Archive for June, 2010

Law firm launches iPhone app: why?

June 30, 2010

Gouston & Storrs has announced that it’s launched a new iPhone app that, offers a convenient way for clients to gather customized information on the most current business topics, directly from an iPhone.”

This seems to me an example of technology driving marketing.   Here’s why:

1.  How does Gouston’s ability to customize information on business topics assist its clients?  There are plenty of apps that customize business news so its hard to see how this app has any real value.

2.  How does this “app” build Gouston’s brand?  Why not offer a practice specific app that focuses on real estate legal developments in New England?  That would help people associate Gouston with a specific practice strength.

3.  The press release talks about Gouston’s “clients” but the app is free and available to anyone.  There is no value-add here for Gouston’s clients.

4.  “Free app.”  If this iPhone app is anything more than a marketing initiative, charge for the App and give clients a code to access it for free.

If state certified – Promote it!

June 29, 2010

I am surprised at the number of attorneys who don’t make a special effort to promote the fact that they have been certified as a specialist by the State of California (other states have similar programs).

What does certification mean?

  1. Passed an additional exam focused on that speciality
  2. Fulfilled additional continuing education requirements
  3. Been favorably evaluated by attorneys and judges in that field

This is a big deal and it puts attorneys with these credentials ahead of the vast numbers of attorneys who don’t have them.

How to promote:

Educate the public that this isn’t like “super lawyers” which is basically marketing fluff.  Explain on your website and whenever you promote yourself make it clear that the State Bar which is very strict about credentialing has approved your certification.  I would also use the legal specialization logo on your collateral, website, social networking sites etc. to help identify you with this prestigious designation.

Protecting your online reputation

June 28, 2010

This post captures the top four things you can do to protect and and enhance your online reputation.  It covers writing a blog, Google alerts, Twitter and active use of social networking.  I would that you will add increase your visibility by tying your blog, Twitter, LinkedIn to your website.  Plus, you enhance your users’ experience with your website, giving them more links to engage with.

Recently, I heard a horror story from a professional who hired a substitute while she went out on leave and ended up having to fire that person.   The terminated professional took revenge on Yelp, posting one star reviews.   My friend was able to get Yelp to take down the fraudulent reviews but not without much pain and aggravation.

Tough Florida rules remain so

June 27, 2010

A recent Florida Supreme Court decision didn’t change the strict rules Florida applies to attorneys communicating and advertising their services.  See here.

My favorite section of allowable communications for attorneys is (K): “punctuation marks and common typographical marks”

Nice to know some things are sacred.

Give talks? Make sure your website knows it

June 26, 2010

Its easy for busy attorneys to get focused on one thing and forget to link up their seminars with their website.

Here are five tips on how to make your website support your presentations:

1.  Let people know about the event on your website – even better let them sign up for them online!

2.  Give people an incentive to sign up for an event on your website and refer others to do the same (offer $5 dollar Starbucks card for people who sign-up online).

3.  Take photos at the event and post them to your events page.  This will entice people to come.

4.  Even better post a two minute video of yourself talking at the event – this will give people a taste of what you offer.

5.  Offer people who come to your event a private log-in page where they get a password to access valuable material you discussed at the event if they give you their email.

Pretty soon you have a community of people who you can reach out to with newsletters and special invitations, reducing the need for so many expensive direct mailers.

Law firm blogs: give them distinctive voices

June 25, 2010

Here is a long post on law firm blogging which is worth reading.  I think its more focused on larger firms but one thing resonated strongly with me:

Let your people go. The one thing about law firm blogs in 2010 that has most pleasantly surprised me is the emergence of lawyers’ true voices and personalities in their blogs.”

This is good news indeed.  For too long, too many attorney blogs were four line titles and boring legalese that did nothing but re-enforce existing stereotypes of lawyers.  If you are going to blog make sure you are tapping into something authentic, something you care about.

If the content of your practice isn’t what gets you up in the morning but instead its the excitement of working with your team to solve client problems, then make that the subject of your blog.  Blogs are like the camera: they reveal the truth.   A boring blog means that you aren’t being honest about your passions.

Friday Freebie – easily save cds to hard-drive

June 25, 2010

“Handy tool for burning and mastering CD, DVD and Blu-ray media. Perform burning, copying, erasing operations with all types of optical storage media.

Easily grab original discs to create image files and save them on your hard drive or compile disc images with data or audio projects. Create CDs and DVDs with just a few mouse clicks. It’s easy to learn and to use.”


Not your father’s WordPress

June 24, 2010

It amazes me the number of tech-savvy people that aren’t familiar with WordPress.  Even though it has taken the web by storm, making blogging cheap and accessible, powered into the website development space, turning websites into what they should be – a marketing communications tool, many people don’t know how its changed the web.  So here are five ways that WordPress has been misunderstood.

WordPress is for your “Crazy Pet” blog: WordPress isn’t just for the amateur.  While you can use WordPress successfully for loading your sunning cat photos, it heavily used by small, mid-size and even large company blogs AND websites.

WordPress is only good for small websites: Not so – check out the WSJ Magazine website that uses WordPress.  Not convinced?  BestBuy runs a WordPress site for its 1000 plus stores.

WordPress is a hosting company like GoDaddy: No, WordPress acts as a platform that works off GoDaddy and many other hosting company servers effortlessly.  Wordpress has a public site that hosts blogs and websites for free but these websites have extreme limitations in terms of design, plug-ins, URLS and SEO.  Wordpress also has a downloadable version that you would run off your hosting company like GoDaddy.

WordPress requires HTML coding: Nope.  If you can use Office Word, you are ready for WordPress.

WordPress offers a very limited look and feel: Check out the WordPress Showcase if you think that it offers a bunch of cookie cutter templates.

Workplace social media – impacts many policies

June 23, 2010

Increasingly employers are drafting specific social networking policies for their workforce but for those that haven’t, they should look at their existing policies and see if they need to revise existing policies to reflect the new reality.  This article does an excellent job of summarizing the issues facing employers with this new social networking reality and also identifies the following workplace policies to review:

  • EO & No Harassment policies
  • Electronic Communications and Internet Usage on Company Systems policies
  • Confidential Information and Trade Secrets policies
  • Cell Phone policies
  • Use of Blackberries or PDA policies

Ethical use of LinkedIn – really?

June 22, 2010

This article is entitled, “How Lawyers can use LinkedIn for ethical marketing purposes.” One of its key recommendations is for attorneys to invite new or prospective clients to connect with them on LinkedIn. The article doesn’t mention any of the ethical risks involved in such an effort.  So here are thing I think you should consider if/when sending out such invitations:

1. Do you practice law in a sensitive area like bankruptcy, divorce, taxes? If so, your clients might not want it known that they are “connected” with you even if its not clear they are your clients.

2.  Safely connecting with clients. If you want to reach out and connect with your clients but you want them to be confident that no one will know they know you, then you can tell them that you lock-down your contacts’ identities so no one will see who you know.  This begs the question however, exactly what is the benefit for either your client or you to connect in this way on LinkedIn.  The service is primarily a referral network platform.  If contacts aren’t shared, this aspect of the service loses a significant portion of  its value.

3.  What if you have a policy where you don’t connect with client on LinkedIn and a client send you an invitation? Then you need to have a polite and positive response which outlines how its important to you to safeguard your clients privacy and you simply don’t believe connecting on LinkedIn is worth the risk.

Bottom line: I don’t believe in hard and fast rules about inviting clients to connect through LinkedIn.  There are plenty of benefits and if both you and your client are comfortable with publicizing the connection, then go for it.  However, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to client relationships and confidentiality.  Its important that attorneys understand the risks and act responsibly in tackling them.