How Your Ego is Killing Your Website Leads

Most lawyers I know have a pretty healthy ego and let me state for the record that there’s nothing wrong with that.  Successful business people have healthy egos or they wouldn’t be as successful as they are.

But there is one place where your ego can get in the way of your lead generation efforts, and that is on your website.

For many law firms, a website is a vanity project.  They want a big, glossy photo of their attorneys (preferably in an imposing board room), and their firm name and their awards or recognitions prominently displayed on the home page.

That means a lot to you.

That means bupkus to your prospective clients.

Here’s what they want to know when they visit your website home page:

You practice the kind of law I need.  Whatever type of law you practice should be spelled out clearly and be one of the first things a visitor to your website sees. 

You understand my problem.  Get all the lawyer words off your site and speak to your prospect in their language so that they understand that you understand.  This builds trust.  And if they don’t trust you, they won’t do business with you.

You have the knowledge I need to solve my problem.  Lots of law firm websites have information that clients want to know hidden under a “Reference” or “Resources” tab.  This is important stuff to prospects; don’t make them hunt for it.

I understand the benefits and value I will receive if I work with you.  This is a tough one for most lawyers because they don’t really understand the benefits of working with their firm, so you have to spend some time really giving this some thought.  Look at the testimonials you have gathered and glean from those what really means something to your clients.  Using terms like, “We care” is both trite and commonplace.  Get to the meat of the matter.

If you are wondering if your ego has gotten in the way of having a website that can really generate leads for your firm, ask a friend (NOT another lawyer) or two to look at it and tell you exactly what they see.  Do not give them any of your input; just ask them what their first impressions are of your site.   Then make the necessary changes to ensure your website speaks to your prospects, not to your ego.

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On-Demand Seminar:  How to Leverage Your Firm’s Website to Win Clients

According to recent research…

58 million adults looked for an attorney in the past year

76% of them referred to the Internet at some point in their search

While most law firms already have a website, the majority of them don’t produce new cases on a regular basis. Why?

Because they are doing it all wrong!

This seminar will teach you how to do it right.

Law firm marketing experts Larry Bodine and Stephen Fairley join forces to deliver a compelling on-demand seminar on How to Leverage Your Firm’s Website to Win Clients; access this seminar now to learn:

  • 3 specific strategies that can immediately improve your website conversions
  • What elements you should and should not include on your website
  • How to effectively reach the 65% of consumers who like to gather information about their legal issue long before ever contacting an attorney
  • Ways to leverage top online attorney directories to control your online presence
  • Case studies on how top attorneys are using social media to attract more paying clients
  • Best practices for blogging and why Google loves them so much
  • The fastest ways to get to the top of Google

Click on this link now to receive the How to Leverage Your Firm’s Website to Win Clients seminar.

 

Money Talks So Prospects Don't Walk

Here’s a subject that makes lawyers nervous:  paying a bonus to intake personnel for decreasing your no-show rate.  Many of you think you can’t do that, but you are wrong.  You can and you should.

Any time you do a performance bonus incentive plan, it has to meet two criteria:

1.  It has to make the firm money or save the firm money.

2.  It has to be within that person’s control. For the show-up bonus, you never incentivize the team; you incentivize the individual people who set the appointments. If the receptionist was not responsible for setting the appointment, then you would not bonus him or her; you would bonus the actual person who sets the appointment, as long as it wasn’t the attorney because you never want to have the attorney talk with people over the phone if you can at all help it. The first time they talk to the attorney should be when they see them face-to-face.

If your firm is being plagued by no-shows, what you should do is set up a performance bonus plan. We’re not talking a lot of money -- $10, $15, or $20 max per appointment that shows up. The staff person doesn’t get the bonus if the prospect doesn’t show. They only get the bonus if the prospect actually shows up.

I’ve had a couple of attorneys that have said, “Wait a minute, you can’t fee-split with a non-attorney. That’s unethical.”

Of course you can’t fee-split with a non-attorney. However, you can absolutely provide a performance bonus for an employee of your law firm. There is no state that prohibits you giving a performance bonus to an employee as long as it is not fee splitting.

For example, if you charge a flat fee of $1,500 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you give your intake person $150, that’s 10%. That’s a fee-split. You want to make sure that the bonus passes the sniff test if a bar association asks you about it.

That’s why it shouldn’t be a lot of money -- just $10, $15 or $20 per appointment that shows. It’s a flat amount regardless of whether or not the prospect signs up. As long as the staff member sets the appointment and the prospect shows up to the appointment, they get the performance bonus, and that is 100% ethical.

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FREE Webinar Oct. 30: How Law Firms Can Use Dashboards to Save Time, Increase Productivity and Close More Cases

Do 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.  Join me and law firm management expert Micki Love, COO of Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers for this free webinar on Thursday, Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT 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.

If the times for this webinar don’t work for you, register anyway to receive the recording of this webinar to watch at your convenience.

Register online now for the free one-hour webinar on How Law Firms Can Use Dashboards to Save Time, Increase Productivity and Close More Cases on Thursday, Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

Demystifying the Supreme Court, John Oliver Style

The U.S. Supreme Court has a longstanding ban on cameras inside its courtroom, which is apparently a pet peeve of John Oliver, the British comedian who hosts his own weekly news show on HBO called “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

As Oliver notes during his five-minute rant on the high court camera ban, “What happens in the Supreme Court is way too important not to pay attention to.” He says that the current use of audio and courtroom sketches that he finds profoundly dull prevent people from being interesting in following Supreme Court arguments that could have a profound affect on their lives.

Oliver’s solution is to make it interesting and his way of doing that are quite unique.  See for yourself:

So what can you take away from this (besides a good laugh)?  To engage people, you need to make what you are doing interesting.  When it comes to your website, video is a much better choice than static pictures (usually stock photos that have nothing to do with your practice) and words.

And don’t be afraid of using a little levity when it’s appropriate.  Humor is one of the best ways to interest people in getting to know you better. 

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FREE Webinar Tomorrow, Oct. 23:  7 Tips to Finding Speaking Opportunities

How would you like to have one to two speaking engagements scheduled in your calendar each month?

Imagine how many people in your local community you could meet, how many would learn to trust you and contact you first with their legal questions ... and how your practice could grow as a result!

If you'd like to learn how to find speaking opportunities but have no idea where to start, I invite you to join Cindy Greenway, Editor-in-Chief at LawMarketing.com for 7 Tips to Finding Speaking Opportunities, a free webinar on Thursday, October 23. 

In this fast paced ­30-minute webinar, you will discover:

3 mistakes attorneys make when it comes to finding and securing speaking opportunities

3 ways you can use social media to increase your chances of being the first to know about potential opportunities

7 tools and tips that you can implement immediately to keep informed about upcoming events that serve your target market

Simply click here to learn more and to reserve your spot.  Everyone who registers will receive a free copy of the recording to watch at his or her convenience.

How to Hit the Sweet Spot for All Your Online Posts

When research points the way to how you can most effectively market your firm online, that is hitting the sweet spot.

Social media tracking firm SumAll partnered with BufferApp in creating the infographic below that sums up current market research done on the optimal length for posts on social media platforms. 

Here is the data represented in this clever infographic:

Twitter:  tweets of less than 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate.

Facebook:  posts with 40 characters receive 86% more engagement than those with a higher character count.

Google+:  ideal character count is 60 for maximum engagement.

YouTube:  the most popular videos are 3 minutes or less.

LinkedIn:  25 words is the optimal length for a post on LinkedIn.

Email:  subject lines of 28-39 characters enjoy a higher open rate.

Blogs:  6 words is optimal for headlines and 1,600 words for the blog itself. 74% of posts that are read are under three minutes long and 94% are under six minutes.

FREE Webinar Oct. 23: 7 Tips to Finding Speaking Opportunities

How would you like to have one to two speaking engagements scheduled in your calendar each month?

Imagine how many people in your local community you could meet, how many would learn to trust you and contact you first with their legal questions ... and how your practice could grow as a result!

If you'd like to learn how to find speaking opportunities but have no idea where to start, I invite you to join Cindy Greenway, Editor-in-Chief at LawMarketing.com for 7 Tips to Finding Speaking Opportunities, a free webinar on Thursday, October 23. 

In this fast paced ­30-minute webinar, you will discover:

  • 3 mistakes attorneys make when it comes to finding and securing speaking opportunities
  • 3 ways you can use social media to increase your chances of being the first to know about potential opportunities
  • 7 tools and tips that you can implement immediately to keep informed about upcoming events that serve your target market

Simply click here to learn more and to reserve your spot.  Everyone who registers will receive a free copy of the recording to watch at his or her convenience.

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FREE REPORT:  How to Use Public Speaking to Become a Recognized Expert

One of the biggest builders of credibility and an important key in becoming a recognized expert is speaking on your area of law practice at local or regional events.

So why doesn’t every attorney do it?

What we hear from many attorneys that we work with is that they’d rather jump out of an airplane without a parachute than speak in public.

But if you do it right, you can generate business as well as enhance your reputation as a solid and recognized expert.

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

  • How to make sure you’re speaking in front of the right people
  • Different approaches to conquer your fear of public speaking
  • How much information to share with your audience
  • How to follow-up in order to generate business
  • …And much, much more!

Click here now to receive your free report on How to Use Public Speaking to Become a Recognized Expert.

FREE Webinar Oct. 30: How Law Firms Can Use Dashboards to Save Time, Increase Productivity and Close More Cases

Do 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.  Join me and law firm management expert Micki Love, COO of Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers for this free webinar on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT 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.

If the times for this webinar don’t work for you, register anyway to receive the recording of this webinar to watch at your convenience.

Register online now for the free one-hour webinar on How Law Firms Can Use Dashboards to Save Time, Increase Productivity and Close More Cases on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

The Top 3 Successful Lead Generation Tactics Every Law Firm Needs to Implement Now

A recent lead generation benchmark survey conducted by marketing research firm Ascend2 and Research Partners is worth paying attention to for the insights gathered from 50,000 U.S. and international marketing leaders representing a wide range of company types, sizes and locations.

That is what is known as a statistically significant survey. 

When queried on the most effective tactics these companies deploy to generate leads, the top 3 most successful were:

1.  Email marketing (49%)

2.  Content marketing (41%)

3.  Search engine optimization (39%)

There were others on the list, including social media marketing (which you could actually lump into content marketing), but these were clearly the top 3 by a substantial margin. 

So if you are serious about lead generation, you should have these three tactics already working for you.  But do you?

You can scour this blog and others like it to find plenty of tips on how to implement successful email marketing, content marketing and SEO programs for your law firm.  But the best way to really immerse yourself in learning how to use these three tactics to generate leads for your firm is to attend our two-day legal marketing seminar, the Rainmaker Retreat, where we spend one entire day on these three tactics.

Here are some of the things we cover:

Shocking statistics on how people select an attorney

What online platforms are best if you are a business-to-consumer attorney

What online platforms are best if you are a business-to-business attorney

What social media platforms are most useful to market your firm

Website do’s and don’ts

What are the best practices for blogging, videos, social media

The #1 fastest way to get to the top of Google

Cutting-edge email strategies to grow your firm

Top traits Google is looking for when ranking your site

The changing game of search engines

Top 10 deadly mistakes attorneys make with their websites

5 easy ways to make sure your site comes up high for the keywords you want

4 proven ways to drive more traffic to your website

How to effectively stay in contact with prospects, clients and referral partners

The power of an “E-Newsletter”

4 Top strategies to automatically connect with your database

Top 3 ways to build a database

Top 10 reasons why attorneys don’t think “e-newsletters” work and why they are wrong

Over 15 strategies to turn more browsers into buyers

I’ll be on my way to Las Vegas tomorrow for our October Rainmaker Retreat on Friday and Saturday.  Upcoming dates include:

November 14-15, 2014 -- New York, NY

December 5-6, 2014 -- Los Angeles, CA

January 17-18, 2015 -- Miami, FL

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

Clip This Now: Local Search How-To Guide

Yesterday, I posted on Local Search: Getting Prospects to Discover You.  This is a critical tool for legal marketing SEO and too many firms are unaware of the importance local search plays in how prospects find them on the Internet.

And today I ran across an incredible infographic from OptiLocal that is a brilliant “cheat sheet” on the steps you can take to dominate local search in your area.  I have posted it below and urge you to clip this graphic and get it in the hands of the person or people responsible for your law firm website SEO. 

Since some of it is a little difficult to read -- and it is really packed with useful information -- I am providing the most important text from the infographic that provides the exact steps you should be taking as your optimize your website for local search:

Google+ Local Page Optimization

  • Verify your local page.
  • Have your company profile 100% complete.
  • Use your exact Business Name (as shown on your website).
  • Create a detailed company description.
  • Make sure that the NAP (Name Address Phone) on your local page is consistent with the NAP on your company website (All of the web mentions of your business should be NAP consistent).
  • Have a physical address in the city you want to rank for.
  • If you list a mailbox or suite number, place it in Address Line 2.
  • If you are a lawyer, you can create separate practitioner’s local pages from the official company local page with your distinct phone number and working hours.
  • Departments within businesses, universities, hospitals, and government buildings can also have a separate local page if they have a separate phone line.
  • Select every relevant category you find for your business.
  • If you have a single location – link to the home page of your website.
  • If you have multiple locations – link to the location-specific page on your website.
  • Claim and delete all duplicate local pages of your business.
  • Encourage your customers to leave you local page reviews.
  • Regularly update your local page with images, videos, etc.
  • Report to Google spammy local pages in your industry to clear unfair competition.
  • Use a local phone number instead of a call center number.

Citations

  • Ensure NAP consistency between your citations, local page and website.
  • Select high quality sources for your citations.
  • Select niche specific (relevant to your industry) websites.
  • Select area specific (relevant to your service location) websites.
  • Claim and edit all citations of your business that have a wrong NAP.
  • Remove all duplicate citations of your business from the (major) data aggregators.
  • Select the most relevant business category when listing your company.
  • Before you create new citation on a website, check if your business has not already been listed there.
  • Add as much useful info when creating your citations as possible (add images, videos, company descriptions, etc.).
  • Check where your high-ranking competitors are listed and follow their lead.

Reviews

  • Encourage your clients to post a review on your Google local page.
  • Check which of the websites that host your business citations welcome customer reviews and encourage your clients to review your business there.
  • After completing a project, don’t forget to ask your client for a review.
  • Print out special handouts with visuals on how your customers could leave a review and where.
  • Try to attract top reviewers in your niche to review your business.
  • Reply to your reviews even if negative. Stay in touch with your customers.

On-Site Optimization

  • Ensure NAP consistency with your local listing and citations.
  • Create location specific pages.
  • Create unique content for your multiple service locations.
  • Describe specific local sights, attractions, history, festivals, events, etc.
  • Use local reviews as local specific content.
  • Write about your local company team.
  • Include contact details, directions, working hours, where to park.
  • Include photos and mention the specific location in their file names and alt attributes.
  • Embed a Google map associated with your local page on your location landing page or on your Contact us page (if you have a single location).
  • Optimize your site content, title tags, meta tags and urls for the specific location (if you cover several locations do not optimize for all of the locations throughout your website, but focus on the most profitable one instead).
  • Use schema.org to mark up your NAP, hours of operation, reviews.
  • Use location and a keyword in your location landing pages.

Inbound Link Profile

  • Get included in your local industry associations, business chamber, etc.
  • Pursue inbound links from bloggers who write about local news, events, etc.
  • Research your top competitors’ inbound links and borrow link ideas from them.

 

Local Search: Getting Prospects to Discover You

Here's an appropriate topic for Columbus Day:  how to get prospects to discover you.

There have been a number of law firm websites that have been affected by major Google algorithm updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird).  One attorney I was talking with recently said that after the last update, his business fell off a cliff because he got most of his leads off his website and whatever he was doing there, Google no longer liked it.  Panda focused mostly on rewarding sites with good quality content and penalizing those that were just publishing trash.  The Penguin update targeted low quality links and Hummingbird was a complete overhaul of how Google displayed search results to improve the user experience.

The thing you should really focus on is Local Search.  Local search is becoming increasingly important when trying to improve the ranking for your law firm website on Google and other search engines. After all, someone searching for an attorney in Scottsdale will not care about a lawyer in Scarsdale...and Google knows that. Google is all about delivering relevant search results to its users...hence, the importance of doing whatever you can to rank well for local search.

Here are some tips you can deploy to ensure your firm shows up well in local search results:

Find the right keywords. You must use the same keywords people use when they search online.  Research and use the right keywords for your target market.

Optimize your website and content with local terms. Your website should feature your full company name, address, phone number and a geo sitemap to help search engines find you. 

List your firm on Google+ Local. 

List your firm on local and legal directories.  You also need to get your firm listed on Yahoo Local, Bing, Citysearch and review sites like Yelp and legal review websites like Avvo.

Be sure listings are consistent. Use a consistent firm name, address and phone wherever these appear online – on your website, your social media profiles, your blog, etc.  Especially if you’ve been practicing for awhile and have moved a few times or changed firm names -- your listing must be exactly the same everywhere on the Internet to earn citations, which are critical to being found in Local Search.   

Get reviews. Reviews of local businesses are becoming increasingly important in search results, so if you’ve made a client happy with your service, ask them to submit a review or testimonial saying why they loved doing business with you. 

Optimize your social network profiles.  Every social media site that your law firm is on should include the firm’s name, address, phone and a link to your website.  Remember to keep it consistent across all networks.

Optimize for mobile. Be sure your firm website is fully optimized for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

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How to Overcome the 5 Biggest Objections Attorneys Hear

Your price is too high! I can’t afford that.”

“Why should I hire you? I think I can handle this by myself.”

Have you heard any of these objections lately?

How did you respond?

What are the most effective ways to overcome these objections?

How do top Rainmakers reply?

If you’re like many attorneys you hear these objections every day…yet you aren’t sure your responses are effective. We can help you change that!

Over the course of this pre-recorded 60-minute webinar you will discover:

  • The top 5 biggest objections attorneys hear and how to overcome them
  • An easy 2-step process to effectively turn a “No” into a “Yes”
  • How to answer the question, “Why should I hire you?”
  • The #1 reason you are not converting more prospects into paying clients
  • How to get past “price” and uncover the prospect’s true objection

Click on this link now to access the How to Overcome the 5 Biggest Objections Attorneys Hear webinar now.

The #1 Way to Double Your Lead Conversion Rate

I was in Las Vegas this week presenting at the Mass Torts Made Perfect seminar on the top 10 ways attorneys can double their lead conversion rate in 90 days or less.

The #1 way to increase your conversion rate is to fix your follow up!  Even small increases in your conversion rate can make a significant difference in your revenue.

Fast follow-up is a real stumbling block, especially for solos and small firms that usually rely on attorneys to return a call or email inquiry.  This is the first mistake.  NEVER have an attorney responsible for following up!  You may want to, you may intend to, but it rarely happens because of your workload. 

So what to do?  Automate the process!  You simply cannot be consistently good at lead conversion unless you have a process in place that sends your prospect an immediate message responding to their inquiry. 

Every contingency can be planned for in advance with an automatic response system.  A prospect calls in, a staff member gets an email address, enters it into the system, and that person is immediately sent an email.  That email can encourage them to set an appointment, educate them further about your firm, include some testimonials from other clients, offer a free consultation, or whatever you want to happen next.

The same process can be put in place for leads that you capture through your website, blog or social media pages. 

You also implement a drip email campaign that guides your prospects along the path to becoming a client.  If they miss their initial appointment, this triggers a series of emails encouraging them to reschedule.  If they don’t sign with you after the initial meeting, another series of emails prods them to take that step. 

All of this can be done without any intervention by busy attorneys.  We have implemented many lead generation email campaigns for law firms across the country that has yielded substantial increases in their lead conversion rate and their bottom line.

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FREE REPORT: How to Build a Lifestyle Law Firm

Marketing and business development are only tools to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

They are some of the most effective tools you can use to attract more and better referrals to your law firm – which ultimate leads to increased revenue.

So how do you use marketing to create a Lifestyle Law Firm-- one that enables you to do what you want, when you want to do it and is the key to financial independence for attorneys?

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

  • How to build a business that supports the life you want to live
  • How to leverage your time, talent and expertise for a massive return on investment (ROI)
  • Marketing efforts to never delegate or outsource to someone else
  • And much, much more!

Click here now to receive your free report on Building a Lifestyle Law Firm.