Stumbling for Law Firms: How to Use StumbleUpon

Probably not many legal marketers reading this are actively using StumbleUpon, and that could be a mistake. The site displays random sites submitted by other users based on your interests. I doubt many legal marketers really have time to just sit and watch random web sites appear. However, where StumbleUpon becomes useful is in submitting web pages of your own into the StumbleUpon system to be seen by others. StumbleUpon is very popular and has the potential to put your web site in front of a lot of eyeballs.

There is one caveat: you must create the appearance of being an active user, and not just a marketer trying to get your site in front of people. Follow these rules and your “stumbling” will be more effective.

Make sure you set up a good profile with a nice photo. Failing to set up a good profile will emphasize that you are a marketer only looking to promote your own web site, rather than a part of the community.

Every time you submit a site, take the time to provide a well-written description and appropriate tags.

When another user recommends your site, send that person a personal message.

Only submitting your own web pages makes you look like a spamming marketer. Recommend enough other web sites that it is not clear that you are trying to promote a particular site of your own. Try to submit sites that you think other people would really be interested in.

For your pages to receive maximum exposure, they should be strong enough for other people to recommend. The pages you submit should therefore be light on fluff and heavy on value or usefulness. Pages that do nothing but try to sell your services will likely receive few recommendations. The more approval you get from people who see your site, the more visibility you will have in the StumbleUpon system.

StumbleUpon also has its own advertising platform that allows you to pay to have your site displayed to users in a particular category. There is a legal category. Impressions in StumbleUpon cost a nickel each. That may sound expensive, but it is actually a good value because an “impression” in StumbleUpon means someone is actually viewing your web site, rather than an ad for your web site.

I am currently working on a new book specifically about this type of thing, but in the meantime I recommend you check out The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book on Amazon.com for more Internet marketing strategies for law firms.

Law Firm SEO…the Time is Now!

The economy is lousy. Businesses of all types are laying people off or going out of business. Unless you are one of the luck recipients of a huge undeserved bonus, chances are you are not doing as well as you were a year ago. So now is no time to be spending your marketing funds on search engine optimization, right?

No way!

This is the time to INCREASE the amount of resources you devote to search engine marketing and optimization (SEO). There is always going to be some lag time (sometimes substantial) between the time that SEO is done and when you see results. So position yourself NOW to dominate in the future.

The economy will eventually improve. The percentage of the population (and thus your target market) that uses search engines to find businesses, including law firms, is going to continue to rise. The number of firms competing for the top spots is only going to increase. Do you want to be the aggressor, and increase your search engine visibility, or do you want to the be the firm that waits for a “better time,” only making it more difficult to catch up in the future?

So maybe you’re already the top-ranked site in Google for a search of your market and services. You can just cruise along, right?

Hell no!

It is highly likely that there are firms being aggressive right now, optimizing their sites and generating impressive inbound link catalogs. If you stop, you will get passed. Avoid complacency. Keep building your link catalog. Keep blogging and distributing content. You can bet some of your competitors are.

Don’t wait until you think you can afford to engage in a search engine optimization campaign. Time is not your friend here. Climbing the search engine rankings is often a very slow process. Start working on your search rankings today so that when economic conditions improve, your web site will be the one people find when searching for your type of services.

So…what are you going to do?

If you want to learn how to do this on your own, please check out my book The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book.

Law Firm Marketing Success: Measurement is the Key

So how do you know what marketing strategies you should be using to promote your law firm? You have many options. You can do paid search and SEO (both of which I highly recommend), TV advertising, radio, newspaper, Yellow Pages, and the list goes on. You might start by finding out what marketing methods are working for other successful firms in your market.

One problem is that the strategies used by your competitors may not be the same that work for you. If you really want to find out what works, the only sure-fire way is to try different strategies and carefully track the results of each. You need to make a direct connection between the leads you generate and the marketing that generated those leads. You can measure performance by using a special URL with different advertising campaigns. For example, a print ad in a newspaper might display a URL like “www.myfirm.com/special”. Then checking your web site stats for traffic to that URL will give you an idea of how effective the ad is.

There is one flaw in this technique. Some viewers of the ad will not use the full URL, instead just typing your root domain name. This is at least a starting point. Displaying a different phone number for each ad is a more accurate way to generate data. Then you can tell which ads are working by how many calls come in for different phone numbers. It’s pretty cheap to do and there are quite a few companies that can provide the service. Just a couple to check out are callsource.com and capturethecall.com. Just search Google for “call tracking” to find more.

Yes, this is a lot of work. But finding the right marketing mix can mean the difference between success and failure for your marketing. And if you’re going to promote, you might as well do it right.

To learn more about online marketing for law firms, check out my book The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book on Amazon.com.

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.

Link Swapping Reluctance: Get Over It!

A pet peeve of mine is when someone tells me how to do search engine marketing. I have been doing this for years, have promoted dozens of web sites, have written hundreds of articles and blog posts, and have two books in print on the subject. SEO is what I do.

As an SEO expert, I can tell you right now, unequivocally, that link swapping is a valid link building technique. Until I see that it doesn’t work anymore, my firm will continue doing it.

Here’s what I don’t understand: why do attorneys seem to have such a distaste for link swapping?

We continue to talk to attorneys who question us on the matter; who don’t really want to swap links with other sites. Look, link swapping has nothing to do with having links on your site that you actually want people to follow. It’s strictly for the search engines. Don’t worry about it!

I’m not at all implying that you should rely on link swapping is your only strategy for getting links. Certainly, without a doubt, one way inbound links are better, and you need to use other strategies to get those types of links. But link swapping is one important component of your overall online marketing campaign.

However, to receive maximum benefit, there are a couple of rules you need to follow. For starters, limit the number of links on any particular page to 40 or 50. So you will probably need to have multiple pages. You also need to supply your link partners with very specific verbiage and HTML to use for their links to you. Your links pages do not have to be prominent pages on your site. You don’t need a link to it on your main menu. Place a small text link to your links page at the very bottom of your home page. That will be good enough for search engines to find.

This is a great way to begin the process of building a catalog of links to your site if you are just getting started.

Get over it.

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.

A Blog Legal Writers Should Check Out

I recently became aware of a web site (blog, technically) that could be of great use to anyone responsible for law firm online promotion. This blog is written by a guy who seems very intelligent and a master at his craft.

http://misterthorne.org/set_in_style/

With over 20 years of experience as a writer and editor, the blogger, the mysterious “Mister Thorne,” has a lot of detailed knowledge about legal writing that he shares with his readers.

His blog is interesting because it is so specific: it deals only with the intricacies of legal writing, including web page copy. And he goes deep. For example, he has spent several blog posts recently discussing proper word spacing. This guy has knowledge that could be of great value to those looking to improve the conversion side of the Internet marketing equation.

Close more deals with better writing.

If you need help with the traffic side (getting people to your web site), well, then you need to call my company, Work Media, or check out our Internet legal marketing portal, www.law-firm-internet-marketing.net.

Time to Go Wide

Go wide with your blogging Wide as in managing five blogs, not just one.

Whoowhee… It’s hard enough just to make regular posts to one blog, much less five.

And what would be the point? For one thing, it gives you the opportunity to be more focused on specific areas of practice. And the process creates lots of content for Google to index. The key to managing five blogs is leverage.

Here’ how to do it. At the start of the week (or Wednesday, or Thursday at 3:00 AM…whenever), create five new blog posts, each between 200 and 300 words, using article spinning syntax and many alternate passages and paragraps. In other words, each of the five blog posts should be written in such a way to serve as a seed article for numerous other technically unique posts.

Next, use article spinning software to create five versions of each blog post. You now have unique content for twenty five blog posts, which you can distribute among your five blogs over a couple of weeks.

It would also be useful to do some keyword research before you write the five blog posts so that you can write them to emphasize some specific keywords. Look for specific, niche keywords that you can dominate. Your posts should also contain a liberal amount of links to your other web properties.

Need help with this stuff? Call me. I’m Jerry Work, with Work Media. www.WorkMedia.net. You can also learn more law firm Internet marketing strategies at www.law-firm-internet-marketing.net.

The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book

Our BRAND NEW book, The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book, is now available for purchase on the following page:

http://law-firm-internet-marketing.net/the-law-firm-internet-marketing-book.asp

This book is written specifically for people who promote and market law firms. It compresses everything we know into a tight, cohesive law firm Internet marketing plan that incorporates MANY different elements: SEO, PPC, social networking, blogging, etc.

Currently, it is only for sale via digital download in PDF format, but in a couple of weeks it will be for sale on Amazon.com for those of you who prefer a hard copy.

Some of the topics covered by the book include:

  • Keyword research to identify the keywords that people are using to search for the legal services you offer.

  • On-page optimization to rank highly for your target keywords.
  • How to use blogs and the SEO content cycle to create huge amounts of content to link to your site.
  • Using social networking sites like Squidoo and StumbleUpon to promote your web site.
  • Using social bookmarking sites to improve search rankings.
  • Creating your own informational site to guide the search engines to links you want them to find.
  • How to create XML sitemaps to make sure the search engines find all of your web pages.
  • How to perform keyword research specifically for pay per click.
  • How to manage your pay per click accounts to generate the maximum number of leads for your marketing dollars.
  • How to write pay per click ads and landing pages that get results.
  • Specific pay per click strategies for Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter.
  • How all the pieces of search engine marketing fit together.

This is a book based on real-world strategies that Work Media uses to promote our clients.

Google Automatic Matching for Law Firms

Google just released a new feature for AdWords that is in beta trials called automatic matching. This could be useful for your the promotion of your law firm’s web site if you are not maxing out your budget every month.

The feature is intended to help you capture traffic that you may have missed because you didn’t have certain keywords in your account. It works by analyzing your account and displaying your ads for keywords that Google deems relevant, even if you have not specified to show ads for those keywords.

The amount of traffic your existing keywords receive is not supposed to be affected. So if you already spend all of your budget, then the feature probably won’t have any affect on your account. However, the pay per click market for legal terms is very expensive, so this might be a good way to get some additional traffic by letting Google automatically manage any budget that may be left over.

Google wants you to spend every dollar of your budget, so this is certainly helpful for Google because it helps the company maximize its revenue.

But is it good for law firm advertisers?

It depends. I would certainly not recommend increasing your budget just to let Google manage some of it for you. If the economics of your account are working in your favor, then it probably won’t make much difference. But if you are in a very expensive market (as most legal markets tend to be), then it might be a way to generate some additional targeted traffic.

The following links contain more information about pay per click placement:

http://hubpages.com/hub/placing-ppc-ads

http://placing-ppc-ads.tumblr.com/