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The 10 Key Principles of Successful Law Firm Management

Posted in Law Firm Management

The 10 Key Principles of Successful Law Firm ManagementWhether you are a solo practitioner or the owner of a small law firm, there are 10 key principles of law firm management you must focus on to ensure your firm is successful over time:

#1: Marketing. The purpose of marketing is to generate leads. There are a wide variety of ways to do this. All of them work, but they are not always suited for all situations, practice areas or attorneys. Find 3-5 different ways that work for you and use them frequently. Not every attorney will be a top Rainmaker, but everyone can do something to grow and market his or her practice.

#2: Sales. The purpose of sales is to close the deal or sign up the client. Once you start generating leads, you must become better at getting prospects to become paying clients.

#3: Services. Once you have become proficient at generating leads and closing the deal, you must perform the services for the client. When you fix your marketing, then you have a sales problem. When you fix your sales problem, then you have a services problem. See how this works?

#4: Staff. When you become successful at marketing and sales, eventually you will also need more staff to do the work. You cannot hire just any staff; they must be the right staff for you. What kind of culture do you want your firm to have? Who will best fit that culture? Develop a list of qualities and characteristics you need your team members to have.

#5: Systems. Policies, procedures and systems allow you to scale to the next level. Without documented systems, you cannot scale your business. You will hit a breaking point. It may be at half a million or more, but eventually you will experience a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering because you didn’t invest in creating written policies, procedures and systems for your law firm. You need written systems for every major part of your business. From marketing and intake to money and metrics, it all must be logically written down so even a brand new team member who knows nothing about your business can follow it.

#6: Space. After you start hiring the right staff because you have more clients to serve, eventually you will need more office space to house them. Far too many attorneys get caught up in renting a much bigger or nicer space than they can afford in an attempt to “keep up with the Joneses” or give off the appearance of being more successful than they are. The pleasure you may gain from a fancy office is nothing compared with the worry of making those big payments every month. Don’t strap yourself with too many financial obligations and be careful about signing long-term agreements, especially when you’re just starting off.

#7: Money. Very few attorneys went to school to become a bookkeeper or an accountant, but to manage a growing business you must know how to manage your money. You need to know the basics of finances for small business, from reading a profit and loss statement to analyzing your cash flow. Being an owner means other people are depending on you to manage the money wisely.

#8: Metrics. To consistently break a million dollars per year in revenues, there are over a dozen numbers you must be monitoring and measuring consistently. Here are a few of them:

  • Number of leads per month and where they came from
  • Number of new appointments or consultations per month
  • Number of new clients who signed up per month
  • Total amount of new retainer agreements
  • Total amount of cash in the door (actual gross revenues)
  • Total amount of accounts receivable and how long overdue
  • Total amount of cost of goods sold (COGS)
  • Total amount of payroll & non-payroll expenses each month
  • Total amount of net operating income (net profit) each month

This is not a comprehensive list, but if you know, measure and track each of those metrics every month, you’re on your way to comprehensively monitoring your business.

#9: Strategy. While having a great strategy is necessary, most attorneys spend too much time developing a strategy and too little time implementing the strategy! Get some leads in the door. Make the sale. Collect the money. Do great work. Obtain some referrals. Wash, rinse and repeat! Then work on your next level strategy.

#10: Self. Upgrading yourself is the last, but most important step. You need to read business growth books or take classes or seminars if that fits your style of learning better. Hang out around other successful business owners. Join a mastermind group of successful attorneys. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You will never build a multimillion-dollar law firm by staying inside your comfort zone.

We touch on all these principles at every Rainmaker Retreat.  Click below for upcoming sessions.

Time to Start Fresh with Your Law Firm Social Media Outreach

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Time to Start Fresh with Your Law Firm Social Media OutreachI’ve been writing about social media marketing for law firms so long that my first blog post about the subject here talked about the most popular platform being MySpace!

That was 10 years ago. Facebook was only 3 years old. LinkedIn was 5 years old but was a totally different site than it is today. Some of you adopted early along with me, and have been doing social media outreach for almost a decade.

But now it’s time to change what you’re doing because the world has changed and what we used to read on social media we now want to watch. On our phones. So as the next wave of social media breaks on your law firm marketing shore, here’s what you need to be doing:

Video

It’s no coincidence that your Facebook and LinkedIn feeds now feature much more video than ever before. We are all carrying around super computers in our pockets and strong wifi infrastructure allows us to watch at will.

Social networks not only allow you to post a produced video, but you can live stream as well. All this is happening because of demand. People want video.

So if you are lagging behind on video content, it’s time to catch up. Video is a key element in getting attention for your law firm on social media today. Talk about the things that are plaguing your target audience on video and post them. Share videos of interest to your prospects that someone else has produced (obviously not a competitor). Get in the game, either by doing it yourself or finding someone who can help.

Mobile

According to comScore, 80% of social media usage is from mobile devices. Most people prefer using a mobile device for content consumption, as long as the experience is a good one.   Some people only use mobile, having abandoned their laptops and desktops long ago.

Facebook recognized the shift to mobile marketing a couple of years ago with their introduction of Lead Ads, which is perfect for your free ebook, newsletter or webinar signup offers. With Lead Ads, users are taken to a form that is automatically populated with their contact information after they click on your ad’s call-to-action. Lead Ads can greatly increase your mobile campaign conversion rate.

Social Ads

Social media advertising is no longer a want, it’s a need. You need to use paid media to support your organic social media marketing campaigns. People no longer want to be pushed off their Facebook or LinkedIn page to your website. They want to engage with you on their platform of choice.

Luckily, social media advertising is fairly cheap so you don’t need a big budget to be successful. You can scale your buy up or down, depending on your conversion rate. Driven by a need to monetize their platforms, social media networks have made advertising extremely affordable with some exciting solutions that allow you to really zero in on your target market.

Today’s social media is yesterday’s Yellow Pages — it’s where your prospects are going to find you. Be there — on mobile, on video, with ads that forge a direct connection with your target market.

Stuck on What to Blog About? Use These 5 Tips to Find Topics

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Stuck on What to Blog About? Use These 5 Tips to Find TopicsIf you blog as much as I do and for as long as I have, the day will come when the well runs dry. Maybe you think a topic will come to you if you focus on something else for awhile (work or a round of golf). But then you never get back to the task at hand: find something to write about.

I have five tips for those of you who would like a surefire way to source new topics for your blog:

#1: Use what already works.

Hopefully you have categorized your blog topics. If not, start now. Then use your blog’s analytics data to see which categories get the most interest from your readers. As you look at your topic categories, you will see the number of posts you have already written for each category. To get the truest picture of what is resonating with your audience, be sure to use the average number of views per post. If you only look at category totals without considering the number of posts, you may get a false picture of what your readers really care about.

#2: Use what is working for your competitors.

You and your competitors are both trying to attract the same target audience. The website BuzzSumo allows you to analyze the most shared posts from your competitor’s blog — are they covering topics you could add a new spin to and attract readers?

#3: Eavesdrop on your target audience’s online conversations.

To find out what your target audience may be asking online about your practice area, go to Quora.com and type in a topic. You’ll get a lengthy list of questions people are asking that will spark ideas for your blog topics.

In addition, visit LinkedIn groups that match up with your practice area or target audience interests to see what people are discussing in the groups.

#4: Talk to your intake team.

Talk with the people in your firm responsible for handling intake to find the most prevalent problems and concerns that prospects express when they contact your firm. No one else has a better grasp of your potential clients’ points of pain and needs than your intake team.

#5: Survey your readers.

When all else fails, ask. Survey your blog and newsletter subscribers about their reading preferences. You will find that most people are happy to tell you where their interests lie; many of my good blog topics have come from current and prospective client’s feedback.

How to Get Great Google Rankings in 2017

Online Reputation Management Training for Attorneys

Posted in Internet Marketing for Lawyers

Online Reputation Management Training for AttorneysA bad reputation could cost you everything, but this new online training course on How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation will cost you nothing!

Take a moment right now and Google yourself. If you don’t like what you see, maybe you need to expend a little more effort managing your online reputation. And if you don’t have a clue how to do this, then this free online training session is for you!

Here’s what you’ll learn during this free one-hour online training session:

  • How to get feedback from 100% of your clients without risking a negative review online.
  • How to address both positive and negative reviews online so that both of them bring you business.
  • How to use online reviews to beat your competition, no matter what their marketing budget is.
  • A proven process for requesting and collecting reviews that will outperform anything you’ve ever tried.
  • series of word-for-word scripts that you can use to build your reputation today.
  • The top 5 ways to use your best reviews to boost conversion rate and maximize your marketing ROI.
  • How to put little-known best practices to work for you and gain from the experience of thousands of clients who went before you.

This online training event is presented by Michael Veinbergs, CEO of Local Marketing Geeks. Michael is an online marketing expert, a well known speaker and the owner of one of the premier online marketing agencies in the country focused on helping attorneys build their practice. He is a UCSD graduate and a 28-year sales and marketing veteran. He started his first marketing agency in 2009, offering web development, SEO, PPC reputation marketing and more.

Register online now for the free online training on How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation. We’ll send you the link via email and you can share it with your staff and other attorneys in your practice.

Latest Data on Best Times to Post on Top 5 Social Media Networks

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

While there is no perfect time for everyone, there is plenty of research available that shows what works for most businesses when it comes to posting on social media. Recently, the team at CoSchedule took research from 20 research studies to compile a guide to the best times to post on social media. They took that data and created the infographic below as a guide on the best days of the week and times to post for the five major social networks.

Bad timing can kill a business, a relationship and, sometimes, a social media post. It would be foolish to waste the efficacy of your social media posts by not paying attention to readily available research that tells you exactly when it’s prime time for you to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks.

If you’ve been measuring your social media marketing as you should but haven’t been strategically posting as this guide suggests, I suggest that you change things up and track your posts from here on out to see if you get better results through strategic scheduling.

If you operate in more than one time zone, research suggests that basing your posts off Eastern or Central time is best to reach the largest potential audience, since 80% of the American population lives in one of those two time zones.

If you get better results through scheduling, great. It didn’t cost you a thing to get those results. If you don’t get a bump in traffic, shares or likes, then go back to what you were doing before if you like. No harm done.

Picking the right times is no guarantee that your posts will go viral, but posting at the right times to get maximum potential viewership for what you have to say is just smart marketing.

Latest Data on Best Times to Post on Top 5 Social Media Networks

 

Using Instagram to Get Leads for Your Law Firm

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Instagram is not on many law firm’s radars, which makes it rife with opportunity for savvy social media legal marketers to use this popular channel to acquire new leads.

Instagram is all about images. 20 million users in the U.S. visit the site every day to see photos and read stories that inspire and connect with them. The photos you post should reflect your firm’s branding image and your target audience. For example, if you are a divorce lawyer, you might want to post humorous memes that can help lighten the mood of people going through a tough divorce. If your target audience is corporate, you may want to steer clear of humor-based imagery.

Also, since Facebook owns Instagram, it is a natural extension of your marketing efforts on Facebook to include Instagram ads in addition to your posts.

This infographic from Buffer demonstrates the steps you should take to make Instagram a great lead generator for your law firm:

Using Instagram to Get Leads for Your Law Firm

 

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FREE 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.

8 Steps to Improve Your Local Search Ranking

Posted in SEO for law firms

8 Steps to Improve Your Local Search Ranking 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 8 steps you can take 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 My Business.

List your firm on local and legal directories.  You also need to get your firm listed on Yahoo Local, Bing, FourSquare and review sites like Yelp plus legal review websites like Avvo. There are hundreds of online directories and rather than taking up your or your staff’s valuable time, I suggest you check out Moz Local, which will automate the listing process for you.

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.

How to Get Great Google Rankings in 2017

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Don’t Miss Our Free Training Webinar for Attorneys on Building a Great Online Reputation!

Posted in Internet Marketing for Lawyers, Law Firm Marketing

Don’t Miss Our Free Training Webinar for Attorneys on Building a Great Online Reputation! What do prospects see when they type your name into a search engine? If it’s not much, that can often be as harmful as something negative.  Creating a strong online reputation is critical to your ability to attract new clients.

On Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET, the Rainmaker Institute will present a free online training event: How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation.

Access this free training and: 

  • Discover how to get feedback from 100% of your clients without risking a negative review online.
  • Find out exactly how to address both positive and negative reviews online so that both of them bring you business.
  • Use online reviews to beat your competition, no matter what their marketing budget is.
  • Get a proven process for requesting and collecting reviews that will outperform anything you’ve ever tried.
  • Get your hands on a series of word-for-word scripts that you can use to build your reputation today.
  • Learn the top 5 ways to use your best reviews to boost conversion rate and maximize your marketing ROI.
  • Put little-known best practices to work for you and gain from the experience of thousands of clients who went before you.

BONUS: Everyone who attends this live online training event will receive a free Online Reputation Audit so you can see exactly what your prospects see when the look you up online!

Register online now for the free online training event — How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation— on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET.

 

Use the 4 Things Clients Care About to Differentiate Your Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Marketing
Use the 4 Things Clients Care About to Differentiate Your Law Firm

In today’s hyper-competitive legal services marketplace, it is not enough to be smart or even to do a great job for your clients. You must find a way of differentiating yourself and your law firm so that prospective clients have a reason to choose you over your competitors.

Consumers are confused about the legal marketplace and are looking for ways to determine differences between what appears to them to be a sea of lawyers all offering the same services, marketing to them in the same way.

One of the most common mistakes I see attorneys make in their law firms is copycat marketing. We have all seen law firms out there that look exactly like other law firms. Their websites are the same. Their pictures are the same. Their marketing messages are the same.

Consumers are confused. They don’t know how to tell one law firm from the next.

Your problem in failing to differentiate yourself from your competitors is that there are 1.3 million attorneys in the U.S. — that’s one lawyer for every 238 people, men, women and children included. Think about the level of concentration in your city. There are a lot of lawyers who do what you do.

The problem is that if you don’t differentiate your law firm, you will face increased competition and be perceived as a commodity. And when you’re perceived as a commodity, you can’t command the fees you want and need to charge.

When you fail to differentiate, you fail to prove your value to your prospects. Instead of talking about your value, you’ve talked about your services. Instead of talking about solutions, you’ve talked about your degree or the size of your firm. People don’t care about that.

So what do they care about? Here are the four major areas they really care about:

  1. The value you bring to the relationship.
  2. The benefits they will get from working with your firm.
  3. The solutions you provide, especially the creative ones.
  4. The results you have achieved for your clients.

Learning to differentiate your practice is one of the many law firm marketing strategies you will learn when you attend a Rainmaker Retreat. Here are the upcoming dates:

  • August 18-19, 2017 — Las Vegas, NV/Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas
  • September 15-16, 2017 — Atlanta, GA/The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta
  • October 13-14, 2017 — Dallas, TX/Hyatt Regency North Dallas
  • November 10-11, 2017 — New Orleans, LA/Royal Sonesta New Orleans
  • December 8-9, 2017 — Los Angeles, CA/The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey

Register online now for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.

 

 

Free Webinar 7/18: How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation

Posted in Internet Marketing for Lawyers, Law Firm Marketing

Free Webinar 7/18: How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online ReputationOn Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET, the Rainmaker Institute will present a free online training event: How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation.

Reputation is everything for attorneys. A good reputation gets you more clients through referrals; a bad one pretty much dooms your practice. So it’s no surprise that attorneys tend to pay close attention to cultivating a reputation as effective, ethical counselors.

But is all your hard work toward that goal reflected in your online reputation?

What do prospects see when they type your name into a search engine? If it’s not much, that can often be as harmful as something negative.

Join this free training and: 

  • Discover how to get feedback from 100% of your clients without risking a negative review online.
  • Find out exactly how to address both positive and negative reviews online so that both of them bring you business.
  • Use online reviews to beat your competition, no matter what their marketing budget is.
  • Get a proven process for requesting and collecting reviews that will outperform anything you’ve ever tried.
  • Get your hands on a series of word-for-word scripts that you can use to build your reputation today.
  • Learn the top 5 ways to use your best reviews to boost conversion rate and maximize your marketing ROI.
  • Put little-known best practices to work for you and gain from the experience of thousands of clients who went before you.

This online training event will be presented by Michael Veinbergs, CEO of Local Marketing Geeks. Michael is an online marketing expert, a well known speaker and the owner of one of the premier online marketing agencies in the country focused on helping attorneys build their practice. He is a UCSD graduate and a 28-year sales and marketing veteran. He started his first marketing agency in 2009, offering web development, SEO, PPC reputation marketing and more.

BONUS: Everyone who attends this live online training event will receive a free Online Reputation Audit so you can see exactly what your prospects see when the look you up online!

Register online now for the free online training event — How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation— on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET.