Law Firm Marketing for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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As the owner of a small firm you know that what you do is so much more than lawyering -- you're running a business. If you've dabbled in marketing, then you've probably figured out that it's actually much harder than it looks. Figuring out what outlets to use, and what your message will be is hard enough. But what about measuring the success of your marketing campaigns? That's a whole science unto itself.

If you want to know if your marketing dollars are actually working for you, and you want to learn ways to increase your return on investment, then consider listening in on FindLaw's upcoming webcast on Wednesday, April 30th, entitled "Five Tips to Bolster Your Firm's Growth & Profitability."

Not convinced you need to listen in? Here are five reasons why you should.

If Jerk.com [via Internet Archive] wasn't dead before, its fate is nearly sealed now.

The no longer online website just got slapped with an administrative complaint [PDF] by the Federal Trade Commission. Jerk allegedly violated Facebook's terms of service by scraping individuals' photos and names without their or Facebook's permission, allowing the site to create profiles for at least 73 million individuals. Visitors could vote "Jerk" or "Not Jerk," and leave comments. Most importantly, the site charged for memberships, implying that the purchase would allow the person to delete or edit their profile.

But it didn't.

We've written about the so-called Yelp "scam" in the past. Many, including a judge, have compared the site to the mafia because of its alleged favorable treatment of those who pay for advertising. Basically, the common (and so far unproven) complaint is that if a business turns down Yelp's advertising overtures, their positive reviews are filtered out, and negative reviews are given more prominent placement.

Of course, individual anecdotes, the kind plastered in the multiple news stories we've seen on this topic, could just be bitter businesses with legitimately disgruntled customers. What about the 2,048 complaints since 2008, a little more than five years? The Wall Street Journal sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Federal Trade Commission, which responded with the big figure. When the FTC posted the letter on its site, it sent Yelp's stock plummeting 6 percent Wednesday afternoon.

But still, even if Yelp is (allegedly) a scam, can you choose to ignore it?

Attorneys need many tools to shape a successful online marketing strategy, but SEO is perhaps the least understood.

If a world of potential clients is heaven, then Google is St. Peter, and a proper search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is every attorney's keys to the Kingdom. But the only way to find and use those keys, and outpace your competition, is to really understand how "tails" affect searches.

If you've ever looked at stock photography of career women, used everywhere from websites to promotional materials, then you've probably noticed that women who work are often depicted doing the ridiculous. Whether it's sprouting eight arms, wearing boxing gloves or smiling at their salad, the examples are numerous -- and silly. If you look at photos targeted specifically toward women attorney the results are even dumber, i.e., "lawyer woman with gun."

Who does that?

Getty Images' Lean In Collection

Getty Images and LeanIn.Org jointly curated a series of images called the Lean In Collection, "a library of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them." With "over 2,500 images of female leadership in contemporary work and life," some of the proceeds will go "toward the creation of Getty Images grants for images showcasing female empowerment and to supporting the mission of LeanIn.Org." One look at these images shows a refreshingly modern -- and realistic -- view of what it means to be a woman.

Yesterday, we talked about marketing your law firm on Facebook in the new "pay to play" age. But Facebook isn't the only social network out there, and if you are disillusioned by the company's move away from "organic" (natural) news feed placement and towards paid advertising, you might wonder how the other social networks will come into play in 2014.

That's a good question. There are a lot of jokes out there about how the different networks compare (Facebook is "I like bacon," Twitter is "I'm eating #bacon," Foursquare is "This is where I eat bacon," etc.), but how should you, a small law firm or sole practitioner, approach the networks this year?

We'd start with Google+, surprisingly.

"Organic reach" will be slashed to 1 or 2 percent, Valleywag reported. CNET confirmed with the tech giant that the organic reach of Facebook Pages will "decline over time."

This sounds important, especially for law firms that maintain active Facebook brand pages, but what does it mean for your firm's online marketing strategy? If your firm uses a business page, Facebook is inching closer to "pay to play," where the only way for your page's updates to display in users' News Feeds will be to pay for advertising.

Solo attorneys need a marketing presence, and they should know to focus on it.

Still confused about where to get started? FindLaw.com offers a no-hassle marketing solution in the Lawyer Directory, and it's so simple to sign up.

We recently came across an article on Bitter Lawyer, advocating the use of QR code tattoos (albeit sarcastically) in lieu of business cards. I gave it some thought, and in the first and only time I will ever quote Kim Kardashian, "Honey, would you put a bumper sticker on a Bentley?"

Granted, QR codes are popping up as an increasingly popular method of conveying information -- even for lawyers. As my colleague William Peacock noted last year, you can easily add a QR code to your business card. But does that mean that you should ink your QR code onto your "Bentley?" I don't think so.

Here are five -- among many -- reasons why you should skip a QR code tattoo:

"Consequences. They sure suck, don't they?"

Daniel Muessig, a recent Pitt Law graduate who was admitted to the bar in 2013, set up his shop like many other recent grads, most of whom have no better option. And one of the hardest things about hanging a shingle is getting your name out to potential clients.

This ad, which is sure to go viral, should do the trick. It's also another nominee for lawyer ad of the year.