This time last year, I shared my 20 goals for 2020. Some of those things happened, some did not, and that is OK. 2020 was an extraordinary year. One I am happy to put behind me. But I will not be deterred from setting goals this year. Setting goals keeps my digital marketing activities focused on a set of common objectives and on a clearly defined path.
2020 pushed us to step outside our comfort zones and approach our work from a different perspective. We know that growth does not happen when we are comfortable and 2020 forced us to push ourselves to obtain unprecedented growth for Team LISI.
How your firm appears and markets online has become, throughout this pandemic, one of the most important business development tools at our disposal. Below are 38 digital marketing questions and answers to put your firm in the best light online.
When it comes to being consistently active and adding to the conversation on LinkedIn, the greatest tool available to you is high-value, useful content to share with your audience. Getting the ball rolling on being consistently visible can feel daunting but like any skill you want to become a habit, you have to dive in feet first and act repeatedly before this will feel normal.
Recurring marketing expenses are not the exciting and sexy part of the marketing budget. But they are an important component that needs to be reviewed and understood. Recurring marketing expenses do not need to break your budget, and with careful planning, they can actually free up space in your budget.
By taking the time to review and analyze marketing expenses during the planning phase of your budget, you can more accurately forecast the expenses in the coming year, and make room for the initiatives that will drive the most growth for your law firm
The budget season looks different at every law firm. There is generally a tedious process, involving multiple back-and-forths before you get to a final number. Who is involved and what factors are considered during the process can vary greatly. It is important to understand how your firm determines budgets to know how to navigate the process successfully.
If the goal of creating marketing objectives is to show leadership the value the marketing team will bring to the firm’s growth, then the goal of the marketing budget is to quantify what that is going to cost. Knowing exactly what you want to do, how you want to do it, what it is going to cost, and the expected return to the firm will go a long way toward the approval of a marketing plan and budget that is innovative and effective.
Without marketing objectives to guide your efforts, the marketing plan is aimless. The first step to a comprehensive marketing strategy is to define these objectives and how the marketing strategy will help you and your firm achieve them.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader and sharing valuable content with your network is an important part of staying top of mind for clients and prospects. Creating content can be time-consuming – and is only the beginning. Once the content is created, boosting its exposure is equally as important. A simple content distribution plan can amplify your efforts, and planning is key.
There are a variety of ways to create and share content on social media. The direction you take will be based on your target audience and what you want to accomplish. Select your content and tailor each post for the platform you are using.
Attorneys have lots of methods available to them to establish their own brands. Speaking engagements, email blasts, published articles, podcasts, media appearances – these all have a role in establishing an attorney’s credibility. But perhaps the easiest and most versatile tool available to a lawyer today is social media.
A marketing audit is a comprehensive review of anything and everything that influences and shapes the marketing efforts of your firm. It is like a SWOT analysis on steroids. Upon completion of the audit, you will have a 360-degree view of your marketing department and all the ways it impacts your law firm.
There is a lot of uncertainty right now. We must be flexible. Broad goals are important, but very specific projects take precedence. Look closely at the marketing initiatives that will position your firm for growth as we come out of the havoc of this global pandemic.
After you have spent the time creating your blog posts, videos, or longer form content, and you’ve established yourself as a subject matter expert, now it is time to consider how you will share that content. This is where the rubber meets the road in digital marketing.
Building Your Digital Marketing Plan in the Time of Social Distancing Part 2: Establish Yourself as a Subject Matter Expert
You have experience. You are up-to-date on what is going on in your area of practice. You have created content. Now is a good time to pull all of that together to build your personal brand and establish yourself as a subject matter expert.
Because of social distancing, many of the marketing and business development activities we routinely participate in are now fundamentally changed. Conferences: postponed. Networking events: cancelled. Pitch meetings: moved online. How do we pursue new business opportunities when we cannot meet face-to-face? Digital marketing.
Recently, my good friend Sam McKenna was in Philadelphia for client meetings and I had a chance to catch up with her about all things entrepreneurship and female executive leadership. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I wanted the chance to dive into both of our careers, journeys and why supporting women is so important to us both.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was intended to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against people with disabilities. Title III of the law states that “no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation.” Can your firm’s website can be considered a “place of public accommodation”?
Every year I write a set of goals down in my bullet journal. (Yes, I’m a tech junkie with a flair for the analog.) It started a few years ago when I saw a friend post her “16 in ‘16” list on Facebook and I decided to join in. My goals are a mix of personal and professional, and I have yet to have a year when I achieve all of them. That’s ok – they’re goals. Not assignments. But goal setting is important to keep me motivated and working to better myself.
Goal setting is important when it comes to your digital marketing efforts too. Goals keep your campaigns and marketing activities aligned toward achieving a common objective. They also help you determine what is and isn’t attainable based on the resources available. Plus, complacency stifles growth, and goals help keep your marketing from being complacent and growing stale and out of touch.
The RFP process is like a professional courtship where you learn not only about the website development company’s capabilities, but also its culture and personality. If it’s a good match and you work together on a website design and build, the service partner can continue to support your firm through hosting, maintenance, and future website enhancements and projects. Most importantly, this partner should guide you through the process and make you look like super stars to firm leadership.
Your website is one of, if not the first, ways prospective clients will interact with your firm. What does your online presence say about your firm’s mission, philosophy, and capabilities? It’s about more than just the words on the screen. Your decision to redesign a website isn’t one your firm will take lightly, and in order to get your project off the ground you must convince your executives and leadership team the time to act is now.
Budget season is in full swing or possibly even winding down if your firm is ahead of the game. You are likely budgeting for a number of important marketing and business development-focused projects for next year. Is one of those projects a new website? If you answered yes, you’re in good company. Generally speaking, companies update their websites every three years. In legal services, the timeline can be similar, but often other firm-wide initiatives and priorities can force your website project to the back burner. One way to help keep your project top of mind with executives and key stakeholders is to set a realistic expectation of how much it will cost, and how the process will work. This article will focus on the cost component, and how to set a realistic budget, considering all contingencies, that will help drive your website redesign conversation.
Data protection is a hot topic thanks to Facebook data breaches and heightened consumer security on e-commerce sites and even big banks. GDPR is a privacy law designed to give individuals control of their personal data and could potentially affect how the entire internet deals with data. We at LISI want to make sure you know the facts, understand what may be required of your website, and offer our assistance to help make your website compliant.
When I joined Legal Internet Solutions Incorporated as Director of Business Development in late June of this year, I was a bit of a novice to the world of search engine optimization, which is one of LISI’s key strengths. Sure, I knew of terms like “SEO” and had attended seminars at the legal-marketing events throughout the years. But I didn’t truly know or appreciate what went into making one site rank better than another in the search engine results pages. Frankly, I didn’t give it much thought—I just used search engines to find information.
Digital marketing is any online channel used to market a good or service. In today’s world, digitally mature companies with a strategy are eight times more likely to gain market share. This is apparent in the meteoric rise in the number of marketing hires of the past five years, and the requirement of more than half of those hires that they have some sort of digital experience. However, 45% of companies surveyed in a Smart Insights poll admitted they don’t have a digital marketing strategy. These figures aren’t specific to legal marketing, but they portend an even wider divide for legal marketers and their trusted service partners.
How a law firm’s website appears on mobile devices is as important—and arguably more important—than how the website looks on desktop computers. The share of website traffic going through mobile devices has grown substantially since the iPhone’s debut in 2007. In the United States, the share of traffic to websites (excluding tablets) topped 40.61 percent in the first quarter of 2019, trending upward from previous quarters. With this in mind, one of our longest-tenured clients and we partnered to build the firm’s new website with a mobile-first mindset, and the results were award-winning.
Like the dust on my sills and the flannel linens that are swapped for Martha Stewart’s crisp cotton ones, your law firm’s website should have a spring cleaning as well. You could work on these tasks any time of year, and spring is the perfect time because the winter holidays are behind you and you have some can-do momentum still pulsing before the summer hits. If you need buy-in or approvals from partners, they are not yet out on vacations or at the beach. My advice is to simply begin. This 15-step list will help you get started.
The Legal Marketing Association annual conference, #LMA19, proved to be everything I expected it would be—and more! With more than 1,500 legal marketers and service providers, our association converged on Atlanta for three days of networking, sharing, and learning from the best, brightest, and most innovative in the industry. As promised, below is a recap of the conference and some of the great information and tips I plan to put into practice and share with our local group in Philadelphia. If there is one theme that keeps popping up in each of the sessions I attended, it is this: move beyond a focus on data and system output to insights and results.
I am on my way to Atlanta to attend the premier annual educational and networking event for legal marketing professionals and industry partners. The Legal Marketing Association annual conference is where over 1,500 professionals convene for three days to share insights, explore best practices, and discuss trends. Beyond that, the conference is a place to connect with old and new friends and be among like-minded marketers working to elevate their firms and companies to the next level through innovation. So, what am I looking forward to most?
Have you noticed people are increasingly finding a deeper appreciation for craftsmanship, quality, and the unique? We are witnessing a revival in all things artisanal – from craft microbreweries to handmade soaps, cheeses, and leather shoes. The word “artisan” evokes a simpler time when people took pride in their craft. Today, the draw for real artisanal products is born out of a movement deriding mass-produced goods linked to big corporations. But true artisans have the passion and commitment for finding the right tools, selecting only the finest materials, and infusing everything produced with the energy and authenticity of a superior, hand-crafted product.
It is nearing the end of summer and you may have spent some of it playing the great game of golf. As you know, a golf bag contains many different clubs, each designed for a specific purpose. A driver is for long shots off the tee, the middle irons are for the fairways, and the wedges and putter are for the short game. It’s close to impossible to have one club make all the shots needed to complete 18 holes. Each club is a tool for a specific task.
It’s the same with law firm websites. One type of site is not going to be suitable for each of the marketing tasks in the law-firm-marketing world. There are many types of law firm websites, and it’s wise to choose the type that suits your firm’s marketing needs when redesigning your internet presence.
As we announced earlier this year, we are honoring our clients (and celebrating 20 years in business) with our 20/20 initiative where we will be making 20 charitable donations monthly on behalf of our clients. Here are the third and fourth worthy recipients and their benefactors.
Here at LISI, we like to celebrate milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, and, most of all, website launches! So, in observance that 2018 marks 20 years since LISI’s founding, we are honoring what has made us so successful — our clients and our people.
To do that, we are announcing the 20/20 Initiative where we will be making a donation to 20 charities that are important to our clients, staff, and friends.
The practice of law is both a profession and a business. This is hardly a surprising revelation, but many of us who went to law school and have been admitted to the bar tend to focus on the more high-minded ideal of operating in a profession rather than the less-rarified world of being in business. A business person, after all, deals with unpleasant matters such as profit and loss, management of people, and (horrifyingly!) marketing and sales.
When submitting sensitive information — such as credit card or Social Security numbers — into a website form, most everyone knows to look for the signs of a secured connection before proceeding. What you may not know is that Google and other online services are now close to requiring a secured connection — also known as encryption or secure sockets layer (SSL) — for all websites, even those that don’t collect personal information. This creates an important to-do item for anyone with a website that wants greater consumer trust, high search engine rankings, and to keep pace with technology.
Day two is done and that’s the end of the Legal Marketing Association annual conference in Las Vegas. We are sorry it’s over! So much learned, so many good conversations! Here’s a recap of day two.
It was a great first day at the Legal Marketing Association annual conference in Las Vegas. We’ve seen many old friends, met some new ones, and are trading our expertise with fellow attendees. Here’s a recap of some of the sessions.
The fifth and final step is to have an ongoing marketing campaign to let the search engines (and the people who use them) know that your site is current and relevant. Parts of this ongoing marketing campaign involve taking actions on your firm’s website (onsite work) and others include making changes on other websites (offsite work).
Why does my firm need to be on those social networks? Simple: that’s where the people are, and the people expect it. Each network has a distinct value to your marketing: LinkedIn is a massive business network and perfect opportunity to stay virtually in front of your network; Facebook is a vehicle to communicate your firm’s culture to future hires; and Twitter is a place to share thought leadership with the media and other amplifiers.
Next up is the importance of your firm being properly listed in the various online directories, such as Google Maps, Cornell, Findlaw, Avvo, Martindale, and others. If your firm is not correctly (or not at all) listed in these directories, it could have a penalizing effect on your search rankings, hindering those trying to do business with you.
Bringing It All Back Home: Takeaways from Legal Marketing Association Southeast Chapter’s Regional Conference
As part of our mission to spread the LISI message across the country and to stay at the forefront of legal marketing trends, I recently attended the regional conference for the Legal Marketing Association Southeast chapter, which took place in Orlando. With the theme of “Grow. Innovate. Succeed.” there was an excellent lineup speakers and great opportunities to network with colleagues in legal marketing.
This month marks the 17th year of incorporation of Legal Internet Solutions, which I think is pretty impressive for a digital agency in an age where tech companies balloon up and quickly pop. LISI wasn’t promoting its skills in social media, blogs, or mobile-friendly design way back then, as those marketing strategies didn’t even exist. The focus of the company has remained the same, however: marketing law firms and individual lawyers on the web.
It may be self-evident, but it is essential for your firm’s website to have the proper presence in the search engines. Gone are the days of keeping meticulous lists of web browser bookmarks listing favorite sites. And people rarely enter website addresses in the browser’s address bar, especially for hard-to-remember domain names.
A website is your opportunity to frame your firm in the way that supports your marketing strategy. You are in complete control, having the ability to cast your firm as you want others to see it — modern or traditional, dynamic or stable, entrepreneurial or old-school. The design of your site affords you the opportunity to show your firm in any light, creating an image of the firm you want to be.
Of the many business books I read, my current favorite is The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. Its central premise is that, no matter what level of expertise you have in your craft or profession, having and following a simple checklist of steps is essential to avoiding costly mistakes, prevent oversights, and achieve true excellence.
The New York Times has decided to follow the AP’s style of making the word “Internet” lower case rather than capitalized. Going into effect June 1, this change is more than turning an “I” into an “i.” It shows how pervasive the global network of networks has become in our business and personal lives.