Interactive Flash Ads Made Easy

Work Media was recently hired to build a widget for a chain of movie theaters. No, not exactly legal-related work, but interesting work nonetheless. I (Jerry) have a pretty extensive background in programming, and this is generally the kind of project that I will say “yes” to because, for one thing, it’s different from what we typically do day-in and day-out, and second, I pretty much assume that I can figure most things out given enough time.

As I started researching technologies for building this, I discovered Flex. And I love it!

Flex is really nothing more than a platform that turns XML files into Flash movies. The XML file defines the objects contained in the movie and contains script that specifies what those objects can do. You’ve seen those Flash banner ads that let the user interact with the ad itself, rather than just clicking the ad to visit the web site? Those things are created in Flex.

If you do much paid search advertising, this is definitely a technology you should investigate. How about an ad that allows the user to select options that describe how they have been injured in an accident that then sends the person to a page on a law firm web site specifically dealing with that kind of injury? That’s not a very exciting example, but my point is that with Flex, you can create ads that interact and get information from (or supply information to) the reader before he even visits your web site. This technology has a ton of potential for firms to create highly engaging ads. Can you imagine if your law firm TV commercials could respond directly to the people watching them? This isn’t quite that advanced, but it’s a step in that direction.

If you’d like to try this out, give Work Media a call at 888-299-4834 or email info@workmedia.net.

The Sticking Point Solution by Jay Abraham: Marketing Brilliance

I was contacted a few weeks ago, along with lots of others, about helping pre-sell the new book, The Sticking Point Solution by Jay Abraham. Well, at the time I just didn’t have any time to devote to it. But Jay’s son, Troy, was kind enough to send me a copy, and I have to say this is one of the best marketing books I have ever read (and I’ve read quite a few).

Abraham may be the world’s top marketing expert. He has worked with businesses in over 400 industries, and he is extremely well paid for helping businesses figure out how to make more money. But you don’t have to pay Abraham $5 thousand per hour to work with you – just buy his book!

This book does a brilliant job of distilling and organizing Abraham’s wealth of knowledge about marketing. If you read this book, do some deep thinking, and then create a marketing plan for your business based on the ideas contained in it, I would be highly surprised if you did not experience increased revenue.

Work Media is entering a transitional phrase, and this book has already sparked many ideas for how we need to build our business. This was the perfect book for me to read, right at the time when I am pondering where my business should go.

The book is out now and can be found on Amazon.com and on many other bookseller web sites. I advise you pick up a copy today.

Have you checked out my new Twitter blog yet?

Article Video Robot: Software to Ruin Your Reputation

In Internet marketing, fast is the name of the game. Got an article? Don’t just submit it to one article directory, submit it to a hundred. Don’t do it manually, use software. Then turn it into a video and submit it to a bunch of video directories using video submission software.

And so it was with great excitement that I recently started trying out Article Video Robot. I absolutely LOVE the concept of this service. The idea is that you load a text articles into a web site that automatically reads portions of the text, which is then combined with animated static images to create a video from the article. You can even then mass distribute it from the same program. All in under three minutes! For busy professionals like lawyers who don’t have much time to devote to Internet marketing, this is a fantastic strategy.

Great idea. It only it worked.

This is junk software for people creating junk content to try and make money on affiliate sales. For a business like a law firm, where reputation is very important, this software is to be avoided.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of creating videos by combining an audio voiceover with still images (it’s a low tech technique that we use all the time), but transitions should be smooth, and the voiceover should sound somewhat professional. We found that a large amount of time was required to tweak the videos into respectability. Three minutes? Try three to six hours. The system is awkward to use, and in the end, it is quicker for us to just create videos manually, even using plain ol’ Windows Movie Maker.

One of the main problems is that the computerized voice readings of article text tend to need a LOT of tweaking to sound reasonably human. The software gives you the option of recording your own voice for each “frame” (which corresponds to a paragraph of the text article) of the video. But by the time we do all that, it would have been just as fast to manually record an audio track and mix it with some still shots using our own software. Any video you create in three minutes using Article Video Robot will be trash.

The company claims to offer a trial period, but we were refused a refund even though we used the software less than two weeks. The stated reason is that we had done four video submissions (which was actually two videos, due to two failed attempts at using the system), which was too many for a refund. What I wonder is how we were supposed to thoroughly try the system out without actually creating and submitting videos.

I wish I had the time back that I spent trying to use this junk software. But a refund would have at least left me with the feeling that this is an honest company trying to create an honest product that just quite isn’t there yet. Instead, I am left feeling like I got ripped off.

Article Video Robot is definitely not recommended for any law firm’s use. If you want to use video distribution to promote your law firm, you should find another way to get it done. Or contact Work Media. We’ll be glad to help out.

Law Firm Marketing: Do One Thing Every Day

For most of the last week, I have had my head buried in a project that was inspired by some conversation on a LinkedIn group that I participate in. It was a programming-heavy project that required many hours of work. I had to pound on it until it was done.

But a funny thing happened during the six days (counting a weekend) that I spent working on it. I stopped promoting. I realized yesterday that I had not written a new blog post in several days…had not made a Twitter post in several days…I really had not done any promotion.

For a small business, promotion is existence. The business that doesn’t promote itself, more often than not, is a business that goes out of business.

I am reminded of something said by one of my favorite marketing pros, Dan Kennedy. To paraphrase:

Do one thing every day to put business in your pipeline.

Every day, without exception, before you lay your head down for the night, do at least one thing to generate business. Send an email. Do a blog post. Post on a forum. Write a letter. Do something.

Have you done something today to generate business?

Need some help orchestrating your firm’s internet marketing plan? We’re here to help. Contact Work Media at info@workmedia.net or call 888-299-4837.

Multi-Channel Marketing Integration for Law Firms

The process of combining your marketing initiatives into a unified campaign is called multi-channel integration, and it is not just something done by big companies with big budgets. It is also something that you should be doing for your law firm. For clarification, the concept I’m talking about is using email, your web site, social networking, blogging and other relevant channels in an integrated marketing plan, rather than just relying on one or two of them.

To clarify, let’s look at an example. Maybe your web site has an autoresponder form for people to sign up for your newsletter. Autoresponders are high leverage tools because they automatically send a series of pre-programmed messages to those who sign up. The emails you send should be informational and high value, but they can also be used to promote your web site, your Facebook page, or whatever. Your blog RSS stream would be used to update your Facebook page and other web properties. Your blog content will contain references and links to your various other web properties. Basically, everything should link to everything else.

And there is the matter of your offline marketing – print, TV, etc. All of your offline printing should contain at least your main web site URL. There has been a trend in advertising recently to begin a conversation with the viewer with offline advertising that tries to lead him to the advertiser’s online marketing.

For the ultimate example of this type of marketing integration, look no further than everybody’s favorite domain registrar, GoDaddy.com. The TV advertising created by GoDaddy is fun, sexy, and a little bit controversial, and it does a great job of driving the viewers of the commercials to the GoDaddy web site where they can view uncensored versions of their commercials and more Web-only content. If you’ve ever bought anything at GoDaddy.com, you also know that they are the masters of the up-sell (but that’s another story).

The main point to come away with here is that any single online or offline property should not be viewed as a standalone entity; it should instead be looked at as one component of an integrated campaign using properties that all relate and make reference to one another.

I would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about this stuff in more detail. Contact Work Media at www.workmedia.net, or check out www.law-firm-internet-marketing.net for more law firm-specific Internet marketing strategies.

Legal Trend Hopping with Print on Demand

Print on demand (POD) is a technology that my firm has made heavy use of for self-promotion. It is a fantastic technology for use by publishing companies, as well as any independent business that wants to produce its own books. In this post, I want to discuss a concept related to POD that I call “trend hopping.” The idea is to use print on demand technology to quickly create books or other products focused on very timely subjects – subjects related to your areas of practice.

POD allows you to quickly create products based on the public’s interests at the moment. One example is mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, which is a hot subject in the legal industry. Your could write a book on this subject and make it freely available to anyone who visits your web site. The book could provide more information about what mesothelioma is and what a person’s legal rights are.

Intuitively, it might seem like an expensive form of marketing, but it’s really not. To order copies of your book yourself will probably cost you $2 or $3 per copy. If you use paid search to drive traffic to your web site, you might be paying $25 or $50 per visit. So in the general scheme of things, another couple of bucks is not much relative to the cost of getting traffic to your site, and it just might improve your chance at signing up a client.

Trends always change. Just because people are interested in something right now does not at all mean that they will be tomorrow. The kinds of cases you pursue today may be different tomorrow. Traditional printing does not deal with this situation very well because it requires the publisher to estimate the number of copies of a book that will sell (or that you want to give away). Predicting when a trend will end is difficult.

POD eliminates the risk completely. You don’t have to worry about printing and storing books in advance. With POD, you will only print the number of books that you need and no more.

Contact Work Media, a Nashville-based search engine marketing firm, to learn more about using this and other strategies to promote your law firm.