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Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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How Google Defines Quality Content

Posted in Internet Marketing for Lawyers, Law Firm Marketing

How Google Defines Quality ContentGetting Google to rank your website high is a much harder task than you might imagine. In fact, there is an entire industry that has been created based upon helping businesses get their websites ranked high on the search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are so many tricks of the trade that it is rarely worth the time for any attorney to attempt to become an expert. Instead, hire one.

However, you don’t have to become an SEO expert to control one of the most important things that determines if your website is served up on page one or page 20 of Google search results: quality content.

So just how does Google judge whether or not your content is high quality? Last year, Google published an SEO guide that details how quality content is evaluated. Here are the primary characteristics of a high quality website:

A high level of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (EAT)

Websites that are considered by Google to be high quality need sufficient expertise on a particular topic to be authoritative and trustworthy. According to Google, the standard for expertise depends on the topic of a particular page. Each page must have a purpose and then that purpose must be fulfilled with expert content — words, videos, etc.

A satisfying amount of high quality main content

The quality of the main content is one of the most important ranking criteria. For law firm websites, your content must be accurate, factual, clearly written and comprehensive. If the topic of the page is broad, the content is expected to have a lot of information on that topic. If the topic is narrow, the content may not be as lengthy. Both can still rank as high quality content. Navigation also plays a role here in helping users find the information they are searching for quickly and easily.

Satisfying information about who is responsible for the website

In order for users to feel they can trust the site, including information about the site’s owners is important. This means not only having your law firm address, maps, email and phone information displayed on the site, but also attorney bios and testimonials that would predispose a user to trust your site.

Positive website reputation

Reputation is also considered an important part of the EAT equation. Titling pages in a way that entices a user to click on them and then not having content that matches what those users are searching for is considered misleading and would get a poor reputation rating from Google. Other reputation factors are inclusion of an About Us page, ease of contact, positive consumer reviews and up-to-date content.

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FREE Online Seminar:  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 18,000 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; you can choose what 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.

 

6 Features of a Winning Law Firm Website

Posted in Law Firm Websites

6 Features of a Winning Law Firm WebsiteThere are many features you can add to your website to make it perform better for you. Some features make more sense for certain kinds of practices. As you might imagine, some of the things you would expect to find on a personal injury firm’s website may not work on a business litigation website.

Here is a list of features you should consider adding to your website:

Video: This is a proven conversion tool! Law firms that use video on their website convert more traffic into leads and visitors stay longer with video.

Instant chat: Law firms who use live, monitored chat on their website typically receive 10-30 more leads per month.

Social media feed: If you are active on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter), you can connect your website to your social media account and have it live stream your updates.

Free resources: This can be a free e-book, PDF or even a printed, self-published booklet. The topic must be something of perceived value to your prospects.

Blog: If you want to drive more traffic to your website, then start updating your blog at least three to five times per week with unique articles.

Newsletter signup: Every law firm should send out a monthly electronic newsletter to keep in touch with potential clients, former clients and referral sources.

If one of your goals is to build a big list of possible clients, free resources and a monthly newsletter work better than anything. Offer a free report in exchange for the prospect’s name and email address and you can quickly build a list of people who have “raised their hand” as someone who is potentially interested in your services.

Our clients have found live chat on their website to be the absolute best conversion tool. One of our family law clients was getting three to five good leads per month off their website … until they started using live chat. In the first month of use, this firm had over 20 qualified leads – just off live chat. The next month, he received 35 leads from chat and it’s been steadily increasing since then!

We are a firm believer in live chat as one of the most cost-effective tools to generate more leads from your website. However, be aware that with live chat, you must have someone who is watching for the leads to come in and responding to them as fast as possible. If you want more information on the live chat service we use, visit RainmakerChat.com.

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New Training Video: Top 10 Strategies to Triple Your Lead Conversion RateNew Training Video: Top 10 Strategies to Triple Your Lead Conversion Rate

In this powerful training video, you will learn from legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley the revolutionary strategies top performing law firms are using to improve their lead conversion and client retention.

It’s easy to assume your law firm has the right systems and processes in place, but once you hear Stephen reveal the secrets of law firm lead conversion and client retention you will be eager to get back to the office and make some immediate changes so you can begin to plug the holes that are resulting in LOST revenue for your firm.

Specifically you will:

  • Discover over 10 strategies that will immediately improve your law firm lead conversion when implemented
  • Gain insight into the top mistakes law firms make that negatively impact their lead conversion and how to fix them now
  • Deep dive into the five stages of lead conversion and specific strategies to improve at every stage
  • Discover where your law firm processes are leaving money on the table and how to plug the holes and increase your revenue
  • Get your hands on the most critical numbers your law firm must be tracking and why

Available as an MP4 download, this $97 offer is now only $19 with the promo code DVD19 until July 31, 2016. Order yours now!

 

Habits of the New Legal Consumer

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Habits of the New Legal ConsumerA few months ago, Avvo released the results of a survey it had done of 1,000 consumers who purchased legal services to discover what attorneys need to know today about the new legal consumer.

The Avvo study offered a three-point description of today’s legal consumer. They are:

Informed — access to legal information online has made consumers more savvy than ever about the options available to them. They are reading legal articles, researching their particular legal issue, researching an attorney and visiting legal forums online.

Connected — people now have immediate access to other legal consumers online and they are reading reviews about others’ experiences with attorneys.

Picky — consumers know there are a number of different ways to purchase legal services, including online forms, fixed fee options, etc. They are increasingly attracted to unbundled services, an ala carte solution for their legal issues.

The survey highlighted the online resources that consumers who are searching for an attorney value most. These include:

  • Website with actual cases, laws or court decisions
  • State of other government site
  • Non-government legal resource site
  • Online legal directory
  • General consumer review site
  • Forum or community site
  • Site with online forms
  • Social media site
  • Blogs

In addition, 95% of the consumers surveyed said that reviews matter in helping them decide who to hire.

This infographic from lawfirmsuites.com showcases the key takeaways from the Avvo survey, which you can download here.

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3 Surefire Strategies to Put a Stop to No-Shows

Posted in Lead Conversion

3 Surefire Strategies to Put a Stop to No-ShowsNo-shows — prospective clients who book an appointment but fail to show up — are not only frustrating, they are a waste of time, money and resources. All lawyers hate them, but busy lawyers really hate them.

And so do we. Which is why I’m sharing these three surefire strategies to put a stop to your no-shows:

#1: Give a meeting preview.

You know the valuable knowledge you will be imparting during your first meeting with a prospect, but they have no idea. Sure, they called you to book an appointment to discuss their problem, but they have no clue what you can do for them. In order to help them understand the value of your meeting, give them a short, high-level view of the wisdom you’ll be providing during the meeting.

For example, a Phoenix family law attorney might say to a divorce prospect: “During our meeting, I’m going to make sure you understand the basics of what the divorce process is in Arizona. I’ll be explaining what you need to know about how alimony and child support works in Arizona, including what you can expect to pay/receive based on your financial situation, how joint debts are handled and how our judges typically handle custody issues. You will walk away with a good idea of how your case is likely to resolve based on my experience.”

#2: Confirm the meeting.

Send a confirmation email the day prior to your meeting as well as a quick “look forward to meeting you” email the morning of the meeting. In your confirmation email, reiterate the purpose of the meeting and include links to your website and a map to your office. Provide any parking instructions or other helpful information a first-time visitor should know.

#3: Follow up on all no-shows immediately.

Implement a series of automated personal emails to reschedule any missed meetings starting an hour after the scheduled meeting was missed. Be empathetic: “Sorry we missed you; we certainly understand how busy things can get. Please contact us at (phone/email) to reschedule your meeting.” We typically recommend sending 3-5 follow-up emails over 7-10 days to get a prospect to reschedule. They often do.

While no-shows will always be a fact of life, if you don’t take the necessary steps to eliminate as many as possible, you are wasting your investment in lead generation as well as your own precious time.

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FREE Training Video: Top 10 Strategies to TRIPLE Your Lead Conversion RateNew Training Video: Top 10 Strategies to Triple Your Lead Conversion Rate

In this powerful training video, you will learn from legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley the revolutionary strategies top performing law firms are using to improve their lead conversion and client retention.

It’s easy to assume your law firm has the right systems and processes in place, but once you hear Stephen reveal the secrets of law firm lead conversion and client retention you will be eager to get back to the office and make some immediate changes so you can begin to plug the holes that are resulting in LOST revenue for your firm.

Specifically you will:

  • Discover over 10 strategies that will immediately improve your law firm lead conversion when implemented
  • Gain insight into the top mistakes law firms make that negatively impact their lead conversion and how to fix them now
  • Deep dive into the five stages of lead conversion and specific strategies to improve at every stage
  • Discover where your law firm processes are leaving money on the table and how to plug the holes and increase your revenue
  • Get your hands on the most critical numbers your law firm must be tracking and why

Available as a DVD or as an MP4 download, this normally $97 offer is only $19 with the promo code DVD19 until July 31, 2016. Order yours now!

 

21 Secret LinkedIn Tricks to Help Lawyers Get Better at Social Networking

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

In some respects, LinkedIn is like an onion, with many layers that can reveal hidden treasures in terms of lead generation, marketing and research.

Like other social networks, you can easily get lost on LinkedIn or just complacent by doing the same things when you’re on the site. Little did you know that there are obscure features that will allow you to, among other things:

  • Keep your connections private so only you can see them
  • Send a message to someone you’re not connected to
  • Get new leads emailed directly to you
  • Find prospects that already have something in common with you
  • Customize your connection requests
  • Automate posts to the groups you’re in
  • Set follow-up reminders
  • Search a client’s connections for referrals
  • Find out what a prospect is interested in
  • And more!

This list of secret LinkedIn tips was created by HubSpot last year and updated recently to incorporate the latest changes to the site:

Whether you want to connect with non-competing attorneys, non-legal professionals, or potential clients, the demographics on LinkedIn speak for themselves:

  • 67% of users are between the ages of 25 and 54; the largest age group is 35-54.
  • 44% of users report an annual income of more than $100,000.
  • 50% of members have a college degree; 28% have a graduate degree.
  • The average CEO or executive with a profile on LinkedIn has 900+ connections.
  • 41% of people worth at least $1 million say that they use LinkedIn.
  • 48% of members have some form of a decision-making position where they work.

LinkedIn members are highly educated and affluent. Is this a demographic you would like to reach? For most attorneys, the answer is obvious.

The key to utilizing LinkedIn effectively is to be involved and be consistent. You need to commit to investing at least 30-45 minutes every week to log in, post an update or a link to your blog, reach out to your contacts, answer any questions that are sent to you, and make yourself visible. Simply setting up a profile will not lead to more referrals any more than a having a business card will automatically get you new business.

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What the New Changes to the Facebook News Feed Mean for Legal Marketers

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

What the New Changes to the Facebook News Feed Mean for Legal MarketersA couple of weeks ago, Facebook announced that it was making changes to its News Feed algorithm that would result in showing more feeds from user’s friends and family members and fewer items from institutional brands.

This is in direct response to Facebook users saying they want to see more content from the people and places they are already connected with, and less from people or companies they don’t know or care about.

What this means for legal marketers is this: if you are currently doing all your posting under your firm’s umbrella, consider making more posts under your own name. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your firm page, especially if you’ve built up a good following. Just consider posting more — or sharing posts from your firm page — under your own name.

I do both, and have been doing so for some time. We have a Rainmaker Institute page, and I have my own page as well. The Rainmaker page keeps things pretty much strictly business and I take the posts from there that I think will benefit my personal page followers and share on my page. My page has both business and personal items as well as shared posts from other pages that I find thoughtful or, more often, humorous.

Facebook Users Want Information and Entertainment

According to Facebook research, their users want their News Feeds to do two primary things: inform them and entertain them. After all, at its essence, Facebook is a place for you to connect with the people, places and things you care about the most. If it became a place where you were served posts from people or companies you didn’t know, you’d likely leave. And once you become disengaged, Facebook knows it would have a devil of a time getting you back in the fold.

Pay-to-Play Strategy

There’s also the pay-to-play strategy for business pages, a tactic that many companies have used with good results without a big cash outlay. With Facebook ads, you should have a free offer (webinar, ebook, etc.) to promote. Using Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool, you can import your existing contact list into Facebook so you can target your ads to current clients and prospects. You can also create a Custom Audience based on visitors to your website.

Once you have uploaded your contacts, Facebook has additional targeting options so you can target ads by income, zip code, job function, net worth, marital status, interests, and more. This is an incredibly powerful targeting tool tailor-made for law firms that have a good handle on their ideal target market.

Once you have created a Custom Audiences list on Facebook, the site has a feature called Lookalike Audiences that will target other people who are similar to those in your Custom Audiences list. To create a Lookalike Audience, Facebook examines the common qualities of the people in your Custom Audience and then finds other people in the region you specify who best match the qualities of your Custom Audience. You can use any of the Facebook targeting options to narrow your Lookalike list.

Using Facebook’s robust audience identification tools, we have found that Facebook ads typically outperform Google ads and are much cheaper to boot. And who doesn’t like that kind of change?

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FREE Webinar: Leveraging the Power of Social MediaFREE Webinar: Leveraging the Power of Social Media

For solos and small firms, the goal of social media is lead generation and business development, pure and simple. How you get there is by building targeted relationships, providing solid content, and consistently adding value. Attorneys we have worked with at The Rainmaker Institute regularly receive 100-250 new leads every month just from efforts online and via social media.

Learn about the social media networks that will work best for your firm and how to leverage them to get more leads by watching my latest free webinar – Leveraging the Power of Social Media.

During this free one-hour webinar, you will learn:

  • 3 low cost marketing tools for maximizing your results from social media
  • The 3 biggest mistakes lawyers make with social media and how to avoid them
  • Top 10 steps to jumpstart your referrals on LinkedIn
  • Using Facebook to connect with potential clients and referral sources
  • How to get qualified leads on Facebook for 90% less than on Google PPC
  • How to use content marketing to position yourself as an industry thought leader
  • Insider secrets to getting more leads from your blog

If you want to discover real-world strategies that work for attorneys when it comes to generating and converting leads using social networks, learn how by watching this free webinar.

Register online now for immediate access to this free one-hour webinar.

 

Pokémon Go Can Be a Great Way to Catch Customers for Your Small Business

Posted in Uncategorized
Pika

Around the globe, tens of millions are wandering the streets, clutching their cell phones while on the hunt for Jigglypuffs, Squirtles, and Pikachus as they play the “augmented reality” epidemic called Pokémon Go. Many of these folks may be exploring new neighborhoods while on their quest, and the “PokeStops” and “gyms” where players gather to collect valuable virtual objects can mean large crowds of potential customers gathering near small businesses and shops across the country. Even if you’re a business owner who thinks the whole Pokémon Go phenomenon is silly or incomprehensible, it would be foolhardy to dismiss something that has the potential to raise awareness of your business and bring scores of new customers into your store.

There are a number of ways that business owners can leverage the power of Pokémon Go to attract trainers – and their wallets:

  • Drop a lure. Anyone logged into the Pokémon Go app can drop a “lure” designed to attract the creatures to a location nearby. When those creatures are drawn to a given location, scores of “trainers” will no doubt follow. If your business is near a designated “PokeStop,” you can drop a lure for 30 minutes, at a minimal cost, usually less than a $1 each. It’s a pretty efficient and simple way to quickly increase foot traffic in front of your business.
  • Gym up your business. While you can’t lure players to the “gyms” where players come together to do battle with their Pokémon, you can take advantage of the proximity of a gym to draw in customers by integrating your business with the action. If a gym is nearby, you can offer specials to the winning team on a given day, keep a scoreboard in the window updating the latest results, and generally promote your business’ proximity to the gym.
  • Get folks charged up. Playing Pokémon Go all day can take up a lot of juice, and players will need to charge their phones in order to keep on the hunt. Offering players a charging station can draw people in the door and keep them there while they wait for their phones to get the power they need.
  • Rare finds. Some Pokémon are more equal than others – and harder to find. While Pikachu may be one of the most recognizable of the creatures, it is also one of the rarest and most valuable. If you find that there are hard-to-find Pokémon in your area, make that fact known on social media. You can also use the app’s in-game camerato take pictures of Pokémon in or near your business.

Will the Pokémon Go craze last? Maybe, maybe not. But given the relative ease and minimal cost of getting your business involved in the lives of thousands of potential new customers, you should probably give it a go.

Here’s How to Stop Pokémon Go From Going Too Far With Your Google Account Info

Posted in Uncategorized
Beautiful girl dressed casual using phone while her friends waiting for her.

With unprecedented speed, the Pokemon Go app has seemingly taken over the world. And as millions were caught up in their quest for Pikachus and Jigglypuffs, it quickly became apparent that the free “augmented reality” cellphone app was giving its creators unprecedented access to users’ personal Google account information.

When users – especially those using the iOS version –  log into Pokémon Go using their Google account, Nintendo and Niantic, the app’s developer, are given “full account access” to everything in the user’s Google account, including emails, pictures, documents, all of the user’s past locations, and search history.

It’s highly unlikely that most users had any clue that their Google lives were now an open book to the companies causing them to wander the streets at all hours. But it now also appears unlikely that Niantic or Nintendo were seeking or receiving all of that information on purpose.

As reported in Business Insider, Niantic clarified that Pokémon Go’s requests for such unlimited access to players’ Google accounts wasn’t intentional, and that such access was never used to look at players’ account information other than their email address and user ID. It was simply a bug on the iOS version of Pokémon Go, Niantic said, one which it said it would quickly address and fix.

Indeed, on July 12, Niantic released updated versions of the Pokémon Go app for both Android and iPhone. According to its release notes, the new version will no longer have access to users’ full Google accounts, but will instead only be able to “know who [users] are on Google” and see their email addresses.

So, all you trainers, upload those new versions ASAP and spend less time worrying about your privacy and more time worrying about whether your little guys will be ready for battle.

Pokemon Go Safely

Posted in Uncategorized
Tourists finding a location on their mobile phone with GPS

With unprecedented speed, the Pokemon Go app has seemingly taken over the world. Millions of people around the globe, largely but not only kids and teens, are searching everywhere for Jigglypuffs, Pikachus and other Pokemon as part of this “augmented reality” game in which players or “trainers” attempt to catch the animated creatures and other items which appear on their phones as if they were hovering at a nearby real-world location.

But Pokemon Go has safety officials, police, and parents going a bit crazy at the actual dangers of playing in this quasi-virtual world. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and hundreds of other news outlets that are following the global phenomenon, players are placing themselves at risk for injuries, unwanted confrontations from trespassing on private property, and other problems as they focus on their phones rather than their surroundings. A statement issued by the National Safety Council on July 12 noted that “reports of close calls associated with playing Pokémon Go already are rolling in” and urged players “to consider safety over their scores before a life is lost. No race to “capture” a cartoon monster is worth a life.”

Agreed. So if you or one of your kids is on the hunt for the next “PokeStop” or “gym,” make sure to follow these common-sense Pokemon Go safety tips:

  • Don’t trespass on private property or go to other places you wouldn’t otherwise go, such as dark alleys or unsafe areas. There have been reports of robbers waiting at PokeStops for players to show up so they can take their phones and valuables.
  • Stop and look around. Even before Pokemon Go, “distracted walking” has become a serious public safety issue, with emergency rooms reporting a major uptick in injuries caused by pedestrians whose eyes were glued to their phone screens instead of the objects, people (including muggers), and, most seriously, the vehicles around them. As the San Francisco Police Department put it in their recently released safety tips: “Do not run into trees, meters, and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt.”
  • Don’t play behind the wheel. Using your hand-held phone in any capacity while driving is extremely dangerous and often illegal. One of the ostensible upsides of Pokemon Go is that it gets people up and active; it wasn’t meant to be played in your car, so don’t.
  • Know where your kids are when playing, and set limits on where they go and when they have to stop playing.

Law Firm Business Strategies: 4 Keys to Breaking the 7-Figure Barrier (Part 4 of 4)

Posted in Business Development for Law Firms, Law Firm Development

Law Firm Business Strategies: 4 Keys to Breaking the 7-Figure Barrier (Part 4 of 4)Here is the 4th key to breaking the 7-figure barrier for your law firm:

Key #4: Pay attention to your firm’s finances.

A 2014 LexisNexis survey of 309 U.S.- based law firms – 75 percent of which were firms with less than 10 attorneys – reports that 39 percent of a typical practice’s client accounts are past due. And of these past due accounts, only half are likely to be paid. That’s a lot of cash flow down the toilet. Seventy-three percent of small firms in that survey said they have past due accounts and 53 percent of firms have client accounts that are past due. So why aren’t lawyers getting paid?

The number one reason cited by lawyers in the survey (82.5 percent) was “client financial hardship.” Here are the other reasons in order of prevalence:

  • Client challenged value of charges.
  • Miscommunication.
  • Bill was for services performed too far in the past.
  • Client disputed services.
  • Bill format unclear to client.

In the “Other” category were these reasons for past due bills: invoices sent irregularly; poor tracking of fees and services; bills sent too infrequently and bill larger than client expected; inconsistent billing; corporate client with slow internal bureaucracy; and not a priority for client to pay.

It’s really hard to believe that four out of 10 clients are financial hardship cases. However, if these survey results are accurate, then law firms have a huge disconnect in one or more of these critical functions:

  • Marketing: You are clearly marketing to and attracting the wrong type of client.
  • Sales: You are not managing client expectations or educating them on the value of your services or your retainer fee is not high enough to weed these types of clients out on the front end.
  • BusinessProcesses: You have a broken billing model (i.e., hourly billing) or you do not have the proper systems in place to handle your billing and collections.

In the survey, attorneys admitted to something we all know is true (and is a lot more believable than client financial hardship): lawyers hate asking clients for money. They find it embarrassing, distasteful, even greedy, but I don’t know any lawyers who find money itself embarrassing, distasteful or greedy! The problem is if you don’t expect to be paid, your receivables will probably reflect that. If you pursue your work on your client’s behalf with passion, you should pursue payment for that work with the same passion.

So you likely need to (1) change your attitude; (2) put better systems in place; and/or (3) task this out to someone who is not afraid to bulldog clients about their bills. Your survival depends on it!

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