Friday, January 23, 2015

Is The Internet Really Dying? Many Say Yes



Yesterday we heard some pearls of wisdom out of Davos from the Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt
who proclaimed that “…the internet will disappear.” To many of us who work in the industry of internet marketing, this should come as no surprise…but to most it still is.

In November of 2014, an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It” was published after many prognostications dating back a number of years now that mobile is transforming the internet landscape. Additionally, many industry experts now predict that the number of people accessing websites in 2015 from mobile devices will exceed those who access them by PC. Why is this important? Because most websites in use today were not designed for mobile access.

But then again, neither was the web.

Many product innovators talk about the point of inflection in which products and industries hit their peak growth and then decline. So has the web and the internet as we know it today hit the point of inflection? More importantly, what forms of information and access will now replace it?

Here is what I do know: the growth of the internet without the simultaneous growth in access points (personal PC’s) was not possible. The growth of personal computing enabled the internet to grow and flourish but the sales of personal computers is now in decline - being replaced by mobile devices. Anybody who has ever tried to access and use the internet on a mobile device which is a mere fraction of the size of a 1024 X 768 resolution computer screen knows the limitations this now presents. Additionally, mobile now enables and utilizes something else a PC could never do: your location at any one time. This is what has help lead to alternative search applications we now refer to as “Apps.”

How have Apps changed the game? We know from the aforementioned Wall Street Journal article that 85% of smart phone users spend their smart phone time on Apps while only 14% of their time is spent on the web. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to visit any school, restaurant and bar to notice how pervasive the amount of time people now spend on smart phones truly is.

So here is the million dollar question: what will replace the internet? 

First off, nobody knows the answer to this question and if they think they do, well, they don’t. We may not be able to predict the future but we can look at trends and see the following:


  • The days of the website are dying along with the web. Will websites every completely go away? Not likely. But what will change is how websites are used and their overall importance in internet marketing. Far too many brand plays are now being made into the web for people to only trust one source of information – namely your own website. Decisions made online are increasingly non-linear and involve multiple information points and citations. Moreover, smart phone access is leading to increasing levels of alternative search vehicles and away from major search engines which were the mainstay of websites. 
 
  • Google’s biggest threat is mobile – which is likely why they are trying to roll-out high-speed fiber networks and now mobile wireless services to their customers. Google understands what ultimately enabled the web (and their initial meteoric growth) and how losing that enablement threatens all of the advertising revenue they receive from businesses who advertise on their sustained search volume that the web provides.


In conclusion, yes, the web and the internet as we know it is indeed going through a major innovation transformation led largely by the change in access enablement from the personal PC to smart phones. Some will call this the death of the web or the disappearance of the internet – all of which makes for great headlines. What they don’t tell you is how quickly this death is coming and what it will be replaced with but we do know this for certain: it is coming and faster than anybody thought…

#lawyermarketing  #apps  #mobile  #branding  #internet  #web

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Does My Law Firm Need An App?



Legal AppsA growing number of attorneys and law firms that I work and meet with are asking the same question: Do I need an App for my practice? When asked I always ask them 3 simple Questions:



  1. WHY would their clients want to download their APP?
  2. HOW would your App make your client engagements better and more efficient FOR YOUR CLIENTS?
  3. HOW REPEATABLE are the engagements with your clients and HOW OFTEN do they take place?



As you can imagine, most attorneys are not fully prepared to answer these questions and therefore would be advised NOT to build an APP for their practice until then they are. There are some key considerations that every attorney and business owner must evaluate in order to understand how Apps can benefit their business. Click here to read on and find out what they are…

#lawyermarketing #mobile #apps #legalapps  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dustin Ruge Presentation: Emerging Technologies & Trends In Attorney Marketing (Colorado Bar Association)

Dustin Ruge will be speaking at the Colorado Bar Association Technology Expo on emerging technologies and trends in attorney marketing on October 27th

For more information and registration:  Click Here
Attorney Marketing Trends Online
 
Date & Time: Monday, October 27th at 4pm

Location: 1900 Grant Street, Denver CO 80203

Faculty: Dustin Ruge


#cle  #lawyermarketing

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