This October, the Answering Legal blog is sharing some of its top recommendations for attorneys. In addition to this post, which features an inside look at 11 Marketing Tools Lawyers Need To Be Using, we have released lists of 11 Books Every Lawyer Should Read, 11 Apps Lawyers Need To Be Using, and 11 Legal Conferences Lawyers Need To Attend.
There’s a lot that goes into running a successful law practice these days, and below we’ll be highlighting 11 tools that can help attorneys become more efficient and well-rounded legal marketers. The tools mentioned in this piece will help lawyers with building a stronger online presence, finding better leads and making their firm more attractive to potential new clients. Included in this piece are short interviews with representatives from each featured marketing tool. We hope you find this list to be of value.
Good news attorneys! Building a great looking website for your firm no longer has to be expensive, time-consuming or overly complicated. When signing up with LawLytics, lawyers will get to work with the company’s team of experts to launch their ideal website. This can be done by creating a brand new website from scratch, or improving a practice’s already existing site. Once their new site is live, attorneys will have access to a built-in suite of easy to use marketing tools. We spoke with LawLytics co-founder Dan Jaffe to learn more about the product.
Attorney & LawLytics CEO
Can you tell us a little bit about LawLytics and how it can be a useful marketing tool for law firms?
Dan Jaffe: LawLytics is a website platform designed specifically for small law firms that gives attorneys everything they need to market their practices online.
We provide attorneys with turn-key law firm websites that are designed to convert web visitors, attorney-friendly software that puts attorneys in control of their web marketing, and expert advice and training to give attorneys a competitive advantage online.
LawLytics saves attorneys time and money by helping them market smarter. Unlike general do-it-yourself (DIY) website software like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and WordPress, attorneys don’t need any tech experience to use LawLytics, so they don’t struggle or miss opportunities.
And, unlike working with agencies, LawLytics is priced so that attorneys can grow their firms without breaking the bank or buying services that they don’t need. Instead, we focus on what works, and we give attorneys the tools to do it well so that they can remain in control of their marketing and get sustainable results.
What makes LawLytics an attorney-friendly software?
Dan: LawLytics is for lawyers who want a successful website but who don’t want to pay an agency or struggle with website software.
I co-founded LawLytics in 2011 to give small firm owners like me a better option for their websites. LawLytics was a response to my frustrations with the available website options for small law firm owners. The result was LawLytics, and it’s the dream legal marketing platform I wish that I had available to me when I was practicing law.
Our platform has an exclusive legal focus. We empower lawyers to build highly profitable practices by helping them take control of their websites. We provide attorneys with the tools, strategy, and support to help them grow their firms.
Our website design process is turn-key and gives attorneys the freedom to start with a brand new law firm website, or import (and improve) their current website. And we build and launch law firm websites in as little as two weeks. The result is an effective website with a design proven to attract and convert potential new clients. We handle all the technical details of running a successful law firm website, including maintenance, backups, security, and hosting.
Our software puts attorneys in control of their law firm’s website without struggling with technology. Attorneys can easily add and edit website content, drop in pictures and videos, manage their leads, integrate their social media accounts, add case results, attorney bios, and more.
LawLytics makes it easy to create custom website forms to generate leads and collect information from clients. Attorneys can easily deploy forms anywhere on their LawLytics website, and decide who in their firm gets notified when a form is submitted. Attorneys can choose to manage their leads in LawLytics or send those leads to practice management software like Clio and PracticePanther.
LawLytics gives attorneys the power to be as independent or as supported as they choose in their web marketing. Our expert team shows them how to do Google-friendly, content-based search engine optimization (SEO) that attracts potential clients to their law firm’s website and predictably produces business without having to pay an agency and without resorting to dangerous tricks often used by agencies. Attorneys have the option to write their content or have us write website content for them.
What LawLytics feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Dan: Our attorney members love the control that LawLytics gives them to publish new pages to their law firm’s website and make edits at any time.
One LawLytics publishing feature that our attorney members love is our built-in case results and reviews modules. With a few clicks, attorneys can create compelling stories about how they have helped clients that are sure to make the right intellectual and emotional connections with potential clients. These features put attorneys in complete control of the narrative and client experience without any need for technical or design experience, and without having to contact a “web guy” and wait for a response.
Our attorney members also love that LawLytics seamlessly integrates with many tools that they’re already using, like Clio and PracticePanther. Attorneys use a variety of tools to help them operate their practices more efficiently on a day-to-day basis and compete more aggressively in the marketplace, and we want to be sure that all of these services work well with LawLytics so that attorneys can sharpen their competitive edge.
What updates have been made to LawLytics over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Dan: We are continuously adding features and making improvements to the LawLytics platform. In fact, every month we push out new updates to our members, which they get automatically. Sometimes they are incremental improvements that keep our law firm members on the cutting edge. For example, over the past year, we have made improvements in site speed (how fast pages load), spam controls, and added a few new integrations.
And sometimes the improvements are revolutionary. For example, we’re getting ready to introduce a new visual page builder that will empower attorneys with no design experience to be able to create any visual layout that they can imagine while still adhering to our proven formula that attracts potential clients and converts them into engaged leads.
And, we’re working on a set of features that we can’t talk about yet, but that we’re looking forward to announcing. While LawLytics has already opened up a new market for attorneys who want a successful law firm website but don’t want to deal with paying a marketing agency, these features will make it crystal clear to all attorneys how unnecessary marketing agencies have become when it comes to building, maintaining, and promoting a high-performance law firm website.
How long does it typically take lawyers to get comfortable using LawLytics, and what resources does your company have available to help them learn about it?
Dan: Lawyers tend to get comfortable with the LawLytics platform quickly because of its attorney-specific, user-friendly design. It’s extremely intuitive. If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word or any other word processor, using LawLytics provides a similar experience. Since attorneys don’t struggle with our technology, they can focus on what matters: communicating with their clients and potential clients.
We have many resources available to help our attorney members (and the small and solo law firm community in general) learn how to create highly effective website content that drives more business to their firms. Our blog posts, podcasts, and webinars are a great place to start.
Having a poor online reputation can destroy new lead opportunities before they even have a chance to develop. That’s why for law firms, having positive online reviews to display to prospective customers is a must! Grade.us is a review management software that will not only help attorneys get more positive online reviews, but assist them in monitoring their online presence. Garrett Sussman explained to us why Grade.us is a must-have tool.
Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Grade.us
Can you tell us a little bit about Grade.us and how it can be a useful marketing tool for law firms?
Garrett Sussman: Lawyers are busy practicing law. While effective communications have become a priority in the attorney/client relationship, that doesn’t mean lawyers are always comfortable requesting reviews from their clients. let alone have the time. Additionally, while reputation has always been paramount for lawyers, online reviews have only recently become a competitive advantage in the legal industry.
Grade.us saves lawyers time by automating review generation on the sites that matter to attorneys (Google, Avvo, etc.). Now lawyers can easily send out email request campaigns to their clients without having to manually write out what could be an awkward email. Simplify earning reviews and save time so you can focus on protecting your clients.
From a marketing standpoint, a high quality and diverse online review portfolio provides law firms with visibility and credibility on digital marketing channels where prospective clients are discovering the lawyers they need to represent them.
Grade.us also helps lawyers monitor reviews so they know what’s being said about them on the review sites important to them. Finally, Grade.us can be used as a marketing tool by streaming your 5 star reviews directly to your website, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Your digital footprint will reflect your real life reputation.
What Grade.us feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Garrett: The Grade.us review stream widget is a favorite feature among attorneys. Lawyers cans showcase their 5-star Google, Facebook, and Avvo reviews right on their website. When you’re able to boost your reputation with real, genuine reviews, clients are significantly more likely to choose your firm.
What updates have been made to Grade.us over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Garrett: Grade.us recently added the ability for lawyers to print out a business card with designed template that includes the firm’s logo and a link to their review funnel landing page that allows clients to choose which review site they prefer to leave their vote of confidence. The tactile reminder of a business card can be an effective strategy for a traditional industry like law.
We will soon be adding updated designs and a ‘review badge’ that can be placed on the site to elevate your firm’s social proof.
What makes Grade.us the best review management platform choice for lawyers?
Garrett: Grade.us provides lawyers with the most control over their review management strategy. With state and local bar compliance requirements around advertising and sensitivity to attorney-client relationships, Grade.us allows lawyers to guide their clients to sanctioned review sites using crafted language in their email and text campaigns that represent with their own firm honestly and authentically.
What would you say to lawyers that don’t seem overly concerned with their poor online reviews or lack of positive reviews?
Garrett: I’d tell them to look at their competition. Perform a Google search for “lawyers near me” or “lawyers [your city]” or “[your practice type] + [your city].”
Do you appear in the local pack (the top 3 results in the map)? How does your review portfolio look compared to your competitors? With such a visual representation of your reputation on display, who do you think your prospective clients would choose?
In order to be an effective content marketer these days, you need to be able to generate eye-catching visuals that will grab the attention of fast-scrolling online consumers. For lawyers that aren’t interested in dealing with the high costs and steep learning curves that come with using Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator, Canva provides a great alternative. This highly affordable web-based design tool allows you to upload your brand fonts, store your brand colors, and share folders & designs among different collaborators. Liz McKenzie tells us what else attorneys can accomplish through Canva.
Head of PR and Communications at Canva
Can you tell us a little bit about Canva and how it can be a useful marketing tool for business owners?
Liz McKenzie: With the rise of social media, we’ve learned how powerful graphics are for communication, and the ability to create your own is increasingly becoming an important skill in almost every profession. In years gone by someone in sales could create a sales letter and now has to create a beautiful pitch deck to win customers. Nonprofits have to create designs to spread their message and fundraise. Even the startup staple of business plans have been replaced by a beautiful graphic pitch deck. Design is no longer a niche activity that should only be done by a select few: at Canva, we believe everyone should feel empowered to design anything to help get their message across.
And it’s easy to get started. Simply create a free account, and access a library of templates from business presentations, Facebook posts, flyers, business cards, and so much more – and then customise your design with your brand colours, stock photography, illustrations, fonts, giphys, videos… the potential is limitless!
How easy is it to actually make designs with Canva? Is it something busy lawyers and their staff will be able to master quickly?
Liz: The vision for Canva is about making design accessible for everyone, without years of training or expensive, complex software. Because we want everyone to be able to create beautiful and professional designs, we built an entirely new kind of design software, one that is simple and intuitive.
Core to our vision is Canva will always be easy to learn and a joy to use. Our library of high quality photographs, illustrations and templates also draws people to Canva because anything and everything you need is only ever a click or two away from being in your design.
What Canva feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Liz: Canva appeals to anyone who needs to create visual content. Over the last few months we’ve started to see a large number of presentations being created. In addition, our Magic Resize tool (available on Canva Pro) resizes your designs instantly or creates a copy of your design in any size you want – all with a simple click.
What updates have been made to Canva over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Liz: We want Canva to be the place you can go to by default, and so our focus is on creating a simple and intuitive design tool. As such we’ve launched Canva in over 100 languages, including the ability to design in right to left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew, so that our community can choose to use Canva in their language of choice.
Canva Print is now available in 46 countries – which gives our design community the ability to turn their amazing creations into hard copy professional prints, delivered straight to their door.
We also made our first acquisition in 2018. Together with Zeetings we have great plans to offer our community a better way to design and deliver more engaging presentations. In mid 2019, we acquired Pexels and Pixabay to inject 1.1M additional stock content to Canva to bring more free photos to our design community. We’ve also launched Photos Unlimited, which gives you access to more than 50M photos from just $12.95 a month.
While we have made some great strides in realising our vision over the last few years, we’re still only 1% of the way into our plan and vision for the company and the many ways we can empower our design community.
What makes Canva standout over competing graphic-design tool websites?
Liz: While there are a number of companies offering desktop design software and other companies which offer downloadable stock photography, graphics and fonts, Canva is the first to bring it all together and make design simple, online and collaborative.
Canva addresses the evolving needs of the modern workforce by empowering them to create beautiful visual content, which is an essential skill for a wide range of modern jobs including business owners, marketing, social media, sales and even designers themselves.
Lawyers devote a lot of time and money to marketing, but often end up failing to bring in new clients, because their firm struggles to properly manage incoming leads. Lead Docket is a lead tracking tool built specifically for law offices, and can help attorneys make the most of the leads they are already generating, without having to spend more advertising dollars. With help from Lead Docket, a law office’s intake staff will know exactly what they need to do to ensure new client opportunities are never missed. Cameron Killmer offers some more in-depth thoughts on the product.
Support Manager at Lead Docket
Can you tell us a little bit about Lead Docket and how it can be a useful marketing tool for law firms?
Cameron Killmer: To put it simply, Lead Docket is designed to manage leads from the point of first contact through to a final stage (hopefully that final stage is Signed Up as a client). We have processes in place to ensure all leads are given the appropriate amount of attention in the right time-frames. This may include things like tasking staff members to “Chase” someone they may not have been able to get ahold of or sending personalized Texts and Emails automatically (sometimes both). All of this is completely customizable around your firm’s workflow and preferences.
It all starts with Intake. Firms pay money just to get the phone to ring. When that phone rings, leads are put into an intake process. Lead Docket is designed to manage this process while also keeping track of the money spent on these leads.
Lead Docket has various ways to track Lead Sources. We have an API that allows us to integrate with virtually any service who is willing and able to integrate with us. These services may include Website Forms, Web Chats, Afterhours Answering Services, Lead Generation Services, and more. When leads are submitted through any of these services, they appear in Lead Docket automatically with the respective fields populated on our intake form already. This also includes the Source information for where this lead came from. If NOLO sent the lead, the source details will already be pre-selected as “NOLO”, since we know where that lead came from.
Beyond this, we have integrations with call tracking number providers. Firms may associate various tracking numbers with different sources. For example, they could have a unique tracking number on their Billboards and a different number on their PPC landing pages. Regardless, we can make the match automatically when someone calls those numbers and populate the relevant source automatically when the phone number (Caller ID) is entered into our contact form.
Lead Docket allows firms to enter financial information such as Marketing Expenses and Settlement / Fee amounts. This may be used to run some insightful reports to give firms the crucial data they should know. This includes things like Cost Per Lead, Cost Per Case, Revenue by Marketing Source, ROI by source, etc. Beyond financials, firms have the option to run reports on the number of leads that came in from each source, and even break down how many of those leads from each source they converted on.
Why is it so important for growing firms to invest in a quality lead tracking tool?
Cameron: The main benefit of using a lead tracking tool in your firm is to get an edge on your competition. The legal market is a strongly competitive one. If you are not taking advantage of the newest and best strategies, your firm will sink.
The intake process is very time sensitive. If you don’t contact a lead within 30 minutes, your chances of converting that lead decreases by 329% (Source: Velocify Study). Having a tool that provides a system for you to easily follow-up with leads by using autonomy will not only help you Sign Up more cases but will make it easier for your staff to keep up with intakes.
Also, it’s never wise to just “guess” when making marketing decisions. It’s important to know the financial data around the lead sources you are paying for. A lead generation service may be sending you 100+ leads every month, but if you’re only signing up 1-2 leads from that service per month for about $10,000 in fees, then the leads from that provider may not be worth the cost of service and labor.
One tool could help you convert more cases while also accurately keeping track of your firm’s marketing data.
What Lead Docket feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Cameron: The user-friendly Intake Dashboard, which allows staff to see all the firm’s outstanding leads along with any action items that need to be completed, all on one screen.
What updates have been made to Lead Docket over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Cameron: We are constantly adding functionality to Lead Docket. Our goal is to make the system as user-friendly as possible while remaining super effective for various law firms. We add at least one new feature every week, whether it’s something big or small. Since Lead Docket is not built around another platform and is entirely built from scratch, we have full reigns to update the software as we deem necessary.
We have learned a lot from our clients by seeing the different ways firms manage intake and we often add or adjust features to accommodate these workflows. We put a lot of thought into every feature to make sure it’s something that EVERY firm will benefit from. If it’s something that not every firm would use, we are not opposed to adding optional features that can be enabled for specific firms.
Lawyers are always on the hunt for new marketing and business development ideas that will help their firms get a leg up on the competition. Subscribing to Lawcountability makes finding those new ideas incredibly simple, as the service provides a weekly ten-minute video, which offers exclusive insight for raising a firm’s visibility and helping lawyers network. Lawcountability than goes a step further by assigning weekly tasks for attorneys to accomplish, as well as expert guidance on how to go about completing those tasks. Lawcountaiblity’s Ari Kaplan tell us more about this unique program.
Founder of Lawcountability
What makes Lawcountability a valuable marketing tool for attorneys?
Ari Kaplan: Lawcountability® is like a cross between Netflix and a meal-kit service for your business development. It is a cloud-based software platform designed to help lawyers network more effectively for their business and professional development. Users watch a ten-minute video from founder, Ari Kaplan, every week online or via an iPhone app, which offers creative ideas for raising their visibility and reaching out to others on topics, such as creating content, managing and leveraging social media, engaging with the media, harnessing a variety of digital tools for purposeful interaction, and enabling members of the legal community to collaborate more consistently. Lawcountability® is focused on empowering professionals to create business development opportunities.
Lawyers are also facing a dramatically different environment than their peers were even just a few years ago. The level of competition for new business is growing daily and the greatest challenge for those who are seeking to raise their profile is not the lack of good ideas or whether they work. It is the failure to execute due to an absence of accountability. Lawcountability® solves that problem.
Can you tell us a little about your legal marketing and business development background?
Ari: I am an attorney, a legal industry analyst, and the author of both Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace (Wiley, 2011) and The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development (West Academic, 2nd Ed. 2016). I practiced law for nearly nine years with large law firms in New York City, serve as the principal researcher for a variety of widely distributed benchmarking reports, and have shared marketing and business development ideas with thousands of lawyers around the world. I personally apply the Lawcountability® ideas that I promote and routinely provide feedback on their utility. As part of my work, I regularly interview the clients and prospects that users of Lawcountability® are trying to meet so I incorporate their perspective on outreach to the programming.
What can lawyers expect from a typical 10-minute program from Lawcountability?
Ari: Lawyers can expect a potent idea that they can implement quickly. We recognize that legal professionals have very little time, yet need to incorporate business development, networking, and marketing into their routines so we structure our programming and ideas to suit their lifestyle. For example, two of our popular programs are “How to Write an Article in 30 Minutes” and “Double Your LinkedIn Connections in One Minute.”
What Lawcountability feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Ari: Our users are drawn to the content, but appreciate the seamless delivery online or within our iPhone app. A close second to that would be our reminder structure. Since each program is associated with three tasks designed to encourage users to implement our suggestions, call or email contacts, and meet others, the follow-up messages that the automated system sends during the week help keep our lawyers productively on track.
What updates have been made to Lawcountability® over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Ari: We have added the ability for our law firm subscribers to see our entire library of programs on particular topics. For instance, if a lawyer wants to view all of our LinkedIn videos or any that focus on successfully navigating conferences, he or she can select that option and study each one in a single sitting. We support binge-watching Lawcountability®.
We are developing new interactive tools that will give our users the chance to explore our archive of almost 300 programs and find specific episodes that relate to their current needs, such as supporting an upcoming speaking engagement or acknowledging a referral source in a creative manner.
Social media success usually doesn’t come easy to attorneys, as they typically struggle to find enough time in their schedules for social posting. With Buffer, the task of staying active on social networks becomes a lot less daunting. The social media management software allows lawyers to publish and plan their content for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more, all from one simple dashboard. Hailley Griffis tells us more about what lawyers can achieve when using Buffer.
Head of Public Relations at Buffer
Can you tell us a little bit about Buffer and how it can be a useful marketing tool for businesses?
Hailley Griffis: Buffer is a tool to help businesses plan, collaborate, and publish thumb-stopping content that drives meaningful engagement and growth for their brand. There are three products within Buffer. Publish, where users can plan their content for social media. Analyze, where users can see all of their social media analytics in one place, and Reply which helps users with engagement and responding to their community on social media.
Lawyers tend to be quite busy. How can using Buffer help them make the most of the short windows of time they have for social media posting?
Hailley: Using Buffer means that a lawyer could spend an hour a week planning content in Publish and then having Buffer send it out for them. That way they don’t need to worry throughout the week if their content is being sent out and then don’t need to spend time every single day sending out content.
Often lawyers will be looking to share their firm’s social media responsibilities with other members of their staff. How does Buffer make collaborating with multiple team members on social media tasks simpler?
Hailley: Yes, you can have multiple users with different permission levels on Buffer. You could give a staff member the option to submit drafts to you for approval and then within Buffer you’d be able to make edits and add them right to your Buffer queue.
What Buffer feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Hailley: Our Chrome extension is very popular! It means if you’re browsing online and you see an article you’d like to share, you can click the extension and it lets you edit the text and add it right to your Buffer queue without ever leaving the page you were already on.
What updates have been made to Buffer over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Hailley: We’ve had quite a few new features come out lately. A few that are notable:
- Hashtags manager: Let’s you save hashtag groups for your posts so you can add them with a click.
- First comment for Instagram: Let’s you schedule your first comment on Instagram, people tend to use this in conjunction with the Hashtags Manager to send out their hashtag in a first comment so that it’s not in their post.
Anyone can follow along with Buffer’s transparent product roadmap to see what we’re currently building.
The Newsletter Pro
The year is 2019, and believe it or not, a monthly print newsletter is still one of the best ways for attorneys to build long-lasting relationships with clients and increase referrals. Of course newsletters are only effective if they are designed in professional, eye-catching and engaging fashion, which is where the experts at The Newsletter Pro come in. The Newsletter Pro team can create, edit, design, produce, and mail out a monthly newsletter for your firm, while still giving attorneys a high level of creative control. Shaun Buck gives us the inside scoop on this company.
CEO of The Newsletter Pro
Can you tell us a little bit about The Newsletter Pro and how it can be a useful marketing tool for business owners?
Shaun Buck: The Newsletter Pro is a unique business that is designed to help attorneys connect with their clients, prospects, and referral sources on a personal level. Making this connection has many benefits, including turning more prospects into clients, upselling and cross-selling to people who are already known buyers of your products and services, lowering client churn (where applicable), and increasing referrals, just to name a few.
Newsletters have been around seemingly forever. Why do they remain such an effective marketing tool in 2019?
Shaun: You’re 100% right, newsletters have been around for a long time. There are three reasons they’re working so well even in 2019.
- Attention: The most valuable resource on the planet right now is someone’s attention. We have a nearly unlimited amount of choices on what we can do in any moment. When you send out a good newsletter that follows all of the principles I teach in my book about newsletter marketing, you get people to consume your content. When you have the correct content mix, you can build relationships, get referrals, educate, entertain, etc. Right now, most people get zero minutes per month of their clients’ and prospects’ attention — that’s a huge issue!
- High Rate of Deliverability: Sending a newsletter via direct mail has the added benefit of near 100% deliverability. This means that you’re at least a thought in the minds of your clients and prospects, even if someone tosses the newsletter without reading it. That isn’t ideal, but it is much better than sending an email with an 11% open rate, meaning only 11% of your readers gave you any sort of attention.
- Breaking the Norm: Many companies have shifted everything online, but that is a huge mistake. We do tons of online marketing as well as offline marketing because numerous studies have shown that there is something special about a physical object being in your hands, allowing you to feel the paper. Physical mail is also trusted more than an email. Physical mail gets better deliverability rates (to a house list). People aren’t dumb; they know you didn’t spend anything to send out an email. They don’t get the email and think, “Man, these people really care,” but they do feel that way with a newsletter. I know this because we send out over 500K physical newsletters per month, and we get daily feedback from our clients about the success of the newsletter.
Can you tell us a little about your newsletter creation process and how much control business owners have during the process?
Shaun: We’ve really got this process down to where it is simple for the attorney and only requires between 15–30 minutes a month of their time. Even though the investment of time is minimal, the attorney has 100% creative control. Each one of our clients gets a team of people to help them. They will have a storyteller (or ghostwriter) who will interview them and write the stories so it sounds like the attorney wrote it, even though the attorney never has to write a single word. The same writer will also be responsible for any other researched and ghostwritten content that is needed for the newsletter. Alongside the writer, an editor will make sure the content is edited for clarity and consistency.
The next team member the attorney will work with is a project manager. This person is responsible for working with the attorney and their team to make sure the project gets done on time. I find that the project managers tend to spend most of their time working with the attorney’s office manager or another point of contact for the project.
Finally, each firm has a graphic designer who will create a custom design for their newsletter and ensure it always looks amazing and on-brand every month. We’ve made the process simple for the attorney, but as I said previously, they still have 100% creative control. Each newsletter gets a first draft, second draft, and final draft, so there is plenty of time to make any changes before it goes to print. It is this process that makes the finished newsletter product so powerful.
What’s the key to creating a great legal newsletter?
Shaun: This is a great question, and the best part is that every firm has the key.
The key is the attorney! People do business with people they know, like, and trust. If you show your clients, prospects, and referral partners that you’re human — that you have similar interests and feel comfortable letting them behind the curtain — you will make them feel more comfortable with you, and that means getting more referrals from them because they trust you. I’m not asking you to talk about anything you don’t want to, but if you put it on social media, it may be something you could create a story around and share.
It’s also key to not be boring. So many lawyers who try to create a newsletter on their own fail at this. No one wants to read boring stuff; to my earlier point, they have too many other options.
Consistency is another huge factor to success. You can’t expect to mail a quarterly newsletter and have anyone pay attention. It actually comes across like you don’t care, and if you mail a boring quarterly newsletter, that’s even worse! (I have all of the big mistakes listed in my book, and I will mail it to you for free. I’ll even pay the shipping and handling, so it really is free! You can claim that free copy at thenewsletterpro.com/answeringlegal.)
What updates have been made to The Newsletter Pro over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Shaun: One of our nine core values at Newsletter Pro is “Hang On To Your Seat” because we are always innovating our product, processes, etc. We are currently testing upgrades to our HTML newsletters and putting our storytellers through some advanced headline writing training, in addition to five other top-secret items we’re working on.
I’m a huge believer in the Amazon theory of customer loyalty: How can we give more value for the same price? All five of our top-secret test projects are in development to see if we can add more features and benefits without increasing costs to our customers.
We live in an age in which consumers are seeking immediate help for their legal problems, and because of this, all attorneys must strongly consider offering a live chat feature on their website. For firms that do decide to invest in live chat software, ApexChat is a premier choice. It only takes a few minutes to add the ApexChat widget to a law firm website, and attorneys are given the ability to customize the chat widget’s design, as well as the responses used by ApexChat agents. Below, Kenneth Lee make his case for why lawyers need to be using this software.
Director of Growth & Marketing at ApexChat
Can you tell us a little bit about ApexChat and how it can be a useful marketing tool for businesses?
Kenneth Lee: Active invitations to message with businesses offer prospects a frictionless next step along the buyer journey. Form fills require the customer to wait for a response, while phone calls ask them to do to much to connect with your business.
Messaging channels such as live chat, SMS and Facebook offer a happy medium between the two – instant connection between prospect and business with very little effort required.
For that reason, it’s no surprise 9 in 10 consumers want to message with businesses. Messaging is convenient enough to handle on the go, simple enough to run 24/7 and engaging enough to build relationships with prospects and clients.
What makes your live chat service a good fit for law firms? What legal-specific features does ApexChat offer?
Kenneth: ApexChat was one of the first chat companies to service the legal space. Our service was built around a client base of law firms and many of our offerings are catered to their needs.
For example, our lead qualification criteria are perfect for law firms: We confirm that the prospect is in the geographic service area of the firm and that they’re looking for a legal service that falls within the practice area. Otherwise, the law firm doesn’t pay.
Additionally, we have industry-trained agents taking chats. While they’re not going to provide legal advice, they understand the space enough to provide nuanced responses to your clients.
Why is it so important for law firms to have a live chat feature on their websites these days?
Kenneth: People use messaging to connect with friends, family and, increasingly, businesses. As mentioned above, 9 in 10 customers want to message with businesses. However, fewer than half of businesses are equipped to do so.
Law firms that develop messaging strategies will offer their prospects the channels that they want. This will give those firms an edge over competitors who have yet to add this valuable tool.
Additionally, law firms tend to spend most of their marketing resources on increasing web traffic, but what are they doing to increase the conversion of those web visitors?
We’ve found that live chat can increase website conversion rates up to 40% for the reasons explained above: It’s a convenient channel that your prospects want.
What ApexChat feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Kenneth: Call Connect is one of our most popular features among law firms. Prospects who begin chats frequently take the next step by asking to be connected to the office via voice call.
Call Connect is designed to make the transition seamless: Our agents connect the individual to your law firm phone system or intake center straight from the chat.
What updates have been made to ApexChat over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Kenneth: ApexChat is constantly innovating. Some of our recent updates include a redesigned Exit Popup, our desktop-based Text-to-Chat invitation and our Prechat widget. With Prechat we’ve seen substantial improvements in chat rate and lead generation capabilities relative to other invitation styles. In fact, our clients who upgrade to this feature saw their lead conversion rates jump by up to 48%.
Additionally, we’re nearing the rollout of our mobile app. This app will allow law firms to place the power of ApexChat in the palms of their hands.
Users will be able to take chats (including SMS and Messenger) directly from the app, or allow them to rollover to ApexChat agents. This will give law firms a new level of flexibility in how they engage prospects through messaging channels.
Search marketing success doesn’t happen by accident. It’s usually the result of extensive planning and competitor research. For law firms looking to gain a competitive edge in today’s crowded online world, having a keyword research tool like SpyFu is a must. SpyFu gives attorneys the opportunity to download their competitors’ keywords and ads for both paid and organic search, allowing them to learn from firms similar to theirs biggest successes and failures. For an inside look at this product, we reached out to Sidra Condron.
Director of Marketing at SpyFu
Can you tell us a little bit about SpyFu and how it can be a useful marketing tool for businesses?
Sidra Condron: SpyFu helps you learn from your competitors’ best moves and biggest mistakes in search marketing. If you’re just starting a Google Ads campaign, or you’ve started to build content for your site, you need a plan. We help you look at your industry and spot opportunities to attract potential clients with the right message and approach.
Why is it so important these days for businesses to be tracking their competitors’ keywords?
Sidra: Your competitors have similar goals. They’re going after the same audience and usually have the same industry rules and restrictions that you do. Whatever they’re doing to pull in business is fair game for learning. You don’t have to repeat what they do, but you’d be wise to treat it like market testing.
Plus, we love really embrace the concept of wisdom from the crowd. If one competitor is advertising on a particular keyword, that’s interesting. If two or more competitors run ads on the same keyword, they’ve latched onto something worth your time and research.
What SpyFu feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Sidra: It’s always been Kombat. You can pit up to 3 domains against each other to compare their organic or paid keywords. It’s amazing for quickly highlighting which keywords your competitors have but you’re missing. We launched this more than 10 years ago, but it still feels fresh.
What separates SpyFu from other keyword research tools on the market today?
Sidra: It was always easy to say “we were the first,” but that doesn’t mean anything in an evolving market. However, that head start does benefit our customers. We have been collecting data consistently for years, so we roll that into our results. When you search domains, URLs and keywords in SpyFu, that historical data tells stories about what went right or what failed. If you’re building strategy, that’s powerful. Also, by being the first, we’ve always been innovating. Everything we create has to bring value to our customers for it to make the cut. We’ve never tried to be all things to all people. We deliver deep data on millions of keywords, and we update that consistently. That in itself has become a unique feature.
What updates have been made to SpyFu over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Sidra: Yes! Good timing. After years of developing other search marketing features, we went back to our keyword tool this past summer with fresh eyes. We looked for challenges: What could we do to improve our accuracy? What are we doing well that we could improve on even further? We renovated our flagship keyword tool and just rolled it out last week.
We knew that we had been sharing really deep insights, but not everyone knew how to pull those out of the data. Customer feedback gave us some ideas about how to turn our keyword tool into something that would prove valuable to experienced pros but that novices could still master easily.
With more legal options to choose from than ever before, consumers can afford to hold their lawyers to an extremely high standard. If your emails, direct messages, blog posts and social posts are poorly written or littered with grammatical mistakes, your clients will hold it against you. Unless your office can afford to have a professional copy editor on its staff, you need to download Grammarly. This AI-powered writing assistant will keep your firm from making embarrassing grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes. Grammarly will also tell you when to remove redundant words, point out improper formality levels and suggest better word choices. Senka Hadzimuratovic has more info to share about this helpful tool.
Head of Communications at Grammarly
Can you tell us a little bit about Grammarly and how it can be a useful marketing tool for businesses?
Senka Hadzimuratovic: Grammarly’s goal is to help all people connect through clear and effective communication. We’ve been building our AI-powered writing assistant since 2009, and we help more than 20 million people every day communicate as they intend. Our product supports people anywhere they type—on desktop or mobile, in a browser or Microsoft Office—and provides constructive writing suggestions on all aspects of language, from mechanics and grammar to complex issues such as delivery, style, and tone.
We know that professional communication can be very high-stakes—and our writing assistant is ideal for anyone who writes as part of their daily work. Every marketing email or post makes an impression of clients and customers. So we are always working to offer the highest-quality writing feedback in real time, helping professionals say not just what they mean—but ensure that they’re saying it in exactly the way that will have the greatest impact.
Can attorneys trust Grammarly to keep them from making cringe-worthy mistakes in their emails, marketing content and blog content?
Senka: Absolutely. Wherever a user writes with Grammarly, our AI analyzes every sentence and looks for ways to improve it. We split feedback into different writing dimensions. One category of suggestions is correctness, which helps a writer ensure their spelling, grammar, and writing mechanics are always mistake-free. These will help someone using Grammarly avoid that fear of making a cringe-worthy mistake. But we also go far beyond that, offering suggestions about clarity (conciseness and readability), engagement (vocabulary and variety), and delivery (formality, politeness, and confidence). Good grammar is central to good writing—but there’s so much more to a well-crafted message. So our assistant is there to help people not just avoid mistakes but also to sharpen and strengthen their content in more complex aspects of language and communication.
What separates Grammarly from the average grammar and spell checking tool?
Senka: When it comes to grammar-checking and spell-checking specifically, Grammarly has over our decade-long journey in this field developed a broad and precise set of feedback that remains unmatched on the market. But that’s only one piece of what we’re doing: We’re building something that goes far beyond your typical grammar checker. Our goal is to create an AI-powered communication assistant, and we’re always developing new capabilities for supporting effective writing. The feedback around clarity, engagement, and delivery helps people consider writing improvements to their texts in a high-level and comprehensive way. And we recently released a tone detector that indicates how a message comes across, giving a writer the chance to adjust their tone to convey the impression they intend. The Grammarly Editor (our intuitive web editor) also offers the ability to set writing goals for a given document—including the audience, formality level, and domain—so suggestions aren’t just one size fits all but specified for someone’s particular objectives. All of this enhances a writer’s chance of being understood.
What Grammarly feature seems to be the favorite of most of your users?
Senka: Right now, the new tone detector is a favorite among our users. It launched in beta in our Chrome browser extension last month, and we’ve received an enormous amount of positive feedback about how it’s helping people understand how their messages come across so they have the chance to edit as necessary. It’s fun, too—the tones are displayed through emojis, so there’s a playful aspect to the feature. We know writing is both critical and challenging, and we try to help the experience of crafting messages be more enjoyable whenever we can.
Some other features that have been very exciting to release this year have been for our mobile keyboards, on both iOS and Android. We now offer synonym suggestions on our Grammarly Keyboard, which has seen a lot of love from users. More and more professional writing happens on the go, and now you can find exactly the right words—even when writing on your mobile device.
What updates have been made to Grammarly over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Senka: There’s been so much over the past year it’s almost hard to keep track. We launched our new writing dimensions, our tone detector, and the mobile synonyms, among many other enhancements. Because Grammarly’s writing assistant travels with a user across multiple platforms, we’re always working to improve aspects of the experience. On our Keyboard for Android, we’ve released a swipe function to help users write quickly and accurately. Our browser extensions are supporting writing on more sites all the time. We rolled out rich text formatting on the Grammarly Editor, which was a highly requested feature. We also rolled out a new feature that catches inconsistencies through a paragraph of text to make sure that a writing element isn’t used in different variants (for instance, a.m. vs. AM) in different places in the same piece of content.
There are lots of new things on the horizon for us. We’re excited to continue building out our tone detector to support users in more active and compelling ways. And we’re focusing in on our Grammarly Business product, too, to help professional teams of all sizes communicate consistently and achieve positive business outcomes. There’s so much more to come for individuals in their everyday writing and professionals in the workplace. Our mission is to improve lives by improving communication, and we’re very excited to keep working toward it!
For those unfamiliar with our business, Answering Legal is a 24/7 phone answering service, designed specifically for legal professionals. Why would a phone answering service be considered a must-have marketing tool? Because without the support of an always-live receptionist team, a large portion of the new leads your firm generates could end up going to waste. Nick Werker explains below how using Answering Legal will ensure law firms never miss the new client.
Marketing Manager at Answering Legal
Can you tell us a little bit about Answering Legal and why it is such an important marketing tool for law firms?
Nick Werker: At Answering Legal, we make sure that every law firm that needs additional phone answering help can have their calls handled the exact way that they would have them handled in their office, except at a much cheaper cost than hiring an in-house receptionist. Our call center is staffed with real, human beings, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Answering Legal is such an important tool for law firms because it is the perfect complement to a law firm’s marketing campaign. Lawyers are doing their best to get help making their phones ring by spending money on search marketing, digital advertising, social media, and other methods of generating new clients, so the best thing they can do for themselves is guarantee that all of the calls to their firm that are generated by these methods are actually answered. Without having a live person answer your phone calls, you are taking the risk that you’ll not only waste the money you spent acquiring that inquiry, but you’ll incur the opportunity cost of not obtaining their business.
What does Answering Legal provide for lawyers that other phone answering services can’t?
Nick: In short, Answering Legal provides full customization of everything we offer: including the amount of minutes you need in a given month – which translates to how much you pay for our service.
Here’s some of what we allow our customers to customize:
- If they want the chance to answer incoming phone calls before it forwards over to us at Answering Legal, and how many rings before it does so
- The personal information we gather from callers that we send along in messages
- The specific questions we ask new clients during a legal intake
- Whether or not you would like us to transfer calls to you, and to whom you would like us to attempt that transfer
- Our minute plans – as we will help put you into a customized package that fits your exact law firm.
- If they would like us to handle calls only at certain times of the day, all day, or just on weekends
- And really anything else you can think of…
What Answering Legal feature seems to be the favorite of most of your customers?
Nick: Although I’d like to say that our customizable legal intake is our biggest fan favorite, the “feature” our customers enjoy most are our people. From top to bottom, our customers enjoy the receptionists who answer their phone calls, our support team who help their firms get set up with the service and who can help make changes as needed, our executives who handle billing, and even our sales team who make signing up with our service pain free!
Why is performing new client intake correctly so important for law offices?
Nick: New client intake is the difference between successfully getting a client to hire you, and an unproductive, time-wasting phone call for both the law firm and the inquirer. Performing a new client intake is so important because so much of what lawyers do is based on the richness of the information available to them. If the lawyer who is going to take on a new case doesn’t have a plethora of accurate information available to them, then they can’t very well do a good job of representing this potential client.
While they might not be able to articulate this, potential new clients instinctively know that if they are not understood, their legal needs will not be met – at least to their full expectations. So, when you perform a rock solid legal intake on a caller, they feel as though your firm is taking the time to really understand their needs, and will use that information to get the desired outcome.
It also is extremely helpful in the case that you can’t immediately speak to a potential new client. If you intend on calling this person back, you’ll want to be armed with all of the possible data that you’ll need in order to convince that potential new client that you’re the best choice for his/her legal needs. Imagine trying to call a potential client back with just a name and a vague message, and trying to convince him/her that you’re the right person to handle their case, when you don’t know the circumstances they’re dealing with?
What updates have been made to Answering Legal over the past year? Anything new on the horizon?
Nick: While we haven’t added any specific new services to our menu, we’ve quietly expanded our call center – we’ve hired a lot of awesome new people to answer the phones, built out another section of our building, remodeled and redecorated (photos coming soon) and added a lot of new hardware to our system that allows us to better route phone calls.
This has led to a great decrease in pickup time (that’s a good thing), better morale for our receptionists, and honestly, a more fun workplace for us.
We’ve got a lot of new features coming soon, in early 2020. It’s literally our biggest announcement ever. I won’t say any more than: we’re really excited to provide more for our customers.