never have met before. The list goes on and on.

I use this as an analogy, between what marketing was before automation and what it is today with automation.

Marketing automation software automates, streamlines and measures your marketing tasks. It makes you smarter, faster and more efficient. You use it for email marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, lead conversion, client retention, ROI measurements and more.

Among many things, marketing automation allows you to:

  • Identify, track and engage prospects online
  • Segment your prospects for targeted messaging
  • Nurture leads through drip email campaigns with no human intervention necessary
  • Create and manage lead-generating landing pages
  • Measure the revenue contribution of every email, e-newsletter or other marketing effort

Email marketing is one of the most effective uses of marketing automation. Consider these statistics:

  • Companies that automate emails are 133% more likely to send messages that coincide with the purchase cycle of their customers.
  • Relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails.
  • Personalized emails generate up to 6x higher revenue than non-personalized emails.
  • The #1 reported benefit of email marketing automation is the creation of more and better leads.
  • Automated emails get 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails.

Most attorneys have a finite amount of time to dedicate to legal marketing, so having a process in place that nurtures a lead along the path to becoming a client and having data that demonstrates the most effective marketing tools for your law firm is a great benefit. That is what marketing automation delivers.

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newsletter on tabletThe Automatic Newsletter: How to Get Your Newsletter Done in Just 45 Minutes a Month

An “old fashioned” newsletter is still among the most profitable and reliable ways to generate a predictable flow of potential new and recurring clients.  Your firm’s newsletter can be inexpensive, reliable…and when done right, a welcomed (not a pesky) form of marketing for your clients.

What if there was an easy and reliable way to get your newsletter done in JUST 45 minutes a month? That’s LESS TIME than it will take you to watch this information-packed webinar, where you will learn:

  • Exactly WHY an “old fashioned” newsletter packs such a powerful punch for your marketing dollars.
  • A proven strategy for producing a newsletter that will make it fun and easy to make, and keep, your monthly commitment.
  • A template you can begin to use right away to produce a monthly newsletter that will get noticed and appreciated.
  • An actual case study to help you get your newsletter DONE in less than 20 minutes each month.
  • The real world ROI of newsletters as a proven staple of your marketing campaign.

To access the recording of this webinar, just follow this link: The Automatic Newsletter: How to Get Your Newsletter Done in Just 45 Minutes a Month.

 

 

 

Dinosaur No More: Lawyers in NY and FL Told to Up Their Tech Game

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing Strategies

Dinosaur No More: Lawyers in NY and FL Told to Up Their Tech Game Earlier this month, the New York State Bar Association released its updated Social Media Ethics Guidelines, based on its belief that, “As use of social media by lawyers and clients continues to grow and as social media networks proliferate and become more sophisticated, so too do the ethical issues facing lawyers.”

My friend Kevin O’Keefe at LexBlog received a courtesy copy of the new guidelines and blogged about his reaction to them here.

I agree with many of Kevin’s points, chief among them his questioning the need for more ethics guidelines every time technology or society advances. Lawyers know the rules for ethical behavior. It stands to reason if you can’t do something here, then you shouldn’t do it there. If you’re not allowed to advertise your results in a print ad or on a billboard, then the same should apply for websites and social media. Do we really need special rules every time a new mode of communication is introduced?

The NY Bar guidelines go further, however, than extending existing ethics rules to social media. They now seek to require attorneys to “be conversant with, at a minimum, the basics of each social media network that a lawyer or his or her client may use.”

Take a look at this Wikipedia list of major active social networking websites and see how many of these you feel you are “conversant with.”

Hopefully, you do know the basics of the social media networks you are already on — but what about those your clients are on? You have a mom for a client? Maybe she is on CafeMom. Have a client who loves to read? Maybe they’re on LibraryThing. Got a client who’s into video games? Better get conversant with Raptr! See how silly this can get….

As they say in the Ginsu knife commercial: But wait, there’s more…

Recently, the Florida Courts Technology Commission told attorneys that they are responsible for stripping all the metadata from e-filed documents to protect their clients from potential identity theft.

Florida attorneys were already required to strip off any personal identifying information — account numbers and the like — from client documents submitted through the Florida court system’s e-filing system. However, this information still exists in the file’s metadata — and when that file is posted online as required by the state Supreme Court, it’s fair game for scammers and thieves.

Court clerks have also submitted a proposal to the FCTC that would require attorneys to indemnify them if an attorney fails to identify any confidential information and it is accidentally made public.

The FCTC has recommended the addition of a notice to the e-filing system that states, “Warning: Removal of document metadata is the responsibility of the filer. Any document metadata remaining may become part of the public record.”

That warning would include a link to a YouTube video that explains what metadata is and how to remove it.

You are conversant with YouTube, aren’t you?

7 Effective Ways to Respond to a Negative Online Review

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing Strategies

7 Effective Ways to Respond to a Negative Online ReviewPeople are not looking for perfection from you; what matters is how you address problems by being transparent, genuinely concerned and responding positively. Here are seven effective ways to address a negative online review:

1.  Contact the review site.

If the review is flagrantly false, defamatory or you can prove a disgruntled former employee or competitor submitted it, you can contact the review site and ask for its removal. Just be sure you can prove what you say. In my experience, it’s unlikely they will edit or remove the offending review, but it still doesn’t hurt to ask them to in a professional manner.

2.  Address the problem quickly, professionally and positively.

Respond directly to the review on the site and tell the reviewer you are sorry about their experience and that you want to correct the problem immediately. Be positive in your response! Let them know that while a vast majority of your clients have very positive experiences with your firm, it concerns you that there is one client who has been disappointed. Encourage them to contact you directly to try and resolve the issue. That shows other readers you are responsive and care about what people think.

Note: Yelp uses an algorithm to determine the “legitimacy” of reviews and often hides reviews in the filtered reviews section at the bottom of each page. Even legitimate, 5-star reviews can be found there, especially if they are from first-time reviewers. If that’s the case on your page, don’t be shy about drawing attention to these reviews in your commentary. Many people don’t know where to find the hidden reviews. This is another reason why I do not recommend you invest time asking people to review you on Yelp. Avvo is a much better platform for attorney reviews. LinkedIn is a great place if you are a B2B attorney.

3.  Try to fix the problem.

If there is some way for you to contact the reviewer directly, then do so. If you are not able to do this, then ask them in the comment thread to contact you so you can work with them on a satisfactory resolution.

4.  Ask for an updated review.

Don’t be shy about asking someone who posted an initial negative review to remove it or update it once they are satisfied that you have taken care of their problem. If they don’t do it, then provide your own commentary in the post thread that indicates the problem has been resolved.

5.  Set up a business page on multiple review sites.

There are over 100 different review sites. You should set up and maintain listings on all the major ones. Here are just a few: Google (very important), Avvo, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Merchant Circle, Yelp, Bing, City Search, Hotfrog, Superpages, Kudzu, Trip Advisor, Yellowbook, Dex Knows, Yellow Bot, Local, Best of the Web, Nolo and Four Square.

6.  Set up alerts.

Many of those sites allow you to set up an alert so you can be notified directly whenever a new review hits the site. In addition, set up an alert for your firm and each attorney on Google Alerts (https://www.google.com/alerts).

7. Proactively encourage client feedback.

Prevention is always cheaper than treatment! Be proactive in seeking out client feedback as you work the case, and conduct an exit interview following the conclusion of every client’s legal matter to ensure they have been satisfied with your services. Giving your client a direct voice in expressing any dissatisfaction may prevent them from taking it out on you online.

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How to Develop Your Law Firm Marketing PlanFREE Online Seminar:  How to Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Join Stephen Fairley for a free 60-minute legal marketing webinar: Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, where you will learn…

A proven legal marketing system that has helped 10,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients.

Step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

Effective strategies to win clients in today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace.

Creating a marketing plan for your law firm is the first step in building a foundation for a profitable future.  During this complimentary webinar, learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
  • What is critical to have in place for today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

Stephen will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

There are several sessions of this free webinar scheduled — there is one tomorrow, June 23, at noon ET/9 a.m. PT — or you can choose a date that works best for you from the drop-down menu when you click on the following link to register online for our FREE Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan online seminar.