Unbalanced Scales – Weighing Marketing Options for Your Law Firm

The past few years have not been kind to any business, and law firms have, by and large, been no exception to the rule. People still need attorneys even in a down economy, but the fact of the matter is that they are less willing to spend money on attorneys fees when they have less money to begin with. None of this should come as any surprise, but it is surprising how often law firms and attorneys are at a loss when it comes to ways to find new clients. Unfortunately, this is a class that never gets taught in law school.

If you own or operate a law firm and haven’t had as much new business as you would like, then I want to introduce you to the concept of search engine optimization (commonly known as ‘SEO’). SEO is not the only way to market a legal practice, and although it’s one of the best ways, there are certainly situations where other forms of marketing may work better. Here’s why more law firms should pay attention to search engine optimization:

  1. Inbound Marketing: In the marketing industry, there is a common distinction between inbound and outbound marketing. In general, outbound marketing is an effort by the company in question to reach out to a potential client and initiate a client-relationship (think, for example, of calling a contact who you know might need your legal services). On the other hand, inbound marketing is marketing that aims to make a company visible to any potential clients who are actively looking for services or products offered by that company. The distinction is not always clear-cut, but it’s important for a law firm. In general, attorneys think about going out and networking (which is always an excellent idea), but the results are limited. Search Engine Optimization allows you to reach more potential clients more quickly.
  2. Efficiency: Let’s be frank – your law firm is your business, and you want to control costs like any other business. Advertising – even in print, but especially on TV – gets very expensive very fast. Advertising online is a good and attractive option, but I would argue that the money is better spent on a long-term SEO solution for your law firm. The rankings and traffic that result from good SEO can last for a very long time and can continue to benefit your law firm down the road.
  3. Competition: In today’s market, it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate your legal services from those provided by the attorney or lawyer down the street. Consequently, it’s prudent to take a different approach to marketing than the guy or gal down the street. There are law firms that already engage in SEO, but there are not as many as there could or should be, and you can take advantage of that fact.

Practicing law is not an easy profession, and the demands of the job have only increased over the past few decades. However, finding clients doesn’t need to be the most difficult part of your legal practice. As I mentioned above, search engine optimization is by no means the only way to get your law firm in front of more potential clients. It’s a method that we have helped many firms use to find many new clients on a ongoing basis.

If you want to get started, it probably makes sense to seek the help of a professional, although many SEO tactics can be tackled yourself if you have the time. In any event, I urge you to get started today, even if it’s with a different type of marketing. Your legal practice and career will greatly benefit down the road.

Acquire Maximum Clients Through The Best Lawyer Website

Today’s professionals from various fields can benefit a lot by establishing or creating a website of their own on the vast internet network. Similarly, the lawyers too can advantage of this new trend in order to market their professional services to the targeted customers. Since the lawyers are such professionals who handle the variety of cases related with different legal issues such as inter personal conflicts or group conflicts or business conflicts or property related matters. In order to get maximum business for the firm, the lawyers need to have a best creative lawyer website design for showcasing the capabilities of them or their lawyer firm.

Due to the complexity of legal field involving various laws and which are continuously changing with the circumstances, the lawyers need to update their skills so as to make them ready to handle different kinds of legal jobs. Thus, a best creative lawyer website design must consider this fact of including or updating the web content with such changing knowledge base so that the lawyers or their clients or anyone accessing it would be benefited. Similarly, the best site must have a provision to include the case results of various legal cases fought in higher courts. It would definitely help the legal professionals in their daily routines while fighting the client cases in lower courts.

Generally, any best creative lawyer website design should consider other various important factors while designing the website. It should showcase the lawyers educational details, the number and variety of cases one has handled, the results of such cases, the professional fees charged, average time durations for fought cases, etc. In general, the content of the website should focus on indicating the overall capability of the lawyer in getting the success for their end clients in stipulated time and budgets, etc. Also, it would be helpful to educate the end clients about the legal issues through such online resources.

Thus, the web designers must consider above points in order to have a creative lawyer website design.

Content Marketing and Web Analytics: The Yin and Yang of Any Successful Law Firm Marketing Campaign

Good content has always been one of the best ways for a lawyer to establish and maintain a professional reputation. In the hands of potential clients, good content demonstrates your understanding of the law and your ability to do what you claim to do.

Let’s say you write an excellent article on the recently signed patent reform act.

Prior to the Internet, your options for distribution of that article would be limited. You could submit it to print publishers who could decide whether or not to publish it and how to edit it. By the time it appeared on a client’s desk, it might be three months out of date.

In addition, you could snail mail a copy of your article with a cover letter directly to your list of clients, potential clients and referral sources. You could include it in the firm’s print newsletter. You could mail it to reporters covering the patent law beat and hope that they give you a call next time they are writing a story on that topic.

And that was about it. You really had no way of knowing what happened to that hard copy – if the publication was read or if the envelope or newsletter was even opened.

Today, thanks to the Internet, the options for distributing a well-written and informative article (and all kinds of content) to a wide range of interested parties are vastly expanded. So, too, are the options for finding out if the article was opened, was read and prompted further action on the part of the reader.

In the Internet age, online content marketing is the best way for lawyers and law firms to establish their reputations and attract new business. And web traffic analysis is the best way for lawyers and law firms to measure the success of a content marketing campaign and move forward based on that information. Content marketing and web analytics are inseparable parts of the same strategic process.

Online content marketing for law firms

Online content marketing involves publishing content (like the article on patent law) on your law firm’s website (including mobile website version), client extranet sites or blogs. It involves the e-mailing of your article (or newsletter) to clients, potential clients, referral sources and media sources.

An integrated online marketing program is an essential part of a law firm’s marketing program. Content marketing involves distribution of your content using popular social media sites (like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) as well as successful content syndication sites (like JD Supra, LegalOnRamp and Scribd).

Each time your keyword-rich patent law article is published on one of these sites, it is indexed by Google and other search engines – enhancing results for searches on terms like your name, your law firm’s name, your geographic area and the relevant subject area.

The term ‘content’ applies to almost any kind of material your firm is publishing. It applies to documents like press releases, experience descriptions, attorney biographies (profiles), client alerts, blog post, white papers, email campaigns and e-books on legal subjects.

Content also includes non-written files, like an online ad campaign, courtroom graphics, a PowerPoint deck, or photos of an open house or employee charity event. It includes online surveys along with survey results. And it definitely includes audio or video recordings of a presentation, a seminar or a webinar.

All types of reputation-demonstrating content can be posted not only on your own website, but also to a wide range of (mostly free) social media and content syndication sites. Once posted, this informative content is available 24/7 and around the world.

Web analytics for law firms

Not only does the Internet facilitate the wide distribution of content,”it also allows lawyers and law firms to closely track distribution – to know how many visitors click on the content; how much time they spend reading, listening or viewing the content; and where (your website, search or some other site) they found the content.

Web analytics is a process for collecting visitor or consumer data, analyzing those data and generating reports on the overall performance of these different channels. It extends well beyond your website into virtually every online channel your law firm might be using.

In the early days, web analytics programs focused on the simple measurement of activity on a law firm’s web site. Today, a good law firm website still contains useful information about the firm and its services, but the site functions more like an interactive hub to which all of the firm’s online content distribution efforts are tied.

In addition, most social media sites have their own built-in analytics programs that can be accessed for more details about activity on your accounts on those sites.

The popular Google Analytics program is free and yields information about site visitors, including number of visitors (unique, new and repeat), page views, repeat rate, visit length, page view length, page view per visit, bounce rate (those who leave quickly from a given page), entry pages (where visitors enter you site), exit pages (where visitors leave your site) and referral sources (direct traffic, search engines and other referral sites).

Among other things, Google Analytics can chart data over time, compare data month-by-month or year-by-year, and internally compare different sets of results.

Other commercial web analytics programs allow the site administrator to ‘dig deeper’ into the data. Most analytics programs will record detailed information at the user level, allowing administrators to track the number of times a given user came to the site, which pages he or she viewed and, in some cases, the location from which that user is connecting.

At Tenrec, we combine basic Google Analytics with a program called Urchin (essentially, Google’s commercial analytics product) to obtain different levels of results for our clients. There are many programs out there. The one you select should be determined by how you plan to use the results.

It is important to remember that no performance metric is inherently bad or good. A limited number of the right kind of people visiting your content and reaching out to your firm is a better result than hundreds of visitors who take no action.

Strategic content marketing and web analytics for law firms

Web analytics programs are capable of generating a vast amount of information. There are far too many metrics for users to process and interpret. Measurement tools are only useful when there is something specific to measure.

The challenge is not to get more data, which can needlessly complicate your decision-making, but to get better data. Be strategic. What is the purpose of this online content campaign (within the context of our business goals), and which select measurements will indicate progress towards achieving this goal?

Let’s go back to that article on patent reform. You post it on your website. You reference it in your blog. You e-mail it to clients, potential clients, referral sources and media sources. You post it (with links back to your site) on a variety of social media sites and content syndication sites.

On your website, analytics will let you know who visited the page and how they got there. In addition, you will discover if they stayed a while, read the article and downloaded a copy.

If no one comes or if visitors take a quick look and ‘bounce,’ you know that there is something wrong with the content. The subject is not newsworthy. The headline or keywords need work. The article is too long or too short. It is too dense and needs shorter lines and subheads, to encourage skimming. It is too casual or too filled with legal jargon. In other words, it needs work.

An e-mail analytics program will let you know who opens the e-mail and clicks on the link. Other analytics programs will indicate how your article fares in the blogosphere or is shared or re-tweeted on social media and content syndication sites.

The information generated by web analytics is a valuable tool to help lawyers and law firms plan — and continuously improve — their content and their online content distribution campaigns.

Can a Claimant Do Well Without the Lawyer Regarding Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury claims are either settled out of the court or taken to the court rooms. These compensations are being claimed by the victims of accidents who have experienced physical injuries, pains, mental traumas and property damage. Being the victim of these cases does not make them to get the claims. They have to prove it. The significance of a professional lawyer can not be denied in this respect who can present the case for the claimant in the most profound manner. But there are many claimants who deal with the third party insurers on their own without the help of a professional lawyer when it comes to out of the court settlements.

This sounds very risky when we hear about those who deal with the third party insurers on their own but it is not impossible. As far as the settlement cases are concerned, the claimants can manage to do on their own. They need to be aware of the intricacies of this procedure and they are supposed to know the related information as well. There are many claimants who do not want to get involved in the whole legal procedure of the settlement by getting in touch with a lawyer and then moving ahead under his supervision. There are those also who want to make the matter solve as soon as possible without dragging it. So, they decide to move ahead on their own. And, there are those also who do not want to make the share of the lawyer’s fee in their settlements offer.

The third party insurers want to make their level best to see that the money given in shape of compensation should as low as possible. In case, a claimant dealing the insurers on their own can be be fooled by these clever insurance companies. For this purpose, the claimant needs to be aware of all the minute details of the compensation claim procedures even if they are going for out of the court settlement offer. There are many such websites on the net through which they can get all the related information.

The estimation of the compensation claim is of the most significant nature when it comes to out of the court settlements. The claimant needs to calculate it by doing a research as how it should be estimated, depending upon what factors and circumstances. He needs to be aware of this if he wants to get a deserving amount. There have been many such cases where the claimant was given fewer amount than he or she deserved. And it happened because he or she did not have the information related to the estimation of the compensation claim and he or she was not consulting any lawyer either.

So, a claimant needs to be very informative regarding all the aspects of the compensation claim if going for an out of the court settlement on his own. There are various law books and websites that deliver the information regarding the methodologies of this procedure and most important different ways as how to calculate the exact amount of the compensation. Though, claimant can manage to do on his own but still nothing can compare the expertise of a skilled and professional lawyer.

A Conversation With: One Of The Best Lawyers In Dallas, Chad West

Chad was selected as one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine in 2014 and has been repeatedly selected as “Rising Star” by Texas Monthly (Thomson Reuters) in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

AE: What drew you to working in the legal field?

CW: Working in the legal field peaked my interest while serving my country by serving in the military. The importance of helping those that cannot help them-selves was very important to me.

AE: You have had your own law firm since 2011, what are the significant differences being an owner of a law firm versus working as an attorney for one?

CW: Owning my own law firm requires a great deal of time and energy to make sure everything runs smoothly and the bills get paid. However, the personal reward is much greater. Being in a small law firm in such a community based part out of Dallas give me the ability to connect with each client to make sure we are getting them the best results possible.

AE: Prior to becoming an attorney you served in the military and had a very distinguished career going, what made you decide to leave military service?

CW: I wouldn’t trade my time in the U.S. Army for anything. It was a time of my life that really shaped who I am as a man and as a leader. I left because I wanted to start my own business that focuses on helping people, and I saw the legal field as a way to do so.

AE: How did your time in the military prepare you for running your own law firm?

CW: The military prepared me for running my own law firm by instilling dedication to a greater good, defending freedoms, and working hard.

AE: You are a member of a number of organizations, do you think leaders and business owners have an obligation to get involved and give back to the community?

CW: Without giving back to your community, you should not expect to receive much from it. As a small business in the Oak Cliff part of Dallas, it is a privilege to be able to give back to such a vibrant and evolving area.

AE: The workplace has changed drastically over the last 20 years, do you think what motivates leaders and their teams have changed?

CW: Absolutely. The millennials are swarming the workplace, and the motivations and personalities are completely different than my generations (Gen X’s) motivations.

AE: How do you empower, inspire or motivate others in the workplace?

CW: I hire the best people and do my very best to give them everything they need to succeed. I avoid micromanaging whenever possible.

AE: What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

CW: The ability to recognize your own weaknesses and needs to put a team together to turn one’s weaknesses into strengths.

AE: What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

CW: To continue to grow and develop as a leader I look for new ways to challenge myself both professionally and personally. Finding new challenges to take on is a good way to remind ourselves to remain humble.

AE: Have there been any role models for you?

CW: Both of my parents, for very different reasons. My mother taught me compassion and the love for learning. My father showed me the benefits of owning my own business. Both taught me the value of hard work.

AE: What do you attribute your success to?

CW: Success would not be possible without a good support system. My family and friends are my biggest supporters.

AE: If you could give one piece of leadership advice to your employees what would that be?

CW: Work on your most brain-intensive projects first thing in the morning, as you are at your best when you first get to work.

AE: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

CW: Roll up your sleeves and get ready to work hard. Don’t sweat the small stuff and never lower your standards.

AE: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment so far as a leader?

CW: Starting my own business. Nothing beats it!

AE: What is something people don’t generally know about you as a leader?

CW: I absolutely hate public speaking, but I work hard to overcome it.

AE: If you could have a conversation with one leader alive or dear who would that be?

CW: Thomas Jefferson.

AE: What would you want to ask them?

CW: He was a multiple-business owner and brilliant politician and was ahead of his time in many ways. I would want to know what motivated him and how he became the leader he portrayed to the world.

AE: They say anyone can become a leader, in your opinion do you believe that?

CW: Absolutely!

AE: What do you want your leadership legacy to be?

CW: I want to leave a legacy of achieving high quality results and making a difference in the lives of others. Helping to start a charity 5k, Dash for the Beads, was a great way for me to give back and help a large number of people while focusing on healthy ways of life.

AE: What is next for you?

My firm is expanding to South Dallas, a second location, and we are welcoming two new lawyers to the firm in June and November of 2015, which I’m really excited about! In the non-legal world, I’m opening an express car wash with my family in Ennis, TX in early 2016.

http://www.chadwestlaw.com/

AE: I start each day off with a motivational quote, do you have a favorite?

CW: Just do it!