Published on September 19, 2013
Ethical Digital Marketing for Law Firms Stacey Burke, Attorney Stacey E. Burke, P.C. Of Counsel, Watts Guerra LLP
Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Part VII • The bulk of violations will occur under Rule 7.02 “Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services.” • Board Certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization conclusively establishes that a lawyer meets the requirements of Rule 7.02(a)(6) (the ability to designate/advertise a particular practice area) in any area in which the Board has certified the lawyer. • The most common violations occur with regard to: – Case results (“unjustified expectations,” aggregate results, and net/fee disclosure) – Stating that a lawyer is an “expert” or a “specialist” (cannot use) – Board Certification (specifically mandated format) – Principal office location (must be listed and be staffed at least three days each week) – Joint venture advertising (you must disclose all financially interested parties)
Building Successful Law Firm Digital Marketing Macro Web Marketing – Nationwide, Worldwide Ethical Compliance under TDRPC Part VII – Associate Bar Number with Advertising Social Media Marketing (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) Successful Intake, Call Tracking Procedures Micro Web Marketing – Local Geo-Target, by Lawyer Video Marketing Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Integrated Marketing Strategy
Marketing Analysis • Marketers not only examine their own business or client, but also examine competitors. • Focus on your competition’s relative strengths and weaknesses. • Look at your competition’s cost structure, revenue sources, resources, competitive positioning online, etc. • Engage in test marketing groups to evaluate new ideas, similar to trial focus groups (“pregame”). Know Your Competitive Landscape
Internet Marketing for Lawyers Website advice for lawyers from a lawyer turned legal marketer
Internet Marketing – Cheaper, More Focused, Easy to Track Why the Web is Better Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Lawyer Profiles, Law Firm Directory Listings, other aggregate sites. If you are not present in a meaningful way, you are missing searchers who look for you in a “brochure” sense (referral sources) and potential new clients. The first thing I do when I interview a paralegal, talk to a vendor, or meet someone at a networking event is try to find them on social media channels. I also check out their website. Good Basics to Start Creating: •Global Social Media Marketing Strategy, including LinkedIn, and consistent firm branding throughout •Individual Attorney Marketing – Avvo, Justia, Rocket Lawyer, Super Lawyers •Video Presence and Video Marketing •Client Feedback – Testimonials on and off site Global Social Media and Internet Strategy Print media is outdated for significant segments of your target audience. Users want information NOW, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Think of how you look things up yourself. When is the last time you used a newspaper, the Yellow Pages, or a trade publication to obtain an answer. More likely, you used your iPad, Blackberry, iPhone, laptop or other device. Television remains an effective way to reach a broad audience, leading to an extreme overflow volume of both rejected matters and refer-out cases that someone must manage. E-mail Marketing – remarketing to existing database by appropriate demographic can be quite effective. Websites are the online version of the former print brochure, Yellow pages listing and newspaper advertisement. If you do not have one, you do not look legitimate to the 273 million U.S. Internet users. Traditional Law Firm Marketing vs. Web-Centered Strategy 1 2
Online Lawyer Listing Opportunities • Some are free, some are paid • Either way, you need to claim them, build them out, and optimize them for search • Examples: Avvo, Rocket Lawyer, HG, Google Places and MSN Business • Case Study (PAID vs FREE): Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers Profile (FREE) • Michael Murray, a lawyer from Watts Guerra does not have a paid listing. This is what his unpaid listing looks like.
Super Lawyers Expanded Profile (PAID) • Mikal Watts has paid for his expanded listing
Internal Best Practices for Marketing Law Firms Law firms need to adjust their internal processes to handle the increased intake associated with marketing efforts
Intake Firm Systems ROI Internal Systems Must Be Set Up to Support Increased Marketing Ensure intake is captured in one system so that each opportunity is accounted for and followed up on in a lead nurturing sequence. INTAKE •Database lead tracking for ROI, remarketing, and conversion •Automated forms, records requests Internal Firm Systems 3 Partners should know which marketing expenditure generates what case, and then in turn, the estimated fee. This must be constantly assessed to reconfigure strategy. ROI: RETURN ON INVESTMENT Regular Communication is KEY Weekly meetings regarding intake, conversion, and issues Quartlerly marketing meetings with business owners to discuss ongoing campaigns and spends as well as new ideas Monthly or Quarterly Communications with Referral Attorneys regarding joint ventures, existing inventory, maintaining relationships, future campaigns 2 1
I Have a Website, Now What? How to drive traffic to your law firm’s website to increase visibility and new case intake
Law Firm Website Traffic: The Basics 1. Have a decent flagship website. I call it your online brochure. 2. Drive traffic to your website via a variety of vehicles mapped out in a comprehensive marketing strategy. 3. Add content to your website on a regular basis (news, case results, speaking engagements, whitepapers, awards, etc.)
Law Firm Website Traffic Drivers • Online press releases and media coverage • Banner and display advertising • Email marketing • Social media marketing • Paid search advertising • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) • YouTube videos • Offsite blogging and article writing
Social Media Marketing for Lawyers How to utilize the ever-expanding amount of social networks to interact ethically and meaningfully with the public
How Many People Use Social Media? • Millions of Americans use social media. • According to Facebook’s own statistics, it boasts one billion monthly active users as of October 2012 and 584 million daily active users on average in September 2012. • Twitter surpassed 500 million users this year. • As of September 30, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 187 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
Social Media Marketing: Which Channels are Most Important • Facebook – In an amendment to its filing for an initial public offering, Facebook stated that it has 42 million pages, noting that over four million businesses have pages on its site • Twitter – 32% of all Internet users are using Twitter, and there were 175 million tweets sent from Twitter every day throughout 2012 • LinkedIn – Over 187 million users as of Q3 2012 – Maintaining professional relationships, an online resume • YouTube – Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month – 500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook, and over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute • Google+ – G+ is Google’s own social media creation. While Google Plus has only 150 million users, Google is not going anywhere, so a G+ profile is worth building out now, and you should stake a claim on a company page for your firm as well • Pinterest – If your target demographic is largely female, Pinterest should be part of your marketing strategy. 97% of the fans of Pinterest's Facebook page are women • Instagram – In August 2012, Instagram hit 80 million users and counting with more than 5 million photos uploaded to Instagram every day
Law Firm Email Marketing Use your existing contacts and mine your law firm’s database in a targeted, segmented strategy to better market your practice
Email Marketing Quick Facts • 50 million people will check email at least 5 times today • Email reaches 93% of internet users • Response rates to email are 10x greater than direct mail • Adults will account for 87% of all U.S. email users in 2013 • There will be 216.6 million U.S. email users this year • Two out of three people in the U.S. will be email users in 2013 • Use an ESP for its greater deliverability and “white list” status
Email Marketing/CRM Email Marketing • Make your existing contacts work for you – database mining. • If you don’t tell your contacts what you are working on, who will? • Announce firm news • Instantly blast your entire hit list • Throw parties and host events • Judicial and political fundraising Customer Relationship Management • A CRM system allows businesses to manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them • Reporting and analysis are centralized and streamlined • All data is captured in a singular clearinghouse for both conflicts checking and remarketing
The CAN-SPAM Act: Overview • Governs “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service” • Do not use false or misleading header information or deceptive subject lines • Identify your messages as advertisements • Give recipients the ability to OPT-OUT • Each separate email violation is subject to penalties of $16,000
Business to Business Marketing: How to Market to Other Law Firms While many law firms market to potential clients, depending upon the practice area, firms can get their best cases from marketing themselves to other lawyers and law firms.
B2B: Business to Business Marketing How to Market to Other Law Firms • Know your audience • Who are the decision makers and influencers? • Speaking engagements for lawyer associations • Legal article publication and subsequent promotion • Direct mail, Email, Case Studies, Testimonials, Public Relations
How to Start? • Audit existing marketing efforts and associated internal systems for effectiveness • Consider an update/redesign of the firm’s logo/branding/website as part of a new, global strategy (this new identity will live on many channels and needs to look and feel cohesive) • Create consistency across the firm’s lawyers with regard to online presence • Develop multimedia plan of attack to target the referral sources you want and the cases you need to survive and grow
More About Stacey E. Burke, P.C. 12 year lawyer and 15 year law firm employee (has unique perspective) Handled local, national and international 7-figure-plus marketing campaigns Implemented comprehensive marketing strategy and created intake systems for internationally- known trial lawyer Mikal Watts Available Services: 1. Law Firm Audit 2. Law Firm Website Design 3. Lawyer SEO Copywriting 4. Law Firm Logo Design and Branding 5. Television, internet, social media, email and print paid advertising 6. Brochure and other collateral marketing material creation 7. Database implementation and/or cleanup 8. Efficiency recommendation implementation
Connect with Stacey! • Website: www.StaceyEBurke.com • Twitter: @StaceyEBurke • LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/StaceyEBurke • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • (713) 225-8621 direct office line
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