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.

Is Your Legal Practice Stuck in Yesterday?

More disheartening news for B2B attorneys in today’s Wall Street Journal:  corporate legal spending is down from 2012 according to a new survey from HBR Consulting LLC, which surveyed 292 companies about their spending on outside counsel.

Lauren Chung, a senior director in HBR’s legal department, told WSJ, we are seeing a big focus on efficiency, cost management and trying to do more with less...It really is a call to action for law firms to reconsider the way they do business ...I think there is a lot of upside for law firms that are more innovative.”

Look at any business in history and there is always more upside for companies that are more innovative.  The downside is reserved for those that cling to the old ways of doing business, doing the same things they have always done and, somehow, expecting a different result.

The very definition of insanity, right?

So when is the last time you really looked at your business practices and questioned if they could be improved?  If it’s been awhile, then consider what kind of innovations you can bring to the table that benefits your firm and your clients in the areas of:

Communication -- this is fundamental to building a strong relationship with clients.  You must stay on top of your email and phone messages.  If you spend a lot of time in court, then you need to manage client expectations that they can expect a response by the end of the day.  Be sure you have a staffer scouring your email for client requests that can be handled without your intervention (not legal advice, of course).  What other ways can you make it easier for clients to communicate with you?

Operations.  Do clients simply hard to deal with your firm because you lack the systems to handle their business?  There is no excuse for this since off-the-shelf software exists for every business function.  Do you have the capability to bill according to their needs -- i.e., getting your bills in by a certain date every month, billing by project rather than hourly, etc.  You need to make it as easy as possible for clients to do business with you or eventually they won’t.

Lead conversion.  Do you have a system in place that nurtures your leads along a predetermined path until they sign up?  A way of sending regular communications to former clients and referral sources to keep you top of mind for legal work?  If you’re spending time and money on generating leads and then letting those leads languish, you might as well throw your money out the window.

In today’s hyper-competitive legal services market, necessity will surely be the mother of your reinvention.  Don’t be afraid to make the necessary changes that will help ensure the survival of your practice.

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On-Demand Webinar:  7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm

If you’re like many of the attorneys I speak with every week:

You’ve been practicing over 10 years, you own a small firm with a handful of staff, you work hard month after month, but you never seem to get ahead.

You’ve tried all the traditional methods of marketing your law firm, but so far nothing seems to work very well.

You have goals, dreams and ambitions, but after all these years you’re still struggling to break or consistently break the million dollar mark…and every once in a while you wonder if it’s really worth it all.

I need to tell you from one business owner to another-the skills that helped you build a good 6-figure practice are not the same skills you will need to build a great 7-figure business.

So if you’re tired of beating your head against the wall and you’re ready to take a fresh look at how to break out of the negative cycle you’re stuck in then you really owe it to yourself to watch this webinar.

Discover:

  • What it really takes to build a 7-figure law firm -- no hype and no b.s.
  • Insider tips from managing partners running multi-million dollar firms
  • How to position yourself as a recognized expert and attract higher quality clients
  • 3 biggest reasons why you’re not getting more referrals and how to overcome these hurdles
  • The 2 things every Million Dollar Law Firm has in place (you will never achieve 7-figure revenues without both of these)
  • 2 key metrics you must measure every month if you want to grow your law firm

Click on this link now to access the online webinar, 7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm.

How to Write a Bio That Brings You Business

As Lee Rosen noted in a recent blog post titled, Turn Your Lawyer Bio Upside Down, attorney bios are notoriously boring.  Most of them read like a resume rather than tell a story about who you are as a person and an attorney -- which means you are missing a big opportunity to entice prospects to pick up the phone or shoot you an email.

Everyone wants to do business with someone they like or have something in common with, but you can’t meet every possible prospect in person -- your bio can go a long way in convincing those folks to reach out to you.

Here are some tips for crafting an intriguing bio:

First, introduce yourself.  Say who you are and what you do.  For example: Bob Jones, also known as the “defender of the little guy,” is a bankruptcy attorney in Phoenix.

Share your story.  Relate your personal and professional mission and how the situations you encountered over your life have shaped who you are today.  When appropriate, include some anecdotes about your family.  Example:  I come from a long line of lawyers in my family, and their example of helping people inspired me to continue the tradition.

Include a photo.  The photo illustrating this post was taken outside an attorney’s office near Charleston, SC.  This attorney practices criminal law and his “sign” leaves no doubt that he is a fierce advocate for his clients!  Plus, he clearly has a sense of humor.

Share hobbies and charity work.  Show that you have a life outside your office and that you can be empathetic to the plight of others because you are an active volunteer or support local charities.

Write like you speak.  Using a conversational tone in your bio helps the reader feel as if they are having a conversation with you in person.  Keep it professional, but lighten up on the use of legal jargon or big words, which can alienate the reader.

Throw in some personality.  Use colorful (not off-color) words and humor to entertain your reader.

Give readers who land on your bio page online something interesting to read that encourages them to connect with you offline.

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New FREE REPORT: How to Position Yourself as A Specialist, Not a Generalist

If you are taking every piece of legal business that comes your way with no regard for developing a specialization, you are killing your business.

Why?

Being a generalist makes it much harder to get referrals. If you are a generalist, other attorneys who might otherwise send referrals your way see you as a competitor!

When someone has a referral to give, they want to give it to someone who specializes in the kind of problem or situation that the referral needs. You want to specialize because it creates more credibility and more loyalty.

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

  • 4 ways to position yourself as a specialist
  • Benefits of specializing
  • What to do about cases that don’t fit in your specialty
  • How other attorneys have successfully specialized
  • …And much, much more!

Click here now to receive the latest free report, How to Position Yourself as A Specialist, Not a Generalist.