Wednesday, October 1, 2014

AZ Bar Association CLE: Attorney Brand Management (1 Ethics Credit) Faculty: Dustin Ruge

Dustin Ruge will be speaking at the AZ Bar Association (Tucson Chapter) on the importance and strategies surrounding personal brand management for attorneys on October 9th @ 12 noon.
Attorney Brand Management
For more information and registration:  AZ Bar Association CLE Programs
 
Date & Time: Thursday, October 9th at 12 noon

CLE ETHICS Credits: 1

Location: 270 N. Church Ave. Tucson, AZ 85701

Faculty: Dustin Ruge


#cle  #branding #lawyermarketing

Attorney Brand Management CLE Dustin Ruge

Monday, August 11, 2014

Creating Attorney Videos That Convert



One of the best ways that attorneys can compete and win online is by focusing on conversion. Despite all the focus on rank and search engine traffic, the vast majority of attorneys still get the bulk of their business from referrals. Since referrals tend to be given out in number (ie here are 2-3 attorneys you can contact), it is important to know how you stack up against your referral competition and how best to convert those referrals to clients.

VIDEOS HELP YOU OUTPERFORM YOUR REFERRAL COMPETITORS

The majority of referrals are looking up attorneys online BEFORE and after they meet you. If you don’t believe this is happening, you are living under a rock. I see this behavior growing in my work and hear examples of this daily now from other attorneys. The fact of the matter is that people are making judgments about attorneys based on what they are “seeing” and reading online. They are creating an impression of your brand long before you even have a chance to sell your brand to them in person or over the phone.

Beyond having a highly professional website (for both PC and Mobile), which every attorney should have by now, attorneys now need to focus on conversions and the most effective conversion tool online today is video. Conversion is nothing more than the art of turning people into clients / cases. Since most attorneys already have a website, additional factors now come into play such as “what kind” of website are they seeing and “how are you different?” This is where video can give you the upper hand.

WHY VIDEO IS SO IMPORTANT FOR ATTORNEYS

Most people truly know little / nothing about the legal profession. So when it is time for them to deal with a legal issue, most people do not know who to go to and often rely on others to help them with that decision. Most matters requiring legal representation are also emotionally charged (good or bad) and people are making buying decisions about attorneys based on the same mindset. When people look at attorney websites today, most have a lot of text – thanks to Google. The problem is that most people don’t not want to read a website alone when making an emotional buying decision – they need something more. They need to better understand the attorney, see if they can connect, speak competently about their issue and if they can trust you. All of this can be better conveyed by video than by written text. We know this to be true. Video producer Animoto recently found in their own studies that video helps persuade 73% of people to purchase a product or service.

HOW VIDEO CAN SET YOU APART

I commonly tell attorneys to write down the names of your most common referral competitors. Next, do a Google search for each of them by name and firm name. Do you see any search results that include videos? Guess where people’s eyes (and clicks) go when videos are displayed in search results? Look at each attorney’s website; which ones have video and which ones do not? If referral competitors have video and you do not, you have a conversion problem. If nobody has video, you have an opportunity to better compete and win. It is always better to be a leader over a lemming and video allows you to do just that.

WHAT KIND OF VIDEOS DO I NEED?

The most effective videos deal with brand (you), your firm and your practice areas. The benefit of the web is you can create as many videos as you want – the challenge is to understand “why.” If you receive the majority of your business by referral, then people want to know more about you (the brand). In these instances, you should always have a profile video of yourself. If referrals are commonly sent to “your firm” and/or your firm is well known by name, you need a video about your firm. Finally, if you have focused / unique practice areas, you should create videos speaking to each practice area (or your most important) and list them on the respective practice area pages.

HOW LONG SHOULD MY VIDEOS BE?

A recent study released by socialbakers found that typically the shorter the video the better. In their studies of videos on Facebook, they found that a typical video is around 44 seconds long and only 57% of videos were watched in their entirety. This video “completion rate” finding helps to address a question I receive all the time from attorneys; how long should my videos be?

In the study, videos with the highest completion rate ran around 21 seconds on length while those with the poorest completion rate ran around 2.5 minutes
. The happy medium tends to be around the 1 minute (60 second) mark – which is where most attorney videos should not exceed.

In summary, most videos perform the best when they do not exceed 30-60 seconds. If properly edited and produced, you will be surprised just how much you can produce in such limited time. More importantly, this allows you to create multiple videos that can each be independently optimized and positioned relative to their topics.

HOW DO VIDEOS SHOW UP IN SEARCH RESULTS?

Beyond placing videos on your website, you can also post them on popular video sites as well such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Most social media orientated sites (facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) are increasingly added video capabilities and you should take full advantage of them. The first place to start is to create a new channel for your firm on Youtube. As you can see from this video, this will only take a few minutes to complete and allows you to easily upload, optimize, manage and track the performance of your videos on YouTube. Since YouTube videos are most commonly displayed in Google search results (hint: Google also owns YouTube), this is the most important place to start. For each video, make sure to include a title, description and links that are relevant and optimized for each video. Other authority building SEO tactics also apply to improve the search results and visibility of your videos in Google.

IN SUMMARY

Videos are one of the most effective ways to convert new clients and referrals online. Created targeted videos depending on your brand and needs and keep them to 30-60 seconds in length. Once created, make sure to distribute them outside of your website and optimize them for maximum search engine results. 

#lawyermarketing  #attorney  #lawyer  #video

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dustin Ruge Will Be Speaking On Social Media For Attorneys: Colorado Bar Association - August 16th

social media for attorneys Dustin Ruge will be speaking again at the Colorado Bar Association's annual "Hanging You Shingle" conference on Saturday, August 16th at 10am on the subject of social media for attorneys.


Date: Saturday, August 16th
Time: 10am
Location: Colorado Bar Association, 1900 Grant St, 3rd Floor  |  Denver, CO 80203
CLE Credits (Full Program): 18 General Credits, 6 Ethics Credits
Registration: http://cle.cobar.org/Seminars/EventInfo/sessionaltcd/LP081414L.aspx#.U-LIw2OTWfb

#cle  #attorneycle  #lawyermarketing

Is Gmail Bad For The Practice Of Law?



Gmail confidentiality issues When I speak to bar associations across the nation, one of the first questions I ask the audience when it comes to client communications is if they use Gmail for your client communications. Invariably, a number of hands go up. At that point, I always ask them if they have read the Gmail’s privacy policy and if they know that Google is scanning their emails?

Why Is All Of This Important For Attorneys?

Attorneys, like many other people find the free Gmail email service to be effective, easy to use and highly portable (you can access and use it anywhere). The fact that over 425 million people now use Gmail speaks to its success.  When Gmail was released back in 2004, it was a break-through technology by providing users with an email account that had literally limitless storage capacities – providing a unique value to users that they could have a huge archive of emails they would never have to delete. The benefit to Google by having all of this m
ass storage of emails was they would now scan the content of those emails to provide relevant advertising for each Gmail user – based on the content of each individual’s emails.

Why Your Gmail Communications Should Not Be Considered Private

With the scanning of email content for advertising, Google opened up a Pandora ’s Box of potential privacy problems. Arguments emerged that if Google could use such data to create increased advertising intelligence for Google, then what else could this data be used for and why? What if governments would subpoena your communications and courts would issue search warrants for your data and communications housed with Google? Think it couldn’t happen? Google has a whole section on their website and even has instructional videos on YouTube about how Google responds to search warrants. For those who still think using Gmail for client communications insures attorney-client privilege, I would highly suggest watching this video and reading Google’s privacy policy before coming to that conclusion.

Google Proactively Alerting Government Agencies

A recent article published in the UK telegraph brought new light to a technology now utilized by Google to scan for illegal images in Gmail accounts. The intent of the case cited in the article was to allow Google to better identify pedophiles by matching “hashed” (or known) images on Google that are also collected by child protection agencies and then notifying these agencies when a potential image match is made. In the case cited in the article, once the image match was recently made in Texas, child protection experts were notified by Google and a warrant was issued to gain access to the user’s information (Gmail) at Google. While most would argue that steps taken to better manage pedophile activities on Google are admirable, it leads to new more ominous questions and concerns about what else such technologies and activities could also be used for. More importantly, where will Google draw the line in the future when potentially illegal content is communicated and when authorities should be proactively notified by Google as to the results?

The Bottom Line & Alternatives

The bottom line for attorneys using Gmail for client communications is that legal protections for information saved and stored on your own computers is far different then information stored in other places – namely on Google’s Gmail servers. As we continue to see by the actions of Google in their improved scanning of your Gmail communications and now taking proactive steps to help “alert” government agencies of potentially unlawful content, one has to wonder just where privacy and confidentiality of communications is protected with Google. For attorneys, this should be particularly concerning but there are alternatives.

It is hard to argue that cloud based email such as Gmail is not useful but just as an attorney would not cross ethical boundaries with other forms of client information, equal care should be provided to their email communications as well. It is very easy for even the average internet user to go to website service providers such as GoDaddy.com and easily register a new URL and setup new email accounts for that website address at a nominal cost. Most even provide web-based email access similar to how you access your Gmail today allowing you to have the same web-based access you currently enjoy – just at a different location. 

In the end, your emails can be more secure and you will look more professional if your email address ends in your company’s website address instead of @gmail.com. Think about it: what crosses your client’s minds when they still see attorneys with an @aol.com email address? Well, similar perceptions may exist for your Gmail address as well…along with other potential confidentiality problems to boot. So make the change.

#lawyermarketing  #attorney  #lawyer 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

72% OF CONSUMERS RETAIN THE FIRST ATTORNEY THEY CONTACT



There is a good deal of discussion these days about client/case conversion but what attorneys often fail to realize is something that the insurance companies learned a long time ago: most people buy from the first responder. Geico, who has literally spent billions of dollars on their brand name alone, found in their own studies that most people will only get one insurance quote and then buy from that firm. When it comes to attorneys, people’s buying habits are no different.

In FindLaw’s recently released 2014 consumer legal needs survey they found that fully 72% of respondents indicated that they only contacted one attorney before selecting them. The remaining 15% contacted two attorneys and 13% three attorneys. In short, nearly ¾ of consumers do not continue to shop around after initially contacting an attorney.

SO WHAT CAN ATTORNEYS LEARN FROM THIS?


We know from previous studies that people will on average look at 4.8 attorney websites before they contact a firm – so they ARE shopping around. The issue here is that the shopping process for attorneys ends 72% of the time after the initial contact is made.

So what can be done to help improve this process BEFORE the initial contact is made…

IMPROVE YOUR BRAND & REPUTATION ONLINE

Online consumer opinions were the backbone to building such websites as Amazon.com, ebay, Yelp and others. Why? Because 79% of consumers now indicate that they trust online opinions about you. This is important for attorneys because many page-one search results for attorneys and/or law firms include consumer opinion sites like Yelp, AVVO, Google local and others. So have you created a strategy to manage your brand reputation online? Remember: if you do not proactively define your brand, others will define it for you. Since most referrals are given out in numbers, write down the names of your top 3-5 referrals competitors. Next, Google their names and firm names and look at the results – compare them to yours. Finally, look at their websites and also compare them to yours. If you were an objective consumer who has never used an attorney before, which search results impress you the most? If it is not you, you have work to do here.

IMPROVE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

Is your online presence an accurate reflection of what you want people to think of your firm (your brand)? As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Most attorneys today already have a website so the question is moving beyond “IF” you need a website to now “HOW” you need a website. Most of your new and referral clients are looking at your website and formulating an opinion about you BEFORE they ever contact you. They are also increasing looking beyond your website alone to look for more information about you from other resources.  In a growing number of instances, we are seeing these “delayed conversions” in excess of 60% of the time.

INCREASE YOUR VISIBILITY

Most attorneys limit their brand and online presence to a website alone and in most cases; their websites fail to provide high visibility in Google for anything beyond their own names. As we have previously discussed, a website is like a book and in order for search engines like Google to be able to properly index and display your website for desired searches, you have to structure the website optimally to do so.  Additionally, your brand footprint should extend well beyond just your website alone so you can create additional citations to support your brand. People who don’t know you won’t always trust what you tell them on your website alone – they want citations to support it. These can come from videos, rating & accreditation websites, news, social media and others. Want a great example of how this can look? Try this one:  https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=tom+girardi

INCREASE YOUR QUALITY OF YOUR CONTACTS

We know from the same FindLaw survey that 74% of contacts attorneys receive are by phone while only 7% are by email and 2% by online contact form.  We also know from other surveys that 80% of callers will hang-up when they get a voicemail. I am still amazed at how many times I will call a law firm on hours and off hours and receive a voicemail or no answer within 5-7 rings. If a caller receives and voicemail and/or if they hear 5-7 rings or more, you are sending them a message (intentional or not) that your contact is not of high importance to them.  If you do not have a live body answering the phone quickly 24/7 you are losing client and cases – period!

In summary, people shop around for attorneys but 72% of the shopping stops at the first attorney they contact. Since the majority of the decisions the consumers and referrals make about you comes from their research online BEFORE they contact you, you need to be smart, proactive and competitive in your evaluations of how you can become the first attorney they chose to contact. You also need to make sure that they way the majority of them prefer to contact you (PHONE) leads to a conversion and not a hang-up. 


#lawyermarketing  #attorneymarketing #sales #business #law #attorney  #lawyer #sales manager

Friday, July 11, 2014

AZ Bar Association Phoenix CLE: Social Media For Attorneys (1 Credit)

Dustin Ruge will be speaking at the AZ Bar Association (Phoenix HQ) on the importance and strategies surrounding social media for attorneys on July 11th @ 12 noon. Presentation will be live and available via webcast.

For more information and registration:  AZ Bar Association CLE Programs

Date & Time: Friday, July 11th at 12 noon

CLE Credits: 1

Location: 4201 North 24th Street, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Faculty: Dustin Ruge


#cle  #socialmedia #lawyermarketing

Friday, June 13, 2014

Upcoming AZ Bar Association CLE: Social Media For Attorneys (Ethics Credits)


The Arizona Bar Association with host a CLE presentation on the changing role that social media has on attorneys and how to best utilize such vehicles to improve and grow your practice. Attorneys come away with a better understanding of trends in social media, social media best practices to promote your law firm and the importance of social media policies.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
  • Develop a social media strategy for your firm
  • Create social media policies for your firm

SEMINAR CHAIR: Dustin Ruge, Regional Manager, FindLaw

Time & Location:

June 30, 2014
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM (Arizona)
00676-SRO- State Bar of Arizona Southern Regional Office(23)
270 N. Church Suite 100
Tucson, AZ 85701
Credits:

1.5 CLE
1.5 Ethics  

Registration:
http://azbar.inreachce.com/Details?groupId=265b838a-2ea2-40fd-81fd-374dc171bebd

#CLE  #attorneyCLE  #continuinglegaleducation #lawyermarketing