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10 Ways Your Law Firm Benefits from Social Media

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

10 Ways Your Law Firm Benefits from Social MediaThe purpose of any marketing program is to deliver measurable results, whether that measurement is in terms of increased leads, sales or even improved SEO.  Too often, when it comes to social media, marketers fall in love with their number of “likes” and “shares” without discerning if these really add anything to the bottom line.

The conundrum many marketers face when it comes to social media is how to measure it since social media delivers as many if not more intangibles than it does tangible things like clicks, likes and visits.

To gauge the true value of social media for your law firm, consider these 10 ways that your firm may already be benefitting beyond the obvious:

  1. Brand building. Since social media is your unfiltered voice, you have a great opportunity to build your brand.
  2. Community. Social media is all about cultivating a community and engaging in a dialogue with prospects and clients who will tell you what they need and want from your firm. This is a great way to gather meaningful market research.
  3. Exposure. It takes a minimum of 7-10 exposures for a prospect to decide to make a purchase. Social media gives you a number of different avenues for getting repeat exposure.
  4. Authority. Social media helps you establish authority in your area of practice.
  5. Influence. As you build your authority, your influence grows – and the larger the audience, the greater the influence.
  6. Traffic. Social media drives traffic to your website or blog, giving you an opportunity to gather contact information so you can engage directly with prospects.
  7. Relevance. Prospects and clients are already checking to see if you are represented in social media whether or not you realize it. You risk being viewed as behind the times if you are not engaging them on major social media sites.
  8. Mindshare. You will probably never know how you are affecting people on social media, but you can bet you won’t have any chance of gaining mindshare if you don’t engage at all.
  9. One-up your competitors. There are lots of lawyers who are still not participating in social media, which provides you with a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
  10. Big wins. If a social media contact refers you on a big case or you get a call from a major media outlet to comment on something you’ve posted, that’s a big win. They don’t happen often, but when they do, they make your social media investment incredibly worthwhile.

Building a social media presence takes time. You cannot simply post a few articles on your blog and expect prospects to knock down your doors. Create content that is relevant to your targeted prospects, keep pumping out fresh content almost every day, and when they come, focus on converting them!


Legal Marketing Stats Lawyers Need to Know

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Legal Marketing Stats Lawyers Need to KnowUsing market trends to inform your law firm marketing efforts is a must for solos and small firms that have limited budgets and resources to market their firms.

Google recently aggregated research from FindLaw and its own inhouse data to provide a look at the legal market trends that should shape your legal marketing initiatives:

74% of prospects beginning a search online end up contacting the office via phone. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

87% of people who contact an attorney go on to hire an attorney and 72% of them only contact one attorney. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine. (Google Consumer Survey, Nov 2013)

38% of people use the Internet to find an attorney. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

62% of legal searches are non-branded (i.e., generic: “Phoenix divorce attorney,” etc.). (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action. (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

25% of people researching legal topics visit YouTube during the process. (YouTube Internal Data 2012)

85% use online maps to find legal service locations. (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

69% use both a smartphone and a PC for research. (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

31% of all law firm related website traffic comes through mobile search (FindLaw Aggregated Hosted Site Data 2014)

71% of people looking for lawyer think it is important to have a local attorney. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

So what do you need to do to convert leads based on these facts? Here are a few action steps:

Provide multiple contact options — phone, email, online chat, etc.

Provide a mobile-friendly version of your website.

Have an intake system that allows consumers to reach your firm on the first call and intake specialists trained to convert consumers into clients.

Concentrate on local SEO to ensure your website shows up well in local search.

Our Miami Rainmaker Retreat legal marketing seminar begins tomorrow, and we’ve got a full house eager to learn how to take advantage of consumer behavior to attract new clients. If you want to do the same, then attend one of our upcoming sessions:

November 6-7, 2015 — New York City

December 4-5, 2015 — Los Angeles

Get substantial savings (50% off) through our Early Bird Registration, which ends October 2 for the NYC Rainmaker Retreat and November 4 for the Los Angeles Rainmaker Retreat.

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.


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The One Thing You Absolutely Must Have to Succeed at Email Marketing

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

The One Thing You Absolutely Must Have to Succeed at Email MarketingEmail marketing remains the most effective way to reach prospects and referral sources for all companies, including law firms. And there is one thing you absolutely must have to succeed at email marketing: a great mailing list.

Whether you’re in the beginning stages of building your law firm marketing email list or the mid-to-late stages, the key is to build, cultivate and vet the list on an ongoing basis.

Here are some proven ways to build a great law firm marketing list:

Insert a newsletter sign-up form on each page of your website and on your blog, including a brief summary of the benefits of receiving no-cost, ongoing legal information they can use.

Offer a free guide or report on your website and gather the email addresses of all those who sign up to download it.

When you have a speaking engagement, provide a sign-up sheet for your “complimentary” newsletter. This technique has a very high response rate because the audience is already interested in your area of the law.

When you take someone’s business card, ask if it’s OK to add them to your complimentary newsletter list.

Partner with other professionals who serve a client base similar to yours. For example, if your area of practice is estate planning, financial planners or brokerage houses might have a target client similar to yours.  Once you locate these “list partners”, you can insert your offer for a free trial newsletter into their outgoing communications to that client base (and they can do the same with yours).  In that way, you are getting permission from the recipient prior to sending your law firm marketing newsletter – which is much more effective than purchasing a list.

The overall goal of your list is to cultivate relationships that move the prospect to become a client.

A word about the value of Unsubscribe

The value of “unsubscribe” — allowing prospects on your email distribution list to leave your list at any time and for any reason they like – is that it helps you reach your goal of creating a highly motivated core list of clients and prospects more quickly.

Of course, there are many marketers who believe that openly allowing prospects to leave their list only encourages them to do so. And that may be true.

The question is – why would you want to keep sending free legal information to an individual who doesn’t want it, won’t use it and isn’t interested in your services?

The truth is that by allowing those individuals to leave your list, you are actually increasing the health of your list.

You are refining it into a tighter, healthier, more highly focused, highly motivated group of people who are interested in what you have to say and the services you have to offer.

So, don’t hide the “unsubscribe” option in fine print at the bottom of your newsletters or bury it in text in your e-mail tips or create a long, convoluted process for them to remove their name.

Display the “unsubscribe” option prominently along with a succinct message that spells out what they will be missing – insightful answers to their most pressing legal questions at no cost.


More Law Firms Sloooooowly Investing in Sales Professionals

Posted in Law Firm Development

More Law Firms Sloooooowly Investing in Sales Professionals The folks over at the Legal Marketing Association recently combined interviews of a small group of opinion leaders with an online survey conducted by the research team at American Lawyer Media to answer the question:

“Are traditional law firms resistant to hiring client-facing business development (i.e. “sales”) staff at a time when competition for and delivery of legal work continues to intensify?” And, “If so, why?” 

While explaining that their findings don’t set any industry benchmarks but are instead a “finger in the wind” to gauge potential trends, LMA highlighted the following from the ALM study of mid-sized and large law firms:

  • 42% of respondents said they had hired staff with primarily market-facing responsibilities.
  • 93% of respondents said their firm provides some type of business development training or coaching.
  • 64% of firms that had not hired sales professional cited “a culture adverse to change” and “partner objections” as the primary reasons.
  • 28% of respondents identified a “lack of knowledge of the formal sales process” as a hindrance to developing a stronger sales culture in the firm.

One of the largest hurdles is fitting sales professionals into an environment and culture where the responsibility for law firm sales has historically been with the firm’s rainmakers. Rainmakers typically possess strong client relationships and often view sales professionals as an unwelcome intrusion upon their territory. Clarifying roles is critical to introducing sales into a law firm’s culture.

Steve Bell, chief sales and marketing officer at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, notes, “Frankly, most lawyers aren’t good at initiating meetings or doing the follow up. Sales professionals can bring discipline and support to the relationship development and sales process.”

The report points out the primary advantages to law firms of hiring senior sales professionals:

  • Leverage and efficiency: Sales professionals can identify and research initial opportunities, bringing the lawyer into the process later.
  • Reach: Sales professionals often know more about a firm’s overall capabilities than most individual partners.
  • Mentorship: The right sales professional can act as a good model for lawyers to observe and emulate.

The LMA team was surprised that the ABA rule prohibiting fee sharing with nonlawyers was not a bigger obstacle to hiring sales professionals. In fact, the ALM survey of more than 300 mid- to large-sized firms found that only two respondents mentioned a potential violation of these rules as a factor in deciding whether or not to hire sales professionals.

In conclusion, the LMA report recommended that firms with a strong collaboration culture will be most effective in utilizing sales professionals if they hire and manage their sales team according to these rules:

(1) focus on the sales process,

(2) clearly define and communicate the role of the sales professional in the process,

(3) focus compensation on team success and sales management skills, and

(4) hire those who reflect the same character and qualities a firm would expect from its lawyers.

One of the things we have learned from our Rainmaker Intake University program is the necessity for a culture shift to occur in consumer law firms so that the individuals responsible for the firm’s intake process have a solid professional sales background.

Having attorneys be responsible for following up and qualifying leads is not only inefficient, it doesn’t work! By defining the roles clearly so that your sales team is responsible for qualifying and nurturing leads that can then be turned over to an attorney for developing the client relationship, your entire firm will prosper.

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3 Areas Where Your Law Firm Needs to Innovate…or Die

Posted in Lead Conversion

3 Areas Where Your Law Firms Needs to Innovate...or DieB2B attorneys continue to face declines in spending by corporate legal departments, and B2C attorneys struggle every day with increased competition and pricing pressure.

Law firms are facing increased demands for a bigger 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 and there is a lot of upside for law firms that find ways to innovate.

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.

Which, as we all know, is the very definition of insanity.

So when is the last time you really looked at your law firm business practices and questioned if they could be improved? Specifically, there are three areas you should be examining for innovations you can implement:

  1. 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?
  2. Operations. Do clients find it 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.
  3. 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.


Consumer Law Firms: Let Us Secret Shop Your Law Firm for Free!


Have you ever wondered what it’s really like for prospects that call your firm or worried that your intake process is not as great as you’d like it to be?

Or perhaps you already know your intake process is flawed, and those lead generation dollars you’ve been spending every month are going to waste.

This is why we have created the Rainmaker Intake University, specifically for consumer law firms that are:

  • Generating 30+ leads a month and are not satisfied with the number of new clients.
  • Employing one or more people to answer the phones and handle intake.
  • Not converting every lead possible.
  • Struggling to implement written protocols, training and systems.

We will secret shop your firm for free and critique you on the 10 critical factors for creating an exceptional experience for callers so you stand apart from your competition.

We will review the results with you over the phone and discuss a variety of effective strategies to implement immediately so your firm can convert more prospects into paying clients.

Register online now to let us secret shop your law firm for free. There’s nothing to lose and lots of lost revenue to gain!

8 Proven Ways to Boost Engagement for Your Facebook Posts

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

8 Proven Ways to Boost Engagement for Your Facebook PostsIf you’re using Facebook to “sell” your law firm, you are probably disappointed in your results.  You see, Facebook is about engagement and anything that smacks of a hard-sell is usually tuned out.

You will get much better results if you simply surrender to what Facebook can deliver, which is an opportunity to meet new prospects and to share your knowledge that may someday lead to new business.

A lot of new business connections occur on Facebook based on people you used to know –old high school or college friends that you connect with there and then educate them naturally on what you do now.  In that sense, approaching Facebook as a referral source cultivation opportunity could be a mindset that will pay you big dividends in the future.

That said, there are certain things you can do that research shows leads to more engagement with your Facebook posts.

According to Shareaholic research, social media now drives more traffic (31.2%) to the websites of people and organizations that post on social media sites than any other channel, including search. Facebook dwarfs all other social networks for driving that traffic, accounting for 25% of all website traffic coming from social media!

BuzzSumo recently analyzed 500 million Facebook posts to discover what types of posts create the most engagement. Use this data to plot your posting strategy and you will likely see an uptick in the number of likes, comments and shares your posts get on Facebook:

  1. Schedule evening posts. Posts published between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET get 88% more interactions than the average Facebook post.
  2. Use images. Image posts get 179% more interactions than the average Facebook post.
  3. Pose a question. Posts ending with a question get 162% more interactions than the average post.
  4. Use video. Videos are the most shared post type on Facebook, averaging 89.5 shares per video.
  5. Post on Sundays. Posts published on a Sunday get 52.9% more interactions than the average post.
  6. Keep posts brief. Posts with 150-200 characters performed the best, averaging 238.75 shares.
  7. Post directly to Facebook. Posting with a third party tool results in 89.5% less engagement than posting directly to Facebook.
  8. Link to longer content. Posts that link to long form content (2,000+ words) receive 40% more interactions than linking to shorter content.

Just like any social media network, the lion’s share of the attention goes to those who interact frequently – and genuinely – with followers and fans. Knowing how valuable and limited your time may be for social media marketing, you need to make efficient use of it to get the maximum benefit.  These tips can help you do just that.


Essential Elements of a Lead-Generating Legal Website

Posted in Law Firm Websites

Essential Elements of a Lead-Generating Legal WebsiteIt is estimated that 95% of law firms have a website (I’m not sure what the other five percent are holding out for…perhaps they still think the Internet is a fad), but too few attorneys are consistently generating quality leads from their online presence because they lack great content.

Google has made it very difficult to rank high in search if you don’t have a lot of quality content on your website. One of the best ways to do this is via a blog, which allows you to add unique, high quality content every day to your site.

There are also some basic essentials that you must incorporate into your legal website today to help you land more leads:

  1. Optimize your website for conversions. Guide visitors to contact you by featuring your phone number, a contact form or having live chat available on your site.
  2. Link to your social media pages. Your social media sites are great for providing information that may not be on your website as well as social proof in the form of positive comments on your Facebook page or on your LinkedIn profile.
  3. Make your site mobile-friendly. 80% of consumers use a smartphone to search the Internet and 46% use a tablet, so your website must be mobile-friendly and include a click-to-call number, map, hours and other useful information for consumers to find and contact you.
  4. Keep content accurate and current. Be sure that your website is kept current by deleting bios of and references to attorneys no longer at your firm. Your latest blog post should be no more than a few days old.   If you have practiced law for more than a year, then you should be aware of what your clients want to know. Your site needs to have a robust Frequently Asked Questions area where people can come and learn about what they specifically want to know.
  5. Use video. Videos build credibility and attract visitors who would rather not read about your services but instead would prefer to watch an informative video and get a feel for your firm from the person presenting that information. Add video to each attorney profile page as a way to let prospects really get to know and engage with each lawyer in your firm. Don’t just put up a resume. Your goal is to humanize each attorney so clients and prospects feel comfortable revealing themselves to him or her.
  6. Feature modern, simple design. Dated design elements can reflect poorly on your image. Pop-ups and flashing text can annoy visitors and don’t add value to your message. If it’s been a few years since your site was updated, do it now.
  7. Make your site user-friendly. Lengthy load times, broken links, Flash-based pages and difficult navigation drive consumers away. Create a comfortable online space for your visitors to stay awhile.

Your website is your online office, a place that prospects and clients should be able to visit to get the information they need without having to wade through a bunch of nonessential stuff. Don’t forget that your law firm website is not going to do a darn thing for you unless it does something for your prospects and clients.


Sacrifice Your Sacred Cows to Beef Up Your Bottom Line

Posted in Rainmaker Retreat Boot Camp

Sacrifice Your Sacred Cows to Beef Up Your Bottom LineWe all know the old adage, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”  If you find your practice stagnating, maybe it’s time to think about sacrificing some of your “sacred cows” and replacing them with better alternatives.

Creative thinking involves breaking out of one pattern in order to create a new one.  All too often, we become ensnared by this familiar phenomenon:

We make rules based on reasons that make a lot of sense.

We follow these rules.

Time passes and things change.

The original reasons for the rules may no longer exist, but because the rules are still in place, we continue to follow them.

I’d like you to ask yourself these challenging questions:

  • What parts of your practice make the most profit?
  • Should you expand your practice areas or get rid of one?
  • How price-sensitive is your target market?
  • How can you structure your firm to better fit the new realities in the legal services marketplace?
  • What old habits are you perpetuating that no longer add anything to your bottom line?

To create new revenue-generating strategies for your law firm, consider attending a Rainmaker Retreat, our two-day law firm marketing seminar where attorneys learn proven marketing and lead conversion strategies to lift their practices to new heights.

Here’s some feedback from attorneys who attended our Las Vegas Rainmaker Retreat in July:

“After attending the Rainmaker Retreat, I truly believe I can change the destiny of my law practice.  I have learned valuable information that I believe will lead me to making a multi-million dollar business.  The information was eye-opening and supported by credible data.  I recommend it to any attorney who is ready to take their business to the next level.” – Jennifer L., Solo, Criminal Defense, Huntington Beach, CA 

“There were so many ideas and amazing information provided within such a small amount of time.  These ideas can be implemented quickly and easily and actually work.  It provides practical ways to run a more efficient firm and grow it into a business that will run on its own.  He didn’t just provide us with theory and useless facts or stats, he gave us actual tools and specific systems on upgrading our business.” – Frances P., Solo, Criminal Defense, Newport Beach, CA

“Answered many questions, some I did not even know I should be asking.  Just hoping my competition never attends.  Worth every bit of money and time to attend.”- Cris W., Partner, Litigation and Transaction, Loomis, CA

If you want to identify and rectify those areas that no longer serve your best interest or your bottom line, sign up now for one of our upcoming Rainmaker Retreats:

October 2-3, 2015 — Miami, FL

November 6-7, 2015 — New York City

December 4-5, 2015 — Los Angeles

Get substantial savings (50% off) through our Early Bird Registration, which ends October 2 for the NYC Rainmaker Retreat and November 4 for the Los Angeles Rainmaker Retreat.

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.


5 Steps for Lawyers to Generate Leads Via Social Media

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

5 Steps for Lawyers to Generate Leads Via Social MediaMany attorneys are reluctant to engage on social media because they view it as an enormous time waster. If that’s your attitude, then you are looking at it the wrong way. Instead of viewing social media as just another demand on your time, you should be looking at it as a highly effective, low-cost way to develop business from referral sources and to generate new leads.

The sheer number of attorneys out there today, especially in consumer law, makes it virtually impossible to grow a law firm organically by word of mouth. You must be much more proactive and intentional about your business development efforts than just sitting back and letting your work speak for itself.

Online marketing (including social media) is the fastest growing way consumer attorneys are finding new clients. Perhaps this is not true of AmLaw 200 attorneys, but it is why more and more small to mid-sized law firms are turning to the Internet and social media as a cost effective tool to grow their business. How do I know this? Because of my experience working with over 15,000 attorneys nationwide and because social media is the #1 topic I get asked to speak on by state Bar associations.

From my client’s perspective, 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.

To use social media to generate new leads, we recommend using these five steps:

  1. Set up a targeted landing page. Your landing page is separate from your website. It should feature content that addresses the specific needs of your target market and have one compelling call-to-action that gets them to connect with you.
  2. On the landing page offer them something of value. Offer visitors a free special report, audio CD, recorded webinar or white paper on a topic of interest to them. It must address a specific need of your target market like “Top 10 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Commercial Litigation Attorney.”
  3. Drive traffic to your landing page by promoting it via your social media outlets. You can announce your free special report on your blog, Facebook fan page, post a tweet or promote by including the link to it on your LinkedIn account and posting tips from it in your LinkedIn posts and any LinkedIn groups you belong to.
  4. Visitors to your landing page can only obtain your valuable information if they give you their contact information (name, phone and email address) and by agreeing to opt into your database and be contacted by your law firm for follow-up.
  5. Use their contact information to follow up with them. When you connect with visitors to your landing page, you qualify them to see if they are a good prospect for you and then offer them a complimentary consultation (if that’s part of your business model) or invite them to sign up for your monthly newsletter to keep in touch with them.


Study Reveals How Age Affects Consumers’ Social Media Habits

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Study Reveals How Age Affects Consumers’ Social Media Habits A new study from Accenture Interactive’s Acquity Group entitled, 2015 Next Generation of Commerce Study, reveals that while everyone and their grandmother is on social media these days, what they like and share is vastly different.

The report is based on surveys of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers on their digital engagement habits and preferences. Responses were broken down based on demographics, including age and gender.

What the researchers found is the consumers have high expectations from brands that seek to engage with them online. Driving this trend are consumers aged 18-30, who have grown up in a digital world that thrives on sharing.

The study reveals that almost 50% of consumers under the age of 50 have tried a service or product as a result of a campaign or ad on social media. Only about 30% of those who are 51-68 were so inclined, and only 14% of those over the age of 69 would try a service or product because they saw it on social media.

What is most surprising is that Facebook is considered to be the most trustworthy channel for content created by a company or brand.

Younger generations are more likely to trust social channels than their older counterparts.

Twenty-nine percent of college-aged consumers (ages 18-22) and 32% of Millennials (ages 23-30) rank Facebook #1, while only 16% of Baby Boomers (ages 52-68) do the same. Older consumers are more likely to trust traditional media, such as print (27%) or online news (20%).

This infographic breaks down the key data points from the Acquity Group study on what channels are most trusted and what types of content consumers are most likely to share with their networks:

Study Reveals How Age Affects Consumers’ Social Media Habits