Friday, April 23, 2010

Florida Bar to Speed Website Rules for July 1 Launch

Client testimonials, previously forbidden, will be allowed on the websites of Florida law firms as of July 1, 2010 under a recent ruling of the Florida Supreme Court. Now the Court is asking The Florida Bar to accelerate the associated amendment to Bar Rule 4-7.6 (Computer Accessed Communications).

According to the current issue of The Florida Bar News:

"The Florida Supreme Court has asked The Florida Bar to submit its guidelines for lawyers’ websites as an amendment to Bar Rule 4-7.6 (Computer Accessed Communications), which addresses websites and becomes effective on July 1.

The Bar, in response, has begun a fast-track process to prepare the rule amendment.

It’s the latest step in a multi-year effort to set guidelines for lawyers on what they can say on their websites."

Read the full story on Florida Bar website marketing guidelines.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Long Should I Stay in Touch with a Prospect?

This question came up during a recent business development seminar I was conducting, and it's a good question.

Here are 5 business development tips:

1. "Polite persistence," when carefully managed, is the art of staying in touch without being a nuisance. It's an acquired skill that can help expand your network significantly. A lawyer should stay in some type of contact with prospects until they learn for sure that the party is not interested.

2. Prospects can be prioritized. A low priority prospect can be added to a quarterly newsletter list, making it possible to stay in touch without the need for person-to-person contact. A high priority prospect, however, warrants personal attention like a call, coffee, or lunch, on a regular schedule.

3. Focus on "what's next." You can even ask your prospect, "what is a good next step" for us? They might say to check back with them in 3 months, or to call them next week. Take your cue from the prospect.

4. Don't quit. You need to constantly be planting seeds of business development. Some may not sprout for a couple of years, but you always want to be paving the way for a brighter future.

5. Ask for referrals. If your prospect does not need your legal services right now, perhaps they know someone who does. It doesn't hurt to ask.

The more people you can stay in touch with, the more robust your pipeline will be.

Remember, never stop marketing!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Social Media Success Strategies for Law Firms

Is social media marketing on your list of things to do? Chances are your answer is “yes!”

In the daily hustle and bustle of court deadlines, filing briefs and motions, meeting with clients, and managing your practice, however, it’s easy to understand why social media keeps getting pushed off to the future.

This article outlines how to create and implement a social media marketing plan that will increase your law firm’s Internet marketing visibility. You will learn how to develop and leverage your firm’s customized content to populate a broad range of social media outlets.

Let’s start with a definition of “social media.” Broadly speaking, social media refers to a class of Internet and mobile-based tools for online networking, collaboration, and information sharing among web-based communities. Common social media applications include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.

Getting Started With Social Media

It is very easy to launch a social media campaign, but difficult to maintain momentum.

Start strategically by creating a 12-month editorial calendar. Let’s say you have a full-service law firm, encompassing many different practice areas. Pick one topic for each month.

Topics for the first three months of a quarter could be: 1) business law; 2) real estate; and 3) intellectual property. Next, break each monthly topic down into four weekly supporting articles. For example, business law topics could be: a) forms of incorporation; b) partnership agreements; c) employment agreements; and d) joint ventures.

Now that you have your calendar, you can start to write your articles in advance. Of course, the schedule can be interrupted or supplemented as needed to reflect breaking news.

Leverage your Social Media News Feed

Select one primary point of publication for your social media news feed. A blog can work well for this purpose.

As a starting base, make sure all your social media accounts are properly set up and populated with a description of your law firm.

Plan to publish one main article from your editorial calendar to your blog every week. It is fairly easy to use free services like HootSuite to then automatically transmit your blog posts to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts.

By leveraging your custom blog articles, you can easily extend your reach to multiple social media outlets.

Select a Social Media Manager

A key factor in social media success is to put someone in charge of your campaign. Lawyers should be practicing law, so even the best laid plans for an attorney to manage the Internet marketing will quickly fall to the wayside in the face of court and client demands.

Monitor Social Media Feedback

Social media is interactive, meaning that prospects and followers will comment on your posts and otherwise interact with your material. Prompt responses will make a favorable impression on your audience.