A perfectly professional law firm that doesn’t have a solid online presence just won’t be taken seriously, say a trio of lawyers, authors, presenters and bloggers in the February issue of Law Practice Today this past year. The good news: it’s relatively simple, painless and inexpensive to do.
Jim Calloway, Nerino Petro and Reid Trautz are law management specialists who firmly believe that “web-based marketing, including social networking and refurbishing law firm websites” can take over—in fact, they have to take over–the old standby of a printed brochure.
Trautz introduced the concept of making over your in-house marketing efforts in in The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success, where he directed readers to check out the LPT piece that will help you stay in the “sweet spot” of legal marketing.
The idea of bringing lawyers and technology together is not new, but it’s had a rougher time with the legal industry than with most since, for the longest time, lawyers were loathe to surrender the time-honored tradition of understated marketing. Word-of-mouth was the primary referral “back then”.
Now that cyberspace marketing has had a chance to take off in legaldom, however, lawyers have seen the benefits of social media and of a spiffy site, and they’ve been quick to jump on board. (You can still have understated elegance in a site with all the bells and whistles of audio, video and social media links.)
But newer aspects of what’s available on line—some of it completely free, and all fairly straight-forward—bear looking into. Here are some tips for using your web presence to stand head-and-shoulders above the rest:
1. Build a free Google profile. This comes with the account. If you’re registered with Gmail or some other Google account, you can take a half-hour or so to fill in the fields asking you about yourself. Make the answers firm-suitable, of course.
Once you link onto your firm website and to other online content, you’ll be on a par with folks who pay thousands of dollars to SEO experts who tell you that Search Engine Optimization is the only way to get your name to come up, when folks Google your name.
2. Have you learned how to create podcasts yet? If so, you’ll make visitors to your site really happy if you give them a “take-away” that they can use. Develop several topics. Trautz tells you that you might also:
“Create a booklet, handbook, report or CD such as on ‘Know Your Rights as an Accident Victim’, ‘The Top 10 Things Every Home Seller Needs to Know’ or ‘The Pet Owner’s Guide to Estate Planning for Pets’.”
3. Get your free ad! Google offers a free ad for local businesses. Your ad will rotate with other ads of businesses in the region and appear on “thousands of computer screens in your area”. You can go to www.google.com/local/add for more information.
4. Yes, a crisp, professionally stylized and shot photo is important, but don’t plaster your photo on everything. If your mug is seen everywhere, it waters down the impact. Do make it a photo where you’re possessed of a friendly, accessible expression. Don’t look grim or dismal.
And there are times when you might want to include other photos, besides one of you. For instance, says the author:
“If you’re advertising for personal injury cases, show pictures of injured folks and medical personal, not just you.”
Read “Ten Tips to Supercharge Your On-Line Presence” for more helpful hints.
Cartoon courtesy of David Mills’ “Courtoons – Daily Legal Cartoons by David Mills” http://www.courtoons.net/