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Online Marketing

Monday, May 16, 2011

Understanding Google Analytics Part I: Traffic Sources

Google Analytics is an excellent (and free) program which offers great insight into traffic statistics for your law firm’s website. The site tracks all traffic to your site, storing a wide array of information on referral sources, visitor information and content. With so much being offered, the Analytics control panel can be a bit overwhelming for beginners and even seasoned site owners. Over the next five weeks, we will explore the five most important statistics to consider when evaluating your website’s success. First up: Traffic Sources.

Read more . . .

Monday, February 14, 2011

5 Awesome Amicus Creative Features That Your Firm Is Probably Not Taking Advantage Of

Our platform offers a myriad of tools and features to make your site dynamic and interactive. We know it can be hard to keep track of all of these options so we’ve compiled a list of the top five features that your firm probably isn’t using but should be.

Special Reports: Our special reports module allows you to add a report to your website. Prior to viewing the report, website visitors must first submit their contact details. All contact information is then stored within the Site Manager and also emailed to you so you can reach out to the interested individuals at a later date. This tool is a great way to provide informative articles to site visitors while capturing leads.

Password Protected Pages: With the Site Manager, you can easily convert any page into a password protected page, meaning that site visitors must enter in a username and password prior to seeing the information. Firms often use these pages to house client resources or information for fellow advisors. Although these pages are not visible to all, they can be a powerful marketing tool and encourage website visitors to contact you so that they too can receive this limited access.

Social Network Sharing Tools: With the growth of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s absolutely essential that you include sharing links on your blog page. These links allow blog readers to easily share your work through social media outlets.

Audio/Video: Your site is a great place to post informative videos and audio. Using the Site Manager, adding these types of files only take a few seconds and you can add as many as you’d like. Happy uploading!

Click-to-Call Technology:  The less work site visitors have to do to contact your firm, the better. Our advanced Click-to-Call technology makes that first call even easier. A visitor simply enters their phone number on the site and a call is automatically configured between your office and the interested party.  Law firms who subscribe to this feature report a noticeable increase in the volume of calls received from their website.

To learn more any of these great features, call or email us today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Featuring Free Consultations on Your Law Firm's Website

Many folks fear the cost of attorneys. They’ve heard horror stories of friends being billed $150.00 for the firm to photocopy a four page brief or others who have paid thousands for an attorney who was neither accessible nor successful.  These stereotypes and general apprehension by prospective clients must be considered with respect to your firm’s website. Many web visitors may be interested in working with your firm but may be hesitant to reach out to you for fear that they will get socked with a large bill for a short consultation (and then ultimately decide not to retain your firm).

Offering free consultations to new clients, and prominently displaying this offering on your website, is one way to get hesitant prospects off of your site and into your office. Displaying this information does not make your firm look less credible nor does it entice tire kickers to call you. Instead, think of it as a way to make your firm look accessible, friendly and open to taking on new cases. Without fear that they will get charged, clients will be more inclined to pick up the phone and ask questions which is a great start to any long-term relationship.   

If your site is getting lots of traffic but not a ton of online leads, it’s time to consider adding information of your firm’s free consultation.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Promoting Your Law Firm’s Website This Holiday Season

With the holidays just around the corner, it is easy to put your law firm’s marketing strategy on the backburner. Despite the many distractions of this busy season, it’s important that you use this time of year to promote your law firm’s website. We’ve included a few hints below to help you get the word out about your site and make sure that clients remember your firm all year long:

  • Holiday Cards – Sending out holiday cards to your clients and business contacts is a marketing must. As an attorney, you have a closer relationship to your clients than many other service providers and should take the extra step to personalize each card. In these notes, be sure to include a sentence on checking out your website. If your site is new, this is the perfect time to refer clients and colleagues to it. If the site has been up a while, remind card recipients of some new content you’ve added to draw them in once again.
  • Holiday Events – Many firms hold holiday events for friends and clients. If you host such a gathering, be sure to feature the event on your site using the Amicus Creative Seminar Management system which allows individuals to RSVP online. Whenever you speak to your clients and referral sources in the upcoming weeks, make sure to inform them of this event and direct them to your site where they can learn more and register.   
  • Holiday Promotions – We know that as an attorney you’re probably not selling something that can be re-gifted but that doesn’t mean that you can’t utilize some of the same strategies used by many retailers and offer discounts on your services during the holiday months.  Showcase these holiday discounts prominently on your website.  If you are an estate planning attorney, you might consider reducing the annual cost of your Maintenance Plan if they enroll before the New Year or if you’re a tax attorney, you might consider offering a deal on your 2011 tax preparation services. Of course, you won’t be turning the same profits but these promotions can generate a substantial amount of business during a traditionally slow time of year.
  • Holiday Traditions – One of the most common criticisms of attorney websites is that they lack personality. You will often hear marketing experts say that attorney profiles are too bland and don’t allow website visitors to connect effectively with the firm. The holidays serve as a great time to personalize your site. Try writing a holiday blog post for site visitors. In this post, consider including a personal story—you may discuss your favorite holiday tradition, greatest memory or perhaps even share your family’s best recipe. The holidays allow you to give your business contacts a glimpse into your personal life without compromising the professional feel of your site. Make sure that this post is also emailed to all of your blog subscribers so it receives the attention it deserves.

Traditionally known as the season to give, December is also the ideal season to promote.  So this year as you send your greetings to clients, and plan special holiday events, make sure that your website is an integral part of spreading holiday cheer!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Packing a Punch with your Website’s Home Page

If you’ve ever written a novel, thesis or heck, even a college essay, you know that the introductory paragraph or chapter is often the hardest to draft. This language is the first to be presented to the reader and as such must be informative, concise and most importantly, engaging. When developing your website, the home page must contain these elements as this will serve as the introduction to your firm for many web visitors.

A well-drafted home page should be short and to the point and contain the following three items:

Introductory Paragraph: Search engines and readers alike pay great attention to the first few sentences on your home page. Website owners often struggle with finding a balance which should appeal to both. Quite simply, your first home paragraph should serve as a synopsis of your firm; what do you do? Who do you serve? Where do you practice? Be sure to include your main target geographic locations and practice areas. An example of a strong introductory sentence which is effective in terms of SEO and visitor appeal might simply read, “The Sample Law Firm works with families and small businesses throughout Springfield, Massachusetts with Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Business Succession Planning. In one easy to read sentence, you’ve laid out exactly what you’re about and tell the user if they should look any further. Of course, if you have 14 specialties, this cannot be combined into 1 sentence. In that case, you might consider listing just a few practice areas in the first sentence and follow that with a bulleted list of your other services.

Body:  The intro sentence(s) tells visitors exactly what you do and where you do it. The body of the home page should describe what sets you apart from other competitors in the area. Don’t use the generic  ”we are client-focused” pitch (although it may be part of it). Instead tell your story, list particular examples of technology or procedures you use to benefit your clients or even consider featuring a prominent client testimonial. In short, use this space to sell yourself and be creative.

Conclusion: After you’ve talked up your firm, you need a call to action. You might highlight that you have a free consultation available or flexible appointment times. Then be sure to include your contact information or a prominent link to the Contact Us page. If you would like to steer users deeper into the site to check out your firm profile or news stories, you might consider including direct links to these pages as well.

By following the guidelines above, you can be sure that your site has the right stuff to keep visitors interested. Contact us today to learn more about optimizing your home page.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How Google Places Can Work For Your Law Firm

In the past, we’ve written on the necessity of creating local business listings with the major search engines. Today, we wanted to elaborate on one of these services-Google Places.

Formerly known as the Local Business Center, Google Places allows businesses to add a company overview, hours of operation, videos, photos and customer coupons. Seems pretty basic, huh? Well here are a few things you probably didn’t know about this service:

  1. Updates: You can post an update to your Places page at any time right through your user dashboard. This is particularly valuable if you want to highlight an upcoming event or seminar, new promotion or article you’ve written.
  2. Traffic Analysis: Once you’ve verified your firm’s listing, you can easily access valuable data on content and visitors to the page. Through the control panel, you can see the number of times the listing appeared in Google search results, how many people are taking action once they’ve located the listing (Did they go to your website?), top search queries which led users to your business listing and zip codes where users are requesting directions from to find your location. You are probably already using Google Analytics for your firm’s website; this new functionality allows you to also measure the success of your business listing.
  3. Expanded Service Areas: You can now elaborate on the areas you serve so you are not just limited to the town or city in which your office is located. This is particularly helpful if your firm serves multiple states.  If you work from home, not to worry! You can now make your address private but still reap the benefits of having a listing filled with keywords, geographic locations and a link to your website.
  4. Professional Photos of Your Office: Google has always allowed business owners to upload photos of their offices to local business listings but now you can also request a professional photo shoot of the interior of your offices with a Google photographer! While photos will not improve your rankings, inclusion of images has shown to increase click-through rates. This service is only in select cities so be sure to visit Google’s site to learn more, Click Here
  5. Customized QR Codes: For each business listing, Google now provides a personalized QR code. Okay, so many of you are probably asking what on earth is a QR code? Quite simply, it is a bar code which you can place on business cards, firm brochures or an email signature. Many smart phones including the iPhone, Android and Blackberry allow users to scan these codes. Upon scanning, the code will take users directly to your Places page enabling them to see your company details, promotions and URL. Although, it seems rather advanced, it really does remove searching from the equation, allowing users to find you with minimal effort.

Google Places Tips:

  • Categories: Google allows you to add five categories to your listing. These basically allow you to define the keywords you think users will search to find your firm. When typing in the description, Google does provide a set list of suggestions which you may choose from or you may actually create your own categories. We strongly recommend that you include one of Google’s suggestions as the first in your list even if you decide to create four others from scratch. If Google has five categories in their offerings which properly describe your listing, go with these as they are your best bet.  
  • Keywords: In addition to selecting appropriate categories, be sure to also include your keywords in your company description and any updates you may post.

With all of these features in place, there is no excuse not to set up a free Google Places account for your law firm! It is quick and easy to get started. Visit www.google.com/places to learn more.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What's in a name? Top Six Factors You Should Consider When Choosing a Domain Name for Your Website

Couples expecting a child often deliberate over the baby name for months. Anxious parents read through baby naming books, consult with family members and consider a wide array of factors including religion, popularity, initials and pronunciation in the decision making process. While choosing a name for your firm's website should not be nearly as painstaking, there are a number of factors you should consider when determining the best domain name. Below you will find the top six factors to consider when selecting your domain name:

  1. Search Engine Optimization Value:  The major search engines do consider your site’s domain name so this should factor into your SEO strategy. Your site is packed with keyword and geographic locations, so too should your domain name. If you are a matrimonial law attorney in Flushing, NY, you might consider selecting a domain name which reflects you main practice area and office location such as www.flushingdivorcelaw.com.
  2. Don’t Make It Too Long:  You want your clients and prospective clients to be able to easily recall your domain name. If the name is too long, it is more likely that users will forget it and have difficulty finding your site.  Also, steer clear of hyphens in your domain name. These are generally seen as less credible and are viewed with greater suspicion by search engines.
  3. Consider the Spelling: Very often firms simply use their principals’ names (in many instances, the firm name) as the domain name for the website.  As we all know, last names can be difficult to spell and many of the most popular ones even have a wide range of spelling variations. If a client hears about you but then is unable to find your firm on the web because they can’t quite figure out the spelling of the domain name, they may give up and turn to another attorney.
  4. Make Sure It Accurately Represents Your Law Firm:  Your domain name is a big part of your branding and as such, it should remain consistent with your firm’s mission and practice areas. Quite simply, your domain name should be a (very brief) description of your firm. Keep in mind that this domain name will be included on business cards, advertisements and in all emails from your firm so you should be proud to show it off!
  5. The Ending Does Matter: Domain names ending in .com are perceived to be more credible than others ending in .net, .biz, .us, etc. If your dream domain name ending in .com is already taken, it’s probably not the best idea to settle for a different ending which is available. Internet users tend to assume that a domain name ends with a .com so they are more likely to try this at first. If the .com name is already taken, there is a good chance they will be taken to a different website (and quite possibly a competitor).
  6. Don’t Go Domain Crazy: We often hear from firms who have purchased 27 domain names and want all of them to point to one main website. If configured incorrectly, multiple domain names all pointing to one site can actually be harmful to your firm’s SEO. When pointing multiple names to one site, search engines see that pages within the several domains actually have duplicate content and refuse to index them.  Worse, search engines may actually index pages from a domain you only meant to have as a supplement and not index your primary domain.  Instead of pointing multiple domains to your server, you should simply redirect the domain names so they all point to one main URL. Using a redirect is preferable because users cannot easily detect the transition from the alternate domain name to the main URL but the search engines definitely take note, recognizing only one site.

If you live in a metropolitan area with many law firms, an available domain with all of these elements may be difficult to find but with a little creativity, you should be able to purchase a great name for your new site. If you have any questions about your firm’s domain name, please feel free to contact us at any time. We are here to brainstorm with you or offer suggestions.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spring Cleaning...For Your Website?

As we head into warmer weather and the summer months, folks around the country are getting their homes and offices in order. In addition to dusting off the old grill or repainting the office, the slower summer months serve as a good time to review and revamp your firm's website. As you take a look around your site, consider the following checklist:

Review your content
During the hectic year, it is easy to put your website on the backburner. However, like homes and offices, a website must be given proper upkeep and maintenance to ensure continued success. During your review of the site, be sure to carefully read through all of your site’s content. In certain instances, you may need to update the language to detail certain developments in the law. And since new and relevant content is the key to any search optimization strategy, the summer provides a perfect window of opportunity to add articles, seminar handouts or blog posts which you may have worked on throughout the year but just did not have the time to add. Using the Site Manager tool, you can easily add or edit text at no extra cost.

Take a look through the Site Manager
At Amicus Creative, we are constantly making improvements to the Site Manager. These additions serve to enhance your site’s functionality. Over the past year, we have added more content to our practice area library (which you may access through the Site Manager), developed advanced technology which allows you to upload audio or video files directly to your website and have launched LegalVault, a comprehensive document storage system which can be integrated right into your website. As you can see, we’ve had a lot going on. This summer, make sure you learn about all of these online marketing tools so you can get the most out of your website.

Evaluate your site’s design
Just as cars and wardrobes go out of fashion so too can marketing materials. If your website looks outdated or no longer adequately represents your practice, you may need to update your website design. Amicus Creative offers current clients amazing discounts on website redesign through our Loyalty Program.  If you think your site could benefit from a facelift this summer, contact us to learn more about our redesign services.

As you book your summer adventures and vacations, be sure to reserve some time for your website. While it may seem like a tedious task at first, working with your site can be refreshing, rewarding and will undoubtedly benefit your firm’s online marketing campaign.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Increase Site Exposure with Free Local Business Listings

Upon launching a new site, we advise our clients that good rankings with the search engines may take several months to attain because there is a general tendency by many search engines to not list new sites high up on the search results list. This is known in the search engine world as being in the "sand box" which is a metaphorical term coined by search engine experts to explain why most new websites have poor rankings.     

Far too often, new website owners take a sit back and wait approach as the "sand box" months pass. There are steps you can and should take as soon as your website is launched to claim your spot with the search engines.

One of the most important things you can do for your website is to create local business listings with the major search engines. These listings allow you to list your firm name, URL, business information and key categories.  To fully reap the benefits of local listings, you will want to make sure that you create listings with all of the major search engines including Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

To learn more about creating local business listings for your law practice, contact us today.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Promoting Your Law Firm's Website Offline

When developing your firm's online marketing strategy, it is important that you take steps to promote your website and online materials offline. You should make certain that your website's URL is listed on your business cards, firm's letterhead and all firm advertising.

Since much communication is now done via email, it is imperative that all staff members in your office have your firm's URL (ex: www.mylawfirmswebsite.com) in their respective email signatures. This ensures that this information reaches clients, fellow advisors and potential clients whenever they receive a message from your office. If you want to direct users to a specific page(s) within your site such as your blog or seminars page, your signature may contain direct links which take users to the page that interests them most.
For additional information or assistance with the preparation of email signatures, please contact us.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Testimonials on Your Law Firm’s Website

In business, it is often said that what others say matters most.  When building your law firm’s website, it is a good idea to consider including client testimonials which are a form of intermediated word-of mouth marketing.

Strong client testimonials have the ability to set your law firm apart from your competitors and can serve as objective evidence that claims of expertise or experience you make throughout your website are credible. When utilized correctly, testimonials can be very effective. In fact, research shows that adding testimonials to your marketing copy can improve response by around 30%.

When considering what kinds of testimonials will be effective marketing tools, you should make certain that they describe in detail the real benefits that your clients reaped from working with your firm.  These testimonials can be incredibly convincing especially when delivered by former skeptics. For instance, if you have a client who previously had an awful experience working with another firm but was delighted with your firm’s services, their description might resonate with others who are undecided about retaining your firm.
Many state ethics rules regulate publication of client testimonials regarding the outcome of cases or rewards obtained; however, client testimonials can also discuss the process of working with your firm, emphasizing your accessibility, accommodating staff or unique client service.
Amicus Creative’s Site Manager allows your law firm to easily create a page devoted to client testimonials. Adding a new testimonial to your website only takes a few minutes so you can constantly keep the page fresh as new testimonials come in.
If you would like to learn more about adding testimonials to your law firm’s website, contact us today.

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