Monday, November 21, 2011
Advertising on the web can be tricky. And like many things in life, if not done right, can lead to problems. One of the problems experienced by some advertisers online is attracting the wrong customers. As aBoard Certified Intellectual Property attorney in Miami, Florida, I look for a specific type of client – businesses and individuals looking to protect their ideas and creations using patents, trademarks and copyrights. It is a waste of my advertising dollars if I end up attracting customers looking for a bankruptcy lawyer. That is where targeted advertising comes in.
Targeted advertising is a type of advertising whereby advertisements are placed so as to reach consumers based on various traits such as demographics, purchase history, or observed behavior. The idea behind targeted advertising is that your message isn’t just broadcast to the entire world, but rather to people that may legitimately be interested in your services. A simple example of targeted advertising is search optimizing my web site for the terms “patent,” “trademark” and “attorney,” which is likely to reach web surfers interested in those intellectual property matters, instead of just optimizing for the general term “lawyer,” which would reach an immense amount of web surfers who may be looking for attorneys of any type.
A good example of a web site that has been search optimized at a high level of detail, is my friend Spencer Aronfeld’s web site, www.aronfeld.com, which is optimized for the terms “personal injury,” “medical malpractice,” “car accident” and a plethora of related terms. This level of specificity insures that Spencer’s advertising is targeted to those web surfers looking for an attorney that handles personalinjury, medical malpractice and car accident cases.
Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising for advertisements appearing on websites or other media, such as content displayed in mobile browsers. The advertisements themselves are selected and served by automated systems based on the content displayed to the user. This type of targeted advertising involves the placement of your ads in appropriate places. Google AdWords, for example, is a system that will place your Google Ad on partner sites that are related to your area of practice. So if you are a patent attorney, Google Adwords may place your ad on a partner web site that provides free copies of patents to the public. It is logical that web surfers viewing a web site about patents may have an interest in hiring a patent attorney. Again, this type of ad is more targeted than placing an ad in a general location, like a newspaper.
Contextual advertising is also used by search engines to display advertisements on their search results pages based on the keywords in the user's query. So if a web surfer searches for the words “patent attorney”, then the search engine will return a list of paid ads for patent attorneys, along with a list of organic search results. Google, for example, will position paid ads on the right-hand column and a list of organic search results in the middle column.
Advertising is all about reaching your audience. As explained in this article, there are various tools available for using the intelligence of online advertising to target your audience. It behooves any online advertiser to use these tools to get more bang for their advertising buck.
Mark Terry is a registered patent attorney in Miami,Florida. His web site is www.terryfirm.com and his blog is www.floridapatentlawyerblog.com .
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Social Media is an inexpensive and cutting-edge way for lawyers to connect with clients, other lawyers and even potential jurors. In my book, “MakeIt Your Own Law Firm,” I describe how Social Media can be a platform and be used to promote ideas and concepts that will show the world that lawyers are about more than just money. I have used Social Media to organize charitable events like silent auctions or networking events.
One starts simply by creating a profile. It should be consistent with your other on-line identities in color, tone and content. You can and should link your website with Social Media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. It will provide an easy way to provide up-to-the-minute information.
Organic Traffic and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can also be enhanced with your Social Media presence. Every time you create Social Media content, search engines “see” or “read” the content and create a virtual connection to your site. The more links there are to your site, the more valuable your ranking becomes. This is called “back links.”
Accordingly, the most important thing one can do is to carefully choose the words in your Social Media. For example “personal injury lawyer” is a phrase that is commonly used. If this phrase can be linked to your site it will increase your site’s visibility. The phrase “personal injury lawyer” is called anchor text. To even further increase your visibility adds your location to the anchor text. For instance “Miami Personal Injury Lawyer” will increase my SEO more than just “personal injury lawyer” because there will be fewer people searching for that phrase and fewer postings.Every time you link your website or Social Media make sure you are using the appropriate key phrase as an anchor text.
There are many different Social Media opportunities and different ways that anchor texts are activated. Some will permit it in the HTML or by code others will require that you use the raw URL.
There are many tools and software available now to automate your Social Media presence. There are also a number of research tools to help identify what words to use and when.
Whenever you send out Social Media always make sure to perform a spell check. Nothing is worse than sending a Tweet to all of your followers with a spelling error or the wrong caption. It is easy to hit send, and impossible to recall an erroneous Tweet or posting.
I recommend that beginners start with a Facebook and Twitter account. Become comfortable with the process before expanding to larger and more complex territories. Unless you are completely comfortable with doing you own Social Media, I recommend using one of the companies that have sprung up around the world that provide assistance.
In conclusion, Social Media is an inexpensive and simple way to gain massive amounts of traffic to your web presence.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
As a Florida personal injurylawyer and author of “Make It Your Own Law Firm,” I realize that networking is a word that is used a lot in business and especially by lawyers hoping to gain referral relationships. Traditionally networking occurs at conventions, happy hours or at events that actually describe themselves at networking events. They are expensive and rarely work. That is why in 2009 I created the Attorney Breakfast Club. The first Attorney Breakfast Club was held in Miami, Florida and dozens of lawyers from various areas of practice and specialties met for breakfast. It has since evolved, and today The Attorney Breakfast Club is a no-nonsense solution to provide lawyers with an opportunity to network with one specific goal in mind: improving their practice by obtaining new referrals, relationships and knowledge. There are not golf tournaments or wine tastings. Each one hour meeting has a specific goal and agenda, helping members to make more money. Membership is limited to only lawyers and just one lawyer per specialty. For example, there is only one bankruptcy, one commercial lawyer, one adoption lawyer and one family law attorney. Meetings are held each month. Currently there are fifteen specialty areas in the Miami-Dade County Club and the Broward County Attorney Breakfast Club is scheduled to have its first meeting in October 2011.
In contrast, most traditional networking events are disguised as nothing more than a Lawyer Happy Hour. They start after working hours, involve free or discounted alcohol, mindless gossip, picked-over hors d’oeuvres and, if you are lucky and remember, perhaps you can exchange a couple of cards.
Most of the lawyers I know adore these little get-togethers. For the busy attorney, it is an excuse to leave the office early, mix a little business with alcohol and have a legitimate excuse to fly to Las Vegas, or leave work early and come home late. If you look at your local paper’s business section I am sure you could find at least three different networking events per day within an hour of your home or office.
The key to successful networking is deciding when, where, and how to do it, keeping in mind these five Rules:
Rule 1: Realistic Expectations. This process starts with visualizing what you are trying to achieve from attending the event and whether your expectations are reasonable. Many novice networkers expect that by attending one fundraiser or one Rotary Club meeting they will walk away with a movie deal or million dollar listing. Perhaps this is possible, but highly unlikely.
Networking is like flying. It takes many long flights to Wichita to acquire enough frequent flyer miles to warrant an upgrade to first class. Expect to invest in many, many outings to obtain results. I have found that members of the Attorney Breakfast Club who attend the most meetings are often those who have enjoyed the most referrals.
Rule 2: Don’t Drink. No matter where the event is held, even a wine tasting (especially a wine tasting), do not drink. Remember that this is a business event and you are working. Absolutely no alcohol should be consumed. There is a risk of over indulgence, especially after a long day of work, fatigued with sometimes little or no food for absorption; the potential harm one can cause their reputation is great. Even if you are not, in your opinion, affected by a few drinks, you might miss the real reason you go to these things: an opportunity. I have seen many people make absolute fools of themselves at an open bar and I simply think the risk is too great. At all Attorney Breakfast Club meetings, alcohol consumption is forbidden.
Rule 3: Don’t Under Dress. Depending on the business you are in and the location of the event, you might be tempted to think that you do not need to dress up. I agree that not every event needs a suit and tie, but make sure that you have a presentable casual outfit. It may be a BBQ, but if it’s for a business event, it does not mean you can wear the same flip-flops and tank top you would wear to your brother-in-law’s tailgate party before the “big game.” At the Attorney Breakfast Club we encourage members to dress as though they are attending court.
Rule 4: Bring Business Cards. How many times have you been without a business card after hours? It’s a sin not to carry a complete box in your car at all times. Put extra cards in your jacket and shirt pocket. You cannot go anywhere without a card. The Attorney Breakfast Club website lists contact information of all members making it easy to refer each other cases even when you cannot remember who the lawyer member is in a specific area of law.
Rule 5: Get Business Cards From Everybody That You Meet. As soon as possible, write on the back of each card where you met them and some kind of follow up. Scan the card into your contact management software or take a picture with your smart phone and keep track of the contact. You spent the time, money and effort to come to this event, make the most of it, by staying in touch with the people you meet.