How to Build Your Firm Using Thought Leadership

Hinge Marketing, which provides marketing expertise for professional services firms, has just released a new book entitled The Visible Expert, which is based on their research into how reputations are built and what they contribute to a firm’s bottom line.

Their extensive research has shown that thought leadership -- i.e., visible expertise -- is a significant driver for business development in professional services firms.  Hinge conducted an exhaustive survey of more than 1,000 purchasers of professional services as well as 130 thought leaders.

When it comes to the impact of thought leadership on firms, 66% of respondents said that firm leaders who were highly visible had a measurable impact on business development and firm growth:

The research broke visible experts into five levels, with Level 1 being a local expert and Level 5 being a globally recognized authority.  It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Level 5’s command a much higher hourly rate than Level 1’s, but the difference is still pretty staggering:

Hinge also looked at how buyers of professional services evaluate providers.  The top source is your firm website, followed by an online search, personal referrals and social media:

The Hinge research also found that the marketing tools and techniques with the greatest impact -- those that deliver the highest ROI -- include (in order of importance):

  • Books
  • Speaking engagements
  • Firm website
  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Email marketing

The good news is that if you are not already on a path to becoming a thought leader, this is a skill that can be learned.  We teach it every month at our Rainmaker Retreat, the popular two-day legal marketing seminar.  Here are dates for upcoming sessions:

September 19-20, 2014 -- Miami, FL

October 17-18, 2014 -- Las Vegas, NV

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

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

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.

New Competition for Law Firms: Their Own Clients

An article at WSJ.com yesterday pointed up a growing source of competition for many law firms: their own clients.

There are probably some of you reading this right now who have already experienced this shift, which started during the recession and now appears to be sticking.  According to an analysis of 300 corporate counsels by BTI Consulting Group, 58% of larger companies are sending more of their legal work to in-house attorneys.

In-house counsel is now increasingly performing the work that junior attorneys at law firms used to cut their teeth on like contracts and real estate deals.  A report by the Association of Corporate Counsel released earlier this year found that 63% of chief legal officers surveyed said they are now keeping work in-house that they used to send out to law firms.

If there is a bright spot in this news, it’s that the more specialized work is still being farmed out and law firms have started migrate to more specialty practice areas where legal expertise is more difficult to duplicate in-house.

Clearly what has happened in the consumer legal services arena with online legal services providers is making headway into the C-suite.  Which makes it even more important than ever for solos and small firms to target and own a niche where you can command a reasonable fee for your services and increase your opportunities for referrals because you are no longer seen as a competitor.

One of the biggest misconceptions is if you market like a specialist and niche your legal practice, your business is going to diminish. The truth is, when you niche your legal practice you can communicate more powerfully to your ideal market than if you say you can help anyone and everyone.

Of course, there may be a few prospects you will no longer reach…but because you are stating a compelling reason why your ideal target should do business with you, the firm will begin to attract your ideal target market more powerfully.

This is exactly what you want. You want to attract the people or companies that are most likely to do business with you initially, repeatedly and at the highest profit margin.

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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 free report on How to Position Yourself as A Specialist, Not a Generalist.

How B2C Attorneys Can Navigate the Shifting Legal Marketing Landscape

Whether you know it or not, the legal marketing landscape is shifting below your feet if you are a B2C attorney.  The evidence for this can be found in these recent developments:

On August 8, the ABA announced that it is launching a pilot program in partnership with online legal services provider Rocket Lawyer in an attempt to reach what the ABA calls a “horribly underserved market” -- i.e., consumers and small business owners who otherwise would not be using an attorney.  For this pilot program, ABA members in select states will provide legal services through Rocket Lawyer and report back their experiences.

Also in early August, Martindale-Hubbell relaunched as MartindaleNolo.com, a new website that offers lead generation, directory listings and web hosting solutions for attorneys.  The site’s goal is to “help law firms expand their practices through online channels.”

In addition, a recent ABA Journal blog highlighted the fact that LegalZoom’s recent victories in several state courts on UPL charges is clearing the way for future growth for that online legal services provider.

The ABA pilot program demonstrates what consumers have been trying to tell the legal profession for years:  they want choices and they are going online to find them. 

Two years ago, a LexisNexis research report found that 76% of consumers use the Internet to search for an attorney.  It also identified a four-stage process consumers use in their search for an attorney: gather information about a legal issue/case, find a lawyer, validate a lawyer and select a lawyer.

In order to be relevant (and found) today, B2C attorneys need:

  • A website that uses responsive design, so your content is displayed appropriately no matter what device a consumer is using (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone).
  • Content that is unique and highly relevant for your area of practice.
  • A blog that allows consumers to hear your authentic voice and establishes you as an authority in your field of practice.
  • Complete profiles on directory sites like Avvo, along with peer and client reviews so clients know what it’s like to work with you.
  • Social media participation, particularly on Facebook.

Technology and consumer preference are the powerful forces that are at the heart of the changes in the legal marketing landscape today.  Ignore either at your own peril.

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NEW Free Report: How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn

With over 300 million members in over 200 countries (100+ million in the U.S.), LinkedIn has quickly become THE ‘go to’ business-to-business directory and the most popular social networking platform dedicated to professional business development.

To ignore it is the proverbial equivalent of sticking your head in the sand.

Learning how to use LinkedIn to your biggest advantage takes time and effort, but it is time well spent.

If you are new to LinkedIn, it can be confusing, much like any new software that you need to learn to grow your business.

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

  • What LinkedIn can help you accomplish
  • Valuable LinkedIn features that can increase the power of your network
  • Smart ways top attorneys use LinkedIn
  • What your profile needs in order to be effective
  • How to make people want to know more about you
  • And much, much more!

Click here now to receive your free report on How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn.

The #1 Thing You Absolutely, Positively Must Have to Convert Leads

To improve your lead conversion process you not only have to have the right people, but you also have to have the right system.  

A lot of law firms don’t use a system. They don’t have protocols, they don’t have checklists, they don’t have step one/step two/step three, and they don’t have software. You need all of that if you’re really going to have a well-oiled machine that is going to convert the maximum number of leads possible.

And it’s software that drives all of this. By the way, Excel is not a system; Outlook is not a system. They may be great for managing and manipulating data and spreadsheets, but that’s not a system. You need a system that actually helps you track and convert more of those leads into retained or paying clients.

That’s why we developed the Rainmaker Lead Conversion System early on. It’s a software-generated approach that includes training and consulting with a firm’s staff on best practices, but at the heart of it is a software-driven system that tracks where all your leads are coming from.

It tracks what your conversion rate is by office location if you have multiple offices, by attorney, how many of those appointments actually show up, how many convert to retained clients, and more. After the initial consultation, it sends out auto responder e-mails that follow up and track every single lead. It has a series of action-trigger sequences. It’s a very, very comprehensive system, and if you want to run an effective lead conversion program, you can’t just use Excel.

Most of the time, in order for your lead conversion system to really be effective, you need to have a minimum of 30 to 50 leads per month. If you’re getting fewer than 30 leads per month consistently, you really need to work more on lead generation.

But for those law firms that are getting 30 to 50 or more leads per month, lead conversion is a huge opportunity, and the closer you get to 100 – and I know some of the people reading this are probably getting several hundred leads per month – you’re absolutely leaving money on the table if you don’t have a software-driven system in addition to sales training for your people.

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On-Demand Seminar: Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm

We are now providing one of our most popular seminars – Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm – in an on-demand format, so you can watch and learn at your convenience, as many times as you wish.

Over the last decade we have helped over 10,000 attorneys market and grow their business. During this time we have identified many of the key characteristics of highly successful law firms.

One of the more consistent ones is that they track specific numbers and key indicators that give them instant insight into how their law firm is performing on a weekly and monthly basis.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the numbers that make your law firm run. By analyzing these critical metrics, partners and owners of law firms can easily determine whether they are on track to achieve their goals or if they need to retool and refocus their marketing and business development efforts.

In this fast paced seminar, you learn:

  • How to easily identify the 12 key metrics your law firm needs to track and measure
  • How to set up a system to identify these numbers
  • The 7 critical systems every law firm must have
  • CPL and CPC: the 2 most important numbers every attorney must know in order to succeed
  • How to avoid “paralysis by analysis” and being overwhelmed by too much data
  • Delegating roles and responsibility to your staff
  • Using software to track your KPIs

If you’re a spreadsheet and data driven individual then you will love this seminar! However, if numbers scare you or you tend to ignore them because you have a hard time making heads or tails of all the different data you see, then this seminar is a “can’t miss” event!

We cut through the clutter and give you clear and easy to understand guidance on which numbers really matter the most, how to track this information, and what to do with it once you have it!

To get this on-demand seminar, click on this link: Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm

Why Lead Conversion Matters More Than Lead Generation

I’ve found that most law firms don’t focus most of their resources and energy on lead generation; they focus all of their resources and energy on lead generation. Virtually no one talks about lead conversion and intake; they all talk about lead generation.

I never have attorneys come in to me and say, “Stephen, I need to improve my lead conversion.” Every single day I talk to attorneys who say, “I need more leads.”

At one of our recent Rainmaker Retreats, I said to a bankruptcy attorney, “Tell me why you’re here.”

He said, “Stephen, I need more leads.”

I said, “How many leads are you getting?”

He pulls out a spreadsheet, and I was amazed. His background was engineering; he just happened to be a bankruptcy attorney. He pulls out this Excel spreadsheet, which was fantastic, and he could list every single lead he’d gotten in the last six months.

He said, “Last month, I got 221 leads.”

I said, “Wow, that a lot of leads! But how many of them turned into clients?”

He looked at me sheepishly and said, “Ten.”

I said, “Ten? No offense, but you don’t need more leads. To give you more leads would be a sin. You need to convert more of the leads that you’re already getting into paying clients. I have clients that are running multi-million dollar law firms off 200 leads a month in bankruptcy. That’s a lot of leads; you don’t need more leads.”

I’m not saying that some law firms don’t need more leads, but they spend 95% to 99% of their time on lead generation. They need to bring that back down to about 60% to 70% of their time and focus the rest on lead conversation and client retention, i.e., getting repeat business and/or repeat referrals from their former clients.

Lead generation will not solve all your problems. If you don’t have a really tight, consistent system to convert that lead into a paying client, or retained client, then you’re flushing your money down the toilet.

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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 attend this webinar.

Join us and 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.

Tips for Turning Initial Consultations Into Retainers

One of my favorite bloggers in the legal space is attorney Lee Rosen.  He always has great stuff to share over at his Divorce Discourse blog (don’t let the name fool you, it’s practical legal business marketing and management advice that can be applied to any practice).

Lee had a great post today about the rules you should be following to turn initial consultations into retainers.  Our thought processes on this subject track completely; read his post in its entirety but I’m going to call out some of the most important practices that many attorneys neglect when they hold an initial consultation:

Create a comforting environment.  No one wants to come into a messy office or conference room.  Your space says something about you and no one wants a disorganized attorney!  If you’re meeting in your office, make sure everything looks neat and tidy.  If you meet in a conference room, clean up the dirty cups and donut crumbs from your last meeting.

Be welcoming.  Do NOT make your prospect sit and wait for you!  Greet them upon arrival with a smile and a firm handshake.  Be glad to see them.  Make eye contact.  Put them at ease from the beginning so they feel comfortable around you from the get-go.

Listen.  Many attorneys fall into the well-worn trap of trying to impress a prospect with the depth of their legal knowledge.  Don’t make this mistake!  You should be listening a lot more than talking at this stage of the game.  Remember, your objective in this meeting is to get the prospect to retain you.  There will be plenty of time later to share your legal knowhow.  As they speak, don’t have your head down furiously scribbling notes.  Practice good listening behavior by maintaining eye contact, listening and repeating a few of their words back to them.  Draw them out when necessary with a few encouraging words.

Follow up!  If they don’t sign up right away, call them the next morning and ask if they thought of any more questions for you.  Then set another appointment so you can keep them moving forward with you.

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now.

Where You Can Meet Me on the Road to Riches This Fall

Is it September already?  Three-quarters of the year is gone; so what have you done to improve your law firm revenues for this year?

If the answer is, “not much,” then you need to get yourself motivated and armed with the essential knowledge you need to grow your firm to new levels.  And I’ve got a very busy schedule helping other attorneys do just that.

If you’re interested in catching me on the road so you can set your firm on the road to riches, then here’s where you can do that:

September 13, 2014The State Bar of California Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA -- I will be speaking to the general assembly on how to use social media to build a referral-based law firm.

September 19-20, 2014: Rainmaker Retreat, Miami, FL

September 27, 2014Oak Brook College of Law Alumni Retreat, Lake Tahoe, CA -- I will be providing several legal marketing workshops to attendees.

October 8, 2014Mass Torts Made Perfect Seminar, Las Vegas, NV -- Catch my presentation on “Top 10 Ways to Double Your Lead Conversion in 90 Days”.

October 10-11, 20142014 Primerus Global Conference, Monterey, CA -- During this conference of the top tier boutique law firms in the nation, I will present three breakout sessions: "The Secrets of Generating More & Better Referrals," "Key Performance Indicators: 10 Critical Numbers Every Law Firm Must Track," and "21 Proven Ways to Double Your Lead Conversion Rate in 90 Days."

October 17-17, 2014Rainmaker Retreat, Las Vegas, NV

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

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

You know, you can always get the latest information and instruction on proven legal marketing strategies if you subscribe to our free monthly e-newsletter that we deliver to your inbox every month. 

Each issue is chock-full of legal marketing information you can put to use right away and share with your staff to maximize the effectiveness of your legal marketing plan.  Click here now to subscribe to The Rainmaker Institute Law Firm Marketing Newsletter.

FREE NTL Webinar Sept. 17: Top 5 Tactics to Convert More Website Visitors Into Qualified Leads

Driving qualified traffic to your website is only the first step. The really hard part is getting web visitors to take action by contacting you. If your website seems to be getting a lot of traffic, but you still aren’t getting any calls then you need to attend this hard-hitting webinar sponsored by The National Trial Lawyers.

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, two of the nation’s leading legal marketing experts are going to pull back the curtain and tell you exactly how to convert more browsers into buyers and improve your website’s conversion rate.

Join me and Larry Bodine, The Law Blog Guru, as we let you in on the same strategies and techniques used by top legal websites to attract over one million visits and convert them into qualified leads. Attendees of this practical, how-to program will learn specific strategies they can immediately apply to convert online visitors into paying clients.

Here’s what you will discover during the free Top 5 Tactics to Convert More Website Visitors Into Qualified Leads webinar:

  • The top 5 conversion tactics to rapidly improve your website
  • How frequency of updates directly impacts conversion rates
  • Using blogging to attract highly qualified cases
  • Why top personal injury and criminal defense attorneys are using live chat
  • Creating a content marketing culture that’s tied to business development goals
  • Information, education, and expert advice—what visitors really want
  • How to quickly establish rapport and build trust
  • Why “social proof” is essential and how to get it

You can now register online for this NTL-sponsored webinar.  If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway and you’ll receive a free recording of the webinar to watch at your convenience.

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FREE Report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make it a priority to cultivate more referral sources.  Cultivating referral sources is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

This new free report by national law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley can get you started.

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

  • How to identify the referral sources who have relationships with the people you want as clients.
  • How to start the relationship
  • How to build a referral network
  • How to make your referral network successful
  • …And much, much more!

Click on this link now to get your free report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources.

Grow Your Email List for Free in 5 Simple Steps

Lots of law firms struggle with compiling and maintaining a robust email marketing list, and they really struggle with how to keep adding qualified names to help them build a better list.  If you are recognizing yourself as you read this, then the good news is that you can actually build a great list for your firm and it doesn’t need to cost you a dime.

Here are five simple steps you can take to keep growing that important list of people you want to market to:

1.  Provide something of value.   Take the top 5 or 10 questions that clients ask you most often, write down the answers and turn that content into an e-book or report.  Post this on your website and blog and offer it as a free download to people who provide you with their name and email address.  The people who take you up on your offer are good prospects since they are clearly interested in the kind of problems you solve.  Add their names to your email marketing list to continue the conversation.

2.  Tell them what to do.  Your e-newsletter, your website and your blog should always contain easy-to-find calls-to-action that invite readers to subscribe, download a free report, make an appointment for a free consultation -- anything you’d like them to do that could lead to business for you.  All your calls-to-action need to be simple and have the ability to collect email addresses for you.

3.  Keep reviewing your offers.  If your readers are not responding well to your calls-to-action or offers, then what you are offering is clearly not appealing to them.  First be sure that they are easy to understand.  If you’re still not getting a good response, change up your offers.  You should do this anyway every few months to keep things fresh.

4.  Use social media.  Using social media to spread the word about your valuable content and offers is a great way to attract more prospects that you might have otherwise missed.   LinkedIn groups are a great way to spread the word, but be sure you’re not being too promotional too often.

5.  Pay attention to the analytics.  You can gain valuable insight into what people are responding to on your website and in your e-newsletter by scouring the statistics.  Google Analytics is a free add-on for your website and blog and provides great information on what pages people are spending time on, and what isn’t working so well.  If you use Constant Contact or a similar service for your e-newsletters, these services provide information on how many people opened and read your newsletter and what they clicked on. 

By using these five simple steps, you are not just adding names to your list, you are getting truly qualified leads for your marketing efforts.

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NEW FREE REPORT:  How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

  • 10 reasons an e-newsletter is necessary to your legal marketing strategy
  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter

Click on the following link to receive your free report on How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today.

Why Mobile is a Must for PI and Criminal Defense Attorneys

Last November, something momentous happened in the world of marketing and you may not have even noticed: mobile platforms surpassed desktop computers in terms of where consumers access online content.

According to digital research firm comScore, American consumers now spend 60% of their time online accessing content from mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.  They are reading emails on mobile, accessing maps, social networking and checking websites.  And if you do not have a website that is optimized for mobile, then you are letting leads fall through your fingers.

Personal injury and criminal defense attorneys especially need to have mobile websites, since it is far more likely your services will be needed when a mobile device is the only convenient one at hand.  Research shows that 40% of mobile searches are local, and 81% of those searches lead to action -- a phone call or email to your firm.

If someone gets pulled over for a DUI or is in a car accident, it is highly likely they will be pulling out their phones to search for a local attorney.  If your website is not optimized for mobile -- making it difficult to navigate or even find a number to call --- you will have just missed a great opportunity to get a new client.

Converting your website to mobile can be done very affordably using online tools from providers like Mobify, MobiSiteGalore, Wirenode or Mofuse.  Hosting of your mobile website usually costs less than $20/month.

You may also want to consider using responsive web design, which instantly recognizes whether someone is trying to access your site via a desktop computer or mobile device and serves up the appropriate version.  Using responsive web design to integrate all your sites into one fully responsive website provides you with full functionality on any device, single site management and enhanced search engine optimization. 

In today’s hyper-competitive legal services marketplace, optimizing your website for mobile can provide you with a true competitive advantage as well as more qualified leads.  Without it, you are essentially turning prospects away.

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On-Demand Seminar: Business Development Strategies for Litigators

Business development is especially difficult for litigators, who often work for months on a case and bring it to a successful conclusion, only to find they have a gaping hole of billable time to fill!

Are you or your litigators building the referral network you need to bring in litigation business?

In this new on-demand seminar, nationally recognized business development expert Stephen Fairley and featured guest Larry Bodine, editor-in-chief of Lawyers.com, help you develop a practical plan to grow your litigation practice. Learn:

  • Which strategies you need to put into place in order to obtain repeat business from former clients
  • How to build a referral network to build your practice-even while you are prepping for a trial
  • How to get more referrals from mega-firms who are conflicted out of a case
  • How to identify small firm transactional lawyers who can send you litigation referrals
  • How to focus on the “hottest” areas of practice, as identified by market research
  • Methods our clients use to attract larger clients with bigger cases
  • How to ethically promote your “big wins” to the media and via the Internet
  • How to apply one of the most effective marketing techniques for litigators
  • How to position yourself as an industry expert that attracts highly profitable clients

 

To get this on-demand seminar, simply click here to access the recording of Business Development Strategies for Litigation Attorneys seminar.

5 Great Ideas That Answer the Question: What Do I Write on My Law Firm Blog?

Former practicing attorney Larry Bodine, the law blog guru at LarryBodine.com, knows firsthand the struggles many attorneys face when trying to consistently create great content for their blog posts.

LawMarketing.com Editor Cindy Greenway recently interviewed Larry, who provides five ideas that are a goldmine of inspiration for blog posts.  Here are his tips for ferreting out blog post subject matter:

I would add that client questions are another great source of inspiration for your posts.  Pass an email around the office and ask everyone to chip in at least three questions they get asked by clients.  Remember that they don’t necessarily have to be about a point of law.  Even the most mundane question -- like, “how much do you charge?” -- gives you an opportunity to provide insight into something like the price/value equation of hiring an attorney.

3.7 Million Americans Use Legal Self-Help Centers: ABA Report

The ABA’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services has released a report that finds 3.7 million Americans use legal self-help centers because they cannot afford to pay for an attorney:

The study gathered data from 222 of the nearly 500 legal self-help centers around the U.S., finding that most centers have less than five staff members and rely heavily on volunteer help provided by attorneys, paralegals, law students and others.  

Even with external help, most of the centers have had to turn people away because the volume of clients exceeded their ability to help.  Approximately 81% said they had to turn potential clients away because the legal matters were too complex or not handled by the center.

A substantial majority of centers -- 89% -- said their center focused on providing assistance with family law issues, including divorce, child support and domestic violence.  Other services provided included probate, guardianship, landlord/tenant disputes, general civil litigation, small claims and traffic.

Many of the centers provide referrals, with 66% saying they refer to lawyer referral services, 36% refer to pro bono attorneys, 28% refer to attorneys that provide unbundled services and 26% were other referrals to attorneys.

 A majority of the centers voiced support for limited scope representation, where an attorney provides limited assistance on the case while clients handle other aspects in order to reduce legal costs.  86% of the responding centers said that at least some of their clients would benefit from limited scope representation, while 21% said that most if not all of their clients would benefit.

However, most also believed that their center’s clients would not be able to afford limited scope representation if it was priced at the going rate in their communities.  

How to Perfect Your Ability to Persuade

Whether we realize it or not, we spend a lot of time negotiating our way through life.  As an attorney, your ability to influence and persuade is critical, not only to prevail for your clients but to attract clients in the first place.

My background in psychology makes me hypersensitive to the ways people make decisions.  I’ve been a student of human behavior for many decades, and once you understand the factors that motivate your target market to take action  (i.e., hire you), you will begin to increase your lead conversion rate.

The infographic below from Everreach details six factors that persuade people to take action.  They are taken from the teachings of Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.  Keep these in mind as you develop your legal marketing programs.

5 Steps to a Foolproof System for Managing and Converting Leads

Whether you paid for them or worked hard getting them, leads are useless without a system to nurture and convert them.  “I don’t have time” is no longer a valid excuse with the software that’s available today to practically turn this process into an automated one for you and your firm.

Here are 5 steps you can take right now to better manage and convert your leads:

1.  Only ask for crucial information.  Research shows that contact forms with only three fields convert 25% more leads than those with more fields.  You really only need a name and an email address these days.  People don’t want to give out more than that for a first contact, so don’t put stumbling blocks in your own way right off the bat.  Keep it really simple.

2.  Follow up fast.  I’ve said it over and over again, but it bears repeating:  NEVER make an attorney responsible for following up with a lead!  You can program auto responses that follow up for you immediately once you receive a new lead.  Studies show that after an hour passes with no response, the chances of doing business with that lead are reduced by 10x.

3.  Make it about them.  Be sure you ask the right questions and record the information you receive from the lead in a central place so whomever is tasked with another follow-up has the information they need to provide relevant feedback to that lead.  Nothing is more annoying to a prospect than having to explain themselves again and again.

4.  Focus on the next step.  Your goal should be to get that lead into your office or on a phone conference as quickly as you can after they initiate contact.  Make it your goal to follow up with next steps within one hour of their contacting you and you will see your conversion rates increase.

5.  Pay attention.  According to HubSpot, 50% of new leads are not ready to buy -- which means they need constant attention to move them along to a purchase.  Having a system in place that allows you to pre-program a series of emails to nurture prospects takes the task off your hands while still getting the job done.

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Practice Made Perfect for Small Firms and Solos

The Practice Made Perfect CD set and manual applies Stephen Fairley’s unique High Impact Marketing System to the practice-building challenges faced by solo practitioners and partners at small law firms.  

It includes dozens of specific marketing and sales recommendations that can be easily and quickly applied to your firm, including:

  • The only 7 sure-fire ways to get clients in your door NOW
  • Why advertising doesn’t work for most small law firms
  • The 7 reasons why people don’t buy from you           
  • How to market and sell with USP’s (Unique Selling Proposition)           
  • Using audio logos to attract immediate attention for your business
  • Using low-cost, high impact marketing strategies           
  • Strategies for achieving maximum results from all of your marketing efforts           
  • How to discover your Ideal Target Market
  • 3 critical factors to remember when looking for new clients
  • The NEW sales cycle for professional services
  • How to retain your best clients

Click here to order your Practice Made Perfect for Lawyers CD set and manual now. 

6 Simple Steps To Attract the Clients You Want (and Who Want to Keep You)

I know it’s difficult to turn business away, especially if your practice is struggling with cash flow, but you are never going to have that lifestyle law firm you want if you keep taking on the wrong types of clients.

Here are six simple steps that will help you attract the clients you want and keep them coming back to you:

1.  Pick profitable people.  Sounds simple, yes?  But you’d be amazed how many attorneys fail to keep the profit picture in mind when chasing new sources of revenue.  You do not want to be the guy or gal who signs everyone who calls.  Look at your most profitable clients and create a profile of your ideal client, then qualify your leads to see who fits. 

2.  Communicate clearly.  Nothing will send a profitable client packing faster than poor communications.  It’s a bad habit and one you can break, even if you’re a busy solo or small firm.  Put a communications process in place to fill in for the shortfalls you’ve created.  And for heaven’s sake, when you are communicating with clients, be sure to leave the legal jargon out of the conversation.  Stay on their comprehension level and you’ll alleviate the opportunities for miscommunication.

3.  Set some expectations.  Unmet expectations are another big reasons clients leave the fold.  From day one of your new relationship with a client, you need to be sure they have realistic expectations of the services you can provide and the outcome they can expect.

4.  Be really responsive.  The most successful firms I know have a process for returning calls and emails -- usually within an hour of receiving them.  If you’re going to be in court all day, have your email and phone messages monitored by someone in the office and task them with replying (but not with giving legal advice, unless they are also an attorney).  Even if it’s to say you are currently unavailable, this at least lets clients know you are aware they need you and will get back to them as soon as you can.  Then do it.

5.  Lend an ear.  Sometimes clients just want a sounding board.  You may have heard the problem a thousand times before, but it’s fresh to them -- and important.  Give the courtesy of being a good listener.  Clients want your empathy, not the bum’s rush.

6.  Maintain visibility.  Don’t just make an appearance when there’s money on the table.  Even if you have tasked associates with the work, make sure you maintain some visibility with the client throughout the duration of the case to create client loyalty.

If you’d like more strategies to create a 7-figure law firm, then I invite you to watch our new on-demand webinar, 7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm, where I provide insider tips from managing partners of multi-million dollar law firms and fill you in on what it really takes to build a 7-figure law firm.  

Social Surpassing Search for Driving Traffic to Your Website and Blog

So here’s something interesting:  social media is beginning to surpass online search as the top referrer to other websites:

This news was enough to make the New York Times take notice in a recent piece about BuzzFeed, which just scored a new $50 million investment (its valuation is now at $850 million).

Don’t know BuzzFeed?  It’s a news aggregation site for everything, everywhere.  You’ve probably seen it pop up on your Facebook feed since so many people share its sillier stuff, like quizzes that will tell you how good you are at spelling or which European city you are.  There’s also hard news written by BuzzFeed staff journalists.

BuzzFeed attracts 150 million viewers every month, on average.  Its content is what is driving its growth, and it plans to plow a lot more investment money into creating more content.  And not just content...viral content.  That’s stuff that’s likely to get shared.

And BuzzFeed works very hard to get its content shared on social media, to good effect.  The Shareholic data on the chart above is from its latest quarterly report on traffic referrals to the 350,000 websites in its network. 

Facebook is now responsible for 23.4% of social media traffic referrals to those sites.  Just one year ago, 40% of traffic came from search engines and 14% came from social media sites.  Today, search and social account for 29% of traffic each. 

So what does this mean for you?  A great opportunity to take a page from BuzzFeed’s strategy book and spread your content liberally on social media to drive traffic to your blog or website. 

Hat tip to Kevin O’Keefe.

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FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. In 2013, inbound marketing firm Hubspot released a report based on a marketing benchmark study of 7,000 companies and found that when it comes to blogging:

Companies that blog 15+ times per month get five times more traffic than firms with no blog.

B2B companies that blog at least twice a month get 70% more leads from their websites than firms with no blog.

Companies that increase their blogging from 3-5 times per month to 5-8 times per month almost double their leads.

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

  • 7 ways that blogging can help your law practice
  • How to create your blog strategy
  • 10 ways to build an audience for your blog
  • 4 sources of information for writing blog posts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader.

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 probably 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 even possible.

From one business owner to another, I need to tell you that 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 invest an hour of your time viewing our new on-demand webinar: 7 Strategies for a 7-Figure Law Firm.

Here are some of the things you will learn as you watch:

  • 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

If you think there’s no way you can ever break that 7-figure mark -- and break it every year -- I can cite you many examples of those who have gone before you who have done just that.  The only thing standing in your way is guidance and gumption.

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

7 Habits of Highly Successful Law Firms

I have been counseling attorneys on marketing matters for almost 15 years.  In that time, we’ve reached more than 10,000 attorneys through our monthly Rainmaker Retreats, speeches before at least 35 bar associations and many more presentations to groups like the National Trial Lawyers Association.

That doesn’t count all the individual clients I’ve counseled over the years. 

There are certain similarities that successful firms have that unsuccessful ones don’t.  I call them habits, since they must be deeply ingrained in an organization to bear full fruit.  A couple of years ago, Forrester Research -- a global business research and advisory firm -- studied the successful habits of small businesses, and it is uncanny how those habits match up with the ones I’ve observed (and, in some instances, help put in place I'm proud to say) at highly successful law firms.

Here they are:

1. An emphasis on online over offline marketing strategies.

2. A focus on new business leads and client lifetime value over client acquisition cost savings.

3. The execution of highly-optimized, multi-channel campaigns leveraging email, web and social media.

4. Nurturing leads carefully until the time is right rather than trying to sell from the get-go.

5. Collecting the metrics that matter and measuring results in order to repeat and improve.

6. A willingness to change business models that are no longer working for the firm because of changes in the marketplace due to technology or consumer preferences.

7. Maintaining -- or even increasing -- marketing budgets during a difficult economy in order to increase business momentum, seize new opportunities, and gain a competitive advantage.

We have used these 7 habits to form the basis for our curriculum at our two-day legal marketing seminar, the Rainmaker Retreat. 

If you’re still struggling to find success for your law practice, consider attending one of our upcoming sessions:

September 19-20, 2014 -- Miami, FL

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

If you feel it’s time to stop making excuses for your lack of success and do something about it, register online now for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.

Federal Appeals Court Rules Attorneys Have Right to Publish Praise from Judges

A federal appeals court issued a ruling yesterday that attorneys have a First Amendment right to publish ads that quote judges praising them, a decision that reverses a lower court ruling.

The case involves a New Jersey employment attorney, Andrew Dwyer, who initially published praise from two jurists on his website.  The published quotes were excerpts from unpublished (but publicly available) judicial opinions.   One of the judges sent Dwyer a letter requesting that his quote be removed from the website.  Dwyer refused because he did not believe the quote was misleading or false.

The matter was forwarded to a committee of the New Jersey Bar, resulting in a proposed guideline that barred attorneys from using a quotation from a judge or court opinion regarding the attorney’s abilities or legal services.  Dwyer argued that the new guideline was an unconstitutional ban on free speech.

Fast-forward to 2012, when the NJ Supreme Court approved an amended guideline saying that attorneys could use quotes from judges or opinions, but that the full text of the opinion must be used instead of excerpts.

Dwyer filed suit against the NJ Bar committee that developed the guideline before it went into effect and moved for a TRO and preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of the guideline.  A NJ District Court denied the request.  Both parties then filed cross-motions for summary judgment, which the District Court granted to the committee.

Dwyer then appealed and yesterday, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor, calling the guideline “onerous” and saying that it imposed an unconstitutional burden on Dwyer:

“Guideline 3 as applied to Dwyer’s accurate quotes from judicial opinions thus violates his First Amendment right to advertise his commercial services. Requiring Dwyer to reprint in full on his firm’s website the opinions noted above is not reasonably related to preventing consumer deception.”

This decision could have farther-reaching effects in terms of how attorneys use testimonials in their advertising.  Will certainly be interesting to watch!

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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.

Larry Bodine, The Law Blog Guru, 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.

ABA Announces Partnership with Rocket Lawyer

At their annual meeting last week in Boston, the American Bar Association announced a new partnership with online legal services provider Rocket Lawyer “to explore expanded opportunities for lawyers online.”

In the spirit of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” the ABA said it is collaborating with Rocket Lawyer on a pilot program to offer affordable legal services to small businesses and the self-employed, connecting ABA member attorneys with prospects using the Rocket Lawyer platform.

ABA president James R. Silkenat said, “The American Bar Association welcomes the opportunity to explore ways to expand legal services to those who need a lawyer’s counsel but are not currently being served for reasons ranging from affordability to ease of access.”

Rocket Lawyer founder and CEO Charley Moore heralded the partnership as a “pioneering effort to democratize access to legal counsel using technology,” applauding the ABA for “working with us to find new ways to expand legal representation from qualified attorneys through video and mobile technologies.”

Currently, Rocket Lawyer offers consumers and small business owners access to their own network of vetted attorneys by signing up for a $39.95/month membership plan.  For that monthly fee, you have access to a number of legal documents you customize for your own purposes online as well as legal advice from Rocket Lawyer’s stable of “On Call Attorneys.”  You type in your legal question on the website and get an answer via email or phone (your choice).

The ABA told the WSJ Law Blog it was interested in partnering with Rocket Lawyer because it uses attorneys to provide legal advice to its clients in a market the ABA feels is horribly underserved -- i.e., people who wouldn’t otherwise use an attorney. 

The ABA says it will be monitoring the program to see what kind of services its attorneys will actually be providing via Rocket Lawyer and to “make sure it really is the underserved communities they are responding to.”

The benefit to Rocket Lawyer, which says it will not be making a profit from the pilot program, is the cachet it will receive from being associated with the ABA. 

The program will involve a few hundred attorneys from each state and will start in about a month.

I’m curious what practicing attorneys are thinking about this partnership and would love to hear your comments.  Discuss! 

5 Steps That Will Help You Convert Prospects Into Clients

Sometimes I feel like a voice in the wilderness when I talk about the importance of lead conversion.  Just about every lawyer I come into contact with wants to know how to get more leads.  Very, very few (counting on one hand here) inquire about how they can do a better job of converting their leads into paying clients.

The fact of the matter is that you can get a million leads and if your conversion rate stinks, you are not paying the bills.

Here are 5 steps you can take right away that will help you convert leads into clients:

1.  Tell your prospect what’s in it for them.  If you remember just one thing, let it be this:  clients only want to know what you can do for them.  You can’t leave it to the prospect to guess; you have to tell them right out what you can do for them personally when it comes to their legal matter.

2.  Tell your prospect why they should hire you.  Consumers today have lots of choices for legal services -- not just other lawyers, but online solutions as well.  So you have to be very specific about what makes you different and why they should hire you.

3.  Don’t be afraid of emotion.  I can’t tell you how many times we have secret-shopped law firms (at their request, of course) and found their intake person totally lacking in empathy.  You need to listen to the person’s problem and truly empathize instead of treating them like just another number.  While they may be the 14th person you’ve talked to this week about a car accident, to them, their problem is totally unique.  Be sympathetic to their pain.

4.  Focus on benefits, not features.  Features are what your service does. Benefits are why your client needs your service. For every feature you have, you must tell your client what the benefit is.

5.  Make it easy to hire you.  We work primarily with solos and small firms who struggle daily with competing with larger, more established firms.  But solos and small firms can offer benefits that the bigger firms can’t, including a more personalized approach and flexibility.  Use your size to your advantage and tell them exactly why smaller is better.

If you are struggling with common objections like pricing and how to effectively turn a “No” into a “Yes,” you’ll want to listen to our 60-minute webinar on How to Overcome the 5 Biggest Objections Attorneys Hear.  Just click on the link to access it.

Martindale Hubbell Relaunches as MartindaleNolo.com

In February I posted a piece asking Are Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com Dead?that garnered quite a few comments.

It looks like Martindale Hubbell has sprung back to life in the form I predicted a few months ago, as a lead generation and directory site for attorneys at martindalenolo.com

Actually, the new site offers three services for attorneys:  lead generation, directory listings (another lead generation tool) and web hosting.  All are core competencies for Internet Brands, which bought Martindale Hubbell and Lawyers.com last fall. 

Internet Brands, which started as CarsDirect.com, creates lead generation websites in nine vertical markets: Automotive, Careers, Health, Home, Legal, Lending, Licensing, Shopping and Travel.  Internet Brands was sold in June to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a private equity firm, for a reported $1.1 billion, according to Reuters.

KKR also owns GoDaddy.com, so the web hosting component of martindalenolo.com makes total sense.

The site offers directory listings on three of its Nolo-owned websites, including Nolo.com, Martindale.com and Lawyers.com (which features the “latest” legal news on its home page that is from October 2013!).

Their lead generation hat is being hung on a number of specialty websites like personalinjurylawyer.com, criminaldefenselawyer.com, etc.  The site says that the leads are targeted by area of practice and location -- it doesn’t say anything about exclusivity, so I can’t say whether or not they offer that.  But I’d sure want that if I were you.

(If you venture down the paid lead path, then be sure to read my May 5 post on Paid Leads for Attorneys: What It Takes to Get a Good ROI.)

There is no doubt that Internet Brands knows its business, so this may be a good thing for law firms who want a turnkey process in place.  Just be sure you’re willing to make a commitment to the steps I outlined in that May 5 post or you won’t be happy with your ROI.

Is It Time to Sacrifice a Few Sacred Cows to Grow Your Practice?

Every business has “sacred cows” – i.e., things that have always been done the same way.  But do the reasons for the way you bill or your client intake process still make sense for your practice in 2014?

I doubt it.

The fact is, your firm probably has a few sacred cows that need to be sacrificed in order for your practice to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive environment. The proliferation of legal services -- online and offline -- means now is the time to challenge the traditional ways of doing business and think creatively about your practice model.

As humans, we can get caught up in doing what is comfortable and what has worked in the past. We do things based on rules that made sense at the time. Then, with the passage of time, things change. The primary reasons for the rules may no longer exist, but we continue to follow them because the rules are already in place.

Ask yourself these thought-provoking questions:

If you were starting your practice today, how would you structure it to fit with current economic and market condition realities?

How price-sensitive are your customers?

What areas of your practice are the most profitable?

Are there any opportunities to expand upon a profitable service, or eliminate those that are a drain on profits?

Does your current client base provide opportunities for growth?

How can you use today’s technologies to improve your internal processes?

To reinvigorate your practice in today’s environment, consider making one change in your practice that makes sense today.

You should also consider listening to my interview with top divorce attorney Lee Rosen on How to Make Flat Fee Billing Work for Your Law Firm.  You can order it online right now.

8 Reasons You Don't Have a Marketing Plan for Your Law Firm

If you don’t have a marketing plan for your law firm, you probably have reasons for that.  You don’t have the time.  You don’t know how to do it.  You haven’t given it much thought.  Go ahead, pick your favorite.

Here’s what a law firm’s lack of a marketing plan tells me:

You only plan to practice for a year or two.  Having a marketing plan increases your chances of survival over the long haulA solid, well-planned guide keeps you from making serious mistakes that can quickly sink your business.

You like to fly by the seat of your pants. Creating a solid business plan provides structure and a context for everyday activities, while helping to fit daily activities into the context of a larger, more strategic plan of how you are going to grow your business. 

You like to bury your head in the sand. Staying on track amidst the day-to-day distractions and assessing opportunities to see if they fit with your long-term goals is another way that a comprehensive marketing plan can help you stay on track.

You have plenty of money to throw around.  By knowing your financial costs and risks ahead of time, you can more effectively plot your growth strategy and manage your budget. 

You like to follow the crowd.  Emulating someone else’s business model simply because you don’t want to devote the time and resources to developing your own marketing plan is fraught with a number of dangers. For example, if you copy someone else’s business model, you will likely wind up copying their mistakes as well. You can also miss opportunities that are perfect for your business because of your distinctive experience, knowledge, background, location, or target demographics. 

You don’t envision any future for your firm. In the end, your business will be driven by your vision -- and the process of developing that vision is critical to your business success.

You like operating in a vacuum. It is crucial to set up measurable objectives in advance so you are able to compare your results against those objectives to learn where you succeeded and where you fell short.  If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?

If the law doesn’t work out, you can do something else. Being committed to growing your business starts with laying a good foundation for that future growth, with clearly delineated steps for those in the organization to follow so they can contribute to your success.

You can fix this by investing just two days at a Rainmaker Retreat, our law firm marketing seminar.  Here are the upcoming dates:

August 8-9, 2014 -- Las Vegas, NV

September 19-20, 2014 -- Miami, FL

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

Stop making excuses and creating reasons to fail.  Register online now for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.

Why LegalZoom Doesn't Have to Mean Legal Doom for Solos and Small Firms

Today’s ABA Journal Law Practice blog says that recent legal victories have LegalZoom poised for growth, and if the comment section below the article is any indicator, there are lots of lawyers still itching for a fight.

Unfortunately, most are taking a knife to a gunfight.  LegalZoom has been sued by bar associations in eight states so far -- LegalZoom has won two, had two dismissed, settled in three and one is still in arbitration.

Each claim against LegalZoom has been for the unauthorized practice of law (UPL).  But while the state bars are lining up behind UPL as it applies to the online forms the site provides, LegalZoom is moving its business model closer to the actual practice of law with its prepaid legal services plans that connect consumers with actual attorneys.

As legal ethicist Deborah L. Rhode, director of Stanford Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession, put it to the ABA Journal: "With respect to LegalZoom, the train has left the station. They've got a couple million satisfied customers and it's going to be really hard for anyone to shut them down."

She notes that it’s time to stop pursuing the UPL claim and instead focus efforts on regulating the product itself so consumers are protected.

While some attorneys look at LegalZoom and see legal doom, I see opportunity.  In fact, several lawyers who responded to the article today said they love LegalZoom because they get paid for untangling all the mistakes people make using online DIY legal forms.

That is a book that solos and small firms should take a page out of -- protecting consumers against themselves.  Instead of castigating those who use a service like LegalZoom, why not offer a free consultation to go over what they’ve done online? 

There is a reason why LegalZoom now offers prepaid legal services for consumers and businesses -- they have probably found that people are a little wary that they’ve done the right thing without an actual attorney’s input.

By offering to review these online documents for free, you not only alleviate a nagging doubt for a prospective client, you also illustrate perfectly the real value of obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney -- for individualized legal solutions that can help clients head off potential problems and identify opportunities.  No DIY website does that.

How to Get Amazing Attention for Your Firm on Social Media

Human beings are wired for loving the spotlight.  When you post something on social media and no one comments or likes, it feels almost like a personal rejection.  And when you’re posting to get attention for your business and no one cares what you’re writing, you are wasting your time.

One of the most important ways to get noticed on social media -- especially on Twitter -- is to make sure your post has a great headline.  There are actually very good psychological reasons for using certain words that makes it almost irresistible for people to click.  Here are 8 proven formulas to craft your headlines around:

  1. Surprise -- using words that surprise or startle captures attention because we love novelty.  Words that break the pattern stand out.
  2. Questions -- using questions works because a question mark stimulates the human brain to seek an answer.
  3. Curiosity -- using incomplete information in your headline to pique curiosity.  A famous example of this is the 1926 ad with the headline, “They laughed when I sat down at the piano...but when I started to play...!”
  4. Negatives -- using negative superlatives like “worst” or “stop” intrigues us because we want to know if there is something we shouldn’t be doing.
  5. How to -- we all want to get better, so using “how to” in your headline makes a promise of improving the reader’s knowledge.
  6. Numbers -- because humans dislike uncertainty, we respond well to numbers in headlines.
  7. Reader referencing -- using phrases like, “For those who don’t know what to do after a car accident” or just the word “you” are powerful drivers.
  8. Specifics -- quantifiable facts and figures that elicit an image in our head are incredibly intriguing.

Here are more than 180 power words to use in your headlines, courtesy of CoSchedule.com:

3 Ways to Build Client Loyalty and Referrals

A recent poll by digital business solutions provider Huzzah Media found that 80% of small businesses report the two top sources of revenue are repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals. 

Now that we are in the age of social media, talking up good and bad experiences among friends is easier than ever.  Research shows that the average Facebook user has 150 friends; multiply that by the number of prospects and clients you touch every month, and there is a huge potential for getting the good word out about your practice.

Here are three ways you can encourage loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals from existing clients:

Focus on the client experience.  I always tell attorneys I coach that clients are not judging you against other law firms; they are judging you against all other service providers they have experienced.  One of the fastest ways you can convert prospects to clients and increase your referrals and repeats is to focus intensely on the kind of experience your clients have with your firm, from the first phone call to the initial meeting through to the conclusion of their case.  Most people don’t seek legal help until they are in crisis so you have to empathize and sympathize, treating them as you would an honored guest in your home.  Show them they are not just a case number and a paycheck to you, and they will return that loyalty in spades.

Offer referral rewards.  I am not talking about money here; we all know you can’t pay for referrals.  But you can provide important psychological rewards by letting clients know how important it is to you that they refer you to family and friends.  We all get a boost from bestowing a favor; don’t be afraid to ask your client regularly for referrals and be sure you educate them well on what makes a good client for you.

Ask for feedback and listen.  I love it when I visit an upscale restaurant and the chef comes out to ask how I like my meal.  We all want to feel that our opinions matter, especially when we are paying for a particular level of service.  Make it a point to ask your clients how you’re doing throughout your engagement with them, not just at the end.  Then listen intently and adjust your processes accordingly.

We have a free report available on building relationships with strategic referral sources that you can download now.  It contains more useful tips on how to identify your best sources for referrals as well as how to start the relationship and build a robust referral network.  

5 Copywriting Techniques That Will Grow Your Email List

I am a big believer in contrarian marketing and there’s one guy I’ve become interested in listening to when it comes to building up email subscribers.  His name is Ramsay Taplin and he writes over at The Blog Tyrant.

Ramsay’s niche is teaching marketers how to build such great email lists that they don’t have to rely on the vagaries of SEO to successfully market their products or services.  He makes a strong case, saying that “email subscribers are your protection from Google.”

Recently he penned a post at Copyblogger on the five writing strategies he regularly employs to get more email subscribers for his blogs and online advertising campaigns:

1.  Make it timely.  Using time-sensitive language -- “instant” “now” “limited” -- urges people to act since we are all wired to avoid losing. 

2.  Stand out.  Telling unusual or even quirky stories to illustrate your point and making it personal so people feel an instant connection will lead to more subscribers.

3.  Include social proof.  Nobody wants to be the first to try something new, which is why online reviews are so popular.  Incorporate social proof in your content -- “Joan was just one of 500 people we helped talk to their parents about estate planning this year” -- and sprinkle your site with client feedback (if your state bar allows it) to let people know you are a trusted authority.

4.  Use landing pages.  With every new product or service we launch, we create a unique landing page where people can sign up to learn more.  It doesn’t cost much and it’s a great way to highlight and promote your blog, e-newsletter or event.  Test different colors and layouts and then stick with what works for you.

5.  Write for people and Google.  If you don’t know how to write for search engines like Google, you may get a lot of wasted traffic for your site or blog.  You still need to identify and use the right keywords to attract people and Google to your site.  That said, you need to keep your content interesting and natural so people will actually want to read it and sign up for more.

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NEW FREE REPORT:  How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

  • 10 reasons an e-newsletter is necessary to your legal marketing strategy
  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter

Click on the following link to receive your free report on How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today.

What Would You Like to Ask the World's #1 Small Business Guru?

INC Magazine has called Michael Gerber “the world’s #1 small business guru,” and this Friday, August 1, I will be interviewing him on how attorneys can take their firm to the next level of success. 

Michael is the author of a number of books on entrepreneurship, including the best selling Awakening the Entrepreneur Within and The E-Myth Revisited. For more than 40 years, he has been teaching business owners who possess significant technical skills but few business skills how to transform their companies into world-class organizations. 

Michael has broken down his teachings in The E-Myth Revisited to focus special attention on legal practices in his niche book, The E-Myth Attorney: Why Most Legal Practices Don’t Work and What to Do About It

The E-Myth Attorney helps lawyers fill the knowledge gap on how to start a successful law practice and maximize its performance to create a profitable, thriving legal services business. 

On Friday, August 1, I will be interviewing Michael on how attorneys can take their practices to the next level and am providing you with an opportunity to ask him questions about your own firm. 

You can submit up to three questions online now and will receive a free recording of the interview to listen to at your convenience.

Whether you’re just starting out or have had your own firm for years, don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear one of the world’s leading experts on small business development share his insights on how to develop a successful law practice.

Tips on Creating Press Releases Reporters Will Use

Business communications firm Greentarget has just released the results of interviews with 100 news reporters and editors in their 2014 Disrupting the Press Release report, and it’s clear what journalists want from firms seeking the news spotlight:  just the facts.

The core findings from this report underscore the need for communicators to understand that journalists want only the vital information, and they want it immediately apparent.  Don’t make them wade through a bunch of legal jargon, boilerplate text or self-serving quotes that sound like no human would ever speak those words. 

In fact, Greentarget points to a perfect example of the kind of press releases journalists favor:  the ones that come from police departments, who tend to follow TV detective Joe Friday’s maxim of “Just the facts, ma’am.”

And here’s why:  journalists spend less than 60 seconds scanning a press release.  If the value is not immediately apparent, they are on to the next one.  Half the reporters and editors surveyed said that they receive, on average, 50 press releases a week.  The other half said they receive more -- up to 100 or more a week. 

Beyond writing concise, fact-driven releases, here are some tips on how to grab a reporter’s attention:

Email your press releases.  80% said they prefer email.  Not one said they prefer a phone call.

Craft a compelling subject line.  79% said a good subject line gets your release opened.

Send your release early.  44% said they prefer to get press releases in the morning.

Leave out the least important information: boilerplate language, stilted quotations, fluff.

Be sure the journalists you are sending your press release to cover that beat and are relevant to their audiences. 

The good news is that 88% of journalists said they still find value in press releases, especially those that contain thought leadership (research, surveys, etc.).  Least valuable?  Personnel announcements.

My experience has shown me that many attorneys are notoriously poor press release writers, both in terms of obtuse language and too much filler.  When it comes to press releases journalists will pay attention to, always remember that less is more.  Better yet, have a professional who knows what they are doing write your press releases.

On Social Media, Listening is the New Lead Generation

Do you know what a lead looks like these days?  I am not talking about a traditional lead, like a referral, a phone call or an email.  I’m talking about how to identify lead opportunities on social media.

If you are frequenting social media sites and participating as you should, you need to become attuned for lead opportunities.  People use social media a lot these days to air their problems or grievances -- problems you may be especially qualified to help with.  People post when they have a car accident.  They post about family problems.  They post about retirement or money issues.  Whatever is on their minds, they post about it!

When you are on social media, you can gain important insights from potential clients who may not even know you exist but know they have a problem.  You want to be that fly on the wall, listening for opportunities to make yourself known.

One great listening post can be found in LinkedIn groups, where people may be posing questions to issues you may face and solve every day.  Jumping in to help with your expertise is one way to turn that casual contact into a bona fide lead.

A good way to listen on Twitter is to create a search list of your relevant keywords and monitor it for people asking for advice.  Build a list of your competitors as well to see what people are saying about them.  Dissatisfied clients?  May be an opportunity for you.

Generating leads via social media takes a different mindset that traditional lead generation, requiring that you find those leads through listening and engaging.  A random comment on Twitter or question on LinkedIn could turn into a potential client for you if you are paying close enough attention. 

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July 28 is Your Deadline to Name a Rainmaker

Monday, July 28 is the very last day for you to nominate an attorney or marketing director (employed in a law firm) for the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards.

Think of the attorneys and marketing directors in your firm ... do they deserve to be recognized?

Or how about a lawyer colleague who you know has worked incredibly hard - implementing strategies to support success?

Monday's deadline is just around the corner.  We need your help with identifying, recognizing and honoring the accomplishments of those attorneys and marketing directors (employed by a law firm) who have applied themselves, demonstrated creative marketing strategies, and are getting real results for their law firm.

Click here to learn more. 

Writing Guidelines to Help Improve Your Search Ranking

Rumor has it that SEO is dead.  I suppose you could say the old way of doing SEO is most certainly guaranteed not to work -- no more keyword stuffing or irrelevant content, which will likely get you tossed to the bottom of search results instead of where you want to be, which is on the first page.

However, I would say that the death knell for SEO is a bit premature if you define it the way we do:  being smart about how you develop your content so that it is naturally attractive to search engines because it is attractive to the people searching for your area of expertise.

Earlier today, there was a post over at Hubspot.com with an infographic that lists 13 copywriting rules for obtaining better search rank results.  None of these, you will note, are aimed at “gaming” Google’s system -- rather, they are helpful in understanding the type of content that Google rewards.  We all need to know that.

For example, keywords are still important since they indicate the subject matter you are writing about, which Google uses to link your content to searches using those same words.  But the watchword here is “natural” -- you need to use your keywords in your content naturally, and sprinkle in some synonyms or related keywords that can expose your content to different search queries.

A hat tip to ContentVerve.com and atcore for aggregating this information: 

5 Steps to Higher Client Retention Rates

Landing new clients is only the beginning of a harder task: keeping them. Now the real work begins as you find a ways to keep those clients you have worked so hard to get. 

Along with new clients comes the inherent need for more time to spend on their cases. Now the problem is not enough new clients but work flow and time management to handle them all. With such a limited schedule, how do you keep them happy so they don't run off and hire your competition?  

Here are five steps to take for better client retention:

1. Take some action on the case immediately. As soon as the client signs on, spend time that day or the next taking some action on the case. This is not only to protect your client's best legal interests, but also to show them their need for immediate legal help. It also shows them that you genuinely care about them. 

2. Send the client some form of written communication within 48 hours of taking the case. It isn't enough to start working immediately on their case. You must show that you are working and making progress so your client knows they are important to you.

It is also wise to mail a hard copy of all of your communications with your client. Often, it is easier for people to pay for services they can actually visualize. When they can see some physical evidence of your work, it seems worth more to them. 

Follow-up letters after phone calls or in-person meetings are another great way to clarify and avoid misunderstandings. 

3. Send out a brief survey directed at new clients. Within one week of landing the new client, send out a one-page survey. This can be a great way to collect data on vital questions for use in future law firm marketing strategies; this is also a good time to ask them for their birthdays and anniversaries so you can send a card. 

4. Send out a client satisfaction survey after you have completed the case. This is another great way to maintain good communication with clients. It shows them that you really care about their opinions and feelings. They will see that their cases and how it all turns out are important to you. 

5. Send the client a handwritten thank you note. Nothing says you care like a handwritten note. Send out the note the same day they select you as their attorney. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but you should do it because no one else does. 

Clients must feel like you are there to serve in their best interests because you want to be there. Lawyers have the negative reputation of only being in it for the prestige and the money. While these are two important factors from your business view, they are of little concern to your client. You must show you care through your law firm marketing efforts and your communication with your clients. If you don't care about them, they won't care about you.

National Trial Lawyers Free Webinar July 24: Generating New Clients for PI Law Firms

If you’re a personal injury attorney, you know that your chosen field of practice is one of the most competitive on the planet.  Many PI attorneys spend thousands of dollars every year to generate leads with varying degrees of success.

When you are competing against hundreds of other PI attorneys, you don’t have an extra cent to waste. 

Which is why the National Trial Lawyers is presenting a free seminar to its membership on Thursday, July 24 at noon PT/3 p.m. ET on Generating New Clients for a Personal Injury Law Firm.

Join me and The Law Blog Guru Larry Bodine to learn:

  • How to optimize the #1 place clients look for PI attorneys
  • The proven strategy of finding the riches in the niches
  • How to get the most from TV advertising without spending $100,000 a month
  • 5 things PI attorneys should not waste money on
  • Whether to buy from lead generation companies and how to do it without getting burned
  • How to turn your contacts and clients into your sales force by building a referral network
  • Steps to become a well recognized thought leader to attract bigger cases

You can register online for this free webinar now. 

If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway and get a recording of the webinar sent to you to watch at your convenience.

Do You Have the Right People in Place for Client Intake?

Recently we offered a free intake process review -- a “secret shopper” service -- to the first 50 law firms that signed up and that offer got fulfilled fairly fast. 

One of the things we have learned in these intake process reviews is the necessity for a culture shift to occur in law firms so that the person or persons responsible for the firm’s intake process is chosen based on a background in sales, not customer service.

I recently illustrated why in an interview with the Intake Academy:

If your computer breaks, or your cell phone has a problem, you call customer service. You don’t mind being put on hold for an inordinate amount of time – well, you do mind, but are willing to put up with it – because you need to get your problem solved and, frankly, you don’t have a choice.  If you’ve got your cell phone with AT&T and want to get it fixed, you don’t get to call Verizon if AT&T puts you on hold for 45 minutes.

But when it comes to law firms -- especially personal injury or any kind of consumer law -- there is an intensely competitive environment where consumers have hundreds, if not thousands, of choices. All of them are easily identifiable with the click of a mouse or the turning of the page. It is amazing how much competition there is.

You don’t want people handling your intake process who have a customer service background; you want people who have sold stuff over the telephone. Most of the time, even if they have people in a formal intake center, most law firms have the wrong people. The rest of the law firm sees it almost as a necessary evil instead of this is a money-making function.

Most law firms that we’ve worked with over the years don’t even have an intake department – not a formal one, at least. They basically have a receptionist and somebody who’s a rollover person in case the receptionist gets too busy.

The purpose of having an intake or call center is to really transform that culture from being an intake one to a sales-oriented center. What I mean by that is going from order taker to rainmaker. I don’t want a bunch of order takers in the law firm; I want a bunch of rainmakers – a bunch of people who are committed and dedicated to getting people from being a potential client to being a retained or assigned client.

If you’re a consumer law attorney and want to learn more about turning leads into appointments and appointments into sales, you’ll probably be interested in our on-demand Proven Strategies to Win More Clients webinar.  By watching this webinar, you can learn proven steps to increase your lead conversion rate, including 3 steps for turning leads into appointments, 5 ways to increase your show-up rates and 4 ways to get more appointments to sign up at the initial consultation.  

Law Firm Shows the Power of the Positive Review

Yesterday I wrote about how to handle negative online reviews; today I’d like to share something I’ll bet most of my readers here will find astounding.

We have a client -- a Phoenix family law practice -- that currently gets 80-90% of its leads from the Internet.  The majority of those leads come from review sites like Yelp, Google and Avvo and even some from YellowPages.net and less travelled review sites.

And these leads are above average.  The firm is good about a quick response to an email or phone call, following up to book an appointment the next day and calling to make sure the prospect shows.  They have a very low no-show rate in their main office -- these people come ready to engage and, usually, hire the firm for their family law problem.

This firm has done a great job of leveraging happy client experiences into positive online reviews.  While many firms are wary of online reviews, this firm embraces them and even posts links on the home page of their website with a large banner that touts what their clients are saying about them.

Yes, there are a couple of negative reviews in their pile of client ratings online, but those few serve to legitimize the entire process for them.  People find balanced reviews more believable; all positive ratings are usually suspicious.

However you craft your approach to online reviews, you need to be aware that they are not going away.  People want to share their experiences, and others looking for those same services want to know what experience others have had with a service provider.  People are not dumb; they will weigh the good with the bad in their own minds and discount those reviews that are clearly irrational or offbeat. 

If you are not harnessing the power of the online review like my family law client then you are missing a golden opportunity to increase your Internet-based leads.  If you let the good work you have done for years speak for you, it will do more for you in bringing you prospects who will already have a propensity to buy from you.

Converting prospects into clients

Lead conversion is a generally overlooked area at many law firms, yet learning lead conversion techniques that help you convert prospects into clients could save you thousands of dollars every year and make you 10 times that.

We have an on-demand seminar that is available for you to download and watch at your convenience, that will teach you what types of intake analysis you should be doing and the numbers you should be tracking to increase your conversion rate as well as show you a proven system for converting more leads into clients.

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now.

Defense or Offense? Best Response Strategies for Negative Online Reviews

Last Friday’s Law Blog at the Wall Street Journal zeroed in on some of the strategies attorneys are using to defend themselves against negative reviews on the popular review site Yelp.  One of these, not surprisingly, is litigation.

The article noted one Austin law firm that sued a former client for posting false and disparaging remarks on Yelp.  In Georgia earlier this year, an appeals court upheld a $405,000 verdict against a former client of a divorce attorney who had called the attorney a crook on Yelp. 

However, there are more instances of attorneys being reprimanded for inappropriate responses to negative review than there are victories for the disparaged in a court of law.  Most of the reprimands are for revealing confidential client information in responses to bad reviews

Two California bar associations -- L.A. and San Francisco -- have tackled the ethics of refuting online reviews, finding that responding to a review from a client whose matter has concluded is not barred, but that the response should be “proportionate and restrained” and not disclose any confidential client information. 

Dallas litigator John G. Browning penned a piece for the July issue of the Texas Bar Journal on this issue, calling it “a new ethical trap for lawyers.”  He recommends that attorneys follow the advice of my friend Josh King, general counsel at Avvo.com, who has counseled that attorneys can turn a negative review into a positive marketing opportunity this way:

“By posting a professional, meaningful response to negative commentary, an attorney sends a powerful message to any readers of that review. Done correctly, such a message communicates responsiveness, attention to feedback, and strength of character. The trick is to not act defensive, petty, or feel the need to directly refute what you perceive is wrong with the review.”

As Browning notes, “When responding online to a negative posting, you’re not just responding to one former client but to a reading audience of many potential clients.”

Responding positively and effectively to negative online reviews is something we discuss at our Rainmaker Retreat legal marketing workshop.  I’ve just finished a great one last weekend in San Francisco and we have other sessions coming up in August and September:

August 8-9, 2014 -- Las Vegas, NV

September 19-20, 2014 -- Miami, FL

Click here to learn more and register online for an upcoming Rainmaker Retreat, or call 888-588-5891.

Great Story by a Great Attorney!

Every so often you run across a story that really demonstrates what it means to fight for a client.  I posted this story on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, and had to share it here in its entirety -- a wonderful testament to a persistent attorney and his associate who were determined to prevail for their client.  Well done!

The Biggest Success of my Career

By Darol Tuttle, Attorney at Law, P.S. (Tacoma, WA)

I have permission to share the following story and my client, Rachel, has graciously agreed to allow me to post her photo with the story. I want to thank her for allowing me to do so because her story is important and she is likely not alone.

I met Rachel after she called my law office and asked me to help her with a claim for widow’s pension that had been denied by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. During our first meeting, she told me the following story.

Rachel was married for eleven years, happily, to an Army soldier. Her husband was deployed to Iraq but returned with a severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The condition was torturous and he was often violent. He became abusive. The once happy couple went to marriage counseling. Finally, the counselor advised Rachel, our client, to divorce her husband out of fear that the husband would kill her. She reluctantly did and obtained a Divorce Decree, i.e., a Court Order for divorce. Tragically, Rachel’s husband committed suicide soon after.

Like many Army wives, Rachel had struggled financially while her husband was alive. The couple certainly made ends meet but were not rich; no one becomes rich serving their country. After his death, Rachel was devastated from the divorce, death and financial ruin. She worked at a job she loved but it paid so little she was barely able to pay her bills.

Seeking help, she applied to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for a pension for surviving spouses of Veterans who have died from a service connected injury, illness or disability. The pension is called “Dependency and Indemnity Compensation” or commonly “Widow’s Pension.” The VA denied the claim because she was not married to the Veteran on the date of his death.

She had gone to several “Veteran Service Organizations” for help. None would help her. Finally, she contacted us through our website. I agreed to meet with her – if for no other reason than just to say how sorry I was that this had happened. Anyone who has gone through something like Rachel had, gets the courtesy of a meeting with me anytime.

Once I met Rachel, I just felt like we couldn’t just let this one go. Sometimes being a good lawyer means not taking “no” for an answer. She had loved her husband. The Army recognized her husband’s condition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a service connected injury. She divorced only because of his condition and her concerns for her safety. It just did not seem right.

I have a bright young associate attorney, Katie Bernstein . I put her on the project and asked her if there was any proverbial “wiggle room.” She reported back that the claim could be appealed if we could show that the Divorce Decree had been vacated by Superior Court. There is a civil procedure to vacate a Court Order but it is extremely difficult to obtain. Not practicing family law, I asked Rachel to obtain an attorney to vacate the Decree and, if so, come back with the Order and we could file an appeal with merit.

Rachel explains that she then called 40 family law attorneys to find help. 39 told her it was impossible. Finally, the 40th attorney, Sans Gilmore, agreed to take the case and successfully obtained a Order to Vacate within three weeks. (Kudos to Mr. Gilmore. I am proud to say that Mr. Gilmore is apparently a former JAG attorney like me, i.e., also a veteran himself.)

Astounded to have Rachel return so quickly with an Order to Vacate, I directed my staff to submit a Statement in Support of Claim to the VA on the pending case even though it was officially closed and began to prepare myself for a two to three year appeal.

I was completely astounded to get a phone call while I was leaving for Memorial Day weekend from Katie indicating that the VA had approved the claim, already deposited a check in Rachel’s bank account for back benefits in excess of $20,000 and she would now receive pension and health care benefits for the rest of her life.

Speaking with Rachel after this success, she commented “No one was willing to help me but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I also know that there are others going through this too. But, even I am in total shock. I can’t believe it because it turned out to be so simple once I had someone to help me.” Rachel now has financial security. She also noted that she can continue to work at her job that she loves. “It gives me hope for the future.”

Sometimes, I am very proud to be a lawyer.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing List

Any email marketing effort you undertake is bound to fall flat unless you have a good list and you have set it up in a way that will work best for meeting your marketing objectives.

Email marketing is highly sophisticated today, so if it’s been some time since you caught up with contemporary practices and resources, it’s time to do that.  Here are the four basic steps you need to build the foundation for your email marketing list:

1.  Select a service.  You simply cannot rely on your own email system for marketing purposes any more.  There are just too many laws on the books you could be breaking, and best practices you would also likely be violating.  Fortunately, there are very good email services for small businesses at no or low cost, including MailChimp (free for up to 2,000 email addresses), Constant Contact, iContact, Aweber and more.  Research what’s out there and choose the best one for your practice.

2.  Set up your lists.  Your email service provider will furnish you with a form you can use on your website to gather email addresses for people who want to sign up for your e-newsletter or other offers.  Now is the time for you to segment your lists by each offer as well as creating separate lists for existing clients and referral sources.  Keeping these segregated allows you to better target each audience with your messaging.  You can always opt to send to multiple lists whenever you want. 

3.  Set up autoresponders.  Everyone who responds to your e-newsletter or other offer should get an automatic response back from you thanking them for their interest.  You can then set up additional autoresponders to alert them to new offers or a breaking news article in your newsletter, send special holiday greetings, etc.

4.  Make it easy to sign up.  Place your sign-up form on all your website and blog pages in a prominent place where it is easy to locate.  Don’t ask for too much information -- a name and an email address are standard these days. 

Your email list service will keep you compliant with current email marketing laws and practices by automatically allowing people to unsubscribe and deleting their email addresses from your lists if they opt out. 

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NEW FREE REPORT:  How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

  • 10 reasons an e-newsletter is necessary to your legal marketing strategy
  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter

Click on the following link to receive your free report on How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today.

Last Call for Entries for Rainmaker of the Year Awards

Do you know an outstanding Rainmaker that deserves recognition for his or her ability to bring new clients in the door?

LawMarketing.com, The National Trial Lawyers and The Rainmaker Institute recently announced a competition to identify, recognize and honor top Rainmakers in the legal community.

The Rainmaker of the Year Awards recognizes the accomplishments of attorneys and marketing directors (employed by a law firm) who demonstrate creative marketing 
strategies and are getting real results for their law firms.

Each entry must be completed and submitted online at the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards website.  Nominees can only apply for one category; there is no fee to apply.

The 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Award recipients will be determined by a panel of judges that includes:

  • Chase Givens, National Trial Lawyers Association
  • David Ackert, President, The Ackert Advisory
  • Donald Scarinci, Founding Partner, Scarinci Hollenbeck
  • Gabriel Miller, President & General Counsel, 1800lawfirm.com
  • Harlan Schillinger, Vice President / Director of Marketing, Network Affiliates Inc.
  • James J. (“Jim”) Thomas II, Ichter Thomas ,LLC
  • Kelly Chang Rickert, Founder, Law Offices of Kelly Chang
  • Kenneth Hardison, President, PILMMA
  • Kimberly Alford Rice, Principal, KLA Marketing Associates & Founder, Women in the Law Rainmaker Forum
  • Larry Bodine, LarryBodine.com
  • Rhonda Royse, Marketing Director, Morris, Hall & Kinghorn, P.L.L.C.
  • Shareef Rabaa, Associate Attorney, Personal Injury and Malpractice
  • Stephen Fairley, CEO, The Rainmaker Institute

The 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards will be announced in September 2014.

For rules and nomination guidelines, visit the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards website.

Why a Blog Should be the Center of Your Online Marketing Strategy

Did you know that you could hang just about everything you do on the Internet (marketing-wise) to a great blog? 

A blog is the best way for lawyers to establish their credibility and build an online reputation that will help draw potential clients to you. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a blog on your website
  2. Post to it 3-5 times per week with relevant, original content
  3. Link your blog posts to your social media profiles and pages
  4. Watch your traffic and search results improve

Most attorneys find blogging to be cumbersome because of lack of time and lack of ideas for content. Just as you would plot your strategy for a brief or trial presentation, blogging is most effective for lawyers who plan ahead:

Create a calendar. You can create a separate calendar in Outlook or whatever email service you use or even print off a calendar template, whatever works for you. Take 15 minutes at a time that works best for you to devote your full attention to plotting out your blog topics.

Create a topic list. Take your top keywords and create Google alerts for each one. This will funnel news items on these keywords directly to your inbox. Bookmark leading blogs in your practice area at www.justia.com. Scour legal directory sites like JDSupra and Avvo to see what kind of content is trending for your practice area. Check out www.lawprofessorblogs.com and www.lexmonitor.com for practice area-specific blogs to mine for content ideas.

Schedule your topics.Fill your calendar with specifics for each posting day, including your topic, potential title and your keywords. Populate your calendar with special events and holidays you could use to theme relevant posts. If you’re publishing a special report or e-book, schedule posts to promote those. Leaving a few holes is fine, and will allow you to capitalize on newsworthy items – your calendar is a flexible tool, not something written in stone.

The other half of the equation is, of course, actually writing the content. There’s a free webinar tomorrow that can help you with this task -- see below for details.

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FREE Webinar TOMORROW:  How to Create New, Fresh & Relevant Blog Content

Do you struggle with creating new, fresh, relevant content for your blog?  

You know it's important to consistently post to your blog, but you don't know what to write about, how to best share your content and how you can better leverage it.

Stop struggling with creating new, fresh and relevant content.  Join Cindy Greenway, Editor-in-Chief at LawMarketing.com, on Thursday, July 10 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT for a FREE webinar and discover:

  • How to create a no-fail content marketing plan for your law practice that can run without
  • 3 tips to brainstorming key topics to write about, specifically for your target
  • 4 ways to re purpose your blog content and gain additional visibility
  • Where to find help writing blog content when you get overwhelmed
  • How to get your staff involved in supporting your content marketing strategy

Register online now for this free webinar and learn easy to implement steps that will allow you to create new content your prospects want to read.  

The Complete List of Google Ranking Factors

While most of our clients would rather watch paint dry than delve into all the information out there on Google’s algorithm, I do know a few attorneys who love to dig into the technical details to understand what will help their websites earn that all-important first page search ranking.  So this post is for them.

Digital marketing agency Single Grain and SEO company Backlinko scoured the web for mentions of Google ranking factors, then aggregated all their results in the nifty info graphic you can find here.

Just a cursory review gives you an idea of the complexity of SEO practice today. Brian Dean, Backlinko founder, provides his input on the 10 most important ranking factors:

  1. Keyword in the beginning of your title tag.
  2. Length of content (pages with more than 1500 words rank highest)
  3. Page loading speed
  4. Prominence and positioning of keywords
  5. Authority of your page (determined by links to and from)
  6. Domain authority
  7. Relevancy of your links
  8. How much time visitors spend on your page
  9. Responsive web design (optimized for mobile)
  10. Original content

Take a few minutes to read through all the ranking factors and I’ll bet you can find at least 5 things you can do right now to improve your SEO.

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NEW FREE REPORT:  How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

  • 10 reasons an e-newsletter is necessary to your legal marketing strategy
  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter

Click on the following link to receive your free report on How to Tap Into One of the Most Cost Effective Marketing Tools for Law Firms & 4 Steps to Get Started Today.

 

8 Entertaining Out-of-Office Auto Responses

Are you back at work from your 3-day holiday weekend and thinking about your upcoming vacation?  When preparing to leave on vacation, there is probably one thing you don’t think about much, and that is the automatic response you typically program into your email that lets people know you’re gone.

Most people use the standard text provided by whatever email service they’re using that goes something like this:

"I am out of the office until [enter date here]. If your email requires immediate attention, please contact [enter person's name here]. I will respond to your email on my return."

If you get one of these, you rarely ever read it.  You already know what it says.  But if you ever get one of these, they may stop you in your tracks (courtesy of a post at Hubspot.com):

1) I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position.

2) You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.

3) Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

4) I’m not in the office right now but if it’s important, tweet me using #YOUAREINTERRUPTINGMYVACATION.

5) If you’re reading this, Doc Brown was unable to make lightning strike the clock tower, and I’m stuck in 1985. I won’t be able to respond to emails or voicemail until 9ish on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, or until email is invented -- whatever comes first.

6) I am currently out of the office. I have a cell phone, but I will not be giving the number out. If you can guess the number, however, I will take your call.

7) Hi. I’m thinking about what you’ve just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.

8) I am currently out of the office and probably out-of-my-mind drunk. Enjoy your workweek.

Now I know that your concern for professional propriety will probably never lead you to create an auto reply like those above, but it wouldn’t hurt to inject a tiny bit of personality into your message.  Remember, every email you send is sending someone a message!

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FREE Webinar July 10:  How to Create New, Fresh & Relevant Blog Content

Do you struggle with creating new, fresh, relevant content for your blog?  

You know it's important to consistently post to your blog, but you don't know what to write about, how to best share your content and how you can better leverage it.

Stop struggling with creating new, fresh and relevant content.  Join Cindy Greenway, Editor-in-Chief at LawMarketing.com, on Thursday, July 10 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT for a FREE webinar and discover:

  • How to create a no-fail content marketing plan for your law practice that can run without you
  • 3 tips to brainstorming key topics to write about, specifically for your target
  • 4 ways to re purpose your blog content and gain additional visibility
  • Where to find help writing blog content when you get overwhelmed
  • How to get your staff involved in supporting your content marketing strategy

Register online now for this free webinar and learn easy to implement steps that will allow you to create  new content your prospects want to read.  

4 Simple Steps for Converting Prospects into Clients Online

Would it surprise you to learn that many law firms that excel at lead generation fail miserably when it comes to converting those leads into clients?  Unfortunately, I see this every day, which is why I focus so much on lead conversion when speaking to lawyer groups or during our monthly Rainmaker Retreat legal marketing seminars.

To be effective at lead conversion, you need to have a process in place that helps you guide prospects along the buying path.  These four simple steps can help you understand how to create a process that works for your firm:

1.  Discovery.  Before the Internet age, chances are that prospects discovered you by word-of-mouth or through an ad.  Today, they are much more likely to find you via a Google search, on social media or even through an email forwarded to them from someone they know.  It is critical that you have an SEO program in place that helps prospects find you during an online search. 

2.  Engagement.  Once you’ve been discovered online, your website and blog need to be packed with rich, relevant, engaging content that speaks directly to your prospect’s points of pain.  Content is not only text, it is also video and images that draw people in.  When Google serves up your website or blog, there’s only a headline and a short (156-word) description, so you need to pay special attention to how your search engine result page can entice readers to click on your link.  On social media, images rule so use video and dynamic photos whenever possible to push your points across.

3.  Action.  Now that you’ve got people engaged, it’s time to get them to take some action -- download a free e-book or report, subscribe to your blog or e-newsletter, or follow/connect/share/retweet on social media.  Great content is imperative to getting people to act -- you have to keep it coming.

4.  Conversion.  Once you have gotten prospects to provide you with a way to reach out to them with your marketing efforts through your calls-to-action, you need to keep building your credibility and trust through...yes, you guessed it...more and better relevant content on your blog, website, e-newsletter and social media plus an automated drip email campaign to nurture your leads until they become clients.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

How to Build an Audience for Your Blog

If you build it, will they come?  When it comes to a law firm marketing blog, the answer is, it depends on the strategies you use to attract and keep an engaged audience.

Obviously, this is not something that happens with no effort.  You need to provide value and promote your content properly.  Here are some tips on how you can build an engaged audience for your law firm blog:

Build with content.  You can’t build an audience without providing value, and a greatway to offer value to readers is to post intriguing, informative content.  Since most people scan when they read content online, your headline needs to grab attention immediately.  Use subheads and bullet points to organize the text better for online reading and always include a compelling visual.

Build with social media.  Sharing is an integral part of social media, so use this to direct traffic to your blog.  To foster your social media relationships, retweet valuable posts, make insightful comments on others’ content and share links of posts you enjoy and mention the authors.  In doing this, your social relationships and connections will grow.

Build with relationships.  To get people to stick around, ask them to subscribe to your blog either through email or an RSS feed.  Offer free extra content like case studies, free reports or an e-book that is highly relevant to your readers.  Work with other bloggers in your space to create a mutually beneficial linking relationship that will add value to what you are already producing for your readers.

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FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. In 2013, inbound marketing firm Hubspot released a report based on a marketing benchmark study of 7,000 companies and found that when it comes to blogging:

Companies that blog 15+ times per month get five times more traffic than firms with no blog.

B2B companies that blog at least twice a month get 70% more leads from their websites than firms with no blog.

Companies that increase their blogging from 3-5 times per month to 5-8 times per month almost double their leads.

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

  • 7 ways that blogging can help your law practice
  • How to create your blog strategy
  • 10 ways to build an audience for your blog
  • 4 sources of information for writing blog posts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader.

10 Insights You Want to Gain From Your Social Media Monitoring

If you are participating in social media for your law firm, you should also be monitoring whether or not your time investment is paying dividends. 

You should be creating Google Alerts or searching on Social Mention for the name of your law firm and the names of your attorneys at least once a month.  Create alerts for the areas of law you practice as well.  The social media blog site Buffer recommends you keep these 10 insights in mind when reviewing your results:

Sentiment -- Are mentions generally position, neutral or negative? 

Questions -- Look for questions people may have that you can provide the answers to in your social media posts or blogs.

Feedback -- If you see feedback on Avvo or Yelp or some other site that directly affects your firm, you need to listen and respond appropriately.

Links -- keep track of who is retweeting or reposting your content and keep track of who is linking back to you.

Pain points -- absorb what people are talking about online that is of concern to them and use that information to inform your future posts.

Content -- this is where your alerts for your practice area come in handy.  Use these to mine for topics of interest to your target market.

Trends -- recent court decisions or trending news in your practice area should be included in your posts so it is clear you are on top of all the trends.

Media -- journalists spend a lot of time online so pay attention to the areas they are covering that might provide you with an opportunity to reach out as a spokesperson on those subjects.

Influencers -- are there certain individuals who keep popping up in your feeds?  They may be someone it would be advantageous for you to know as an industry influencer.

Advocates -- monitoring is a great way to find and recognize those people who are talking positively about you online.

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July 4th Promotion: 50% Off Rainmaker In A Box, Volume 2

This 5 DVD set includes powerful marketing strategies that you can employ to quickly make it 'rain' new leads and clients. 

Click here to learn more.

Rainmaker In A Box, Volume 2 is a 5 DVD set that will teach you how top attorneys are growing their top line revenues, generating leads from social media and the internet, and increasing the quantity and quality of their referrals! 

It includes:

  • 8 Proven Steps for More & Better Referrals  
  • 7 Strategies to Recession Proof Your Law Firm 
  • 6 Keys to Unlocking the Secrets of Social Media 
  • 5 Core Components for Highly Successful Websites & Blogs

Click here to learn more.

Offer expires at Midnight ET on Sunday, July 6, 2014.

A Simple Equation for Law Firm Success

If you do the math on the amount of law firm marketing and management knowledge that's going to be revealed at PILMMA's upcoming 2014 Super Summit, you know that you can't afford to miss this event.

Oh yeah, and when you factor in PILMMA's 100% Ironclad Money Back Guarantee - you have ZERO excuse to miss it.

The Guarantee means that if you aren't blown away with what you've learned by the end of the Summit, and you feel like you didn't get your money's worth of cutting edge legal marketing and management information, then PILMMA will refund your registration fee PLUS up to $500 of documented travel expenses.

The event's in Chicago on July 17th - 19th, which is just around the corner, and I want you there!

You did the math. There's absolutely no way you (or your law firm) can lose!

You can learn more and register for the Super Summit by clicking here.

The Super Summit is going to be one for the books...education, information, motivation and fun! Keynote speaker, the Billion Dollar Man himself, Fred Catona, is going to bring down the house with the rest of this superstar lineup.

They've assembled a "Who's Who" of Legal Marketing and Management...Dale Tincher, Cindy Speaker, Larry Bodine, Tom Trush, Chris Mullins, myself and many more including PILMMA's very own Ken Hardison.

Learn the most effective advertising techniques, insider tricks to lead generation and conversion, and how to utilize the Internet to grow your practice. This year, PILMMA's also featuring breakout sessions for attorneys as well as their marketing directors.

But that's all just the tip of the iceberg.

I'll be participating at the summit, along with 30+ exhibitors and 20+ speakers - all there to help you and your law firm 'make more and run better.'

I know you're busy, so if you absolutely cannot be away from your firm, please send your office manager or marketing director. Someone from your office NEEDS to be at this event!

Register for PILMMA's Super Summit today before all of the seats are gone!

Learn more about the Super Summit then sign up here.

Tips for Growing Your Fan Base on Facebook

One of the biggest challenges for anyone seeking to have a large social media following is growing your audience to a healthy level.  Sometimes it almost feels like we’re back in grade school, looking for other kids to like us! 

Inbound marketing firm Hubspot has a number of informative presentations on Facebook marketing, but this quick slide guide with five tips on how to grow your audience is particularly useful since it visually walks you through the steps you need to take on your Facebook page to reap the rewards from each tip:

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Who Were The Top Rainmakers This Past Year?

LawMarketing.com, The National Trial Lawyers and The Rainmaker Institute recently announced a competition to identify, recognize and honor top Rainmakers in the legal community.

The Rainmaker of the Year Awards recognizes the accomplishments of attorneys and marketing directors (employed by a law firm) who:

  • Have applied themselves
  • Demonstrate creative marketing 
strategies
  • Are getting real results for
their law firm

Nominations are being accepted until June 30th from lawyers, law firms, marketing specialists, recruiters and advisors in various categories.

There is no fee to enter.

Winners will be announced in September 2014. Click here to learn more and to submit your nomination. 

5 Tips to Grow Your Email Marketing List

With all the current marketing focus on content marketing and social media, email marketing is sometimes relegated to Rodney Dangerfield status -- it gets no respect.  Yet study after study continues to show that email marketing continues to rank as the top method for businesses to get qualified leads, so full attention should be paid to making email marketing pay off for your firm.

One of the main questions I routinely get asked from attorneys about email marketing is how to build a good list.  This is no “one and done” proposition -- you should always be gathering email addresses and refining your list so your prospects are truly those who are qualified to purchase from you.

Here are 5 tips for growing your email marketing list:

Provide valuable content.  I have written ad nauseum about the importance of offering visitors to your website or your blog free reports or case studies that they can download for free in exchange for giving you an email address.  Valuable downloads will do more than just about anything to add good names to your list.

Easy does it.  Too often, important calls-to-action are buried at the end of a newsletter or in an inconspicuous place on a website, making it more difficult for readers to find and respond.  Don’t turn your prospects into pigs hunting a truffle -- make it easy for them to find your offer!

Try, try again.  If your calls-to-action or offers are not getting the response you expect, try spelling it out for them so they know what they’re getting.  If that doesn’t work, then try something different because whatever you are offering is clearly not finding a great reception in the marketplace. 

Spread the love.  Promote your content and offers on all your social media networks and be sure to share with your LinkedIn groups as well. 

Scour the statistics.  If you have a monthly e-newsletter (if you don’t, you should!), be sure you scour the statistics for any revealing information that can point to why you might not be getting the results you want.  Even the color you use for your call-to-action button can yield a much different result, so test different schemes.  Be sure you are also checking your website statistics as well so you can beef up those underperforming pages.

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Free Access to Online Conference on The Art of Being Solo

Sarah Poriss, a solo attorney and host of the free online conference The Art of Being Solo: How to Create a Solo Law Practice You Love and Live the Life You Want, recently interviewed me on developing and nurturing leads as part of her ongoing online series.

Sarah has gathered a group of legal marketing and practice development experts for her series, which is a great resource for solo practitioners. Access to these interviews is free; you just need to register online and Sarah will email you links to these informative interviews that will help you develop and grow your solo legal practice. 

ABA Gives OK to Reviewing Jurors' Internet Presence

In case you missed it, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued a formal opinion recently on attorney review of jurors’ Internet presence, concluding that:

A lawyer may “passively” review a potential juror or juror’s public Internet presence, but cannot communicate with a juror.  Requesting access to a private area on a juror’s social media network is prohibited.

If a juror or potential juror becomes aware that an attorney is reviewing his or her Internet presence because they receive an automatic notification from their social network, this does not constitute a communication from the attorney in violation of Rule 3.5(b).

If, in reviewing a juror’s or potential juror’s Internet presence, an attorney discovers evidence of criminal or fraudulent misconduct relating to the case, the attorney must take remedial measures including, if necessary, disclosure to the court.

A PDF of the opinion can be downloaded here.

Free Online Conference on The Art of Being Solo

Sarah Poriss, a solo attorney and host of the free online conference The Art of Being Solo: How to Create a Solo Law Practice You Love and Live the Life You Want, recently interviewed me on developing and nurturing leads.

Sarah has gathered a group of legal marketing and practice development experts for her series, which is a great resource for solo practitioners.  I was honored to be a part of this.  It’s a great way to give back to the legal community.

Access to these interviews is free; you just need to register online and Sarah will email you links to these informative interviews that will help you develop and grow your solo legal practice. 

The Top 5 Things People Need to Know to Send You Great Referrals

If you’re already getting more referrals than you can handle, you have obviously done a great job in educating people about what makes someone an ideal client for your law firm.

If you want more referrals, then you need to kick the education process into high gear.  Here are the top five things that people need to know about your firm in order to send you great referrals:

1. What your perfect client looks like. You need to answer this question very specifically. The clearer your description, the easier people can understand the types of people you can help and send them your way.


2. Why someone should hire you. Be clear about your unique competitive advantage. Be sure your referral sources understand the precise reasons you outshine your competitors and how you differ from other attorneys in the same field.


3. What problems you solve. By helping your referral source understand the kinds of problems you solve for clients, they will know what to listen for in daily conversations and be able to recommend you to someone who mentions having the kind of problem you solve.


4. How you follow up. Your referral source needs to know you will follow up promptly and professionally with the people they send your way.
 Tell them your process.

5. Why referrals are important to you. Let your source know that you rely on referrals as a way to build your business and how much you will appreciate their referring people to you. And finally, always remember to thank them and let them know that their referral is meaningful to you and your firm.

You cannot assume that the people you are counting on as referral sources know everything you know about your firm and why you are the best fit for someone they know.  And once you educate them, keep doing it in informal ways that help keep you in their minds as someone who can solve specific problems for their friends, family members or peers.

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FREE Report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make it a priority to cultivate more referral sources.  Cultivating referral sources is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

This new free report by national law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley can get you started.

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

  • How to identify the referral sources who have relationships with the people you want as clients.
  • How to start the relationship
  • How to build a referral network
  • How to make your referral network successful
  • …And much, much more!

Click on this link now to get your free report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources.

Have You Made Your Plan for the PILMMA Super Summit in Chicago?

One of my favorite legal marketing conferences is happening in Chicago on July 17-19: the PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyer Marketing and Management Association) Super Summit.  PILMMA president Ken Hardison has put together another fantastic program that is simply stuffed with marketing knowledge that attorneys need to have to generate and convert leads and run a profitable law firm.

I will be making a presentation at the PILMMA Super Summit on the 30 Ways To Double Your Intake & Conversion in 90 Days or Less on July 18, and will be joined by 14 other nationally renowned speakers during the conference.  Here are just a few of the scintillating topics that will also be covered:

  • Proven Low Cost Grass Roots Marketing Tactics
  • Keep More of What You Earn: Best Practices in Corporate Structure, Tax Reduction and Benefit Planning for Law Practices
  • 7 Deadly Sins of Intake To Avoid
  • Turning Website Visitors Into Clients
  • 7 Educational Marketing Tactics Guaranteed to Double Your Intakes
  • Social Medial Referral Magnets

PILMMA members and non-members can register online -- simply visit the 2014 PILMMA Super Summit website.  The host hotel is the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and I hear that the discounted block of rooms is almost gone, so make your reservation now.

As Ronda Holloway of Ward Black Law in Greensboro, NC said after last year’s conference: “If you do not attend PILMMA, then you do not care about your business, you’re not engaged in your profession and you’re not curious about what your competitors are doing – and you’re making a big mistake.”

7 Steps to Produce Irresistible Blog Posts

With so much online content competing for your target market’s attention these days, how can you ensure your blog posts are something an audience wants to return to again and again, making it to their “must read” list?  Here are 7 steps:

Take a stand.  It’s human nature to follow the leader, and a leader always has a strong opinion on the things that matter.  Don’t be afraid to let your readers know what you stand for -- it will give your blog a refreshing voice and will attract the people you want to do business with in the first place.

Add value.  It’s always tempting to do a “me too” post, especially when you’re in a time crunch.  However, if you’re not adding something of value to someone’s knowledge base with every post, you are wasting your time and theirs.

Give it away.  Many attorneys are concerned about revealing too much about their area of practice, thinking that if they “give it away” they won’t be hired.  But you don’t want any do-it-yourselfers anyway -- they make horrible clients.  And most people will be pulled in and impressed by the depth of your knowledge.  Plus, giving a free report in exchange for an email address is a superb way to get leads.

Leverage experts you know.  Including quotes and even allowing expert guest bloggers to add to your content will transfer their expertise to you in the minds of your readers.

Keep it simple.  Unless you’re writing specifically for other lawyers, legal jargon is a big turnoff for most readers.  Communicate simply and concisely.

Use case studies.  Everyone likes to read a story with a hero, a villain and a good ending.  Use case studies (with the real names omitted) to illustrate your points and demonstrate that you have an in-depth knowledge of and experience with your topic.

Keep up the good work.  The most-followed blogs are those that post regularly -- every day if possible is the new standard. 

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

How to Get More Engagement on LinkedIn

According to the newly released 2014 Professional Content Consumption Report by LinkedIn, the consumption of professional content is increasing dramatically on the site, which is good news for those of us who are taking the time to populate our profiles, company pages and groups with good, relevant content.

Of the 2,701 LinkedIn members surveyed, LinkedIn was the top source for professional content and the top benefits they receive from consuming professional content on LinkedIn were as follows:

So if you are looking for ways to increase your engagement on LinkedIn, the signs clearly point to providing timely and relevant content about the emerging trends in your area of practice, including your viewpoint on recent decisions, legislation impacting your target market or case studies of interest to prospects and clients.

In fact, the report notes that the most popular content types include:

  1. New research (77%)
  2. Breaking industry news (68%)
  3. Career advice (57%)
  4. Case studies (55%)

If you keep these four content types in mind while sharing content on LinkedIn, you should see a correlating increase in engagement from your groups and connections.

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NEW Free Report: How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn

With over 300 million members in over 200 countries (100+ million in the U.S.), LinkedIn has quickly become THE ‘go to’ business-to-business directory and the most popular social networking platform dedicated to professional business development.

To ignore it is the proverbial equivalent of sticking your head in the sand.

Learning how to use LinkedIn to your biggest advantage takes time and effort, but it is time well spent.

If you are new to LinkedIn, it can be confusing, much like any new software that you need to learn to grow your business.

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

  • What LinkedIn can help you accomplish
  • Valuable LinkedIn features that can increase the power of your network
  • Smart ways top attorneys use LinkedIn
  • What your profile needs in order to be effective
  • How to make people want to know more about you
  • And much, much more!

Click here now to receive your free report on How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn.

Do You Know a Great Rainmaker? Are You That Person?

Do you know a great Rainmaker?  Or believe that you are one?  Then I am encouraging you to enter that person – or yourself – in the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards, a new award program that honors and recognizes top Rainmakers in the legal community and is sponsored by LawMarketing.com, The National Trial Lawyers and The Rainmaker Institute®, are now being accepted through June 30, 2014.

Entries are being solicited from lawyers, law firms, marketing specialists, recruiters and advisors in the following six categories: 

  • Small Law Firm – 1 to 10 lawyers
  • Medium Law Firm – 11-25 lawyers
  • Large Law Firm – 26+ lawyers
  • Marketing Director – 1 to 25 law firm
  • Marketing Director – 26+ law firm
  • Female Lawyer

Each entry must be completed and submitted online at the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards website.  Nominees can only apply for one category; there is no fee to apply.

The 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards will be announced in September 2014.

For rules and nomination guidelines, visit the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards website.

If you don’t feel you qualify as a Rainmaker, would you consider committing two days of your time and a little money to attaining your goals?

The 2-day Rainmaker Retreat law firm marketing boot camp will teach you:

Ways to reduce your marketing expenses while increasing your return on investment  


How to implement low cost marketing tools and systems that let you control your practice - instead of your practice controlling you!  


The #1 reason why attorneys do not receive more referrals and how to overcome it  


Why most of your advertising does not work and how to fix it  


Specific strategies highly successful attorneys are using right now on the internet and with social media to attract hundreds of people to their websites and blogs every month, convert them to paying clients, and keep them coming back and sending a steady stream of referrals!  


Demystifying social media strategies - what works and what doesn't and how to stop wasting your time and start leveraging your online connections

Here are the dates for our next two Rainmaker Retreats:

  • July 11-12, 2014 – San Francisco, CA
  • Sept. 19-20, 2014 – Miami, FL

Click here to register online or call 888-588-5891. 

How to Stay on the Right Side of Copyright Law When Using Images for Your Blog or Website

Images are a must these days for populating blogs and websites.  Not only do they attract attention for your content, they also help you rank better in search. 

Plus, humans are visual beings, so since you are writing for people, choosing a killer image to illustrate your words will help your content get enjoyed and shared.

This infographic from WhoIsHostingThis.com provides all the information you need to know when it comes to choosing images that won’t infringe on an existing copyright and what kind of licenses you should be aware of when choosing an image for your posts:

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FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. In 2013, inbound marketing firm Hubspot released a report based on a marketing benchmark study of 7,000 companies and found that when it comes to blogging:

Companies that blog 15+ times per month get five times more traffic than firms with no blog.

B2B companies that blog at least twice a month get 70% more leads from their websites than firms with no blog.

Companies that increase their blogging from 3-5 times per month to 5-8 times per month almost double their leads.

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

  • 7 ways that blogging can help your law practice
  • How to create your blog strategy
  • 10 ways to build an audience for your blog
  • 4 sources of information for writing blog posts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader.

How It Helps Law Firms to be Human Online

Probably one of the most difficult tasks we face at The Rainmaker Institute is convincing lawyers not to be so...how shall I put this?...”lawyerly” when it comes to marketing their law firms. 

The tendency toward formality is well ingrained in the legal profession, and it can take one whale of an effort to turn that ship around when it’s time to engage with prospects online.  But turn it you must, because you sell legal services to humans, you market to humans and talking to them like a textbook simply does not work.

Here’s what you can gain by being human online:

An emotional connection.  People buy emotionally and justify logically.  You will simply bond better with your prospects online if you expose your real self and present the human side of your legal brand.  By touching on emotions, you engender feelings of loyalty and empathy with your prospects – a path that leads to trust.

Thought leadership.  When you use social media, including blogs, in a way that fosters a back-and-forth conversation and truly engages your audience, you build your reputation as an expert in your legal niche and build trust with your target market.

A wider audience.  You want your good content to be shared so you can build a broader audience for your message.  Once your readers start to follow and know you, the shares, likes and retweets follow, building a broader audience for your marketing message.

Prospective clients value authenticity, so connecting with them in a way that truly “lets them in” while helping them solve their problems is a proven way to generate new business for your firm.

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FREE Online Seminar:  Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Join Stephen Fairley for a free 60-minute legal marketing webinar: Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, where you will learn...

  • A proven legal marketing system that has helped 10,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients.
  • Step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.
  • Effective strategies to win clients in today's hyper-competitive online focused marketplace.
  • Creating a marketing plan for your law firm is the first step in building a foundation for a profitable future.  During this complimentary webinar, learn:
  • How to target market to get your ideal client 
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
 
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
 
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
 
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
 
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
 
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
 
  • What is critical to have in place for today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

Stephen will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

There are several sessions of this free webinar scheduled; you can choose what works best for you from the drop-down menu when you click on the following link to register online for our FREE Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan online seminar.

Survey Results on How Clients Use Online Legal Reviews

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned a new study just out on How Clients Use Online Legal Reviews, which showed the popularity of Yelp with consumers looking for a lawyer.

I also explained the reasons why Yelp is not a site I would recommend that attorneys use to actively market their practices these days.

Now a little deeper dive into that survey:

Austin-based Software Advice, a consultancy that helps businesses (including law firms) find the right software solutions, recently surveyed a random sample of U.S. adults on which legal review websites they use to look for an attorney and how they use them.  The survey garnered a total of 3,465 responses to the following questions:

1.  Most trusted website for attorney reviews?

  • 61% said Yelp!
  • 20% said Martindale-Hubbell
  • 10% said Avvo
  • 9 % said Super Lawyers

2.  Top reasons consumers use online reviews:

  • 83% said to “find a new lawyer”
  • 9% said to “evaluate existing attorney”
  • 8% said to “validate tentative choice”

3.  Top information consumers look for in online reviews? (Listed in order of importance)

  1. Quality of service
  2. Overall ratings
  3. Demographics
  4. Scheduling/staff
  5. Photos

4.  Most important information about quality of service? (Listed in order of importance)

  1. How well options are explained
  2. Win/loss record
  3. Attorney professionalism
  4. Attorney listening skills
  5. How quickly cases are settled

5.  Most important demographic information? (Listed in order of importance)

  1. Years of experience
  2. Certifications
  3. Education
  4. Age
  5. Gender

6.  Most important administrative information? (Listed in order of importance)

  1. Responsiveness
  2. Resolving payment issues
  3. Staff friendliness
  4. Scheduling ease
  5. Type of office

7.  Willingness to commute for better reviews?

  • Yes:  70%
  • No:  30%

8.  Percentage of respondents using online legal reviews?

  • Use online legal reviews:  57%
  • Don’t use online reviews:  43%

In addition, the survey found that middle-income, urban/suburban consumers were more likely to use online legal reviews, with the highest use occurring in the 25-34 year-old age bracket.

While I would not take this survey as gospel, I do look at it for trends in the kind of information consumers are looking for when searching online for an attorney. 

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REMINDER:  Register for Tomorrow’s FREE Webinar on How to Develop Zealot Clients from Hello!

Join us on Wednesday, June 11, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for a free one-hour webinar where you will learn:

  • How to quickly cement your relationship with new prospects
  • How to control calls and advance the intake without being overbearing or pushy
  • How to gain commitment from callers and secure the intake
  • A simple naval tactic from the 1800′s and why it is vital to the success of your intake
  • The truth about compassion fatigue and how it will impact your conversion
  • Simple techniques to improve your tone, voice, inflection and delivery while you’re on the phone with prospective clients
  • A linked sequential process to maximize every inquiry opportunity
  • And much more!

Who should attend?  Intake specialists, receptionists, client liaisons, investigators, attorneys and managing partners who want to learn how to drastically improve conversion through intake.

Register online now for this free one-hour webinar on Wednesday, June 11 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

If the time doesn’t work for you, go ahead and register anyway.  We’ll send you a recording of the webinar to watch at your convenience.

Yelp Scandal A Red Flag for Online Reviews

According to the Wall Street Journal, the FTC has received more than 2,000 complaints regarding the online consumer review site Yelp since 2008, with businesses alleging that they have been damaged by fake reviews and that Yelp allegedly “blackmails” businesses by offering to remove negative reviews in exchange for placing ads on the site.

In addition, a November 2013 report by Harvard Business School professor Michael Luca found that fake reviews on Yelp have risen dramatically, estimating that 20% of Yelp reviews in 2013 were fakes. 

Yet, according to a new study from Software Advice on How Clients Use Online Legal Reviews, Yelp is by far the most used and most trusted legal review website.  The study found that 58% of respondents said it was the first place they turn for legal reviews, followed by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell and Avvo.

I have had dozens of attorneys ask me about the benefit of posting reviews on Yelp. Quite honestly, I cannot recommend it at this time. I have had far too many attorneys tell me how they received their first negative review on Yelp followed quickly by a sales call asking if they wanted to advertise.

If they advertised often the negative review would "disappear" and as soon as they stopped paying for advertising their positive reviews suddenly disappeared and the negative one reappeared. If I had only heard this story once or twice I could ignore it, but at this point, I've heard similar experiences dozens of times.

I hope at some point in the future I can reverse my recommendation, but for now I think it's best to stay away from actively promoting your firm on Yelp.  If your clients want to give you a review, I would steer them to one of the other trusted sites at this time.

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FREE June 11 Webinar: How to Develop Zealot Clients From Hello!

Developing “zealot” clients – those who won’t be pried from your firm for love and money and who are the first to refer your services to others – begins at “hello.” 

Now you can learn techniques and strategies to quickly build those important, lasting relationships with clients by attending this free June 11 webinar – How to Develop Zealot Clients From Hello – brought to you by Intake Academy™ and The Rainmaker Institute®.

Join us on Wednesday, June 11, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for this free one-hour webinar where you will learn:

  • How to quickly cement your relationship with new prospects
  • How to control calls and advance the intake without being overbearing or pushy
  • How to gain commitment from callers and secure the intake
  • A simple naval tactic from the 1800′s and why it is vital to the success of your intake
  • The truth about compassion fatigue and how it will impact your conversion
  • Simple techniques to improve your tone, voice, inflection and delivery while you’re on the phone with prospective clients
  • A linked sequential process to maximize every inquiry opportunity
  • And much more!

Intake Academy™ is a total business solution that transforms how law firms and call centers train, coach, hire and retain intake specialists, and how front line staff handles legal intakes.  Together, we will teach you more effective intake conversion strategies that will help you dramatically increase your lead conversion rates.

Who should attend?  Intake specialists, receptionists, client liaisons, investigators, attorneys and managing partners who want to learn how to drastically improve conversion through intake.

Register online now for this free one-hour webinar on Wednesday, June 11 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

If the time doesn’t work for you, go ahead and register anyway.  We’ll send you a recording of the webinar to watch at your convenience.

A Sexy Way to Sell Legal Services

Are you now reading this post because I used the word “sexy” in the headline?  No matter, because the fact is that you are now going to learn about how something you do every day is sexy enough to help you sell your legal services to new clients.

That sexy thing is education. 

My post today was inspiring by another one by John Jantsch over at his Duct Tape Marketing blog, where he talks about the importance of education in building trust.  And once you build that trust, it is easier for you to sell your services, even at a premium.

As John so rightly notes:

Some people may actually take the information you share and figure they can take the DIY path, but I’m guessing those folks aren’t your ideal prospect anyway.

What I know is that some other people will conclude that you actually do know what you’re talking about and further, what you just explained is a whole lot harder than they imagined and would you please now charge them a premium to do it for them.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is sexy!

There are many ways you can employ education to build trust with prospects, including:

Your blog – create valuable content about the problems facing your prospects and then tell them how to solve those problems (beyond “see an attorney”).

Speaking engagements – you want to get before groups of prospects, not just other attorneys.  You can either host informative seminars yourself – doing it online is easy these days – or team with a good referral partner who serves the same target market you do and have them host a seminar with you as the guest speaker.

Free reports – trade your knowledge for a prospect’s email address so you can continue the relationship.  Populating your website and blog with offers for a free report that directly addresses your prospect’s problems helps you build your email list while you build trust.

Your knowledge is an important tool in your legal marketing arsenal that is too often overlooked, but properly deployed, it can gain you a greater number of qualified leads who are predisposed to do business with you.

3 Simple Answers That Will Help You Grow Your Law Firm

We held another Rainmaker Retreat session in Las Vegas recently, and I wanted to share with you three simple answers to questions our attendees had that can help you all grow your law firm this year:

1.  I’m a great attorney, so why do I need to use social media to showcase it?

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just be a “great attorney” anymore because there are many less qualified attorneys out there you are competing with who understand how to market effectively and they are stealing your business. So unless you want to relegate your potential clients to “less qualified” attorneys, it’s your obligation to market effectively so these individuals hire you and not some second-rate attorney.

2.  I don’t have a big database; what’s a good place to start in order to grow it?

Actually, you may have more contacts than you think. Not only do you have all the contact information of the people you have done business with, you can look at your email contact addresses and also get the email addresses of those individuals you are connected with in LinkedIn. Right off the bat this will give you a bigger database then you thought.

You can also begin to speak, attend networking events or create Free Reports that motivate people to give you their contact information in order to get valuable information back.

Lastly, any time you meet someone or someone calls your office, get their contact information so you can begin to communicate with them on a regular basis in a meaningful way.

3.  I’m told frequently “you cost too much.” How can I handle this?

That’s an objection many attorneys get. There are several ways to effectively handle this. But one of my favorite is as follows.

Prospect: “you cost too much”

Attorney: “I appreciate where you are coming from. Let me ask you this, when you say that,  are you talking about the cost or the price?

The individual will give you a blank look because as far as they are concerned those two things are the same.

You then say:

“Let me explain.  The cost to have me handle your divorce and custody case is $25,000, but the price of not paying that amount is potentially losing custody of your child, having to pay more in alimony than you should, and having to suffer through endless court battles for months in order to reach a resolution.

I’m not the cheapest attorney out there and if that is what you are looking for, I have an attorney I can refer you to.

But I am the attorney who will handle this situation in a way where you get the best possible outcome with the least amount of stress and unnecessary emotional turmoil.

So let me ask you now, is cost really the most important factor in your decision?”

If they answer yes, that’s fine because you don’t really want to do business with them anyway!

We have a spot for you at one of our next Rainmaker Retreats:

September 19-20, 2014 -- Miami, FL

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

You can register online for these sessions or by calling 888-588-5891.  National Trial Lawyers members receive a special discount on all Rainmaker Retreats.  Please contact National Trial Lawyers at 866-665-2852 to receive the discount code.

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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 attend this webinar.

Join us and 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. 

 

LawMarketing.com Announces Call for Entries for 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards

Nominations for recipients of the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards, a new award program that honors and recognizes top Rainmakers in the legal community and is sponsored by LawMarketing.com, The National Trial Lawyers and The Rainmaker Institute®, are now being accepted through June 30, 2014.

“The 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards recognize the accomplishments of attorneys and law firm marketing directors who have applied themselves, demonstrate creative marketing strategies, and are getting real results for their law firm,” said Cindy Greenway, Editor-in-Chief of LawMarketing.com.

Entries are being solicited from lawyers, law firms, marketing specialists, recruiters and advisors in the following six categories: 

  • Small Law Firm – 1 to 10 lawyers
  • Medium Law Firm – 11-25 lawyers
  • Large Law Firm – 26+ lawyers
  • Marketing Director – 1 to 25 law firm
  • Marketing Director – 26+ law firm
  • Female Lawyer

Each entry must be completed and submitted online at the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards website.  Nominees can only apply for one category; there is no fee to apply.

The 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Award recipients will be determined by a panel of judges that includes:

  • Chase Givens, National Trial Lawyers Association
  • David Ackert, President, The Ackert Advisory
  • Donald Scarinci, Founding Partner, Scarinci Hollenbeck
  • Gabriel Miller, President & General Counsel, 1800lawfirm.com
  • Harlan Schillinger, Vice President / Director of Marketing, Network Affiliates Inc.
  • James J. (“Jim”) Thomas II, Ichter Thomas ,LLC
  • Kelly Chang Rickert, Founder, Law Offices of Kelly Chang
  • Kenneth Hardison, President, PILMMA
  • Kimberly Alford Rice, Principal, KLA Marketing Associates & Founder, Women in the Law Rainmaker Forum
  • Larry Bodine, LarryBodine.com
  • Rhonda Royse, Marketing Director, Morris, Hall & Kinghorn, P.L.L.C.
  • Shareef Rabaa, Associate Attorney, Personal Injury and Malpractice
  • Stephen Fairley, CEO, The Rainmaker Institute

The 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards will be announced in September 2014.

For rules and nomination guidelines, visit the 2014 Rainmaker of the Year Awards website.

Tips for Getting Your Blog Post Shared

 Probably the second most frequent question we are asked when it comes to blogging (the first being, how do I find the time?) is how to get an audience for your legal blog. 

Of course, no one wants to spend precious time crafting great content only to put it out there and have it go nowhere. 

To be successful in having your blog read and shared, there are some tricks of the trade that RazorSocial.com and Canva.com have teamed together to share in a step-by-step infographic that will show you what you need to do to get your blog posts shared again and again.

A Lesson on How to Connect With Your Clients

Longtime legal marketer Larry Bodine (LarryBodine.com) sat down with LawMarketing.com Editor-in-Chief Cindy Greenway earlier this week to talk about corporate journalism, something he knows a lot about.

“Corporate journalism” is the new buzz phrase that was touted in the recent 2014 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey, conducted by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and Zeughauser Group, as the best way for attorneys to connect with clients.

There is nothing magic about corporate journalism – it’s applying journalistic principles to your writing, on your website and your blog.  It involves focusing on your target audience and telling a story in an engaging way that relates the facts and also demonstrates your complete understanding of your subject matter by the way you tell your story.

Larry gives some good tips on how to put on the journalist’s hat when it comes to developing your content:

To be a good storyteller, you need to hone in on the important details that bring life to your words and write in a way that makes your point easy to understand for your audience.  The law can be a dry thing, but at the heart of it is human emotion and conflict that can be mined for content gold.

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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 in our 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days series: The 4th Key-Position Yourself as A Specialist, Not a Generalist.

Latest Google Update Reiterates Focus on Quality Content

Last week, Google rolled out its Panda 4.0 update, aimed at penalizing websites with low quality or copied content that its original Panda release zeroed in on in 2011. 

Google believes that poor quality content is bad for users, so it seeks to find those sites that are written poorly, plagiarized from other sites or stuffed with keywords and other nonsense that provides no benefit to users.  It sees this as spam, and tries to eliminate it by making sure the offending sites don’t rank high in search results.

The best way to ensure your site is not affected is, of course, to fill it with high quality content – words, pictures, videos – that people who are searching for the kind of information you provide will find useful.  Doing this will help your website or blog rise in the rankings, so it is viewed by Google as an authority on the area of law you practice.

If you haven’t looked at your site recently, now is the time to do it.  Get rid of old, outdated content or low-quality stuff that can be found elsewhere.  Find your authentic voice and use it.  If, as you are writing, you keep in mind that people like to do business with people they know, like and trust, this will help you find the right note to strike with your target audience.

Frankly, all SEO benefits aside, supplying great content that establishes you as a trusted, knowledgeable source with the people you want to do business with only makes good sense.  With so many avenues available for attorneys to develop great content – either internally or by outsourcing to a credible copywriter – there is simply no excuse for not having superior content on your website and a professional blog that keeps your content fresh and inviting.

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Sign Up Now for a Free Secret Shopper Call for Your Firm!

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?

For the first 100 individuals who sign up, we will secret shop your firm for free and critique you on the 5 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.

After the review call, you will also receive a free training DVD on best practices for intake and lead conversion for law firms.

This service is valued at $250 and can be yours for free!

Be sure to act fast as we are only offering this to the first 100 individuals who register for this free Secret Shopper Call offer.

2014 Law Firms in Transition Survey: A Memorial for BigLaw?

Consulting firm Altman Weil just released its sixth annual Law Firms in Transition Survey that shows just how dramatically the ground has shifted under the feet of BigLaw – a shift that threatens to bury large firms unless they start taking some action to respond to what has become a permanent change in the market.

The survey, conducted in March and April of this year, includes responses from managing partners and heads of 304 U.S. law firms with more than 50 attorneys; 73% of the firms included in the survey had fewer than 100 attorneys.

This chart provides a telling look at the trends shaping the legal industry today – many of which were thought to be just trends five years ago but have instead morphed into permanent change:

The survey serves up some eye-popping data:

The permanent change has been driven by clients and competitors who have brought on a paradigm shift in how legal services are bought, paid for and delivered.  Destiny control is no longer in the hands of law firms (if it ever really was).

Alternative fee arrangements are now the rule, not the exception, with 92% of firms surveyed saying they are using some non-hourly billing.  However, only 16% say they’ve been able to make AFAs more profitable than hourly fees.

BigLaw firm management is finding it difficult to react to changing market conditions because firm partners are often unaware that the market has shifted or simply don’t want to do things differently.

Consequently, less than half of the law firms surveyed are responding to the pressures of the current market by significantly changing elements of their traditional business model.  (Opportunity alert for small firms!)

Less than one-third of the law firms surveyed have taken on the challenging task of re-engineering work processes.

According to Altman Weil, “smaller firms should take note. Regardless of the reasons, once one segment of the market starts moving toward a new more client-focused model and resetting market expectations, other firms will need to fall in step or they will inevitably fall behind.”

You can download a full copy of the 2014 Law Firms in Transition Survey here.

Meeting the market as it really is – and not how you wish it to be – with the right tools and technologies to succeed in 21st century legal service delivery is something we teach at every Rainmaker Retreat. 

Our next session is next week in Las Vegas on May 30-31, 2014.  You can still register online for this session or by calling 888-588-5891.  We also have a spot for you at these upcoming Rainmaker Retreats:

July 11-12, 2014 – San Francisco, CA

Sept. 19-20, 2014 – Miami, FL

National Trial Lawyers members receive a special discount on all Rainmaker Retreats.  Please contact National Trial Lawyers at 866-665-2852 to receive the discount code.

Want Proof That LinkedIn Works for Lawyers? Here It Is.

A story on Forbes.com earlier this week caught my eye because of two words: LinkedIn and Lawyer.  It’s a piece about a northern California attorney who actually got some solid business from LinkedIn and you can read it in its entirety here.

The story will resonate for so many attorneys who struggle with the Catch-22 of being too busy with work to prospect for new business, but when the caseload gets light, they have to scramble for new business to fill the void, only to find their best referral sources have withered on the vine.

Sound familiar?

The California attorney is a friend of the Forbes article author, Kern Lewis, who writes about marketing for entrepreneurs.  Lewis urged his lawyer buddy to consider using social media as a way to keep his referral sources warm.

The attorney, a commercial litigator, had time to devote to one network and wisely choose LinkedIn.  He spent about an hour cleaning up his profile on the site and then spent another three hours searching the site for people he knew professionally and requesting a connection.

He then spent about 30 minutes a week on building his contact network and sharing his own content and commentary in the professional groups he joined.

Within two weeks, he had referrals worth $12,000 in billable hours, an 8-10x ROI on the time he dedicated to networking on LinkedIn.  Most of his connection invitations were happily received and responded to, and several had business they could place with him right away.

This attorney has found the real gold in using LinkedIn effectively as a launch pad for enhanced networking.  Some of his old connections are now current lunch partners – a highly successful strategy we teach in one of our on-demand online seminars, From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources Using LinkedIn.

He finds LinkedIn an easy way to stay on top of what is happening with out-of-state clients and referral sources, and does most of his activity on the site during commercial breaks in whatever game he is watching each evening or on the weekends. 

The Internet has changed the way we do everything, including networking.  While participating in events that will have a good number of prospects and/or referral sources in attendance is still important, it is becoming equally important to move your networking online to touch those whose hands you can’t physically shake due to distance or schedules.

Facebook for Attorneys: How to Double Your Likes in No Time

Yesterday’s post detailed how business attorneys can double their connections on LinkedIn, but for consumer attorneys the most likely social media platform for your attention is Facebook.

And just like all social media networks, 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.  The infographic below from WhoIsHostingThis.com gives you specific steps you can take to double your Facebook “likes” in just five minutes a day:

LinkedIn for Lawyers: How to Double Your Connections in No Time

If you practice business law of any type, then you should know by now that you need to be on LinkedIn.

But just like being on a treadmill without turning on the power won’t budge your waistline, “being on” LinkedIn is not enough to get you any benefit from this fantastic social media platform for business.  You have to be active!

The infographic below from WhoIsHostingThis.com shows you how you can double your LinkedIn connections in just five minutes a day.  Specifically, you need to:

  • Send an invitation to at least one new connection a day
  • Participate in relevant LinkedIn discussion groups at least once a week
  • Ask people you know to endorse you
  • Share your blog content, an article, a video or a presentation
  • Add a link to your LinkedIn profile to your email signature and post on your social media profiles
  • Keep your profile updated

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NEW Free Report: How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn

With over 238 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn has quickly become THE ‘go to’ business-to-business directory and the most popular social networking platform dedicated to professional business development.

To ignore it is the proverbial equivalent of sticking your head in the sand.

Learning how to use LinkedIn to your biggest advantage takes time and effort, but it is time well spent.

If you are new to LinkedIn, it can be confusing, much like any new software that you need to learn to grow your business.

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

  • What LinkedIn can help you accomplish
  • Valuable LinkedIn features that can increase the power of your network
  • Smart ways top attorneys use LinkedIn
  • What your profile needs in order to be effective
  • How to make people want to know more about you
  • And much, much more!

Click here now to receive your free report on How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn.

The 3 Magic Words B2B Prospects Want to Hear

Cindy Greenway, editor-in-chief at LawMarketing.com, recently interviewed my friend Larry Bodine, a long-time experienced legal marketer, about the three magic words that business clients want to hear, and why attorneys should use them in every marketing message they put out there.

Larry studied the recent 2014 Report on the State of the Legal Market by the Georgetown Law Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor and says those three magic words are:

  1. Efficiency
  2. Predictability
  3. Cost Effectiveness

Listen as Larry explains why using these three words will help you succeed with business clients:

Too often, attorneys get caught up in speaking their own language instead of focusing on what is important to clients and prospects.  Not only should you speak a familiar language with clients, you should also use words your clients actually want to hear.

As Larry explains, these are some good examples of what you can say that drives home those three magic words.

Efficiency

“We work hard to help our clients save money.”

“We run a lean operation.”

“Our years of experience make us highly efficient problem solvers.”

Predictability

“We let our clients know what the work will cost upfront so there are no surprises.”

“We keep you informed so there’s never a surprise.”

“Our experience gives you better insight into how a case will play out.”

Cost effectiveness

“We will never send you a bill that will surprise you.”

“We invest in people and systems that cut our cost of doing business.”

“We rely on our years of practical experience instead of expensive research.”

Talk to your business clients in this benefit-laden language they will understand and you will establish a great foundation for a lasting relationship.

Image courtesy of Flickr by JD Hancock.

Is Your Email Marketing Breaking Through or Just Broken?

Many marketers tend to fall in love with shiny new objects, so it was no surprise to me that when social media really started hitting its stride there were a lot of articles about the death of email marketing.

Fortunately, that has not been the case, since email marketing is one of the best and least expensive ways for small firms and solos to nurture relationships with clients and prospects on an ongoing basis.

Yet the fact remains that everyone is inundated with too many emails, making a marketer’s job that much harder to cut through the clutter.  Here are 11 steps you should be taking with your email marketing to optimize your chances of having your email opened and read:

1.  Have a targeted list.  This is especially important if you have more than one practice area.  Your list must be targeted so you can create content that speaks directly to the interests of your audience.  You must also be sure your list is clean (using a service like Constant Contact is crucial to help you do this) and that recipients have opted in to receive your emails.

2.  Be real.  Not just in your content, but with the email address you use as a “reply to.”  Don’t use generics like “info@abclawfirm.com”.

3.  Your subject line needs to kill.  Spend time on your subject line to really entice that recipient to open your email. 

4.  Set expectations.  When someone signs up to receive your e-newsletter or other email, make sure you have an auto-response email programmed that tells them what they can expect and how often you’ll be emailing them.

5.  Grab attention with a good pre-header.   We’ve all seen those pre-headers in e-newsletters that instruct us to open the email in a web browser if we can’t see it properly.  That is a waste of valuable real estate!  Instead, give the reader a compelling reason to keep reading.

6.  Include CTAs early.  Every email communication needs a Call-To-Action that lets the reader know what you want them to do.  Place this near the top of your email so they don’t have to scroll to get to it.

7.  Optimize for mobile.  Almost 40% of emails are now opened on a mobile device, and that number is only going up.  Be sure your email is optimized for mobile – again, using an email service like Constant Contact will do that for you.

8.  Make it personal.  Use the recipient’s name in the subject line and greeting.  Studies show that open rates are 14% higher with personalization.

9.  Cede control.  Allow your recipients to opt-out of your emails easily.  It’s a waste to be marketing to someone who doesn’t want to do business with you.

10.  Analyze, monitor and test.  The behavior of your email recipients will give you important insight into when and what content they prefer, so you can replicate your success.

11.  Share.  Adding social share buttons to your email marketing communication not only makes it more likely that your messaging will be spread to a greater audience, research shows that emails with social sharing buttons enjoy a 115% higher click-through-rate than those that do not.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ishrak Hussain

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FREE REPORT:  8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter
  • And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

 

Here's Another Opportunity to Share Your Legal Marketing Content

We know that the majority of consumers search for lawyers online.   That’s why it’s critical today for attorneys share valuable and informational legal information to consumers online. 

INeedAGoodLawyerNow.com was developed specifically to help attorneys expand the reach of their valuable content, increase their visibility, credibility and search rankings, while also generating more traffic to law firm websites and inquiries from potential clients.

All you need is a law firm blog with consistent new content, and INeedAGoodLawyerNow.com will take care of the rest.  A snippet of your posts will be pulled into the INeedAGoodLawyerNow.com website, with a link to your law firm website so consumers can read more and learn about your practice.  Plus your contact information will be posted in the Attorney Directory.  

Here’s how you benefit when you sign up as a contributing attorney (depending on the option selected):

  • Your name, your firm and your content will get in front of thousands of consumers who need your help
  • Your online visibility and credibility in your area of practice will increase significantly as a result of having your content on an authority website
  • Your online visibility will be further enhanced by social media exposure via Twitter and Facebook
  • You will experience increased search rankings, traffic to your website and the opportunity to engage with leads who are interested in your services
  • Your content will be featured in the legal news weekly e-newsletter sent to subscribing consumers who need your help
  • Your blog and content will be further leveraged online, giving even more return on the time you took to research and write
  • Your contact information will be featured in the lawyer listings, noting you as a first-rate attorney to contact for more information on your practice area

Click on this link to get started and get in front of the consumers who need your legal help.

Free LawMarketing.com Webinar May 20 - Learn the 12 Numbers That Determine Your Law Firm's Success Or Failure

Surely you know by now that business – including the business of law – is a numbers game.  But do you know the numbers that can provide you with instant insight into how your firm is performing?

Join me next Tuesday, May 20 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET for a free LawMarketing.com webinar on the 12 Numbers That Determine Your Law Firm’s Success Or Failure.

I’ve spent over a decade working with more than 10,000 attorneys on how to market and grow their businesses, and over that time have identified the key characteristics of highly successful law firms.

One of those is tracking and measuring specific numbers and key performance indicators that give these firms instant insight into how their firm is performing financially on a weekly and monthly basis.

Here's a taste of what you will learn when you join us for this fast-paced, content-rich webinar:

  • How to identify the 12 key metrics your law firm needs to track and measure
  • How to set up a system to identify these numbers
  • The 5 critical systems every law firm must have
  • CPL and CPC: the 2 most important numbers every attorney must know in order to succeed
  • How to avoid “paralysis by analysis” and being overwhelmed by too much data
  • Delegating roles and responsibility to your staff
  • Using software to track your KPIs

Reserve your spot for this free webinar now and learn how to gauge whether you are on track to achieve your financial goals or if you need to reboot and refocus your marketing and business development efforts.

How to Become a Jedi Master on LinkedIn

Last week I parsed through data from the 2014 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey that was recently released by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and Zeughauser Group, which surveyed in-house counsel and outside law firms on their content marketing habits.

You can read my posts here on the in-house counsel survey and the outside law firm survey.

One of the things that stood out was the increased use of LinkedIn.  The in-house counsel audience that was surveyed said that they considered Linked in either very credible (22%) or somewhat credible (62%) as a source of legal, business and industry news and information.

In addition, a majority of in-house counsel respondents (56%) said they use LinkedIn to connect with outside counsel. 

Of the outside law firms surveyed, 65% said they believe that LinkedIn is a valuable tool for marketing and business development, and 81% said they provide LinkedIn training to lawyers and staff to use the site more effectively.

I just ran across this great infographic from L.A. marketing company Gryffin Media that shows how everyone can become a Jedi Master on LinkedIn – enjoy and learn!

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Get More Proven Legal Marketing Strategies FREE from The Rainmaker Institute

One click of your mouse will take you to our website where you can see the current issue and subscribe to our complimentary monthly e-newsletter that will be delivered to your inbox every month. 

Each issue is chock-full of legal marketing information you can put to use right away and share with your staff to maximize the effectiveness of your legal marketing plan.  Click here now to subscribe to The Rainmaker Institute Law Firm Marketing Newsletter.

Happy Mother's Day!

Confused about what to get your mom for Mother's Day?

Here's a coupon that no mother could resist:

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there from your friends at The Rainmaker Institute!

 

How to Not Waste Your Time When Marketing Your Law Firm

 If there is one thing I know from my work over the years with more than 10,000 attorneys across the country, it’s that you have limited time to spend on marketing your law firm.  So it’s critical that the choices you make in your marketing are ones that don’t waste your precious time.

Watch this short video where I explain what I believe is a complete waste of your time:

What I think is one of the best uses of your time is to spend two days at a Rainmaker Retreat, our law firm marketing workshop that will teach you about all the tools available to market your law firm effectively and which ones work best for your target market.

Here are the upcoming dates:

May 30-31, 2014: Las Vegas, NV

Sept. 19-20, 2014: Miami, FL

You can get more information and register online for any of these sessions at RainmakerRetreat.com or by calling 888-588-5891.

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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.

Survey Points Up Big Disconnect in Large Law Firm Marketing

There is a big disconnect in what law firms say is a primary marketing strategy for their firm and the action (or lack thereof) they take to implement that strategy, according to the 2014 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey.

In yesterday’s post, I examined the first of two surveys conducted by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and Zeughauser Group that surveyed in-house counsel on content marketing.  Today’s post deals with survey data from marketers at the top 350 law firms across the nation and I see a big disconnect between what they want to happen and what is really going on in terms of content marketing.

Of all the marketing strategies the law firms surveyed say they use, 80% rated content marketing as either the most important (42%) or important (38%).  Yet 75% say they have no content marketing strategy currently in place! 

While 84% of law firms surveyed say they plan to increase their content marketing budgets this year, only 29% have a dedicated marketing person in place to oversee marketing.  And 87% say they have no plan to hire anyone to fill that need.

When asked what the greatest challenge they face when it comes to content marketing, 40% said lack of engagement from firm attorneys and another 25% said they face a lack of talented writers and other staff with time to devote to it.  Yet 56% said they had no plans to invest in outside resources to support content marketing – their most important marketing strategy!

So.... the most important marketing strategy at these firms gets more funding -- but there’s no plan, no one to oversee it and no one to actually do the work.  If ever there was a perfect recipe for failure, this is it!

This data was collected from the top 350 U.S. law firms; my clients are small firms and solo practitioners who don’t have the money to throw at marketing without someone paying close attention to the ROI. 

As I’ve always said, what gets measured gets done.  Oh, and this:  hope is not a strategy.

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FREE Online Seminar:  Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Join Stephen Fairley for a free 60-minute legal marketing webinar: Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, where you will learn...

A proven legal marketing system that has helped 10,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients.

Step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

Effective strategies to win clients in today's hyper-competitive online focused marketplace.

Creating a marketing plan for your law firm is the first step in building a foundation for a profitable future.  During this complimentary webinar, learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client 
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
 
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
 
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
 
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
 
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
 
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
 
  • What is critical to have in place for today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

Stephen will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

There are several sessions of this free webinar scheduled; you can choose what works best for you from the drop-down menu when you click on the following link to register online for our FREE Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan online seminar.

Survey Provides Insights for Marketing to In-House Counsel

Finding ways to cut through the clutter appears to be the biggest challenge legal marketers face when trying to get the attention of in-house counsel, according to the 2014 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey.

The 4th annual survey is actually two surveys:  one of in-house counsel and one of law firm marketers.  Today’s post deals with findings from the in-house counsel survey; tomorrow we’ll look at the law firm marketing survey data.

What I tend to look for in surveys like are any indicators that show how those being surveyed like to be marketed to.  Fortunately, this survey asks the question straight out: What types of law firm-generated content do you find most valuable?   Here’s the data for the top 5:

77%:  Practice group newsletters

63%:  Client alerts

38%:  Blogs

36%:  Website content

8%:    Social media

Note that it is the historically traditional forms of law firm marketing content that in-house counsel says they value the most. 

While the survey did not explicitly ask in what form respondents prefer to receive this content, it did query attitudes on information delivery via mobile devices and found that 52% believe that receiving business information on a smartphone or table helps them stay more informed on critical business issues.  34% said receiving information this way helps them manage that information more efficiently.

When it comes to law firm blogs, 50% of in-house counsel said they read law firm-authored blogs either very often (18%) or somewhat often (32%).  Only 15% said they never read a law firm blog.  A majority – 65% -- seek out law firm blogs that provide substantive content and perspective within narrow legal practices and specialties. 

As for social media, LinkedIn is by far the most preferred platform among in-house counsel, with 62% saying they access it daily (37%) or weekly (25%).  Here’s how they are using it with regards to outside counsel:

56%:  Contact and build connections with outside counsel

42%:  Join and participate in groups that outside counsel leads on specific practice                     areas

37%:  Access content provided by outside counsel

34%:  Research potential outside counsel

So to summarize, the three key takeaways from this GC survey that will help you market more efficiently to in-house counsel are:

1.  Create a practice-specific monthly newsletter with substantive content.

2.  Create a hyper-focused blog with timely, relevant content and commentary that reflects your position as the “go-to” expert in the field.

3.  Participate on LinkedIn by joining practice-specific groups and sharing relevant content with those groups.

This survey was conducted by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and Zeughauser Group in February and released in April; 189 corporate in-house attorneys were surveyed for this section of the study.

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New On Demand Webinar:  How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn

The Rainmaker Institute’s business development specialist Alec Borenstein is featured on this online webinar that is now available on demand:  From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.

Most attorneys already have a profile on LinkedIn, but very few know how to effectively use it to build a powerful referral network. With over 238 million professionals on LinkedIn, it has become one of the easiest ways to rapidly identify strategic contacts and build relationships with them!

In this advanced, information-packed 60-minute webinar you’ll learn:

  • How to generate targeted connections using LinkedIn
  • How to join and create LinkedIn groups to target your key referral sources and clients
  • Tools to land 2-4 lunches every month with your connections and referral partners
  • What to say during these meetings to ensure prospects remember you
  • How to follow up after your LinkedIn lunch

Click on this link now to access the one-hour webinar, From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.

Join Me at California Solo & Small Firm Summit June 19-21

The State Bar of California has announced this year’s California Solo & Small Firm Summit will be held June 19-21, 2014, at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa in Newport Beach, Calif. 

The Summit features power networking events, legal education classes, business management courses, and more -- all designed to promote a thriving law practice.

Attendees earn up to 10 hours of MCLE credit, including credit in Legal Ethics. Select courses also offer legal specialization credit.

I am honored again to be a featured speaker at this event and will make presentations on the following subjects on June 19 & 20:

Building A Lifestyle Law Firm®: How To Get More Referrals And Increase Your Revenues

Too many attorneys struggle year after year trying to build a financially successful law firm. In this dynamic session we will discuss best practices and case studies of how to move from a good 6-figure income to breaking the 7-figure barrier and cover specific strategies to rapidly increase your referrals from current and former clients and other professionals.

How To Double Your Revenues By Fixing Your Intake & Lead Conversion System

One of the easiest ways to double your revenues is to follow best practices in your intake process and fix your follow up! You will learn the 5 biggest mistakes attorneys make in their intake and over 15 best practices you must follow if you want to convert more prospects into paying clients. When you leave this revolutionary session, you will never look at your intake the same way again!

How to Use the Power of Social Media to Drive Highly Qualified Leads to Your Law Firm

Social media is one of the fastest growing tools for lead generation for lawyers, but many attorneys have tried it without success. We will uncover the secrets top attorneys are using to get more leads and referrals from Facebook and LinkedIn. You can’t afford to miss this session!

Content Marketing and Blogging for Lawyers: How to Position Yourself as an Industry Thought Leader

With the recent changes to Google, it is virtually impossible to rank high without adding content to your website and having a strong social media presence. You will learn how to use blogging to position yourself as the “go to expert” and thought leader, how much content you really need to produce in order to get leads, and ways to use Google+ and our proven Social Media Blueprint to distribute your content to targeted groups of prospects.

Register online now for as low as $375.  You can save when you sign up by June 13.  The registration fee includes your choice of 33 workshops and programs as well as continental breakfast and lunch each day.

Google Says Size Doesn't Matter When It Comes to Search Results

If you are a small firm or solo, you have probably felt the frustration of battling against a bigger firm – their sheer size (and sizeable marketing budget) may seem to you an unfair advantage in the legal marketplace.

Last week, Google said that size doesn’t really matter, at least when it comes to the size of a website and search results.  Answering a question on the Google Webmaster blog, engineer Matt Cutts said that larger websites do not automatically rank higher on Google than small sites.

In fact, he said that smaller sites that are agile, dynamic, with a quick response time and frequent content updates can rank higher than the bigger sites.  The key differentiator is superior content and focusing intently on the user experience.

Cutts’ tip for small firms and solos is to concentrate on a small topic area and cover that topic really, really well – in other words, be a specialist and create stellar content that is relevant to users searching for that topic.  This will make you an expert in Google’s eyes.  And that’s how niches can lead to riches when it comes to SEO!

Here are three ways that solos and small firms can capitalize on their online agility:

1.  Designing a website that provides users with a superb experience – from the way they navigate the site to the information they find there.

2.  Developing high quality, relevant content for your area of practice that people want to read to help them solve the problems they would hire you for, populated with relevant keywords.

3.  Being an active participant on social media networks that your prospects and clients frequent, sharing all that great content you’ve developed for your website and your blog and engaging online with your target market.

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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 in our 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days series: The 4th Key-Position Yourself as A Specialist, Not a Generalist.

Paid Leads for Attorneys: What It Takes to Get a Good ROI

An attorney recently posted a great question in one of our LinkedIn groups for bankruptcy attorneys that I thought deserved a longer than typical response. Here's the question:

I am curious whether anyone here has had luck with lead generation agencies. I am looking to expand my bankruptcy department and am wondering what has worked well for others in the past.

There are several lead generation companies out there for bankruptcy attorneys, from Total Attorneys (quite possibly the original one) to Nolo (may be the best one out there), Lead Rival and even LegalZoom. Even though it seems the pay-per-lead (PPL) model started out in bankruptcy, it has moved to other consumer practice areas such as family law, DUI, criminal defense, personal injury, immigration, and mass tort, among others.

Over the years, we have worked with several hundred attorneys who use or have used lead gen companies and found there are some common characteristics among those who are successful in converting those leads:

1. The leads must be geographically exclusive. It is extremely difficult to convert these leads in the first place, but doubly so if you are competing with another law firm who was sold the same lead at the same time by the same company.

2. You must have a dedicated intake specialist whose primary job is to call the lead. No attorney or paralegal will go after a lead with the kind of persistence and dedication it takes to convert them. Referrals are easy to convert, paid leads are not.

3. There must be a sense of urgency when following up with the lead. Research by velocify.com indicates your conversion rate drops precipitously if you fail to follow up within 5 minutes after the lead comes in. If you are going to use PPL, you must be faster than any of your competitors.

4. Your intake specialist must be instructed to call them a minimum of 7-10x before giving up. No, that is not a typo. If you want to convert these types of leads, you will have to work harder than anyone else. There should be 3 calls made the first day: one within 5 minutes, a second one within about an hour, and the third at the end of the day. Two more calls should be made the next day, then 2 more the day after that, then ideally one per day for the next 2-3 days.

5. You also need to send them 3-5 emails in addition to the phone calls. The emails should be educational in nature and subtly informing them of why they should hire you.

6. You must be dedicated to tracking every single lead, how many of these leads turn into appointments, how many of your appointments show up, how many sign up at the initial consultation, and how many sign up afterwards.

At our legal marketing workshops, we give you over 2 dozen other strategies you must employ to increase your lead conversion rates, but these are foundational ones.

If you're unwilling to make these commitments, I recommend you stay away from buying leads from lead gen companies as your conversion rate will be so low it won't give you a good ROI.

By the way, the average consumer attorney only converts 5-15% of their leads into paying clients (out of 100 leads they sign up 5-15 new clients). I have met many attorneys buying leads who are converting in the low single digits. If you use a systematic approach to lead conversion, including the principles I mention above, you can increase that to 35-40%, which is what the best in the business achieve!

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May 8: Free Webinar on Top 15 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Intake and Lead Conversion

On Thursday, May 8, join Stephen Fairley for an Avvo Ignite webinar on how to become better at converting leads into paying clients.

It’s unfortunate that law firms spend billions every year on generating more leads, but pay little attention to how to convert more of those leads into paying clients.  There is absolutely no point in accumulating leads if you don’t know how to lead them along a path to becoming actual clients!

In this free one-hour webinar on Thursday, May 8 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, Stephen will share with you the best practices in intake and lead conversion from some of the nation’s fastest growing law firms. 

You will discover:

  • Why you should never have an attorney answer the phone
  • How long it takes for a lead to go from hot to cold
  • Case study of a law firm who tripled their conversion rate in 90 days
  • 3 goals for your call with every new lead
  • 5 specific strategies to convert more leads into appointments
  • 3 best ways to get more of your appointments to show up
  • 4 tactics for signing up more of your leads at the initial consultation
  • How many times your team should follow up with a lead for maximum conversion

Register online now for this free Avvo Ignite webinar on the Top 15 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Intake and Lead Conversion on Thursday, May 8 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET.

How to Tell Who's the Best Person in Your Firm to Help You with Business Development

When it comes to delegating business development efforts to your staff, your only choices may be to ask a paralegal, your assistant or even a receptionist to support you.

If this sounds like your situation, here are some critical questions to ask to help you decide on which staff member is in the best position to support your business development efforts or whether you need to go to "Plan B":

What is their level of interest in marketing? When you talk to your staff member about growing the firm and helping out with business development efforts, do they show a sense of excitement or do they suddenly come up with lots of reasons (read "excuses") as to why they can't do it at this time? 

On a scale of 1 to 10, what's their level of interest in helping you with marketing? Seriously consider someone else if their self-reported interest level is less than an 8 or 9. I learned a long time ago in business, you can't push a rope.

What is their availability on a weekly basis? One of the keys to successful marketing is consistency. The best results from blogging are seen when your law firm's blog is updated at least 4-6 times every week with unique content. That takes consistency. 

Are you planning on removing something from the staff member's current list of responsibilities in order to give them more time to dedicate to marketing or are you simply going to pile it on top of everything else they are working on and then expect them to "work harder?" 

Without knowing the specifics of your situation, I cannot give you a correct answer nor can I counsel you on whether your staff member is working as hard as they can or if they can truly take on more work. However, you need to take their availability into consideration before you ask them to assist on a regular basis with marketing. 

You need someone who is going to be consistently dedicated to promoting your law firm. Do they have the personality for marketing? There is no "correct" personality to have in order to be successful in marketing. There are successful introverts and extroverts, but you need to take into consideration the type of marketing you will be doing and if that person has the right personality for it. 

For example, if you need someone who primarily will be overseeing a marketing project, then you need someone who has good project management skills and a lot of attention to detail. If your primary marketing efforts revolve around building relationships with other professionals and your clients are CEOs and owners of companies, then you want someone who has great relationship building skills and who can easily build rapport with strong, confident executives.

What's your assessment of their skill set? There are several critical skills sets proven to be invaluable in leading your marketing efforts: project management, copywriting, editing, public relations, social media, knowledge of search engine optimization strategies, graphic design, best practices in Internet marketing, referral development, relationship building, and account management, just to name a few. 

Obviously, it's rare to find someone who has more than a few of these critical skill sets, but depending on your marketing plan, some of these skills may be more important to you than others. Be sure to evaluate which skills they have versus which ones you will likely need so the two of you aren't disappointed when expectations aren't met.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

10 Steps to Get the Most Benefit From Your Avvo Listing

Avvo is now a major force in Internet marketing for attorneys.
 
Here's my advice: You don’t have to like Avvo to benefit from Avvo. They are here to stay so learn how to use them to build and influence your law firm’s Internet presence and generate more business!

Here are the 10 steps you should take to get the most benefit from your Avvo listing:

1. Claim your profile. This process is free and allows you to update your contact information and add information about you and your law firm.

2. Put your ENTIRE resume into Avvo. Work experience counts and can improve your rating.  Be sure to list any professional involvement in the legal community as well.

3. Add all the seminars you have given, awards you have received, and articles you have written. These items can also improve your rating. 

4. Add your photo! I have heard reports that profiles with a photo are clicked on up to 10 times more than profiles without photos.

5. Add videos. If you have videos, put them into your Avvo profile. While they won't improve your rating, it will give potential clients who are checking you out online an opportunity to see who you are and will position you as more of an “expert.” The production quality of your videos does not matter nearly as much as the information you include in them. It's all about education-based marketing—educating your prospects.

6. Answer user’s questions. Thousands of consumers every week ask legally related questions on Avvo. Please be sure to put a standard disclaimer on each response, i.e., that your reply does not constitute legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, etc.

7. Create Avvo Legal Guides. If you're like most attorneys, you constantly get asked a common set of questions. Make each question and your answer into a legal guide that Avvo will post for free on their website. Keep the questions and answers highly focused on a specific topic. Be sure to add a disclaimer on each guide.

8. Get more peer endorsements. This can make a big difference in your rating. Just like a referral from another attorney in the real world makes a big impression on a prospect, so having a reference from another attorney or a judge on your Avvo profile can improve your rating.

9. Ask your clients to write a testimonial for you on Avvo. Client testimonials do NOT have a positive or negative impact on your rating. However, I assure you, potential clients read them! I know that several states, like Florida, do not allow the usage of testimonials by lawyers. However, the Florida bar has agreed to exempt online directories like Avvo from most of its ad rules because attorneys cannot control endorsements posted on third party sites like Avvo.

10. Put your Avvo badge on your website or blog. Avvo allows you to create a “badge” with your profile score on it that links directly to your Avvo profile.

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FREE Report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make it a priority to cultivate more referral sources.  Cultivating referral sources is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

This new free report by national law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley can get you started.

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

  • How to identify the referral sources who have relationships with the people you want as clients.
  • How to start the relationship
  • How to build a referral network
  • How to make your referral network successful
  • …And much, much more!

Click on this link now to get your free report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources.

5 Things to Tell Prospects That Will Turn Them Into Clients

Have you been looking for the “magic words” to tell prospects that will turn them into clients?  My experience in teaching lead conversion techniques to thousands of attorneys over the last decade shows that you need to focus your messaging to prospects on these five areas:

1. Tell them what you can do for them.   At the end of the day, clients are only interested in what you can do for them.  Your job is to tell them what your service can do for them personally and remember- they do not want to spend time looking for the answer. The answer to this question must be one of the first things your clients see on your website and in your firm-wide communications. If your clients are going to remember you, you must first answer the question "What's in it for them?"

2. Tell them what makes you different. For every service you provide there are many other attorneys who can provide the same services. So what can a client get from you that they cannot get from anyone else? Perhaps it is your credibility or the creative way you bring solutions to your clients. You must determine what differentiates your firm from anyone else and market that point.

3. Tell them you understand their pain. The most effective way to ensure a lasting impact on your clients is to communicate with them on an emotional level. You must find their "pain." What is it about their business, life, family, time, or environment that is causing pain? Are they not working or working too much? Is their business growing too fast or too slow? Is their family falling apart? Do they have a hard time tracking their employees? Find their pain and communicate with them on an emotional level about how you can help heal their pain and make their business, life, family, time or environment pleasurable.

4. Tell them the benefits of working with you. 
Features are what your service does. Benefits are why your client needs your service. For every feature you have, you must tell your client what the benefit is. Is your firm better, faster, guaranteed or more personal? Will your service create more clients, decrease turnover, or increase profit margins? These are all great features, but you must tell your clients how this benefits them specifically.

5. Tell them why it’s safe to hire you.
 Many of our clients work at small law firms that have services similar to those at larger, more established firms. Why should your potential client buy your service over the big firm’s service? While no one can predict the future of your firm, the savvy small firm recognizes the need to develop creative ways to reduce the risk of their clients in working with them. How could you lower the risk of your clients if they are concerned about working with a solo practitioner or a small law firm?

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now.

Join Me on May 8 for a Free Avvo Ignite Webinar on Top 15 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Intake and Lead Conversion

A week from today, I will be leading an Avvo Ignite webinar on one of my favorite topics: teaching attorneys how to become better at converting leads into paying clients.

It’s unfortunate that law firms spend billions every year on generating more leads, but pay little attention to how to convert more of those leads into paying clients.  There is absolutely no point in accumulating leads if you don’t know how to lead them along a path to becoming actual clients!

In this free one-hour webinar on Thursday, May 8 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, I will share with you the best practices in intake and lead conversion from some of the nation’s fastest growing law firms. 

You will discover:

  • Why you should never have an attorney answer the phone
  • How long it takes for a lead to go from hot to cold
  • Case study of a law firm that tripled its conversion rate in 90 days
  • 3 goals for your call with every new lead
  • 5 specific strategies to convert more leads into appointments
  • 3 best ways to get more of your appointments to show up
  • 4 tactics for signing up more of your leads at the initial consultation
  • How many times your team should follow up with a lead for maximum conversion

Register online now for this free Avvo Ignite webinar on the Top 15 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Intake and Lead Conversion on Thursday, May 8 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET.

Top 3 Reasons Attorneys Need to Specialize

While it may seem intuitive to believe that if you practice in several areas of the law you will naturally attract more clients, the truth is that the opposite usually happens.  Look at the medical profession – good luck finding a general practitioner these days!  Unless you live and work in a tiny town, you need to find a practice area that best suits your skill set and offers you the best opportunity to grow your practice.

Here are the top three reasons why you need to specialize:

1.  You increase your chances for getting referrals.  The more services you offer and market, the more potential you have to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to getting referrals.  If you claim to do anything and everything, other attorneys will begin to view you as a competitor instead of a referral source.

This is probably the biggest danger because we all know referrals convert into clients at a higher percentage than the prospects we get from other sources. This type of prospect often makes a better client who will pay more as well, so having a strong referral network is key to keeping a steady, strong flow of clients.

2.  People want a specialist.  We have been conditioned to trust and seek out experts in order to get the best and fastest solutions. If you offer too many services, you erode your credibility and perception of “being an expert” to your potential clients and referral sources.  As the old saying goes, being a “jack of all trades” means you are a master of none.

3.  Google will not rank websites that focus on too many practice areas. Google ranks sites that are hyper-focused because it is Google’s mission to connect the searcher with the website results that best meets their specific needs.

This is a big issue since over 65% of all people who look to hire an attorney go online at some point during their search to either find an attorney or do credibility searches.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

The Evolution of the Solo Law Practice

Barry Seidel, who started his own practice upon graduation from law school in 1982, had a great guest blog post today on How Starting a Solo Practice Has Changed at the Solo Practice University blog.  Anyone who is a solo practitioner or is thinking of becoming one needs to read this post.

It was heartening for me to read this post since it aligns perfectly with so much of what we teach our clients at the Rainmaker Institute about how to have a successful solo practice.  In fact, I almost felt I could have written this myself!  But it wouldn’t come with the same authority as someone who has been in the trenches for more than 30 years as a solo practitioner.

Here are some of the salient points from Barry’s post that kept hitting the nail on the head for me:

In 1982, you could make a living from a general practice but today, no one would recommend this path.   Clients want – and will pay for -- a specialist, and the Internet makes it even more possible for them to find one. 

Back in the day, you could build a good practice by word of mouth and networking, along with a little advertising.  Today, lawyers can be found by having a decent website, being on social media and by blogging and use these tools to build and grow a contact list, then market to it.  Solos setting sail today need to define their ideal client, use the terms that prospects are using to search on the Internet and do the necessary marketing to make sure those searching online find them first.

When Barry started his practice, there was no FedEx, no faxes, no email, no cell phones and even computers were scarce.  Today, many older established attorneys are still behind the times when it comes to technology, so there is a huge advantage to be gained by those who utilize current technologies to prospect for and serve clients.

And Barry’s final – and most compelling – point is this:  lawyers have always had student loans to pay off and the job market has not always been great.  But the law is, in his words, “a field where entrepreneurial opportunities abound, and has never been a profession where lawyers as employees did particularly well.” 

What a great way to look at the law -- as a field where entrepreneurial opportunities abound!  I couldn’t agree more!  The Internet and social media has blown the old legal marketing model to bits, and those with the entrepreneurial mindset and vision to harness the incredible power of these modern marketing tools create their own opportunities for revenue and growth beyond their wildest dreams.

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Get More Proven Legal Marketing Strategies FREE from The Rainmaker Institute

One click of your mouse will take you to our website where you can see the current issue and subscribe to our complimentary monthly e-newsletter that will be delivered to your inbox every month. 

Each issue is chock-full of legal marketing information you can put to use right away and share with your staff to maximize the effectiveness of your legal marketing plan.  Click here now to subscribe to The Rainmaker Institute Law Firm Marketing Newsletter.

Solutions from the Rainmaker Retreat on No-Shows, Slow-Pays and Social Media Faux Pas

Prospects who don’t show up for an appointment, high accounts receivable and social media lead generation were some of the topics that were top-of-mind for attorneys who attended our recent San Antonio Rainmaker Retreat.

Here are those questions and my answers:

Q:  I have a lot of no shows…any ways to improve this?

No shows are more prevalent for certain practice areas than others, but there are absolutely a few things you can do to improve the number of no shows you get.

Do call reminders the day before and on the day of the appointment.

Send email reminders the day before and on the day of the appointment.

When you set the appointment, say something like:

Thank you for setting the appointment, we have set this time aside specifically for you to speak with (insert attorney name), can I have your commitment that if for some reason you can’t make this appointment, you will call and let us know?

When people put their word on the line, they feel more obligated to honor it.

In some cases it may be appropriate to take a credit card deposit for the consultation.  If the person shows up and hire or retains the attorney, you can apply the fee to their first invoice. If they no show, they are charged.  If they show up and don’t hire you, the decision it yours if you want to refund the charge.

Q:  My accounts receivable are really high, any suggestions to help with this?

We hear this a lot with family or business attorneys. There are a few things you can do in order to improve your accounts receivable.

The first is to educate the individual before they hire you about what the investment will really be. Of course, it may change and you don’t have a crystal ball where you can look into it and know with 100% certainty how much the case will cost, but be honest up front so their cost expectations are accurate.

Every time you are hired and you send an invoice for the first time, make sure you review the bill with the client (in person or on the phone).

Attorneys are notorious for blindly sending a bill that is confusing and the client doesn’t understand what the charges are for and therefore either puts off sending in the money or calls the office and complains. Unfortunately, when this happens many attorneys will feel guilty and back off their fees and lower the invoice. This is ridiculous -- you did the work and you should be paid for it.

If your bills are in five figures, you must bill more frequently. Rather than bill once a month, bill twice a month. People pay payroll and get paid twice a month, so it’s okay to bill that often. Psychologically, individuals have an easier time paying a bill that is under 5 figures. They would rather pay two $5,000 bills in one month than one $10,000 bill. This is especially true for businesses, as cash flow is key and they have payroll to make.

If you have retainers, make sure a dedicated staff member is calling those clients to replenish the amount before it is so low it won’t cover more hours. Be proactive; don’t do the work unless the money is there. That way, you are not chasing it.

Q:  I’m on social media and haven’t gotten a single client, what am I doing wrong?

This is such a great question! Many attorneys are using social media but they are not using it in a way that allows for engagement, builds relationships and compels people to do business with them.

There are a few major mistakes attorneys make when using social media:

1.  They have a Facebook fan page, but never post anything new, they have a Twitter account but have never tweeted and have no followers, or they have a YouTube channel and their most recent video is 3 years old. Essentially, they have the social media platforms but they don’t use them.

2.  They use the social media platforms to sell. Social media platforms are about engaging with clients, prospects and referral sources in meaningful ways and directing them to your website. It is then your website’s responsibility to let others know who you are, how you are different and how you can help!

3.  They don’t keep the conversation going. If someone makes a comment on a post or a tweet or a video, it is key to keep that conversation going and get others engaged. Social media is a two-way conversation, not a platform to say what you want to say and then never address the comment, video, etc. again.

Social media is a long-term strategy, so don’t think you will set up your Facebook fan page today and will get 20 clients tomorrow. It takes time, dedication and using the platforms effectively in order for it to give you a return and help you get more clients and referrals.

Make sure you collect people’s information as often as you can. It is not likely that someone will see one Linkedin update or Facebook status and hire you immediately, so if you can capture their information, you can continue to communicate with them in a meaningful way and compel them to do business with you.

You can drive people off of your social media sites to your website, where you then ask for their contact information in exchange for a free report or a freemium.

If you’d like to learn more about these and other law firm marketing strategies, plan to attend an upcoming Rainmaker Retreat, our two-day legal marketing seminar.  Our next session will be May 30-31, 2014 in Las Vegas

For more information and to register online, visit www.RainmakerRetreat.com or call 888-588-5891.

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NEW “Rainmaker Retreat: Unplugged”
DVD Set Now Available!

The 6 DVD set is a live recording of the Rainmaker Retreat, a 2-day legal marketing intensive led by legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley that covers over 65 proven online and offline marketing and business development strategies for law firms.

You will discover:

  • Lead Generation Techniques: how to generate more leads from the Internet, social media and blogs.
  • Lead Conversion Techniques: a proven system to track incoming leads and improve your conversion rates to turn more of those prospects into paying clients.
  • Client Retention Techniques: specific tools to double your referrals and to help you with “Building a Lifestyle Law Firm®”
  • Engaging activities to help you identify your ideal target market so you can powerfully market to them.
  • Over 65 PROVEN online and offline legal marketing strategies.

 

Click here now to order Rainmaker Retreat: Unplugged.

How to Create the Perfect Post for Each Social Media Platform

Creating the perfect post for your blog or the social media networks you contribute content on is not only a question of finding the right words, but also in structuring your post to give you biggest benefit.

This includes the skillful use of images, links, tags and other factors that make it more likely that people will want to read and pass your posts along. 

Social media marketing company My Clever Agency has provided a guideline that detail the formulas for crafting a perfect post for your blog as well as leading social media networks like YouTube, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and more.  They also provide the optimum times for posting to each platform.

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FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. In 2013, inbound marketing firm Hubspot released a report based on a marketing benchmark study of 7,000 companies and found that when it comes to blogging:

Companies that blog 15+ times per month get five times more traffic than firms with no blog.

B2B companies that blog at least twice a month get 70% more leads from their websites than firms with no blog.

Companies that increase their blogging from 3-5 times per month to 5-8 times per month almost double their leads.

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

7 ways that blogging can help your law practice

How to create your blog strategy

10 ways to build an audience for your blog

4 sources of information for writing blog posts

And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader.

12 Tips to Improve Your Intake Process

Over the past few months, we’ve been doing a lot of “secret shopping” of law firms, making calls posing as potential clients to see just how they are performing when it comes to client intake.  What we’ve found is that this chance to make a great first impression is lost by a majority of the firms we’ve contacted.

In fact, so few firms are making a positive impression on the initial call that there is huge opportunity to set your law firm apart by improving and focusing on your intake process. Here are just a few of the best practices we teach our clients on how to improve the intake process, the true beginning of a solid lead conversion system:


1. Have a dedicated person answer the phone. We’ve been astounded by how many firms answer the phone in a way that left the distinct impression we were annoying them when we called, as if we were taking them away from another priority.


2. Show compassion and empathy. Of the law firms we’ve shopped, only 21%  expressed any compassion or sympathy when our staff told them about their situation: “I was in a car accident and I’m having a lot of pain in my neck and lower back!” A simple, “I’m so sorry to hear about that. Are you OK?” can go a long way toward connecting with a potential client.


3. Get the caller’s name and phone number at the beginning of the call in case you get cut off. If you do get cut off unexpectedly, then call them back immediately. Somewhere during the call you should also get their email address or at least permission to text them information after the call.


4. If you send someone to your website, SPELL it out clearly. Many law firm website domain names are hard to spell or understand over a bad cell phone connection. One intake person gave us the wrong website altogether that sent us to a different law firm!


5. Do what you say you are going to do when you say you will do it. Many firms said they would send us information via email or mail – we only received one response.


6. Do not answer the phone with a generic “law firm.” Clearly say the name of your law firm.


7. If you are going to place someone on hold, always ask for his or her permission first.


8. Write out three to five reasons that make your law firm different. Make certain anyone talking with prospects can recite these from memory and knows how to weave them into a call. Everyone, whether they verbalize it or not, wants to know the answer to, “Why should I hire you?”


9. Remember that people buy emotionally and justify logically, so the person on the phone must build an emotional relationship with the caller.


10. Have a dedicated person to return all voice mails the same day.


11. Never make an attorney responsible for following up with leads. Even though they may have the best of intentions other things will take priority. Task a staff person with following up with leads and setting appointments with the attorney.


12. Never quote fees over the phone. The sole purpose of the call is to get qualified leads into your office. You will always have a higher closing ratio if you meet prospects face to face rather than trying to sell them over the phone.

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Sign Up Now for a Free Secret Shopper Call for Your Firm!

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?

For the first 100 individuals who sign up, we will secret shop your firm for free and critique you on the 5 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.

After the review call, you will also receive a free training DVD on best practices for intake and lead conversion for law firms.

This service is valued at $250 and can be yours for free!

Be sure to act fast as we are only offering this to the first 100 individuals who register for this free Secret Shopper Call offer.

Facebook #1 for Driving Website Traffic; YouTube #1 for Engagement

Two new reports from Shareaholic, a leading content sharing web tool development company, finds that Facebook far outpaces other social media sites when it comes to driving traffic to websites but YouTube is #1 for driving the most engaged traffic.

The 1st Quarter 2014 edition of the Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report is based on data collected from more than 300,000 websites and examines eight social media platforms referred to those websites from December 2013 through March 2014.  Here are the findings:

Key takeaways from this report:

  • Facebook drove almost one-quarter (21.25%) of the overall traffic websites received in March.  Clearly, Facebook users have made it a habit to click on links in their feeds, so marketers should be sure to include those in their posts.
  • Pinterest’s share of traffic referrals grew an astounding 48% from December to March, making it the second largest referrer.
  • The lowest ranked referrer sites were YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.

While social site referrals help marketers when it comes to organic traffic, it is also important for marketers to factor in engagement – what people do on your site once they reach it.  And another Shareaholic study shows an almost inverted hierarchy for social media sites that provide engaged social referrals:

YouTube is the champion when it comes to driving the most engaged traffic back to your website.  Google+ and LinkedIn also rank high for bringing engaged traffic – the people most likely to stay on your site after they reach it via these social media sites.

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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.

National Law Review Magazine editor 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.

How to Generate Great Ideas for Blog Posts

No matter how much you may enjoy writing, the fact is that all of us get stuck at some time when it comes to coming up with a good idea for a blog post. 

For example, today I am stuck for a good idea for this post – so I did some searching for how to come up with a good blog post idea and found this infographic from copyblogger.com that gives some great tips for getting yourself unstuck (like I am now). 

The next time you are stuck for a blog post idea, refer to this idea “cheat sheet” and let the inspiration flow!

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FREE Webinar Tomorrow: Learn to Increase Your Online Exposure!

Hundreds of top law firms write new blog content every month, but most of their posts are never read by their top prospects! 

What can you do so prospects want to continually read your blog posts?

On Thursday, April 24, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, LawMarketing.com Editor-in-Chief Cindy Greenway will present a free webinar on 7 Tips to Creating Blog Content That Makes Prospects Want to Read! ... And 3 Tips to Get More Exposure Online.

In this fast paced 60-minute webinar, you will discover:

  • How to create a no-fail content marketing plan for your law practice that can run without you
  • 3 tips to brainstorming key topics to write about, specifically for your target
  • 4 ways to repurpose your blog content and gain additional visibility
  • Where to find help writing blog content when you get overwhelmed
  • How to get your staff involved in supporting your content marketing strategy

Sign up for this FREE webinar and learn specific step-by-step guidance on how to easily create and implement a solid content marketing plan for your law firm.

5 Tips to Help Attorneys Generate Leads Through Speaking Engagements

I am a big believer in public speaking as a lead generation tool.  I do lots of it, and have gotten some great clients from it.  And you can, too, if you follow these five tips:

Make an offer they can’t refuse.  Don’t charge a fee or honorarium for your speaking services.  Instead, ask the sponsoring organization for a copy of the attendee list or request permission to add a few comments about your firm’s services and capabilities during your talk.

Provide great content.  Put some real meat on the bones of your presentation. Even if you feel like you are “giving something away for nothing”, the truth is that giving people the information they want and need will entice them even more to come to you as the expert to help them solve a problem or navigate a legal issue.  I always educate my audience about how they can actually do what we do – and find that most attorneys would rather have it done for them!

Tap into referral partners.  If you have a few referral partners you work with regularly and refer clients back and forth, offer to speak to a group of their clients on a legal topic of interest to them.  This helps you both while giving you exposure to a greater number of potential clients.

Make a plan for following up.  Before you speak, have a plan in place for following up with attendees.  If the sponsoring organization won’t share a contact list, then solicit contact information from the podium, offering attendees a copy of your presentation or a free report about the topic you just spoke about in exchange for their business cards.

Make it easy to contact you.  You’ll probably find that some people are reluctant to approach you after your presentation to discuss a potentially personal legal matter.  Make it easy for them to get in touch with you afterwards by having a pile of your business cards they can pick up as they leave, and have your contact information – phone and email – as a closing slide that stays up as you take questions at the end of your talk.

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New! Free Report! The 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days: The 2nd Key – Public Speaking

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 The 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days: The 2nd Key – Public Speaking.

The Solo and Small Firm Perspective on the Goal of Social Media

Last week Kevin O’Keefe (@kevinokeefe) and I had an interesting discussion on Twitter about the goal of social media for law firms. Nancy Myrland (@NancyMyrland) and Jabez LeBret (@jabezlebret) graciously joined in. Then Kevin posted a good article summarizing our discussion and explaining his perspective that the ultimate goal of social media for lawyers should be to build relationships. I disagree with this perspective.  

Since it's a little difficult to fully articulate one’s thinking on any topic in 140 characters, I thought a follow up post was in order. Kevin’s article was very thoughtful, but I believe it is wrong in several of its conclusions. I believe two of the reasons why he takes his positions come from his background as a litigator and his current work as CEO of LexBlog.

From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like most of LexBlog’s clients are attorneys in mid to large law firms, some of them in the largest law firms in the nation. Indeed, reading LexBlog’s client list is similar to a “Who’s Who” in the legal industry. The majority of our clients are small law firms with 2-25 attorneys in them. The pressure on attorneys in many larger law firms is, “If I don’t bring in new clients, I won't make partner some day.” The pressure on our clients is, “If I don’t bring in new clients, I don’t make payroll,” or, “If this marketing doesn’t pay off soon, we won't be able to afford a family vacation this year.” They can't afford to “join a country club or coach youth sports” with the hope that it some day might result in a new client. They need a specific plan of action that directly results in more and better leads.

In addition, many attorneys in those larger firms are corporate attorneys who work with large clients. Industry recognition and credibility are of utmost import to them. About half of my clients are consumer attorneys (personal injury, criminal defense, family law, estate planning, SSDI, and workers’ compensation) who are more concerned about their current cash flow.

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. At my company, The Rainmaker Institute®, we specialize in working with attorneys and regularly receive 100-250 new leads every month just from our efforts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. That’s the point!

We don’t use social media because it makes us feel good or because we want to impress our peers or provide free marketing advice to attorneys. We do it for the express purpose of generating new leads and ultimately new clients! The way we achieve that goal is:

  • By providing excellent content on legal marketing every day of the week
  • By connecting with attorneys in our target market
  • By engaging with others in the legal industry on topics of interest to us
  • By liking posts by our clients so they know we are thinking of them
  • By commenting on posts made by prospective clients so we can better engage with them
  • By inviting interested prospects to visit our blog or website to download a free report or sign up for one of our free webinars
  • By nurturing those relationships with regular, targeted communication

Both Kevin and I would agree that selling on social media is not helpful and will usually result in turning people off rather than attracting them to you. Where we part ways is on the next step to take. Based on his article, I believe Kevin would say once he has developed the relationship on social media that’s as far as he will go. If the person wants his help they can always look him up. I take it one step further and use the opportunity to directly invite the person to:

Back when I lived in Chicago, I had a very well-connected business partner. He had deep roots in the business community and was formerly the CEO of a multi-million dollar business. In fact, the primary reason I brought him into my company was specifically because of his knowledge and his connections. I ultimately found out that those connections did very little in landing us new business because he saw relationships as the end goal, not new clients.

While some may be tempted to misread me and believe I am being manipulative of my relationships, I can assure you that would be missing my point. I have relationships specifically focused on friendship (both on and off of social media). I have relationships specifically focused on mentoring others and being mentored, but I am clear in my goal with the relationships I develop via social media on behalf of my company—it's for the purpose of developing new business or referral partners.  

“The best lawyers get their work via relationships and word of mouth. Always have and aways [sic] will. The Internet and social media did not change that,” wrote O’Keefe in his blog post. Really? I could not disagree more! Outside of rural America, there has been no more powerful force in transforming how attorneys get clients than the Internet and more recently social media.  For many small law firms the Internet is the great equalizer. They cannot compete on television with the mega-firms and their 7-figure budgets and they certainly can't afford to wait 5 years for a relationship to evolve into a new client. They are looking for the most direct route to reach and connect with clients who are looking for an attorney right now.

Many of the best lawyers do not get most of their work from relationships and word of mouth. It is outdated and inefficient views like this that keep attorneys from fully achieving the potential of social media. By the way, just because some attorneys get some of their business from word of mouth does not disprove the rule. Exceptions actually go to prove the rule. The sheer number of attorneys out there today, especially in consumer law, make it virtually impossible to just grow 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.

The Internet and online marketing (including social media) are the fastest growing ways 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 10,000 attorneys nationwide and because social media is the #1 topic I get asked to speak on by State Bar Associations. It is also one of the fastest growing parts of our “done for you” marketing services that we offer law firms.

For the majority of attorneys in small to mid-sized law firms, online lead generation and lead conversion has dramaticaly changed over the last decade. Perhaps it's time for the rest of the legal industry to catch up. 

Happy Easter to You & Your Peeps!

 

Learn to Increase Your Online Exposure at April 24 Free LawMarketing.com Webinar

You probably already know that content marketing is a top strategy to attracting and building relationships with new leads. Consumers are turning to the Internet like never before to research answers to legal questions BEFORE they even consider calling an attorney or scheduling a consultation.

Hundreds of top law firms write new blog content every month, but most of their posts are never read by their top prospects! 

What can you do so prospects want to continually read your blog posts?

On Thursday, April 24, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, LawMarketing.com Editor-in-Chief Cindy Greenway will present a free webinar on 7 Tips to Creating Blog Content That Makes Prospects Want to Read! ... And 3 Tips to Get More Exposure Online.

In this fast paced 60-minute webinar, you will discover:

  • How to create a no-fail content marketing plan for your law practice that can run without you
  • 3 tips to brainstorming key topics to write about, specifically for your target
  • 4 ways to repurpose your blog content and gain additional visibility
  • Where to find help writing blog content when you get overwhelmed
  • How to get your staff involved in supporting your content marketing strategy

Sign up for this FREE webinar and learn specific step-by-step guidance on how to easily create and implement a solid content marketing plan for your law firm.

The 6 Keys to Effective Legal Marketing

Successful legal marketing programs can be boiled down to six key components; maximizing your expertise at each of these will enable you to build the law firm you’ve always wanted and one that will enable you to lead the kind of life you want. 

Here are those six keys:

Expert Positioning: Media and Market Specialization. To differentiate yourself from your competitors, you should develop an expertise and begin positioning yourself as that recognized expert, by using the media (online and offline) and by targeting a specific practice niche.

Create Your Success Team. Every successful attorney recognizes the importance of having a quality team that supports their success. You should consider who you need on your team, how to find them, and how to train them to help you grow and prosper.

Automate Your Marketing System. To free up your time and your staff’s time and to ensure that your marketing is ongoing, it’s important to automate all that you can through the use of technology and the Internet.

Building Your Platform. Your “platform” is the number of people you communicate with on a regular basis (prospects, clients, and referrals sources). There are several proven methods for increasing the size of both.

Referral Relationships and Networking. There are several different strategies to find referral sources and a process for actively cultivating those resources.

Action Orientation. Knowledge without action is just knowledge -- nice to have, but ineffective in helping you achieve that lifestyle law practice you desire. So you need to put this knowledge into action and the sooner, the better.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

Avvo Gets $37.5M to Fund New Product Development, International Expansion

Avvo, the online legal directory and lawyer rating website, has attracted $37.5 million in venture capital funding that it says will be used to develop new products and expand to international markets.

Avvo introduced its attorney rating program in 2006 and has become the gold standard of legal directories, rating more than 97% of U.S. attorneys.  Avvo says that six million consumers visit its site each month, making it the go-to place for consumer research on attorneys as well.  (If you’re wondering how this compares with Martindale-Hubbell, see my Feb. 25 post on Are Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com Dead? Why Every Martindale Client Should Care.)

According to Avvo, the site is the largest legal forum for consumers to get answers to their legal questions, with more than 5 million questions on the site with a 99% answer rate.  Avvo says that over 160,000 attorneys currently participate on the site.

Avvo founder and CEO Mark Britton says that Avvo’s business model is far different from sites like LegalZoom that seek to take attorneys out of the equation.  Instead, he says that Avvo believes that consumers actually want a lawyer and their mission is to provide products that make navigating the legal profession as easy as possible for consumers while helping attorneys get more business.

Coatue Management provided the new funding, with additional investment from existing investors Benchmark Capital, Ignition Partners and DAG Ventures.   With the new capital infusion, total funding in Avvo is now $60.5 million.

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now.

Top 3 Reasons Attorneys Fail to Grow Their Practices & What You Can Do to Succeed

Law firm marketing is a complex and competitive business. And there are many reasons why certain law firms fail to grow or even fail to survive.

However, in my working with more than 10,000 attorneys over the years, I’ve come to find that there are essentially 3 main reasons why attorneys fail to grow their practices:


1.  Lack of time. This is the single biggest complaint we hear. You’re stressed for time. You barely have time to serve your clients, much less market your practice. Not to mention spend time with your family.

2.  Lack of strategy. From a marketing perspective, a comprehensive strategy to grow your law firm is essential to your long-term success. Otherwise, you and your team lack direction.

3.  Lack of systems. There are several simple systems attorneys can use to create a “lifestyle law firm”—a firm that supports the lifestyle you want to lead, rather than one that dominates your life.

These “lacks” can be overcome so that you can create that lifestyle law practice you desire.  Many of our clients are proof of that.

Isn't it about time you started growing your practice, instead of struggling just to get by?

If you are continually asking yourself, "What are the most effective ways to bring in new clients?", then you need to get yourself to a Rainmaker Retreat, where we will teach you a proven system that will bring you several new clients every month.

Learn our proven system at the Rainmaker Retreat, our 2-day marketing boot camp, at our next session in San Antonio, TX  on Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26. 

Right now, we are offering a special $200 discount for the San Antonio Rainmaker Retreat.  Just use the special code SAN when you register online.

I guarantee these two days will transform your practice.

Free LawMarketing.com Webinar on Creating Engaging Blog Content & Getting More Exposure Online

Hundreds of top law firms write new blog content every month, but most of their posts are never read by their top prospects! 

What can you do so prospects want to continually read your blog posts?

You probably already know that content marketing is a top strategy to attracting and building relationships with new leads. Consumers are turning to the Internet like never before to research answers to legal questions BEFORE they even consider calling an attorney or scheduling a consultation.

On Thursday, April 24, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, LawMarketing.com Editor-in-Chief Cindy Greenway will present a free webinar on 7 Tips to Creating Blog Content That Makes Prospects Want to Read! ... And 3 Tips to Get More Exposure Online.

In this fast paced 60-minute webinar, you will discover:

  • How to create a no-fail content marketing plan for your law practice that can run without you
  • 3 tips to brainstorming key topics to write about, specifically for your target
  • 4 ways to repurpose your blog content and gain additional visibility
  • Where to find help writing blog content when you get overwhelmed
  • How to get your staff involved in supporting your content marketing strategy

Sign up for this FREE webinar and learn specific step-by-step guidance on how to easily create and implement a solid content marketing plan for your law firm.

Here's One Banker Who Can Really Help Your Law Firm Grow

Meet Wally Hayes (that’s him on the right), vice president of Bank of America Practice Solutions and one banker who can really help your law firm grow.

If you’ve attended any of our West Coast Rainmaker Retreat sessions, you may have met Wally.  I’ve had him speak a few times, and he’ll be at the Las Vegas Rainmaker Retreat on May 30-31.  I wouldn’t waste your time, or mine, if I didn’t think he had something important to convey to attorneys who may need some financial assistance for things that can contribute to your firm’s viability but that you may not have available cash to fund.

First, a little background:  Bank of America started its Practice Solutions group 18 years ago to provide lending to health care professionals – doctors, dentists and veterinarians.  It turned out to be a great business model for them, so they expanded it three years ago to include attorneys, CPAs and insurance professionals.

Here are the lending products Bank of America Practice Solutions offers for attorneys:

Partnership buy-in program – if you are ready to be a partner in your firm but lack the cash for the buy-in, you can obtain financing for up to 10% ownership in the business (up to $200,000).  BofA offers flexible payment options to fit your firm’s capital distribution schedule, and loan terms can be for up to 10 years.

Express loan program – BofA can lend an attorney up to $75,000 via an express loan application that they can typically turn around within 24 hours.   These funds can be used for marketing expenses, consulting fees, technology hardware, software, or even upgrading office furniture. 

Practice debt consolidation program – attorneys can leverage the equity in their practice to consolidate business-related expenses.  BofA will lend up to 65% of annual revenue to improve cash flow and lower monthly expenditures.

Commercial real estate program – this conventional loan product provides loans up to $5 million for the purchase or refinance of commercial real estate.  This is a 85% loan to value program, so attorneys will need a 15% down payment.  Terms include six months no payment, 12 months interest-only option and a payment schedule of up to 25 years to keep payments affordable.

Line of credit – BofA lends up to 10% of a firm’s previous year’s revenue.  Minimum loan amount is $10,000.

None of these loan products are tied to SBA lending, and they don’t provide loans for firm acquisitions.  Plus, you can’t just walk into your local BofA branch to get one; you’ll need to reach out to Wally via email at wally.hayes@bankofamerica.com or at 614-572-7644.

You can go here to learn more about Bank of America Practice Solutions for attorneys.

Of course, I am most excited about this program’s ability to provide working capital to attorneys and law firms for marketing consulting expenses.  There are so many lawyers we speak with who want to invest in marketing to take their firms to the next level, but don’t always have the cash on hand to do it.  This program is an affordable way to fund your dream of a more profitable practice.  Can’t beat that!

5 Tips for Fixing Your LinkedIn Profile

I see a lot of attorney profiles on LinkedIn, since I connect with many of our clients and those who have attended our Rainmaker Retreat. And what I see mostly is room for improvement.

LinkedIn has become the de facto online Rolodex for keeping up with contacts and referral sources, and is a must for B2B law firms seeking ways to connect with prospects. So why wouldn’t you do your best to put your best foot forward at all times?

Here are 5 tips for fixing your LinkedIn profile:

1. Assess your goals. Why are you on LinkedIn? If it’s to market your firm, then you need to be sure your profile page reflects everything your firm is about, and that starts with loading it with great keywords to attract the broadest possible audience.

2. Kill the clutter. If you have basically uploaded your resume and it reflects all the jobs you’ve held since college, kill the entries that have nothing to do with what you do now.

3. Be personable. Add some flair so people know you as a person. People hire people, not profiles.

4. Include your photo. If you don’t have a photo uploaded yet, do it. A photo acts as your logo; a bad one does nothing for you and a missing one tells people you don’t care. Your photo should reflect who you are as a professional, so skip the vacation photo.

5. Get recommendations. Testimonials are irresistible to read, and tell people visiting your page what it’s like to work with you.

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New On Demand Webinar:  How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn

The Rainmaker Institute’s business development specialist Alec Borenstein is featured on this online webinar that is now available on demand:  From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.

Most attorneys already have a profile on LinkedIn, but very few know how to effectively use it to build a powerful referral network. With over 238 million professionals on LinkedIn, it has become one of the easiest ways to rapidly identify strategic contacts and build relationships with them!

In this advanced, information-packed 60-minute webinar you’ll learn:

  • How to generate targeted connections using LinkedIn
  • How to join and create LinkedIn groups to target your key referral sources and clients
  • Tools to land 2-4 lunches every month with your connections and referral partners
  • What to say during these meetings to ensure prospects remember you
  • How to follow up after your LinkedIn lunch

Click on this link now to access the one-hour webinar, From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.

What is a "Lifestyle" Law Firm?

Do you have a 'lifestyle' law firm?

My short video explains what that means:

Every attorney that I have ever met wants one, but not everyone knows how to achieve it.

I do! I have worked with over 10,000 attorneys and have shown them the exact color-by-the-numbers system that has helped create 7-8 figure law firms.

Now it's your turn to attend a Rainmaker Retreat this month in San Antonio and get it too.

Click the link below to hear other attorneys tell you in their own words about their experience at the Rainmaker Retreat. You will also see the dates and locations of upcoming retreats and how you can get registered to attend.

www.RainmakerRetreat.com/free-legal-marketing-dvd/

I'd like to help you achieve a 'lifestyle' law firm. Join me and other like-minded attorneys at the next Rainmaker Retreat where you will get the tools and system to make this a reality. 

5 Ways to Prove Your Law Firm is the Best Choice

I talk a lot about the importance of differentiating your firm by focusing your marketing efforts on communicating your unique competitive advantage – the benefits a client gets from working with you, the value you provide, the results you’ve gotten for past clients and the creative solutions you employ to solve legal issues.

Once you’ve got your UCA down cold, you can then go about spreading the good word.  Here are some effective ways to do that:

Testimonials. If it’s not barred by your state bar, then testimonials on your website are a good way to verify that people who have used your services are happy with the outcome. It is even better to have testimonials on your behalf on third-party websites like Avvo, Yelp! or Google.

Social proof. Being visible on social networks and having a good crop of followers lets those considering your services get more comfortable with the idea of hiring you – we have a strong herd mentality, and like to know we’re not alone.

Case studies. Posting relevant case studies to your website and your blog that are written for the average person (not another lawyer) can be very effective.

Videos. Populating your website and blog with videos that give prospects a feel for what it would be like to do business with you is another good way to showcase your skills.

Third-party endorsements. If you’ve been profiled in an article or interviewed in the media, post those interviews and articles on your website.

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FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. According to HubSpot, B2B marketers with a blog generate 67% more leads per month and B2C marketers generate 88% more leads per month than those without a blog.

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

  • Why you must have a blog in order to stay relevant
  • 3 keys to successful blogging
  • 7 Guidelines for achieving ROI
  • Your 3 choices for managing your blog and social media efforts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal.

Law Firm Marketing Seminar Coming to San Antonio on April 25-26

The Rainmaker Retreat, a two-day law firm marketing seminar that focuses on the unique challenges facing small law firms and attorneys in mid-sized practices, will be held in San Antonio, Texas, on April 25 & 26 at the Courtyard San Antonio Riverwalk.

Each Rainmaker Retreat session focuses on the unique challenges facing small law firms and attorneys in mid-sized practices, providing advanced hands-on training for lead generation, legal marketing automation, and Internet and social media marketing strategies specifically designed to help attorneys generate more and better referrals for their law firm, and convert more prospects into paying clients.

“The Rainmaker’s lead conversion system is unlike any other conversion process I have ever seen,” said Patrick Wright, a family law solo practitioner from Dallas.  “If I didn’t attend the Rainmaker Retreat, I would have never learned this system. I would recommend this retreat to any attorney who wants to beat their competition and gain more clients.”

At each Rainmaker Retreat, we dive deep into how to market your law firm using 65 proven low cost and no cost strategies, how to leverage technology to attract and follow up with prospects, ways to generate more referrals from former clients, and low cost tools and methods to better manage their business development efforts.

The San Antonio Rainmaker Retreat is open to all attorneys and law firm staff and will be held all day Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, 2014.

An added bonus is that this Rainmaker Retreat is being held during the annual San Antonio River Walk Arts and Crafts Show, so there will be plenty of entertainment just outside your hotel when you finish your daily sessions!

For more information and to register online, visit www.RainmakerRetreat.com or call 888-588-5891.

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FREE Online Seminar:  Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Join Stephen Fairley for a free 60-minute legal marketing webinar: Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, where you will learn...

A proven legal marketing system that has helped 10,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients.

Step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

Effective strategies to win clients in today's hyper-competitive online focused marketplace.

Creating a marketing plan for your law firm is the first step in building a foundation for a profitable future.  During this complimentary webinar, learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client 
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
 
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
 
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
 
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
 
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
 
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
 
  • What is critical to have in place for today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

Stephen will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

There are several sessions of this free webinar scheduled; you can choose what works best for you from the drop-down menu when you click on the following link to register online for our FREE Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan online seminar.

What You Need to Know About Marketing to Older Americans

If the target market for your legal services includes older Americans – those 65+ -- you will be interested in a new study out from Pew Internet Research on Older Adults and Technology Use that was released late last week.

Today, nearly 60% of Americans over the age of 65 go online, a six percent increase over one year ago.   Not surprisingly, older Americans continue to lag behind younger Americans when it comes to embracing technology:

However, the fact is that they are embracing it – 71% of older Internet users say they go online every day and 27% participate on social media networks. 

The study found that older Americans differ from the general population in terms of the devices they own.  While a majority of younger American adults own smartphones, for those 65+,  tablets and e-book readers surpass smartphone ownership.

When looking at the group of older Americans who use the Internet, certain demographic factors for this population stand out:

  • 74% of those aged 65-69 go online
  • 90% of online seniors have an annual household income of $75,000 or higher
  • 87% of online seniors have a college degree
  • More senior men than women are online (55% vs. 45%)

The research revealed that once seniors are online, the Internet quickly becomes a part of their daily lives.  Like other Americans, the most frequent use of the Internet is for email – which makes an e-newsletter an attractive tool for attorneys seeking to market to this older, richer and more educated demographic.

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FREE REPORT:  8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter
  • And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

New Online Platform Connects Small Businesses with Attorneys

A new online platform that helps small businesses find attorneys was profiled today in the New York Times

Priori Legal, which started up last September, is the brainchild of two Yale Law School classmates inspired by the work they did in legal clinics that exposed them to an unmet need: affordable legal help for small business owners.

What makes Priori Legal different from online directories or legal services websites is that it vets attorneys and makes recommendations based on a small business owner’s specific legal needs.  To be able to offer services on the site, attorneys must fill out a comprehensive online application and submit to reference checks and interviews with Priori Legal staff.

Attorneys that offer their services on Priori Legal must agreed to discount their regular fees by 25% and provide prospective clients with a free half-hour consultation as well as information on pricing for expenses like filing fees and deadlines for delivering the work. 

Priori encourages attorneys to provide both hourly and fixed fee packages, and handles all the back office administration work, including invoicing and fee collection.   Clients pay Priori 10% of the attorney’s fees for use of the network.

Based in Manhattan, Priori Legal currently has more than 100 New York attorneys on the site and a few from other states as it seeks to expand its network nationwide.  It says it has already served hundreds of clients in New York state.

Attorneys currently participating in the network range from solo practitioners to those in firms of fewer than 50 attorneys.  Priori Legal says that 85% of potential clients who take the free half hour consultation go on to hire the attorney.

The site’s founders -- Basha Frost Rubin and Mirra Levitt – say that the site fills a need that small businesses have for transparency when it comes to legal fees.  They note that many small business owners are reluctant to retain counsel because they have no idea what it will cost and fear that a simple question could end up costing thousands of dollars.  Yet, competent legal advice can make a real difference in whether a small business is successful or not.

Priori Legal also features a blog with submissions from its network of attorneys.  For more information, visit www.priorilegal.com.

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Make Flat Fee Billing Work for Your Law Firm

Lee Rosen is one of America’s top divorce attorneys and practice management specialists who transformed his practice from relying on hourly billing to charging flat fee prices.

In Stephen Fairley’s one-hour interview with Lee, he explains in detail how he set out to fix his cash flow several years ago and in doing so he fundamentally changed his practice – for the better!

As a direct result of his “radical” decision to switch to flat fee billing (which many of his colleagues told him couldn’t be done), his revenues have never been higher, his profit margins are larger, and he’s building a lifestyle law firm!

Listen in as Lee and Stephen focus on hot topics like:

  • Why your clients will love flat fee billing
  • How to use flat fee pricing as a major differentiating factor
  • The inherent conflict of charging by the hour
  • Specific steps on how to position it with clients
  • Which practice areas can benefit from flat fee billing
  • Real world case study for consumer law attorneys
  • Practical considerations for litigation-based practices
  • How to improve your cash flow using flat fees
  • Best practices when implementing flat fee billing
  • 3 quick and easy ways to get started
  • Potential pitfalls to avoid when setting up your system

To access this exciting one-hour interview with Lee Rosen, click on this link:  How to Make Flat Fee Billing Work for Your Law Firm

5 Steps to Use Social Media Effectively for Business Development

One of the best reasons for attorneys to use social media is that it is a very cost effective business development tool. Here are 5 steps you can take to harness the effectiveness of social media for your law firm marketing efforts:

1. Set up a targeted landing page. Your landing page is separate from – but can be connected to – 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 or white paper on a topic of interest to them.  Again, it must address a specific need of your target market.

3. Drive traffic to your landing page by promoting it via your social media outlets. You can announce your free special report on your Facebook fan page, post a Tweet or promote by including the link to your LinkedIn account.

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 further 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.

At The Rainmaker Institute, we have successfully used this exact process with attorneys across the country for almost a decade.  During this time we have generated thousands of qualified leads, for our company directly from our social media efforts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!  

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NEW Free Report: How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn

With over 238 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn has quickly become THE ‘go to’ business-to-business directory and the most popular social networking platform dedicated to professional business development.

To ignore it is the proverbial equivalent of sticking your head in the sand.

Learning how to use LinkedIn to your biggest advantage takes time and effort, but it is time well spent.

If you are new to LinkedIn, it can be confusing, much like any new software that you need to learn to grow your business.

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

  • What LinkedIn can help you accomplish
  • Valuable LinkedIn features that can increase the power of your network
  • Smart ways top attorneys use LinkedIn
  • What your profile needs in order to be effective
  • How to make people want to know more about you
  • And much, much more!

Click here now to receive your free report on How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn.

Content Marketing for Attorneys: How to Keep Feeding the Beast

Content marketing is a critical component of a comprehensive law firm marketing program, and there are many avenues you can use to spread your content to potential clients, including your website, blog, online directories like Avvo and JDSupra, and social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.

With all these venues craving constant content feeds, how do marketing-savvy attorneys feed the beast? Here are some tips:

1. Plan ahead. Brainstorm a list of topics that would appeal to your target audience (start with answers to their top 20 questions). Reviewing your website analytics to see what pages of your site are getting the most visits can also help stimulate ideas. Dig up speeches and presentations you’ve made over the last few years and repurpose those for articles, press releases and blog posts. Subscribe to blogs and news feeds that cover your practice area for ideas.

2. Make it interesting. Nielsen research shows that most people spend about a minute on any given web page, so strive to make your content easily digestible in that timeframe. Use short paragraphs and subheads to keep readers’ attention. Punch it up with references to current events or pop culture to make your content timely. Include client success stories (not using real names, of course).

3. Optimize your content. Be sure to optimize your content for search by including your keywords and keyword phrases in your title, subheads and image file names.

4. Socialize.  Promote your videos, posts, articles, press releases and other content on all your social network channels – not only on your own Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page, but also through submissions to the discussion pages of groups you’ve joined. 

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

How to Inspire Prospects To Contact You

Millions of people purchase products every day because they were inspired to do so through a strong call to action – a Buy It Now, a Limited Time Offer, a Click Here, a Sign-Up Now – whatever the incentive, it moved them to a purchase decision.

Calls to action work because it’s human nature to follow instruction. A great call to action is one that creates a sense of urgency in a prospect’s mind, offers a solution to a problem or stimulates a desire. 

A great call to action works when it:

  • Triggers an emotional reaction;
  • Shows exactly how to make a purchase;
  • Creates a sense of urgency to make the purchase;
  • Provides an incentive or offer that is too good to pass up.

There are many ways to integrate a great call to action into your law firm marketing efforts, including:

On your website. Even when you’re selling a service, you should create calls to action on every page of your website. Have a sign-up for a free report, a webinar or e-newsletter on every page.

In your newsletter. If you have a monthly newsletter, you should be featuring a new incentive every month to entice prospects to get in touch with you.

On your blog. Use your blog to connect on an emotional level with prospects. Tell a story about how your legal service has solved a problem. Include calls to action in your sidebars where they are easily visible.

On your social networking sites. Facebook and Twitter are great vehicles for reaching prospects and testing a variety of calls to action to see what works best for your practice area. 

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FREE Law Firm Marketing Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor

Having an Internet presence is a must for attorneys who want to effectively market and grow their firms. 

It should be no secret that the Internet is one of the most cost effective lead sources for attorneys today. Even if a portion of your client base includes referrals, you can be sure that they are checking you out on the Web before they give you a call.

But how do you know you are going about it the right way?

Please give us a call at 888-588-5891 or click here to sign up for a free one-on-one Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor who will listen to your specific marketing challenges. 

The Rainmaker Advisors are hand-picked and trained to identify marketing strategies that you can implement to grow your practice.

New ALM Report Says Small Firms Investing in Big Marketing

A new report from ALM Legal Intelligence entitled, Small Firms, Big Marketing reveals that small and mid-sized law firms (40-200 attorneys) have upped their investments in marketing because of a belief that effective marketing is mandatory for a firm to succeed.

The survey was commissioned by J. Johnson Executive Search, Inc., and relies on data collected from 90 small and midsized firms in the U.S – 42% of responses were from firms with 40-75 attorneys and 58% were from firms of more than 76 attorneys.

Some key findings from the survey:

  • 90% of responding firms said they had a dedicated marketing team in place
  • 75% said marketing was critical to winning new business
  • 54% use marketing for research and client feedback
  • Marketing is key not only for obtaining new clients but also for retaining existing clients
  • 75% of firm management says marketing is a critical piece in winning new business
  • Spending on outsourced marketing functions increased 44% in 2013 and is expected to rise in 2014

Firms justify their investment in marketing in the following ways:

The firms surveyed found these 10 marketing tactics to be the most effective for their firms:

The full report is available free for download here.

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FREE Online Seminar:  Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Join Stephen Fairley for a free 60-minute legal marketing webinar: Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, where you will learn...

A proven legal marketing system that has helped 10,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients.

Step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

Effective strategies to win clients in today's hyper-competitive online focused marketplace.

Creating a marketing plan for your law firm is the first step in building a foundation for a profitable future.  During this complimentary webinar, learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client 
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
 
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
 
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
 
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
 
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
 
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
 
  • What is critical to have in place for today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

Stephen will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

There are several sessions of this free webinar scheduled; you can choose what works best for you from the drop-down menu when you click on the following link to register online for our FREE Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan online seminar.

Tweet Success: 7 Tips to Master Twitter

If you are still trying to wrap your head around how to use Twitter, here are 7 tips that can take you from newbie to master quickly:

1.  Take a different approach to a trending topic.  The most effective tweets are those that provide a unique take on something that is already trending on Twitter.  After you sign in to your Twitter feed, click on the Discover link at the top right to see what is trending right now (David Letterman’s retirement is today’s big topic).  You can customize Trends for your geographical area by clicking Change in your Trends box.

2.  Optimize your Twitter profile.  Use a photo and remember that Twitter followers tend to follow a person, not a company. 

3.  Sync your Twitter account with your Facebook and Gmail accounts to find the Twitter accounts of people you know.  Then follow them.  This will usually get them to follow you back and to share your content.

4.  Use lots of photos and video.  These get more attention on Twitter.

5.  Focus on quality, not quantity.  You want people who are interested in you and your legal services so you can use Twitter as another means of forging a more meaningful relationship.

6.  Engage with the people who share your content by sending them a direct message, adding them to your follower list and retweeting some of their tweets. 

7.  Keep tabs on your Twitter stats so you can see how your marketing strategies are working.  The stats will tell you how many people engaged with your tweets, how many clicked on the link, and more useful information.

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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 in our 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days series: The 4th Key-Position Yourself as A Specialist, Not a Generalist.

Client Loyalty Begins With Listening

I read a piece in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago that has really stuck with me.  Entitled, A Simple Way to Earn Client Loyalty, the story goes like this:

A husband and wife in their 60s was referred to a financial adviser by their insurance company.  They were interested in purchasing additional life insurance to cover the mortgage on a new property they’d recently purchased so the wife could keep it if the husband died.

Instead of just emailing them an answer and collecting his commission, the adviser set up a meeting with the couple to see how the potential purchase fit into their larger financial plan. 

When he met with them, he discovered that the retired couple was living largely off the husband’s pension – and that the pension had no survivorship rights.  If something happened to the husband, the wife would only have Social Security to fall back on for her living expenses.

The adviser recommended the couple buy enough life insurance to cover the second property mortgage and the potential loss of the pension income.  What was going to be a $100,000 insurance sale turned into a $400,000 insurance sale, and the adviser now likely has a client for life as well as a good referral source.

This tale illustrates the fact that client loyalty begins with listening, then digging deeper to get the whole picture of a potential client’s needs and taking the time to talk with them about how you can help.

Attorneys are, as a group, notoriously gregarious, but you need to learn how to listen carefully if you hope to retain clients and successfully cultivate referral sources.  Take a page from this financial adviser’s book and look for ways to provide added value beyond what the prospect’s initial problem may be, and you too will start collecting clients for life.

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FREE REPORT:  8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter
  • And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

Lead Generation for Lawyers: How to Discover the Sources of Your Best Quality Leads

When you sign a new client, do you know the path that led them to you? 

If not, then how can you hope to repeat your successes in getting new clients if you don’t know what you are doing right?

By examining the ways that new clients come to you, you will be able to unveil the lead generation strategies that are – and are not – working for your firm as well as reveal referral sources you probably weren’t’ even aware that you had.

Take these steps to discover the sources of your best quality leads:

Ask at intake.  When someone calls your office, one of the first questions your staff should be asking is how they found you.  If the answer is they discovered you on the Internet, ask them what search terms they used.  If they saw an ad, ask them where.  If they say that someone referred them, ask them who.  

Track each lead.  Create a spreadsheet that lists all your leads and how they came to you.  You want to be able to see quickly the pattern that emerges on what is working for you and what you need to change.

Track each touch.  On your lead generation spreadsheet, track each touch with a prospect and specify the method – i.e., phone call, email, letter, etc. 

Scrutinize the data.  Examine your spreadsheet to see which activities are generating the best quality leads for you as well as the ones that aren’t working (no one is responding or the wrong prospects are being attracted).

Track your investment.  Track the cost – money and time – for each of your lead generation activities so you can get a handle on the ROI for each one.

Get feedback.  Ask your clients to provide you with feedback on your services and if they would be willing to be a referral source for you.

After taking these steps, you should be able to see what you’re doing right and be able to put your time and money against those lead generation efforts that are bringing you your best quality leads.

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now.

Top 3 Legal Marketing Questions from the NYC Rainmaker Retreat

Our March Rainmaker Retreat in New York City last week raised three great questions about legal marketing that apply to all attorneys; here they are with my answers:

1.  Why is stating something like “we focus on quality” not a powerful unique competitive advantage (UCA)?

The reason this statement fails to differentiate your firm is because no individual goes out and looks for an attorney who doesn’t offer quality services. Stating the firm focuses on quality services, years of experience, free consultations or customer service are all things that people looking to hire an attorney consider standard and expect a firm to offer.

A perfect example of an industry that has not caught on to the idea of really differentiating is the banking industry. I bet you have driven down the highway and seen a bank billboard that states “FREE CHECKING.” This is a total waste of money -- nearly everyone “expects” free checking because all banks offer it and it’s a standard. Years ago this was a unique competitive advantage and now it’s not.

Don’t fall into the “me too” category where you claim to offer or be just like all the other attorneys out there. If you do this, you will be viewed as a commodity and commodities are always purchased on price.

A few easy ways to do this is to focus your unique competitive advantage around:

Benefits: What benefits do individuals receive when working with you or the firm?

90% of all our estate plans are written and finalized in 90 days

Value: What value do individuals receive when working with you or the firm?

We have successfully negotiated with 1,000 insurance companies to ensure our clients get the most money possible

Results: Highlight the results you have gotten for past clients.

We have successfully protected over $100 million of assets in the last 5 years (use numbers when possible)

Solutions: Talk about creative solutions the firm has used to solve legal issues.

2.  Why can’t I list many practice areas on my website?  Won’t I miss the opportunity to get more clients?

This is a question we get all the time. Attorneys and many other professionals have the same knee-jerk reaction when I say that focusing on a niche is key if you want to build a lifestyle law firm and build more credibility in your community.

They believe if they “specialize” they will lose revenue!

But the truth is people don’t want to work with a generalist.

Think about it, if your son or daughter had cancer would you take him/her to a general family doctor? NO!!! You would find the best pediatric oncologist in order to ensure your child got the best treatment possible.

The same principle applies for attorneys. From a prospect’s position, their legal matter is the most grave and unique legal situation that ever existed and they will only trust an individual who “specializes” in the area of law they need help with.

Of course it is OK to have more than one practice area (and if you work for a large firm there will be more), but when you market you must present yourself as an attorney who focuses on a “niche” -- two to three at the most.

Remember this: “Niches lead to riches!”

That being said, please remember you can pick a niche that is too small! So be conscious when you decide on your niche.

Lastly, if you tell people you can help them with any legal matter, you shoot potential referral sources in the foot because they now believe you are a competitor!

3.  So if I use social media I’ll start getting clients?

The goal of social media is not to directly sign up clients, although this can happen, but I caution you not to believe this is typical and standard.

The goal of social media is to engage with individuals in meaningful ways and drive them off the social media platform to your website or blog.

It is then the job of your website/blog to continue to move the visitor to the next step.

Regardless if that is calling the firm to set an appointment, to download a free report or to sign up for an e-newsletter, it is the role of your website/blog.

Too many individuals use social media platforms to sell, sell, sell. We have all experienced this before and it is very off-putting. You must educate and engage with your prospects in a way that is meaningful to them on these platforms and drive them to your website/blog where you continue to educate them, set yourself apart from all the other attorneys and gain credibility.

Marketing is a long term process and it is a big mistake to believe you will set up a Facebook fan page, a Twitter profile, a LinkedIn account, a YouTube channel today and get a flood of calls tomorrow.

The Rainmaker Institute gets a large percentage of our monthly leads from social media platforms, but it did not happen overnight. We had to be patient and consistent. Had we given up simply because we did not see a return immediately, we would now be missing out on thousands of leads every year.

The return of your dollars and time only comes after you use socially media persistently, consistently, effectively and correctly.

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Early Bird Pricing for San Antonio Rainmaker Retreat Ends April 6

When it comes to marketing your law firm, do you wish you could just say, "there's an app for that"?

We don't have an app, but we do have a good solution.

It's called the Rainmaker Retreat, our two-day marketing boot camp.

Click Here to learn more about our upcoming retreats:

San Antonio, TX

Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26

Las Vegas, NV

Friday, May 30 & Saturday, May 31

The Rainmaker Retreat is where we teach lawyers how they can increase the number of clients they have, doubling their income and yet working less.

But don't take my word for it, listen to one of your colleagues who attended a Rainmaker Retreat:

"Even though my firm is ahead of the average law firm with respect to tech-savvy techniques, the Rainmaker Retreat offered cutting edge tips to launch our marketing strategies to all new levels." - Jo-Ann, Esq.

We strictly limit the number of people for each event so that everyone gets personal attention in a more intimate environment.

If you register for the San Antonio Rainmaker Retreat by this Sunday, April 6, you will qualify for the Early Bird discount: $200 off!

Learn more by calling 888-588-5891 or at www.RainmakerRetreat.com

How B2B Law Firms Can Develop a Great Referral Network

Building a great referral network begins by identifying the people who already have a relationship with the people you want as clients. 

For example, if you target small business owners, you would look for those who already have a relationship with small business owners. These could be accountants, financial planners, local bankers, CPA’s, commercial real estate agents, etc.

So how do you build a referral network with them?

One of our clients developed his referral network by sending out a letter to 75-80 targeted professionals that basically said:

“Hello, I’m Jack Smith with XYZ Law Firm.  We know that competition for professional service advisors is getting more and more intense with more people entering the field.  We are building a cross referral network with other trusted advisors who are experts in their field.

Over the last 15 years we’ve been practicing law, we have really focused our practice on working with small business owners and high net worth individuals on estate planning, wills and trusts and asset protection.

Through a series of breakfast meetings and private meetings at our office, we’re going to build a cross referral network with a limited number of other professionals who are committed to growing their practice and sending cross referrals.

We’re not looking for any kind of a fee for facilitating this network, but we would like to officially invite you to check it out and see if this is something you’d like to support.

For more information, give us a call at this number or visit our website to learn more about our practice.”

From this mailing, our client got a group of about 25 going.  They get together about once a month and send referrals to each other on a regular basis.

Existing clients are also a good source for you and your referral partners.  If you partner with a CPA or financial planner, each of you would send a letter out to your respective client databases offering a free consultation on behalf of the other as an added benefit of being a valued client.



Co-sponsoring an event or a seminar series is another excellent way to build relationships with strategic referral partners.  Technology makes it easy and inexpensive for an attorney and another professional to host a webinar or teleseminar on topics of interest to small business owners. 

Your local bank branch is another source waiting to be tapped.  Offer your services as an expert speaker for a small business seminar that the bank could host – they do all the work in setting it up and getting an audience.  You now have a room full of prospective clients and all you had to spend was some time preparing your remarks.

Professionals are always looking for good strategic referral partners.  You can ensure that you’re a good partner by educating them about who you are, what you do, the kind of clients you target and the great service you provide.  Reciprocity is the key:  to get referrals, you have to give them, too.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

3 Steps to Help You Stop Competing on Price

The last economic downturn had a sobering effect on legal pricing; add to that the proliferation of online legal services and many attorneys are facing a fee dilemma of epidemic proportions.

Even with those things that are beyond your control, you need to realize that the basis of most legal pricing problems comes down to chasing the wrong prospects.  And that is something you can control.

Casting a wide net for clients without applying any targeting criteria is dangerous because sometimes it works. The clients you get by doing this are inevitably those that will pound you on price and beat up on your staff as well. 

If you choose to compete only on price, your fees have exactly one way to go:  down.

So how can you target the right client that will allow you to charge what you’re worth? Here are three quick steps:

Create an ideal client profile -- Think in terms of age, profession, gender, education, interests, marital status, family size, hobbies, and lifestyle. If you’ve had clients you consider ideal, what did they share in common that made them an ideal client for you?

Communicate your target – Educate everyone in your firm as well as your referral sources about what an ideal client is for your practice.

Have a qualifying process – Before you sign on a new client, put them through a qualifying process that educates them about how you work, what they can expect, how you charge and what is expected of them. If they balk, they’re not a good fit.

Once you start attracting your ideal client, you’ll be able to charge what you are worth and stop worrying about competing on price.

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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.

Lead Conversion: How Fast is Your Follow-Up?

Those of you who have already attended a Rainmaker Retreat, our two-day law firm marketing intensive workshop, are familiar with the importance of fast follow-up when it comes to lead conversion. 

Stephen Fairley often cites a study that shows leads can go from hot to cold is just five minutes.  In addition, a study on the lifespan of sales leads conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that leads contacted within one hour are 7 times more likely to be converted than if the contact was two hours later – and 60 times more likely to be converted than if the contact was 24 hours later.

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 rates.

If you want to learn more about this process, we offer a free marketing strategy session for attorneys – see below for details.

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FREE Law Firm Marketing Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor

Want to discover proven marketing strategies that top law firms are using right now to generate more leads and referrals and convert them into paying clients?

Don’t understand social media or have time for it, but know that your law firm marketing program desperately needs to include it?

Please give us a call at 888-588-5891 or click here to sign up for a free one-on-one Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor who will listen to your specific marketing challenges. 

The Rainmaker Advisors are handpicked and trained to identify marketing strategies that you can implement to grow your practice.

8 Tips to Help Your Law Firm Stand Out in Local Search

The majority of people who need a lawyer look for one that is close to where they live.  This is why local search is so important when it comes to marketing your law firm online.  Here are 8 tips you can deploy to ensure your firm shows up well in local search results:

1.  Find the right keywords.  You must use the same keywords people use when they search online.  If you are a divorce attorney in Des Moines, then your main keywords should be: divorce attorney des moines.  Also divorce lawyer des moines.  Research and use the right keywords for your target market.

2.  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.  Your content should also reference your geographic location, but don’t overdo it – loading your content with keywords is a big no-no these days.

3.  List your firm on Google Places for Business and Google+ Local

4.  List your firm on local directories.  Tip #3 covers Google, but you also need to get your firm listed on Yahoo Local, Bing and review sites like Yelp and other review websites.

5.  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.

6.  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.  One thing you should never do is fake a review or testimonial. If they sound too glowing or like you wrote them, it will do much more harm than good. 

7.  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.

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

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Get More Proven Legal Marketing Strategies FREE from The Rainmaker Institute

One click of your mouse will take you to our website where you can see the current issue and subscribe to our complimentary monthly e-newsletter that will be delivered to your inbox every month. 

Each issue is chock-full of legal marketing information you can put to use right away and share with your staff to maximize the effectiveness of your legal marketing plan.  Click here now to subscribe to The Rainmaker Institute Law Firm Marketing Newsletter

What is Content Marketing and How Can You Master It?

Content marketing is the latest buzzword for what we at the Rainmaker Institute have been teaching for years:  creating and sharing content (words, pictures, videos) to aid in client acquisition.

And while you may be brilliant at crafting legal arguments to win a point, there is an art to crafting content that speaks to people in need of your services and attracting them to your firm.

A recent article on Entrepreneur.com took some words of wisdom from five top content marketers that provide some insight on how to excel at content marketing:

1.  Over-invest in high quality content.  There is seemingly no limit to the amount of legal content on the Internet these days, and the proliferation of this content means yours has to be better to get attention.  So stop doing what everyone else is doing and look for ways to stand out with landing pages, interactive infographics, videos and other attention-grabbers.

2.  Include SEO best practices.  Hone in on the keywords that are driving traffic to your website right now and dig deeper for keywords you aren’t targeting yet that have potential to attract more visitors.  Then use these to build high quality content around.

3.  Be a great storyteller.  In a hyper-competitive market for a reader’s attention, it’s the great stories that get read and shared.  Have a great hook to pull those readers in, and be sure your story has a satisfying end that is worthy of the build-up.

4.  Deliver data in new ways.  Humans are visual beings, so if you can deliver your data visually in an engaging way – through an online slide show or interactive visualization – you are likely to see better results than if you just convey your messaging in words.

5.  Answer your prospects’ questions.  Don’t beat your head against a wall trying to come up with great ideas for content.  Instead, look to your clients and answer their top 10, 20 or 30 questions.  By doing this, you can position yourself as an authority and provide information your potential clients are actually seeking.

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New! Free Report: Building a Lifestyle Law Firm: Keeping Your Perspective (Part 1)

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: Keeping Your Perspective (Part 1).

How To Differentiate Your Law Firm Online

The legal profession as a whole is slow to adapt to new technologies, and it really wasn’t that long ago that lawyers could stand out online simply by having a basic website.  However, that is no longer the case in 2014. 

So how do you build a credible online reputation for your firm while differentiating yourself from competitors?  Here are some tips:

Zero in on your ideal clients. Don't make the common mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. People don't want to work with a generalist; they want a specialist because, to them, they have a very specific need.

Give website visitors a reason to visit you. Offer an incentive for paying you a visit.  Most firms already offer a free consultation, so that’s a given these days.  What more can you offer?  A free report?  A robust FAQ section that provides education on specific legal issues that goes beyond the obvious?  You may even want to think about partnering with another local business to offer something of value – just make sure it is something that appeals to your target market.

Landing pages for each practice area. Again, focus is key here. For example, a personal injury lawyer may have a practice specific landing page for: pedestrian accidents, construction accidents, dog bites, and automobile accidents.

Create content that speaks your target’s language. Writing for your target market online is not the same as writing a legal brief.  Hire a professional copywriter who has experience writing for law firms.

Submit articles to online directories. Post helpful articles on legal directory sites like Avvo and JD Supra, sites that spend much more than you are ever likely to invest to drive traffic to their sites.  Use their marketing muscle to expose your expertise to potential clients.

Blog!  Adding a blog to your website not only helps you with SEO (since you are adding fresh content to your site regularly), but it also helps visitors to your site gain insight into how you practice and your level of expertise.

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NEW “Rainmaker Retreat: Unplugged”
DVD Set Now Available!

The 6 DVD set is a live recording of the Rainmaker Retreat, a 2-day legal marketing intensive led by legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley that covers over 65 proven online and offline marketing and business development strategies for law firms.

You will discover:

  • Lead Generation Techniques: how to generate more leads from the Internet, social media and blogs.
  • Lead Conversion Techniques: a proven system to track incoming leads and improve your conversion rates to turn more of those prospects into paying clients.
  • Client Retention Techniques: specific tools to double your referrals and to help you with “Building a Lifestyle Law Firm®”
  • Engaging activities to help you identify your ideal target market so you can powerfully market to them.
  • Over 65 PROVEN online and offline legal marketing strategies.

Click here now to order Rainmaker Retreat: Unplugged.

How to Choose the Right Social Media Networks for Your Law Practice

One of the most common questions I get from attorneys is how to identify the right social media networks for their practices.  Frankly, it’s not that hard.

The most important thing in identifying the right social media platform is to know your target market.   If you don’t know that, then any marketing you are doing anywhere is just a shot in the dark. 

Once you know the characteristics of your market, you can then focus on the social media networks that do the best job of reaching that audience.  Here are demographic breakdowns on the most popular social networks from the Pew Reseach Center from their 2013 Social Media Report:

If your market is business-to-business, then you want to have a robust presence on LinkedIn.  If you market to consumers, then Facebook is your best bet.  If you want to go after a female clientele, then be sure you have some presence on Pinterest. 

Once you have done the necessary homework on knowing your prospect inside and out, then it’s much easier to find the best places to reach them. 

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FREE Online Seminar:  Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Join Stephen Fairley for a free 60-minute legal marketing webinar: Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, where you will learn...

A proven legal marketing system that has helped 10,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients.

Step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

Effective strategies to win clients in today's hyper-competitive online focused marketplace.

Creating a marketing plan for your law firm is the first step in building a foundation for a profitable future.  During this complimentary webinar, learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client 
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
 
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
 
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
 
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
 
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
 
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
 
  • What is critical to have in place for today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

Stephen will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

There are several sessions of this free webinar scheduled; you can choose what works best for you from the drop-down menu when you click on the following link to register online for our FREE Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan online seminar.

Improving Your Law Firm's Internet Lead Conversion Rates [VIDEO]

A couple of days ago I was interviewed again by LawMarketing.com Editor-in-Chief Cindy Greenway in our continuing series on lead generation and lead conversion strategies for lawyers.

If you haven’t watched the first two interviews, I suggest you do that now – here and here.

What I recently discovered from a study done of more than two million Internet-generated leads will shock most of you:  this study found that the length of time that an Internet-generated lead (email, sign-up, live chat, request for info from a website) went from hot to cold was 5 minutes.

That’s right.  Only five minutes!

What this means is, if you don’t have an automated process already in place to respond immediately to your Internet leads, you lose your best opportunity for converting that lead into a client.

How do I know this?  That same study found that companies with an automated process in place to respond quickly to these leads increased their lead conversion rates a whopping 300%

Another way to up your conversion rate?  Don’t have an attorney follow up!  I know you want to, you intend to, but the fact is,  you usually don’t.  Have a dedicated staff person follow up and set that appointment, and make sure they call back more than once if they don’t make a connection the first time.

Here’s my full interview with Cindy:

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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.

National Law Review Magazine editor 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.

Are You Overlooking a Great Social Media Marketing Tool?

Many law firms have a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profile and the savvy firms are actually publishing some great content and engaging with audiences of prospects and referral sources.  When someone Googles your firm, those social media sites are likely to be among the first results that pop up.

But remember, people buy from people they know, like and trust.  So it’s even likelier that instead of Googling the name of your firm, they could be searching under one of your attorney’s names or another person at your firm.

And that brings us to an often overlooked social media marketing tool: your employees!

No matter what the roles of the people at your firm, all employees should be mindful of how they are representing your firm online.  While you can’t really dictate what they should put on their profiles, you can encourage them to:

Create quality profiles.  Hopefully your employees are proud of where they work, so letting them know how they can help the firm by maintaining a high quality profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks makes sense.  Offer them consistent language to use in their profiles that reflect your firm’s branding strategy, and ask them to include links to your firm website and blog.  Have them post professional photos, especially on LinkedIn.

Share valuable content.  You and your employees should always be engaging your connections with valuable content, whether that is a position paper from your firm or something relevant to your clients and prospects from a third party source. 

Keep building your networks.  When you take on a new client, ask to connect with them online.  Do the same with referral sources and prospects, but be sure you actually know them.  Relevance matters when it comes to your connections, even more than size.

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Proven Strategies to Win More Clients for Family Law, Personal Injury and Estate Planning Attorneys

Does this sound like you?

You spend thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to generate more business for your law firm. And still you end up with less business than you hoped. You’ve put “get more clients” at the top of your list, but have no time to do anything about it.

If someone calls your office and doesn’t make an appointment, what happens to them?

What if they don’t show up for the appointment?

What if they show up and don’t retain you?

What if they want to retain you and you never hear from them again?

If you answered, “I don’t know” or “We leave a message,” then this on-demand seminar is for you. Register online to receive the Proven Strategies to Win More Clients seminar, where you will learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • 3 steps for turning more leads into appointments
  • 5 ways to increase your “show up” rates
  • 4 ways to get more appointments to sign up this week
  • What to do when a prospect doesn’t sign up at the initial consultation

Lead Conversion is one of the most overlooked areas at consumer law firms. You spend tens of thousands of dollars every year trying to generate more leads…yet virtually nothing to ensure you convert the maximum amount of those leads into paying clients!

Lead conversion is the 5-stage process of converting more prospects into paying clients and turning more browsers into buyers. Over the last decade, The Rainmaker Institute has become a national leader in assisting consumer law firms to rapidly and dramatically increase their conversion rates.

We have worked with all types of consumer law firms to help them double and even triple their conversion rates within 3-6 months.

If you want to double your revenues this year there are 2 ways you can do it: either double the amount of leads you get each month or double your conversion rates!

Click here now for this on-demand seminar and discover how attorneys just like you are doubling their revenues by converting more of their costly leads into more paying clients!

What's In a Name? Maybe a New Client. 7 Tips for Remembering Names

A famous quote has it that, “The sweetest sound to anyone's ears is the sound of his own name.” Funny that people who quote this don’t know the name of the person who said it:  Robert C. Lee, an author of books for children and young adults.

It’s often quoted because it’s true.  We all want to be memorable.  And it’s important to remember the names of those you meet at networking events since they could be potential new clients.

Here, from Entrepreneur.com, are 7 tips to help you better remember the names of those you meet:

1.  Pay attention.  This sounds silly, but often we meet someone and pay little attention to his or her name.  Maybe you’re introduced to a group all at once, or someone introduces themselves and then jumps right to the conversation.  Try as hard as you can to listen to the name of the person you just met.

2.  Say the name out loud as soon as possible.  Repeat the name to yourself and then say it out loud to the person you just met: “It’s nice to meet you, Shelley.”  Then repeat the name to yourself again.  After your conversation, use their name again: “I look forward to hearing from you, Shelley.”

3.  Make a comment on the name.  “Do you spell ‘Shelley’ with a ‘y’ or an ‘I’?”

4.  Associate the name with something meaningful.  If you know someone else named Shelley, tie them together in your mind by picturing them standing next to each other.

5.  Form an association.  If Shelley is short, remember short Shelley.  Bob Brown has brown hair. 

6.  Keep looking at the person’s card or nametag.  As you speak with the person, glance at their nametag or business card as you chat.  This will help you associate the name with the face.  After the conversation is over, make some quick notes on the back of the business card.

7.   Get the app.  Yes, there is an app for helping you remember names:  Namerick.

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FREE Report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make it a priority to cultivate more referral sources.  Cultivating referral sources is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

This new free report by national law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley can get you started.

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

  • How to identify the referral sources who have relationships with the people you want as clients.
  • How to start the relationship
  • How to build a referral network
  • How to make your referral network successful
  • …And much, much more!

Click on this link now to get your free report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources. 

How to Drive the Snakes Out of Your Social Media Marketing

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and legend has it that this 5th century Irish missionary and bishop drove all the snakes out of Ireland after they attacked him while he was undertaking a 40-day fast.

However, this interesting legend has largely been disproved by modern-day science that shows Ireland most probably never had any snakes in the first place!

If your social media marketing program is not performing to your standards, perhaps it’s time for you to drive out a few snakes.  These mistakes can be poisonous to any social media plan:

No social media brand guidelines.  Have you established guidelines for how your law firm brand will be controlled online?  You need to determine who will be responsible for updating, posting and monitoring all your social media platforms, how often you will post, what kind of content you will post, the types of images to be used and a distinct voice for your brand online.

No engagement.  Do you broadcast your social media messages rather than engage directly with your friends and followers?  Social media is a conversation, and if it’s all one-way (your way), no one will be compelled to follow you.

No schedule.  You need to create a regular schedule for your posts and stick to it.  Social media is a habit, and if you don’t feed this habit, your followers are likely to forget about you.

No strategy.  You need to establish social media goals and use those to drive your messaging, rather than relying on a “spur of the moment” posting strategy.

No response.  You should respond to everyone who asks you a question or posts a comment, and you should do it quickly.  This is another reason it is imperative to have a designated person actively monitoring the social media networks where you are active.

No tracking.  There should be business reasons why you are participating in social media, and you should be tracking against these goals to see if you are reaching your desired outcome.  Remember a key rule of marketing in any medium: if it matters, it should be measured.

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New On Demand Webinar:  How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn

The Rainmaker Institute’s business development specialist Alec Borenstein is featured on this online webinar that is now available on demand:  From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.

Most attorneys already have a profile on LinkedIn, but very few know how to effectively use it to build a powerful referral network. With over 238 million professionals on LinkedIn, it has become one of the easiest ways to rapidly identify strategic contacts and build relationships with them!

In this advanced, information-packed 60-minute webinar you’ll learn:

  • How to generate targeted connections using LinkedIn
  • How to join and create LinkedIn groups to target your key referral sources and clients
  • Tools to land 2-4 lunches every month with your connections and referral partners
  • What to say during these meetings to ensure prospects remember you
  • How to follow up after your LinkedIn lunch

Click on this link now to access the one-hour webinar, From LinkedIn to Lunch: How to Create Leads and Referral Sources on LinkedIn.

 

Google+ Best Practices for Business

Did you know that Google+ is now the second largest social network?  Yep, only Facebook is bigger. 

This, coupled with the fact that those actively involved in Google+ perform better in Google search, is the reason you need to integrate Google+ into your social media marketing for your law firm.

LawMarketing.com put on a really interesting seminar last week on how lawyers can use Google+ to market their firms and gave away a book written by two attorneys that has gotten rave reviews on Amazon:  Google+ for Lawyers.  You can download it to your Kindle or other reader for only 3 bucks.

The infographic below from Milestone Internet also has some basic tips on best practices for using Google+ for your business:

How to Use Google+ for Business

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FREE Law Firm Marketing Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor

Having an online presence is a must for attorneys who want to effectively market and grow their firms. 

It should be no secret that the Internet is one of the most cost effective lead sources for attorneys today. Even if a portion of your client base includes referrals, you can be sure that they are checking you out on the Web before they give you a call.

But how do you know you are going about it the right way?

Please give us a call at 888-588-5891 or click here to sign up for a free one-on-one Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor who will listen to your specific marketing challenges. 

The Rainmaker Advisors are handpicked and trained to identify marketing strategies that you can implement to grow your practice.

The #1 Way to Stay Top of Mind With Referral Sources & Clients

As I wrote yesterday, staying connected with referral sources and clients you want to hire you again and again is imperative.  In my experience over the past decade of working with more than 10,00 attorneys, I’ve found one simple solution that will help you achieve this goal without much effort or expense on your part:

A Simple Solution – Newsletters

One of the easiest, and most overlooked, tools in your arsenal is creating and distributing a monthly newsletter. This is an easy way for you to reach out to your entire network at the same time and to keep your name and your firm in their mind.

Firstly, when I say newsletter, I mean an electronic newsletter. Like all contact in today’s age, newsletters have gone digital. This is an obvious solution for several reasons:

No Print Costs – Since this is a digital only product, you can send it out to a never-ending list of contacts (just make sure they opt-in). There is no cost associated with the digital format.

It Establishes a Dialogue – When someone receives something in print, they need to take a few extra steps to contact the advertiser. With the Internet, consumers are able to respond instantaneously to digital communications. Most email marketing companies make it easy to provide links to email and social media. The easier you make it for a contact to share information, the more likely they will share it.

It’s Easy to Track – With email marketing companies like Constant Contact and Vertical Response, they will make tracking your effectiveness simple. They know who opened your email, who opted out, who clicked through. It’s an easy way for you to find out if the newsletter is working.

Keeping Them Informed – With a newsletter, you can include information about other marketing highlights you want to share. Did someone just get an award? Did a case just settle? Did someone new join the firm? Consider doing a profile on a different employee each month. It’s another way for your contacts to feel more connected to the firm.

Keep in Touch – Use the newsletter to keep in touch with former clients. It will reinforce the positive impression you had on them and ensure that you are top of mind if a new issue arises. The more people you have on the list, the further your reach. There is a direct correlation between the size of your contact database and the size of your bank account. Make sure that you have a system in place to capture all contacts – prospects, clients, referrals, leads, etc.

Educate Your Clients – If you handled my divorce, then I may not think of you when it comes time to hire an estate planning attorney. That isn’t my fault though, it’s yours. I didn’t know that you are also an estate planning attorney. When I think about you, I think divorce. Make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. Your past, current and future clients and referral sources need to know about all your practice areas. A newsletter is a good way for them to learn that you are knowledgeable on more than one topic. Don’t let them put you in a box.

By sharing pertinent information with your network of contacts, you will ensure that you are at the top of their mind. The more valuable and relevant you make the information, the more positively they will think of you and your firm. By giving them information that is relevant to their legal needs or industry, then they will see you as a constant asset to them. It is a long road of small interactions, but by focusing on creating a solid relationship with your network you will benefit in the end.

There are a growing number of skeptics in the marketing world, who question the effectiveness of email marketing. Whenever a law firm comes to me and tells me that they’ve issued newsletters, but pigeonholed them as ineffective, I know they’re doing something wrong.

Here are 4 cardinal mistakes that you need to avoid:

1.  Not sending the newsletter frequently enough – an annual newsletter isn’t enough;

2.  Your newsletter is too long – people are busy, get to the point;

3.  Not checking the effectiveness of the newsletter; and

4.  The worst sin of all, running promotional, uninformative content.

The benefits are obvious and the risks nearly non-existent. I highly recommend you start your monthly e-newsletter campaign as soon as possible.

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FREE REPORT:  8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

The cost benefits of an e-newsletter

  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter
  • And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

Getting Referrals & Repeats: How to Stay Connected to Your Network

Intuitively, we all know that when we’re off the radar, we’re not on our clients’ minds. At the same time, every attorney knows that referrals and returning clients are some of their strongest sources of business. So, how do you stay connected? How do you stay on their radar?

I will begin with a well-known marketing principle – the Law of 7 Touches. Under this theory of thought, it takes seven meaningful touches to make a lasting impression on someone. In today’s marketplace of over access to everything, we may, in fact, need more than seven touches.

Look at Twitter – it is a constant stream of updating statuses. One tweet is irrelevant 10 minutes – or in some cases one minute – later. The world – and your prospect – has moved on to the next latest blurb. In this overly saturated world, the marketing world has accepted that this number is now somewhere around 12.

Defining Meaningful

So what differentiates between a meaningful touch and a normal, entirely unremarkable touch? Running through a networking event and talking at everyone for a moment is not sufficient. You need to make a lasting positive impression at least 12 times to remain relevant in the eyes of your prospective client or prospective referral source.

Here are some easy and meaningful ways to reach out to your network:

  • Host a seminar and invite contacts to attend.
  • Call up your former clients and check in with them; see how they’re doing.
  • Attend a local networking event and make a point to listen to other attorneys.
  • Attend a networking event in the industry you serve – ask attendees questions about their needs, their concerns, etc.
  • Schedule lunch with an old referral contact and catch up.
  • If you see some information on a topic of interest to a client or colleague, forward it on.

Tomorrow I’ll discuss the one easiest, most cost effective way that attorneys can stay in touch with your network.

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now

3 Steps to Build Your Legal Brand Online

For most attorneys, reputation is everything.  Back in the day, attorneys gained their reputations primarily through word-of-mouth and personal interaction.  Today, building a reputation must contain an online element since this is where most people gather and interact in the 21st century.

Here are three steps that will help you build your legal brand online:

1.  Own your niche.  To own a niche online, you have to produce rich content and share it constantly.  And it is much easier to build your brand in a select niche than it is to stand out in a huge market like “attorneys”.   Like Stephen always says, “it’s the niches that lead to riches.”  Even online, it’s important for you to focus on your geographic region so you are able to niche your practice in an area that can provide living, breathing clients for your practice.

2.  Nurture your contacts.  Once you’ve started to build an online audience, it’s important for you to focus effort on nurturing them.  Find the places online where your target market is hanging out, then go there and connect with them.  LinkedIn Groups are great for identifying captive audiences of potential followers and referral sources.  Use that rich content you are providing online to help the members of your groups solve their problems.

3.  Engage.  When people post a comment to a blog post or online article, take the time to engage with them.  Take your current contact list – the people you already know – and find them online, then engage with them there – friend on Facebook, follow on Twitter, endorse on LinkedIn.  If you give a speech or attend a conference, be sure to collect business cards from the people you meet there and start interacting with those new contacts online.

These steps will take some time and effort on your part, but the rewards in terms of referrals and leads will be well worth it.

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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.

Happy 25th Anniversary to the Internet!

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Internet, and a new Pew Research report on Internet usage in the U.S. has just been released to coincide with the occasion.

A bit of background:  the World Wide Web was first proposed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee on March 12, 1989, in a paper he wrote about an information management system that eventually evolved into the architectural and conceptual structure for the Internet.  He released computer code for the new system on Christmas Day in 1990 – what a gift!

It was just 19 years ago that only about 14% of Americans used the Internet; today that number is 87% overall.  Here is the breakdown for Internet usage among American adults by important demographic groups:

In just 25 years, the Internet has caused a fundamental shift in how we communicate and do business.  Just think of the way we find information:  we no longer use dictionaries or phone books or really anything in print, we just Google it.  And this has brought a revolution to the legal profession in the way you market your services.

Truly understanding all the new avenues that the Internet provides your business is my business.  I write this blog to provide attorneys with tons of free legal marketing information, and I teach how to apply that knowledge at our monthly Rainmaker Retreat law firm marketing seminars across the country.

We just added a new date for April in San Antonio; here are the current upcoming Rainmaker Retreat sessions:

March 27-28, 2014 – New York City

April 25-26, 2014 – San Antonio, TX

For more information or to register online, visit www.rainmakerretreat.com or call us at 888-588-5891.  Early registrants get special discounts.

Take Timing Into Consideration With Your Email Marketing

Experian Marketing Services recently released its 2013 Q4 Email Benchmark Report that showed a continuing trend from previous reports on how timing your email marketing can have a real impact on response rates.

The report looked at two variables:  time of day and day of the week.  Regarding time of day, the report found that emails sent during off-peak hours, when email volume is typically at its lowest, results in better response rates.  This chart provides an in-depth look into that phenomenon:

If you look at an email inbox as another marketing medium where you have others competing for the recipient’s attention, then it makes perfect sense that you will get noticed if there is less competition for your message.  According to Experian, then, the best times to send would be between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.  Emails sent between 8 p.m. and midnight enjoyed the highest open rate, unique click rate, transaction rate and revenue per email. 

Looking at days of the week, Experian found that emails sent on weekends performed best in terms of open and click rates:

The Experian report did include disclaimers about the data, noting that it is retrospective and not a controlled study – and that individual results may vary when it comes to timing data.  What this means is that these findings are not a substitute for doing your own email marketing testing to see when your unique audience responds best to your emails. 

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FREE REPORT:  8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

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

  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter
  • And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

How to Write Blog Posts People Actually Want to Read

The purpose of having a blog is to foster an online dialogue with prospects, clients and referral sources so that when they need someone who does what you do, they will think of your first.  Drawing people into your conversation requires you to often step outside your comfort zone, since most attorneys write the way they were trained to do in law school.

But when it comes to writing blog posts that people actually want to read, that just doesn’t cut it.

The most important thing to remember when writing for those who don’t practice law for a living is to be authentic.  And the best way to do this is to write the way you talk.  As you sit down to craft a new post, imagine you are talking to a friend who needs your guidance on a legal issue.  Use the same words you use in your everyday life.  Forget the grammar rules and write your draft, then go back over it to correct any glaring grammatical errors. 

The infographic below, courtesy of Copyblogger.com, outlines the other essentials for writing blog posts.  Print it off and keep a copy by your computer to refer to as you write.  Following these simple guidelines will have you authoring a compelling, lead-generating blog in no time.

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FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. According to HubSpot, B2B marketers with a blog generate 67% more leads per month and B2C marketers generate 88% more leads per month than those without a blog.

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

  • Why you must have a blog in order to stay relevant
  • 3 keys to successful blogging
  • 7 Guidelines for achieving ROI
  • Your 3 choices for managing your blog and social media efforts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal.

Gender Diversity Found Lacking in Latest Am Law 200 Partnership Class

According to a recent article at The Am Law Daily, just 30 percent of the 493 new partners named by 51 Am Law 200 firms at the beginning of this year are female – down from 24 percent in 2013 and 32 percent in 2012.

In five of the firms, not one female lawyer received a promotion to partner.  Two of the firms – Locke Lord and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher – categorized their all-male partnership class as an “anomaly” and said they were committed to gender equality.  Two other firms -- Edwards Wildman Palmer and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan – refused to discuss the matter with The Am Law Daily and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton did not respond.

Jaffe PR, which provides public relations services to law firms, had a post on its blog yesterday on how PR can help law firms boost their gender diversity profile.  Jaffe recommends that firms committed to demonstrating gender diversity should conduct an audit to determine their firm’s “PR diversity ratio”. 

The audit should collect data on the firm’s media quotes, speaking engagements and thought leadership efforts (articles, blogs, etc.) and then parse that data by gender, practice area and industry groups.  This will provide management with the firm’s PR diversity profile.

If the profile points up the need for improvement, firms should use these insights as a base for structuring a PR program aimed at boosting their PR diversity profile.  This may require some investment in media and public speaking training as well as additional efforts toward professional networking.  

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New Free Report! The 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days: Key #1-Press Releases

One of the best ways to get you on the road to becoming a recognized expert is through the use of press releases.

A press release is simply a short announcement about your law firm that may be of interest to the public or news media.

A press release that not only targets the audience you want to reach, but intrigues the editor and/or publisher, will gain free media coverage that surpasses any response you could hope to gain from any of your company’s paid advertising campaigns.

In addition, Google search engines love press releases! 

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

  • What constitutes an effective press release
  • Ideas for press release content
  • How to format your press release
  • Where to submit your press release
  • Best days to send out your press release
  • …And much, much more!

Click on the following link to get your free report on The 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days: Key #1-Press Releases.

3 Steps to Getting Your Content Noticed Online

Probably one of the most frustrating things for law firms that invest time and money into content marketing is not seeing results...and by that I mean, immediate results. 

First of all, thinking that you can create content and then just sit back and watch while hundreds of prospects thirsty for this information will flock to you is just crazy.  Even if you have written outstanding, original content – and published consistently – there is no guarantee that you will see good results unless you put in the work to push it out there in front of folks.

Here are three steps you can employ to get your content noticed online:

Keep building your network.  When it comes to sales, the mantra is “ABC – Always Be Closing”.  But when it comes to content marketing, the mantra is “ABB – Always Be Building” – as in building your content library and your network of publishing outlets.  These publishers include other outlets that attract the same profile of readers as your target market and can be social media sites like LinkedIn, other bloggers in your space and online publications that are willing to publish you.  For example, my content is regularly published at the National Law Review site, on Avvo, on the Attorney at Law Magazine website and more attorney-focused websites.  This is a great way for you to get found online.

Make it easy to share.  Beyond putting share buttons on your website and blog, there are other ways to make your content easier to share by others.  These can include the formatting of your articles or posts to make them more reader friendly, including images that grab attention, creating infographics that tell your story, etc. 

Be unique.  Just like you have to differentiate your practice to rise above competitors, you also need to differentiate your content to do the same.  Don’t make the same point that everyone else is making – take a stand, be unique, adopt a different voice to attract an audience for your content.

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FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. In 2013, inbound marketing firm Hubspot released a report based on a marketing benchmark study of 7,000 companies and found that when it comes to blogging:

Companies that blog 15+ times per month get five times more traffic than firms with no blog.

B2B companies that blog at least twice a month get 70% more leads from their websites than firms with no blog.

Companies that increase their blogging from 3-5 times per month to 5-8 times per month almost double their leads.

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

  • 7 ways that blogging can help your law practice
  • How to create your blog strategy
  • 10 ways to build an audience for your blog
  • 4 sources of information for writing blog posts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How Law Firms Use Blogging to Get More Leads, Increase Website Traffic & Become an Industry Thought Leader.

What Clients Are Really Judging You On - And What You Can Do to Shine

Last month, an article at Forbes.com written by Micah Solomon, who counsels companies on client relationship management issues, made attorneys who read it do a double-take.  Here’s how it started out:

I’ve got a bit of a reality check for my friends in the legal industry:

Your law firm’s unlikely to build a loyal client base solely through your legal accomplishments and results.

It certainly got my attention since this is something I’ve been saying for years and am still met with blank stares when I tell lawyers that your competition is not the law firm down the street, it’s Amazon or Zappos or any other business that has taught consumers what to expect when it comes to best-in-class for customer service.

You see, clients don’t really understand the law, so they don’t really know how to judge if an attorney is good at practicing law.  Instead, they are judging you on the intangibles, and comparing you not to other attorneys but to other experiences they have had as a customer.

As covered in the Forbes piece, here are five tips for law firms on how to build client loyalty through exceptional service:

1.  Fast delivery.  The law is often a plodding thing, but clients don’t really understand that.  They expect you to produce what they need quickly, so if something is going to take a week or so, then tell them that.  It’s up to you to manage expectations.  Give them a date and stick to it.

2.  Benchmark against the best in service.  Don’t make the mistake of benchmarking your service delivery against other law firms; that won’t cut it these days.  Instead, benchmark yourself against the best in service-intensive sectors like hospitality, financial services, etc.  Do you make it easy to do business with you online?  If not, you have an easy, technology-based way to differentiate yourself immediately.

3.  Take your client’s side in service disputes.  It can be hard to drop a courtroom mindset when dealing with clients, but you must.  You need to apologize for lapses in service and show empathy, no matter who is at fault.  Your staff needs to adopt this approach as well.

4.  Scale your rates reasonably.  If you’re charging clients several hundred dollars an hour for mundane tasks like proofreading, find a way to get that down.  Your bills should explain all charges – and you should explain your fees in plain English upfront.  And don’t charge clients for lunches or lattes you would have had on your own anyway – those are the things they will likely remember the longest about their experience with your firm.

5.  Remember that every client defines service differently.  Every client is unique and wants to be treated as such.  Get to know your clients personally so you can anticipate their needs and hire people who are naturally empathetic so your clients will feel that you do truly care for them as an individual, not just a case number.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7-figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

How Female Attorneys Can Take a Leadership Role in Their Law Firms

Generally speaking, I’ve found that women are superior relationship builders and excel at staying connected with their communities.  I believe that female attorneys do have innate abilities that can help them do a better job of attracting and retaining clients than most male attorneys – a key asset in rising in the ranks within a law firm.

This new LawMarketing.com video interview explores how female attorneys can establish themselves as a leader in their law firms.  LawMarketing.com editor Cindy Greenway talked to Kimberly Rice at KLA Marketing, a legal marketing firm that specializes in working with female lawyers, who shares a few tips on strategies female attorneys can use to assume a leadership role within their firms:

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FREE "Top 10 Mistakes Attorneys Make and How to Avoid Them" E-book

In a newly revised e-book, legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley outlines 10 of the most common marketing mistakes attorneys make that can lead to the failure of their business, and provides specific strategies and proven principles for avoiding these deadly errors. 

To get your complimentary copy online, click here.

Regardless of your specific situation, this free e-book will help you examine how you are currently finding new clients and recommend specific steps you can immediately start using to grow your practice. 

We have helped thousands of attorneys achieve their goals of creating a financially successful and personally satisfying legal practice. In this e-book you will discover specific principles and tools you can use to grow your practice, too.  

5 Reasons Why You Need to Hire a Professional Writer

Great copywriting for blogs, websites and other online content takes more than just a way with words.  Writers who do this for a living know things like the importance of creating compelling calls-to-action, optimizing for search, using formats that draw readers in using things like bullet points and lists, and other tricks of the trade.

Some lawyers love to write, and if you are one of those, then there’s a resource I’d like to recommend to you right now:  Copyblogger.com.  You will find lots of tips there for applying the techniques used by professional copywriters to create great content for the Web. 

But there are scenarios that should compel you to call in a pro; here are 5 of them:

1.  You’re not a good writer.  Good writers love to write, but if you’re not in that group, there are plenty of people out there for you to hire or partner with in creating great content for your law firm.  Yes, we do this for our attorney clients.  There are also some great freelancers on Elance.com and other online job boards.  Or maybe someone at your firm has this hidden talent.  Find it, invest in it, and reap the benefits.

2.  You don’t have the time.  You went to law school to practice law, right?  Creating content for blogs, social media and websites takes consistent effort and the investment of someone’s time, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be your time. 

3.  You need expertise you don’t have.  If you’re not up to speed on the latest SEO practices for online content, you need to either educate yourself or find a good writer with this expertise.  Maybe you can write blogs, but you need help with your e-newsletter or free reports – this calls for a specialist with a particular skill set for creating content that will entice prospects.

4.  You can’t see the forest for the trees.  Most attorneys are great at writing...for other attorneys.  You’re too close to your subject and lose sight of the importance of writing for your target market.  

5.  It’s too important.  If you’re convinced of the importance of having the best possible messaging going out to your prospects and clients, and building your online reputation, leaving the development of that content to chance is a sure way to screw up.  Bad copy can kill your credibility.

Whether you do it in-house or hire a professional writer, remember that you are always in charge of your messaging.  Your writer should be your marketing partner, understand your firm and your target market as well as the legal ethical standards you are held to, and maintain your high standards.  Even if you are not doing the actual work, the final responsibility for your legal marketing rests with you.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

New Social Network for Attorneys Now Online

A new social network for attorneys – Foxwordy – has now launched and is offering any lawyer who is “an innovator and influencer in the legal industry” a free three-month membership to what its founder is calling an “invitation-only private social-networking platform brings together relevant top-tier legal colleagues to efficiently collaborate in real-time.”

Forbes ran a story on the Foxwordy launch today, and it appears that this new site is aimed at creating a new attorney-to-attorney referral platform.  Foxwordy founder Monica Zent said that the site provides a way for attorneys to gain a peer validated reputation and encourages collaborations that would normally happen via the phone, in person or by email.

Some of the site’s features include:

  • Real-time collaboration with other lawyers working on common issues
  • Ability for attorneys to share best practices and language for legal documents
  • Listing of job opportunities similar to LinkedIn

Zent says there are currently 1,000 members on the website that is now out of beta.  The network will not be available to the public; it is designed solely as a website for attorneys to share information and collaborate, and membership is by invitation only.  You provide your name and email address on the home page to request an invitation.  

It was unclear on the site how you are vetted for membership; since the site’s revenue model is based on subscriptions alone ($10 per month), I was guessing that the bar isn’t set too high.  And I was proven right after I had one of my non-attorney staff members enter her name and Gmail address, and she received a congratulatory email minutes later on her acceptance.

I’d be interested to hear from attorneys who sign up and participate on this new social network for lawyers – what are you finding of most value for your practice from this new social media tool?

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FREE Report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources

When it comes to the different kind of leads that attorneys can generate for new business, referrals are the gold standard.  They come to you pre-qualified and ready to “buy” from a source they trust – and with a trust transference to you that is built-in.

If you do nothing else with your law firm marketing this year, make it a priority to cultivate more referral sources.  Cultivating referral sources is low-cost and high-reward, and should be at the top of your list when it comes to new business development for your law firm.

This new free report by national law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley can get you started.

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

  • How to identify the referral sources who have relationships with the people you want as clients.
  • How to start the relationship
  • How to build a referral network
  • How to make your referral network successful
  • …And much, much more!

Click on this link now to get your free report on Building Relationships With Strategic Referral Sources.

How to Save Time and Money by Automating Your Lead Conversion Process

I’ve known Ken Hardison, a North Carolina personal injury attorney and president of the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association, for years and have even spoken at several of his annual events.

Ken is one of the few attorneys I know with a really good grasp on how to market a law firm, and no matter what kind of law you practice, you can learn from him as well.  One of his recent blog posts discussed the importance of automating your lead capture and conversion process, and that subject is worthy of my time and attention today – not just because we implement lots of these programs for attorneys, but because it’s something that tends to get lost in the legal marketing mix and can really benefit your firm.

Most of the solos and small firms we know have a finite amount of time to dedicate to legal marketing, so having a process in place that nurtures a lead along the path to becoming a client is a great benefit. 

As Ken notes in his recent post, one of the best ways to capture leads is through education marketing.  Offering a free report on your website in exchange for a prospect’s email address is a true win-win:  it’s a great way to capture those leads that may not be ready to pick up the phone or send an email and your prospect gets a free guide that helps them understand their legal issue better.

So here is how the process goes when you automate it correctly:

-  Prospect visits your website and enters their email address to get your free guide

-  Your auto-responder system emails them the guide and a few tasty tidbits about your firm

-  An automated drip email campaign begins where your prospect is sent pre-written emails according to a schedule you establish in your system that educates them more about your firm, the steps they should take next, testimonials from previous clients, a free consultation offer, etc.  

The goal is to lead the prospect along the buying path and get them to do what you want – call, set an appointment, etc.  And it’s all done automatically, with no intervention from you or your staff needed until the prospect calls and your regular intake process begins.

We also use the same system to nurture qualified leads until they become clients, sending a series of emails to prospects that miss an appointment or fail to hire you after the initial consultation.

Want to learn more?  Take advantage of my offer now for a free marketing strategy session – see below for details.

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FREE Law Firm Marketing Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor

Want to discover proven marketing strategies that top law firms are using right now to generate more leads and referrals and convert them into paying clients?

Don’t understand social media or have time for it, but know that your law firm marketing program desperately needs to include it?

Please give us a call at 888-588-5891 or click here to sign up for a free one-on-one Strategy Session with a Rainmaker Advisor who will listen to your specific marketing challenges. 

The Rainmaker Advisors are handpicked and trained to identify marketing strategies that you can implement to grow your practice.

Are Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com Dead? Why Every Martindale Client Should Care

In August 2013, LexisNexis and Internet Brands, a California-based new media company that also owns Nolo, announced the formation of a joint venture that merged the assets of the LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® Internet marketing solutions business and the Lawyers.com consumer website with Internet Brands’ existing online marketing services for lawyers through its Nolo legal division.

Internet Brands, which started as CarsDirect.com, creates lead generation websites in nine vertical markets: Automotive, Careers, Health, Home, Legal, Lending, Licensing, Shopping and Travel.  It is owned by Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm, and is publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the INET symbol.

Legal marketing insiders were naturally curious about what this “joint venture” would mean for the established and well-regarded Martindale-Hubbell ratings system and for Lawyers.com, a major consumer law site which at one time had four million unique visitors per month, and which also provided a well-known website development and SEO services to thousands of attorneys nationwide.

Have Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com really been “shut down”?

Then in October 2013, a big axe fell when LexisNexis announced that 205 people who had previously worked for Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com were being let go.  Although there was no formal announcement by either JV partner, Law Technology News reported on the layoffs and quoted an email from LexisNexis Legal & Profession CEO Michael Walsh saying that, “Going forward, these roles will be carried out by the El Segundo-based Internet Brands team in California.” However, no one has been able to confirm if any additional employees were hired by Internet Brands to perform the thousands of monthly tasks required by Martindale or Lawyers.com clients.

For the thousands of law firms that have contracts with Martindale and Lawyers.com, there are several critical questions that remain unanswered:

  • What has happened to the thousands of law firms who have monthly website and SEO contracts? Is any work actually being done on their sites?
  • How is Internet Brands producing the SEO, social media, or blogging content for the thousands of loyal law firms who continue to pay for these services every month when everyone who did the work was fired?
  • How do changes get made to attorney’s websites when the New Jersey building where all the workers who did this work is currently sitting empty and on the market?
  • Why should law firms continue to pay for a listing on Martindale when nothing is being done to drive traffic to the website?

A quick check of the Internet Brands website earlier this month showed it didn’t mention either Martindale-Hubbell or Lawyers.com! This made us even more curious about the future of these established brands. We reached out to Internet Brands to request an interview and within days of our call, both brands suddenly appeared on their website. 

We spoke with Rod Stoddard, president of the Martindale-Hubbell joint venture, who said that most of the laid off LexisNexis employees that served Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com were “shared services” employees that LexisNexis found they no longer needed, citing the layoffs as a reorganization effort within LexisNexis.

Who remains to do the work?

Stoddard also said that more than 350 people from LexisNexis moved to the joint venture and that “everything is the same, we are only trying to make it better.”  However, that directly contradicts what we heard from several former Martindale / Lawyers.com employees who are now looking for jobs. They couldn’t name anyone who had “moved over” to the joint venture. Furthermore, there are reports that Martindale is not taking on any new web contracts which would lead us to believe that nothing is “the same.”

Stoddard noted that the deal (which seems more like a buy-out than a joint venture) closed in November 2013, and that it is still “early days.” He said Internet Brands is very good at technology and Internet marketing, and the plan is to grow both the Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com brands. From the outside, this sounds like corporate spin as there are no signs of life at either website and the blog at Lawyers.com—which was responsible for the majority of the traffic to the site -- has not been updated since October 31, 2013, when everyone was laid off!

What will happen to Martindale clients?

Based on their history, it is more likely that Internet Brands will probably discontinue the original website and SEO services offered and turn Martindale and Lawyers.com into a pay-per-lead service, just like they did with the revered publisher Nolo.

Stoddard also said that the joint venture is in the process of rolling out a different technology platform to make service and fulfillment better and to streamline the ratings process for attorneys and make it more relevant for consumers.  He also said that all current client websites were being audited for improvements.

Whether or not the Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com brands will survive long-term is in doubt, as are the contracts that they have with thousands of law firms throughout the country. Meanwhile, the concern by attorneys who are paying every month for content, social media and SEO for their Martindale / Lawyers.com website grows. 

 

 

The Decline of BigLaw: Good News for Smaller Firms?

Larry Bodine, the former editor of Lawyers.com, recently spoke with LawMarketing.com editor-in-chief Cindy Greenway, about a LexisNexis/Counsellink research report, Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report that he says contains good news for small law firms:

 The takeaway from this is that there is now some quantifiable research that shows law firms with less than 50 lawyers are the ones growing at the expense of the larger firms.  Both Larry and I have felt that this was the case for awhile now, but it’s good to see the numbers bear this out.

This means that there may be a new market out there for those of you who thought you couldn’t compete before, as more companies turn to smaller firms for the flexibility they offer with their legal services.

Crafting a marketing strategy to go after this new market is something you can learn by attending a Rainmaker Retreat.  We have two sessions scheduled over the next couple of months:

  • Feb. 28 – March 1, 2014 – Miami, FL
  • March 27-28, 2014 – New York, NY

Rainmaker Retreats are focused on marketing and lead generation for small firms and solos, teaching proven strategies for attracting new clients using contemporary Internet and social media marketing practices.

To learn more about the Rainmaker Retreat, visit www.rainmakerretreat.com or call us at 888-588-5891.

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FREE Online Seminar:  Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Join Stephen Fairley for a free 60-minute legal marketing webinar: Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, where you will learn...

A proven legal marketing system that has helped 10,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients.

Step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

Effective strategies to win clients in today's hyper-competitive online focused marketplace.

Creating a marketing plan for your law firm is the first step in building a foundation for a profitable future.  During this complimentary webinar, learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client 
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
 
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
 
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
 
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
 
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
 
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
 
  • What is critical to have in place for today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

Stephen will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

There are several sessions of this free webinar scheduled; you can choose what works best for you from the drop-down menu when you click on the following link to register online for our FREE Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan online seminar.

10 Google Analytics Categories You Should be Scrutinizing

There are 10 free Google Analytics tools you should be using to measure how effectively your website or blog is performing to reach your marketing goals.  Google Analytics generates detailed statistics about your website’s traffic and details on visitors that you can use to see what is working on your site and, more importantly, what’s not.  And it’s free!

Here are 10 categories within Google Analytics that you should be scrutinizing:

Audience location – your target market has a geographical definition; this will tell you if you are reaching them.

Audience engagement – measures how much time each visitor to your site spends on a particular page or pages.  You use this to ensure you are keeping their attention.

Mobile traffic – knowing how many visitors are trying to access your site from a mobile device is important to gauge their experience, especially if your site is not optimized for mobile.

Traffic sources – this tells you how people are finding your site, so you can measure the effectiveness of other online methods you are using to drive traffic to your site, like social media or email marketing.

Social media traffic – provides more in-depth reporting on traffic that comes to you directly from your social media efforts so you can see what’s working or not.

Site content trends – measures the performance of each of your site pages over time, so you can tell what is resonating with your audience.

Bounce rates – tells you what pages visitors are abandoning immediately so you can re-evaluate the content of that page.

Site search – if you have a search function on your site, this metric tells you the terms people are searching for on your site.  If they aren’t finding what they’re looking for, you need to add it.

Events – this user engagement metric shows activity from visitors as they scroll through a page on your site, and can provide insight into the best placement on your pages for calls-to-action.

Funnel visualization – are visitors to your site following the path you want them to take?  This metric will tell you either yes or no.

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On-Demand Seminar: Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm

We are now providing one of our most popular seminars – Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm – in an on-demand format, so you can watch and learn at your convenience, as many times as you wish.

Over the last decade we have helped over 10,000 attorneys market and grow their business. During this time we have identified many of the key characteristics of highly successful law firms.

One of the more consistent ones is that they track specific numbers and key indicators that give them instant insight into how their law firm is performing on a weekly and monthly basis.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the numbers that make your law firm run. By analyzing these critical metrics, partners and owners of law firms can easily determine whether they are on track to achieve their goals or if they need to retool and refocus their marketing and business development efforts.

In this fast paced seminar, you learn:

  • How to easily identify the 12 key metrics your law firm needs to track and measure
  • How to set up a system to identify these numbers
  • The 7 critical systems every law firm must have
  • CPL and CPC: the 2 most important numbers every attorney must know in order to succeed
  • How to avoid “paralysis by analysis” and being overwhelmed by too much data
  • Delegating roles and responsibility to your staff
  • Using software to track your KPIs

If you’re a spreadsheet and data driven individual then you will love this seminar! However, if numbers scare you or you tend to ignore them because you have a hard time making heads or tails of all the different data you see, then this seminar is a “can’t miss” event!

We cut through the clutter and give you clear and easy to understand guidance on which numbers really matter the most, how to track this information, and what to do with it once you have it!

To get this on-demand seminar, click on this link: Knowing the Numbers That Run Your Law Firm

What's Your WOM Rating? A Great One Will Deliver More Clients

Forget your AV rating or Avvo score – what’s your WOM rating?

WOM stands for “Word of Mouth” and that – coupled with client referrals -- is the single best marketing tool for small business, according to data extracted from a series of Bank of America Small Business Owner Reports:

If you are unaware of how clients really feel about their experience with your firm, you are missing a juicy piece of low-hanging fruit that could boost your referral rates and bring new clients in your door without much effort on your part.

So how do you identify your best client referral sources?  A client satisfaction survey is a great way to get feedback that will help you identify good potential referral sources as well as improve upon areas of your firm you probably weren’t even aware needed improvement. 

There are free survey services out there (SurveyMonkey.com) that can help you implement a quick email survey among your current client database.  If you use an email marketing service like Constant Contact, these also have survey forms you can use to perform the same function.  No matter what tool you use, here are some good questions to ask in your survey:

  • What was your first impression of the firm? Of your attorney?
  • How were you initially treated during your first in-person meeting?
  • What do you believe is our biggest strength?
  • What do you believe is the area where we need the most improvement?
  • Out of the following 5 areas, which ones do you anticipate needing in the next year?
  • Were invoices sent out on a regular basis to you?
  • Were you ever surprised by the amount on an invoice?
  • What are some ways we could better serve you?
  • Would you recommend us to your friends or colleagues?
  • Are there any other comments, suggestions, complaints, or concerns you would like to let us know about?

I also recommend that you implement an “exit interview” process after each case or legal matter is concluded; this can allow you to address any issues with your client that could prevent a negative review either online or via word-of-mouth.

Once you have gathered a list of good potential client referral sources, you need to educate them on what your ideal client looks like.  If you practice more than one area of the law, make them aware of all your practice areas.  Then incentivize them to refer you by offering a free consultation to anyone they send your way and thank them with a small gift (Starbucks or Amazon.com gift card) for remembering you.

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Free Report: 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys From Building A Referral-Based Practice

Referrals are the lifeblood of many law practices, and building a good referral program takes a proven process.  Stephen Fairley unveils the 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice in his new free report.  Read and discover:

  • How to determine the best source for your referrals
  • How to explain your ideal target market to a referral source
  • How to get referrals from other attorneys
  • Whether online directories are a good referral source
  • How to network effectively
  • And much, much more!

Click now for your free report on 4 Myths That Keep Attorneys from Building a Referral-Based Practice.

How a Smartphone App Aims to Replace Attorneys

A smartphone app that allows users to create, sign and send legally binding documents is the latest tech tool developed to shake up the delivery of legal services.  And its name, aptly enough, is Shake.

Shake is the brainchild of Abe Geiger, an entrepreneur who found that standard contracts were too cumbersome and complicated to meet the needs of today’s business world, even though he has access to all the free legal advice he needs (his wife is an attorney).

As with so many other inventions, Shake started with the thought that, “There has to be a better way.”

With some Silicon Valley VC funding, Geiger and his team set out on their mission, which is posted on their website:

Our mission is to make the law accessible, understandable and affordable for consumers and small businesses. We want to empower our users to share ideas, goods, and services without the fear of being stiffed for a freelance gig or putting their business at risk.

Geiger said he believes that change in the legal industry will be driven by small businesses and consumers, not by lawyers and law firms.  He says that the legal market is huge, inefficient, underserved by technology and begging for change.

Sounds like he has more than one reason to shake things up.

Carolyn Elefant, who blogs about solos and small firms at MyShingle.com, wrote recently in an Above the Law post that the app won’t displace real lawyers because the people who want to use an app or a website for their legal documents are not likely to hire an attorney anyway.  I tend to agree.

I also agree with Geiger’s assertion that people are looking for more technology-based solutions for their legal problems, even if that “problem” is only a freelance contract or a NDA. 

What attorneys should take away from this is that the market is moving toward technology much faster than most lawyers are, and making technology solutions available to clients – something as simple as downloadable documents off a secure website – is the new way your clients are defining good customer service.

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FREE "Top 10 Mistakes Attorneys Make and How to Avoid Them" E-book

In a newly revised e-book, legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley outlines 10 of the most common marketing mistakes attorneys make that can lead to the failure of their business, and provides specific strategies and proven principles for avoiding these deadly errors. 

To get your complimentary copy online, click here.

Regardless of your specific situation, this free e-book will help you examine how you are currently finding new clients and recommend specific steps you can immediately start using to grow your practice. 

We have helped thousands of attorneys achieve their goals of creating a financially successful and personally satisfying legal practice. In this e-book you will discover specific principles and tools you can use to grow your practice, too.  

Nielsen Report on Digital Consumer: All Social, All the Time

Nielsen has just released a report called The Digital Consumer that examines how Americans are consuming content across multiple digital devices.

According to Nielsen, a majority of U.S. households now feature multiple devices – high definition TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones – and Americans spend an average of 60 hours per week consuming content on these devices.

Other highlights from the report:

Daily social media use is now standard practice – 64% of social media users visit sites at least once a day, and almost half (47%) access those sites on smartphones.

Hispanics are higher than average content consumers on smartphones, and spend more time consuming online videos than the national average.

Americans own an average of four digital devices.

Time spent consuming online content has decreased on computers and TVs, and increased on PCs and smartphones:

Americans spend an average of 6 ½ hours per month on Facebook vs. only 18 minutes per month on LinkedIn and 36 minutes per month on Twitter.

86% of smartphone and tablet owners use those devices while watching TV at the same time; a majority of those use these mobile devices to surf the Web.

This Nielsen report demonstrates a major shift in how content is consumed online, moving away from PCs and toward mobile devices.  Here are six savvy mobile marketing practices you should be considering as part of your law firm marketing strategy:

Have a mobile-optimized website.   If your website is not optimized for viewing on a mobile device, you are losing more prospects every day as the majority of smartphone owners use their mobile devices for local search for products and services. 

Make messaging relevant. Don’t ever send a message to a prospect or client without a good reason. Email from firms need to be useful and relevant, not random and annoying.

Keep on top of technology. Changes in technology can have a significant effect on your customer base. Firms that use advanced technology stay ahead of competitors.

Give sharing options. Make sure you include social media sharing buttons on all your mobile messages as well as an option for recipients to share via email. This will help you spread the word about your firm or promotional offer.

Use texting. Texting is now widespread enough to be considered a new marketing medium. Communicating with clients via text allows you to share time-sensitive material with prospects and current customers.

Use email. Be sure your emails are mobile friendly, include direct clicks to your phone number and include links to mobile-optimized websites. A majority of mobile users check email more often on their mobile device that they do on a PC.

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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.

How to Build the Perfect LinkedIn Profile

In yesterday’s post, I talked about a new report from Hinge Marketing that showed 70% of those surveyed about how they do research on a professional services provider used LinkedIn as a key tool.

So what happens when prospects visit your LinkedIn profile?  Are you one of the 50+% that don’t have a full profile, or never update it?  If so, then study the infographic below to learn how to complete your LinkedIn profile so it impresses your prospects, and then get our free report on how you can make the most of LinkedIn (see below).

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NEW Free Report: How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn

With over 238 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn has quickly become THE ‘go to’ business-to-business directory and the most popular social networking platform dedicated to professional business development.

To ignore it is the proverbial equivalent of sticking your head in the sand.

Learning how to use LinkedIn to your biggest advantage takes time and effort, but it is time well spent.

If you are new to LinkedIn, it can be confusing, much like any new software that you need to learn to grow your business.

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

  • What LinkedIn can help you accomplish
  • Valuable LinkedIn features that can increase the power of your network
  • Smart ways top attorneys use LinkedIn
  • What your profile needs in order to be effective
  • How to make people want to know more about you
  • And much, much more!

Click here now to receive your free report on How Attorneys Can Make the Most of LinkedIn.

New Study Reveals How Prospects Are Checking You Out

A new study by Hinge Marketing surveyed 1,000 purchasers of professional services – including legal – to determine how prospects check out professional providers as prologue to making a decision.

This chart gives the details:

Note that less than 1% said they don’t check you out.  Which means just about everyone looking for professional services does some sort of online or peer research prior to making the decision to hire.

The most common way that prospects check you out is to look at your website.  What is your current site telling them about you?  Are you addressing the problems your prospects have up front?  Or do you talk about yourself – your great office, your smart lawyers, etc.?

People buy emotionally and justify logically.  Your website must appeal to their emotions, showing empathy for their problems and providing information on how you can solve these problems for them. 

Prospects look for three things:  Benefits, Value and Results.  Address all three and you will have convinced them that you are the one they need to hire for their legal issue.

Note that Google search and social media also rank high as tools prospects are using to check you out.  Google yourself to get an idea of what they are seeing; if it’s not much then you need to pay some attention to repairing and monitoring your online reputation.

The Hinge Marketing report found that the 70% of those surveyed use LinkedIn to check out a prospective professional services provider.  Since LinkedIn is the go-to social network for business, this only makes sense.  How’s your LinkedIn profile looking?  Do you have recommendations from other clients or peers?  Do you have a video on your profile page?  Is there a good photo of you?  If not, get busy!

This study is just one more indicator (of many) that attorneys need to pay as much attention to their online reputation as their offline reputation.  If you’re not paying attention, you’ll be paying the price.

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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.

National Law Review Magazine editor 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.

Why You Oughta Be in Pictures: Using Video in Legal Marketing

Americans are nuts about video!  And if you are not using online videos to market your law firm and yourself, you are missing a big opportunity to connect with prospects.

Don’t believe it?  Check out this short video full of stats that demonstrate the pervasiveness – and persuasiveness – of video today:


Use these simple guidelines to make a highly effective online video for use in your law firm marketing efforts:

Use real people, using real words. One of the biggest mistakes attorneys make is using video the way they use PowerPoint. Stringing together static images accompanied by a faceless voice on audio is not an effective use of online video. While this may get seen by some potential clients, it is not nearly as valuable as giving them a chance to see your face and hear your sincere words.

Create a well-thought out script designed to persuade potential client to call you. To accomplish that, ask yourself what makes your law firm different from, and better than, your competition – and then build your script around those key points.

Focus on the viewer, not yourself. It is easy to get caught in the trap of thinking potential clients want to hear about all of your qualifications. The real truth is they want a law firm that understands their problems, and knows how to solve them. Your script should describe some of the problems clearly, and then explain how you can solve them. 

Use annotation and notes. On YouTube you can add notes or annotate your video with key points of emphasis that will appear as people are watching.  Not only does this help you deliver your message succinctly, it also provides content for Google to index to improve your search ranking.

Include keywords and tags.  Be sure to load your description with keywords and include links back to your website.

Include your contact information within your video. The goal of your online video is to persuade potential clients to call you. Yet, no matter how well crafted your video is, if those clients do not know how to reach you, it’s wasted effort.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand seminar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients seminar at your convenience by clicking here now.

10 Questions to Help Attorneys Identify Your Target Market

When it comes to marketing your law firm (or anything else, for that matter), your very first step is identifying your target market.  If you don’t do that, nothing else you do will matter. 

Many attorneys may struggle with developing a concise, detailed description of their target market, but it is vital that you do this or your marketing efforts will fall flat.

Ask yourself these 10 questions when trying to determine your target market:

1.  Who would pay for my service?  People that have legal issues need attorneys, so what specific problems do you solve and who is willing and able to pay for that solution?

2.  Who has already purchased my legal services?  Take a look at your current client base and search for commonalities.

3.  What is the extent of my reach?  What geographic area can you realistically serve?  Based on the type of law you practice, you may need to restrict or expand your area of service.  For example, a divorce attorney will probably have a smaller geographic area than an IP attorney.

4.  Am I making the right assumptions?  As I have said many times, you are not your client.  You need to talk to your existing clients or prospects to see what resonates.

5.  What do people who know me think?  Check in with your network peers to get feedback on who they think is your ideal client.  They may give you some ideas you might never have considered.

6.  How am I going to make money?  Are you charging by the hour or by the job?  This can determine who will be best able to afford your services.

7.  How am I going to sell my services?  Different marketing methods appeal to different demographics.

8.  What are my competitors doing?  Looking at what your competitors are doing can help you define your target market – and then you can develop strategies for differentiating yourself.

9.  How will I find clients?  Once you have started identifying your target market, you will need to determine how you can market to them efficiently.  If you plan to use a website and social media as a key strategy, you will need to understand their online behavior patterns.  If you plan to get referrals, you will need a strategy to build a good referral partner base.

10.  Are there options to expand my target market?  This will largely depend on your practice area, but one way to expand your target market is by creating a niche within your practice area.  For example, we know an estate planning attorney who creating a very lucrative sub-specialty in asset protection for doctors and lawyers.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

4 Steps to Creating a Successful Law Firm Blog

If you are truly vested in increasing your online presence, then you probably have either started a blog or have plans to do so (hopefully soon).  Here are four steps that will help you develop a successful blog for your law firm:

1.  Set your goals.  Why do you want a blog?  Most attorneys who have blogs realize the contribution they can make to extending your expertise, helping your SEO, providing a forum to engage with prospects and providing relevant content to spread to social media networks and other areas of influence.  Before you start a blog, you need to establish goals that align with your overall business objectives. 

2.  Know your target market.  The main reason prospects would visit your blog is because they need to be better educated about the subjects involving your area of practice.  You can’t keep prospects engaged without knowing what they really want, so a clear understanding of the problems your target market faces and speaking to them about those problems in clear, concise language makes you a valuable resource.

3.  Create original, relevant content.  This is the hard part for most attorneys – what to say.  I often tell lawyers to make a list of the most frequently asked questions they get from clients and write about that.  Provide solutions.  Weigh in on popular topics that have a legal twist – like estate planning mistakes celebrities make, IP implications of the “Dumb Starbucks” pop-up coffee shop – just search Google News for trending topics.

4.  Create efficiencies.  Take blog content from past presentations, make a video or repurpose other content for your blog.  Create an editorial calendar and map topics a month or so out.  Have other experts in your firm or your network contribute content.  You can even outsource your blogging if you are careful to choose the right person or company to comply with your standards for content and legal ethics.

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FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. According to HubSpot, B2B marketers with a blog generate 67% more leads per month and B2C marketers generate 88% more leads per month than those without a blog.

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

  • Why you must have a blog in order to stay relevant
  • 3 keys to successful blogging
  • 7 Guidelines for achieving ROI
  • Your 3 choices for managing your blog and social media efforts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal.

How to Market to the Wealthy Online

Nielsen recently released a report on the online habits of wealthy Americans, which are defined by Nielsen as follows:

  • Investment assets of between $250,000 - $1 million
  • Median annual household income of $87,500
  • 66% are over the age of 55
  • Suburban empty nesters
  • Primarily Caucasian; above average likelihood to be Asian
  • Work in finance, management, have their own business, or retired
  • Avid readers, online and print

Approximately 12% of Americans fit into this category, and are attractive prospects for most law firms since they have the ability to pay and can appreciate the value of personal legal services.

Nielsen segregated the Mass Affluent audience into two groups – those still working and the retired wealthy.  This chart illustrates the top online activities undertaken by each group, which is key to understanding how to market to them online:

Both groups skew heavier than normal for recreation pursuits online, so it is no surprise that the fastest growing demographic group for social media networks is in the 55+ age group.  Mass affluents are also heavy news consumers online, so you may want to consider the use of press releases as part of your legal marketing strategy.

Members of both categories of mass affluents skew higher than normal for investigating financial and healthcare information online, which provides a good opportunity for legal practices that specialize in areas like estate planning to target this group with relevant messaging. 

Whatever your practice area, it is critical that you identify and segment your target audiences when developing your legal marketing strategies in order to maximize your return on your marketing investment and attract qualified prospects.

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FREE Online Seminar:  Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

Join Stephen Fairley for a free 60-minute legal marketing webinar: Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, where you will learn...

  • A proven legal marketing system that has helped 10,000 attorneys convert more prospects into paying clients.
  • Step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.
  • Effective strategies to win clients in today's hyper-competitive online focused marketplace.

Creating a marketing plan for your law firm is the first step in building a foundation for a profitable future.  During this complimentary webinar, learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client 
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
 
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
 
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
 
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
 
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
 
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
 
  • What is critical to have in place for today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

Stephen will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues.

There are several sessions of this free webinar scheduled; you can choose what works best for you from the drop-down menu when you click on the following link to register online for our FREE Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan online seminar.

Email Marketing Study Touts Personalization as Key to Increasing Open Rates

 A 2013 email marketing study by Experian Marketing Services released last week shows that personalizing emails can increase open rates by 29% and click rates by 41% over nonpersonalized emails.

This latest research echoes earlier studies by MailerMailer and MailChimp showing that personalizing emails drives higher response rates.

The impact of personalization in the Experian study showed variances by industry:

In addition, Experian noted several emerging trends when it comes to email marketing, including:

Popup windows:  marketers using pop-up windows to collect email addresses from visitors grew 107% in 2013 vs. 2013, with a total of 45% of marketers saying they used this tactic.

Responsive design:  the use of responsive design – which allows an email to be read on multiple platforms, including mobile – more that doubled in 2013 from the previous year.

Social network promotion:  marketers using email to promote their social networks increased significantly in 2013.

The Experian study recommended several proven tactics for email marketing:

Segmentation by activity – using past activity data to segment email campaigns increases open and click rates.

Activity triggers – emails sent to visitors that have abandoned a shopping cart or browsed a specific page increase response rates.

Opt-in emails – sending opt-in confirmation emails result in 3.3 times higher click rates.

E-receipts – sending an e-receipt with up-sell or cross-sell opportunities enjoy the highest click and transaction rates.

Lastly, recipients who are loyal to a specific brand are much more likely to engage with that brand and respond to emails.  Making sure your email list is populated with those who have opted in to receive your emails or have already had a positive experience with your firm will make it much more likely that your emails will fall on receptive ears.

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New Free Report! The 4 Keys to Becoming a Recognized Expert in 180 Days: The 2nd Key – Public Speaking

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