Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

Google Adwords for Business Law Firms

The most successful lawyers who do the most sophisticated work usually dismiss the web as a way to generate business. They believe that anything worthwhile must come from a referral, and that anything else is junk. Some of the best campaigns I’ve ever had are the result of my client’s competitors having this mindset.

Here is why referrals aren’t the only way for law firms doing complex work:

• A referral source only provides the name of the attorney they know, not necessarily the best. If I need brain surgery (likely), I can ask my primary care physician in Canton, GA who he would recommend. Maybe he knows the top brain surgeon in the country, which is who I want. But that’s unlikely. Smart potential clients recognize that they can find the very best lawyer online by running a Google search and reviewing credentials. They also understand that the great lawyer or accountant they use for one thing doesn’t necessarily know the best _________ they may need for something semi-related.

• Doing unique work is an advantage.  It’s extremely difficult to generate business for a DUI lawyer on the web. There are often hundreds of attorneys doing that type of work in the same geographic region, in addition to enormous price competition. But there are far fewer patent trade dress litigators… even nationwide. That makes the Internet a great place to gain visibility and new clients.

• Other top firms believe that the web cannot generate quality business. Their close-mindedness is something that should be exploited, not copied.

Google Adwords campaigns (aka Pay Per Click marketing) are great for firms involved in very sophisticated matters.  They provide unlimited flexibility in budget, targeting, and duration. And when done correctly, they naturally weed-out unwanted leads because ads simply don’t show for simple search phrases.  Best of all, pay per click marketers only pay when someone clicks on their ad.

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6 Critical Questions to Ask Before Buying SEO

There are an endless number of companies offering search engine optimization (SEO) services to law firms today.  All make big promises of first page Google rankings, along with “risk free” money-back guarantees, exclusivity, superior ROI, and many other offers, all designed to entice you to spend your marketing dollars with them.

So how do you choose which SEO company to work with? 

The answer is “very carefully.”  Below are 6 questions that should be asked of any company offering to provide your law firm with SEO services.  Of course, these aren’t the only questions that should be asked… but they are the critical ones.

1.            In 10 seconds or less, please tell me the 3 most important things that must be done to achieve strong organic search engine rankings.

2.            What does your company specifically do for those 3 things?

3.            Are all of the people that will be working on my campaign employees of your company?

4.            What are the exact search phrases that you will be targeting, and that I can expect to rank for?

5.            How long will it take for my website to rank on the first page of Google for at least 50% of the search phrases in #4?

6.            Please show me successful results for other law firms that you’ve been working with for at least 6 months… in the same practice area as ours, and in similar-sized markets.

The answers to these questions are very important.  However, how well the questions are answered is equally as important.  In other words, if the company pitching you isn’t able or prepared to answer these questions, proceed with caution.

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Marketing Your Firm’s Charitable Work

There are so many positives that come from doing charitable work.  Because of this, I’m a strong advocate of having my law firm clients participate in at least one community service project each year.

Below are 4 ways charitable work can positively impact a law firm.  But please keep one overriding thought as you read them:

The reason to participate in charitable work is because it’s the right thing to do.  None of the below would be worthwhile if you weren’t helping others.

First, your charitable work matters to clients.  Large companies know this, which is why we often see charitable donations made during halftimes of highly watched sporting events.  Law firms also need differentiators to win the best clients.  It’s likely there are local firms with equally as impressive experience, education and fee structures as yours.  Charitable work gives you the opportunity to show that there are things that matter to your attorneys and staff outside of making money.  Furthermore, if a decision maker for a potential client is involved with a certain charity (e.g. American Cancer Society), and sees that you are too, your firm naturally has a much better chance of earning their business.

Second, it strengthens the relationships between a law firm’s lawyers and staff.  I’ve even seen two employees of a firm that didn’t get along repair a relationship after being teamed at a community service project.  Well-chosen events also bring employees’ spouses and children together for a really great cause.  It sends everyone home feeling good not only about the contribution they made, but also about the place they (or their spouse or parent) work.  This is an often underestimated benefit of charitable work, and goes a long way toward building a really great workplace… and earning the support of family members who tolerate the long hours and stress that are part of a successful law practice. Read More »

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You Got a Negative Online Review. Now What? (Part II)

(This is the second part of a two-part post regarding how to deal with negative online reviews about your law firm.  For Part I, click here.)

Ask the review site to remove the negative review.  Almost all review sites have community guidelines that prohibit hateful, threatening, or even unsubstantiated reviews.  If someone has posted a review that falls into one of these categories, it’s often possible to have that review taken down.

Well-written reviews that don’t use objectionable language are hard to get removed, but it never hurts to ask.  I’ve seen one of the most popular review sites remove a well-written negative review about an attorney along with all the positive reviews.  While it’s hard to understand why they would do that, it accomplished our goal… which was to eliminate the negative impact of the bad review on the practice.

Contact the client via phone if you can identify him or her, and try to work through the issue.  Also, even if you have to agree to disagree on the material issue, ask them to remove the review.   At that point, they have three options. They can leave it up as is, remove it, or perhaps add a supplemental post.  I’ve seen unhappy clients actually post a positive review about the lawyer contacting them later to work-out a problem.  This can go a long way with future potential clients, because it shows you care and are willing to go the extra mile to make a client happy.

(Note that I recommended contacting the person by phone, and not via written correspondence.  The reason?  Anything you write at this point may end up online, too.  Not only is it safer to have a verbal conversation about the issue, your tone may go a long way with the unhappy client, which is something that is often lost in emails and letters.) Read More »

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You Got a Negative Online Review. Now What? (Part I)

There is no shortage of advice on the internet about what to do when your business has received a bad online review.  Notwithstanding all the debate, there is one absolute truth when it comes to negative reviews.

If you are in business long enough, you will get one.

It could be a very legitimate complaint, a crazy client, or a competitor looking to damage your reputation. I’ve even seen a review from an understandably disgruntled client, but one that posted it for the wrong attorney!

Below is the first of a two-part post that will cover four options for dealing with negative online reviews:

Don’t respond.
Ask the review website to remove the negative info.
Contact the client via phone if you know who it is.
Bury the negative review in positive ones.

In most cases, don’t respond. This advice may come as a surprise to many. But the reality is that if a client is angry enough to go online, jump through a number of hoops, and write about their perceived poor experience, you are unlikely to change their mind. And responding can help fuel the fire, in more ways than one. Read More »

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