October 2010 Archives

October 29, 2010

Round Up Post: Videos and Podcasts

I've posted about video here a couple of times - and it's only continuing to gain traction. The Beloit Daily News describes how several Pittsburgh law firms are using a variety of multi-media, from video to podcasts, to market to prospects and to educate existing clients.

Similarly, at Legal Practice Pro, Jay Fleischman emphasizes the benefits of podcasting. Importantly, since 2006, podcast penetration has doubled, with 23 percent of Americans now listening as compared to just 11 percent four years ago. Moreover, there are more mechanisms that can deliver podcasts, what with ipods and smartphones, in addition to a computer.

Podcasts can also serve double duty: you can tape a podcast and have it transcribed, and circulate the text as an article for clients and prospects who prefer to learn by reading rather than listening.

Bottom line: marketing today has gone multi-media. Lawyers should think about doing the same.

October 29, 2010

Round Up Post: Social Media

OK, it's time for another legal marketing round-up, where I update earlier posts with new information and developments.  First up, on the social media front, I came across a great case study at Marketing Profs describing how Florida-based law firm Roberts & Durkee used social media to spread the word about the problems with Chinese drywall. First, the firm quickly got out in front with minimal investment by purchasing a unique URL, chinesedrywallproblem.com. Next, the firm created a blog that provided a constant source of updates on new developments and cases. In turn, the site helped attract media and as traffic increased, so too did the site's SEO. Finally, the firm reinforced its presence by using Twitter and Facebook to disseminate links to the blog. End result? The firm now attracts half of its leads on Chinese drywall from its website and blog. It's a strategy that any firm can replicate.

If the experience of Roberts & Durkee has inspired you to move forward with social media, Top Rank Blog has a comprehensive checklist that will guide you through the process. These include:

Definine your objectives. What do you want to achieve with your social media plan? Is your goal to establish presence in a niche and attract clients like Roberts & Durkee? To improve service to existing clients? Your objectives will inform your social media strategy.

Understand your target audience. Do you want to reach consumers? Lawyer colleagues? Business CEOs? Your target audience will also determine which platforms you choose.

Set up the strategy. Roberts & Durkee had a defined strategy - the URL, the blog, the media and reinforcement through Twitter and Facebook. That's a formula that can work pretty well for any social media campaign, but there are dozens of other iterations as well. Take some time to plot a course that will work for your firm.

Define metrics for evaluating success. Though social media doesn't cost much, it still involves an investment of time. So you'll want to constantly re-evaluate to determine whether your social media plan is meeting your goals.

Are you ready to get started?
October 27, 2010

Create an App in a Snap

Since my previous posts on mobile devices, they've continued to gain traction.  Just last week, Forbes Magazine reported that a recent Pew study found that 85 percent of all American adults own a cell phone.  Moreover, consumers are using phones for a variety of new purposes.  A Pew Report released October 19, 2010, found the following:

  • 7% of cell owners have used their phone to look up health or medical information and 29% of cell owners ages 18-29 have done such searches.
  • 9% of cell owners have software applications or "apps" on their phones that help them track or manage their health. Some 15% of those ages 18-29 have such apps.

Just as consumers are beginning to use phones to organize and locate health or medical information, it is only a matter of time before they eventually turn to their phones for legal information as well.  The question is, will your firm be ready?

I previously posted some tips about how lawyers could prepare themselves for a mobile-era, including optimizing websites for viewing on cell phones, adopting video which can be viewed fairly easily on a phone and even developing law firm apps.  Well now, there are more options than ever to develop an app for your firm, ranging from do-it-yourself to hiring a developer.

These new advancements mean that apps aren't just for big firms. In fact, Mashable lays out more than a dozen different options for app development targeted specifically at small firms.

On the DIY end, options include Google's recent App Inventor, which creates apps for Android, or Appbreeder.com, a web-based platform for developing iphone apps.

Read, Write, Web offers thirteen more DIY options, coding skills not required. One app that immediately caught my attention is Ebook app which will convert ebooks into phone apps.

For lawyers who lack the patience, or want to commission a more ambitious app, outsourcing is an option. Mashable recommends Odesk or elance as a source for finding app developers, as well as companies like TheyMakeApps.com which is a mobile app development agency.

One option that none of these sites have mentioned is for lawyers to collaborate on an basic app which could be adapted to their specific markets and branded with their firm name. For example, five different bankruptcy firms (presumably non-competitors) could pool their resources to develop a bankruptcy "means test" app and then "brand" the app with their respective logos. This approach would enable firms to share the cost of development and save money.

So maybe it's time to get busy and develop an app for your firm. Even though there isn't necessarily "an app for that," there are plenty of other options.