Recently in Mobile Devices Category

April 18, 2011

Mobile Mommy Marketing

Even if you don't serve female clients exclusively, you should be targeting women any time you pitch legal services to a couple or family - because they're the ones making important decisions. A recent study by Prudential Financial, highlighted at Blogher concluded that 95 percent of women are either making or influencing major financial decisions within the household. These results suggest that women's influence has grown; a 2008 study showed that for 43 percent of couples, women make more decisions at home, while in 31 percent of couples, decision-making responsibilities are equally divided.

So if women are the audience for legal services, how do you reach them? Perhaps a quarter of a century ago, you'd run an ad campaign on daytime television or talk shows, but no more. Today's women, and moms in particular, have gone mobile. According to a survey by BabyCenter, (summarized here, smartphone use among moms has risen 64 percent over the past two ears, with 51 percent of moms saying that they are addicted to their smartphones. Top smartphone activities by moms include reading social media newsfeeds, updating social media status and reading answers to posted questions. And moms are also using smartphones to research products and for health and wellness information.

As I've posted before, if you're targeting an audience that makes use of mobile devices, make sure that your message matches the medium.

In practical terms, what does that mean if you're marketing to moms? First, make sure that your website and blogs are optimized for mobile use. Second, since moms use smartphones to track social media, distribute blog posts or other news items through Twitter or Facebook. Finally, consider creating a useful app (such as a checklist of documents to compile for estate preparation or a list of laws relating to special education) that might interest moms, or assist them with legal issues that they may have.
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.

June 30, 2010

Marketing Round Up Post

It's been a while since I've done a marketing round-up post -- either updating older posts or throwing out a couple of links.  So let's get started, and see what's new in the world of legal marketing.

Generating Business From Conferences

A while back, I posted about how you can market your practice through speaking engagements.  Of course, speaking engagements at a conference can be hard to come by.  If that's the case, you can also extract value just from attending a conference - particularly if you read this piece, How to Use Conferences to Generate Business Opportunities by Lee Rosen which appears in the May 2010 issue of TechnoLawyer.  Rosen sets out a three-phased approach for conferences which includes: (1) pre-conference reconnaissance where you identify prospects you want to meet, as well as rehearsal on what you'll say; (2) working the conference, which involves getting around during the conference to meet attendees and (3) post-conference follow up.  (Incidentally, as the video at the end of this post shows, a whopping 80 percent of conference attendees fail to follow up on leads).

The Importance of Being Mobile

Over the past year, I've twice posted -- here and here about the increased importance of being mobile when it comes to marketing.  Well, mobility still matters more than ever.  As law firm marketing gury Larry Bodine reports at his Law Marketing Blog, smart phone ownership is up 38 percent, and lawyers need to start thinking about ways to deliver marketing and education-based contents through mobile media.  Along these same lines, a recent post at Marketing Profs notes that frequent users of social media (those who use social networking sites several times a day) have more than doubled to 39 million in 2010, up from 18 million a year earlier.  These frequent users are likely to be using mobile technologies, both to engage in social media and for other purposes.  In short, it's not premature to think about ways to make your web content and other marketing messages accessible for mobile platforms.

Marketing Tips from MyShingle

For those of you who don't read my blog at MyShingle, I occasionally post marketing ideas over there.  In the past month or so, I've posted on ways to market your practice on the government's dime and also created the short video below on Marketing by the Numbers for lawyers.




Marketing by the Numbers: A Thirteen Minute WhyTo on Marketing A Law Practice from Carolyn Elefant on Vimeo.

January 13, 2010

More on Mobile Marketing

Back in August, I mentioned a Pew Internet Report which found that approximately one third of African Americans access the Internet through a cell phone or other mobile device.  I recommended that lawyers serving African American clients make their websites and blogs mobile compliant to facilitate easy access via a hand held device. 

Now, I realize that I should have expanded my advice.  Because even if only a tiny portion of your target clients currently access the web through mobile devices today, very shortly, many more will.  By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device, predicts Gartner Research.  Thus, as we move through the second decade of the twenty-first century, all lawyers will reap benefits by expanding their marketing efforts to the mobile arena, while those who fail to will lose out.

From Gartner's Press Release:   

the total number of PCs in use will reach 1.78 billion units in 2013. By 2013, the combined installed base of smartphones and browser-equipped enhanced phones will exceed 1.82 billion units and will be greater than the installed base for PCs thereafter.

Mobile Web users are typically prepared to make fewer clicks on a website than users accessing sites from a PC. Although a growing number of websites and Web-based applications offer support for small-form-factor mobile devices, many still do not. Websites not optimized for the smaller-screen formats will become a market barrier for their owners -- much content and many sites will need to be reformatted/rebuilt.

While 2013 is still three years away, lawyers are better off getting out in front, rather than scrambling to play catch up.  So what can lawyers do to expand their presence in the mobile online world?  Below are four ideas:

1.  DO design websites and blogs with mobile use in mind.  The
Online Marketing Blog recommends keeping fonts basic, stripping out images to optimize loading time, remove third party services from side bars and focus on delivery of content.   For those running WordPress based blogs, design for mobile devices is even easier: you can use a WPtouch iPhone
If you run a WordPress blog, you can use a
Word Press iphone theme plug-in to automatically create a small-screen friendly version of your blog.

2. DO develop content with search in mind.  As web access goes mobile, find-ability will be critical.  After all, users aren't likely to have the patience or agility to run Google searches and scroll through results on a 2" x 3" screen that downloads slowly.  Moreover, a significant percentage of mobile users will be searching for local assistance:  consider, for example, an abused wife who's left her home and needs a lawyer to file a restraining order or a businessman arrested for DUI.  In both of these scenarios, the prospective client will be searching for a lawyer away from home and will want to find someone within a specific jurisdiction.
 
The Online Marketing Blog suggests focusing on local directories (a topic I wrote about here) to improve find-ability in mobile search:

The best way to ensure you are found on mobile devices is to make sure your site is in all the local search directories with full and accurate profiles. Places like Google Local and Yahoo local probably receive more traffic from users who want to find business in a certain area. When I've used my phone to search the web, I was searching for specific businesses to visit.  Social networking through mobile is also popular and through links, can drive web site traffic. A combination of search and social is the direction where I see the bulk of mobile traffic going.

3.  DO explore creative ways to establish a mobile presence, but DON'T be tacky.  Fort Lauderdale, Florida based lawyer, Jason Turchin just released the free iphone MyAttorney app, reports the Florida Sun Sentinel.  Granted, the MyAttorney feature which enables cell phone users to call their lawyer at the touch of a button arguably meets the tacky test.  But in my view, MyAttorney is redeemed by inclusion of useful tools, such as a checklist of what to do in an accident and a feature for submitting a case inquiry and uploading and submitting photos.

4.  DO get moving on video  Nearly a year ago, I wrote about the importance of video to online marketing.  As user access moves to mobile devices, video marketing takes on even more importance.  For some users, reading text on a mobile device, can prove cumbersome even at an optimized site.  By contrast, video is much easier to view on a phone, and users can still listen even if they have difficulty seeing the video, they can listen.   Most mobile phones already integrate YouTube seamlessly into their design, and consumers have grown adept at watching videos on the small screen.  Chances are, they'll be equally adept at listening to education-based videos or scrolling through video interviews with attorneys on their phones as well.      
   
Are you good to go in this decade's on-the-go marketing world?  And if not, what are you doing to prepare?  
August 19, 2009

Make Sure The Message Matches the Medium

When it comes to Internet marketing, there's no one size fits all solution.  The effectiveness of any of the tools that I've discussed here at the Legal Marketing Blawg, such as blogs, Twitter or video depends not just on whether your current or prospective clients spend time online but  also where and how they use the Internet.

To understand the importance of how clients use the Internet to your online marketing efforts,   consider the results of an April 2009 study by the Pew Internet Project released last month.  According to the study, 56% of those polled said they have at some point used wireless means for online access - a figure that's significant enough to convince most lawyers to either start or step up marketing measures online.

But the 56% figure doesn't tell the whole story about wireless use.  Turns out that even though African American Internet use via traditional means (such as home or office computers) is much lower than for the general population, African Americans represent the most active users of the mobile internet:

48% of Africans Americans have at one time used their mobile device to access the internet for information, emailing, or instant-messaging, half again the national average of 32%.

29% of African Americans use the internet on their hand held on an average day, also about half again the national average of 19%.

Based on these use rates, you'd be justified in engaging in any type of generic online marketing activities, such as putting up a website or purchasing online ads, if you wanted to attract and serve African American clients.  But given that nearly a full third of African Americans access the web through a hand held device, your online marketing campaign would be far more effective if you invested in those tools which are most compatible with hand held devices.  For example:

-Internet access through handheld devices is usually slower than through broadband wireless and a direct connection.  So a fancy, flash-driven website that may look impressive on a large screen might be clunky and frustrating to someone trying to view it on a cell phone. 

-Blogging can be an effective Internet marketing tool.  But lengthy tomes in small font don't mix with a hand held.  To keep a hand-held based audience engaged, either opt for shorter snappier posts that can be digested in a cell-sized screen or make sure that your blog is mobile compliant.

-Many mobile users frequently access YouTube.  For that reason, video may be an effective marketing option.  Likewise, Twitter offers several different mobile-accessible applications and could also serve as an effective medium to connect with mobile-enabled clients.

Depending upon what kinds of clients you intend to target, there are a myriad of other small tweaks that can make your online marketing more effective.  As I wrote in another context, you need to imagine your audience, or in this case, your clients:

What I mean by imagine your audience is to visualize the individual readers, from those who stumble across your site online to those who dutifully read your updates daily. Where are they reading your blog - in a Starbucks? Their office? At a basement computer after the kids are in bed? Are they dressed in stiff work clothes or wearing pajamas? Using an news reader or catch all site like Alltop to catch up on posts - or do they physically visit the site to get the information?  Printing out your posts in a public library because they don't have a printer at home, or scrolling through them casually on their iphone while riding the subway to a suburban mansion?  By imagining these details, you can refine the form of your post to match your audience's circumstances - for example, enlarging the font or brightening the page if you suspect folks are reading in dimly lit areas, or including an easy print or PDF option if your audience prefers hard copy.

Most lawyers would like to believe that online marketing begins and ends with search engine optimization, that by hiring a good consultant and driving traffic to your site, you'll generate clients.  But all of the SEO in the world isn't going to make a difference if prospects leave the destination once they arrive.  It's not until you understand how your target audience is reaching you online that you can make sure that their experience is pleasant (as opposed to frustrating and confusing) once they arrive.  That way, they're guaranteed to return, or even better, to stick around long enough to decide to give you a call.