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Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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SEO Efforts a Bust? Here are 10 Reasons Why

Posted in SEO for law firms

SEO Efforts a Bust? Here are 10 Reasons WhyYou know the importance of digital marketing for law firm business development. You realize that much of your online success — if and when it comes — depends on doing the right things SEO-wise so your law firm website shows up on the first page of Google. You know that you certainly do not have the time (nor the inclination, probably) to become an SEO expert. You did not go to law school for this.

So you hire someone to take this on — either someone on your staff or an external resource. Because it’s important. It must be done, and done right. So why aren’t you seeing the results you want? A recent post at Search Engine Watch provides 10 reasons why your SEO campaign might not be working:

  1. Poor content.

Poor content is the #1 reason why SEO campaigns fail. If the traffic on your site is close to abysmal, this has a real (bad) effect on your SEO. People are only going to stay on your site if they find something of value; absent that, they will leave as soon as they arrive and will not come back. Your content must be original and error-free, and include a good mix of various types of content — text, photos, video, infographics, etc.

  1. Poor host.

If the company hosting your website is unreliable, the performance of your site will be compromised and that results in loss of rank. Don’t make your decision of a website host provider based on price; base this important decision on reliability and competence.

  1. Lack of links.

The content you have on your website and blog needs to have backlinks from authoritative websites as well as hyperlinks that help attract visitors to your site. Curate these carefully, as Google will know if you are buying backlinks and penalize your site.

  1. Not keeping up with Google algorithm updates.

Google is constantly changing its algorithm in a series of updates that must be taken into consideration by your SEO strategy or the search results for your site will be affected in significant ways.

  1. High bounce rate.

If people are leaving your site after viewing just one page, you will incur a high bounce rate and that is bad for SEO. You need to routinely check your Google Analytics to monitor the bounce rate for your site.

  1. Outdated SEO strategy.

Change is the name of the SEO game, so if you are still deploying old SEO strategies, you are going to get hurt.

  1. Dwell time is short.

If people are leaving your home page, landing page, or blog right after they get there, your SEO suffers.

  1. Too great expectations.

You won’t see SEO results over night, so you need to adjust your expectations. Your SEO efforts will take at least three months before bearing fruit, so be patient.

  1. Neglecting social media.

Google uses social media signals to gauge the popularity of your online properties, so be sure you are active on the social media sites where your target market likes to hang out.

  1. Your site is not mobile-first.

This is a basic requirement since Google made mobile-first a ranking priority three years ago. In 2019, your sites need to be responsive and mobile-friendly so they display content correctly no matter what device is used to access those sites.

 

The 5 Key Benefits of a Mastermind Group

Posted in Rainmaker Mastermind Group

This weekend I’m meeting with the Rainmaker Mastermind Group, an exclusive group of non-competing attorneys and law firm marketing experts who meet a few times a year for an intense, two-day strategy session.

Here, attorneys have the opportunity to learn in the company of other top attorneys where to find the necessary resources, tap into creative ideas and apply the skills they need to transform their current practice.

There are 5 key benefits to being a member of the Rainmaker Mastermind Group:

1. Specialized Knowledge: No one person knows it all, which is one of the most common reasons people fall short of their goal or choose not to take chances. People believe they don’t have the knowledge or required education to get where they want to be. The fact is, no successful individual has become successful because he knew everything.

The most successful people are not the ones who know how to do everything, but the ones who know how to get people to assist them with what they don’t know.  While it is your duty to be experts in your particular area of law, it is not possible for you to know everything there is to know about all aspects of the law or building a law practice. For instance, you may know little about law firm marketing, but by being part of a mastermind group, you can leverage the knowledge and strengths of everyone around you to move forward more quickly toward your goals.

2. Definiteness of Purpose: Definiteness of purpose is a key to your success. If you do not know with absolute certainty what you want, you are not likely to reach the level of success that is possible. Mastermind groups offer knowledge, information, and direction.

Members will help you stay on track, call you out when you are not doing what you say you are going to do, and generally serve as the more rational voice inside you to keep your eye on the prize. However, you have to be clear on your own purpose if you expect to get the most out of the experience. The clearer you are about your purpose, the more success you will find.

3. Infinite Experience: An individual who is trying to develop a strategy to grow his or her law practice for the first time has a higher probability of failure because he or she has finite experience. You have only what you currently know to guide you. However, the mastermind group has infinite experience. It has years of combined experience, knowledge and insight from which you can draw to accelerate your learning curve.

4. Group Energy: Many attorneys running smaller law firms struggle without consistent interaction with their peers on a daily basis. They may work with clients and attend events a few times a month, but working in isolation can limit your growth. Having a mastermind group keeps you connected, helps you to see that your struggles are not unique, and that you can have outrageous success even if you stumble once in a while.

5. Higher Levels of Accountability: When you have a group of likeminded people committed to you and your goals, it is much more difficult to let things go than when you are working alone. Having others who are expecting you to achieve the goals you have set for yourself can often add that little extra bit of motivation you need to follow through. In addition, when you know that others feel accountable to you, there is a sense of responsibility you have to do what you say you are going to do. Accountability works both ways and it is one of the primary reasons why mastermind groups are so effective.

Learn more about the requirements if you are interested in being considered for membership at Rainmaker Mastermind Group.

 

5 Tips to Leverage Your Law Firm Blog for Better SEO

Posted in SEO for law firms

5 Tips to Leverage Your Law Firm Blog for Better SEOAs a constant source of fresh content, your law firm blog is a great tool for building your online authority and boosting your SEO. Research shows that blogs consistently deliver the goods in terms of more traffic to your website, more leads, and higher ranking in search engine results pages.

But could you be doing more? Could you think more strategically about how to squeeze every bit of potential good from your blog? Of course you could! Here are five tips to get you started:

#1: Don’t just focus on keywords.

Putting too much emphasis on optimizing blog content for keywords is a common error. Even if your primary objective for your blog is SEO, you can still obtain a good ranking with content that isn’t optimized for keywords. How? By crafting content that is well written and unique and promoting it heavily on social media and email, you build authority, which is also an important ranking factor for SEO.

#2: Include internal links.

Many marketers focus solely on external links without realizing that once you have established enough authority for your blog, you can use internal links to rank for your important keywords. Internal links let search engines know which pages on your site are important. As you create new posts, link to pages on your website that support your subject matter as well as to older posts that have proven popular in the past to drive traffic to your best content.

#3: Promote older posts.

Promoting older content is a great way to boost SEO, but is usually neglected by bloggers who tend to focus only on pumping out new content. There are several ways to do this:

  • Update and relaunch— take a good evergreen article you’ve written in the past and update it with new information or add more content to lengthen your article, then repost it with a note at the beginning that you have updated the post. Be sure to remove any old links that are no longer relevant.
  • Promote on social media— use a social media scheduling tool to schedule social sharing for older posts to drive traffic to them on an ongoing basis.
  • Autoresponders— send autoresponders to new subscribers to your blog that direct them to older content they haven’t seen yet.
  • Email— include links in your e-newsletter or launch an email series that includes links to evergreen posts of interest to your target audience.

#4: Publish frequently.

Firms that blog frequently get more traffic. In fact, research shows that companies that blog 16+ times per month get 3.5 times as much traffic as companies that only post a couple of times per month. If you blog for SEO reasons, then you need enough content on your blog to attract search traffic.

#5: Don’t worry about post length.

While long-form content has been shown to outperform short content when it comes to SEO and social sharing, putting out lengthy posts just for the sake of length is not a good strategy. What counts is the quality of your content. Also keep in mind that most people prefer shorter content, spending an average of 37 seconds on an article, according to a recent study. The best practice is to write both short and long posts and then check your analytics to see which ones resonate best with your readers.

 

Avoid These SEO Mistakes to Improve Your Law Firm’s Search Ranking [Infographic]

Posted in SEO for law firms

Getting on the first page of Google is every law firm marketer’s mission.  That’s because current research shows that most people — 94%! — won’t look beyond the first page of their Google search results.  So acquiring that piece of rare real estate is key if you want to build a strong online presence for your law firm.

Competition is fierce in the legal category and you need to use every weapon available to fight your way to the first page. Many of these are technical issues that are easily remedied — but first you need to be aware of their importance and the impact they have on your search ranking.

This infographic from SEMrush identifies 40 technical SEO mistakes that could be hurting your ability to rank high on search engine results pages. Hand it off to your SEO team and ask them to make sure your site is not committing any of these violations:

Avoid These SEO Mistakes to Improve Your Law Firm’s Search Ranking [Infographic]

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FREE 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 Geeks. Michael is an online marketing expert, a well known speaker and the owner of one of the premier online marketing agencies in the country focused on helping attorneys build their practice. He is a UCSD graduate and a 28-year sales and marketing veteran. He started his first marketing agency in 2009, offering web development, SEO, PPC 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.

6 Winning Search Strategies for Law Firm Marketing

Posted in SEO for law firms

6 Winning Search Strategies for Law Firm MarketingLaw firms should take it as a given by now that online search plays a crucial role in business development, especially for B2C law firms. Consumers needing legal services will turn to the Internet first to research their options. Even when a friend has recommended an attorney, you can bet that referral is being researched online before a call is made.

If you do not rank well in search — being on the first page is key — you are losing potential clients to competitors that have deployed better search strategies than you have. So it’s way past time for law firms to get savvy about search.

Here are six organic search tactics that have proven to be especially effective for law firms:

  1. Focus on specialized keywords.

When potential clients search for an attorney online, there are specific keywords they typically use that are related to:

Location — search engines like Google know that when we search for a business service, we are likely to be looking for one nearby. This is why when you start typing what you are looking for in the Google search bar, the words “near me” are likely to pop up in association with the service you’re searching for. Using location-specific keywords like “Phoenix divorce attorney” is key in ranking well for location-specific searches.

Area of practice — people looking for a lawyer rarely search using just the word “lawyer.” They are much more likely to search for specific practice areas — divorce lawyer, business lawyer, personal injury lawyer, etc. Be sure you are using keywords that focus on your specific practice area(s).

Purchase intent — consumers ready to hire an attorney right away usually use keywords that signal where they are in the buying cycle. High-intent keywords may include the term “best” as in “best Phoenix divorce attorney,” while those who are in the early stages of the buying cycle use low-intent keywords like, “what does a divorce attorney cost?” Using high-intent keywords enables you to capture more search traffic from prospects that are ready to hire.

  1. Boost SEO with optimized content.

Demonstrating expertise in your practice area through your website and blog content not only helps you connect with prospects, it can also help you rank better in search. Develop optimized content that addresses the common issues your clients face in a few different formats — as blog posts, Q&A section (for voice search), and individual pages on your website. If you need help, consider adding the SEO Writing Assistant tool from SEMrush to your WordPress blog or Google document that will let you see how well your content is written for SEO purposes and makes recommendations for improvement.

  1. Choose a GMB niche.

Your Google My Business (GMB) page allows you to choose a niche for your law firm. Don’t make the mistake of just choosing “attorney.” Instead, choose the category that describes your practice area — tax attorney, bankruptcy attorney, patent attorney, etc.

  1. Focus on link building.

Having links from other authoritative websites with high traffic will really help improve your search ranking. Broken links will put a ding in that score, so first review your website or blog to see if there are any broken links that need to be fixed. To get links, you need to concentrate on producing high quality content. Guest posts on blogs and website in your niche help you gain valuable backlinks. So does adding your website to highly reputable lists like these:

  1. Utilize schema markup.

Schema markup is code that tells Google important things about your business that can then be more readily displayed in Google’s search engine results pages. If you use WordPress, there are plugins available that will generate the schema for you. There are also online schema markup generators that makes it easy to produce schema markup for your content.

  1. Obtain more reviews.

Reviews count for a lot in search results, so you want to be sure you have them on your website and highly trafficked review sites, including legal platforms like Avvo. Read my previous post on 5 Tips for Getting 5-Star Reviews.

New Consumer Insights Your Law Firm Marketing Plan Needs to Consider

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

New Consumer Insights Your Law Firm Marketing Plan Needs to ConsiderConsumer insights are important when crafting a law firm marketing plan, and they have certainly changed a lot in the last few years. A new consumer content study by Adobe lists five significant changes that you need to dial in to your marketing planning for 2019, including:

Consumers spend almost 9 hours on average every day engaging with digital media.

Does that number sound high to you? Then consider this: Millennials (23-34) spend 10.9 hours and Gen Z (18-22) spends 11.4 hours on their digital devices daily. According to the Adobe study, you can attribute much of this phenomenon to FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — as well as the advances in technology that allow us to do almost anything on our phones today.

This means a couple of things for marketing your law firm — (1) there is no doubt that you should use digital marketing to reach your target market; and (2), you need to be as different as possible with your content to stand out.

Consumers are impatient.

The Adobe study found that more than half of consumers surveyed said they will abandon content that is too slow to load. And “too slow” usually means content that doesn’t appear immediately — within a few seconds. They will also abandon content that is poorly written and websites that are poorly designed.

And here’s a surprise: the demographic groups that are the least patient when it comes to content not displaying quickly or well enough are Baby Boomers (50-64) and Traditionalists (65+)!

Reviews matter.

The #1 place a consumer visits when researching a purchase (goods or services) is a brand’s website, but a close 2nd is online reviews, followed by social media and video channels.

Voice search emerging in importance.

While sounding the death knell for the keyword is premature, emerging technologies like voice search are on the rise. Crafting content that makes it easier for consumers to find you when using digital assistants like Google Home, Siri, etc., will only continue to grow in importance.

Trust in social media is high.

It’s not surprising that the generations that grew up with social media — Millennials and Gen Zers — trust it the most. However, social media is also trusted by 70% of Gen Xers (35-49) and 52% of Baby Boomers. According to the Adobe study, Facebook and YouTube are the most trusted social networks and both have earned a place in your law firm marketing plan.

Twitter Tips for Attorneys to Increase Engagement

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Twitter Tips for Attorneys to Increase EngagementIf you’d like to start using Twitter — or if you’ve already started but want to do better — here are some tips for attorneys on how to engage:

Pick a trending topic and offer your own spin. Every time you sign in, your Twitter home page will give you a list of topics that are currently trending on the site. You can even customize this feed for your geographical area. Picking a trending topic and adding your own spin on it is a good way to get more attention for your posts.

Perk up your profile. Be sure you have a current photo of yourself on your profile. Most people prefer to follow a person instead of a company.

Add followers. Syncing your contact list to Twitter is a good way to get followers quickly.

Use visuals to be visible.  Posts with photos and video get more attention on Twitter than strictly text posts.

Share amazing content. Don’t tweet unless you have something of value to your followers to offer. Quality always trumps quantity (pun intended).

Share and share alike. Share any engaging content your followers have posted by retweeting their messages and they are likely to return the favor.

Mind your metrics. Keep track of your Twitter stats — how many engage or click on your tweets — so you can gauge what’s working and what’s not.

In addition, here are some best practices for attorneys using Twitter:

  • Don’t tweet more than four times a day
  • Try to keep your tweet under 100 characters
  • Remember the 80/20 rule — 80% conversation/20% promotion
  • Use links as much as possible in your tweets — these get 86% higher retweet rates
  • Be sure your links are clickable by adding a space in front of the link
  • Weekend tweets get more engagement
  • Afternoon tweets get more engagement
  • Be judicious in your use of hashtags — no more than 2 per post
  • Include the word “retweet” in your posts — studies show these receive 12x higher retweet rates

Armed with this information, you should now feel comfortable engaging clients and prospects on Twitter with timely, topical tweets.

 

 

8 Steps to Achieve a Better Work/Life Balance in 2019

Posted in Law Firm Management

8 Steps to Achieve a Better Work/Life Balance in 2019If there is one thing that all the attorneys I’ve trained have in common, it’s that they are all too busy. Busy generating leads. Busy meeting with prospects. Busy preparing for trial. Busy running their business. Busy going to court. Busy putting out fires. Busy going to networking events. Busy, busy, busy! It’s time to figure out how to achieve better work/life balance.

Unfortunately, that rarely happens. This is usually because most of us don’t know how to prioritize when a million demands are being made of us. We react, rather than consciously act. Consider this useful advice on how to achieve a healthy work/life balance, starting with the activities that provide the highest ROI on your time investment.

#1 – Write down your goals.

People who know me have heard me say I’m not a big believer in “resolutions,” but I am a believer in writing down my goals. For many years I had goals, but never took time to write them down. For the last five years, I’ve taken time at the beginning of each year to write down my personal, relationship and business goals. When I did this, I started achieving more of them. Whether it was the simple act of formalizing them in writing or being clear about how I would measure my success, I don’t care. What I care about is that I started reaching more of them. I now write down annual goals and monthly goals and keep them on my phone where I can easily review them at any time.

#2 – Do the one thing that is most important to you personally.

Maybe it’s breakfast with the kids. Perhaps it’s going to at least half their sporting events. Maybe it’s starting to write that book you’ve always wanted to write. If you don’t do the one thing that means the most to you in the world, years will go by and you will regret it. If it’s an event or a series of them, set them as appointments in your calendar. If it’s a project, break it down into bite-sized chunks. If you want a healthy work/life balance, you have to schedule it.

#3 – Find someone to hold you accountable.

Achieving your goals requires accountability (generally not your significant other). Whether it’s a business coach, a colleague or a close friend, you need to find someone to share your goals with and ask them to hold you accountable each month. Once per month, I meet with a group of other like-minded business owners to go over my goals and talk about ways to grow my business.

#4 – Do the one thing that is most important to the health of your law practice.

This is not answering emails. For most of us, it is doing something that will increase revenues, and that usually means marketing or sending out invoices. When you make marketing a priority, you are ensuring that the one thing that feeds your business – new clients – doesn’t dry up for lack of attention. You create demand that will keep your business going instead of treating business development like a luxury that will get your attention once you have the time. Because you never have time.

Lawyers are notoriously bad at sending out invoices on a timely basis. They don’t accurately account for their time in their billing software and then they don’t send out the invoices regularly. Both of these issues directly impact your cash flow (and not in a nice way).

Require yourself and your team to input billable time at the end of every day. An ABA article pointed out that lawyers underestimate their billable time by 20-30 percent when they don’t immediately put it into their time and billing software. Make it a point to send out invoices every month, like clockwork. If you’re a litigator or have invoices over $10,000, then consider sending them out every two weeks. Put someone other than yourself in charge of emailing and calling clients who are more than two weeks overdue in their payments. Once an account becomes more than 90 days overdue, the chances of collecting it are very slim.

#5 – Do the one thing that is most important to fulfilling your business obligations.

This is all the stuff you have to do to stay in business. And it’s not just taking depositions and working on case files, it’s the entirety of treating clients how they deserve to be treated. And that starts with hiring great people to serve them.

#6 – Do the one thing that is most important to your current business operations.

This not only includes answering emails, returning phone calls, putting better systems into place – all the stuff that is essential to your current business operations – but also ensuring you have written systems in place to automate as much of your operations as possible. These include:

  • Processes and procedures to capture major marketing metrics and data. You have to know the “lay of the land” if you are to be effective.
  • Tracking mechanisms to measure lead sources and results. Know where your referrals and leads come from and chart the volume of those leads and referrals.
  • Reports for tracking the effectiveness of your law firm marketing efforts. You have to know what is working and what is not. Don’t waste time and money on techniques that are not effective for you.
  • Metrics for quantifying ROI of all major marketing initiatives. If technique A has a ROI of 10 and Technique B has a ROI of 5, which one should receive the bulk of your attention?
  • An online marketing system to generate leads and prospects from the Internet. Use your website, blogs, news releases and YouTube videos to help generate leads for your firm.
  • A system to develop relationships with potential referral sources and generate consistent referrals from them. Take people to lunch. Meet face-to-face and ask how you can help them with their business.
  • A system for connecting with prospects, clients and referral sources on a regular, consistent basis. This includes monthly newsletters, annual client satisfaction surveys, keep-in-touch letters, referral education system, etc.

Be sure to train your staff on how to use the systems you have put in place. The best plans in the world are useless if they are not implemented consistently.

#7 – Do the one thing that has been nagging at you.

It’s an obligation that has to get done, but is not necessarily critical to your business. If you made a commitment, honor it. You don’t want to be known as being untrustworthy, but when you’re running a firm, these items usually fall to the bottom of the to-do list.

#8 – Go live your life.

Are you working so you can work more, or so you can have a better life? No one on their deathbed ever wished for more money, they wish for more time. If you don’t take the time out to enjoy the fruits of your labors, you are missing the whole point (plus a lot more) of having a good work/life balance.

Steal This: Social Media Content Idea Calendar [Infographic]

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Did you have a nice big piece of chocolate cake yesterday? You should have, because yesterday was Chocolate Cake Day. If you didn’t want the extra calories, there was still a good reason to have this date marked on your calendar: it’s just one of many engaging ideas from which you can build a blog or social media post around.

For example, if you’re a divorce attorney, you could pen a post about how couples in contentious divorces try to use the court to exact revenge on a spouse and why that doesn’t work. (Because you can’t have your cake and eat it, too!)

So how do you know what these obscure holidays are? The infographic below from sociallysorted.com lays them out for you for the first six months of the year.

On Groundhog Day (Feb. 2), estate planning attorneys could post about why you shouldn’t stick your head in the sand when it comes to creating an estate plan. Feb. 15 is Random Acts of Kindness Day, a perfect opportunity to talk about the good works you are doing in your community. You get the idea….scour the list for ideas that you can apply to your practice and we’ll post July-December when it becomes available.

Steal This: Social Media Content Idea Calendar [Infographic]

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FREE Webinar: Leveraging the Power of Social Media

According to the ABA, over 90% of attorneys are on LinkedIn, but very few of them generate any referrals from it. Facebook is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools, but most attorneys overlook it.

Learn about the social media networks that will work best for your firm and how to leverage them to get more leads by watching my latest free webinar – Leveraging the Power of Social Media.

During this free one-hour webinar, you will learn:

  • 3 low cost marketing tools for maximizing your results from social media
  • The 3 biggest mistakes lawyers make with social media and how to avoid them
  • Top 10 steps to jumpstart your referrals on LinkedIn
  • Using Facebook to connect with potential clients and referral sources
  • How to get qualified leads on Facebook for 90% less than on Google PPC
  • How to use content marketing to position yourself as an industry thought leader
  • Insider secrets to getting more leads from your blog

If you want to discover real-world strategies that work for attorneys when it comes to generating and converting leads using social networks, learn how by watching this free webinar.

Register online now for immediate access to this free one-hour webinar.