4 Things Your Boss Expects You Know About Advertising for Attorneys

2018, law firm marketing

NITAN  SINGH

HELLO, today here will you get all information about advertising for attorneys or law firm marketing. Here is top 4 posts of google to help you. here you will get information aboutThe 10 Most Effective Law Firm Marketing Techniques. Successful Facebook Advertising for Lawyers & Law Firms. 20 Tips for Attorneys to Market a Law Practice. A fine line – Advertising and attorneys.

 

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1.The 10 Most Effective Law Firm Marketing Techniques-

Many lawyers don’t get new clients and files because they don’t do enough business development activities, or they waste time on the wrong activities or services, or they don’t authentically connect with potential clients. advertising for attorneys.

What you’ll read next are the most effective marketing techniques. These tips are based on scientific research that I have conducted where we asked 377 marketing partners and marketing professionals in the professional services fields what they did that worked. I’m going to cover 10 particular points.

Number one:  The first and most important point is to choose the right infrastructure for your law firm’s online presence. For this, I recommend that you use LawLytics. This website is powered by LawLytics, as are many of the most successful law firm websites in the United States. I personally love using LawLytics because it is the easiest system to use (and I’ve tried most of them out there including WordPress), and they have the best support because they are founded by attorneys and the whole system is designed with lawyers in mind. In fact, their support is run like a well-oiled law firm that prides itself on client service. And it’s no coincidence because LawLytics CEO Dan Jaffe is an attorney who practiced for a decade before making the transition into legal marketing and technology. He is licensed to practice in Washington State and Arizona and treats every LawLytics customer as the most important client of his law firm. LawLytics also produces legal website designs that work without getting in the way.

When it comes to expenses, the conventional wisdom among legal marketing experts is that you have to spend at least 2.5 percent of your gross revenues on marketing. Otherwise, say the experts, you’re just pretending to market. That 2.5 percent does not include the salaries of any of the people that you may have hired to perform the work in your firm. If you’re not spending 2.5 percent, you’re not being serious about marketing, and you’re not going to get any results. And 2.5 percent of gross revenues can go a long way if deployed well.

But how do you deploy that 2.5 percent?

I like LawLytics’ graduated approach that, over time, can scientifically tell you what is working and what is not, so you can invest in the right marketing services and, if you participate in your marketing, spend your time on the right activities. When you first talk with LawLytics you may be surprised that they don’t try to sell you thousands of dollars of legal marketing services. In fact, the core service, on which I’ve seen attorneys build multi-million dollar yearly revenue from marketing, is only $200 per month and is hands down the best value in online legal marketing.

The system was built from the ground up for lawyers, and they focus 100 percent of their time, energy and technology on helping lawyers grow. They are also attorney owned and operated, and are experts at the challenges and opportunities facing law firms today. I strongly recommend that you schedule a consultation with LawLytics to discover how to effectively deploy your firm’s marketing resources.

Number two: The second technique is to put high-quality content, including both written words and video on your website. According to Attorney Dan Jaffe, who founded LawLytics in 2011:

“Written content is the most important ingredient for a successful law firm website. Get the written content right, and everything else will fall into place. Neglect written content, or delegate it to a non-lawyer, or to a lawyer who doesn’t understand the modern internet, and it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on the other activities, because they will result in a less than optimal outcome.”

Three of the top reasons I love working with LawLytics are:

  1. They understand lawyers and the business of law and help attorneys understand what works and what doesn’t, so attorneys don’t waste time or money. Collaborating with the LawLytics team make me better at my job; and
  2. The software makes it easy for me to add and edit content, including the words that you are reading now; and
  3. When lawyers don’t have time to write their own content or simply don’t want to do it, their professional writing department, which is managed and staffed by lawyers, can produce effective, highly targeted and ethics compliant content that any law firm can feel comfortable will serve them well with their state bar, potential clients, referral sources, social media and the search engines.

I recommend starting with LawLytics and working with them to create a content strategy for your law firm. If you already have a website or a blog, I recommend that you talk with them about importing your site into their system (that’s what I did, and it’s made a huge difference). They always improve the quality of the site both in terms of look and feel, and also structure. This is because they way your high-quality content is organized matters. They are experts at upgrading any site, from sites that are getting no traffic at all, to sites that are getting thousands of visitors a day but could be converting better. Their import process assures that you won’t lose traffic or ranking during the transition process.

Once you have established a solid base of high-quality written content on a LawLytics website, then it’s time to look at other forms of content. These forms of content include:

  • Videos;
  • Infographics;
  • White papers.

Remember, however, that until you have sufficient written content (it’s more than you probably think), it’s not efficient to start creating these other types of content. That is because it is written content that drives traffic and ranking to your website. The people at LawLytics are excellent advisors about how much content, and what types of subjects, should be addressed on your website before you start adding these types of ancillary content.

Once you are ready for other content, it is imperative to plan it in conjunction with your written content. It does not make sense to just show up and shoot a video if it doesn’t match the information, tone, and style of your website content. Once you have videos ready, it couldn’t be easier to drag them into your website when you use LawLytics.

‘Legal says we could get by with the term ‘super’ but adding ‘duper’ might be pushing it.’

Here’s the content recipe I recommend:

  1. Start with a LawLytics website or upgrade your current site to LawLytics. Follow their advice about law firm website design, and let them turn your site into something that is beautiful, practical and extremely effective.
  2. Follow their advice about creating content (or have them create the content for you). Content is the most important ingredient in law firm SEO.
  3. After you have traffic, use the built-in analytics to see which pages and topics are the most popular on your site, and create video scripts around that content. LawLytics does not create videos for you but has partnered with one of the top video producing companies so that you can order your videos through LawLytics and have a local professional in your area produce and shoot your video in their professional studios or in your office.
  4. Once your videos are produced, strategically insert them into the corresponding relevant article (they will help you with this, and it’s so easy that any lawyer can do it themselves).
  5. Measure the impact of your videos on your content. After you have traffic, it’s highly likely that the strategically placed videos will give you a conversion boost.

The same recipe holds true for other content types such as infographics. The design department at LawLytics, working with the attorneys in their content creation department, has created some of the most beautiful and most effective law firm infographics I have seen, and at a price that is less than many of the providers out there that produce drastically inferior work.

Number three:  Don’t waste any money on marketing that is not measurable. If you can’t measure it, don’t do it. Too many lawyers don’t know if, or why, their marketing is succeeding. This dooms them to spending money and efforts on things that work, but also on things that don’t work. To be highly competitive you need to measure everything so you can eliminate what doesn’t work, and double down on what does work. For instance, advertising and public relations are widely used, but after you’ve spent $20,000 on it, do you have any way that you can check to see if it actually generated any results? I don’t think so. What I would suggest you do is pursue techniques that you can measure. That would include blogs. You can publish a blog and see how many people visited. On a blog, you can also see how many people commented. And, when you’re on LawLytics, using their built-in reports and lead tracking, you can actually tell whether a blog post or piece of substantive content influenced a potential client in his or her decision to contact and hire your firm.

Number four:  When it comes to business development, start with the low-hanging fruit, and that is your own clients. These are people who trust you, they send you work, they send you checks. It’s incumbent upon you to get to know them better to see if you can generate additional files from them. It’s much easier to open a new file from a current client than it is to originate a brand new client. It’s also easier and less expensive to get a referral from a satisfied client than to get the attention of a potential client using advertising. Again, this is something that you can measure. You can measure the number of times the attorneys in your firm have actually visited the client, how many times they had lunch with a client or a referral source. Or, if you have an event at your firm, you can count the number of attendees, keep track of all their contact information, and then trace in the new matter reports how many of them turned into new files. The bottom line is you should start at the beginning of any sort of marketing initiative by figuring out how are you going to measure it. If you don’t do that, you have no way of knowing whether it succeeded or not. According to Dan Jaffe:

“When potential clients are referred to you, the first thing they usually do is look you up on the web. If you are doing things right, they will find your firm’s website first. When they do, it must make a good impression. If it doesn’t, you’ll never have that opportunity. Bottom line is that your website, not you, is what imprints on your potential clients’ emotional decision centers. So make sure you get it right.”

I recommend using LawLytics landing page creation capabilities to create a referral page for referred potential clients. This is a page that you can give your clients and other referral sources. You can even use LawLytics to create a page that is unique to each referral source. This allows you to both tailors your messaging to that referral source, and also precisely measure how many leads the referral source is sending. It takes a bit of time to set up (any lawyer can do it, or LawLytics can do it for you), but it’s worth it. It also takes discipline to implement, but those firms that do can multiply the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and dollars immensely. This is something that very few attorneys are currently doing, and that no provider that I’ve seen other than LawLytics seems to get at this point (though I suspect that it will start catching on more widely and other mainstream legal marketing providers will build technology and expertise to utilize it).

Number five: The next thing is to cultivate referral sources. A lot of lawyers get most of their business from referrals, and that’s a wonderful thing, but the point is that it doesn’t just happen all by itself. The people who get these referrals are lawyers who cultivated them.

  • Where I would start is with clients. Again, these are people that you’re doing work for, but unless you tell them that they’re supposed to send you new work and that you would welcome this new work, they won’t know that they’re supposed to do so. You actually have to tell them.
  • Step two is you tell them what kind of work you’re seeking. If you’re doing a lot of commercial real estate transactions and they’re sending you matrimonial cases, you haven’t explained the kind of work that you’re looking for.
  • There are lots of other referral sources besides clients. There are people that you will know in other professions such as investment brokers, accountants, and bankers. These are all people that can send you business so long as you tell them that you would like them to and what kind of work to send.
  • The same thing is true with law school classmates. These are people who know you. If you’re a litigator, obviously you don’t want to approach the litigators because they’re in competition with you. Approach all the people who have a transaction practice. Chances are they’re going to have some sort of a transaction that went south, and they’re going to need your help.
  • One of the most efficient ways you can create referral sources is to blog. I recommend that your website is combined with your blog to maximize the marketing impact. If you are unsure of the value of blogging, I recommend watching one of these on-demand webinars to get up to speed.
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Number six:  Get active in a trade association, and get on the board of directors. You’ll notice that I said, trade association, and not bar association. You should join an association of clients. You want to get in front of a room full of clients, people who can potentially hire you. You find out about these trade associations by asking your current clients what meetings they go to. Then it’s a simple matter of saying, “I’d like to join you at the meeting. Would you introduce me to your friends?” These friends, of course, are all potential clients for you. It’s no good just going to the meeting; you have to be visible. Your goal when you join a trade association is not to be just a face in the crowd. Your goal is to get on the board of directors. The way you do that is you seek out the president and you volunteer. You volunteer to help put together programs; you volunteer to help with the newsletter; you volunteer to help in any sort of activity that is going to lead to a board position.

Number seven:  Only after you’ve done all of these things, then pursue target clients directly. What I mean by “target” is a business executive whom you already know. You don’t have to make any cold calls. Whom you’re contacting could be a neighbor. It could be another dad or mom at a little league game. I originated a Fortune 500 company by just talking to another dad at a little league game and asking him what line of work he was in and what kind of business problems he faced. You can meet targets in the religious organizations that you go to and the clubs that you belong to and the charities that you’re active in – these are all people who have businesses – that’s what you looking for – and they all have careers. Ask them questions about it.

Number eight:  If you do have a business plan, write it down. It’s not real until you write it down. What you want to be writing down is whom you’re going to call, when you’re going to meet them, and some sort of an outcome that you’re expecting to have. The idea of writing it down is now you’ve moved it on to your calendar. Once it’s on your to-do list, you’re going to do it.

Number nine:  A question I get a lot is “How much time should I devote to business development?” Point number nine is I would recommend 200 hours a year. That may sound like a lot, but when you break it down by week, it’s really only four hours a week. You can meet somebody for coffee at Starbucks in the morning. You can meet a client. You can meet a referral source for lunch. You can go to a trade association meeting in the evening. All of this you can weave into your ordinary to-do list, and before you know it, you’ve devoted 400 hours. I guarantee you are going to get way more back in new business and new clients than the value of the effort that you devoted. And if you don’t have time to do in-person meetings because of your busy practice or court schedule, the good news is that you can do it effectively even in the middle of the night by creating content for your website and blog. Most lawyers don’t recognize the great value that can be created by consistently watering the garden that is your website. Dan Jaffe tells a great story about one of LawLytics’ earliest adopters:

“One of our early adopters, back when LawLytics was only a do-it-yourself service (note: they now have the best full-service marketing and content creation department available), started writing content on his LawLytics website. Instead of being up worrying about the tens of thousands of dollars he was spending on marketing elsewhere, he channeled his angst about his firm’s future into creating content. Within six months his LawLytics powered website was outperforming all 10 websites he had with other companies combined. Within a year he had taken over a significant portion of his local market, and within two years he was dominating the market. All this is while on a basic LawLytics membership, which costs only $200 per month. His ROI on LawLytics, not including the time that he invested, was more than 200 to 1. The best thing is, that it continues to grow to this day based on the effort that he invested in developing his business in his early days of using LawLytics. I wish every attorney would realize that it’s just that easy, because we have the technology and training that they need to achieve these kinds of results. It’s awesome that literally any lawyer can compete and win in today’s marketplace, even against firms that are willing to outspend them by many multitudes.”

The clients are there. The value is there. And I can’t encourage lawyers to go after that value enough. Success is yours to grab, so why not run with it?

Number ten:  My closing point is to track your results. If you are undertaking a marketing initiative such as, joining the local business owners club, make a point of writing down the people that you want to meet before you go. After you’ve met your targets, asked them about their business challenges, later you can to go back and ask yourself, “Did this work? Did I get a new file?” I recall working with a lawyer who was spending money on radio ads, and he was reaching a huge number of people, but he examined his new clients and none of them came from the radio. He wasn’t getting any new business out of it at all, so he discontinued it. That’s the approach you have to make, but you only will be able to do that if you track your results.

So count to ten, pick the ideas you will pursue, and just do it. The more activities you choose, as long as you follow my advice and measure them, the more clients and revenue you’ll bring in.

And if you’re not yet using LawLytics, you are probably spending too much money, getting less than the best results, or not reaching your full potential online. So do yourself a favor and check out LawLytics, read their blog, watch their webinars, and schedule a consultation with them to get your online marketing on the right track for optimal and sustainable growth

COPIED FROM  www.larrybodine.com

2.Successful Facebook Advertising for Lawyers & Law Firms-

As a digital advertiser for law firms, I’ve spoken with many lawyers who don’t see the value of advertising on Facebook. After reviewing the activity on some of these attorneys’ Facebook Pages, I doubt whether they’ve attracted a single client. Their posts only have a handful of “likes” (usually from friends and family) and little to no comments or shares. In other words, rigor mortis has set in on their Facebook feed. Fortunately, if you’re reading this article, I will explain to you exactly how to breathe life and vigor into your Facebook Page and to use Facebook ads effectively to market your law firm.

I’m sure that many of you have read other posts about how you can use Facebook to attract more clients to your law firm. I’ve read these articles too, and most of them read the same – “blah blah social media this and that.” This is NOT that kind of article. Instead, this article is a real-worldexample of effectively using Facebook to draw in big cases and more clients. Before I detail how Facebook ads can really work wonders for your firm, let’s look at why Facebook advertising makes sense.

Facebook Advertising for Law Firms Makes Sense

Facebook makes perfect sense as an advertising medium. Why? Facebook is undoubtedly the largest social media network in the world. Here are a few recent statistics that demonstrate the reach of Facebook:

The point of sharing these statistics is to show that if you aren’t advertising on Facebook, you are missing out on the potential to create “brand” awareness of your firm and to target specific types of cases and clients.

Law Firms Have Ignored the Benefits of Advertising on Facebook

Although there are 50 million active small business Pages, only 2.5 million of those businesses pay to be “active advertisers.” What this means is that many businesses, including law firms, have yet to discover the benefits of paid advertising on Facebook via “boosting” posts or running text or video ads. Therein lies a huge potential for your marketing voice to be heard online as opposed to trying to be heard (at great expense) over the din of all the law firm ads saturating local TV stations.  Additionally, advertising on Facebook has its advantages over advertising on local television:

  • Rapid ad placement: If you’ve ever run an ad on TV, you know that from start to finish it can take days or weeks to prepare your ad and book your run times. If you are “boosting a post” or running a graphic/text ad, Facebook only takes minutes to set up. Even if you are shooting a video for your Facebook ad (note – video ads typically perform better than other ads), Facebook is still much quicker than television.
  • Control of your budget: On average, I’ve found that the CPM (cost per thousand) on Facebook is higher than the CPM of advertising on a local television station. However, unlike TV ad campaigns that require a few months of commitment, you can exercise much more control over your Facebook ad budget. Basically, you can spend as little or as much as you want and you can turn your ads off and on as often as you like.
  • Control of ad targeting: Compared to television advertising, Facebook gives you much greater control of your ad’s target. Here are some of the ways you can target your ads:
    • Age, Gender, and Language: You can select the basic demographics of the audience you want to reach.
    • Location: You have the option to target your audience based on location including countries, states, provinces, cities, congressional districts, zip codes, or any combination of locations.
    • Education:  You can select your audience based on education level, fields of study, schools and undergrad years.
    • Interests: You can choose specific interests (such as law, divorce, criminal justice, etc.) that are important to your audience.
    • Behaviors: You can select people based on purchase behaviors or intents, device usage and more.
    • Connections: You can select your audience based on whether they’re connected to your Page. Anyone who has a friend connected to what you’re advertising will see their friend included in your ad.advertising for attorneys.

Real World Examples of How Advertising on Facebook Can Pay Off for Law Firms

To illustrate how effective Facebook advertising can be for attorneys, I’ve broken down my examples into 3 primary goals that your Facebook ads should focus on: (1) brand awareness; (2) promoting practice areas; and (3) targeting specific cases/clients. These examples are from campaigns I run for my own law firm, Futeral & Nelson LLC.

Example 1 – Building Brand Awareness

To build the public’s awareness of your law firm, I recommend using a 15 to 30-second video to promote your firm such as mine shown in the screenshot below. Overall, video ads get more attention and interaction from Facebook users than static, image and text-based ads.

Facebook Video Ad for Law Firms

Here is a screenshot in Ads Manager showing some of the numbers and costs associated with this ad:

Facebook Video Ad Campaign for Lawyers

As for the CPM for this campaign, it is about double the CPM for a television ad in my local (Charleston, SC) market. Having said that, the cost-per-click (CPC) is low at 22 cents and the click-through-rate (CTR) is high at 11.01%. This ad has generated 19 new intakes for a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of $30.58.  Overall, this ad’s CPC, CTR, and CPA are MUCH better compared to most Google Adwords campaigns for law firms. Plus, my firm continues to build awareness through impressions on Facebook.

Example 2 – Promoting Practice Areas

To market practice areas, I typically don’t create an ad such as “we do family law” or “we’ll help you when you’ve been injured” because Facebook users don’t interact or engage very much with these ads. There is a much better approach that I call “soft sell/hot topic.” Here’s what I mean by that. First, I find a hot topic in the local news that fits into the practice area I want to promote. In this example, I am promoting animal law. Albeit animal law is far from a lucrative area of practice, my wife (who is also a lawyer) and I enjoy helping pet owners. Anyway, I saw that local news was covering a story about a homeowner’s association that was threatening to take away an elderly woman’s dog because it was a “pit mix.” On the day the story broke, I created a post on my firm’s Facebook page linking to the news coverage. Then, I boosted the post with a budget of several hundred dollars to run for just a few days because interest in the story would fade after about 72 hours or so. Below is a screenshot of the results that shows over 2,500 engagements, over 500 comments, and a reach of 30,265 persons:

Facebook Advertising for Attorneys, Law Firms

All that is well and good, but what about driving traffic to my law firm’s website? Standing alone, it appears that all I did was drive traffic to the news station’s website. That’s where the “soft sell” comes in using a service such as SniplyLinkis, or others to add a call-to-action to the links you share. As you can see from the screenshot below of the link I shared on Facebook, I used Sniply to create a call-to-action to download my law firm’s free eBook “Animal Laws in South Carolina – Piecing It All Together.”

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Facebook Advertising for Attorneys, Law Firms

When Facebook users clicked on the Sniply call-t0-action, they were directed to the download page on my firm’s website as shown in the next screenshot:

Why Should Attorneys Use Facebook for Advertising?

In addition to creating brand awareness for my firm via several hundred post engagements (shares, likes, and comments), Sniply stats showed that the call-to-action was clicked 1440 times, my analytics showed that our book was downloaded 107 times, and my firm took in two new cases that week regarding equestrian veterinary malpractice. Remember that for the soft sell/hot topic approach to work, you must move quickly to capitalize on whatever is currently trending in the news that may fit within your practice area.

Example 3 -Targeting Specific Cases or Clients

Targeting a specific case or client is identical to soft sell/hot topic approach with a slight twist. In this scenario, you know that there is a certain case or client you want to sign up but you haven’t the means to contact the potential client directly due to ethical prohibitions, lack of information as to how to reach the potential client, or you don’t know the exact identity of the potential client. In this example, my firm was trying to reach the family members of an assisted living resident who died tragically after wandered off from the facility. As it so happened, my firm was representing the family of another assisted living resident who also died tragically after wandered off from a different facility 3 months before. Here is a screenshot of the post and the results:

facebook advertising for lawyers

Here is a screenshot of the call-to-action on the link:

law firm facebook marketing

And here is my firm’s web page that was tied into the call-to-action:

facebook advertising for attorneys

Although my firm did not get a lead regarding the second assisted living facility resident, the link to our firm’s page was clicked over 100 times and my firm did receive 3 leads regarding unrelated assisted living facility abuse and neglect claims.

Final Thoughts on Effective Facebook Ads for Lawyers

Please bear in mind that there are other factors that can influence the effectiveness of your Facebook ads such as the text of the ad or post, the graphics or video you use for ads, the ad placements (desktop vs. mobile, etc.), and your choice in demographics such as location and other factors.  Also, just because your ad is effective using the budget you started with doesn’t mean your ad will be more effective by increasing your budget. Over time, Facebook uses internal algorithms to make adjustments to “optimize” the display of your ad depending on your budget. When you jack up your budget more than 5% to 10% of your original budget, you throw the “optimization” out of whack and, typically, see a poorer performance. I recommend increasing your budget in small increments and waiting 24 hours to see how the ad is performing before making any adjustments. The same principles are true if you start changing other attributes of your ad such as geo-targeting and demographic adjustments.

Lastly, before you start running ads, you need to make sure your law firm’s Facebook page is optimized (completely decked out). To double-check whether you have taken advantage of all of Facebook’s features, just read my step-by-step article on optimizing your business’s Facebook Page.

If you need help creating and managing Facebook advertising campaigns for your law firm, please contact us to find out how JustLegal Marketing can help you.

COPIED FROM  www.justlegalmarketing.com

3.20 Tips for Attorneys to Market a Law Practice –

What’s the difference between a financially successful attorney and an attorney who sometimes struggles financially? It’s not necessarily their track record or knowledge of the law. Fairly often, its the attorney’s ability to market his or her services to potential clients.

But marketing a law practice isn’t always the same as marketing other types of businesses. So David M. Ward, Esq. of The Attorney Marketing Center provided some targeted marketing tips for lawyers in an email interview with Small Business Trends. Below are 20 of his top suggestions.

How to Market a Law Practice

Choose a Specific Type of Law

Instead of being a general practitioner, you can automatically set yourself apart by choosing one type of law to focus on.

For instance, you could focus on tax or trademark issues. When a potential client is looking for a lawyer, they normally already have a specific issue in mind. So they are more likely to both find and trust a lawyer who focuses on that type of law, rather than one that spreads their attention between several specialties.

Because of this, Ward says that lawyers who specialize in a particular type of law tend to earn more than those who don’t.

Choose a More Specific Niche

You’ve chosen a specialty. Great, now go one step further. To differentiate your services even more, choose a niche within your branch of the law.

For example, if you’re a business lawyer, focus on a specific type of business, like retail or manufacturing. Or if you’re an immigration attorney, you could target clients from a particular country or region. Make sure customers know that you are focused on this niche by including it in your website or promotional materials. Then you can focus on growing your client base within that community of businesses or individual clients through referrals.

Build a List of Clients and Referrers Over Time

Ward says that a common marketing mistake for lawyers is trying to do too much all at once.

For instance, some new attorneys might go through an entire list of potential clients and referrers (law firms or lawyers that might refer clients to you) in their community right away. But not all of these people are likely to need legal services at the same time. So going on a mass contacting spree could just prove to be a waste of time.

Instead, he suggests building up a list of prospective clients and referrers. Some of that will happen during the course of regular business operations. So instead of calling all of your contacts right away, you could simply keep your contact list at top of mind throughout your day to day activities. This could lead to a bigger referral list and a more healthy business over time.

Create a Helpful Website

For new practices, one of the first marketing steps should be to set up a website. The site should really showcase what you do. Meaning, it should clearly state your specialty and your niche. If you offer several different services within your type of law, outline them very clearly.

But your website should also offer something else to potential clients — helpful resources. This could mean offering a free ebook or even just a list of links for people looking for general information within your area of expertise.

Offering these resources will bring more people to your website. And those people are more likely to need your services at some point, since they are already looking for resources on similar topics.

Give Away Free Resources in Your Community

Once you’ve created some free resources for people who visit your website, go one step further. Make some connections with people and businesses in your community who can promote your information and give those resources away to them for free. This can help you amplify your reach.

Providing free information and resources for people in your area can help you build useful connections and trust in your brand. Ward said:

“Write a “how to” report in your area of expertise and give it away. Make it so good that centers of influence in your target market or community willingly promote it to their lists and thank you for making it available.”

Network with Local Businesses by Offering a Helping Hand

You can also simply help other business owners throughout your community. You never know who these business owners know.

When you help others they are more likely to refer potential clients to you at some point in the future. To network in your community, you can simply ask for some business cards to keep in your office or provide some referrals to other local businesses.

Consider Building a Social Media Presence

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool for all types of businesses.

If you like using social media, sign up for an account or accounts. Then build up networks using your client and referral lists, or lists of contacts within your community. Then you can use these sites to provide information on your business and other legal resources. Perhaps you could offer your free ebook or links to relevant websites.

But Don’t Focus Too Much on Social Media

Ward insists having a strong social media presence isn’t all that necessary for law practices:

“Contrary to popular opinion, social media marketing isn’t something that you must do. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. There are other ways to market your services.”

So if you want to use social media, it can be a valuable and inexpensive tool. But if you don’t feel that you have the time to build up a following, it isn’t necessary. Your time could be better spent working on referrals or your website.

Make It Easy for Others to Connect

But even if you decide social media isn’t your thing, at the very least, you should have an account or two.

Facebook especially has become an incredibly popular place for people to connect with businesses. So even if you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to social media, you could just reserve your business name on Facebook and/or Twitter. You don’t need to post excessively or promote the accounts. Just update with important information for those who want to follow you.

Allow Others to Share your Content

In addition, you should make it as easy as possible for those who do use social media to share content from your website.

Add share buttons to your website that make it as easy as possible for people to post links to your blog posts or ebooks to their social networks. You can also encourage people to share your content. So even if you don’t have the time to post on social media, you can at least give others a chance to do it for you.

You Can Also Use Social Media to Find Resources

You can also use social media as a way to find resources and experts. You can use it to find bloggers for guest posts, experts to interview for your newsletter, or other professionals you can network with.

To do this, you can sign up for personal accounts on social media and follow people in your industry. Then connect with those people and ask if they might be interested in collaborating with you.

Start Small with Advertising

Advertising can be one of the quickest ways to build traffic. However, Ward cautions it can also be a costly mistake if done incorrectly. For that reason, he suggests starting with a small budget.

Choose a very targeted outlet that attracts people in your specific market. For instance, if you’re a business attorney who focuses on local retailers, consider using a trade publication that also focuses on local retailers.

Using a small publication will allow you to keep your advertising budget small at first. Then you can gauge the results of your first campaign before making a huge monetary commitment. Just ask new clients how they found out about your services, and you’ll be able to tell how well your advertising efforts are working.

Hire Marketing or Advertising Professionals If Necessary

Ward also said it can be worth it to work with marketing and advertising professionals when first starting to promote your business. These professionals can help you choose the right outlets and measure your success.

When you’re busy running a law firm, spending time on marketing and advertising might not be possible. Especially when starting out, advertising and marketing professionals who understand your needs can take some of this responsibility off of your shoulders. They will also be more knowledgeable about how to go about promoting your firm without the need for as much trial and error.

If It Works, Increase your Budget

If you find that your ads are getting positive results, consider increasing your budget. Investing in more advertising can help you grow even more, especially if you already have some evidence it can work.

Consult your advertising professional, if you use one. You can even consider branching out to different types of outlets for your ads. Just be sure to continue finding out which clients found you through advertising so that you can measure what is working and what isn’t.

If It Doesn’t Work, Cut Your Losses and Move On

On the other hand, don’t raise your budget if you see no positive results. Sometimes advertising with a particular outlet doesn’t work out. Don’t keep investing in something that doesn’t work.

Instead, look for another type of outlet for your advertising budget. Keep measuring what is bringing you new clients, and don’t be afraid to admit defeat and try something else.

Rely on Referrals

But even though advertising and social media can be useful, Ward says that referrals are absolutely integral to marketing a law practice:

“Every law firm should base it’s marketing on a foundation of referrals. Referred clients are less resistant to hiring you, tend to be more loyal and more likely themselves to provide referrals. They also come to you without cost (time or money).”

Focus on Customer Service

In order to get referrals, you need to make sure your clients are satisfied enough to tell others about you. Providing great customer service isn’t always considered a marketing task, but in this case it is.

To make sure your clients are satisfied, make it very clear what they should expect when they hire you. Then be sure to live up to your end of the bargain.

Offer Referrals to Others

You can also try to get referrals from people who aren’t clients. To do this, you’ll still need to connect with them in some way.

You can connect with people on social media, at events, or just out in your community. Then you can build trust with people by offering them referrals, promoting their website, or interviewing them for your newsletter.

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Ask Your Satisfied Clients for Help

But there could be a more direct way to get referrals to your business. According to Ward, you get more referrals by simply asking for them.

Ask satisfied clients if they know anyone else needing similar legal help. Make it clear to them that you are open to taking on new clients. You might even consider offering a discount or perk for people who refer others. You could also just hand out extra business cards or similar materials so that clients and others can easily pass along your information.

Seek Referrals Indirectly

But if you don’t want to ask people directly for referrals, there are other ways to get your name out there.

If you provide other services or resources like ebooks or legal seminars, you can ask people to recommend those items to others. That way, people will still be familiar with your name and area of expertise, but you don’t have to seem like you’re begging for clients.

If you’ve spent the time and energy to launch a new firm or practice, be sure you also take the time to let others know. Marketing is a critical aspect of building your practice. Give the process the time and energy it requires.

COPIED  FROM smallbiztrends.com

4.A fine line – Advertising and attorneys

By Edrick Roux

As an attorney, one practises in a highly competitive environment. In addition to the inherent difficulties of practising in a field that requires long hours, intelligence and hard work, one must also compete with other attorneys.

Many firms do this by stating the one thing they can claim with any certainty – that they have existed for a long time and therefore must be doing something right. Many law firms proudly announce how long they have survived in the legal profession, with some proclaiming a hundred years or more of practising in their respective fields; an impressive feat, but the real question is this: Although they have survived for a hundred years, will they be able to adapt to meet the challenges the legal profession is currently facing?

These challenges include changing laws, technological advancements and the opinion of many practitioners that the four-year LLB degree is insufficient to prepare graduates to enter the legal profession.

Businesses across the world have started incorporating technology into their operations in every conceivable way and if the legal profession is to survive it will need to do the same.

Fortunately, the profession has begun its transformation, with advances such as e-mail correspondence and teleconferences being widely embraced. Above and beyond this, the profession has begun to make use of technological advancements in other areas, such as the recent amendment to the High Court rules to provide for service of court process by e-mail in certain circumstances.

Advertising legal services

While some firms rely on their reputation as a long-standing firm to attract new clients and ensure they remain competitive, with the world changing at an exponential rate, people are less concerned about how long a firm has been in existence and are more concerned about what the appearance of the firm says about it.

Therein lays the genius behind advertising: A firm does not necessarily need to be as good as the competition, but a good advertising campaign can make it look like it is as good, if not better.

To accomplish the daunting task of setting businesses apart and obtaining an edge in the cut-throat corporate world, businesses tend to rely heavily on creative advertising to catch the hearts and imaginations of customers and ensure, sometimes without customers consciously knowing it, that customers will support their products.

In this sense, legal practitioners are at a disadvantage as they do not receive any real instruction or training on how to effectively advertise their services. Having been viewed as taboo for many years, it may also be difficult for some of the older generation of attorneys to embrace this addition to the arsenal at an attorney’s disposal. Considering that attorneys may be new to the field of marketing and may receive resistance from their law society, marketing is made more difficult for an attorney when one considers that there are additional criteria they must adhere to in order to ensure that their advertising falls within the ambit of professional conduct and does not breach the rules of the relevant provincial law society.

Touting

Thus, in addition to what can be a complicated process of advertising, attorneys may have the fear that any advertising they attempt will fall within the definition of ‘touting’.

The Oxford Dictionaries’ website definition of ‘tout’ includes –

  • ‘attempt to sell (something), typically by a direct or persistent approach; [and]
  • attempt to persuade people of the merits of’

(http://oxforddictionaries.com, accessed 13-2-2013).

With such a wide definition, finding ways to effectively advertise without putting one’s career in jeopardy is a tricky process at best and a career-ending blunder at worst.

The Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP) has provided some guidance on advertising and marketing in its ‘Advertising and marketing guidelines’. These, however, specifically state that nothing in the rules will permit a firm to directly or indirectly take part in touting. Although these guidelines are descriptive, I submit that they are insufficient.

The guidelines state that touting includes –

  • ‘soliciting custom or work directly from any person;
  • entering into an arrangement with any person, whether an employee or not, for the introduction of clients to the attorney; but this will not apply to –

–        any arrangement between an attorney and another attorney for the referral of work in the normal course of either’s practice;

–        any arrangement for the introduction to an attorney of other attorneys with a view to their instructing him on an agency basis;

  • making unsolicited visits or telephone calls or sending unsolicited letters or printed material to any person (other than to an existing professional connection) whom the attorney knows or should reasonably be expected to know has an existing attorney/client relationship with another attorney, where such conduct is carried out with a view to, or is calculated to, establishing an attorney/client or correspondent relationship with such person.’

Further, the rules of the LSNP provide that ‘touting for work of a professional nature’ includes –

  • ‘accepting or agreeing to accept or offering to accept remuneration for professional work at less than the tariffs of fees fixed by statute or regulation or rule; or
  • by his/her conduct directly or indirectly holding himself/herself out or allowing himself/herself to be held out as being prepared to do professional work at less than such tariff unless he/she proves that he/she did not do so with the object of attracting work or business;
  • advertising in any manner in which the public is invited to entrust professional work to him/her or in which he/she holds himself/herself or his/her firm out as being prepared or qualified to do such work;
  • inserting his/her name or allowing his/her name to be inserted in any directory or law list unless –

–        such directory or law list is open to all practitioners practising in the province;

–        the charge per insertion in such directory or law list, if published in the Republic, does not exceed the sum of R 75 or if published outside the Republic, does not exceed the sum of R 150 or other respective sums as may from time to time hereafter be determined by the council;

  • inserting or allowing his/her name to be inserted in any directory or law list in type other than ordinary type or inserting it or allowing it to be inserted in such manner as to give it prominence; provided that such an insertion in a telephone directory may be placed in bold type which is not significantly larger than ordinary type, and not elsewhere than within the ordinary alphabetical listings;
  • inserting or allowing to be inserted in any directory or law list, or on his/her letterheads, professional cards or other stationery of any description, any qualifications he may hold other than –

–        a university degree;

–        a university diploma;

–        he words “Attorney”, “Notary”, “Conveyancer”, “Patent Attorney”, “Patent Agent”, “Trade Mark Agent” or “Administrator of Estates”;

–        that a practitioner has been admitted to practise in any country other than the Republic of South Africa;

–        that he/she or his/her firm specialises in any branch of the law (but subject always to such conditions as may be designated from time to time by the council);

  • inserting or allowing to be inserted on his/her letterheads, professional cards, or other stationery of any description the names of any of his/her clients or any appointments he/she may hold other than that of justice of the peace, appraiser or sheriff;
  • making a donation in any form, whether by way of a formal presentation or otherwise, to a public official or public office otherwise than at the request or through the medium or under the authority of a circle of which he/she is a member or under the authority of the council.’

Advertising or touting?

It becomes difficult to determine whether an advertisement, which may seem innocent enough, has in fact crossed the touting threshold and endangers the career of a practitioner. It would seem that intention does not play a role in determining whether or not an advertisement amounts to touting and neither does the nature of the advertisement. Therefore, in my view, anything could theoretically amount to touting.

In 2004 the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) approached the Competition Commission for an exemption of the provincial law society rules, including aspects relating to advertising, marketing and touting. The commission rejected the application in 2011; however in 2012 the LSSA and the commission agreed that the rules could not be dispensed with without creating new ones and, because the rules emanated from the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979, to truly correct the situation, legislative intervention was required.

It was agreed that, until then, the existing professional rules of the statutory provincial law societies would continue to apply, except insofar as any restrictions on advertising that conform with the general advertising standards, in that the advertisement is truthful and not misleading to the public, are lifted.

The rules would be interpreted in a way that is not offensive to competition law. I submit that this means that advertising should be given more leeway in the legal profession, but, despite this, practitioners are still not allowed to ‘tout’ for work of a professional nature.

However, since touting is not defined, it is possible that advertisements conforming to the standard rules of advertising may still constitute touting and accordingly will constitute unprofessional conduct and could lead to disciplinary action.

If one considers one of the older rulings of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society council, the above can be illustrated by way of an example.

Ruling 5 of August 2007 provides:

‘A member shall not do anything which is calculated to induce others to solicit work for him, nor shall he offer any financial inducement, whether by way of a loan or gift or otherwise, to any person in order to influence that person to refer work to him or to procure that work is referred to him.’

In terms of this, an advertisement for a conveyancer’s services that is placed in an estate agent’s flyer showing new houses for purchase clearly falls within the ambit of the above provision and, accordingly, will constitute touting. Whether or not the advertisement is truthful and whether or not it misleads the public is irrelevant and therefore the position of the Competition Commission and the LSSA would not assist in this regard.

Reputation

Accordingly, even though some token restrictions may have been lifted, touting still poses a real threat to practitioners. I submit that an attorney’s major asset that defines his earning power is his reputation.

With increasing competition in the legal profession, simply having satisfied clients might not be enough and advertising may become essential in setting firms or individual practitioners apart.

In my view, this is virtually impossible due to the regulations put in place by the law societies and until the rules are amended or disposed of, practitioners are open to potential disciplinary proceedings resulting from touting for anything they do in respect of advertising.

In my opinion, the rules have forced attorneys into a position where it seems as though they are balancing on the edge of a razor blade and one wrong move is all it will take for a practitioner to fall.

Advertising training

Perhaps it is time that candidate attorneys be required to undergo a training course on marketing matters, which would cover the regulations to be adhered to and set out clearly what would constitute touting.

Perhaps it is time to insist that all practitioners are given at least rudimentary training on how to market effectively. Short courses offered by the Legal Education and Development division of the LSSA on advertising would certainly reduce the number of negative incidents that occur. Attendees at these courses could be addressed by not only members of disciplinary committees but also experts in the marketing field.

Further, training on advertising should also include considerations on how to attract clients to a firm using modern advertising techniques and an explanation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 (FICA) requirements around enticing clients, as the two are, in my opinion, inextricably linked. This will ensure that all candidate attorneys, and some attorneys, are made aware of the basic administration relating to drawing clients into a firm and may help to reduce potential complaints as a result of non-compliance with FICA requirements.

Such pre-emptive action will in all likelihood result in fewer disciplinary cases relating to touting. Further, it will also assist candidate attorneys in learning how to bring clients into firms and, accordingly, will prepare them for the reality of working in the legal profession.

Conclusion

Practitioners need to learn to advertise effectively, as all the hard work in the world might not be sufficient if the right people do not know that the hard work is being done by a specific practitioner or firm.

More importantly, practitioners should learn to advertise the right way from the start, to avoid disciplinary proceedings in this regard.

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