If You Want Your Website To Bring Clients, Organic Isn’t Enough

wanamaker quote
Working hard to get your website to perform well in the search engines? It’s important, but it’s not the whole story.

That’s the point made by Tina Kelleher in her article, Why PPC Advertising Is the ROI Rock Star of Search Engine Marketing. Looking not only at the current state of online marketing but also the history of the direct response industry, it’s difficult to argue with her point.

For years we’ve been exposed to news, information, and ads about products and services. Radio and television, to say nothing of newspapers, built entire business models on making money from advertisers eager to push their wares on the public.

But where did the sale come from? Which radio or TV ad moved the needle? Was it the full-page ad in the newspaper, or was it the Yellow Pages listing?

There was no way of knowing how many people took action as a result of reading a particular article or hearing a review. There was no way to determine what was working and what was falling flat.

All of this is what inspired the quote by John Wanamaker.

It’s The Same With Organic Rankings

When you spend hours each month pounding out blog posts, videos or podcasts you’re working hard to build your authority in the online world.

Over time, the search engines reward you with better rankings. That improved exposure allows prospective clients to find your website, learn more about your services, and possibly make the decision to hire you.

But as with the old world ads, it’s impossible for you to know which blog post or video led directly to the new client. There’s no metric or tracking tool that helps draw the line between this article and that client, which means you’re left at best with educated guesses on what to write about on your website.

You Need The Metrics

These days we’ve got pay-per-click ads such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads that give you precise information about your efforts in real-time. Which ads generate clicks to your website, and which of those clicks result in actual phone calls gives you the data you need to make decisions about your marketing and advertising.

For example, when you place an ad on Google AdWords the system will tell you which keyword gets the most exposure, the most clicks, and the most conversions that matter to you. Facebook provides detailed audience statistics as well.

These metrics give you a powerful tool when creating new ads, new content and blog posts for your website, or compelling audio and video content. After all, once you know what works you can focus on creating more of it.

Can’t Have One Without The Other

As with love and marriage, organic and pay-per-click go hand-in-hand for your law firm’s efforts.

Content building and search engine optimization efforts provide a depth of information that a potential client can read at their leisure until they get to a buying decision. Information can be reviewed, notes taken, and options weighed.

The pay-per-click ads complement those organic search efforts to drive the buying decision towards your firm when the potential client is ready to hire a lawyer.

When you use one to fuel the other, you’ve got a powerful combination.

One Simple Tweak That Can Make Or Break Your Facebook Page

Consumer Help Central Facebook Header

You finally got around to creating a Facebook Page for your law firm.

You asked your friends (the real ones as well as the Facebook ones) to Like your Page to help you along, and they did.

You spent time adding content as well as a stellar Cover image. You added a graphic to your website to let people know where to find you.

Still, your Page hasn’t generated the torrent of Likes you’d hoped for.

Maybe the reason is simpler than you think.

A Rose By Any Other Name

Do you really think someone wants to admit to Liking a page titled, “Bob Smith, The Affordable Bankruptcy Lawyer”?

For that matter, do you think someone wants to cop to Liking any Page that indicates it’s connected with a lawyer?

Of course not. People want to maintain a modicum of privacy, and don’t relish the fact that their need for bankruptcy services is going to be broadcast to the world.

And that’s a major reason why your Page is dormant.

Naming Your Page For Maximum Firepower

You can choose to name your Page after your law firm or simply with you name. Denote it as a local business and you’re good to go.

In the alternative, you can create a Page name that functions as a non-threatening descriptor for your office. Populate the Page with a mix of fun and interesting content from around the web to increase engagement.

For example, take my firm’s primary Facebook Page called Consumer Help Central. It’s not threatening, and having it show up in your stream doesn’t immediately tip your friends off to the fact that you are somehow involved with a lawyer who helps people with bill problems.

The name makes it easier for people to Like it on Facebook. If someone finds a post on the Page particularly useful or interesting, they can share it without fearing a stigma.

The Song Can’t Remain The Same

Of course, the name takes you only so far when it comes to your Facebook Page.

Your content needs to be engaging and varied, encompassing more than simply your own bankruptcy content. Add enough for people to see that you’ve got more to say than bankruptcy-related information, and remember to make them laugh now and again. After all, this is Facebook – land of LOLcatz and George Takei.

One thing is for sure, though: you’ll never gain traction on Facebook if you don’t think creatively and expansively.

5 Considerations For Bankruptcy Lawyers Adding A New Practice Area

expand beyond bankruptcy

Getting involved in a new field of law involves more than just getting some new books.

With the continued sharp downturn in bankruptcy filings, most of us have kicked around thoughts of adding a practice area. I did that first during the post-2005 drop in filings when I added Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act work, and again in 2012 when I dove head first into the world of student loan law.

Before you add a practice area, you need to step back and evaluate your decision as a business person, not as a lawyer desperate to bring in enough money to cover the rent.

When I made the jump into student loan law, here are some of the considerations I kept in mind before making the change. Answering them for yourself will help you decide whether expanding your offerings makes sense to your office.

Is This A Problem Your Clients Have? I’ve got a friend of mine who decided to expand his bankruptcy practice into criminal law, only to experience complete financial failure because none of his existing or prior clients were of the sort who got into trouble with the law. Expanding into a field that will help your client base makes it easier to help the same people in new ways.

Are There Ways To Learn The New Field Quickly? When I began offering help with credit reporting errors, I did so knowing that there was a NACA conference to help me learn the field. So, too, with student loan law – I decided to begin helping student loan borrowers in part because there was an in-depth student loan law workshop available to me. Without a means of learning the nuts-and-bolts of your field of choice, you may be left without a base of knowledge upon which to draw.

Does It Fill A Gap? When adding a new practice area, you should be looking to fill gaps because they represent missed opportunities for helping your clients. Bankruptcy can provide significant relief to people, but it doesn’t help with all debt problems. If you’ve got a lot of clients who are divorced and have gone through financial hardship, consider learning how to negotiate modifications of domestic support obligations. For practices that see clients with significant nondischargeable tax obligations, learning tax resolution fills a gap.

Can Your Staff Handle The Work? Once you’ve figured out how to do the work and recognized that your clients need the help, look to your staff members to determine whether they can incorporate it into their existing workflow. Bankruptcy involves a step of discrete tasks, so handling new matters of an administrative nature may be a perfect fit. If the workflow doesn’t follow a consistent pattern, you may need to think about changing the makeup of your office.

Can You Price The Solution? This is probably the most frustrating part of the equation for people who expand beyond the bounds of bankruptcy law. Bankruptcy is primarily a flat fee practice area, so going into a new field that involves hourly billing may not work for you without a significant amount of retooling of your office. You’ll need to decide whether the long-term profitability of the new field warrants the investment before making expansion plans.

Entering a new field of law can be exciting and challenging, waking up your brain and pushing your intellect. Adding new practice areas is also good for your firm’s profitability. But every new practice idea shouldn’t make it to the light of day. Using these considerations as a guide can help you expand in a way that makes sense for your practice.

7 Reasons Why Your Law Firm Needs A Facebook Page

like facebook

There’s more to Facebook than cat pictures and linkbait.

For many people, Facebook has become a part of the fabric of their lives. Pictures get shared, jokes get passed around, and people end up feeling more connected.

Don’t believe me? Here are some statistics courtesy of Statistic Brain to make you weep:

  • Facebook has 1,310,000,000 average monthly users
  • Users visit the Facebook app or the site 13.8 times during the day, for two minutes and 22 seconds each time
  • Cumulatively, that comes to over 32 minutes per day – over 16 hours per month
  • 48% of adults check Facebook first thing when they wake up in the morning
  • 1 million links are shared on Facebook every hour of every day of every month

As a bankruptcy lawyer, it’s easy to dismiss Facebook as a practice-building platform. After all, not many people want to admit to their Facebook friends that they Like a bankruptcy lawyer.

On the flip side, consider the fact that those who do take the step of Liking a bankruptcy lawyer are more likely to refer new clients to you. Those people include not only clients but also other lawyers and non-lawyer professionals.

I’ve found that having a Facebook page for my practice has provided an enormous boost in business in what have been fairly lean times for bankruptcy attorneys nationwide. So much so that I’m breaking with my longstanding position of, “nothing particular marketing platform is necessary, it depends on your audience,” to say that your law firm must actively develop a Facebook Page.

Here are some of the reasons why:

A Facebook Page Keeps Business Separate. You’re on Facebook to share private news and information, be it baby photos or news about your latest adventure. That’s good for your friends and family members, but not necessarily something you want to share with your clients. Conversely, you may not want your personal connections to be exposed to your debt-related information quite so often. Keeping a separate Facebook page for your practice allows you to separate work and pleasure.

No Limits To Your Page Connections. Your personal profile has a limit of 5,000 friends. Not so for your Page, which can have an unlimited number of people who like it.

Get A Boost. When you post an article on your personal profile, it’s seen by some of your friends and not others. You can tinker with that over the long run, but whether your updates show up in someone’s feed is determined by the Facebook algorithm. Though not everyone who Likes your Page will see an update either, you can pay to boost the article’s reach and ensure that it’s seen by the most important people.

The Insights Are Amazing. Once your Facebook Page garners more than about two dozen Likes, you’re given access to a treasure trove of information on the people who have chosen to connect with your firm. We’re talking ages, genders, and a whole bunch of demographic information you can use to hone your advertising message elsewhere.

Be More Than A Lawyer. A Facebook page gives you the opportunity to show your personality to your clients and business connections – without having to expose them to pictures of your children and pets. Your Facebook page can provide a representation of your firm that includes more than merely a comprehensive knowledge of your practice area, yet keeps things professional.

Facebook Pages Show Up In Google. Your Facebook page is indexed by the search engines, so people who search for your firm on Google will be able to see your updates. Especially if you update your Facebook page on a regular basis, that fresh content will showcase you in a professional yet informal manner than attracts new clients.

BONUS: It’s Cheaper Than Dirt. According to Cost Helper, dirt costs between $8-$15 per cubic yard. For that money, I can get a lot of exposure on Facebook. Building a Facebook Page costs nothing but time, as does populating the Page with regular updates. Boosting a post can cost as little as $5, which gets your message in front of the people who have expressed an interest in hearing from you.

In the end, the decision on whether to create a Facebook Page shouldn’t be too difficult. Everyone’s on the platform, which means you’ve got access to your target market (regardless of what that market may be, it’s a safe bet that it’s represented on Facebook). Most of the setup and maintenance is free. The data you get can help give you a leg up on your other advertising opportunities. Even the paid options are cheap.

Slam dunk in my book. How about yours?

Hide Annoying Facebook Content With A Simple Click

We’ve all seen the annoying Facebook clickbait. It comes with headlines such as, “They All Laughed When He Sat Down At The Piano – But You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next!”

Online publications use these titles precisely because they work so well, but we all know that there’s seldom anything useful behind the click. Usually it’s just another time-waster that burns a hole in your day.

But Facebook has a built-in way for you to avoid ever seeing those posts again. And the best part is that you don’t have to unfriend people to make it happen.

Let’s say you don’t want to see content from ViralNova anymore because it’s never useful. Just click the little down-arrow next to the post, and click to hide all articles from ViralNova.

This will prevent you from seeing ViralNova articles posted by any of your friends. You’ll still see the rest of what your friends put on Facebook, though.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Hide Facebook Content

You can do this for any many sources as you’d like – from BuzzFeed to SomeECards to political sites and more.

Don’t like it? No need to see it!

And with that out of the way, your Facebook feed can become more interesting and useful for you.