Curious About a Great Legal Marketing Membership? Learn More Below!
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 not for everyone, in fact, while we attract many who "want" to get better we know that only about 20% of any population will 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.
By joining Great Legal Marketing, attorneys like you discover and implement proven marketing and management strategies that have transformed all kinds of practices. You will discover how to build better referral relationship, improve your internet marketing, expand into new markets, better manage your employees, and so much more – this really is a “club” for success-minded attorneys who want more than just an average practice. We take pride in having members who are ambitious, motivated, and determined attorneys who understand that their law practice is also a business.
We have an exceptional track record of changing the lives of our members. We frequently hear reports of double- and triple-digit growth from our members. And the goal achieved don’t stop there. Our members have told us that being with Great Legal Marketing has given them their lives back so they can do what they really love in life. The power of our programs has also been credited with regular month-long vacations, turning 70-hour work weeks into a highly efficient 40 hours, saving marriages, significant weight loss, countless jobs created and even improved golf scores.We want to help you create your own success story.
Below you will find answers to our top questions about a Great Legal Marketing membership. If you are interested in becoming a member, you can click the button below to purchase our introductory package.
How Does Great Legal Marketing Work?
Great Legal Marketing has three membership levels; Gold Marketers, Diamond Practice Builders, and MasterMind. Most attorneys start at the Gold Marketers level where they learn the basics of direct response marketing for attorneys. We provide our new members with templates, guides, and loads of other free materials to help them launch their very first marketing campaigns. After attorneys have achieved their first goal of getting more clients, they typically ascend to the Diamond Practice Builders membership.
Our Gold and Diamond programs are both monthly memberships that give you access to our materials and our marketing team. Gold members have access to our Chief Marketing Officer Charley Mann as well as access to the other Great Legal Marketing team for help with advertisements, marketing strategies, tracking, and other practice growth topics. Diamond members have more access to Ben Glass as well as access to the rest of our team.
Great Legal Marketing is NOT a done-for-you service. We are forever learners, and our members are as well. We help those attorneys who are ready to do the work needed to achieve the success they dream about for their practice.
Who Is Ben Glass?
Most people who meet attorney Ben Glass come to know him as a father of nine children (four of them adopted and five who still get on the school bus every morning), a small business advocate in Northern Virginia, a non-profit and charity supporter, and ex-marathon runner - in addition to being one of the most-reviewed attorneys in the area (see him on Avvo and Google).
Ben has spent his career practicing law in the courtrooms throughout Northern Virginia. He is a nationally recognized board-certified personal injury, medical malpractice, and disability insurance attorney in Fairfax, Virginia. He graduated from George Mason University School of Law in 1983 and has devoted his career to representing individuals against the insurance companies.
Through Ben’s experience in testing various marketing techniques for his own firm, he has discovered what truly works and has implemented his knowledge into the creation of Great Legal Marketing in 2005. Hundreds of lawyers in the United States and Canada have already joined Great Legal Marketing and are watching their practices take off.
How Do I Start A Great Legal Marketing Membership?
Great Legal Marketing's materials are not free. We have two monthly membership levels and one yearly membership level. The first step is to decide which membership level is right for you. Most attorneys start at the Gold Marketers level where they learn Great Legal Marketing's style of marketing. To start a Gold Marketers Membership, you need to purchase Practice Power Tools. Practice Power Tools is our introductory package that will kickstart your marketing journey and guide you through the first steps.
Attorneys who want a higher level of membership can start at our Diamond Practice Builder level. This is a good option if you are currently a gold member and want to enhance your membership, or you already own a successful law firm but need that extra edge. The process to start your Diamond membership is similar to starting our Gold membership. After you purchase our introductory toolkit, your Diamond membership will begin right away.
If you have been a Great Legal Marketing member before and already have our Practice Power Tools or Diamond Blueprint Package, you can reactivate your membership by calling (703)543-9677.
What is Included With a Great Legal Marketing Membership?
You can read the complete list of benefits that come with a Great Legal Marketing membership at PracticePowerTools.com. Practice Power Tools is our introductory toolkit that kicks off your Gold Marketers membership, and you can receive the benefits listed as soon as you sign up.
A full Gold Marketers membership includes:
- Monthly delivery of the Great Legal Marketing Journal: The Great Legal Marketing Journal is the monthly publication that all members receive. In the journal, you will find tips, tricks, and insight into new (and old) marketing topics and ideas.
- Member Toolkits: Every Great Legal Marketing member gets an introductory toolkit to start their marketing journey. The Practice Power Tools kit is designed to help you launch your very first marketing campaign and orient you with our marketing ethics and values.
- Monthly teleseminars with Charley Mann and Ben Glass: Each month Great Legal Marketing hosts three LIVE calls for members. Gold Members have access to the Gold Call with Charley Mann where you can learn about new, innovative strategies and rediscover old marketing ideas that will bring more leads to your law firm.
- The Ultimate Referral Letter: Charley Mann created the best, and easiest, way to grow your referral list within a few weeks. The Ultimate Referral Letter package is available to all membership levels, and when used this letter will immediately grow your referral network and start getting you better leads right away.
- Access to our many templates, guides, and tutorials: The Great Legal Marketing crew is always hard a work bringing you the latest and greatest in practice growth. We publish new guides and videos to help you achieve your goals.
- The Fast Action Boot Camp: The Fast Action Boot Camp is a members-only event where you get one-on-one access to the whole Great Legal Marketing crew. This event is popular among members, and many members attend more than once! This event is FREE with membership!
- Discount and Specials: Great Legal Marketing hosts a three-day Summit once a year in Washington D.C. You can learn more about the Great Legal Marketing Summit by visiting GLMSummit.com. Gold and Diamond members receive discounts on tickets and on any products available in our web store.
- Access to Our Exclusive Membership Website: We created a portal for our members to access all our materials. Everything we send you for membership can be found in digital form on the membership, plus other materials you can find nowhere else.
- ...Plus Much More!
How Do I Learn More About Great Legal Marketing and Membership?
You can learn all about Great Legal Marketing by browsing this website and by visiting PracticePowerTools.com. You can also fill out our contact form at the bottom of this page to ask a specific membership question. These messages are sent directly to the Great Legal Marketing team and we respond within 24 hours.
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I sank nearly all of my ad budget into my legal website, but I’m planning to name-drop my site on as many free websites as possible to increase my reach. Will this work?
Even if you have built the most beautiful and keyword-rich site ever, you’ve got all of your eggs in one basket, which is not a very good idea when it comes to attracting different people. It’s true, you do need to get your name out there—but how you do that will directly affect that name’s reputation.
There are millions of sites that allow you to comment or add content freely, and links to and from these sites can be useful. However, you must be careful which sites you choose—and of course, what you say.
Here are a few common pitfalls when posting online to:
- Blogs and websites. Posting on your own site is very low-risk, since you have control of what your viewers read—but a response on a public site is not easy to erase or withdraw.
- Social media. Legal marketing with social networks can be very effective, but many attorneys have been unfriended due to posting too often or posting irrelevant content.
- Forums and wiki sites. Some attorneys believe that offering free advice via forums and information-sharing sites will impress their clients; but many have gained a bad reputation by participating in a “flame war” when the conversation doesn’t go their way.
Remember: your advertising strategy is an investment—and just as with investing money, it helps to diversify your portfolio. Having a finger in every pie will ensure that readers find you wherever they look, not just in the place they hoped to find you.
I already have a hard copy of my law firm’s free guide. Do I really need to offer an e-book version?
If they are done well, informational guides are one of the most effective marketing tools for law firms. They establish you as an expert, and offer a constant reminder that you (and only you) can help the customer with his legal problem. Wouldn’t you want to get that message out in as many formats as possible?
If not, you’re taking a huge gamble with your firm’s future. Even if your legal marketing is otherwise sound, a lack of downloadable material presents several ways potential customers can fall through the cracks. By not offering an e-book, you run the risk of:
- Losing attention. Unlike your paper guide, e-books can be delivered immediately, keeping your name at the forefront of the customer’s mind and preventing him from continuing his search elsewhere.
- Looking unprofessional. Paper books may not signify that your law firm is out-of-date, but the lack of an electronic option will make it look like you are not technologically inclined...a big turn-off for younger customers.
- Being passed over. Thanks to search engine updates, people are increasingly able to find exactly what they want with minimum effort. If you only offer a paper copy of a book, it will take a customer less than a minute to find a competitor who can deliver it instantly. You may have written a better book, but to a frightened consumer needing legal advice, right now is better than the right information.
We launched our law firm's new website a couple of weeks ago, and we're showing up on the tenth page of Google search results for our primary search term. What are we doing wrong?
Probably nothing—and if you are doing something wrong, it'll probably take you at least a few months to figure out what! The fact is that, in today's intensely competitive marketplace, it's virtually impossible to launch a new site and have it dominate search results within a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. Why?
- You have plenty of competition, and they have had a substantial head start (that law firm down the block may have had a web presence for 10 years!)
- Google wants to wait and see how you perform according to its “quality” algorithms, and how “sticky” your site is when visitors land on it. That takes weeks to establish.
- You may have targeted an extremely competitive search term (say, “New York personal injury lawyer”), and you'll have to lower your sights to something more reasonable.
- Adding new content on a regular basis is one way to improve your site's rank, and that's a process that takes a lot of time and effort.
Of course, it's possible that you did do something wrong when launching your site—so there's no harm in checking and re-checking your SEO practices (did you “overstuff” key phrases on each page? Is each page of your site distinctive and original, or did you use the “cookie-cutter” approach whereby each article is substantially the same, but targeted to a different geographic area or key phrase?)
There Is An Argument Going On In The Comments Section Of My Legal Blog. Should I Delete The Posts That Don’t Agree With My Position?
The whole goal of your blog is to attract lots of traffic to your site, and with traffic comes negative comments. But just because you’ve gotten negative feedback doesn’t mean your reputation is in jeopardy; in fact, it is a great opportunity to change someone’s mind about you.
If you delete a negative comment, you’re telling your readers that you don’t have an answer to that question, or worse, that you don’t think the comment is worth your response. This is hardly an impressive attitude for someone who is supposed to offer help to those in need (and expects to make a living at it).
There are only three kinds of comments that should be deleted from your legal website:
- Obscenities. If someone uses obscene language or makes threats, his comments may be deleted and he can be blocked from commenting further.
- Defamatory remarks. You should not permit any slander in your comments section. However, it is best to warn the commenter on first offense that his remarks will be deleted if he continues.
- Spam. Spam is not necessarily inflammatory, but it will quickly flood any available areas on your website and is distracting for human readers.
Other than those types of comments, you should welcome all other feedback on your site. After all, people who stay on your site are improving your law firm’s Google ranking just by being there, and prolonging the conversation will get you even more hits. You must allow others to be critical of your positions, but how you say something is just as important as what you say. Stand your ground politely and encourage the debate!
We Just Relaunched Our Website, And Our Webmaster Tools Are Showing Such Sparse Traffic That It's Nearly Impossible To Identify Any Trends Or Tweak The Website In Response To The Traffic. What Can We Do?
This is a common problem encountered by new or relaunched websites: how can you infer any larger trends from traffic numbers that can be counted on two hands? You've put your content out there, and done your best with the SEO; now you have to sit back and be patient as potential clients find their way to your site. You website may weeks or months to climb back up the Google rankings, so be patient.
As a rule, you don't want to make too many changes to your site, too quickly, based on limited data. If you've done due diligence while building your site, adhering to all the best-practices SEO guidelines and writing clear and comprehensible copy, then you need to sit back for a few weeks and see what happens—after all, you don't want to fix something that isn't broken!
Your best strategy is to create new content and distribute that content on your social media sites. You can learn a lot about your audience by the articles they are clicking on from Facebook. Using that data, you can predict what content your target audience is most likely to respond to.
This is also a good time to work on your website's organization. Build a structure for your website, and work on your internal link structure as well. Create categories and tags that group your content together, and revisit some old content and find out how it can be improved. This is something that is easier to do when a website is young, so seize the opportunity!
Do some keyword research and learn what you can about search trends around your particular practice area. Focus on long-tail search phrases as well as short-tail keywords. View the content that your competitors are creating and write something that is better, longer, and more comprehensive.
If you do the work while your website is young, it will help your website "boom" later. Remember, SEO is a long-term strategy, and nothing ever happens overnight. Put in the ground work now, and watch your website trends, and you can reap the benefits later.
Are pictures more effective than words on a website?
It depends on what you consider effective. Your law firm’s online customers are definitely going to be affected by the look and feel of your website first, and that includes the images you put on your pages.
However, search engine robots can’t see the graphics on your website. If you have little copy and tons of images, you’re not going to be ranked very highly—meaning your site won’t be “effective” at all.
Here are a few things to consider about the non-text content on your legal website:
- Animations. Scrolling or animated text (such as flash graphics) will get your human readers’ attention, but robots won’t see it at all.
- Graphics. Even if you have text written over the image on your site, the text is not searchable by web engines.
- Video. Videos appeal greatly to your legal customers, but only the written portion of the video content (titles and description) will be searchable.
While you may think that you can either use graphics to appeal to a human reader or copy for a search robot, there is a way to appeal to both. Every piece of multimedia content on your site has a description, such as an image file name or a text tag. You can edit these filenames and descriptions to include keywords, giving your robots something to read—and your readers something to look at.
I'm too busy with my practice to sit down and design my own Yellow Pages display ad. Why can't I let the phone company deal with this and concentrate on what I do best?
Maybe you should ask this question instead: Does the phone company know your law practice as well as you do? Unless Ma Bell has been eavesdropping on your conversations, the answer is a definite “no”—which means it's up to you, and not the person who sold you the ad, to communicate what your firm does best.
Your advertisement defines your legal practice in the minds of consumers who still use the Yellow Pages to research businesses. Those consumers don’t give their trust easily. If you anticipate your ad bringing in even one client over the course of the year, you owe it to yourself to promote your legal practice in a way that will attract the clients you most want to serve.
The good news is that designing your own Yellow Pages ad isn't nearly as burdensome a task as you think it is. You probably already have a basic marketing “pitch” that you use on your website, so you don't have to write the copy from scratch. Word-processing programs are so intuitive that you can probably design your ad in half an hour (maybe an hour, if you haven't yet explored the capabilities of your Word software). If you have staff members, they would probably be delighted to take the file you give them and turn it into a bright, distinctive, attention-getting ad.
What will happen if you do, allow the Yellow Pages publisher to design your ad? Well, you may wind up with a lot of “white space” and a minimum of copy—often just the name of your firm, your slogan, and your phone number. The fact is that your ad rep has better things to do than worry about the layout of your display ad, and he/she won't be motivated to hit the ball out of the park, since she has probably already received her commission and has gone on to the next prospective customer.
I prefer to sign up clients the old-fashioned way, by treating them to a nice lunch or dinner. Now I'm finding that this doesn't work as well as it used to. What can I do?
It's true that, back in the '70s and '80s, successful lawyers had much more time to devote to the art of schmoozing, taking current and prospective clients out for fancy meals and cultivating their business. Except for some white-collar law firms, that way of life has disappeared in our modern economy.
Lawyers don't have time to court new clients in person, and potential clients aren't interested in spending a lot of time with their lawyer before signing. They are researching several, sometimes dozens, of lawyers at a time. Typically, they make their choice before they come into your office.
If you prefer the old approach to signing clients, you may find clients are resistant. Most of them don't expect to be "wined and dined," when they interview lawyers. Few other industries use this method of retaining new clients, and you may be setting yourself up for an awkward interaction.
The prospect of a free meal may not be enough to get a potential client to spare two or three hours out of his day, especially if he's about to face some steep legal bills. Also, in today's Internet-saturated world, an increasing number of people prefer to keep their face-to-face interactions to a bare minimum, and would much rather conduct business via email or instant message.
Plus, if you give your potential clients so much attention before signing them, they will expect that level of attention after you sign them. Imagine taking your client to dinner each time you have to update them about your case! Ideally, with good marketing your list of potential clients will rise to levels where this kind of networking is unsustainable.
So what can you do? There's nothing wrong with splurging occasionally and treating a willing client to lunch. But, given the circumstances obtaining in the modern economy, you should also invest in an automated client-retention system that can follow up on prospective leads and spare you the time, money and effort needed to schedule a meal.
How can I tell if people are actually reading my website?
After you’ve spent so much time redesigning your law firm’s website, it’s natural to wonder if it has made a difference. There are many ways you can tell if someone has visited your site, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for your marketing campaign.
Your web administrator can help you make use of the following tools to track your website:
- Tracking software. Many free website providers include ways of tracking your visitors, such as hit counts and geographic information. All of this is valuable marketing information—and not taking advantage of it is one of the biggest legal marketing mistakes you can make.
- Comments and Forms. You don’t want to seem unreachable to your readers, so give them plenty of opportunity to respond. Every page of your website should be focused on getting your target audience to interact with you—and if you require an email address to leave a comment, you will have gained another contact.
Once you get the data, you should understand how to interpret it. There are many types of web traffic, and some visitors mean more to your bottom line than others. If you are looking at your website data, you should be looking at two metrics to determine if you are getting good traffic or meaningless traffic:
- Bounce rate. Are people visiting your website, and leaving without clicking a link? If that is the case, you could have an issue. You should want people to visit many pages on your website, fill out contact forms, and interact with your content. If your bounce rate is high, this is an indication your web traffic is mostly junk.
- Average Visit Duration. Visit duration measures the time people are spending on your website. This is measured by calculating the time between actions, like link clicks or page visits. If your average visit duration is between 1 and 3 minutes, most of your visitors are reading your content.
If you have a problem with "junk" web traffic, it is time to talk to your web developer. There could be an issue with the coding of your website that is preventing it from being indexed correctly for the right audiences. For example, not having the right target language that is causing people from other countries to land on your website.
More likely, your content needs some work. Focus on writing longer articles, with links to related content and your practice area pages. You should also have call to actions on your web pages encouraging users to take the next step with your law firm.
Since I'm the newest junior associate at my medium-sized law firm, I'm constantly being given all the “little” cases, like fixing speeding tickets. How can I get out of this rut and graduate to more lucrative clients?
It's possible you're being too hard on yourself—after all, you're not a sole practitioner who can pick or choose what kind of clients you choose to represent. Since you're currently the “low man on the totem pole” at your firm, it's only natural that senior partners will throw you cases they don't want to handle themselves—and you'll probably continue to receive these cases until a new junior associate is hired on.
Still, there are some things you can do to increase your prospects of being assigned to a big (or, at least, medium-sized) case. Rather than complain about the small cases your partners give you, handle them quickly and expeditiously, and then make it clear that you're after bigger game. The senior associates at your law firm need to be convinced that you're a competent attorney, and they will hopefully be so impressed by your efficiency (and your positive results) that they throw more challenging cases your way.
There's also nothing wrong with showing a little bit of initiative, and going out on your own to recruit high-paying clients with interesting cases. If you proactively recruit new clients, your senior partners will be more likely to assign you to their cases—though not necessarily as lead counsel, which is only fair given your junior position.
Recruiting more lucrative clients serves two purposes, of course. It gets you noticed by the senior partners as an attorney hungry for bigger challenges. And following through on these cases to a successful conclusion becomes a way to help promote your law firm, while establishing yourself as a good team player.
The one thing you don't want to do in this situation is to uncomplainingly, and invisibly, take on every low-level case in your firm; if you get too good at this, your senior partners may typecast you in this role and you'll never be assigned an interesting case.
I love being online! I’ve got three Twitter accounts and two Facebook pages for my business. More is better, right?
Not necessarily. After all, your social media efforts should be focused on getting your client to contact you. If you’re sending hourly “tweets” that don’t get any responses, you’re not doing much for your exposure—and you’re probably wasting a lot of your own precious time.
Here are a few rules of thumb when it comes to controlling your online legal advertising accounts:
- Websites. Multiple sites can be a good tactic if you have two drastically different (and equally lucrative) practice areas. If you’re new to the game or have one specialty, it’s best to stick to one website.
- Blogs. One blog per site should be fine, with a minimum of one post every other day (unless a major case breaks or local news event happens that bears commenting on).
- Facebook. Once a day minimum, five max. You don’t want readers think that you’re spending so much time updating your status that you won’t have any left to devote to their case.
- Twitter. Resist the urge to tweet more than three times daily. While you’re going to give the impression of being tech-savvy to your readers, you don’t want them to think you don’t have other things to do.
- YouTube. Your video account (just one!) can have as many informational videos as you want. The sky’s the limit! Just make sure the tags are optimized and the links are sharable.
Remember: all of your social media and video sites should be designed to send traffic to your website. Think of all of those smaller accounts as spacecraft, taking all of your faithful readers to the mother ship: your homepage. That’s where they will find all the information tailor-made just for them, prompting them to make first contact.
- Websites. Multiple sites can be a good tactic if you have two drastically different (and equally lucrative) practice areas. If you’re new to the game or have one specialty, it’s best to stick to one website.
I already have a webmaster who handles our online business. Why do I need a marketing expert as well?
You must understand is that web design and web marketing are not the same thing. Just because your website looks good doesn’t mean it will bring in business. To do that, you have to convert your online readers into customers. Nobody’s going to hire you because they liked the “look” of your website. It may have grabbed their attention, but you’re going to have to keep it there if you want them to become a client.
Firstly, there is no guarantee that your web designer knows anything about search engine optimization (SEO). If your designer only knows about eye-catching colors and ways to arrange your front page, you’re going to need to hire an additional web expert who knows how to use keywords and key phrases to raise your Google ranking. Otherwise, nobody’s going to be able to find your website—no matter how pretty it is.
Also, you have to realize that your online business is your business. Everyone who walks in your door has seen your website; it’s the first thing any consumer will do in order to “check out” a business. Your website is the number one point of contact for potential customers—and therefore, your biggest marketing opportunity. Doesn’t that seem like something worth spending time and resources on?
Lastly, you must remember that it doesn’t matter how much of your web management you outsource, you should have a basic understanding of how it all works. Your job as CEO of your firm includes continually finding new ways to improve legal marketing—and if you know nothing about technology or the running of your own website, you’re not going to see the best strategy when it comes along.
My law practice has been struggling lately, to the extent that I'm thinking of slashing my rates in order to attract new clients. Is this a good idea?
Well, the answer to this partly depends on what your definition of “slashing” is. If you're thinking of shaving 10 percent off your rates for a new client, that may not be a bad idea, especially if you're desperate.
But if you're considering cutting your rates in half—say, charging $150 an hour for a divorce instead of $300—the cure will literally be worse than the disease. Why? Well, for starters:
- People don't shop for lawyers the way they shop for furniture. If you offer your services at a steep discount, they'll wonder what's “wrong” with you.
- You need to pay your bills, just like everyone else. If you take a hit on your hourly fees, you'll just dig yourself deeper into a financial hole.
- If you do sign a new client at the reduced rate, he may defect to another lawyer as soon as you raise your rates back to your normal level.
- You may get into trouble with your state bar committee, which probably won't appreciate your aggressive (and undignified) marketing tactics.
- You'll also get in trouble with your fellow lawyers, who have an interest in maintaining a minimum hourly rate and won't appreciate your attempt to undercut them.
- You will attract the wrong kind of clients. Those clients looking for a bargin are generally the most difficult to work with.
- Reduced prices will hurt your bottom line. You may get one or two new clients, but if they are paying little, you won't help your profits.
If you can't lower your rates to attract new clients to your legal practice, what can you do? Well, that's a complicated question, and one that requires a complicated, many-pronged solution.
I’ve Sent a Customer an Informational Packet. When Should I Contact Him to Follow Up?
In a world of instant communication and immediate gratification, you will definitely lose clients if you’re not responding to them fast enough.
From the moment you receive an inquiry, whether a phone call, email, or online request, you should have an automated response sent out instantly. If your free materials are downloadable, they can be sent instantly, saving you time, labor, and money in postage. If not, your snail mail packet should be stuffed to the gills with your free guide, brochures, DVDs, and any other materials not available online.
You should wait no longer than a week to follow up on the packet, calling the customer to ask if he has any questions. If your contact stops there, you’re probably going to lose that customer to a competitor.
Here’s why: clients do not begin searching for an attorney until several months after an accident occurs. When they do start the search, they will likely contact more than one firm. After the first contact, clients will typically take anywhere from three months to a year to sign a fee agreement with the attorney they have chosen.
This means that you must stay in constant contact with all of your leads in order to bring in new legal clients. Just because they do not respond does not mean they have hired another attorney or given up on their case; it means they are not ready to respond. Many customers are lost simply because the firm gave up too easily, allowing a more tenacious attorney to get that client’s business.
I always feel guilty when I ask my assistant to spend an entire day on a mind-numbing task, like rearranging our filing system. Shouldn't I be a good boss and try to help her?
That depends on what your definition of a “good boss” is. Most employees define a “good boss” as someone who is patient, understanding, easy to work with, and, most importantly, able to keep their paychecks coming. That may be at odds with your own understanding of what a “good boss” is: that is, someone who's willing to pitch in with tasks well out of his pay grade, to show his employees that doesn't think he's better than them.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with making the occasional gesture to lighten your assistant's workload. If she's having an especially bad day, it won't kill you to spend ten minutes photocopying your own documents. But if you spend more time doing her job than your own, that means you're wasting billable hours, and shortchanging your balance sheet by hundreds of dollars every day.
You should also keep in mind that your employees won't necessarily have the same attitude toward administrative tasks as you do. Your assistant probably considers it part of her job to rearrange the filing system, and the successful completion of this task will make her job a lot easier in the future. Therefore, there's no need for you to feel guilty about assigning her this chore, since a) it's what she was hired for and b) you have better ways to spend your time, in order to pay her salary.
However, there is nothing wrong with improving your leadership skills. We can all get rusty from time to time, and overlook many concerns in our law firm. Keep in mind that being a good leader isn't about making concessions for employees, but rather empowering our employees and allowing them to make decisions within the parameters of their job. Being a good leader also mean setting performance standards and applying those to all our employees, holding everyone accountable for the work they do.
Will My Legal Marketing System Be Expensive?
It could be. How much you spend on your legal marketing system is ultimately up to you, but luckily, so is where and how you spend it.
Consider the attorneys who are spending money year after year to put their ads in the Yellow Pages or in the back pages of magazines. These ads probably haven’t changed in several years, sporting the same outdated photos, ineffective slogans, and pay-by-the-word copy.
Sure, these ads have exposure, at least, for the small demographic that still reads print media. But what is surrounding these expensive ads? Virtually identical ads for competing firms, with the same graphics and very similar copy. Blending in with the crowd is unlikely to bring you new clients (unless you get lucky when they close their eyes and point at the page).
If you are going to pursue a marketing campaign that will increase your law firm’s profit margin, you’re going to have to spend money. So now the issue becomes: how will I spend my marketing budget?
First, you can take advantage of free marketing media. Facebook and Twitter offer regular daily exposure for your firm, and neither one will cost you a cent. The same can be said for YouTube, where you can host informational videos (starring you!) for free.
Next, you should be attracting your ideal client to your website. While you can probably host a simple website for free (or close to free), it is worth spending the money to optimize and design a site that will be ranked highly by both humans and search engine robots.
I'm constantly being criticized by my colleagues for not doing more pro bono work. How can I convince them that I have to look after my own needs before I look after the needs of other people?
This can be a tough sell, especially in a society where lawyers are held to a different standard from other professionals. There are few home contractors who will give away every tenth townhouse for free to a needy family that couldn't otherwise afford it; these professionals operate on a tight profit margin, and simply can't afford to be profligate with their money and time.
The same rule applies to lawyers who are struggling to establish their practice, and need to make every hour count toward the bottom line. If taking on a pro bono client means not being able to make your mortgage payment, there's no ethical rule on earth that says you can't decide otherwise.
If, however, you're hearing this criticism on a regular basis, there may be something to it. Most likely, your fellow lawyers know that you have attained a certain amount of success with your practice, and that you can afford to “give back” to the community rather than saving up for a third sports car or a second vacation home.
Once again, there's no law that says you have to take on pro bono work (although your state bar association may pressure you on this point), but you have already profited enough from your practice that you can afford to do so. If it creates good will among your colleagues (and potential adversaries), it may well be the case that taking on more pro bono work is a good idea—and it may even make you feel good inside!
And, of course, getting a reputation for sharing your legal knowledge with clients who could not otherwise afford your services can be a clever, but subtle, way to promote your law firm.
At the end of a long workday, I'm so tired that I can barely drag myself home, watch some TV, and go to bed. I sense that more successful lawyers are using their leisure time more constructively than I am. What can I do to change?
Well, it's certainly true that some attorneys have more natural energy, and need less sleep, than others. If you really are working 12-hour days, six or seven days a week, then no one can fault you for wanting to relax when you finally get home. The last thing you want to hear is, “Do more work so you can grow your practice!”
However, the fact that you're working those 80-hour weeks in the first place is a sure sign that something is amiss. What you need to do, if at all possible, is to scale back your work day—either by disposing of some of your less lucrative clients, or delegating more of your work to one of your subordinates. Then, when you're working more normal hours, you will have the energy to do more than watch some TV and go to sleep when you get home in the evenings!
What should you be doing instead? Well, the most successful entrepreneurs—and that's a category that includes lawyers—read the latest business bestsellers and eagerly devour news publications like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. When more of your energy comes back, you can also take it upon yourself to attend local lectures in your community, or even visit a library or museum, in order to stimulate the parts of your brain involved in creative thought. That's the portion of your gray matter that you tap into when you want to think of creative law practice promotion ideas, and it can't hurt to keep it in good working order!
At Great Legal Marketing, we know how important it is for lawyers to spend their leisure time constructively, so they can more easily come up with that Next Big Idea. Questions? Call our legal marketing consultants at 888-791-2150 to find out what we can do for you!
What if I don't have a unique selling proposition?
You’re asking the wrong question. If you don’t want to use a unique selling proposition in your marketing, that’s fine. You’ll blend in a lot more with your competition, making you seem like just another attorney—and while that may sound safe, it usually isn’t very profitable.
Instead of discarding the idea, you should really focus and try to discover what your law firm’s unique selling proposition really is. What sets you apart: as an attorney, as a parent, as a community member, and as a person? Your USP doesn’t have to relate to the law; if it relates to you, it will automatically relate to your firm.
Don’t know where to start? Here are just a few ideas:
- Start with your background. What was your first job? Where is your hometown? What kinds of law have you studied?
- Think of your lifestyle. Are you a sports fan? Are you active in politics? Do you take regular camping trips or participate in races?
- Consider your home life. Did a family member inspire you to go into a form of law you thought you wouldn’t like? Do you live in the city, or the country? Do you have firsthand knowledge of the perils of divorce law?
Once you have your USP, you can tie it into all facets of your marketing, giving your readers a way to remember you. For instance, you may have worked for insurance companies in the past, and know what lengths they will go to in order to deny a claim. Promote your “insider knowledge” (you earned it, after all!) on every page; anyone having trouble with a claim will want to hear your advice.
For more law firm advertising tips, click the link on this page to download a free sample chapter of Ben Glass’s Great Legal Marketing book. Then call 888-791-2150 toll-free when you’re ready to take the next step forward in innovative legal marketing.
A junior associate in my law firm came up with a marketing idea so innovative and so crazy that it just might work. Should we implement it?
Well, the answer partly depends on what that marketing strategy is. If you're going to pay your local tattoo parlor to ink the name of your firm on the forearms of prominent citizens, no, you're probably better off saving your money. But if you're tinkering with a new kind of print ad, or a scheme to legally plaster your names on the outside of your city's taxicabs, then there's no reason not to give it a try, if you have the financial resources at hand.
It's important to keep one thing in mind, though: to quote from the Book of Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It may well be that the idea your junior associate cooked up has never been conceived before by any lawyer in the entire world, much less the United States. But it's much more likely that somebody, somewhere, has already come up with and implemented this scheme, and the results were mediocre at best.
How can we say this? Well, like military technology, new, wildly successful marketing techniques are virtually impossible to keep secret. If an idea works out of the gate, beyond all expectations, it will quickly be imitated by competing firms, first in that town, and then in that state, and then in the entire country. You would already have known about it well before your junior associate waylaid you in the corridor!
This isn't to say that you should be averse to new and untested marketing ideas; you should just implement them with a sizable grain of salt, and be equally prepared for failure as for success. Questions? Call the law practice marketing experts at Great Legal Marketing (888-791-2150) to find out more today!
It's been 10 years since I graduated from law school, and I'm still working 80- and 90-hour weeks to make ends meet. Am I doing something wrong?
That all depends on how you define the word “wrong.” In the opinion of many so-called experts, including—one suspects—more than a few Supreme Court justices, you're doing exactly the right thing: you have made the law your “mistress” to which you have devoted all your waking hours. Of course you're spending 16 hours a day at the office; that's what lawyers are supposed to do!
However, it's one thing to spend your life in the office and rake in tons of money (though that's not all it's cracked up to be, given the sacrifices you're making). It's quite another thing to put in those brutal hours and make what you consider a “subsistence” living. If you genuinely can't shave a few hours from your work week for fear of not making the rent, yes, you are doing something wrong.
The fact is that lawyers—at all stages of their careers—need to learn how to work smarter, not harder.
It's very easy to yield to the received wisdom and resign yourself to toiling non-stop until the day you die, and to accepting every client that walks through your door. It takes a lot more courage to step back for a moment, weigh the situation, and question whether that “the law is a jealous mistress” mantra really makes sense given the economic realities that prevail today. Other lawyers—including your own partners—may accuse you of slacking off if you pare back your hours; you have to realize that this is their problem, and not yours.
At Great Legal Marketing, we know that successful lawyers spend their time, money, and resources intelligently, and make room for other things in life (like having a family). Questions? Call our innovative legal marketing experts today at 888-791-2150 to find out what we can do for you!
I’ve left my old firm, and now I am starting my own practice. Should I use a “tried and true” legal marketing campaign for a few years so I’m not risking my new business?
It’s easy to be tempted by the siren call of web developers who will promise to make your site the best thing the Internet has ever seen. However, it’s unlikely that such a promise it going to be true.
Of course, many web developers have experience building a great legal webpage. But in many cases, the reason they can keep churning out website after website is that they are built using templates. There are a set number of designs; you pick one, and they slap your name on it. It will get you up and running pretty quickly, but you’ll be running next to a million other attorneys in an enormous crowd, with no way to tell you apart.
This is a pretty great deal for website companies. They have a low-risk and high-return business, to the effect that all of their clients are doing the exact same advertising. If you’re the new guy in this crowd, you’ve already got some catching up to do. Why would you want to start at the back of the pack?
Now, granted: there are only so many different ways your website can look, so you’re going to have to depend on your content to sell you. Forget about all the old tropes such as touting your “X years of experience” and your “team of attorneys” and the fact that you’ve been “in business since XXXX.” None of these claims will help you anyway. Zero in on why you are different. Customers are going to see that you’re new on the block, so celebrate the fact that you are starting your own firm instead of hiding it.
To find out how to get your law firm’s marketing campaign off on the right foot, download your FREE chapter of the Great Legal Marketing book or call 888-791-2150 to get our insider tips delivered right to your inbox.
For years now, the law firm down the street has been advertising that it's a “Top 100” practice, based on an annual supplement in our regional magazine, and I'm getting tired of it. Should I bite the bullet and buy a display ad so I can be listed too?
That depends on how seriously the people in your town take that “Top 100” designation—and you may be surprised to learn that most potential clients aren't fooled by this transparent marketing tactic.
A generation ago, to be sure, a “Top 100” ranking carried more weight—but a generation ago, magazine editors were more likely to fill out this list on the basis of merit alone, not the willingness of those listed to cough up money for display ads.
If being listed as a “Top 100” lawyer is really a do-or-die proposition, you may have no choice but to participate. But if it's not, consider the alternative: the next time a client balks at signing up with your firm, saying he'd rather go with a “Top 100” practice, you can patiently explain to him that those “top” lists are purely a marketing exercise and have absolutely nothing to do with your qualifications or the results you achieve for clients.
There's another fact to consider: the vast majority of magazine readers never even look at those “Top 100” supplements, and if they do notice them, it's only because they're annoyed that they take up so much space. The fact is that very few people hire a lawyer by scouring the back issues of their regional magazines and deciding to call the #5 attorney because he's “five times better” than the guy listed in the #25 slot.
At Great Legal Marketing, we can tell you that there are better ways of advertising your law practice than buying space in magazine supplements. Questions? Call our lawyer marketing mavens at 888-791-2150 to learn what we can do for you!
What is the point of advertising my law practice if most people ignore the advertisements they see?
Well, let's analyze your question logically. Why should any law firm—or any company in the world, for that matter—advertise its services, since the vast majority of TV commercials and internet pop-up ads and billboards fail to engage their intended audience? If you took this proposition to its logical extreme, the entire advertising industry would collapse overnight—and there would be no way (except word of mouth) to inform people about the “product” you're offering. (There would also be tens of thousands of unemployed advertising executives, but let's not worry about that now.)
The fact is that law firm advertising was, is, and always will be a scattershot endeavor: most of your ads will miss their target, no matter how highly targeted your campaign is and no matter how much money you spend. Your aim should be to utilize only the most efficient media to advertise your practice (whether that's your website or your local Yellow Pages), and not to throw your money away on media that have a low rate of return (which can include everything from daytime TV commercials to blimps flying over sports stadiums).
There's a hundred-year-old quote to this effect that still applies today: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don't know which half.”
At Great Legal Marketing, we can teach you about how to target your advertising and promotional campaign to get the highest possible rate of return on your budget and bring new, paying clients through your front door. Interested? Call our legal marketing mavens at 888-791-2150 to talk to us today!
Why do I need to know how to add content to my website? Can’t one of my employees do it for me?
Sure they can. In fact, there should be many people who have access to the “backstage” area of your website. You can’t be everywhere at once, and your team should definitely be doing the heavy lifting in the content department.
However, even if you have others handling this part of the process for you, it is vital that you know how to use the web content management system yourself. Here are just a few things you may need to address quickly, without running to find a web maven who can do it for you:
- Mistakes. Your readers may alert you to errors, typos, or other information that needs to be corrected, and it must be done immediately to maintain your credibility.
- Comments. A customer may leave a comment or contact you, and if they are not answered quickly they will lose interest in your response—or worse, ask another attorney before you have had a chance to respond.
- Breaking news. When news related to your firm is happening in your area, you need to bring readers to your site quickly. Customers will begin searching wildly for information, and getting in front of them—before your competition—will give you a huge boost in your online rankings.
- Spamming. There are robots on the Internet called “spambots” that will fill your comments section with erroneous ads and links to other sites. These are a sign of a derelict business, and need to be deleted or blocked as soon as they are discovered.
Remember: in order to maintain a presence on Google, you have to have both the technology and the ability to use it effectively. If you can’t be bothered to learn how your technology works, you have deliberately defined the perimeter of your own competence. You have become the boss who cannot make an outgoing phone call from his office without the help of his receptionist.
To find out how to use web content tools to build a successful law firm, call 888-791-2150 to get our insider emails or download your FREE chapter of the Great Legal Marketing book today.
My marketing advisor says it doesn’t matter how people find my website, I should just be happy they got there. Is that true?
Of course not! Think about it: how many times have you filled out a business survey that asked you the question, “How did you hear about us?” Those businesses aren’t just curious; they want to know where their marketing is working and where it isn’t, so they can focus their efforts (and money) on advertising media that are bringing in the most customers.
The Internet is no different, since most people will find you via an online search. But you have to know a little about search engines and keywords to narrow down your marketing efforts.
In order for your firm to appear on the first page of Google, you will need software that tracks the actual search terms that people are using to come to your site. Google offers a free tool called Google Analytics that will do this for you—and if you haven’t been shown how to use it, your web “expert” should be fired immediately.
Here’s why search terms are important: Attorneys may spend thousands of dollars to acquire key search phrases (such as "Texas work injury attorney"). However, over 70 percent of all searches do not use vanity keywords. People searching for help online are more likely to use phrases like “insurance help for a car accident in Louisville.” By knowing which phrases are pointing people to your site, you can market directly to them without wasting money on a marketing tactic that isn’t working.
To learn more insider tips on legal web design, call 888-791-2150 to get our emails delivered to your inbox, or click the link above to download your FREE chapter of the Great Legal Marketing book.
My state bar association is supposed to act in the interests of all of its members, that is, the lawyers in my state. Can't I trust it not to issue regulations that damage rather than help my practice?
In an ideal world, yes, you can. In the real world, though, your state bar association isn't only beholden to its members: it also has to answer to the state government and get along with (or at least not get in the way of) other bureaucratic entities. The results are better in some states and worse in others, but often you wind up with a body that acts against the interests of a significant proportion of its membership whenever it issues a ruling—or simply doesn't grasp that many of its regulations no longer apply to the “real world” of lawyer marketing.
Another reason your state bar won't necessarily have your interests in mind is that it represents all kinds of lawyers, ranging from sole practitioners to small firms of three to five partners to large firms with dozens of partners and even more associates. The larger firms in your state will have a disproportionate amount of pull; so will the small practitioners, who make up a lot of the grass-roots membership (which the bar association may be eager to cater to). If you belong to a small firm, you're stuck in the middle, and the rules issued by your state bar may be a pesky hindrance rather than an active help.
What can you do? Well, first, you can lobby your state bar not to issue foolish or counterproductive regulations. And second, you can sign on with Great Legal Marketing, which will keep you abreast of what your state bar is up to weeks or months before it issues new regulations that interfere with your ability to make a living.
Questions? Call our legal marketing experts at 888-791-2150 to find out what we can do for you!
I'm tired of always arguing with friends about why the world needs lawyers. Why not just let them think what they want and go on practicing my trade?
It's true that it can seem like a losing battle to constantly explain to everyone in your circle (friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances) why lawyers are a force for good in our society, rather than a drain on our resources. After all, you're only one person, and there's only so much you can do to promote the legal profession—especially when a single national TV commercial portraying lawyers in a bad light can completely undo your efforts.
It's a tough battle, to be sure, but it's one that's worth waging. By emphasizing to your friends the good things about lawyers, you're accomplishing three things:
- You're differentiating yourself from other lawyers, and setting yourself up as someone to be trusted (and hired, if the opportunity arises)
- You're doing your best to counter the negative public perception of lawyers. It may seem useless, but every little bit helps!
- You're producing (potentially) a much more fair-minded jury member, if that person is ever summoned for jury duty and serves on a case
Look at it this way: yes, there's only so much that you, personally, can do to combat the negative public perception of lawyers. But if you and every other ethical and responsible lawyer in your community put the legal profession in a positive light, you will do a lot to shore up the reputation of lawyers in general—and that can only help your practice in the long run.
Questions? Call the law firm marketing professionals at Great Legal Marketing (888-791-2150) to learn more today!
How can I write good headlines for my legal website articles?
When it comes to appealing to their audience, many attorneys make the mistake of setting their sights too low. For instance, you’ve probably seen headlines such as “personal injury attorney,” or “fighting for your rights,” or “Injured? We can help.”
Not only are these uninteresting and uninformative, they are a waste of valuable real estate on your page. Why, after crafting a useful and well-written article, would you neglect to make a headline that will draw your readers’ attention to it?
Before publishing your articles, ask yourself these three questions about each headline:
- Do you want to know more? Your reader will decide what to read the same way you do: by reading the title and summary of the article. If the headline bores you, it’s certainly going to bore them.
- What is the article about? Read the first paragraph of text. The headline should summarize the article in a provocative way. Consider the difference between “Common mistakes doctors make in surgery” and “Five mistakes that surgeons make every day.”
- Have you seen it before? Remember, you want to be different. If your headline sounds too generic or “lawyer-centric,” rather than focused on the customer, rewrite it.
Our legal marketing gurus know that the whole point of your law firm’s online advertising is to stand out from the competition and get your readers to want to contact you. To find out how our tips can get customers calling, call 888-791-2150 today or click the link on this page to download your FREE chapter of the Great Legal Marketing book.
An advertising firm is trying to convince us to use a catchy jingle in our law firm's TV commercial, but I'm not convinced. Do jingles really work?
In the right hands, they certainly can. Chevrolet spent years advertising its cars using that “heartbeat of America” jingle, a tune that's remembered fondly by an entire generation. On the other hand, General Motors is one of the biggest companies in the world, and it could afford to scour the globe for the exact right piece of music to use in its advertising campaign. The chances are that your law firm's pockets aren't quite as deep!
If you've ever watched daytime TV, you already know that most jingles are unmitigated disasters—usually a seven-digit phone number or the company's name sung in near-random notes by a poorly rehearsed chorus. Some of these jingles are so bad that they're also, in their perverse way, very effective, but most of them are so bad that they're...well, just bad. Simply put, they won't do anything for your firm's name recognition, and they might even prompt viewers to mute their sets (or, better yet, get up and go to the refrigerator) whenever your commercial comes on.
Rather than silly gimmicks like jingles or animated mascots, you're better off putting your best foot forward and telling the viewers of your TV commercial what you can do for them in their hour of need (“Have you been in a car accident? Call our firm to learn the ten mistakes that can hurt your personal injury lawsuit!”)
Ideally, your TV commercial should aim higher than simply making a potential client look twice: it should be so sincere, and so convincing, that that person remembers your name weeks or months down the road when he's in need of a lawyer.
Questions? Call the lawyer marketing professionals at Great Legal Marketing (888-791-2150) to learn more today!