Saturday, November 9, 2013

Law Firm SEO: Organic Search Results Win Over Paid Search!

New reports and studies have just come out to confirm what the law firm search engine optimization specialist here at Legal Marketing Advantage have been talking about for a while now; organic search results outperform paid searches. If you have been involved in law firm marketing (online) in a big market for the past year or so you may have also noticed this fact. Organic over paid search turns out to not only be true in the legal field, but in most fields now a days as well.

The new study was done by User Centric and proved without a doubt the increasing importance of SEO for not only Law Firms but all businesses that want to gain business online. User Centric used their eye tracking study technology to look at leading search engines Google and Bing through the eyes of their users. The study results found that one hundred percent of people in the study looked at the organic search results on both Google and Bing search engines. That was in comparison to the right-hand paid search ads where only 28% and 21% of participants glanced at these on Google and on Bing (respectively).

To top it off the users not only focused on organic search results more often, versus paid search results, the users spent significantly longer times viewing results of organic search versus the paid search results. This means that search engine users are learning to overlook the paid ads more and more as the majority of online users become more search savvy.

So how should this affect your online law firm marketing? Well first off it means your SEO efforts will be more important than ever and can gain more results for your firm. The fact is it takes longer and takes a more serious effort to rank well on the major search engines like Google and Bing through organic efforts but the pay off in the long run will be much more beneficial. Now does this mean that pay per click (PPC) is dead? Not even close.

Even with these results the top three paid ads can get a lot of action BUT the cost in the main legal areas can be outrageous. The cost and return on investment are going to vary greatly on what market you are after and what portion of law you want to focus on. Some PPC campaigns can still be very successful if a law firm online marketing company really knows what they are doing. The on the other hand if PPC prices are dirt cheap maybe consumers just are not looking for those particular terms.

So if your firm has not already done so, your online efforts need to focus on organic search results. It can take some time depending on where your site is at right now, but with a solid steady game plan, the time and effort put in your SEO can bring in huge results for your law firm.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Successful Law Firm Retreat Information

A law firm retreat is a valuable management and marketing tool even for the solo practitioner. I would say especially for the solo practitioner. The larger the firm the more imperative it becomes for at least an annual meeting to provide direction to the process of running your business. Spike Lee made a movie called "Get On The Bus" and that is what a retreat is about. Getting folks on the bus and moving in the same direction so the firm is moving with more velocity toward desired goals. It sends a message to the whole firm that you are leaders and mangers who plan and work the plan.

What are some of the reasons for having a law firm retreat? Well, that is an "it depends" type of question. You can use these meetings for proactive purposes or for reactive purposes. By proactive I mean you meet to determine what your management and/or marketing priorities are for the next year and who is accountable for each priority as well as by when each priority will be in place. The proactive retreat is usually held in the last three months of your current fiscal year. By reactive I mean a law firm retreat that is held usually as a reaction to some form of crisis like the need to deal with revenue short falls, partner conflicts or profit distribution issues. Naturally, the reactive type of retreat happens when they need to happen with probably less pre-planning. Training retreats can be either proactive or reactive. You can even mix in some training time with any type of retreat.

It is critical that you plan for the law firm retreat well in advance of the date you are holding it. As long as three or four months before the retreat is a good benchmark with a larger firm needing all that time and a smaller firm needing less time to plan and prepare for the retreat. In a larger firm you might have a committee of several partners and the top administrator of the firm that does the planning. In a small firm it might be one or two partners. The larger the firm the more important it is that you have a consultant involved who will help you to determine your needs; gather pre-retreat information; provide expert facilitation at the retreat (so a partner does not have to serve in that role and can be a participant); provide needed objectivity; ask questions that may be challenging for a participant to ask (like the potential "elephant in the room" that nobody wants to talk about); make recommendations; and bring knowledge of what is working in other firms to the law firm retreat. A smaller firm or solo firm might just use a consultant pre-retreat and not as a live facilitator since the major expense of a consultant is having them live at the retreat.

Naturally a retreat needs an agenda and that is part of the pre-planning process. The first question to ask yourself is what is the desired outcome from having the law firm retreat? Other questions to ask include:

1. What process will you use to reach the desired outcome with this retreat?

2. Who will be the note taker in the retreat so key information will be captured and results recorded?

3. Who will be the person in the retreat to assure that each task decided will be specific and measurable as well as someone accountable for that task with a "by when" date that this task will be completed?

4. If you don't have an outside facilitator who will fill that role?

5. Would it be useful to do a personality inventory process with the team before the retreat to increase emotional intelligence? Would this enhance your outcomes?

6. What information needs to be collected before the retreat so you can make intelligent decisions based on data (last year financials and YTD financials, marketing information, team survey, etc.)?

7. Once the law firm retreat is completed what and who will communicate the results to those members of the team that did not attend? Also, if you have team members who do not attend, how will they have input into the retreat process with their information, concerns, requests and recommendations (usually a survey vehicle works for this purpose)?

8. If you had a law firm retreat last year what were the top 5 or 10 strategic objectives? If this is your first retreat what would be a long laundry list of 5 or 10 potential strategic objectives for the firm that could be considered at the retreat (Note: this list would not be the only options discussed, just a beginning list usually developed from the pre-retreat survey)?

9. Where will you hold the retreat? Almost always it is best to be away from your offices even if it is a location in your city. Too many temptations to just step out for awhile to do email or return phone calls. No cell phones allowed being on by the way at the law firm retreat.

You might ask what would be a good "generic" although basic agenda for a law firm retreat look like. Here is one:

1. Welcome & Purpose of the Meeting

2. Review Mission Statement (make changes if appropriate)

3. Review Results of Last Year (what worked and what did not work)

4. SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats to the firm)

5. Generate 5 to 10 Strategic Goals (for the coming year) and major action plans that are needed to make the strategic goals real

These agenda items above need to be on a timeline. One caution here is don't allocate too much time to the review of the mission statement as that can get away from you if you are not careful. Also, the timeline for each agenda item can be adjusted as the law firm retreat unfolds so it is not totally rigid but more a guideline to keep you on track. Do know if you are doing your retreat correctly it is likely people will get too tired or in some cases, on edge with an 8 hour day of it. Consider a 6 or 7 hour day agenda and if you need more time, fine you can go longer if people are still energetic enough or have a two day or day and a half retreat. Finally, do consider having a working lunch catered in as opposed to eating out.

With the above information you are well on your way to having a law firm retreat that will make a difference for you. That said if you have a good plan from the retreat you still need to implement that plan over the next year. Having a plan that sits on the shelf is not going to enable you to reach your goals and that is one thing a coach can help you with as well as your pre-retreat planning or even facilitation of your law firm retreat.

Overwhelmed by the Complexity of Attorneys? This May Help

Car Accidents and Whiplash Each year, thousands of people are in auto accidents. People suffer a myriad different injuries because of these accidents. The most common injury, however, is whiplash. Whiplash can be a subtle injury. When people break a bone, for instance, they know it as soon as it happens but that is not always the case with whiplash. People who have this type of injury are often hesitant about making a claim of personal injury. They often have the same questions surrounding their injuries. Below are a few examples of questions that an Austin car wreck attorney often hears.
Lessons Learned About Injuries
Can I Make A Claim
The Essentials of Lawyers - Breaking Down the Basics
The first question sufferers of whiplash ask an Austin car wreck attorney is whether or not they have a claim. If they have beat the statute of limitations and can prove they have whiplash then they can move forward with a personal injury suit against the responsible party. They must remember that, that doesn't mean they will be victorious. The threshold for winning a claim however is not as low. Can I sue An Uninsured Driver? In nearly all accident cases, the person who is being sued is not the driver but their insurance companies. People who get into accidents don't know if they can even go forward when the negligent party has no insurance. They often feel like it would be a waste of time to pursue a case against someone who apparently couldn't even afford to keep their car insured. But still, they can be sued and should. Although they may be strapped for cash now, they could hit the lottery tomorrow so it is a good idea to get your claim on the books. And states often have ways of putting pressure on people to pay for damages. What If My Injuries Were Not Immediately Not all injuries are obvious right away; just ask any Austin car wreck attorney. Lots of people walk away from car crashes believing that they are uninjured when that is not the case. Individuals who have late-presenting injuries can be tentative about speaking to a lawyer about their case. They are afraid that people will think they are fabricating their injuries. But it doesn't matter if you discovered you whiplash at the accident site or a year later as long as you meet the statute of limitations as set forth by the state of Texas. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to prove your case because evidence may get lost but you can make a claim.

BD in NY

New York is one of the most impressive cities in the world, and if you want to have success there, you need to be an impressive person. You can't get by in New York without understanding how to make connections with people. That's the way of the world in the city, as people help other people reach their goals in a host of different industries. This applies whether you are starting your own business or you are getting involved in one of the major industries that powers the city.

In terms of business developement New York is a place where hustlers rule. Opportunities to network are all around you if you are willing to look for them. They exist in the bars and restaurants that you frequent. They also exist in every person that you pass on the street. When you want to get great at business developement New York will afford you all of the best opportunities to do so. Often, all you have to do is keep your eyes open for that next person who might be able to help you get to where you need to be.

If you're into rainmaking new york is probably the best place you could be. There are lots of people in the city who have gobs of money, and those people are not afraid to spend it. Whether you are a young associate at a law firm who needs to attract business or you are a person in the financial industry who needs new accounts, you can make it rain when you put yourself out there. If you're interested in rainmaking New York just requires you to put yourself around people who have cash on hand.

Good business development skills do not pop up overnight. You have to work hard to make connections with people who can help your business grow. You might also use a hand up from someone who understands the basics of networking. Making it rain in New York is about more than just playing a round or two of golf. You need a legitimate approach that will get you inside the most exclusive places the city has to offer.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Turn to Law Firm Marketing in Order to Gain a Competitive Edge

Due to fierce competition in each and every sphere, there is a fight among contenders to gain top slot in their area of work. People look for lucrative advertising and marketing ways to stay ahead in the competition and make clients aware of their credentials. Today, litigators too have braced themselves and engage in online advertisement to make litigants conscious of the quality of their services. However, this was not the case earlier, as lawyer advertising was considered unethical and against the sanctity of the law. Bates v. State Bar of Arizona case in the year 1977 in the United States Supreme Court changed the scenario and allowed advertising for lawyers on the grounds of right to know for the public.

These days not only lawyers but even the law firms can advertise about their professional expertise and can showcase the advantages of their services. Law firm marketing aims at highlighting the prominent features of a firm, which may be its capability to handle complex civil or criminal cases, glorious past records or less cost of services as compared to their counterparts. Moreover, Law firm marketing may include advertising for lawyers, as they are the most important asset for any law firm. A reputed lawyer advertising about his litigation experience, history of cases handled that led client to victory and area of expertise is definitely bound to get may eyeballs online.

Commercials advertising for lawyers may be direct, subtle or aimed at providing them a distinctive edge that makes them stand out in the crowd. One of the most important requirement for such type of advertisements is that these should be professional and do not cross the boundary of law by painting others in a bad light. Moreover, these should be informative and give viewers a clear picture of what they are bound to receive.

Lawyer advertising and law firm marketing is in vogue, as it helps counsels and firms display their unique selling points and what they have to offer. It allows the clients to make an informed choice and decide which services can help them in getting a fair deal in the court.