The Rainmaker Blog

The Rainmaker Blog

Law firm marketing and business development strategies

(888) 588-5891

5 Bad Habits That Inhibit Law Firm Growth

Posted in Law Firm Development, Law Firm Marketing

5 Bad Habits That Inhibit Law Firm GrowthThere are some things you may be doing that, if you quit doing them, would bring you more success when it comes to growing your law firm.

We are approaching another new year quickly. If you have any of these 5 bad habits, resolve to change that in 2019:

  1. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing and expecting a different result — is something we’ve all heard but that few of us take to heart. When it comes to law firm marketing, there are plenty of attorneys out there still doing the same old thing but expecting different or better results. When you open yourself up to new approaches to the same problem — whether it’s lack of leads or converting those leads into appointments — your firm will be better served if you learn what has been working for other law firms and put together a lead generation/lead conversion process for your firm based on proven best practices.

  1. Saying yes to everything and everyone.

We all have the same 24 hours each day in which to make a positive impact on our business and the world. When you say “yes” to one thing, you are also saying “no” to something else. If you say “yes” to every prospect that comes through your firm without determining if they are a good fit, you are likely turning away business that is better for your firm. If you have not yet created an ideal client profile for your firm, make it a goal to do this so you can focus on saying “yes” to clients that you can serve better and who can better serve you by bringing you profitable work.

  1. Striving for perfection.

When it comes to law firm marketing, one of my go-to-mantras has always been, “Done is better than perfect.” Many attorneys struggle with perfectionism, and while this can be a useful trait in the practice of the law, it will not serve you well when it comes to marketing your law firm. You will simply miss too many opportunities if you dither over every semi-colon in a blog post or color scheme on a landing page. Consider your hourly billable rate — your time is much more valuable being spent on profit-making tasks. Work with someone you trust with sterling credentials in law firm marketing. Hold them to your standards but don’t hold your marketing program hostage to indecision or perfectionism.

  1. Procrastination.

We all tend to postpone working on things that are difficult, but those things are often what will contribute the most to our success. When it comes to law firm marketing, attorneys typically put it off because they don’t understand how to do it. If this rings true for you, it’s time to step up and educate yourself. There are a number of valuable marketing workshops, seminars, webinars and books you can use to educate yourself. For a truly immersive experience, attend a Rainmaker Retreat, our 2-day law firm marketing workshop. See what other attorneys have to say about it here.

  1. Believing everything will work out on its own.

Things don’t typically work out on their own; you have to take on the responsibility of making them work. Prospects are not going to suddenly start booking appointments with you unless you have a lead conversion process in place to make that happen. Referrals are not just going to start flooding in without some work on cultivating referral sources. It takes proactive leadership to get things done in every facet of your business.

Law Firm Management: 12 Tips to Inspire Peak Performance in Your People

Posted in Law Firm Management

Law Firm Management: 12 Tips to Inspire Peak Performance in Your PeopleHaving outstanding people working at every level of your law firm is one thing that can truly differentiate you from your competitors and keep clients coming in the door.

Unfortunately, I hear from many attorneys that finding and keeping good people is a major challenge when it comes to law firm management. This is something that bedevils a lot of businesses, not just law firms.

After 25+ years of running several successful businesses, I know the importance of dedicating real effort every day to ensuring that everyone who works for me is motivated to do the best possible job for our clients and our company. Here’s what I’ve learned about motivating people:

  1. Hire good people. You can’t fix stupid, so don’t hire it. Sure, we have all made hiring mistakes — people who interview great but their rubber never meets the road. Learn from those mistakes and put together a process for hiring that ensures you get the best possible people.
  2. Give them freedom. Good people hate being micro-managed, so as soon as they have proven themselves, give your employees the freedom to do their jobs. If they have a great idea for doing something different than the way you’ve always done it, listen. If it makes sense, run with it. Incentivize them for ways to cut costs and serve clients better.
  3. Make it easy for them to do their jobs. The actual work you do is not easy, so why make it more difficult by having outdated systems or processes? There are so many great automated tools out there to make the work process go more smoothly; invest in as many as you can and you will reap the benefits in a better work product from your people.
  4. Get rid of the weak links. Bad employees kill the motivation in good ones. As soon as you discover you have a rotten apple, toss it.
  5. Say thanks: Whether you approach your employees personally, send them a note, or praise them in a staff meeting – it’s important to express your gratitude whenever they’ve done a good job. Saying thanks is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to make your employees feel appreciated.
  6. Do lunch: Nobody will turn down a free meal – and a lunch meeting gives you the opportunity to reward your staff with great food while also bringing everybody together to share their successes, stories and struggles.
  7. Focus on the family: Each of your employees has family members they love and care about. By showing that you value their families, you can cultivate a deeper sense of loyalty with your employees. Some family-based rewards can be as simple as a “free night at the movies” or an all-expenses paid dinner.
  8. Change job titles: Believe it or not, the more inflated the job title the more your employees will work to live up to it. If you hire somebody as a “janitor” he will pick up your trash. But if you hire somebody as a “workplace environmental consultant”, he will keep your office clean and provide insight on how to make things more efficient.
  9. Friendly perks: Flowers, in-office massages, or gym passes can be a great way to reward employees for great work.
  10. Upgraded office: Is there any way you can improve your employee’s office area? A new computer monitor, chair, or printer would go a long way in reminding your employees that they are valuable to your law firm.
  11. Flexible hours: Providing a bit of flexibility is often greeted with increased productivity. Whenever possible, see if you can let your employees tweak their schedule to meet their specific needs – whether it’s a longer lunch or mid-day break to go the gym.
  12. Celebrate! I love to celebrate with the people I work with, whether it’s an informal lunch in the office where we can spend a little downtime just shooting the breeze or it’s a big holiday do. We have a holiday extravaganza every year with lots of great gifts for everyone; not only is it a wonderful way to show your appreciation for the hard work all year, I’ve also found that it really gets everyone fired up for the new year!

No one succeeds alone, so spend the time and effort to motivate your team and you will reap the rewards.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Free Webinar: How to Find, Train & Retain the Best Talent

You can’t get the lifestyle law firm you’ve always wanted by yourself.  You need Superstars in your organization to make this happen and our free webinar on How to Find, Train and Retain the Best Talent can get you on your way.  You can access it for free and watch it at your convenience.

The webinar is led by Jay Henderson, founder of Real Talent Hiring, and one of the nation’s leading authorities on how to find and hire the right talent to grow your business. Having good people is what separates good law firms from great law firms. If you want to hire better, more productive people, you cannot afford to miss this webinar.

Some of the topics Jay covers include:

  • The 3 P’s of hiring and driving performance
  • The Superstar Profile
  • The Superstar Magnet for attracting talent
  • Best interviewing strategies
  • Testing: Should you test candidates and what to be aware of

Studies show that companies with happy employees are 12% more productive and 20% more profitable than those with unhappy employees.  Once you have a group of Superstars working for you, you will never want to settle for anything less.

Register online now for the free webinar, How to Find, Train and Retain the Best Talent, and start hiring the people you need to succeed!

How to Ensure Your Calls to Action Are Answered

Posted in Lead Conversion

How to Ensure Your Calls to Action Are AnsweredMillions of people purchase products every day because they were enticed 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 for several reasons, chief among them is that 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 CTA works when it:

  • Triggers an emotional reaction;
  • Shows exactly how to make a purchase;
  • Creates a sense of urgency to make the purchase;
  • Provides incentives or an offer that is too good to ignore.

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.

How Free Reports Can Generate Paying Clients

Many attorneys I’ve worked with have heard that free reports are an important component of a law firm marketing strategy.

But most are not sure how or why they are important.

The real value of a free report in law firm Internet marketing is in its role as a quid pro quo.  Potential clients give you some information about themselves in exchange for some valuable legal information on a topic of interest to them.

The information you’re asking for is their contact information. And that is a key first step in beginning a trust-building relationship with them.

But first, you need to make sure your report is worth the valuable information the prospective client has just given you. 

Here are four proven elements of a well-crafted free report:

  1. Addresses issues that people really care about – Remember, clients may not care about legal precedents, but they are very likely to care about how to save money during a divorce.
  2. Uses layman’s language – If they are being completely honest, most people would tell you they prefer reading USA TODAY to the New York Times. While the NYT is a serious paper for serious people, USA TODAY is interesting at the individual level, and it’s written in an easy-to-read format.
  3. Builds credibility for your law firm – Don’t miss this opportunity to share client quotes or real life results you’ve gained for your clients.
  4. Includes a call to action – By the end of the report, the prospective client should be interested enough to take the next step, whether that is going to your website for more information, or signing up for your newsletter.

This kind of free educational information is a great tool to start building relationships with many people who need your help but aren’t ready to walk in your door. It is not enough simply to offer people a free consultation. Almost every lawyer does that. Take it one step further and give them some great information that will help them think through the issues and challenges they are facing.

Once you have created these educational tools, find every way you can to give them away to as many people as possible. 

For an example, see below.

 

Make 2019 the Be$t Year Ever for Your Law Firm by Developing These 3 Strengths

Posted in Law Firm Development

Make 2019 Your Law Firm’s Be$t Year Ever by Developing These 3 StrengthsBuilding a lifestyle law firm — one that enables you to do what you want when you want to do it — begins with the understanding that you are running a business. And the success of your law firm lies in how well you are able to develop your strengths in three key areas:

  1. Marketing your legal skills.

As an owner or partner in a law firm, your primary focus (in addition to honing your lawyering skills) is to understand the key principles of business development and law firm marketing and to apply them every single day. Not every attorney will be a top Rainmaker, but everyone can do something to grow and market his or her practice.

  1. Creating extraordinary experiences for your clients. 

You need to “micromanage the client experience”—controlling every aspect of how the client experiences your law firm. From how the phone is answered, to greeting them by name as they walk in the door, to minimizing the amount of paperwork you ask them to complete, to reserving your conference room with their name on the door, to returning client phone calls and emails consistently and promptly…everything should be focused on creating a positive experience for your clients.

  1. Building deep and lasting relationships with your clients.

Far too many attorneys only have a transactional relationship with their clients. They create an estate plan for them, they file a lawsuit on their behalf, or they set up a corporation for them. To be successful over the long term, you must think long term and develop lasting, meaningful and influential relationships with your clients because the most expensive thing you can have is a one-time client. One of the most basic marketing strategies for law firms is getting additional business from current clients – yet many attorneys fail at doing this effectively.

A great way to end the year strong and start 2019 even stronger is to attend a Rainmaker Retreat, where you will learn how to develop all the above strengths and more. Here are the upcoming sessions:

  • December 7-8, 2018 — Los Angeles, CA/Ritz Carlton Marina del Ray
  • January 18-19, 2019 — Las Vegas, NV/Aria Resort & Casino
  • February 15-16, 2019 — Miami, FL/DoubleTree by Hilton Ocean Point Resort & Spa – North Miami Beach
  • March 22-23, 2019 — Scottsdale, AZ/Talking Stick Resort

You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.

Why Law Firms Need a Strong Brand

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Why Law Firms Need a Strong BrandOne of the most effective ways you can distinguish yourself in the legal marketplace is by creating a brand that positions you as a leading authority in your area of practice. Without a strong brand, you run the risk of becoming a commodity — and as we all know, commodities typically have minuscule profit margins.

Building a strong brand for your law firm will provide you with five key benefits:

  1. Attract clients.

Given a choice, we would all choose to work with a specialist rather than a generalist, whether it’s for healthcare or car repair. We all enjoy having access to the best. Professionals known for being the best in their fields are more trusted and more highly sought after. Once you have created a strong brand for yourself in your area of practice, you will find that clients will seek you out.

  1. Obtain more referrals.

If you are the attorney everyone wants to know (and hire), you’re also the attorney who will be referred more often by clients and other lawyers. Referrals are social capital — people share them because it elevates their own status. When you establish yourself as the authority in your field, people will want to make their association with you known.

  1. Command higher rates.

When people seek you out, it allows you to become more selective about the clients you take on as well as the rates you can charge for your legal services. It’s simple supply and demand. Conversely, if you are viewed as the same as other lawyers — a commodity — you are forced to compete on price. Having a brand that positions you as an expert and a specialist allows you to charge what you’re worth and still win new business.

  1. Do the kind of work you prefer.

If you are currently doing work you don’t like for clients you don’t like working for, it’s time for you to find your focus. You can’t be an expert in everything, so pick an area of the law you truly enjoy and start drawing clients you would enjoy serving. Having a niche makes it much easier to develop a strong brand as an expert in that niche and helps you attract the kind of work you want.

  1. Attract media attention.

Reporters are constantly looking for experts on a wide range of legal topics. The one caveat being you need to be perceived as an expert! How do they find you? Like most people who don’t know you do — by searching the Internet. Having a strong online brand with a major presence on social media will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll be contacted and that opportunity for media exposure will present itself. Increased media exposure means an increase in the number of people attracted to your law firm, so be sure to leverage any media opportunities you have into future interviews and articles.

Building a strong brand takes time, but it pays off in two very meaningful ways — more job satisfaction and more money!

 

 

7 Steps to Polish Your Online Reputation

Posted in SEO for law firms

7 Steps to Polish Your Online ReputationIf you’ve been using professional SEO practices for awhile, then you probably think everything about your online reputation is just fine. But there may be some surprises lurking beyond the first page or two of your search results. Perhaps some negative reviews from former clients that you’ve never seen before? Images of you that someone else posted and tagged with your name from that party you’d rather forget? An angry letter you let fly to the local newspaper and now regret?

Is it easy for someone who Googles you to tell immediately what type of law you practice and where you are located? Or do old pages from your former practice pop up to confuse the picture? Are there social media profiles that don’t have a photo and have never been filled out properly so it looks like you abandoned them? Are your blog posts old?

If your online reputation could use some polish, then this is what you need to do:

  1. Get clean.

Scour all your social media pages and eliminate posts with bad language or references to tasteless humor. Take down the Halloween and Christmas party photos. Look over any photo sharing sites you’ve used like Instagram and Pinterest as well as video sharing sites that may contain content that is unflattering. Search for photos on other people’s pages where you’ve been tagged — if they are sketchy, ask your friend to remove them. You don’t want others impacting your online reputation.

  1. Check your privacy settings.

Every social media site has privacy settings that allow you to control who sees your content. If any of them are set to “public,” change the setting. You don’t have to shut everyone out — after all, it’s social media — but you want to only promote content that bolsters your online reputation.

  1. Update your profiles.

First, review your website bio page. Attorney bios are the most frequently visited pages on law firm websites and are one of the first things prospects look at when researching you online. Unfortunately, many of them are as dry as the desert. Your bio is a great opportunity to showcase what you have to offer potential clients and convince them to reach out to you for a consultation. Your bio should:

  • Explain who you are and what you do
  • Tell your story in an engaging manner, relating any personal anecdotes that have led you to the practice of law.
  • Include any community activities, hobbies and charitable work.
  • Have some personality.
  • Include a good photo.

Be sure your bio reflects all your good qualities, not only on your website but also on your social media profiles. Be sure to load it with keywords that prospects use when searching for a lawyer who practices the type of law that you do.

Now turn your attention to your social media profiles. Here’s a blueprint for the perfect LinkedIn profile:

Name: Use your professional name, no nicknames or other superlatives.

Headline: Under your name is your headline, the most important piece of real estate on your profile. Use keywords that people would use to find you — i.e., Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney.

LinkedIn URL: Customize your LinkedIn URL to make it easier for people to find you. You’ll find it in the light gray box below your name.

Profile photo: Use a professional head shot with a neutral background. Have your photo reflect what you do. Look friendly, not stern.

Summary: Develop a succinct description of what you do, using keywords that other people would use to search for you.   Add contact information — website, email, phone, etc. Add video if you have it that gives an overview of your experience.

Experience: Again, if you have video, use it. People engage much more with video than text! Add any content you’ve produced that is pertinent to your professional life. Be precise in listing your past and current roles.

Education: Including information about degrees acquired and schools attended provides an opportunity to connect with other alumni.

Featured Skills & Endorsements: Include skills that define your professional role and experiences. Get endorsements from peers and others you’ve worked with to validate your skills.

Recommendations: Recommendations are written by other LinkedIn members — typically people you’ve worked with or know professionally. They add credibility to your profile. You can solicit recommendations within LinkedIn by clicking on the “Ask to be recommended” link in the Recommendations box and selecting up to three people to receive your request.

Accomplishments: Here is where you list any awards, honors or other recognition you’ve received as a professional. You can also list anything you’ve had published — articles, e-books, etc.

  1. Refresh your pages with new images.

If it’s been awhile since you updated your images on your website or social media pages, it’s time to refresh. Put an updated photo on all your online profiles. Make a note to yourself to refresh your cover image on Facebook every quarter.

  1. Visit your competitors.

Look at your competitor’s social media pages and see how you compare. Try to view them with the same eye as your prospects. Then make the necessary improvements to your pages to outdo them.

  1. Use social media apps to keep yourself organized.

There are several good social media management tools out there like BufferApp and HootSuite that let you view your social media landscape on one page. This not only makes it easier for you to be sure you maintain a consistent branding message, but also makes managing all your accounts and scheduling posts much easier.

  1. Consolidate.

Did you sign up on every possible social media site as soon as they came out? There’s no way you can maintain all of them, so consolidate into two or three where your prospects are most likely to be found.

 

Google Reviews Study: Reviews Even More Important to Local SEO

Posted in SEO for law firms

BrightLocal, a leading local search marketing company, scoured the profiles of more than 93,000 local businesses across 26 different industries to create their recently released Google Reviews Study.

Law firms are included in the research, and an interactive infographic that BrightLocal included in their report allows you to explore the results for each category as a whole. It’s pretty cool; here’s what the legal category looks like:

Google Reviews Study: Reviews Even More Important to Local SEO Ranking

A few important insights from this research:

The average number of reviews for businesses that appear in that all-important Google Local 3-Pack (where three local businesses are featured on the first page of search results) is 47. Law firms average only 16 reviews.

The difference in average star rating between businesses that are listed in the 1-3 position in search results vs. those listed in positions 7-10 is only .02 stars.

The average star rating for local businesses across all categories is 4.42; law firms rank right at average:

74% of local businesses have at least one Google review; law firms rank below average at 70%:

It’s clear that law firms have some work to do when it comes to obtaining Google reviews, which in turn helps to increase your local ranking in search results. Our free on-demand webinar will give you the tools you need to do this:

FREE On-Demand Webinar for Attorneys: How to Manage Your Online Reputation

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best Practices in Law Firm Marketing

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Best Practices in Law Firm MarketingIn today’s hyper-competitive legal services marketplace, it is not enough to be smart or even to do a great job for your clients. You must find a way of differentiating yourself and your firm so that prospective clients have a reason to choose you over your competitors. And everyone who works in your firm must also be engaged in this process.

Here are 10 things your firm should be doing to market your legal services:

  1. Encourage cross selling among attorneys. If you have multiple practice areas and lawyers who specialize in each area, then those lawyers should be cross-selling your services.  Make sure all your attorneys understand your total offerings.
  2. Get your staff involved in marketing. Your legal marketing efforts should touch every member of your staff, since they are your ambassadors when it comes to passing along your expertise to their contacts.
  3. Implement a program for keeping in touch with former clients. This is a no-brainer.  Add them all to your monthly e-newsletter list and establish a system for sending out keep-in-touch emails that doesn’t require any babysitting from busy lawyers.
  4. Be sure all your lawyers are engaged in business development. To keep your lawyers engaged in developing new business, implement a training program on your marketing messaging and encourage them to get out and network.
  5. Keep your website current. An out-of-date website tells prospects that your firm is out of date. Be sure you are adding fresh content and that your site works well on mobile devices.
  6. Manage your online reputation. Reputation management is critical for law firms.  You should have this task assigned to someone (internal or external) who regularly conducts online searches for your firm name and attorney names. If something bad pops up, you should have a process for dealing with it effectively.
  7. Keep your attorney bios up to date online. Every attorney should have a complete and current bio with a professional photo on your website, LinkedIn, Avvo, etc.
  8. Maintain an active blog. A blog is one of the best ways for marketing to your niche, highlighting your practice areas and pumping out fresh content that showcases your expertise in each.
  9. Provide added value to clients. Providing clients with value above and beyond what they are paying for will keep them coming back.
  10. Micro-manage the client experience. Do clients have to wait when they show up for an appointment?  Are you offering them something to drink and making them feel at home?  If not, you need to take another look at how your firm treats clients because they are measuring you not just against other law firms but against every service provider they know.  And if they don’t like the fit, they won’t be back.

But wait. There’s more. Now that you know the 10 things your firm should be doing to market your legal services, here are the top 10 marketing mistakes attorneys make and how to avoid them. Learn how to avoid these game-changing mistakes in our top-rated e-book “How to Avoid the Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make.”

avoid top 10 marketing mistakes lawyers make ebook

Written by Legal Marketing Expert, Stephen Fairley, CEO, The Rainmaker Institute