August 15, 2018

Online Marketing for Solo Practitioners and Small Law Firms

When you hear the words “online marketing,” what is your reaction? According to Martha Cusick Eddy, director of Catapult Growth Partners, some reactions she elicits with those words include “hype” and “I hate it.” Ms. Eddy and Phil Nugent, founder and managing director of NCG Strategic Marketing, recently spoke at CLE for the monthly Solo/Small Firm section luncheon, and stressed that although the phrase “online marketing” may evoke a visceral reaction, marketing is not hype.

In the clip below, Ms. Eddy explains that marketing is an opportunity to show potential clients why they should choose you to represent them by providing value-based marketing.

This snippet illustrates that online marketing can be a great tool for practitioners to attract and identify ideal clients. The program also discussed the reality of the business of law in today’s technological world, creating an online marketing strategy, the importance of search engine optimization, aspects of social networking, and more. To order the full video, click the links below.

CLE Homestudy: Online Marketing for Solo Practitioners and Small Law Firms

This CLE presentation took place on February 10, 2014. Click here to order the Video On Demand and watch the entire presentation online, or click here for the MP3 Audio Download homestudy.

Note: This program was not submitted for CLE credit.

Coach’s Corner: Be a Lawyer and a Teacher

Rebecca Mieliwocki of Burbank, Calif., was recently named 2012 Teacher of the Year and honored by President Obama at a White House ceremony.

Among other impressive achievements in her career, she went to law school. This transition is not peculiar. Lawyers are, after all, teachers. They tell stories to instruct jurors and judges for the benefit of their clients.

But lawyers may not realize that they can use teaching techniques in many other ways to make the business of law more successful.

Consider just a few examples and ask yourself how good a teacher you are.

Justify your fees

Value is ultimately determined by the client, not the attorney. But it’s the attorney who must educate the client about the value of his services.

Most clients recognize the importance of and are willing to pay a fair fee for value. What they do not want is to pay for inefficiencies, duplications or unnecessary services.

To avoid fee disputes, lawyers must regularly demonstrate that their skills and the way in which services are delivered to the client coincide with what the client wants and needs.

Blog to inform

Lawyers often know a great deal about industry and economic issues that are important to clients, and can educate their clients about trends and developments using blog posts.

A blog combines the lawyer’s observations on breaking legal or regulatory issues with specialized content and research and can offer the option to comment and ask specific questions. This defines a teaching relationship — and also often serves as the beginning of a client relationship.

Educate your staff

In the current law firm world, lawyers and staff are affected by the ongoing transformation of client expectations and legal service delivery. Lawyers must take the lead in helping all staff members understand this change.

More than the continuing sluggish economy alone, firms are contending with upheaval in the way law is practiced. Secretarial assistants, technology specialists, project managers, any staff — they all need a better understanding of the forces reshaping law firms, and the lawyers who employ them should provide that understanding.

Emphasize the value of beyond-the-case effort

Young lawyers too often view themselves as being at the mercy of the firm’s partners when undergoing annual reviews. They can enhance their situations by educating the partners on what the lawyer has actually done in a key area, such as business development.

Attending lunch or bar association functions, posting blogs and client updates, writing articles in trade or legal publications are all valid marketing activities. The young lawyer who engages in them can make a convincing argument at review time: “This is what I’ve done to promote myself and promote the firm.”

Don’t assume these efforts are well-known tactics. Teach those who matter about the value of the effort.

Education is all about communication. It is essential that those with whom a lawyer interacts knows what the lawyer is doing and understands why it is being done. As lawyers, our job is to help others. Constantly conveying how and why you are doing this is an excellent way to derive greater personal satisfaction from your practice.

Ed Poll is a nationally recognized coach, law firm management consultant, and author who has coached and consulted with lawyers and law firms in strategic planning, profitability analysis, and practice development for over twenty years. Ed has practiced law on all sides of the table and he now helps attorneys and law firms increase their profitability and peace of mind. He writes a syndicated legal column, Coach’s Corner, where this post originally appeared on June 20, 2012.

The Top Ten Mistakes Companies Make in Online Advertising: How to Comply with the FTC Act

Have you ever done an internet search and clicked on what appeared to be a likely answer, only to find yourself staring at a fake news site advertising some product? Or conversely, have you ever thought that you might get more search hits if you made your firm’s web page look like a news website? Learn about the pitfalls to this approach on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, as Scott R. Bialecki and Claude C. Wild, III, discuss the FTC’s advertising laws at CLE’s lunchtime program, “The Top Ten Mistakes Companies Make in Online Advertising.”

In addition to fake news sites, Mr. Bialecki and Mr. Wild will address such topics as website testimonials, endorsements in social media, online disclaimers, use of competitors’ names on websites, and related enforcement considerations. They will also examine common advertising and trademark infringement missteps associated with online advertising.

This program is a must-see for all attorneys with an internet presence. Don’t miss it!

CLE Program: The Top Ten Mistakes Companies Make in Online Advertising

This CLE presentation will take place on Wednesday, May 16. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in two formats: video on-demand and mp3 download.

Discounted Legal Services — Do You Really Want to Be the Daily Deal?

The number of internet-based “Deal of the Day” websites has multiplied exponentially in recent years—Groupon, Living Social, Eversave, and Get My Perks are only a small sample. Even more numerous than the discount sites are the types of goods and services that are available for purchase. You can get deals on sports tickets, gardening supplies, kids’ birthday party packages, spas, restaurants—practically everything you can think of. But what about legal services?

Advertising is key to a successful practice for most attorneys, and a chance to spread the word about a legal practice to the wide audience that services like Groupon reaches is hard to pass up. The question arises, however:

Is it ethical to discount legal services?

What types of legal services can be discounted? Is profit sharing ethical in an advertising context? How are fees handled if the discount is never redeemed?

On Monday, April 16, Amy DeVan and Ericka Englert of the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel will be in the CBA-CLE classroom to discuss the ethical implications of using Groupon or other daily deal websites to advertise legal services. Potentially implicated Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct will be discussed, including perspectives from other jurisdictions and implications for Colorado attorneys. Join us on Monday to hear answers to your questions about the ethical implications of daily deals.

CLE Program: Ethics of Daily Deals and “Groupon” Marketing

This CLE presentation will take place on Monday, April 16. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in two formats: video on-demand and mp3 download.

Tom Matte: A Twitter Chat Can Bring New Exposure to Your Law Firm

By scheduling regular tweet chats on topics of interest to your followers, your firm will be viewed as a go-to resource for the latest information

So, you’ve been on Twitter for a while now. You are building a nice number of followers and are conversing with them on a regular basis. Your posts are informative and interesting, and you are even retweeted on a fairly regular basis.

So what’s next? Why not hold a Twitter Chat? For the uninitiated, a Twitter Chat is when a group of people participates in a real time, online conversation around a particular topic, identified by a hashtag. Think about it as a conference call with people all over the world, where each participant can share their thoughts by typing 140-character tweets rather than talking over each other. It’s an easy way to get people who are interested in your topic to discuss concerns and share new ideas.

Sounds fun, right? While it is easy, there are some things to consider first. When setting one up, make sure you:

  • Choose a topic, time and a hashtag that makes sense
  • Choose a format and share that with your followers. It may be on a single topic (typically best), a forum for followers to ask you questions, or any number of other formats, but define it up front and stick to it.
  • Promote it in advance. Otherwise, you’ll be chatting by yourself.

So those are the basics. Scheduling and conducting a Twitter Chat is one thing, but doing it in such a way that followers will participate and want to come back for future ones is another. Here are some suggestions for doing it well.

  • Choose a topic people are interested in. What are your clients consistently asking you about? What do you see trending on Twitter lately? Put a bit of thought into your topic to ensure it’s one that will draw participants.
  • Be real. One of the beauties of social media is that it tends to break down barriers between people and allows them to show a bit of personality along with their expertise. So be authentic in your approach and don’t be afraid to show a bit of your fun side too.
  • Be consistent. If you plan to hold regular Twitter Chats, find a time that works for most of your followers and stick to it. That way people will add it to their schedule and be more likely to attend future ones.
  • Invite others to host. Just like in-person events, it’s good to mix it up a bit. Bring in other thought leaders and have them “guest host” by leading the conversation or answering questions. It will keep it more interesting and bring in entirely new participants since the guest host will promote it for you as well.

For example, Colorado Supreme Court initiated the new Civil Access Pilot Project this year, which makes significant changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure for certain types of business cases in specified judicial districts. The new procedures dramatically affect the way certain civil cases are litigated, and attorneys are beginning to wade through the new restrictions right now. Here’s a great opportunity for a Colorado firm to hold a Twitter Chat to hear what others are thinking, share their own views, and even discuss what their experiences have been with the rule changes so far. Who’s first?

Hosting a Tweet Chat can be a great way for you to add followers and increase exposure for your firm and practice area. Attend a few first to see how it’s done and take notes on what works well and what doesn’t. You can find them directly in Twitter, or TweetChat is designed to help with the process.

To read more, check out Mashable articles, 7 Tips for Better Twitter Chats and How to Start and Run a Successful Twitter Chat.

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on June 30, 2011.

Top 10 Reasons Your Firm Should Play Lawyers’ League Softball

10. Have fun. Let’s face it: slow-pitch, co-ed softball in a relaxed league (there are no umpires, and balls and strikes are not called) is simply fun. It’s way less frustrating than golf and there are more cardio benefits. And you might get a cool trophy at season’s end.

9. Have fun with others at your office. You don’t have to be a lawyer to play in the Lawyers’ League, so it is a great way to bond with the rest of your office.

8. Get out of the office on the weekend. Not that you should need an excuse to get out of the office on the weekend, but it is nice to have a built-in one if you do. Games are finished on Saturday by about lunch time, so you have the rest of the weekend to work if you really have to.

7. Be a part of history. I’ve been league commissioner for nearly 20 years, and I have contacted the last two commissioners before me. Nobody can even remember when the league began, thus if you join you can be part of something where “the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.”

Join Lawyers League Softball
DBA Lawyers’ League Coed Softball starts June 9 and runs through Aug. 11. Games are played Saturdays at Cranmer Park (at 1st Avenue and Bellaire Street). This is a relaxed league more concerned with having fun than, well, pretty much anything else. Cost varies depending on the number of teams in the league. For more information or to sign up, contact Jack Tanner at jtanner@fwlaw.com.

6. Have fun with clients. Did you know being up with two on and two out is a marketing moment? Well, it can be (especially if you come through with a hit). I guarantee you that if your client spends 90 minutes playing softball, drinking adult beverages, and generally having a good time on Saturday, that client will call you first when a legal need arises on Tuesday.

5. Save a life. I grew up on the Gulf Coast and was a lifeguard from seventh grade through law school, but never once actually saved anybody. Playing softball in the Lawyers’ League, however, I once used CPR to help revive a guy who had been struck by lightning.

4. Have fun with your family. Bring your kids (or grandkids, or parents, or distant relatives, or dog) and have a good time as a family. One of my favorite things about this league is that it is one of the few things my teenage son and I do together.

3. Bond with other members of the Bar. Even if you don’t like how a fellow litigator acts during discovery, that same litigator can be a peach on the softball field. If not, it’s always more incentive to play hard for a win.

2. It’s cheap! Because we play days (and therefore on an unlighted field) and have no umpires, the field fees are nominal. The cost is only a few hundred bucks per team for the entire summer.

1. You’ll be doing a service to the Bar. If I get enough teams to play this year, I won’t have to try to drum up more next year, and no one will have to read another article from me next year.

The Docket eFile brings features from your favorite Denver Bar Association publication to you digitally. When you see the logo, you’re reading an article from The Docket. You’ll also still be able to read the full issue online at denbar.org/docket.

Tom Matte: Distinguish Your Law Firm on Your ‘About Us’ Page

Take control of your valuable online turf with a great ‘About Us’ page or you’ll waste a prime opportunity to define your firm’s strengths and unique niche.

What’s the most important part of your law firm’s web site? Your home page of course, but it may surprise you to learn that for smaller firms the runner-up is your ‘About Us’ page, according to Kevin Levi. He lays out some great ideas to boost the utility of this critical space in his article on Marketing Profs.

You don’t want to throw everything into one overstuffed jumble of a page, but you do need to include clear and well-crafted distinguishing messages on that precious high-profile web space. Marketing legal services to small business relies heavily on Internet searches. Once a search has brought potential customers to your site, if they’re interested in what your law firm offers they are likely to head for your ‘About Us’ page to learn more. Give them the information they need to understand what makes your firm and attorneys special. Here are four key elements on which to focus:

Positioning statement.  This is the elevator pitch that you carry around in your head. It lets readers know in a very few words (under 35 is the general rule) exactly what you do, for whom and why they want it. Being concise helps ensure that your message comes through clearly and sticks with readers.

Primary Differentiator. Here’s your chance to explain what it is that makes your firm perfectly suited to handle a potential client’s business. Do you focus on a particular industry or practice area that no one else does or is it the way you deliver your services? Do you serve a very specific client base? Whatever you do, don’t resort to generic claims of excellence or quality. Instead, focus on the most important element of your unique profile, whether that’s based on exceptional experience, unmatched skill, unusual services for a highly specialized legal market or something else. Let people know the real reason your law firm is the best choice out of the many options they find.

Secondary Differentiator. This is a chance to share more about your company’s defining characteristics. Again, limit it to aspects of your services and attorneys that aren’t likely to be shared by the competition.

Company Description.  Include objective information about your company such as location, longevity, history, goals and formative experiences.

A page with this level of description should add to and expand on the first impression readers received from your home page. Make sure what you say here agrees but also further educates instead of simply repeating what you’ve already shared. It’s the ideal place to market your law firm because almost anyone who lands here is already interested in legal services in general or your firm in particular.

To make this space even more valuable in terms of legal marketing, take the time to compare your ‘About Us’ page to those of your competitors. Pay attention to what they have to say in the four areas you’ve articulated (and if that isn’t clear, smile to yourself). You’ll know you’ve got a successful page when readers can easily determine what sets you apart from all the rest just by reading this and your home page.

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on November 28, 2011.

Janet Raasch: Competitive Intelligence – An Essential Component of Better Law Firm Decision-Making (Part 2)

Editor’s Note: This is the second section of a two-part article. Click here to read Part 1.

Competitive intelligence profiles

When preparing to meet with a potential client, lawyers often ask marketers or librarians to prepare a profile of the client.  “All too often,” said McDavid, “this is done just a few hours before the scheduled meeting – and we need to scramble.

“Even with very little lead time, you would be surprised at how much information you can turn up by simply visiting and mining the potential client’s website,” said McDavid.  “You should also search company or firm pages on social media sites.”

When you have a little more lead time to prepare – like for a proposal or the resulting beauty contest – then you can delve more deeply into client background.  Good sources for public companies include SEC filings.  Good sources for private companies include Dun and Bradstreet reports.

A good profile addresses some or all (depending on your time and research skills) of these categories:

  • Quick facts
  • Company overview
  • Business segments
  • Products/services
  • Business partners
  • Board of Directors
  • Key executives
  • Key developments
  • Representative clients
  • Legal issues and litigation
  • Locations
  • Case studies
  • Patent information
  • Marketing strategy
  • Competitors
  • Sources
  • News articles

Armed with this type of information, your lawyers and law firm are well-prepared to make good decisions about how to approach a potential client (or anyone else), and how to make a good impression once the contact takes place.

Competitive intelligence on people

Sometimes you need information about an individual rather than a company.  This person could be a client, a prospective client, a competitor, opposing counsel, a potential hire or a potential merger partner.  When you know something about the person you are meeting with, you can plan appropriately.

Sometimes, you need other kinds of information about people.  For example, you might need to track down a former employee or a potential witness.  “When such a person has gone ‘off the grid’ electronically, you might not have much to go on,” said Goater.  “This is where creativity comes into play.

“In one such case, a former executive had been gone from a company for five years,” said Goater.  “He had a common name, which made the search even more difficult.  Someone recalled him saying that he wanted to take over his family’s farm.  By using the farm subsidy database and narrowing the search by general geographic area and the man’s age, we were able to locate him for our client.”

Another reason to search for people is to acquire their contact information for use in a marketing database.  Good sources of contact information include telephone directories, professional directories and professional licensing agencies (if you know a person’s profession).  Online sources include a search on Yahoo! People.

Many of the commercial and general resources mentioned in the “companies” research section in this article work just as well for people.

“We often use a site called Jigsaw, owned by Salesforce” said Goater.  “It is a business-to-business contract database populated by marketers and salespeople around the country.  By contributing their contacts, users gain access to the database.  It includes 30 million contacts.  It is an especially good source for the contact information of individuals below the usual c-level executives that show up in most directories.”

If you know a person’s location, you can search local and regional media for mentions of their names and activities.  Social media – like Martindale Hubbell, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube — are also good resources.  So are blog searches.  Social media include contact information, but they also broaden your research with less formal “chat” about people, their activities and the companies they work for.

“In gathering information about people,” said Goater, “you want to use a wide variety of sources – and you want to be very careful to validate any information you find before you act on it.  There is a lot of faulty information out there.  There are also privacy concerns.”

Today, information about companies and individuals is widely available. In fact, you could easily drown in all the data.  The trick is to focus your search in light of your business goals.  With this information in hand, you are well-positioned to make good decisions about the future of your law firm – and its work.

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter, and blogger (www.constantcontentblog.com) who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the web and social media sites as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.

Janet Raasch: Competitive Intelligence – An Essential Component of Better Law Firm Decision-Making (Part 1)

Editor’s Note: This is the first section of a two-part article. Click here to read Part 2.

Important law firm decisions should never be made in a vacuum.  Instead, they should be made with an abundance of the right information in hand.  For many law firm decisions, “the right information” means competitive intelligence.

Competitive intelligence is defined as a systematic and ethical program for gathering, analyzing and managing information about the external business environment – information that can affect all of a law firm’s plans, decisions and operations.

Competitive intelligence can be information about organizations – like your clients, potential clients and adversaries.  It can be information about other law firms – like collaborators, opposing counsel or even potential merger partners.  It can be information about the legal needs in particular industries or markets.

Competitive intelligence can also be information about people – like the people you will meet in a pitch, in the boardroom, in the courtroom (like opposing counsel or an expert witness) or in a hiring interview.

In any of these settings, knowledge of companies and people is power.

“When gathering competitive intelligence, there is a wrong way and a right way to go about it,” said Wanda McDavid.  “The wrong way is typified by computer hackers like Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  As much as we enjoy the book and the movie, and want Lisbeth to succeed, we cannot condone her tactics.  This kind of corporate espionage makes for good entertainment, but bad – and unethical – business.”

“The ethical gathering of competitive intelligence complies with all applicable laws – domestic as well as international,” said McDavid.  “It is obtained from legitimate online and print sources, in both public and subscription databases.  When obtained by interviews (either with targeted competitor staff and customers or as general field research), the ethical interviewer discloses up front both her identity and the purpose of the interview.”

McDavid and her colleague Judy Goater discussed the ethical gathering and use of competitive intelligence by law firms at the monthly educational program of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association.  The program was held January 10, 2012 at Maggiano’s Little Italy in downtown Denver.

McDavid is president and Goater is director of services development at Access Information, a Denver-based firm that specializes in the discovery and compilation of competitive intelligence for use by law firms.  Both have master’s degrees in librarianship and vast experience in the legal industry.  The PowerPoint slides from this presentation have been made available on the company website, in the “training” section.

“Before starting any competitive research project,” said McDavid, “it is essential that you have a plan.  Thanks to the Internet, there are an almost unlimited number of resources out there.  You can waste a lot of time and money searching them all.  If we know your goals for a particular research project, we can help you concentrate your resources on the most likely, valid and reliable sources for your purpose.”

Competitive intelligence on companies, competitors and adversaries

Some sources of competitive intelligence about companies, competitors and adversaries are paid and some are free to the public.  Because of the nature of their work, many law firms and law librarians already have access to many of the paid resources.  These include products offered by industry giants LexisNexis and Thomson West.

“For industry research, I also like to use a product called Profound, offered by MarketResearch.com,” said McDavid.  “They offer a wide range of reports for purchase.  An entire report can be costly but, if you know exactly what you are looking for, you can order just part of a report for a lesser fee.

“And don’t forget,” said McDavid.  “Many of these paid resources are available for you to use free of charge at the Denver Public Library.”

Free resources for company research include www.llrx.com and Zimmerman’s Research Guide.  In its database, Zimmerman’s offers links to both company information and company personnel.  “Both of these sites are great places to start if you are trying to get an overview of the kind of research that is out there,” said McDavid.

The Virtual Chase product by Justia.com offers business research as well as county and municipal law resources.  Information on companies can be found at Hoovers, Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance, Nexis company information and ValuationResources.com.

“A lot of good research is available from Google,” said McDavid.  “We all know how to do a Google search, but much more refined searches and results are available via the Google Advanced General Search Page.  Google Scholar and Google Advanced Scholar Search offer useful results that have been ‘purged’ of casual hits.”

Court and government sites – especially the Secretary of State’s office — include public records and a wealth of useful information.  “If you want to know where a company is headed,” said McDavid, “check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Database.”

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter, and blogger (www.constantcontentblog.com) who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the web and social media sites as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.

Tom Matte: 7 More Social Media Tips to Bring Leads to Your Law Firm

The main reason most law firms start using social media is to generate leads. Make sure you are getting the most from your efforts and creating the awareness that will pay off.

I recently read an article on Social Media Today entitled, “7 Reasons You’re Not Generating Leads From Social Media.” Now here’s a topic that looks interesting, since I get asked about the connection between social media and leads quite frequently. As it turns out, lead generation is the top reason most B2B marketers say they are using social media in the first place, so if leads aren’t coming in, it’s probably difficult to justify the time and cost of social media, right?

So using this article as a base, I thought I would talk about 7 ways you can start generating leads from your social media activities.

Go where your prospects are. This may seem obvious, and it is. While I think it’s a good idea to be on all the major platforms, spend most of your time where your next client is hanging out most of the time. This may mean more focus on LinkedIn than Twitter. Or vice versa. Or if your law firm is targeting a specific industry, look for industry-specific social media platforms and start building awareness there.

Provide valuable content. I’ve written quite a few blog posts on the importance of providing good content, so I won’t rehash that here. But if all you are putting out on  your social media pages is information about you, your practice or your law firm, people will quickly grow bored and you will sound completely self-centered. Mix it up with some interesting articles about a topic of interest to your prospects, comment on other people’s posts and retweet valuable information too. Remember, it’s social, so one-way push messages can’t be all you do.

Create strong calls to action and consider creating targeted landing pages. If someone really likes what you have to say, make it easy for them to reach out to you by creating a call to action. It can be something as easy as making your phone number and email address easily accessible. Or better yet, send readers to a landing page where they can find further details, a white paper or some other item of value. In return, ask for their contact information. Targeted landing pages are a great way to expand your database and find out who is really interested in hearing more of what you have to say.

Get the most from your social media real estate. I’m amazed at how many times I go to a law firm’s Twitter page and see no information in the bio space or a Facebook page with nothing on the info page. Whatever you do, provide readers the information they need about your firm, a way to get to your Website easily and other ways to reach out to you as well. Make sure your messaging is consistent throughout all platforms too, so no matter how someone finds you, they see and hear the same thing and walk away with a good idea of what your law firm does.

Integrate email and social media. How many emails do you send a day? I’d be willing to bet it’s at least scores and probably more than 100 on many days. So why not include links to your social media pages in your email signature? If you have an offer on a landing page, include that information there as well. It will generate awareness for your social media work, and it’s easy for someone to forward to a colleague or friend to broaden your reach even more.

Display highly visible social share and follow buttons. While you are adding your social media buttons to your email, make sure they are on your Website too. Not just your home page, but your blog pages, your bio page and possibly your practice area and industry pages. Make it easy for people to share and follow you and your firm, and they will.

Measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts. All this is well and good, but in the end, you need to measure how well you are doing and make adjustments as needed. Set up a time to regularly review your social media traffic, activity and audience. Has any business come to your firm that can be directly tied to social media activities? Are you in the right place or should you branch out and try some new platforms?

What do you suggest? Are your social media efforts paying off in leads?

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on December 7, 2011.

Coach’s Corner: How Do You Fully Leverage Paralegals?

The Role of Paralegals

Paralegals have long been considered a highly cost-effective form of leverage, undertaking routine legal tasks under the supervision of a partner while at reduced billing rates that are attractive to the client yet supportive of the firm’s bottom line. These paralegals may be employed within the firm itself or they may provide outsourced services in a virtual relationship. Either way, the most typical tasks they engage in are generally technical in nature: research, document review, organizing client files and the like.

Paralegals Enable a Firm to Create Additional Business

A paralegal’s fundamental task is to allow a firm’s lawyers to do more client or marketing work without running up against the danger of not properly addressing client needs. Paralegals enable a firm to create additional business, using the principle of leverage, that would not otherwise be possible, in addition to reducing lawyers’ stress level.

How to Leverage Paralegals

Once they understand the firm and its culture, paralegals can be leveraged not just through their technical abilities but also for their client service strengths. Consider such strategies as these:

  • Failure to return phone calls or respond to letters is the number one complaint clients have about lawyers. Lawyers may be otherwise engaged, but clients want to be assured that their matter is being dealt with. Having a paralegal step in and assure the client that their inquiry will be answered as soon as possible can prevent many client relations problems.

  • Clients want to know what’s happening with their matter. Even though the lawyer might be doing a great job, if the client doesn’t know that, there’s bound to be a problem – usually at fee-paying time. Paralegals can often handle the kind of communication that clients appreciate, by sending copies of documents, by writing, or making calls for updates. Clients kept informed at every step of their matter are happier clients. Happier clients pay their bills faster and refer other clients.

  • Clients should be able to connect directly with paralegals who may have an impact on their matter or who might be able to answer one of their questions. The client who walks away with an answer, even if not from the mouth of the attorney, is far more likely to be a satisfied client. That means that client service education training is a must for paralegals.

Direct Supervision of Paralegals is Important

In such activities, of course, lawyers must continue to exercise direct supervision of paralegals. But given that, paralegals in such roles can enhance client service and firm profitability.

Ed Poll is a nationally recognized coach, law firm management consultant, and author who has coached and consulted with lawyers and law firms in strategic planning, profitability analysis, and practice development for over twenty years. Ed has practiced law on all sides of the table and he now helps attorneys and law firms increase their profitability and peace of mind. He writes the LawBiz® Tips E-zine, where this post originally appeared on November 1, 2011.

Tom Matte: The Importance of a Company Facebook Page for Small Firms

A great, easy and free way to get your small firm engaged with your client or potential client is to create a Facebook company page.

A Facebook page connects your firm to the outside world without too much effort. This is a great way to market your firm in just a few short minutes. I know you are busy, but I promise it won’t take much time and the benefits definitely outweigh the effort of putting it together. Think about what you want to post and do your research up front before getting started though. Remember: Content is king!

Take these tips and get started on your Facebook page today.

  • Choose who will administer your Facebook page. This person will post regular Facebook updates and control what is put on the page. You can have as many administrators as you like, but a word of advice, choose a select group to make sure updates are relevant to your practice area and audience.
  • Post legal news and industry-related content on your Facebook page. This could include an article on a newly passed law or a pertinent court case. Always keep your audience in mind, and post things that would be interesting to them.
  • Post pictures of your firm at conferences, meetings and gatherings. It’s important to show your audience what you are participating in and how you are involved in the legal community. It’s also nice to post photos of any volunteer events or firm celebrations. People like to see that you have fun too.
  • Get professional head-shots taken of employees at your firm and post them to the page. Create an album for these pictures on Facebook titled, “(Your Firm Name) employees.” This allows your audience to feel like they know your firm without actually meeting all of the individuals.
  • Ask for feedback and engage your audience. Post questions on your Facebook page and encourage responses. People love to be engaged on Facebook. Create content that attracts your audience and keeps them coming back for more!
  • Don’t post any private information, obviously, such as court cases. Many people that have gotten fired, or worse, because of the personal information they posted, and for good reason. Remember, anything you put on Facebook is in the public domain – forever. Be smart about what you post.
  • Add tabs to your page that allow followers to see information about your firm in other places, like Twitter and YouTube. With a YouTube tab, for example,  you can post your firm’s webinars, commercials and any other videos so visitors can find them easily. Look into all the tabs that could benefit your Facebook page.

Facebook is a great way to reach more clients. This easy, free tool will engage your audience and eventually convert some of them into clients. Being actively involved with a Facebook page (along with a Twitter page, blogging and a LinkedIn page), can set your firm apart as a thought-leader in the legal industry.

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on May 9, 2011.