Answers to Your Attorney Marketing Questions from Great Legal Marketing

Ben Glass and his team at Great Legal Marketing work with an elite mix of attorneys from virtually every practice area from personal injury to bankruptcy and beyond. We are definitely not for everyone, in fact, while we attract many who "want" to get better we know that only about 20% of any population will actually do the work necessary. The difference in results has nothing to do with where your law practice is located or how much experience you have. This is all about the choices that YOU make.

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  • Since I Graduated Law School I Have Worked 80 Hour Weeks. Will This Ever Change?

    Spend less time working and more time making money for your law firm.Far too many attorneys believe that to be good at what you do, you need to be a workaholic. They certainly seem right, because working hard often equates to being successful and respected. Most old-school attorneys believe that if you are not willing to sacrifice your life, family, and friends for the practice of law, you are not a good attorney.

    Of course, that idea is rubbish. There is nothing noble in sacrificing your happiness just to be a lawyer. New Great Legal Marketing members are shocked to hear us say that working 10 hour days (even on weekends) is bad for your law practice. Our message is that working in your law firm less is better for your business than over-working. The health and mental benefits of working less outweigh the benefits of working 20 more hours a week.

    Not convinced? Here are four reasons you should work less.

    1. Focusing Your Time Helps You Make More Money
      You have to trust your office staff to do their jobs. If you can't trust them, get rid of them and hire people you can trust. If they are trustworthy people, but you find it difficult to let go of some tasks, you need to put your practice in perspective. You are the business owner, and you are responsible for making the most money possible. To do this efficiently, you should focus your time and energy on money-making tasks.
    2. Time Away From Your Law Firm is Time Well-Spent
      When was the last time you shut your office door and spent some time thinking about your law firm? For some, this activity can seem like a time waster, but you should be dedicating part of your day or week to meditating on your law firm. Meditating like this will help you clear your thoughts and focus your energy on what matters in your law practice.
    3. Office Systems Should do Most of the Work for You
      The technology to automate many office systems used to be unattainable for small businesses. That is not the case anymore. Many of your office processes can be and should be automated. Even some legal work can be automated our outsourced so you can spend your time on the work that is profitable and enjoyable.
    4. You Are the Only Person Who Will Respect Your Time
      If you want to spend less time working, you are the only person who can make that happen. Clients will still call and demand to speak to you right away. Office staff will walk into your office and interrupt you. Potential clients will schedule appointments and cancel at the last minute. These time wasters will continue unless you put your foot down.

    Any item on that list should be enough for you to think about how you are spending your time. Something as simple as automating your office processes can save you many hours each week. Even if you implement one of these items, you will be in a better position to lead your law firm.

    Won't Working Less Mean I am Less Productive?

    If I were speaking to teenagers, I would probably talk about the value of hard work. However, I am not speaking to teenagers, I am speaking to the most over-worked group of professionals in the world. When I talk to attorneys, I have to remind them, sometimes more than once, that adding stress to your life is not good for your business or your health.

    Still, many attorneys are worried about how they are perceived by their peers. They don't want to be the attorney in the room that works the least. My thought is "who cares!" You may not be the hardest working attorney in the room, but you can still be making the most money. It may seem like a paradox, but it is the truth.

    I don't walk into my office until after 11 am. I rarely stay later than 5 pm, and I never work weekends. There are many who would say "there is no way Ben can be making money living like that," but my practice is more profitable than ever. Plus, I have kept my law firm small. I have limited my crew to one other attorney and four support staff, and we are one of the only law firms handling ERISA disability claims in Virginia. I am also a father of nine, a soccer referee, and I run Great Legal Marketing.

    Most would look at all my responsibilities and assume it is impossible to do what I do, while "working" as little as I do. The secret is that I protect my time. I don't take unscheduled phone calls, I don't keep email on my phone, and I refuse to sacrifice time with my family for work.

    These ideas can work for you also. Implement one, or all, of the ideas I have listed here and you will see your life improve right away. Ignore what your peers may say, attorneys don't need to work 80 hours a week to make money, and they shouldn't work that much if they want to be happy.

  • I received a terrible review on a leading attorney review website. Is my practice ruined? What should I do?

    First on all, you should understand that getting a negative review is not the end of the world: no business has ever had 100 percent positive feedback, there are tons of nuts on the Internet, and most people understand that no attorney they find will be perfect. Still, there are several steps you can take in the wake of a bad online review.

    Before anything else, respond to the negative review if possible. You may have the options to respond both publicly and privately, and you may wish to do both. A thoughtful, earnest, and professional response can ease the worries of anyone who has read the negative review. A private email to the reviewer may end with the reviewer removing or rewriting the post.

    Next, ask your other clients and fans to write a review on the lawyer review website. The more positive reviews you have, the more suspect the negative review becomes. Make it easy for former clients and supporters to review your website by adding a review page onto your website as well as buttons that send users directly to the review page.

    Finally, try not to go overboard or get personally offended. It’s easy to brood over a negative review or to go all out and attempt to threaten or sue. These issues are not worth that much time, effort, and money. Read the review. Process the review for any useful criticism. Respond to the review. Move on with your life.

  • Not All of My Ideal Clients Who Come in End Up Hiring Me. Could My Staff Members Be to Blame?

    Staff problems are only one reason your customers could be walking out the door. Since they were able to find you and connect with you online or by phone before turning away, you may be able to gain some insight into why they did not choose you to represent them.

    The most important element of a personal injury attorney marketing campaign is feedback. If you don’t know if an element of your marketing is working, how will you know it has been worth the investment—and if you should bother spending money on it again in the future?

    It is vital that you involve yourself everywhere in your business, even if you cannot be physically present. You are the head of the business, your name is on the front door, and every person working below you is representing—and selling—you. That means that every time a staff member comes into contact with a customer, he has the ability to bring that client in or turn him away with each action he takes.

    You must communicate to your staff that all forms of communication with your prospects and established clients are “sales moments.” Your employees should be working to improve every customer’s experience and relationship with your firm as if the customer were dealing directly with you. How effective is this communication? It is so important to that every action can either move the relationship forward or stop it completely—even with as little as a glance toward the clock while a customer is speaking.

  • I hired a content provider to add pages to my website. When I checked the new pages, they were full of errors and bad links. What should I do?

    When it comes to adding content to your legal website, you get what you pay for. Content is an investment, and a low price will often mean an equally low return. Some providers will even charge clients outrageous sums for “cut and pasted” articles, putting the client at risk of a plagiarism claim. For all these reasons, it pays—literally—to do your homework before hiring a content provider.

    Here are three basic items that every web content company should (but doesn’t necessarily) provide:

    • Originality. You are, first and foremost, paying someone to create a custom product just for you. If your web “copy” is just that, you need to find a different content provider.
    • Spelling. You are in a business where your intellect matters. Spelling errors are the number one reason potential clients will leave your site; if they know more than you do, why should they hire you?
    • Grammar. Poor grammar is not only a turn-off for your readers, it’s an open advertisement for your competition. Visiting attorneys need only to point to a badly written site to shine by comparison (even if their case record is not as good as yours).

    After these criteria have been met, you may have acceptable content for your readers. However, if the content is not properly optimized, those readers are not going to be able to find your site—making the content just as useless as if it had not been written at all.

  • Wait, so you’re saying that how I run my law office could affect my health?

    Yes, the way that you choose to run your law office can harm your health and even significantly shorten your life. And I’m not just saying that. Studies show that work-related stress can wreak havoc on your body and mind, from repetitive stress injuries and high blood pressure to depression and anxiety.

    The solution to your job stress is not to work harder, although that’s what many attorneys think: “If only I can make more money, then I can finally slow down and life will be enjoyable.” The truth is that you need to stop running yourself into the ground and being on call to clients around the clock. Being a great attorney involves taking time for yourself and taking time for your family. It even means leaving the office in time to eat dinner and taking a couple of vacations each year.

    Running yourself ragged to capture some semblance of success or financial security isn’t worth it if you aren’t going to be around to enjoy your retirement. Not to mention: health problems caused by working too much can stop you from working (and supporting your family) altogether.

    At Great Legal Marketing, we have devised a system that balances hard work with family life and relaxation. We have also figured out the secret to finding the cases and clients you want without spending all of your free time on attorney marketing. How do we know that it works? Ben Glass lives what he preaches, and so do many attorneys that have worked with him.

  • I don’t have time to write a legal guide to offer to my clients. Won’t another marketing tool be just as good, and take less time?

    The problem here is that you’re thinking the wrong way around. To bring in clients, you need to make it easier for your customers to find you, not easier for you to find customers.

    Think about the most common “free” offers most attorneys provide for their clients. Free consultations are so prevalent it’s hard to find an attorney who doesn’t offer one. And yet, a consultation involves a customer—who is already reluctant to make contact—picking up the phone to call a stranger. For most customers, the risk is too high and the return is too unknown to make that leap. Newsletters are easy enough to produce and offer, but usually talk about the goings-on at the firm rather than how the firm can help the customer.

    Now imagine what a scared, tired customer will see when you are offering an entire book full of legal information on their specific case and circumstances. You’re giving them a chance to arm themselves with information, letting their feelings of fear and powerlessness melt away. At the same time, you’re letting them see exactly what you know and how you can help them—and they don’t have to leave their house or even pick up the phone. What other tool gives them exactly what they want with minimal effort on their part?

    Of course, if you don’t want to write the book, there are plenty of alternatives. Many ghostwriters are available to take on the task at minimal cost to you, with the advantage that you can read and edit it to make sure it is worthy of your name.

  • Automated attorney marketing? But aren’t triggered emails impersonal and annoying to receive?

    One of the biggest fears attorneys have about using an automated marketing service is that it will scare away potential clients or that it harasses people after they have requested information. However, this is simply not the case. While some have the misconception that triggered emails annoy, the data are in our favor: automated marketing simply works. Microsoft has used triggered emails to increase click-throughs by 2,100 percent, while Jet Blue’s triggered emails produce 1,640 percent more revenue than promotional emails.

    When thinking about triggered emails and automated marketing, it is important to remember, first and foremost, that your contacts willingly gave you their information! They want to hear from you and they are looking for more information and more answers. Triggered emails are actually “more polite” than promotional emails—they are only sent to people who ask for them.

    Also remember that triggered emails should be filled with things that the reader wants: more free offers, more information, and more encouragement. Who wouldn’t want to receive that? As long as your emails are warm, courteous, and brimming with things that the reader is interested in, you won’t be doing harm.

    And if you are still afraid of using triggered emails, consider this: anyone who is annoyed by your correspondence can either request to be taken off of your list or can put your emails in his spam folder. No harm done.

  • How do I track the results of my law firm’s social media campaign?

    The great thing about most social media platforms is that you can get an instant response to your legal marketing. Within seconds of posting an update, Tweeting, or changing your status, your followers will be able to comment on and share your message, disseminating your firm’s message exponentially.

    If you want to take it a step further, there are ways to get a more concrete information on your social media marketing. Facebook and Twitter have tracking software built right in, making it easy to track your marketing results—and the best thing is, it’s also free.

    Here are a few ways to take advantage of free social media tracking:

    • Twitter. Twitter offers analytics on tweet performance and engagement. They also monitor how many followers you gain or lose within the last 30 days.
    • Facebook. Facebook’s Pages application allows you to create a “page,” or fan site, for your business, allowing you to post as the business entity or under your own name. Facebook automatically tracks the reach and activity of all fan sites, which can be seen on the administrator’s page.
    • Google Analytics. All websites should have Google Analytics no matter what. Analytics offers many tools that you need to discover how social media is driving traffic to your website, and how that social media traffic behaves on your website.

    You can get a lot of info from the free tools that are available to you, but paid platforms like HootSuite can help you automate your social media and allow you to post status updates on all social media platforms from one place.

    Remember: the key to successful marketing for personal injury lawyers is getting a great return on investment. Creating a marketing campaign is only half the job; the other half is tweaking your message and platforms so that your marketing is constantly growing and evolving.

  • Should I automate my marketing follow-up campaigns? Wouldn’t that be less effective than following up personally?

    We admit: there’s nothing better than sending a thoughtful, unique, and personal email to every person who fills out a contact form on your website or requests a free offer. But is it practical? And is it as effective as it first seems?

    We don’t think so.

    When you look at the big picture, sending automated marketing responses trumps trying to follow-up individually every time. Not only does it save you a significant amount of time and money, but it also presents opportunities to sharpen your game.

    First and foremost, automated marketing gets you out of the office and completing more important tasks—whether it’s helping a current client or spending time with your family. While it’s nice to write a personal note, the personal note doesn’t have the huge benefits you may think.

    Next, it is important to understand that automated marketing makes it possible to better track your responses and your marketing campaign effectiveness. If everyone is receiving the same emails and “touches,” you can easily see what is working and what is not working. You can also look at data to determine if you are sending too many communications or too few.

    Finally, you should know that automated marketing helps your potential clients, too. It reminds them of their interest, provides them with helpful information, and makes them feel welcome at your office. If they aren’t interested in your legal services, they can simply opt out of future communications.

  • Should I try to get more followers on social media? How will that help my social media marketing?

    Getting more followers on social media has a few benefits. In a way, having a lot of followers on Facebook is like having a lot of email contacts. They are people you can marketing to with relative ease, plus you know they are somewhat interested in your law firm.

    There is more value in a contact on your email list than in social media. Emails, generally, get more attention than a status update. However, that does not mean your social media followers are worthless to your marketing. You can still reach them regularly by keeping your social media page current and up-to-date.

    More followers may also equal more Facebook reviews. Most people have Facebook now, and Facebook is putting emphasis on it's online reviews. In fact, if you Googled your firm's name, more than likely your Facebook page will rank high on page one.

    In marketing terms, Facebook followers are the equivalent to people who are on your mailing list in some important ways.

    • Permission to market. When users click the “like” button, they are subscribing to your page’s updates the same way they would agree to receive your newsletter, mailed brochures, or email updates.
    • Demographic information. You can easily see a list of those who “like” your page, allowing you to see where your fans are located, what they do for a living, and other valuable information that will help you tailor your marketing efforts in the future.
    • An opportunity to update followers easily. Many people would rather receive your updates through social media than by getting weekly emails cramming their inboxes. Updating your status is not only less time-consuming, it’s less of an imposition on your fans.

    Your “likes” also emphasize the social aspect of social media: the more popular you are, the more new users will trust your credibility. It gives you a palpable measurement of the size of your marketing audience, giving you an estimation of how many people—and friends of those people—you have an immediate opportunity to convert.