PRO BONO –
COULD E-MARKETING HELP YOU BENEFIT MORE? 4.11.09
The Bar takes pride in barristers’ commitment to Pro Bono, so why do so few chambers’ websites publish news
about what they have achieved?
of two sets advised by LawComms illustrate the missed opportunities:
set in Manchester has a page about “the first dedicated charitable fund to be associated with a set of barristers’
chambers”. But the page has no news about the sums raised, or causes supported.
· A set in Leeds had for years supported a popular law school moot competition – but had never
thought to publicise their involvement or the achievements of the participants.
Why is publicity for Pro Bono so important?
The Radio 4 programme “You and Yours” on the 3rd November featured Pinsent Mason's Corporate Social Responsibility programme and the firm has obtained hundreds of positive stories in a wide diversity of publications
– the legal weeklies, Personnel Today, the Birmingham Post, the FT, for example – as well as an award from Business in the Community. This kind of media coverage is invaluable.
“Responsible business is smart business”, Jonathan Fortnam of Pinsent Mason
told R4 listeners, even in a recession. He said that clients require “innovative advisers, good with
people, with good communication skills, used to ethnic and cultural differences”, skills all fostered by pro bono.
Just as importantly, law firm
staff gain a “real buzz” from the positive results that they bring. And the firm benefits because
motivated staff will stay.
as the ABA’s Law Practice Today notes, nobody really enjoys paying lawyers’ fees, but at least clients “will
be happier handing over money to a nice person”.
Could you get more out of your Pro Bono without doing more Pro Bono? Consider how media and e-marketing
could help. E-mail me if you would like some tips: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNIQUE LISTING FOR LAWCOMMS IN DEFINITIVE ONLINE
Throughout the lifetime of the legal web, Delia Venables’ website has been the definitive source.
Now she has created a new page
IT Support and Marketing Services for Barristers. LawComms is the only listed marketing agency specialising in services to the Bar. Inclusion
is dependent not on payment of a fee or a request for an entry but instead on Delia’s unbiased research, which ensures
that her online directory remains comprehensive. So this is a significant recommendation for LawComms.
E-MARKETING CPD PROVIDED BY LAWCOMMS: 15.9.09
Gerald Newman of LawComms has contributed “Practical
Ways of Raising Your Profile on the Web” to a new E-book from Infolaw, which offers 5 hours CPD to barristers and solicitors.
You can download the E-book at "Legal Web 2009/2010".
AUTUMN'S HERE, SPRING-CLEAN YOUR WEBSITE: 1.9.09
With Members of Chambers coming
back from holiday with renewed energy, it's a good time to review your website and your overall e-marketing strategy to
ensure they can provide full support to Members' practice development ambitions.
get all the help you need from our free guides: "Website Health Check: Your Self Assessment Guide", and "E-marketing made easy: Strategies for Lawyers".
MAKING TWITTER SAFE FOR LAWYERS' E-MARKETING: 21.7.09
"You might think a 20-page strategy a bit over the top for a tool
like Twitter", says by Neil Williams, at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
But useful guidelines are packed into his template Twitter policy.
Neil Williams says he "was surprised by just how much there is to say - and quite how worth saying it is, especially now the platform
is more mature and less forgiving of mistakes."
of the guidance include:
Twitter's importance to the uninitiated
- Setting clear objectives and metrics to make sure
there is a return on the investment of staff time
- Making sure the channel is used consistently
and carefully, to protect corporate reputation from silly mistakes or inappropriate use
plan varied and interesting content, and enthuse those who will provide it into actively wanting to do so.
Whether Twitter and other social networking services are helpful
to lawyers is still subject to debate:
But perhaps there are possibilities:
- Counsel working on leading edge law could "tweet" bits of information from latest research, developments,
- Juniors (with light diaries!) could "tweet" updates from major trials
(whether or not the set was involved) as they unfold.
Glasgow law firm uses Twitter to tell "followers" about house property coming onto the market: Inksters
If you're not familiar with Twitter, track down some
famous twitterers such as Stephen Fry, Lily Allen or John Prescott.
Could Twitter help your practice? E-mail
me your reactions. email@example.com
POOR WEBSITE MAINTENANCE UNDERMINES E-MARKETING - 18.6.09
Scrappy updates, empty pages, and disorganised navigation have ruined the attractively redesigned website of a leading
civil and commercial Chambers - and will nullify any e-marketing strategy they have.
A sound website remains the cornerstone for effective e-marketing activity, but this set of 3 dozen barristers makes
so many errors that would-be clients must wonder about the quality of their legal services:
- There is a separate page for each of the set's 24 specialisms.
But only one of these pages actually provides any information. The rest have just half a dozen words.
- The elegantly clean design of the Home Page is broken up by badly written news headlines in the wrong font, including
an item in red capitals about the deadline for pupilage applications - which had already passed.
Text on some pages goes off the edge of the screen and cannot be read.
- The "Contact Us"
page does not provide the set's e-mail address.
- Navigation around the site is awkward;
it's even difficult to find your way back to the home page.
If you are concerned to avoid similar problems with your own website, there are several solutions:
- Look up your own website regularly, and check
that everything looks right and works properly
- If you are having a re-design, have your own
project manager who can provide the time and attention to detail needed to ensure proper implementation; don't rely exclusively
on the developer
- Ensure you have a designated member of staff or external support with the
time and skill to take responsibility for maintaining the website and keeping it up to date.
Get in touch now with your comments and questions. firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVER MORE POWERFUL WHEN FINDING A SOLICITOR" - LESSONS FOR E-MARKETING: 28.5.09
for the Solicitors Regulatory Authority found that 26% of citizens would be most likely to find a solicitor by searching the
internet. That is as many who would use their existing lawyer and slightly more than would ask a friend
or colleague for a recommendation.
The public's attitudes to provision of legal services by banks and supermarkets is also studied
by the research report, according to the news item in the Law Society's Gazette.
"The report should be required reading
for law firm marketeers. We have occasionally been accused of overstating the importance of the internet in this regard, but
here it is in black and white and from an unimpeachable source", the Gazette's "Opinion" column says.
The Gazette asks: "How
recently have you reviewed your firm’s web communication strategy?".
Contact us now if you would like help with this: email@example.com.
you wanted to know about e-marketing, effective websites, and news publishing, now all in 3 free guides.
Download our detailed practical PDF guides:
”E-marketing made Easy: Strategies for Lawyers”; or ”Website Health Check: Your Self Assessment Guide”; or ”The Guide to News Publishing”.
Get in touch now
with your comments and questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHY DO CHAMBERS INDULGE IN VANITY ADVERTISING? 27.4.09
“One of our members has been made a District Judge.
Is it a good idea to place an advertisement to announce this?”
Many sets pay for advertising announcements about members’ judicial
appointments etc., but it would be hard to justify the cost in the name of marketing.
Chambers ads about members’ judicial appointments often appear
self-congratulatory and inward-looking, intended to please the set and the individual concerned. They say
little for the benefit of external audiences.
One-off advertisements are generally ineffective. Repetition is essential if you want
to make an impression on potential clients. A single ad is forgotten almost as soon as it has been seen.
Spend the money instead
on a reception for your newly promoted member’s former clients, and ensure that colleagues who might be instructed in
their place attend as well.
you’ve got a question, e-mail me for free advice: email@example.com
PARIS GETS IT- DOES BORIS? 14.4.09
A new IT exhibition in Paris provides the opportunity to see how the city’s Mayor
is using IT to make life easier, putting the city way in front of London on the information superhighway.
Wi-Fi is offered free at 400 parks, squares, and centres,
around Paris, through a City initiative: Paris Wi-Fi.
You can use your mobile on the Metro,
while the “Blue Eyes” system, powered by BlueTooth, guides visually-impaired travellers around: BlueEyes..
Velib’s instant bike-hire system
allows you to pick up a cycle almost anywhere in Paris, and drop it off almost anywhere else, just with your credit card,
with no pre-booking or contract needed. Launched in 2007, it’s proved extraordinarily popular: Velib.
IT lovers’ Paris offers other
The summit of the Grande
Arche at La Defense – as well as providing spectacular views across Paris – houses the Musée de l’Information, featuring enormous IBM computers, punch-card
systems, Sinclair and Amstrad computers, and a complete geek teenager’s bedroom from the 1980s: Musee-de l'Informatique.
See all Apple Mac models produced over
its 25 year-history in a special exhibition at the Grande Arche opened on 14.4.09: Apple Mac's 25 years.
Is Boris doing anything to make London
as IT-friendly as Paris? See Boris Watch.
What should Boris and other Council
leaders to facilitate use of IT? E-mail me your suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
RECENT CLIENT FEEDBACK - 10.4.09
“Thanks so much Gerald - really pleased with what you are doing, such a relief to have someone else chomping at
the bit for the benefit of promoting chambers to the wider world!”.
Contact me to see how I could add value to your marketing and online work: email@example.com
HOW TO EVALUATE YOUR KEYWORDS - 5.4.09
The keywords on your website underpin your search-engine ranking. Do
yours match those your intended audience are using for their searches?
You can evaluate and select keywords by using a keyword research tool like WordTracker.com, which will tell you which terms people use when they search for services like yours.
This tool gives invaluable data in the form of a “100-day count,” which
reveals how many times a specific term (keyword) or combination of terms (keyword phrase) was used in all Internet searches
in a period of 100 days. Importantly, it also provides a “competition” count, showing how many times the term
appeared in competing Web sites.
TWITTER YE NOT? 24.3.09
Twitter, Facebook, and other online networking services:
Do they just create unmanageable legal risk for business? Should staff access be blocked because
they foster social NOT-working? Or are they essential marketing and legal research tools for lawyers?
Read two opposing views:
The American Bar Association’s “Law Practice Management” magazine
explains the benefits for lawyers. Online Social Networking: Is It a Productivity Bust or Boon for Law Firms?
Meanwhile, two new “Times Law
Page” articles sound these warnings: “Don’t make a twit of yourself while tweeting”: and “Unwary companies using networking sites could be exposed to allegations of discrimination, race hatred or worse”
91% of respondents to a reader survey
of legal IT experts by the authoritative Legal Technology Insider publication said they could think of no business use for a tweet.
But perhaps there are possibilities:
* Counsel working on leading edge law could “tweet” bits of information
from latest research, developments, and cases.
* Juniors (with light diaries!) could “tweet” updates from major trials (whether or not the set was involved)
as they unfold.
Glasgow law firm Inksters
uses Twitter to tell “followers” about house property coming onto the market: ShetlandHomes; http://Inksters.com
If you’re not familiar with Twitter,
track down some famous twitterers such as Stephen Fry, Lily Allen, or Chris Moyles.
Could Twitter help your practice?
E-mail me your reactions. firstname.lastname@example.org
MPS: ONLINE COMMUNICATION ONLY ONE WAY – HOW ABOUT YOU? 24.2.09
A Hansard Society study found widespread adoption of electronic
communication amongst MPs but that their communication was mostly one way – outwards.
“MPs are transmitting and not receiving. They use the internet
as a tool for campaigning and for organising their supporters, rather than opening up two-way communication”, the Hansard Society report says.
Look at your own website with
this finding in mind. Obviously you include your email address, but beyond that, is dialogue or interaction
is pre-eminently an interactive medium. Contact me if you would like ideas on how you could take more advantage
of the e-marketing opportunities to engage with clients.
NEW FOR 2009:
4-PART E-MARKETING TOOLKIT 30.1.09
Benchmark your website, develop e-marketing, discover how online news could work for
you, and learn about writing news copy, in our 4-part toolkit:
- Website health check
- E-marketing: 12 essential tools to use
- Online news - pitfalls to avoid
Write effective copy for publication.
4-part E-marketing toolkit starts here: http://www.lawcomms.com/id12.html
“INTERNET NEWSLETTER” PUBLISHES
LAWCOMMS E-MARKETING GUIDE: 5.1.09
The respected and authoritative “Internet Newsletter for Lawyers” this week
publishes the first part of LawComms’ comprehensive guide to e-marketing. Part 2 follows in March.
MANCHESTER SEMINAR SUCCESS 11.11.08
Last week’s seminar “E-marketing for Barristers’
Chambers” was a resounding success, attracting 21 delegates and everyone rating the event as “good” or “excellent”.
Senior clerks and chief executives from leading sets in
Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester gained the tools to benchmark their websites, make effective use of e-mail, develop online
news and media relations, establish search engine optimisation programmes, and consider how “Web2” – social
networking websites – could benefit their businesses.
“SEMINARS ARE THE BEST MARKETING TOOL”, CHAMBERS RESEARCH FINDS 30.10.08
All chambers taking part in our October survey
rated their seminars as the best way to market themselves.
Carried out in advance of the LawComms “E-marketing for Barristers Chambers” in Manchester
on 6.11.08, the survey also discovered that chambers’ only e-marketing activity was the use of e-mail to promote seminars.
One regional set runs 80 seminars a year.
The income is enough to support the cost of a marketing assistant to run the administration. The
programme has helped develop a strongly loyal client following.
Preparing a seminar is a significant burden for the presenter. So
gain the maximum value from the seminar material by utilising it in other ways:
* At the very least, publish the material on your
website, or make it available to selected clients who were unable to attend. When publishing seminar notes
online, ensure that you provide links from the relevant specialist section. Don’t place the onus
on visitors to trawl through lists of downloads to find material relevant to their specialism.
* And consider adapting seminar notes for publication
as an article in a specialist journal or website.
* Finally, consider using one of the legal content aggregation websites as an
outlet of an example. Our E-marketing toolkit explains much more about this option.
Query about how you can get more from your
seminar programme? Contact me for suggestions: email@example.com
NO NEWS IS BAD NEWS, SURVEY OF BAR WEBSITES SHOWS
survey of barristers' websites found that a large majority neglect the potential value of news about members' achievements.
Half of all chambers Home Pages lack news updates, where sites do feature news, the most recent item is often well
out of date.
For Chambers, using the
website to spread information about case results and other developments will provide significant competitive advantage, and
is a cost-effective easy-to-use marketing tool. No news is bad news; sets lacking a good news page are missing a key marketing
opportunity. Read more about the survey results - and how you can make your news page more
effective, and our step-by-step guide to writing news copy: "Guide to News Publishing".