Law Firm Marketing for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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There's Google My Business, a local directory that also has Google reviews baked in. There's Apple Maps Connect, which is its own local directory with ratings and reviews. And you know you need to keep your eye on Yelp, the mother of all review sites.

Now Facebook wants to join the party too! Introducing Facebook Places, another local directory that you might use some time when your Yelp app won't load. The Web-based service (it hasn't yet been baked into the mobile app) simply prompts you to "Discover great places in every city." Enter a location and wham, bam, boom: You get cool stuff to do, all with reviews by real Facebookers.

Again, it screams "Yelp competitor," and really, it is. And you need to keep your eye on it.

Marketing is one of those things that people think they can do on their own. A couple slogans, a sign, and boom -- you're done. But marketing turns out to be harder than it looks. That's why some law firms have dedicated marketing managers -- experienced people who make it their full-time job to advertise the law firm.

It's a good idea to have a marketing manager (and here are some good reasons), but the question for today is, what do you look for in a marketing manager? Here are a few considerations to get you started:

You've undoubtedly walked by a billboard featuring a smiling lawyer in a suit, with a caption claiming that he'll fight for you, along with a checklist of things he'll help you fight for. Then there's a phone number at the bottom. Maybe it includes a silly nickname.

Have you ever wondered about billboards -- known in The Biz as "outdoor advertising"? Opinions vary about outdoor advertising; it's either a great, cost-effective idea or it's a vestige of an earlier time (and wouldn't you rather launch a social media campaign?).

If you're thinking about getting a billboard ad for your law firm, take some of these thoughts into account:

That's right -- our expanded holiday season means that Christmas starts at Thanksgiving and ends somewhere around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And with Thanksgiving less than three weeks away, you may want to start thinking about your law firm's holiday cards.

Holiday cards are a time-honored tradition -- something you can send to clients, family members, and adversaries alike to help celebrate the holiday season. But before you get your office staff to don reindeer antlers and pose for a funny picture, here are a few things you may want to consider:

There was once a time where nobody used Google. Yeah, it existed. We used things like Lycos and AOL. But that all ended decades ago, right?

Seriously, Google is the Internet. This should not surprise you. If you wanted to look up orange monkeys right now, you'd probably go to Google. Nearly everybody has a Gmail account. Google's offerings dominate most of their respective markets because they are so damn good and simple.

Google is where your clients are. And it is where you need to be. Check out these five ways your firm can get the most out of Google:

If you're the one designing your law firm website, you might be tempted to craft one that speaks to what you think is important. But really, what you think isn't important. What the client thinks is important is really what's important.

Research has shown that your website needs to cater to your clients' needs, not your needs or what you think should be important to the client. So how well is your website speaking to your potential clientele?

Here are a few things you should consider in making your website client-centric:

Should your law firm offer coupons? No. See, that wasn't too hard, was it?

OK, the answer might not be that simple, but for most practice areas, most lawyers, and most clients, coupons are a bit too low-class for general use. You won't see any BigLaw firms tossing out coupons. You won't even see most family law lawyers tossing out coupons. And seriously, as a client, what would you think if you got a "Buy 1, Get 1 Free" coupon for DUIs or divorces?

Still, you might be tempted, especially if you're targeting budget-conscious clients. Just in case, here are a few more reasons to ditch the coupons, all of which deal with the issue of a client walking in to your office with the offer in hand, ready to take you up on it:

It's the dream of many lawyers to hang out their own shingle. But once you set up your own practice, literally where should you hang your shingle? On the roof? In front of the building? On the window or front door?

These are actually real concerns. As much as judges in the Ivory Tower like to wax poetic about how law is a "profession," as we've written about before, law is -- if you're in a solo or small firm -- a business as much as a profession, and you need to know how to run it as such.

OK, rant's out of the way. So where should you put up your law firm's signage? Here are a few tips to consider:

I have a pet peeve: I hate it when a website has a really interesting link in a post, something that SCREAMS "Click me! CLICK ME!" like the "Exorcist" girl, and then when I do, it's a standalone video.

A video. A video that I can't watch in public unless I have headphones, a video that will take a ton of my monthly data allotment on my phone, a video that I can't watch at work because that would totally be unprofessional.

But not everybody is me. Some people like videos. Some people would rather watch a three-minute video than read a 900-word article. And if that sounds like your target clientele, you might be wondering: Should your law firm website have videos?

Truth be told, if someone asked me whether their law firm should have a Facebook page, my gut reaction would be "no." Why? Practically speaking, it's a lot of work for little payout, more so now that Facebook has entered the "Pay to Play" era. A Facebook page that pays dividends is going to require constant fresh content, moderation of user comments and questions, and likely an advertising budget.

But if your firm already has a Facebook page, or if you really want one, here are three simple tips to make it worth your time: