Welcome to LawyerCasting(TM)

Welcome to LawyerCastingTM, a new blog from eLawMarketing (edited by attorney/Internet marketer Joshua Fruchter) covering "best practices" in online marketing for lawyers and law firms, including websites, blogs, podcasts, webcasts, email marketing and much more!

Read the posts below and in our archives to learn all the latest tips and strategies for using the Internet to market your law firm and develop new business. Enjoy and prosper!

Does Your Law Firm Website Minimize Interaction Cost?

The usability experts at Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) have identified "interaction cost" as a key measure of website usability. As NNG defines it, "interaction cost" is "the sum of efforts -- mental and physical -- that site visitors must deploy in interacting with a site in order to reach their goals."

As an example, when arriving at the homepage of a law firm website, does a visitor have to scroll or click to understand the key distinguishing characteristics of the firm - i.e., what makes the firm different and better than its competitors? Or is that information staring them in the face when they arrive?

Similarly, how many clicks does it take to, for example, secure information about key practice areas?

The key is to minimize the amount of effort visitors must expend to access the content they need to determine whether they want to contact your law firm.

Click here to read more about "interaction cost."

Our agency helps law firms identify high "interaction cost" and other usability issues affecting their website's performance (i.e., conversion of visitors into leads).

Click here to download a brochure about our law firm website audit service.


Is Your Law Firm Website Mobile-Friendly?

As many readers may have heard, April 21, 2015 was M-Day - the date on which Google expanded use of "mobile-friendliness" as a ranking signal in mobile searches. That is, going forward from that date, Google will prioritize websites that are "mobile-friendly" (i.e., incorporate the "best practices" identified by Google for displaying on mobile devices) in the results of search queries run on smartphones worldwide (the change does not affect tablet or desktop searches).

Thus, if your law firm website is NOT mobile-friendly, your rankings in the results of searches run on smartphones could suffer. With the use of smartphones for web browsing growing rapidly (according to eMarketer, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016, and by 2018, over one-third of consumers worldwide will use smartphones), this development will have an impact on sites that get meaningful traffic from mobile searches run on smartphones.

How do you know if your law firm website is mobile-friendly? You can plug your website's URL into Google's Mobile-Friendly Test.

If your website fails the test, what can you do to make it mobile-friendly?

Continue... "Is Your Law Firm Website Mobile-Friendly?" »


Fewer Fields in a Form Drives Conversions

We often get asked by clients how many fields to include in online forms such as forms on a Contact Us page or an email newsletter signup form.

We recently came across an infographic from FormStack (a provider of online forms that we use on our own websites) that shared the results of research into "best practices" for maximizing form conversions. All studies confirmed that, as we regularly advise clients, fewer form fields increases conversions (i.e., submissions).

Continue... "Fewer Fields in a Form Drives Conversions" »


Closed Loop Marketing for Law Firms With Salesforce.com

John Wanamaker, a retailing pioneer in the late 1800’s, was fond of saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” 

Today’s law firms face the same frustration. On the one hand, there are so many marketing and business development options to choose from: 

  • Websites
  • Print advertising
  • Blogging/Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Webinars/Seminars
  • Tradeshows

A law firm can experiment with different initiatives at first, but given limited budgets, choices need to be made, and marketing dollars allocated towards those initiatives generating the greatest return – i.e., the “biggest bang for your buck.” 

To put it differently, wouldn’t you rather invest money into marketing initiatives generating $2.50 in revenue for every $1 invested, versus those generating only 50 cents in revenue for every $1 invested?

Take blogging, for example. Many lawyers blog, but most can’t tell whether and how their efforts are translating into new business. Or consider: do you know how much new business your website bringing in? As compared to your email marketing? Or your webinars? Or your tradeshow attendance? Or your print advertising?

In short, to paraphrase Wanamaker, the trouble is, how does a law firm know which marketing dollars are being wasted, and which are bringing in new business?

The answer for law firms is “closed loop” marketing – a method of tying each new client back to the marketing initiative that persuaded the client to first contact the firm. So you’ll know which marketing initiatives are bringing in the most business most cost-effectively, and can allocate your marketing dollars more intelligently.

What technologies are available for “closed loop” marketing for law firms?

We recommend Salesforce.com. Download our recent report on Closed Loop Marketing with Salesforce.com to learn why.


Lawyer Blog Ghostwriting Unethical? You've Got to be Kidding!

There's recently been opinions expressed online that ghostwriting lawyer blogs is unethical. My (this blog's editor's) initial response - "you've got be kidding!" Effectiveness may be debated (I think that clearly depends on the research and writing talent of the ghostwriter, the oversight of the attributed author, and the objective of the blog) -- but unethical??? I strongly beg to differ, and instead submit that ghostwriting lawyer blog posts is nothing more than a legitimate new twist on a time-honored tradition in the legal profession (mostly driven by the practical need to efficiently manage heavy workloads by delegating).*

For example, the New York Times has noted that the opinions of most federal appellate judges are written by their clerks. While the author of that article was disturbed by this fact (calling it a "crisis"), I highly doubt that anyone would seriously recommend censuring the majority of federal appellate judges for misconduct. To the contrary, federal appellate judges are highly respected and considered some of the brightest legal minds in the country; they didnt' secure their prestigious judgeships by being slouches.

Continue... "Lawyer Blog Ghostwriting Unethical? You've Got to be Kidding!" »


Law Firm Email Marketing Benchmarks and Best Practices for 2013

We wanted to share the most recently computed average rates for key performance metrics for law firm email marketing campaigns in 2013 (based on the approximately 4.8 million emails sent by our law firm accounts during 2013).

Here's what we found for the first half of 2013 (i.e., emails sent by our law firm accounts between January 1, 2013, and June 30, 2013):

  • Average Open Rate: 19.37%
  • Average Clickthrough Rate: 2.88%
  • Average Conversion Rate: 14.85%
  • Average Bounce Rate: 2.98%
  • Average Unsubscribe Rate: 0.21%

And for the second half of 2013 (i.e., emails sent between July 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013):

Continue... "Law Firm Email Marketing Benchmarks and Best Practices for 2013" »


Is Your Law Firm Website Copy Client-Centric (Good) or Lawyer-Centric (Bad)?

When drafting copy for a website, law firms often tend to employ legal industry jargon that may be difficult for prospective clients to understand. They may also describe successes using terms of art that are not meaningful to site visitors. While writing clear and understandable website copy in plain English (using active verbs) can be challenging, investing the time to do so can pay dividends in terms of increased visitor engagement and better conversion of visits into leads.

The usability expects at Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) offer 3 essential guidelines for writing what they call "user-centric" website copy.

Continue... "Is Your Law Firm Website Copy Client-Centric (Good) or Lawyer-Centric (Bad)?" »


Announcing the Launch of Salesforce.com Consulting Division for Law Firms

We're happy to announce the launch of our new "cloud consulting" division that will focus on offering Salesforce.com consulting services to law firms.

Salesforce.com is the #1 cloud-based CRM application in the world with a user community exceeding 1 million users. The core application is extended by hundreds of differents apps created by a large community of Salesforce developers to meet diverse functional needs.

While Salesforce has not made the same inroads into the legal community as it has in other industries, we see Salesforce as an exceptional tool for law firms and attorneys for practice management and marketing that law firm marketers and administrators should consider as an option when upgrading their firms' practice management and marketing functions.

For example, when managing cases and other matters, Salesforce enables attorneys to:

  • Track the status of key matter tasks, documents and deadlines with matter Dashboards
  • Create "exception" reports to identify missing documents and unfinished tasks
  • Assign tasks to individual attorneys, paralegals or other staff members and set deadlines
  • Create custom document templates from your frequently used documents and forms that can be populated with data from your contact fields
  • Update clients on matter status at key intervals
  • Integrate with third party applications to import data relevant to pending matters directly into Salesforce

Continue... "Announcing the Launch of Salesforce.com Consulting Division for Law Firms" »


Client Gilbride, Tusa, Last & Spellane Launches New Law Firm Website Running on Drupal

Gilbride, Tusa, Last & Spellane is a leading Connecticut law firm with offices in Greenwich and New Canaan (as well as 3 locations outside Connecticut) that recently launched its new website.

Running on Drupal, the website features a slideshow on the homepage with thumbnail navigation. Following SEO best practices to boost search engine visibility, all site URL's incorporate keywords, and the title and description tags for each page can be customized.

Consistent with good website copywriting, the homepage conspicously highlights the industries in which the firm has a strong track record.


What Law Firms Can Learn from the Healthcare.gov Website Debacle

By now, everyone is familiar with the Healthcare.gov website debacle - the multiple glitches and technical defects that stymied the efforts of individuals to sign up for health insurance via the new federal online health insurance marketplace that launched on October 1, 2013, under the Affordable Care Act.

But what use is failure if we can't learn from it? To that end, the usability experts at Nielsen Norman Group have penned an article, entitled "HealthCare.gov’s Account Setup: 10 Broken Usability Guidelines," that walks through ten key usability guidelines that the Healthcare.gov website violated, and that should be avoided by other organizations launching new websites and other web applications.

Continue... "What Law Firms Can Learn from the Healthcare.gov Website Debacle" »


7 Best Practices for Law Firm Website Carousels

First, what is a website "carousel" you might ask? Briefly, "carousels" are the navigable slideshows frequently displayed on law firm homepages through which visitors can scroll to learn more about a firm's practice areas, recent accomplishments, and/or other distinguishing qualities. Each frame of a carousel typically consists of a large bold image, a small amount of descriptive text, and a link to learn more about the subject of the frame. The key advantage of carousels is that they allow multiple pieces of content to simultaneously occupy prime real estate on a website homepage. Here's a link to an example we deployed for one client.

But the usability experts at Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) warn that carousels are a double-edged sword that can do more harm than good to a company's image if not properly designed. In a recent article entitled "Designing Effective Carousels: Create a Fanciful Amusement, Not a House of Horrors," Kara Pernice, Managing Director at NNG, cautions that, among other issues, the designer of a carousel may intend it as a collection of images that togther tell a story, whereas many visitors may only be focusing on the first frame without navigating further. However, the image and copy in that first frame, taken out of context, may give users the wrong idea about an organization.

To help companies design more effective carousels, Pernice offers up 7 best practices along with screenshots of sample carousels illustrating her points.

Continue... "7 Best Practices for Law Firm Website Carousels" »


Four Poor Navigational Choices for Law Firm Websites That Drive Visitors Away

Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., is perhaps the leading guru on Web page usability, and so when his firm, the Nielsen Norman Group, criticizes certain approaches to website navigation, webmasters should pay heed.

Recently, Jen Cardello, a director at Nielsen Norman Group, published an article entitled, "Four Dangerous Navigation Approaches that Can Increase Cognitive Strain," that describes four different approaches to website navigation that cause mental strain and distress for site visitors, thereby causing them to become irritated and frustrated, and thus more likely to leave the site prematurely.

Nielsen illustrates each of these poor navigational approaches using "Before" and "After" case studies of companies that employed these approaches, and then fixed them with guidance from Nielsen's firm.

Continue... "Four Poor Navigational Choices for Law Firm Websites That Drive Visitors Away" »


Client M. Robinson & Co. Launches New Tax Law Blog Running on WordPress

M. Robinson & Co. is a leading Boston tax law firm that represents businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations in connection with Massachusetts and federal tax law matters.

The firm recently launched the Massachusetts Tax Alert Blog. Running on WordPress, the blog will analyze recent Massachusetts and federal tax law developments. Among the plugins installed is one that helps the blog administrator manage the photos and bio links of the blog's multiple authors.


Client Ademi & O'Reilly Launches New Law Firm Website Running on Drupal

Ademi & O'Reilly is a leading securities class action law firm based in Wisconsin that represents classes of investors in securities fraud, mergers & acquisitions, and shareholder derivative litigation.

Running on Drupal, the firm's new website features a number of cutting edge features, including a "case" section detailing the firm's new investigations and cases, and ongoing and settled cases. Prospective clients can view the details of any case, and if applicable, complete and submit an online form to request representation. Upon submission, the prospective client's information is formatted into a PDF file suitable for filing with a court and forwarded via email to the attorney responsible for new case development.


Client Glancy Binkow & Goldberg Launches New Law Firm Website Running on Drupal

The leading securities class action firm of Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP recently launched a new website designed and powered by eLawMarketing.

For nearly 25 years, the Glancy firm has successfully prosecuted class action cases and complex litigation in federal and state courts throughout the country. The firm has recovered billions of dollars for investors, consumers, and entities injured by corporate wrongdoing.

Running on Drupal, the Glancy firm's new website features a number of cutting edge features, including sophisticated "case" pages that contain descriptions of cases that the firm is investigating or litigating, along with copies of related press releases, complaints and other documents, and embedded forms allowing investors to submit their trading history and other relevant information.


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