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The Rainmaker Blog

Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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How to Optimize Your YouTube Videos to Rank in Search Results

Posted in Digital Marketing for Law Firms, Law Firm Marketing, SEO for law firms

How to Optimize Your YouTube Videos to Rank in Search ResultsMost people are not aware that YouTube is the world’s third largest search engine, where three billion searches are executed every month (compared to Google at 100 billion and Bing at 26 billion searches per month). YouTube has become so enormous that videos not optimized fully for search likely won’t find an audience.

Online video is a great way for attorneys to connect with prospects on your law firm website and on your social media platforms to effectively demonstrate expertise in your area of practice. But if you don’t take the necessary steps to optimize your videos, you won’t realize the many benefits of video for law firm marketing, including:

  • Better search results. According to Forrester Research, websites with video are 53x more likely than traditional websites to be found on the first page of Google search results. (Remember that Google owns YouTube)
  • Better retention. Forrester Research found that people retain 58% more with both visual and auditory stimulation.
  • More traffic. Forrester Research reports that over 60% of all web traffic comes from online video.
  • More likely to buy. People who view a video are 64% more likely to purchase (comScore).
  • Found in the C-Suite. 65% of senior executives say they have visited a vendor website after watching a video. 59% say they prefer video to text. (Forbes’ Video in the C-Suite).
  • More likely to be shared. Video has the best potential to be shared and go viral compared with other media.

The infographic below gives you actionable steps to take to optimize your law firm’s YouTube videos. It’s especially important for you to add closed captions to your video, since current research shows most videos are watched online with the sound turned off.

For even more tips, click on the image below the infographic to access my free webinar on the Top 10 Ways to Attract New Clients with Legal Video.

5 Tips for Getting 5-Star Reviews

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

5 Tips for Getting 5-Star ReviewsWord of mouth has always been important for lawyers to obtain new business — after all, what are referrals but informed word-of-mouth recommendations? Now that our lives are all online, it’s easier than ever for clients to post reviews of your services. And you can no more control that than you can order up a sunny day.

And potential clients are going to read those reviews. In fact, according to a recent BrightLocal survey, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reading reviews when looking for a service provider is routine today.

You also have to face the fact that you are going to get negative reviews too, since studies show that people are three times as likely to leave a negative comment than a positive one. The best answer to a negative review is to get as many positive reviews to balance things out. You don’t do that by ignoring the system.

Here are 5 tips on getting 5-star client reviews:

  1. Just ask.  Most people enjoy sharing their experience with service providers, especially if it’s been a good one.  Just the simple act of asking a client to provide you with a review lets them know what they think is important to you – which makes them feel good.  You can start by contacting your old (happy) clients and asking them to provide a review.
  2. Create great client experiences.  Cultivating a culture of great client service is a must for gaining positive reviews. Think about the greatest customer service experiences you’ve had and try to emulate them in your firm.
  3. Implement a timely process for getting reviews.  Attorneys need to create a process for making good reviews happen. Always look for those moments in your relationships with clients to create a review opportunity – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation – all opportunities for you to generate a great review. Make it easy for clients to review you by emailing them a link to post a review on Google. Better yet, create an autoresponder email with a built-in Google review form and send it to them at the appropriate time.
  4. Optimize your website content. To make it easy for clients to leave a review on your website, add graphic badges that quickly take visitors to your Google, Facebook or other online directory pages to read and post reviews. Be sure your site is optimized for mobile so people can access your content quickly and easily, and make sure your FAQs are easily discoverable since most visitors browsing a law firm website want quick answers to their legal questions.
  5. Repurpose good reviews. If you have received good reviews or testimonials, post them on your website, in your e-newsletter and anywhere else that potential customers are likely to stumble upon them. And be sure to ask whoever provided you with that great review if they would also submit it to Google so it shows up in search.

Your reputation is your most valuable asset. Don’t leave it to chance by failing to manage your online reputation.

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FREE WEBINAR for Attorneys: How to Manage Your Online Reputation

FREE WEBINAR for Attorneys: How to Manage Your Online ReputationA 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.

4 Ways to Win More Clients

Posted in Lead Conversion

This post was originally published two years ago.  The importance of lead conversion for law firms has never been greater, so we’ve updated the post:

4 Ways to Win More ClientsEvery lawyer knows what it’s like to pursue a prospect and then have that live lead go dead. Maybe they chose another firm. Maybe they thought they could handle it themselves. Maybe their problem went away.

The reason that prospect went toes up really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you stop hoping to land new clients and start working these proven strategies that will bring them into your firm’s fold:

#1:  Make sure the prospect is worth the effort.

It’s human nature to get excited about a potential new client when someone shows interest in hiring you. But interest alone is not enough and you can’t let your emotions lead your business development efforts. If a prospect cannot afford you or your firm isn’t equipped to help them, chasing them is a waste of time and money.

To ensure you’re pursuing the right people, you need to develop your ideal client profile — a list of qualities that your firm can use to determine if that potential client will be profitable and sustainable. Start by reviewing your list of former and current clients and look for clients that provided your firm with its most rewarding business relationships. Write down the common attributes those successful relationships shared as the foundation for your ideal client list.

Now institute a qualifying process that will cull out those leads that don’t meet your criteria so you can disqualify them more quickly and move on to prospects with a better profit potential.

#2:  Nurture your leads.

You have a limited window of time to engage with your leads before they become missed opportunities. This is where lead nurturing comes into play.

According to inbound marketing firm HubSpot, companies with effective lead nurturing programs generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost. In addition, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. And companies that use marketing automation software to nurture leads experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.

Marketing automation makes you smarter, faster and more efficient. Among many things, marketing automation allows you to:

  • Identify, track and engage prospects online
  • Segment your prospects for targeted messaging
  • Nurture leads through drip email campaigns with no human intervention necessary
  • Create and manage lead-generating landing pages
  • Measure the revenue contribution of every email, e-newsletter or other marketing effort

#3: Narrow in on a niche

When people see you as a jack of all trades (the generalist approach), they also perceive you as the master of none. People will pay more for a specialist because they see you as an expert. People will refer more to a specialist because they aren’t afraid of you stealing their clients or competing with them. Contrary to popular belief, this approach does not limit you. It helps to focus your marketing and business development efforts.

Review your top 10 client list (either by amount of revenue/fees generated or in terms of how much you enjoy working with them). Then, look for any similarities. It may not be apparent at first, but keep asking questions and you will find it. Building a niche around a solid client base is one of the fastest ways to differentiate yourself.

Another way to help determine your niche is to track the inquiries from prospective clients to determine what’s drawing them to you and your law firm. See if they don’t begin to naturally fall into one or more groups. Becoming aware of these commonalities is a way to let your niche find you, helping you develop your law firm marketing. Once you niche your practice, you will find that referrals come more readily to you, since it will become clear in referral source’s mind just exactly what it is you do.

#4: Build your brand.

Back in the day, attorneys gained their reputations primarily through word-of-mouth and personal interaction.  Today, building a reputation online is crucial since this is where most people gather and interact in the 21stcentury. So you need to be where your prospects are on social media, with both organic and paid posts, as well as adding content regularly to your website and social media pages through blogging.

Prospects will draw conclusions about the quality of your legal services from your website, your blog, your marketing materials, your business card, your office space and even the way you dress. Assess your competition and identify areas where you are different and better, then communicate that difference to your prospects so they know exactly why they should choose you.

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Latest Google Updates Mean Your Law Firm Website Better be Fast & Mobile Friendly

Posted in Law Firm Websites, SEO for law firms

Latest Google Updates Mean Your Law Firm Website Better be Fast & Mobile FriendlyIt’s been two years since Google announced that it would be slowing rolling out their mobile-first index, a change that rewards sites for being mobile-friendly by ranking them ahead of desktop versions. That rollout has been underway for some time to the major sites on the Web, and is now making its way down to local, small business sites. (See my tips on how to ensure your site complies with Google’s mobile-first index.)

Earlier this week, Google rolled out Speed Update for all users, and sites that are slow to load will see a drop in their rankings as a consequence. While speed has played a factor in desktop rankings for some time, it’s the first time Google has used speed as a major ranking factor for mobile sites.

To improve page speed on your mobile sites, you will need to:

Optimize images. Large, high-definition images can really slow down your page unless the images are optimized. This is easiest to do by using a CMS plug-in that automatically compresses images on mobile sites while still delivering a high quality user experience.

Get rid of redirects. Every millisecond counts on mobile, so when a user clicks on a link that redirects them to another URL, there is a tiny bit of load time added to your page speed. Those can really add up if you have lots of redirects on your site. This is especially problematic for sites with lots of content that has been archived in order to direct users to top-level pages. You can check your site for redirects using this tool.

Reduce server response time. To improve server response time — the time it takes for your server to return a requested page — you need to be sure there are sufficient memory and CPU resources allocated. You may need to improve your server software or configuration as well.

Make visible content a priority. Not many people get newspapers anymore, but if you will remember, anything “above the fold” was considered more important than what was below the fold. On your mobile website, the content that appears first on your most important pages should all be “above the fold” content. It needs to be served up first and you can code in that preference to serve up the primary content first and then load the rest of the page in the background while the user is reading. This speeds up your page load time since the server is not trying to load an entire page.

These are just a few techniques you can use to improve page speed. There are more, so just be sure your website team is working hard to ensure your sites comply with these new changes.

Apply Now for 2018 Law Firm 500 Award Recognizing Fastest Growing U.S. Law Firms

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing

Apply Now for 2018 Law Firm 500 Award Recognizing Fastest Growing U.S. Law Firms

Law Firm 500 is a prestigious, one-of-a-kind award recognizing fast growing law firms of all sizes. It celebrates velocity, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit of law firms measured by revenue growth over the past three years.

Law Firm 500 is similar in spirit to the Inc. 500, which recognizes fast growing, independently owned companies in the U.S. Its difference is that while the Inc. 500 recognizes all businesses, Law Firm 500 is solely for law firms.

The qualifications are simple:

  • 2014 Minimum Revenue: $50,000
  • 2017 Minimum Revenue: $500,000
  • Operate an independently owned and operated, for-profit law firm in the U.S.

Being recognized as a Law Firm 500 recipient will help you differentiate yourself with clients, prospects, referral partners, and in your community. Each firm named to the 2018 Awards list will receive a permanent award, a press release to use in your local area and a Law Firm 500 logo to use on your website and marketing materials.

2018 Award recipients will be honored on October 18-20, 2018, at the Law Firm 500 Award Gala and Conference at the Westin Lake Las Vegas. The event is sponsored by several leading legal industry companies, and The Rainmaker Institute is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor this year.

The deadline for submitting an application is July 30, 2018. There is no cost to apply and your revenues will not be published. Apply now by clicking on the link below:

Whether you qualify or not for the Law Firm 500 Award this year, your firm’s growth can still benefit significantly by attending the Law Firm 500 Conference & Awards Gala. You’ll rub shoulders and swap ideas with some of the most innovative, creative, open-minded, entrepreneurial lawyers in the country.

Not only will you experience 2 1/2 days immersed in sessions covering every facet of a thriving business, but you also get to attend the party of the year – the Law Firm 500 Awards Gala. Erin Brockovich is this year’s keynote speaker. Erin is the force behind the largest direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history – $333 Million. She has a compelling message and will inspire you with her “never-give-up” and “always give clients your best” attitude.

As a Platinum Sponsor, we get the best priced conference and gala ticket prices for our clients and friends. When you click the link below, make sure to enter PROMO CODE: SUCCESS-4:

See you at the Law Firm 500 Conference & Awards Gala in Las Vegas on October 18-20, 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survey Identifies Top 5 Challenges Facing Small Law Firms

Posted in Law Firm Development, Rainmaker Retreat Boot Camp

Survey Identifies Top 5 Challenges Facing Small Law Firms Thomson Reuters recently completed a survey of small law firms (less than 30 attorneys) to identify the biggest challenges these firms face and what they are doing to address them.

The top five challenges in order of importance include:

  1. New client acquisition
  2. Too much time spent on administrative tasks
  3. Cost control and expense growth
  4. Lack of internal efficiency
  5. Rate pressure from clients/clients demanding more for less

So how are small firms dealing with these challenges? Unfortunately, most are not:

 

Challenges

% of firms identifying as moderate or significant challenge % of those firms NOT addressing that challenge
New client acquisition 75% 71%
Too much time spent on administration 70% 81%
Cost control and expense growth 61% 74%
Lack of internal efficiency 60% 72%
Rate pressure/more for less 59% 80%

One of the most interesting insights was how attorneys at small law firms spend their days. Attorneys in small law firms report spending almost 40% of their work day on tasks other than the practice of law. Survey respondents that rated their law firms as “very successful” reported 8.7% of their time is spent on administrative tasks, while those rating their law firms as “unsuccessful” reported spending almost twice as much time — 15.3% — on administrative tasks.

This chart shows what the survey respondents said were the important positive factors that drove firm performance over the past year:

The factor rated as most important was increasing referrals from existing clients, followed by becoming more efficient and growing relationships with existing clients. These were the top 3 most important factors that drove revenue for the firms surveyed in the past year.

Of note is an emerging challenge identified by 17% of survey respondents: DIY legal websites. In the previous year’s survey, this challenge was identified by only 11% of firms surveyed. Unsurprisingly, the smaller the firm, the more that DIY legal sites were viewed as a threat; only 3% of firms with 11-29 attorneys viewed these sites as a threat vs. 28% of firms with 2-3 attorneys.

What is most troubling about the results from this survey is that while small law firms can readily identify the challenges facing them, a majority are not addressing these significant barriers to their growth. Why?

It is human nature to not want to deal with things you don’t understand. But there is a simple solution: attend a Rainmaker Retreat, where you will learn how to address all the top challenges identified in this survey and more. Here are the upcoming sessions:

  • *July 20-22, 2018 — Los Angeles, CA/Anaheim Marriott
  • August 17-18, 2018 — Las Vegas, NV/Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas
  • September 14-15, 2018 — Atlanta, GA/The Ritz Carlton Atlanta
  • October 12-13, 2018 — New Orleans, LA/The Roosevelt New Orleans
  • November 9-10, 2018 — Miami, FL/The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale

* Includes a free third day — Digital Sunday — devoted solely to advanced online marketing training on SEO; Paid Search, Retargeting and Geo-Fencing; and Managing Your Online Reputation.

Register online now and receive Early Bird Pricing — 30% off the standard registration fee — for our upcoming retreats.

How Marketing Automation Boosts Law Firm Efficiency & Effectiveness

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

How Marketing Automation Boosts Law Firm Efficiency & EffectivenessMost attorneys 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 and having data that demonstrates the most effective marketing tools for your law firm is a great benefit. That is what marketing automation delivers.

Among many things, marketing automation allows you to:

  • Identify, track and engage prospects online.
  • Segment your prospects for targeted messaging.
  • Nurture leads through drip email campaigns with no human intervention necessary.
  • Create and manage lead-generating landing pages.
  • Measure the revenue contribution of every email, e-newsletter or other marketing effort.

Email marketing is one of the most effective uses of marketing automation. Consider these statistics:

  • Companies that automate emails are 133% more likely to send messages that coincide with the purchase cycle of their customers.
  • Relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails.
  • Personalized emails generate up to 6x higher revenue than non-personalized emails.
  • The #1 reported benefit of email marketing automation is the creation of more and better leads.
  • Automated emails get 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails.

If you have not invested yet in marketing automation — either by purchasing and implementing a software solution within your firm or outsourcing to a marketing company that can deploy marketing automation on your behalf (like The Rainmaker Institute) — you probably don’t understand the true benefits in terms of saving time and money that marketing automation can provide for:

Social media — using automation for your social media posts and updates can save you more than six hours every week on managing your social media.

Dynamic content — being able to personalize offers and content based on a visitor’s past browsing history delivers an average increase of 20% in sales.

Content amplification — by automating your follow-up emails and outreach, you can increase your reply rate by up to 250%.

Client appointments — using an automated tool to set appointments can save up to 80% of time spent by your sales team on scheduling.

Lead nurturing — businesses that automate lead nurturing with precisely timed emails realize a 10% increase in revenue.

Marketing automation makes you smarter, faster, and more efficient — giving you more time to focus on growing your firm through activities that require your personal touch.

 

5 Keys to Effective Law Firm Development

Posted in Law Firm Development

5 Keys to Effective Law Firm DevelopmentGuiding the growth of your law firm takes a disciplined approach to law firm development. While you may not have learned much about the business of law as your pursued your JD, you will need to master certain business disciplines — planning, hiring, financial management, technology, and marketing — to make your firm successful. There are 5 keys to effective law firm development that demand your focus:

#1: Make a plan.

To start and run any business, you need to focus on the big picture, but you can’t let that blind you to the importance of detailing the steps you need to take to make your firm a success. Having a plan helps you keep on track to achieving your goals and make important adjustments along the way.

#2: Develop a team of Superstars.

You need to create a team that will make your business successful, bringing the best people onboard in the different disciplines you need for financial management, marketing, sales, etc., and ensuring they succeed by investing in the latest technologies to support their efforts. You have a limited number of positions to fill in your firm and you can only afford to retain superstars in every position. If you find a position filled with someone who is “good enough,” either eliminate the person or eliminate the position.

#3: Take care of business first.

Too many times lawyers focus solely on their clients without focusing on the bottom line. The result is devastating: not sending out invoices on time, not raising your rates for years, not actively cross-promoting other services your firm offers, and not staying connected with former clients. Be sure to put processes in place for each of these important disciplines so nothing falls through the cracks.

#4: Invest in technology.

Can you imagine practicing law without a computer or the Internet? In 5 years, you will be saying the same about financial management and marketing technology. For the 21st century law firm, you must take advantage of advanced technologies that make you more efficient and effective.

#5: Track the ROI of all your marketing programs.

With the increased competition and level of sophistication in the legal marketing industry, to get ahead you must be faster, smarter, and more effective than your competitors. Your ability to leverage digital and social media marketing and automate your marketing system will allow you to dominate larger firms with bigger budgets; however, every dollar must be accounted for and every effort must be measured for ROI.