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Top 10 Lawyer Marketing Mistakes

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Top 10 Lawyer Marketing Mistakes

  1. 1. What Am I Doing Wrong: Top 10 Biggest Marketing Mistakes AAJ Marketing and Practice Management Seminar September 8-9, 2014 Chicago, Illinois STACEY BURKE ATTORNEY/OWNER 415 WESTHEIMER ROAD, SUITE 209A HOUSTON, TEXAS 77006 OFFICE (713) 714-8446 FAX (877) 314-9990 STACEY@STACEYEBURKE.COM WWW.STACEYEBURKE.COM
  2. 2. Top 10 Biggest Marketing Mistakes 1. Focusing on one component instead of creating a comprehensive strategy 2. Failure to monitor social media 3. Poorly written blogs, lack of content strategy 4. Failure to measure success 5. Website design mistakes 6. Your intake system sucks 7. Only brand law firm, not individual lawyers 8. Copying competitors, lacking originality 9. Referral lawyer DIS-management 10.Jumping on the mass torts bandwagon
  3. 3. Mistake #1: Focusing On One Component, Not an Overall Strategy • What is a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy? – One master document that focuses on a set period of time, incorporating and calendaring every business development or marketing endeavor, including anticipated costs, and projected revenue. • Make master goals and ensure that each endeavor is designed with those goals in mind • Having too many vendors, each for a separate interest, brings disharmony to the whole.
  4. 4. Mistake #1: Focusing On One Component, Not an Overall Strategy • Decisions are made spontaneously when a “problem solving” vendor solicits the firm, without adequate research or planning (i.e. a syndicated video vendor calling with a pitch that “we make all your law firm video in one day and it’s super awesome = video solved”). • Your law firm must focus on big picture goals and watch whether your decisions are moving the firm toward those goals with hard, real numbers: – Increasing media attention – Increasing conversion rate – Decreasing website bounce rate – Increase in projected net attorneys fees
  5. 5. Mistake #1: Focusing On One Component, Not an Overall Strategy • A comprehensive picture of your law firm’s marketing and business development efforts can include: – Website content updates – Email marketing – Search engine optimization – Television advertising – Social media marketing – Paid search advertising – Social advertising – Audience building – Public relations – Speaking engagements – Print collateral – Events (that your firm hosts and that you attend i.e. CLE)
  6. 6. Mistake #2: Social Media “Set it and Forget it” • DESIGN/BRANDING – You are, at least in a digital consumer’s eyes, what they see online • ETHICS – Failure to timely respond to client communications • MISSED OPPORTUNITIES – Missing referrals • A 2012 ABA survey showed 95% of ABA members have profiles on LinkedIn and that 70% of corporate counsel regularly use LinkedIn as a tool to find and vet outside counsel. – Missed media inquiries • REPUTATION MANAGEMENT – Bad feedback left unaddressed in public • BASIC MANNERS – Connection requests left unanswered can be perceived as rude
  7. 7. Mistake #2: Social Media “Set it and Forget it” Social media channel design: • People use social media channels as search engines (i.e. Facebook search, YouTube search) • Would you want to show up in social search with a page/channel/account that is not customized and therefore does not showcase what your firm has to offer? No. So treat each one like a freestanding website, because each is its own digital asset.
  8. 8. Mistake #2: Social Media “Set it and Forget it” Customize Your Social Channels • Never leave the default imagery • Utilize customizable features like app tabs on Facebook • Claim vanity URLs • Make sure to include: – Firm logo – Firm website URL – Contact information – Some imagery Have a Social Media Protocol • Use a professional voice and tone • Always be aware of client confidentiality and inadvertently forming an attorney-client relationship • How to respond to communications from: – Existing clients – New leads – External lawyers – Media and press
  9. 9. Mistake #2: Social Media “Set it and Forget it” Top five social media channels for lawyers: • Facebook – Make sure your firm has a “Page” not a “Profile” or a “Group” – Largest online social network • Twitter – Real-time news and viral sharing – Brand your profile, including your handle and link back to your law firm website • LinkedIn – Online professional resume and best professional networking tool – Link up your Employment section to the appropriate Company Page(s), and build out your Company Page to reflect your practice areas as “services” • YouTube – Google owns YouTube and it is the second most used search engine online – Upload a channel design and name your channel consistent with your entity name • Google+ - Google Author Rank
  10. 10. Mistake #3: Your Blog Stinks • If all you do with your blogging is focus on being self-promotional, don’t do it • Images in blog posts for SEO and for social sharing • Not all blogs should end with the same CTA of call us, we are the best. Some CTAs can be contact your congressman, don’t buy these tires, watch for these side effects if you are on this medication, etc.
  11. 11. Mistake #3: Your Blog Stinks • What is an editorial calendar and why should you use one? – Ensures you touch on all of your practice areas regularly – Includes holidays, seasons, and the like – Allows an organized shuffle of authorship across the firm by date so everyone has a defined time to contribute and a topic • How to get started – blog 2x/week, define your target audience, select keywords for optimization, set word count, and determine how you will promote the piece.
  12. 12. Mistake #4: You Don’t Monitor Your Metrics • Do all of your websites have active, current Google Analytics code? • Do you track social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? • Do you asses and track your acquisition costs? • Do you conduct monthly, quarterly, and/or yearly reviews of your marketing metrics to adjust expenditures?
  13. 13. Mistake #4: You Don’t Monitor Your Metrics Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools Mind Over Metrics = NO, you can’t guess better than the reports will tell you Know the basics so that you can have an intelligent conversation with your vendors: • Bounce Rate - the percentage of visitors who leave your site after only viewing one page • User Behavior - information on the behavior of your visitors while they are on your website • Acquisition – how web searchers come to find your site (AdWords, social media, organic search)
  14. 14. Social Media: Monitoring and Metrics • Law firms should track metrics for social media just as they would for any other marketing expenditure. • Social media metrics can include: – Audience Growth/Overall Reach – Engagement – Visits to Websites – Conversions – Influence
  15. 15. Mistake #5: Your Website Has Issues • Professional services websites should never be DIY, done by your friends or family, or any other non-expert • Responsive/mobile • Social sharing links • Outdated design • Difficult navigation/making user take extra steps • Firm photography • Video use or lack thereof
  16. 16. Mistake #6: Ignoring Intake, the Conversion Piece to Law Firm Marketing • People • Software – Database or CRM • Procedure – Lead tracking – Lead nurturing – Lead conversion – Remarketing • Universal merge documents/forms
  17. 17. Mistake #6: Ignoring Intake, the Conversion Piece to Law Firm Marketing • Where do leads and new cases come from? – Direct firm marketing – which expenditure? Not just “the internet” – Referral attorneys – Media coverage • Biggest Problems: – Lead entry often does not occur in real time – Screening information must be consistently spelled out – Paperwork must be sent to leads in real time – Failure to convert leads into cases once paperwork is sent – Failure to keep trained staff in intake positions
  18. 18. Mistake #6: Ignoring Intake, the Conversion Piece to Law Firm Marketing • With marketing, the first 24-48 hours after the lead’s initial contact are the most important. You must get in touch with them quickly or often the lead is lost. More than one call/email during this period is crucial. After that 3x/week for 3 weeks works. • Tip: Automate an initial contact email and all emails thereafter so your intake staff can send “PNC Email 1” at click of button with language pre-approved by the lawyers. • Tip: If a lead DNQ, you should still capture information in your system. • Tip: How to Increase Conversions: – Notary on the Run – FedEx or UPS OVERNIGHT with return OVERNIGHT prepaid enclosure – Emailing or Faxing Forms to PNC – EchoSign or another online document execution provider
  19. 19. Mistake #7: Firm Brand Above All • Your people are what make you different • Each person has his or her own story as to why they practice law, how they practice law, and what types of cases they handle. Tell it. • Use every personal data point as a potential connector to any audience. Same college, church, daughters, coach kid sports, etc. • Local listings for firm and directory listings for lawyers – equal importance
  20. 20. Mistake #8: Copying the Competition • Competitive landscape analysis is good – copying is bad. • Don’t miss the opportunity to be yourself and be original. • You can certainly borrow elements that you like as part of creating your own identity, but do not go in with the attitude of “I want to be just like so-and-so.” • Duplicative content is bad. Google is smarter than it used to be.
  21. 21. Mistake #9: Referral Attorney DIS-Management • Do you have a dedicated website page for referrals, joint ventures, co-counsel, local counsel arrangements? • Who at your firm handles/communicates with your referring attorneys (RAs)? • What type of reporting do you provide and how often? • How do you keep in touch after a case resolves? • Referrals work both ways – your firm can also refer hundreds of leads or cases OUT per year, needing to take the steps necessary to retain a fee interest and track the SOLs. – Lawyers must read and understand current state law regarding referrals, co-counsel relationships, joint ventures, consent to associate, and contingency fee contracts. A serious examination should be made of of ethics rules regarding barratry wand the wording of employment contracts.
  22. 22. Mistake #9: Referral Attorney DIS-Management • What your law firm intake or RA department should do: – Relieve handling attorneys (litigators) of spending significant time dealing with minor RA questions and issues – Send Intake document folders – Keep track of who is marketing for what, so you can follow up – Communicate regularly with RAs concerning case status – Keep your best referral sources on a “Hot List” for new projects – Provide data to the firm as to who should be included in Quarterly RA Marketing Events
  23. 23. Mistake #10: Mass Torts for Everyone Don’t Do/Cons • If you have not practiced in this area before, do not make up your own mass tort • This is a team sport, complete with group strategy, do not be the first to file and mess things up for everyone else • Your law firm must be able to sustain the long-term wait for income, if any OK to Do/Pros • Learn about different projects from the firms that have years of experience handling multidistrict litigation • Work with a litigation partner at first to learn the ropes or simply refer/joint venture your cases with a firm that will help the client the most • Disseminate information to your current and former clients so that they can be aware/careful