Promoting Your Law Firm in Spanish

A couple of recent conversations with law firms that deal with Spanish-speaking clients has got me thinking about the need for firms to be prepared for this market. If you open up your practice to those who speak Spanish, you could tap into an entirely new market. You might double the size of your practice. Who knows? Of course, something like this is easier said than done. But to get you started, I am going to give you a bare-bones strategy for promoting your law firm to the Hispanic market.

1. If you are going to promote your legal services to people who speak Spanish, you probably need to actually be able to talk to them. So someone on your staff is going to have to be fluent in Spanish, unless you are just going to refer all that business to another firm. But even then…don’t you need to be able to understand what is being said?

2. Perform Spanish-specific keyword research using Google’s external keyword research tool. The seed keywords should also be in Spanish:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

3. Create pages for your web site, or create a new web site altogether, written in Spanish and optimized for the Spanish language keywords. Caution: do not use software or a web site to do your translation! There is a high likelihood that the language will get mangled, which will damage your reputation. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

4. Generate keyword links to your Spanish language pages just like you would your English pages. SEO is still SEO, regardless of the language.

English language SEO is time consuming and has many moving parts. Shifting to a language that you are not familiar with adds to the complexity. If you are already fluent in Spanish, then you’ve got a big advantage over the rest of us.

Another consideration is whether you are promoting to a broad, global Spanish-speaking market or to markets in particular countries or to specific groups of people. There are many variations of the Spanish language, and what works and is acceptable language to one group may not be understood or even considered rude by another group. In general, the best strategy is probably to take a high level, global perspective and try to avoid using language that is specific to any particular group.

So preparing yourself to do business with Spanish-speaking people will require some effort and resources, but it will open your firm up to a whole new market.

Ready for 2010?

One of my goals for the new year is to write for a minimum of 30 minutes every day on the subject of search engine marketing, so starting in 2010 this blog should be updated much more often. But in the meantime, I am busy preparing myself to come out swinging. I have created some custom organizer pages (yes, even though I am a computer nerd I still prefer to use a paper organizer to manage my affairs) that will help me take care of all the important facets of my life, including health and family. Not just business. And I’ve scribbled and drawn out elements of our marketing plan on a whiteboard for everyone in our office to see. And we’ve set specific goals for the new year. Plan, plan, organize, organize. This is the time to do it so you can hit the new year running. Anyway…

…hope you have a great New Year’s! Be careful out there…

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.

Blog/Twitter/Facebook Integration Using Ping.fm

Blogging, micro-blogging and social networking can be an integrated process if you use the right tools. Integration, as intended here, means dynamically combining content from multiple sources into content for a third or more source.

How about an example?

I am Director of Marketing for a small law firm in Austin. I update my firm’s blog every Tuesday and Thursday. A couple of times per day, I also update our Twitter account. At five minutes per tweet and about an hour per blog post, my weekly time investment is about three hours.

For those three hours, in our original configuration, I am just updating my blog and micro-blog periodically. However, I can get much better leverage on my time if I stream that content to different places, such as a Facebook page.

Using a tool like Ping.fm, I can configure my firm’s Facebook status to update every time I update Twitter. Taking it a step further, I can use the Facebook Notes application to update my Facebook account every time I update my blog. Now I not only get my blog and Twitter account updated in a three hour time frame, I get my Facebook page updated as well.

We have left out one important component of Facebook, which is acquiring friends. So I may need some additional time to periodically log into Facebook and search for new friends. I could even automate that part using a tool like Facebook Blaster. I will still want to log into Facebook periodically and check on things.

Since I’m using Ping.fm, I could also choose to set up some more social media pages and have them update every time I update my blog. In this case, it will be important to separate blogs from update sites using groups. Otherwise, I will end up with a bunch of extremely short blog posts with no titles.

Assuming I just stick to one blog, a Twitter account, and a Facebook account, I can still merge the information created from two of them (my blog and Twitter) into my Facebook account, thus having a Facebook account that remains fairly active without requiring any additional work on my part.

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.

Dofollow Blog Link Building for Law Firms

An underutilized link building strategy for law firms is posting comments which contain keyword links on relevant blog posts. This is an old school strategy that has been used for years. Internet marketers have also abused the strategy. The major blogging platforms have mostly made it so that blogs, by default, do not allow “nofollow” links.

So what exactly does “nofollow” mean? “Nofollow” is an attribute that can be set for any link to disallow search engine spiders from following the link. You don’t get credit for it. So why bother?

For one thing, just getting your name and firm name on an active blog page related to your areas of practice is good self-promotion. You can’t do too much of that. Another reason is that blogs that allow the kind of link you need still exist.

First you have to find them. One tool to make this process easier is Fast Blog Finder. It works by looking for blogs that contain a target keyword and then evaluating the HTML of the blog to try and determine if it allows “dofollow” links.

It is a time consuming strategy, but one that is very effective. But I believe that you should seek links from many different types of web sites. This strategy is one that will compliment your other link building techniques.