5 Ways to Increase Your Visibility - June 2012

5 Ways to Increase Your Visibility

Increasing the visibility of your law firm is key whether it’s online or in the “real world.”  Common sense tells us that more people taking notice of your practice means more potential (and hopefully realized) clients. More clients usually translates to more money, which is definitely a good thing.

But how can you help people take notice without one of those terrible law firm commercials?  Below are some ideas:

  1. Press Release. There are a number of different companies through which you are able to make a press release: PR Web, PR Log, and Rapid Press Release to name a few. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses so make sure to weigh your cost and payoff options.
  2. Social Networking. If you aren’t on Twitter, LinkedIn, and have a Facebook Fan Page for your practice, then you’re missing out on a great (FREE) way to show your stuff.
  3. Blog. Blogging is an inexpensive way to show your expertise and keep potential consumers familiar with your practices and the areas in which you specialize.
  4. The “Old Fashioned Way.” Yes, the old newspaper advertisement is not completely dead yet – remember the PennySaver?  Advertising in free newspapers is a great way to target certain demographics. As with any newspaper, you should do a little research into its readership to make sure it’s the demographic you really want to market to.
  5. Newsletters (like this one). Maintaining regular contact with your past and potential clients is key. Sending them a newsletter with all the goings-on will keep them in the loop. Newsletters keep the lines of communication open and make repeat business more likely.

Save Money and Increase Staff

Times have been especially tough on the legal industry, but for some, business has started to pick up again. Maybe it's time to get some extra help around the office?  A few extra hands to complete tasks that are taking too long or you'd prefer not to do personally?

Internships are a great way to get bargain priced work at the same time you interview new associates. There’s a limited commitment from both parties, so if you select the wrong candidate, they will be out of your hair and back to school in no time. In the best case scenario, you will get an excellent full-time employee who understands your business and can hit the ground running, all for an entry level price.  

Don't want to deal with the internship paperwork schools require?  One lawyer told us the intern he hired handled all of her own paperwork – all he had to do was sign on the dotted line. It can't get any easier than that.

Where can you find qualified legal interns?  Check your local law schools – most have a career services department devoted to helping employers hire the school's former and current students. Or there is always Craiglist – they have a legal employment section that law students routinely check.

Press Release Comparison

There’s a pretty good chance you haven’t been keeping up on the finer points of making press releases. If you’re thinking seriously about marketing and you’re interested in making a press release, then you’re in luck.

Below are guidelines that should be taken into consideration before issuing a press release. From pricing to distribution and even customer service, this guide will have you feeling like a White House media correspondent.

  • Distribution—Just like we tell you with any other type of marketing, you want to be aiming at a specific potential client. If the press release company doesn’t offer an overview of their readership and distribution, your message may fall on deaf ears.
  • Link to your website—Any press release should have a direct link to your website (and ideally your Twitter and blog, too) so that people can click through and visit your various pages. If your press release does not come with an email service that includes links, find another.
  • Links elsewhere—Part of creating an online presence is making people take notice. Oftentimes that means you’ve got to make online business partnerships with other websites and companies. Like reciprocal links, press releases are a great time to create or reinforce strong business relationships.
  • Length of display—How long will your press release be posted online? “Indefinitely” is the best-case scenario.
  • RSS feed syndication—There are lots of RSS feed aggregators and companies that can help you wriggle your way into someone else's mailbox.
  • Images, pictures, videos—Believe it or not, many companies charge extra for photos and videos due to the increased data size during send-out bursts.
  • Third-party ads—If your press release is ridden with third-party ads, then you should reconsider the company you’ve contracted with. Nothing looks worse than ads for similar products wrapping around your important press release.
  • Page titling / SEO considerations—Press release companies are well aware of SEO work. Your press release company should offer a few different tweaks to the title or metadata for maximum visibility online.
  • Reporting—Reports on how many folks decided to read your release is crucial. In addition to helping you decide if it was worth the cost, reports can also help you see who is interested in your services, what part of the state they live in, and help you even more finely tune your target audience and how you approach them.

PR Web, PR Log, and Rapid Press Release are some of the biggest names in the press release business, but others may be a better fit for your practice.

Does Charging Less Create More Business?

Each lawyer has their particular policies when it comes to accepting payment— especially when it comes to clients who can’t afford to pay every dime up-front. Many lawyers turn these clients away, fearful that they won’t get paid their full dues. Others have created flexible payment plans, making their services more affordable and accessible to the general populace.

Nobody wants to act as a collections officer, but it is important to be flexible enough that you don’t scare potential clients away. In the end, it is your responsibility to find the fulcrum between financial flexibility and your firm’s security, and to keep your practice profitable without being taken advantage of.

If you are doing a payment plan or have recently decided to implement one, make sure that you aren’t too open-armed. Try to set a limit as to how many payments you are willing to accept, and don’t bend the rules. Rigidity with your payment plans can be a very good idea, and your commitment to pre-set plan rules will prevent subversive clients from taking advantage of your good nature. You may end up turning some clients away, but you will protect your assets without driving away potential business.