Results tagged “Web Marketing Today” from Marketing Attorney Blog

April 21, 2014

Lawyers Shifting Facebook Strategies

fb-like.pngLike and Like. This is like two Facebook posts in one.

For my April 2014 contribution to Web Marketing Today, I return to a topic that I last covered just 11 months ago in May 2013. So much has changed in the social media space in a relatively short time. The players are still the players. But with Facebook changing--more focus on mobile and more focus on revenue (advertising options)--you simply can't sit around and stay status quo.

On the marketing side, it has certainly gotten my attention. Many law firms are finding that Facebook provides brand awareness options that are sharper, cheaper and more focused than many traditional advertising methods. And you do not need to be targeting a mass consumer audience to find ways to use some of these tools effectively. The bottom line is this--there are two ultra-powerful websites in the world--Google and Facebook--and if you don't exist on both, your online universe is not operating at full strength.

A special thanks to Robyn Davis Sekula, a communications consultant in Kentucky. She is an excellent guide on using social media for clients, including but not limited to law firms. Robyn provided some good examples for the article along with low cost to no cost tips for posting on Facebook. I had the privilege of working on a project with Robyn--and now we're fast Facebook friends.

ABA Journal Podcast -- How lawyers can get the most out of Facebook's paid status updates

If you'd rather hear my voice than read an article, listen in on my recent ABA Journal podcast on the subject. Moderated by reporter Stephanie Francis Ward, I joined two colleagues with different perspectives for a spirited discussion. Nicole Hyland, a partner with New York's Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, focused on ethics issues (usually my area of concentration on these programs) and Anthony Johnson, an Arkansas plaintiffs' personal injury lawyer, gave his perspective on using Facebook advertising options to obtain new clients.

All three machers (look it up--it is Yiddish--and would likely be referenced by Krusty the Clown on The Simpsons or one of Dan Schneider's shows on Nickelodeon) - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn--with Google+ likely on the horizon as #4--are still growing and refining their products. They are all relevant to all law firms--but the targets, usage and focus certainly vary significantly.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I did not invite you to find my personal page on Facebook and be sure to "like" my Facebook company page as well. Or Twitter. Or, of course, LinkedIn.

March 21, 2014

WMT: Is there commonality in marketing a law firm and a restaurant?

opentable.jpgIn my monthly contribution to Web Marketing Today, I go off the reservation a bit (pun intended) in discussing Open Table, restaurants and customer service compared to professional services, law firms and client service. In Using Customer Reviews to Drive Sales, I discuss positive (and negative) customer service experiences and how the same concepts and data drive similar patterns for a law practice.

Fine dining is a centerpiece in the health and well-being of my marriage. Every Saturday night is date night, come hell or high water, and with it one of many great restaurants in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Regardless of how busy we get with work, travel and dealing with the kids, we take a few hours and a few bucks each weekend to partake in a nice dinner. It is our household's major discretionary spend (and when you add wine and a babysitter, it adds up fast). Our Facebook followers know that each week they'll be clued in on a new, hot or long-time favorite eatery for future consideration.

The chances of your restaurant being selected as a destination are heavily weighted by whether you show up on Open Table. I peruse the reservation options weeks in advance and look at my profile to remind myself where we are going over the next month or two. On the flip side, the participating restaurant gets to know a lot about me before I walk in the door--and that is where the possibilities of developing customer satisfaction and loyalty exist.

What spurred on this topic in writing my WMT piece for March was an invitation to dinner at Estia Taverna, a restaurant opening near our home, which is an off-shoot of a favorite spot in Philadelphia, Estia, and before that the sister restaurant we often enjoyed in New York City, Avra.

My follow-up reviews on Open Table puts me as one of the 25 most prolific reviewers on the entire site. I use Open Table when traveling as well. Ironically, the places we frequent the most--Bibou and Le Cheri--from Pierre and Charlotte Calmels (perhaps the top chef/restaurateurs in Philly) don't show up in most of my Open Table reviews (they use OT, but we end up locking in our reservations at the restaurant--never leaving either without the next one--and they know how to develop a following and loyalty through impeccable food and service).

I also juxtapose the positive--Estia Taverna, Bibou, the Phoenician in Scottsdale, the Four Seasons, Moore Brothers Wine Company among them--with the negative--my airline, which shall remain nameless, Priceline and dining establishments that failed to take advantage of the data sitting right there to cherry-pick. Read the piece and see if you can see where good client service for a lawyer overlaps with running a successful restaurant, hotel or similar establishment. The key takeaway is whether you take advantage of the data that exists (often through web-based sites and software) for your practice.

Fifty Great Local Web Marketing Ideas

If you do not subscribe to the free Web Marketing Today newsletter, they are providing a complimentary e-book on 50 Great Local Web Marketing Ideas to all new subscribers. I've contributed two of the 50 (and learned a few tricks from my fellow contributors as well).

November 21, 2013

WMT: The Upside/Downside of Online Publicity for Lawsuits

publicity.jpgIn this month's Web Marketing Today column, Pros and Cons of Online Publicity for Lawyers, I write about the issues that struck me coming out of Perez v. Factory Direct of Secaucus, LLC. There is a significant difference in determining the impact of media attention on a case in the "traditional media" days versus the "blog/social media" era. That is the lesson defendants' counsel for Ashley Furniture learned when filing suit against the plaintiffs' law firm for defamation--stemming from online publicity.

My article breaks down the impact and pros/cons that all parties involved--plaintiff, defendant, and counsel for both sides--in measuring how the World Wide Web might affect not only the outcome of a case, but the long-term consequences that can be far more detrimental than whether you won, lost or settled.

As I note, I would never have heard about what I'd suggest is a relatively common "employee lawsuit against an employer for wrongful termination"-type filing if not for the third party action taken by one law firm against the other for what amounts to unwanted publicity on the case.

If they thought there was unwanted publicity before, man, talk about massive unwanted publicity now. Lots and lots of media coverage about the case--all stemming from the subsequent suit. Long after the actual case is resolved--and I might never remember to go find the actual outcome in the end--the Ashley Furniture case will live on. You have to believe they'd like to put that genie back in the bottle.

These considerations go far beyond employment law, although that is the example in this instance. It is something that simply did not exist 10-15 years ago. Attorneys need to stay on top of the changing "public perception" landscape when evaluating when and where to take those cases outside of the courtroom.

October 21, 2013

WMT: Everyone's A Critic (Online) - How a Lawyer Should Respond to Internet Criticism

After taking a one month "sabbatical" from my monthly Web Marketing Today article, I address a topic that is becoming increasingly important for the legal professional--how to respond to online criticism.

How Lawyers Should Respond to Online Criticism addresses dos and don'ts as they relate to the growing slate of websites that allow for posting of "reviews", whether you are a plumber, doctor or lawyer. As I often teach, this is not an area where you have the option to participate. If I'm a client and want to post a positive or negative review of your professional product for the world to see--I can.

I've often used the power of Internet-based reviews myself. When my realtor pissed me off a few years back, I let a number of websites know what I thought of her. It did not go unnoticed. I'm a huge review contributor to Open Table--posting at least one a week after every dining experience. I often hear back from restaurants for the good and the bad.

We lawyers are not built to handle negative criticism that well in an online world. The adversarial nature of the business is not conducive to the court of public opinion--now readily accessible via Yelp, Avvo, Google Plus and a myriad of legal and non-legal, consumer and business sites.

The anonymous reviewer makes this tricky. In some cases, protected by the First Amendment. In other cases, litigation seeks to unmask a perpetrator. This month's WMT contribution addresses the issues, discusses real-life examples and provides tips for avoiding and/or responding to trouble.

August 26, 2013

WMT: Law Firms Join the Apps Craze

If it appears this month's Web Marketing Today article on law firm apps is courtesy of the Department of Redundancy Department, I apologize. In the time I was writing it, I was also interviewed on the subject by two law publication journalists reacting to what must have seemed like an onslaught on law firm press releases touting the latest & greatest app. But I certainly saved some of my tips and examples for the loyal WMT audience.

In Corporate Secretary magazine, Abigail Caplovitz Field writes on "Law firms offer mobile apps to attract new clients." Her article revolves around two US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) apps developed by Latham & Watkins and O'Melveny & Myers. In developing apps, the type of law firm and the related content runs the gamut from global mega firms to mom & pop shops.

Almost every attorney involved in the development of an app at a law firm will (accurately) tell you that the expectation is not that it will generate new clients, but more likely offer a branding or awareness tool that (hopefully) will be seen as an added-value item by clients, colleagues and the media.

The keys to success are not necessarily first-to-market with an idea. For the most part, you will rely on some element of push from your marketing professionals to get the app into the hands of interested parties. I'm sorry to say that not a lot of people are perusing law firm apps when in the iTunes store downloading the latest version of Candy Crush. It takes a strong engine to get the word out and put the app in the right places for the right people. The reality is that most people that download your app will look at it once, think it is slightly interesting, and never return.

For an app to truly be effective in the long haul, it means constant updating. Recently, I flash backed to a project I worked on with Morgan Lewis in the late 90s. A partner at the firm had the idea for creating an online resource which we called HSRscan, containing information about the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and its regulations. The data was unique and the relatively new "Internet" seemed an ideal place to market this content. Blogs were just coming into being. But what really would have been a perfect fit was an app (I did not have a crystal ball to identify this stuff or I would not still be working and writing these blog posts). Does the attorney or practice group have a specific idea that would provide a unique resource to the public at large?

In a blog post on July 24th, I recap and point to Gina Passarella's piece for American Lawyer Media on "Deciding whether law firms should have an app for that." Her article looks at vastly different examples from the Latham and O'Melveny apps, including family law (for consumers), labor & employment, and recruiting.

If you are considering app development for your law firm, I encourage you to read the three articles cited in this blog post--my WMT column and the stories from Corporate Secretary and The Legal Intelligencer. This should give you enough background to determine an effective route for your idea. Apps are not for every firm. At the same time, it is not about firm size, resources or budget; it is about having an effective idea for an impact tool.

June 27, 2013

WMT: Legal Reminders for Online Businesses

law-book.jpgTo start the second year of my monthly contributions as the voice of the legal profession on internet marketing issues for Web Marketing Today, the publishing team asked me to take off the marketing hat and hang my lawyer shingle for their significant small business readership and tackle legal issues that many of them face online.

There are so many legal precautions and potential issues that small businesses face on the World Wide Web, whether the business is purely virtual and online only or is the online marketing voice of a traditional store front.

Ironically, these issues have come into play during my many year studying Internet law, as I often discussed with my law firm business development clients that they needed to show clients and prospective clients (whether it was a consumer, mom and pop shop, small business or Fortune 500 corporation) that they knew how the web and technology worked--since they were often advising businesses on Internet-related issues--which often were new and uncharted legal waters for most.

This month's contribution, 5 Legal Reminders for Online Businesses, tackles just a few of the many practice areas and legal issues that are touched on the Internet. I start with intellectual property, perhaps the most important in terms of protecting your business. False Advertising issues hit that gray area between the truth and fluff. Of course, failure to understand privacy concerns will get you in lots of hot water--just ask Facebook. And issues of jurisdiction can be a business's death knell if not careful.

When WMT came calling a year ago, I had been contemplating ending my run as the Internet Marketing Attorney--a mantra and accompanying website where I had dispensed information and opinions on internet marketing for law firms since 1997. This portion of my law marketing consultancy is relatively small and outweighed the time and effort that this niche provided me. I've enjoyed and will continue contributing monthly articles on the subject to WMT. You can CLICK HERE to see my library of articles to date, in which I tackled law firm marketing-specific themes that included search engine optimization, pay per click, website development, ethics and compliance, lead generation, LinkedIn, Facebook, video, online reputations, mobile sites and blogs. If there is a topic you'd like to see, please shoot me an e-mail. And thanks for the continued readership and feedback.

May 28, 2013

WMT: Facebook for Lawyers -- "Like" It?

Facebook.jpgAs part of my monthly contributions to Web Marketing Today, I'm slowly working my way through the major social media sites. I started with LinkedIn, which has the most relevance to the most attorneys. In future months, I'll tackle Twitter. But this month, I address what is arguably the most powerful website on the planet--Facebook. Search Engines aside (i.e. Google), there is simply no website with more users and higher traffic. And, let's be honest, how can you do serious internet marketing and not be on the biggest site?

So, is Facebook right for you and your law practice? READ ON...

April 26, 2013

WMT: Today's Best Law Firm Websites

nixon-peabody.jpgWhen creating the "Internet Marketing Attorney" moniker in 1997, I would scour the web for the most innovative law firm websites, eventually rating and ranking them in five categories--design, content, usability, interactivity and intangibles. If you were listed among the 250 largest U.S. law firms, you were then ranked accordingly. Many small and midsize firms from around the world submitted themselves for consideration as well, and while I did not review all of them, I also had the annual Nifty Fifty list of innovative legal website components. But times changed and just like technology, I had to adapt.

There were three key factors that led me to stop presenting the IMAs--as they are known throughout the legal industry. First, the large law firm sites become homogenized. There were so few substantive differences to the sites that it made finding those differentiators quite difficult. I would write the same notes and comments over and over again. Second, my "for-profit" business (HTMLawyers, my law marketing consultancy) did not provide enough free time to properly conduct these evaluations. Because I never solicited those law firms I reviewed, it was a great branding tool but not necessarily a revenue generator. My time was always "sold out", but it was tough to equate new business with the time needed for the IMAs. Finally, any free time or "down time" is now owned by my children--who do not find law firm websites all that fascinating. Luckily, my monthly contributions to Web Marketing Today allow me to continually monitor and teach best practices for law firm internet marketing.

Which is a long-winded way of introducing this month's WMT column, Law Firm Websites: A Developer's Review, where in essence I turn the tables slightly by asking the web site developers to tell me what site they like best and why (obviously, their own handiwork). I invited some of the more prominent names in law firm website development to participate--just give me a site and what makes it special. The end result is a handy tutorial for any law firm looking to identify key components for their next website.

The cited sites offer a nice mix of law firm geography and size. Included in this column are websites developed for McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, Freeborn & Peters, Sideman & Bancroft, Nixon Peabody, and Jeffer Mangels.

Thanks to Inherent, Saturno Design, Duo Consulting, Bothwell Marketing and Justia for taking part. Each provided me with a website, some background and key features. In my 17 years of working on law firm website projects, I've had the opportunity to work with hundreds of developers throughout the world. In many cases, I've reviewed their RFP responses to law firms in helping select the right provider. In others, dozens of law firm website developers keep me informed of their newer launches and products--helping me pass that information along to my IMA and WMT readership. This month's column is a map of the newer online features that merit consideration in building or upgrading a law firm website.

February 22, 2013

WMT: Law Firms Embrace Video for Online Marketing

In this month's Web Marketing Today column, I discuss the uses and value of video as an Internet marketing tool for attorneys. Video provides both enhanced web content as well as improved search engine optimization results.

Among the things that have changed in video production over the last five years or so is the importance of making sure that the quality is there. Lawyers should not look like they are facetiming each other on an iPad. That is left for my kids harassing relatives with video chat. Getting seasoned professionals to produce, tape and edit is critical.

My column discusses the ABA Golden Gavel Video Awards, created by Infinite PR's Nicholas Gaffney. I also talk about web video marketing tools such as those developed by TheLaw.tv and an example of law firms moving often-stilted webinars to a polished video product. The use of video impacts every type of law practice. Brown Rudnick's Charitable Foundation uses video to enhance the site for their Center for the Public Interest.

Of course, it would not be my take on video without pointing to my own humorous production from a few years back. If everyone loves it, then it is not really edgy or out-of-the-box. From Delaware corporate law to Carly Rae Jepsen, video has numerous uses in the law marketing toolbox. Some work better than others.

January 21, 2013

WMT: The importance of monitoring your online reputation, and reverse SEO

online_reputation.jpgI address an important internet marketing topic in this month's Web Marketing Today column on "Monitoring your online reputation in 2013." We spend a lot of money to "get found" on the web with various search engine optimization techniques. But what about the stuff you don't want getting found? Or what I refer to as "reverse SEO"?

As the web ages and matures, it becomes more and more important to be vigilant about protecting your good name. And the first step towards staying one step ahead is to effectively monitor what I call an attorney's online portfolio. It is far more expansive than what your law firm posts or what might show up from LinkedIn or Martindale. And it only takes one bad apple in an orchard full of good ones to feel like your name, reputation and business might be harmed.

In an interesting comment posted on my WMT column page is a website developer frustrated that he has encountered situations where a top result on a Google search is "ancient history." Something 5+ years old that is "totally irrelevant." This points out the downside about some online reputation "fixers" where a problem is fixed today but could float back to the top after an algorithm change.

Make sure you spend as much time monitoring your law firm results as you do analyzing traffic and visitors to the website. And if you are doing neither, you have two things to add to the "to do" list for 2013. As end-users become more sophisticated, they become more likely to look at a few pages of what might be termed "objective" results rather than look at the web picture we are trying to paint.

December 19, 2012

WMT: Law Firm Sites Move to Mobile

Thumbnail image for 12-4-08-iphone-omnia.jpgIn this month's Web Marketing Today column, I address the importance of having a proper mobile marketing plan to accompany your law firm's Internet marketing efforts. Regardless of a law firm's audience, practice groups, size or location--"mobile" is a critical component.

Some law firms are still at stage one--trying to get some sort of compatibility for an iPhone or Android device. Others have moved well past that toward development of applications that serve purposes ranging from "marketing" to uses for partner retreats, recruiting and access to files and billing.

The strategies, however, do differ based on a law firms' audience and clientele. As is the case with a typical website--what you develop for a Baker McKenzie is going to differ from what you develop for Sokolove Law. Although as of today, a quick look at both of those websites on my Droid were not online presences built for mobile. This column features firms that built a solid online mobile presence. It also addresses related issues tied to SEO and online advertising considerations as well.

I point out that a simple look at your own website's traffic reports should be all the evidence you need that the mobile audience is already huge, and rapidly growing.

November 14, 2012

WMT: Blogging for Lawyers - Lessons Learned

blog_image.jpgThis month's Web Marketing Today column discusses the good, bad and ugly in the world of law firm blogging. As the bumper sticker says, "If you can read this, you must be on my blog." Anyway, that in itself highlights one valuable element of blogging--in cross-promoting other marketing and publishing efforts.

I've selected successful blogs in the small, medium and large law firm categories to highlight approaches and styles--from Silverberg Zalantis, Young Conaway and Reed Smith. In the world of blogs, they are all operating on an even playing field.

One of the ways I know that blogging is still "where it's at" in cyberspace is simply following the steps of my long-time web collaborator Pavel Ushakov. Between Pavel and Justia's Tim Stanley, much of the direction and advice I give myself (and others) comes from following their paths. Tim practically shamed me into getting back on the blog bandwagon. Pavel played a pivotal role in my original transformation from "marketing attorney" to an "internet marketing attorney." We worked together on original website projects for law firms like Morgan Lewis and Simpson Thacher back in the 90s. Remember the 90s man? He was then instrumental in creating the Internet Marketing Attorney website, IMA reviews and Nifty Fifty awards for me. And in developing my original business website and blog. Of course, as one of the true web pioneers, he has bigger fish to fry than helping me--but always responds quickly whenever I shout out for help. But his focus now is on blog development and consulting with Blogconsulting.com--with "little" clients like Adobe, Time Magazine and the Harvard Business School. But he is one of the go-to guys for blogging, and knowing what will come next.

Blogging is certainly not for everyone. A quick read of the WMT column should help you determine if jumping in the pool, or simply staying in the pool is right for your law practice.

October 16, 2012

The Value of a Website Video - or how not to do one

In an upcoming column for Web Marketing Today, I am going to discuss the value of videos in law firm marketing, focused on internet marketing efforts. I've had the opportunity to work with people that know how to do them, such as my friends at TheLaw.TV. Last year, as chair of the American Bar Association's Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference, we held the first Golden Gavel Awards, recognizing the best law firm and legal industry videos. Nick Gaffney of Infinite PR organized the video awards and panel, with the end result being some phenomenal videos used by law firms on web sites.

This brings me to my own recent work on redevelopment of the HTMLawyers website. I wanted an effective welcome message, but ended up with something that looks like a bad local business ad on cable television. You won't see this on the business site, but I did marvel at how my eight year old daughter Lily watched me sweat, flub lines and deliver a mediocre performance--only to have her show me how it is done. I'm not sure if she is showing me the way or mocking me, but I enjoyed her performance far better than mine. Lily first appeared on this blog--in the fourth post--when she was born in May 2004, so this is her triumphant return.

August 14, 2012

Lawyers Are Big Players in the SEO Game

This month's Web Marketing Today column focuses on the impact, cost and level of sophistication that search engine optimization (SEO) has had on law firms--primarily in regard to the plaintiffs' bar. It is a dog-eat-dog world out there when it comes to finding your next client online...or really the opposite, the next client finding you. And if you are in a "high rent" space - geographically or practice-wise--the cost of competing can be ridiculous.1287370_seo_1.jpg

The impetus for this column topic came from re-reading "The Plaintiffs' Bar Goes Digital: An Analysis of the Digital Marketing Efforts of Plaintiffs' Attorneys & Litigation Firms," prepared by the Institute for Legal Reform, a politically-motivated think tank, which begins its nearly forty page report by stating that the U.S. tort system costs $265 billion in 2010. Personally, I was fascinated by the report--not in regard to whether the system is right or wrong--but more as to the various digital media techniques that have changed the marketing landscape for many of these law firms.

I was impressed by the sophistication of some law firms. I was appalled by the questionable ethics issues by others. And I found the three top spenders to be interesting as well. While I would have expected Sokolove Law to be number one, they were number two in spending (at $6 million-plus) to Danizer & De Llano, who blows away every other law firm in spending north of $16 million annually in online spending (according to the report). I had never heard of them. Third in spending was The Lanier Law Firm at nearly $5 million. In this case, I certainly know who Mark Lanier is, and was surprised to see him spending at this level. Of course, I always remind other law firms of two things. First, they have the money to spend; and second, if these efforts were not paying off, they would not likely be investing this heavily in these initiatives. When you get some big hits, there is no reason not to reinvest additional dollars in channels that might deliver the next huge award and fee.

Besides serving as an excellent primer of what goes into high-level SEO, especially as it relates to pay per click marketing, I also think this report provides a nice reality check for firms that think they are spending big money in certain spaces, but really are not. I'm not going to say it is all about "you get what you pay for", but there is no question that you won't beat the big dogs with "untouched" organic search results.

Almost nothing in the report and analysis is relevant to my AMLAW 200 law firm clients. The approaches and campaigns don't touch those online marketing strategies. However, the data and approaches are transferable well beyond plaintiffs' firms to many boutiques and small to midsize general practice firms.

While I typically think of keywords related to asbestos, mesothelioma, birth defects, various forms of brain injury, cancer and workplace injuries--as the more expensive PPC terms, the report points out very niche areas as well, like "cruise ship rape." For many years, in my law marketing ethics courses I've pointed out examples of law firms that quickly buy up terms related to "disasters"--a train or plane crash, a mass murder, a building collapse--as a way of identifying themselves to victims and victim's families without (technically) violating solicitation restrictions. Now the same firms are policing Twitter in much the same way that you might turn on a police scanner. It is a crazy business--but as the report says, there are hundreds of billions in play each year--and 1/3 of a few billion can pay a few bills.