Article marketing, also referred to as content marketing, is the approach of publishing valuable online content that results in a direct, or better yet indirect, promotion of an organization.
Legal professionals need to become good article marketers to better promote their services on the Web. But it's not just the promotion that makes article marketing powerful for attorneys, it's the positioning.
Lawyers in particular can seriously reap the benefits of article marketing. Delivering content to a relevant group of readers can help an attorney establish his or herself as an expert.
Article marketing coincides with information marketing, and that's exactly what attorney's thrive on. Legal professionals make money on providing counsel and offering legal advice. When that advice is free in the form of articles, people tend to listen.
As a result, article marketing can be an excellent way for a lawyer to promote his or her law firm. Strong content published by a legal expert can help establish a reputation, position a firm's legal services, attract new prospective clients, and increase the brand image and recognition of a firm.
Lets say for example a business professional is seeking information on intellectual property law for his new software program. This individual finds a great article about IP law and how it relates to the modern digital age. At the close, the author adds a subtle call to action that says "looking for legal assistance with your intellectual property?" which directs the professional to the attorney's (author’s) contact page.
Well optimized articles that speak value to readers can be the best advertising tool an attorney can take up. They speak both relevancy and empathy to readers, which is a combination that can flourish in any advertising strategy.
The best way to begin on your article marketing endeavors is pinpoint the areas of law that you know best. Find a problem that many clients face, talk about it, and reference ways in which you can provide a solution. If the article is compelling enough, you will set the stage for a new influx of qualified cases.continue...
What are the features of successful law firms that make them stand apart from ordinary firms?
A law firm that want to earn reputation and recognition in the market place can realize greater potential by developing well-nurtured institutional traits that can help a firm occupy a special place.
In essence, a law firm that inculcates habits of success through well-crafted business and marketing development principles stand a better chance to register long-term success with respect to client relations and revenue generation.
What are the 5 traits of a successful law firm?
Law firms that have earned acclaims from clients and from the market place have realized that they must do more than simply understand their clients’ cases. In effect, successful law firms are firms that have started to live with their clients.
Such firms find ways and means to get closer to their clients, where firms even go to the extent of sending lawyers to live at the client quarters for some time, and further their cause by using clients as sounding boards. In an attempt to live with a client, law firms have even started to send professionals to work at the client premises to know more about the client and his operations.
There is also a major shift in the way a law firm looks at its clients, and days when law firms looked upon specific rainmaking awards to define success of the firm is a thing of the past. Successful law firms have started to build subjective compensation schemes that stress the importance of team work, quality work product and client satisfaction.
The phrase ‘my client’ has lost sheen in law firms, and the mode which advocated lawyers to serve their own clients to reap rich rewards are becoming outmoded with passage of time. A successful law firm focuses on serving its clients better, as a firm now relies more on team work and not on a specific client lawyer to bring complete client satisfaction.
Law firms have realized that in order to cut through the clutter, and to gain an edge over competition, technology should get utilized in the best possible way to stand apart from competitors. Successful firms have started to use technology in many ways, where law firms make good use of client-management software to enhance relations with clients, and firms use proprietary knowledge to store the experience and knowledge to learn from experience and to allow lawyers gain expertise in a specific subject of law.
An institutional trait that allows a law firm to stand apart in a crowd is its tendency to share relevant information with employees who work for the betterment of the firm. Sowing seeds of transparency and trust begins right from recruiting a potential candidate, which gets strengthened through other trust-building themes introduced by a law firm. Some of the law firms share information by providing access to their files, a step taken to share and win the trust and confidence of employees and clients.
Gone are the days when a law firm took pride in its ability to provide legal solutions to all types of legal problems. Successful law firms have started to recognize the power of their core strengths, and have started to promote their strengths to attract the attention of clients.
In simple terms, law firms have moved away from wearing a boutique approach, and have started to identify their core strengths, nurture skills in these areas, and trumpet their success registered in these core areas to bring in more clients.
Law firms that stand apart from the crowd can be identified by some of these institutional traits. Not only can this help the firm gain recognition in the market place, but can set the firm off in how it handles it's client relations and overall perspective.continue...
Being a lawyer is already a task in itself. There is an obvious a wealth of time handling a hectic work schedules and competing with a significant number of contemporaries who work equally hard. Add to that the need to keep one's legal cerebrum receptive enough to understand behavioral patterns of all the individuals involving any particular legal matter, since that is often a the key to empathizing what clients are dealing with.
The focus, however, in the initial as well as subsequent stages, for most lawyers today is twofold - while on one front, they have to deal with the aforementioned aspects; on the other front, there is a need to portray their superiority over others, by explaining to the potential customers, how their services differ from those offered by competing attorneys. In other words, lawyer web marketing has gained a pivotal position in aiding an attorney to build an impressive client portfolio.
Marketing has always been a highly dynamic process - continuously changing consumer perspectives and off course, a vast category of products and services to choose from. Such an environment has ensured that conveying the right message to one's potential customers through healthy marketing practices is highly essential. Interestingly, marketing over the Internet, is an even more dynamic and volatile process, owing to the changes made by the world's leading search engine: Google. The practices of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), developed to steer Google and other search engines into recognizing a website as credible, need to be professionally executed.
One of the recent changes made by Google to its search results display was the inclusion of personalized results - which may include a local influence. Moreover, alterations were made by the search engine to its Google Places results, which has a most definite local impact on lawyer web marketing.
The infamous Google Panda update in February 2011 further reinforced the priority that Google has always been known to place on quality written and well-structured content. Now, just a year later, in 2012, the news is that the company plans to place importance on a relatively technical measure in order to aid its spiders to reach to the various dimensions of content put up on a website - the search engine will now benchmark whether or not html tags which markup web pages (better known as schemas) have been included. Basically, these tags have always been in use by Google, Yahoo and Bing, while scanning web pages in response to user queries, in order to display the most accurate results.
Schemas are known to substantially aid DBMS (Database Management Systems.) When it comes to evaluating the current status of lawyer websites, data is meticulously structured in most cases, however, the process of retrieving the date from databases, in response to user search queries, and converting it to HTML, can be cumbersome. By aiding Google spiders in retrieving information more conveniently, through the usage of schemas, the benefits to an attorney's websites in terms of search engine rankings, will only be amplified. This being a technical dimension nonetheless, would be best if dealt with, by a webmaster or related technical specialist.
Care should be still taken to ensure that the vast number of other parameters taken into consideration by Google in presenting search results, will continue to hold importance. Some of them being
It is indeed true that such periodic small changes made by Google will alter the best practices of lawyer web marketing in the years to come. However, partnering with an authentic company, with a good track record, and one which offers a dedicated lawyer marketing program, will certainly ensure that an attorney reaps the benefits of uphill search engine rankings.continue...
Legal professionals do not exactly need to spend a substantially large sum of money if they want to market their services and website on the Internet. By choosing the right channels, attorneys can promote their practice in a cost efficient manner.
Below we highlight three effective and affordable methods for lawyer web marketing on the Internet.
For lawyers who are just starting out in creating their website, buying and building the domain (or website) is key. Choosing a domain name that includes relevant keywords can be highly effective, particular for lawyer SEO. This can increase the relevancy of the website on target keyword phrases, and can excel the site's performance in the search engines.
In addition to the name of the domain, the content on the website is imperative. Always dedicate the homepage of the domain to the core keyword targets, and center the content on those core keyword targets (e.g. "Business Lawyer"). Other supportive web pages of the domain will be optimized for other areas of practices (e.g. "Business Bankruptcy Lawyer"). It is important keep pages dedicated and focused on only one or two related keywords.
Submitting articles and press releases is a very inexpensive way to market your legal services. Articles commonly pop up in the search results for related keyword queries. If you can write optimized, compelling articles that are found by your targeted market, you can obtain highly valuable advertising exposure.
A quality written article or press release can help position yourself as an expert in your area of practice. By providing people with quality, informative content that answers questions and addresses common issues, readers will respect your content and thus your practice.
A majority of attorneys and lawyers these days do not effectively apply social media to their Internet marketing mix. Lawyers can substantially increase their website traffic be exploring relevant social media sites.
Some attorneys will argue that social media has no value for them. These legal professionals are quick to assume that consumers are the only individuals using social media. Websites like LinkedIn offer a great way to connect with other attorneys who may be willing to refer cases and share legal expertise.
Another powerful social media tool for lawyers is video marketing via YouTube. Attorneys can highlight their legal services, address a major legal concern, or talk about unique aspects of the law. Whatever the topic of interest, videos are popular way to attract in-market leads.continue...
Twitter is one of the best platforms for social and professional growth. Tweeting can help to expose legal professionals to new clients as well as fellow attorneys for networking and referring cases. It is one of the easiest and most cost-effective portals for attorneys to build their online reputation and connect with a wide and relevant audience.
Twitter can be the ideal place to promote your practice; however, the way you use Twitter and other social networking sites can be either triumphant or disastrous. Below we have outlined some basic Twitter tips for lawyers and legal professionals.
When posting tweets, it is advisable for professionals to maintain a moderate level of use (many will agree that 3-5 tweets per week is a good number.) When giving an opinion or suggestion, let it be known but do not let people judge you from what you post. Leave your followers some space to reason and some blanks to fill especially if the subject is controversial.
Attribution shows that you understand your profession and that your care about your audience. Whether it is a quote from your favorite book, a poem or retweet, always attribute borrowed information to the source author. Twitter is very specific about retweeting, and even makes the process simpler for retweets.
Remember that not all of your followers understand legalese - or legal speak. Most of your Twitter audience are consumers sourcing for information. Use simple language to reach out to your followers.
It is good to be professional with tweets, but avoid tweeting about an experience with a certain client. Your current and past cases should be kept offline, regardless of how valuable or grave they may be. Do not give examples with the cases you have handled, as this might turn potential clients away.
When tweeting, remember that you may have followers from all walks of life. Avoid posting something that may hurt someone's feelings. Imagine yourself in the shoes of your reader, and observe your reaction. Avoid negative tweets about any group of people; and always consider all your followers as potential clients.
Always be polite regardless of the situation. Some of your followers might attack you, but this is not reason enough to attack them back. If any of your followers has personal issues with you or your profession, respond to their tweets diplomatically. If you encounter a bully, it is better for you to make use of the unfollow button than to engage in bitter exchanges. Remember that your posts may be used against you, and so refrain from any questionable conduct.
In conclusion, remember that Twitter is a place for fun as well as a place for business. Your conduct may affect your profession in irreversible ways, if you are not keen. Be polite, but you are not obliged to follow anyone. If a person within your network becomes unbearable, do not allow them to destroy your reputation. Be of value to your followers, and then business will follow.continue...
If you or your law firm are not utilizing Facebook, you may be missing out on serious opportunities to connect with one of the largest online audiences. Facebook accounts are free to create, and Facebook marketing can be one of the best ways to get the word out about your firm or your personal law practice.
Below are eight Facebook marketing tips for attorneys. These ideas can assist you in establishing your firm's Facebook presence, and offers insights about the type of content you should consider posting to make the greatest impact.
If you have a personal Facebook page, be extremely careful to keep that separate from your business or company page. Many attorneys with small, personal practices make this initial mistake when establishing their Facebook presence. Business pages allow for additional features, such as creating forms that potential clients can fill out, as well as standard features like uploading videos, images, and other forms of content
Start a simple discussion by asking a question, and then when people start to post replies, you can respond and provide valuable feedback or advice. Keep in mind to never cross the line between networking and solicitation. Certain states have specific rules regarding the issue of solicitation within electronic communications, so inform yourself and adhere to the guidelines of your state.
Most attorneys are not going to be able to provide specific numbers, but it is entirely possible to explain the difference between hourly billing and contingency fee agreements, for example. Most people are not aware of the difference, and they fail to take into account the expense of additional taxes and disbursements.
General answers are acceptable to user questions, but giving legal advice can be risky. Advice can be misinterpreted, and some advice may be perceived as attorney-client relationship. Protect yourself by adding a disclaimer to your page or by adding the disclaimer into the bottom of any post that can be construed as legal advice.
Polls can be extremely serious, or they can be light. Nonetheless, Facebook polls are a great way to engage your audience and learn about what others believe on a certain topic. You can ask just about any question you like, but try to keep it the poll very related to your practice, and use the results as a tool to help you understand what your audience is looking for.
If you have an opinion on a recent decision or an ongoing case, Facebook is a great place to provide your insight. This can also attract readers who are interested in the topic of the post. New laws can be confusing, and posting an interpretation of a new law in terms that everyday people can understand is extremely helpful.
If people start to read your page, and find your tips useful, they will continue to return to the page to see what else you have to say. Sharing your knowledge with people will increase the likelihood of them retaining you or your firm in the future over your competitors. This is because they feel a connection to you and you have positioned yourself as an expert in the field based on your tips.
For example, if you want to let people know you are moving your office, you can announce that on Facebook. If you are interested in new business, you may create an event inviting people to a seminar or some similar event that will encourage clients to do business with you or your firm.
Facebook is an extremely flexible platform and can be used as the leverage your practice. You can better position yourself as honest professional in you area of law, and share ideas, knowledge, and other bits of value with a relevant online audience.continue...
In the U.S., an eMarketer survey indicates that Internet users will increase by 3.1% to reach 239 million by the end of 2012. This means 75.6% of the US population will be online by the end of the year.
Such numbers are important for anyone wishing to venture into building a brand on the web, particularly for law firms and legal professionals. Currently, blogging is one of the best platforms to support your online business and penetrate more markets. Content marketing via blogging is exceptionally advantageous for legal professions in communicating their cause and capabilities.
However, not all blogs fare well to their target audience, and many try to cover far to many subjects without establishing a focal niche. If you want your online brand to advance via blogging, you should look into these 5 characteristics of successful blogs.
Whenever you are publishing your blog, always research your content to avoid boring your readers. There is a lot of information available and if readers realize you are veering away from the topic they can switch any second. Blogging is not just fun, but serious business and it is better not to update than add nothing to the reader’s quest for information. In essence, stay focused on you blog's niche, or practice area of law.
Readers like compelling articles written from your own perspective. As such, they need your personality to be written all over the content at all times and this will make it easier to relate to your blogs. In most cases, giving responsibility to another webmaster will sell you away immediately and this can be seen from the comments given. Try to dill down your own niche in terms of style and make it interactive.
Blog management does not come naturally and as such, you have to keep going on and on until you have an audience. However, this is not the end of the journey but a beginning, because retaining this audience is a herculean task. Always have faith in what you write and expect forthright criticism; this is the Internet after all. Passion is the drive that makes you brave enough to continue even when odds are against you.
Always make sure you update your content even if there is a dearth of information around. Readers come to your blog for new information and when they lack the same, they will seek other avenues of information. Consistency is the underpinning of any successful branding blog.
A successful blogger is not a ‘yes’ person but one who constantly questions rationale in everything. This is the only way to create rapport with the curious readers who flock online for new provocative ideas. As such, your blog should not be a mundane regurgitation of the obvious but a platform of novelty.
These 5 characteristics of successful blogs can help resuscitate your fledgling blog and make it rank highly in the niche of your legal services. Information is power and in all these traits, it is this maxim that will define your success as a legal professional .continue...
YouTube is a highly effective video marketing and law firm branding tool since it attracts millions of viewers every day. The video sharing site is free of charge and posting here gives your firm a valuable opportunity to educate, enlighten, and inform relevant viewers. This helps to establish your legal practice with greater credibility and trust amongst your target market.
You should never overlook the optimization of your YouTube channel and videos for SEO. A high ranking video is highly desirable because videos not only stand-out in the search results, but videos help to convert viewers in potential cases.
An SEO analogy to keep in mind is that YouTube channels are like your homepage of a website, while videos are the equivalent of inside webpages. The YouTube channel of your law firm should represent the primary, all-encompassing keyword target (eg "Peoria Criminal Defense Lawyer"), while the videos should focus on specific legal areas that support the primary target (eg "Drug Possession Law in Peoria").
You should always include a description in each YouTube video script. Including the keyword phrases in the text will also help for SEO purposes, but ensure you do not overuse it.'
Also important is to have the URL of your key landing page at top of each video description. This is essentially the call to action to your law firm. Remember to include "http://" in the link, otherwise it will appear as a non-clickable link.
Yet another way of optimizing YouTube channels and videos for search engines is taking advantage of the social media connections that YouTube has built in. Linking to Twitter and Facebook opens a big door for your videos. You should encourage replies and comments, but set the comments for approval only to protect yourself.
Link building is the most effective SEO technique. For this reason along, it is smart to build a few quality links to the channel page as well as to select videos. Additionally, it is very beneficial to have external embeds of your video on your site to generate popularity for video SEO.
Just like for website optimization or organic search engine optimization for websites, internal linking will help with indexing your YouTube videos. You should therefore link popular videos to new videos through the video response feature. This will help to further establish keyword relevancy for overall YouTube optimization.
One last tip to keep in mind while performing YouTube video SEO for your law firm is using transcripts. Transcripts of what is said in the videos will give search engine spiders something extra to crawl while on your video page. This can further improve the SEO potential of your YouTube videos.
Remember, SEO = organization, and having a well organized YouTube channel that is well structured around your keyword targets will offer great potential for search engine optimization.continue...
If you are running a law firm, you may very well need a marketing committee (if you don't already have one) to ensure your attracting the right types of clients and cases. It is important that you make your marketing committee as effective as possible. This ensures you do not pay money for the sitting of a committee that is not bringing in a return on investment (ROI). Optimizing your marketing committee to be more effective can rejuvenate your legal practice.
If your law firm's marketing committee is to be effective, choose the members carefully. You could hire an in-house marketing professional to head the committee, but this individual does not need to be only a marketing expert. Partners and associates who have a vested interest in the growth of the law firm are ideal candidates to head or be a part of the committee.
Another key point to optimizing your law firm's marketing committee is to consider changing the composition of the committee regularly based on the performance of the members. This will keep your members on the their toes and ensure that their efforts are in the best interests of the law firm. Additionally, the head of the committee should remunerate its members so that they are inspired to continue to do great work. Positive reinforcement is key aspect to any organization.
It is very important to set goals and objectives for the committee. This will keep the committee on a solid path to achieving success-oriented outcomes and attaining the cases that the firm finds value in.
The roles of the different members should be clearly defined, with respect to the law firm's goals and objectives. Facilitate interaction between the committee and the firm's partners, associates, and even paralegals. Furthermore, promoting interaction between the committee and clients (as well as potential clients) can contribute to great well-being in the firm and positive recognition in the community.
Insist that members take action to publicize the activities of the committee. Ensure that the committee is complementing traditional marketing such as direct mail marketing, press releases, mobile marketing, and other forms of advertising. Even more important are pursuing more popular and effective channels via Internet marketing, such as email marketing, article marketing, press releases, and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, and website optimization.
A marketing committee will come in handy in effectively promoting and optimizing the law firm's website for marketing too. You could have the committee start a blog and keep that blog populated with fresh relevant content. Additionally, the marketing committee should not overlook the optimization of the website for search engines, since a high ranking in search engine results pages can mean greater lead potential. In many cases, the marketing committee may want to consider hiring a website optimization company to handle the intricate aspects of website marketing and optimization.
For the marketing committee to be effective, determine what will be in the committee's agenda. Every agenda should include reviewing of the marketing tools currently being used, reviewing of cross-selling opportunities, and reviewing possible targets (referral sources, prospects, and clients). Each agenda should also cover significant business development results and activities, discussion about the hottest practice areas and reports about business and marketing development successes since the previous meeting.continue...
Google Maps recently implemented a new feature that pinpoints the current location of your computer.
When I first checked out this new feature, Google Maps had my current location set in Michigan. They were correct; however I could further dial in my location as specific as my street address.
According to Google this feature, known as Automatic Location will help make search more relevant for users. Google states that:
Google Maps will always provide results that we believe are most relevant to your search. Location is one of a number of factors that we use to provide relevant results. For example, if you search for a restaurant chain, you may want to find a branch near you. Now, your initial Maps view will be set to your current location, so that you can get easy access to local results.
In short, Google will automatically pinpoint a user's location based on their IP address. In turn, the search engine results will be customized results based on the user's location.
So what does this mean for local SEO's and small business marketers? It's an obvious sign that Google is further pursuing local search as the best means to provide quality search results. More importantly, the social media network Google+ is directly tied to locally customized search results. Google+ Local pages, which have replaced the Google Places results, are very important for local SEO.
If your law firm has yet to claim and optimize a Google+ Local page, now is the time. In the near future, these pages may have just as much marketing potential as your firm's website.continue...