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During the month of May, the SBM Member Directory had 598,880 page views. Of the 61,052 visitors to the site, 45,326, or 67%, were new visitors. The remaining 33% were returning visitors. Why does the online directory get so much traffic and how does this affect you? The member directory helps the public easily find the information they need when looking for an attorney and, because listings are provided by the State Bar of Michigan, they trust the results. That trust is supported by these policies: The object is to protect the public while improving access to legal services. There are no paid lawyer ads in the search results. Profiles ...
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“The problem with marketing the practice of law is that the service we provide isn’t tangible,” Linda Lawyer said to her brother, Lance, as they enjoyed a cup of coffee in their firm’s break room. “It’s not a car you can drive or a book you can read. It’s a will or a trust that goes in a drawer and isn’t used until the future.” “What are we marketing?” asked Lance. “Our professional image,” said Linda. “It’s expressed by our logo, business cards, stationary, website, blog, and newsletter. Now we need a brochure.” Why should you have a brochure? Potential clients may be very wary about hiring a firm they’ve found online or through an advertisement. ...
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Your SBM Member Directory information should be part of an annual review process. Let’s look at each section. First, log in to edit your profile . Your Enhanced Profile Review your basic profile information and then add new information to help gain more contacts. Use your biography to tell prospective clients the basics, such as your education and experience. Feel free to add your hobbies and interests—clients like to feel that human connection. Include a recent photo. Add any additional photos to the gallery and select the best one to be your main profile picture. Add your title—are you an owner, shareholder, or partner within your organization? ...
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When it was first said, “A picture is worth a thousand words” in 1927, marketers have known that a picture can often help convey the meaning of a complex idea more effectively than a wordy description. For example, an infographic such as a chart or diagram can be used to represent information or data. While the words on your website are important, so are images. Used effectively, images help drive more visitors to your website, promote social sharing, and increase the number of visitors who complete a contact form. Photographs, infographics, cartoons, GIFs, videos, and screenshots can all be used as visuals. Research shows that websites with images get more ...
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When I was in law school, many of our professors told us that “All law is policy.” They were right. Our laws, guided by government policy, set the standards, procedures, and principles that must be followed. The language in these laws can be complicated and dense. Lawyers and judges understand and even enjoy the language of the law. We don’t find it difficult or complex. However, clients and consumers who are seeking information might become lost in a legalese maze. How can we help them? How can we write content that is both true to the laws on which it is based and understandable to readers who don’t have legal training? Helpful Topics are ...
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The gig economy—a free-market system in which organizations contract with independent workers for temporary and often short-term positions—is transforming the larger economy. Companies cut costs by hiring staff to execute a specific project. This approach is not new. In the past, the practice was called secondments. A law firm would send an attorney to assist another firm for a predetermined period and cost; the attorney would work at the second firm under their direction. Thanks to the internet, cloud-based software, video conferencing and other technology, freelance lawyers can work where and when they choose. As technology continues to improve, ...
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The first ever world report on disability, produced jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, suggests that more than a billion people today experience some form of disability; that’s 15% of the world population, 22% of the United States population, and 14.4% of the Michigan population. In 1980 the WHO defined disability as “an attribute of a person.” It was a personal problem. Recently they redefined it to mean “a mismatch between the needs of an individual and a product, service, or social structure offered.” The current definition reflects that there is a barrier at the point of interaction between a person and their environment ...
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I changed dentists recently. Not noteworthy, except that after my first visit, I received a card in my mailbox. It was a thank you for using our service and some information about their practice. That same week, I contacted a pest control service. Again, not very noteworthy, except for the letter I received after the service thanking me for the business included a magnetized business card for the refrigerator. Both of those establishments, like law firms, are service oriented. A Bit of History In the early 1980s, service marketing emerged as a separate category of marketing. This change was in response to the shift in employment from product ...
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Legal marketing is complicated. You are subject to ethical rules and you are selling a service that is only used occasionally. That means you must create a memorable identity that holds up over time. A logo or symbol representing your firm can help. A great logo helps identify your firm to the world. New clients will be drawn to it, making it a valuable marketing tool for your firm. A law firm generally uses its founding partners as the name of the firm regardless of the addition of partners over time. To turn that name into a logo, ask yourself: What does your law firm stand for? What separates your law firm from others? Does your name say ...
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"Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants." —Jonathan Perelman, head of Digital Ventures at ICM Partners You've decided to write a blog in your practice area, family law. You've had a lot of questions about adoption lately so you will write about the current trends in adoption. Your first step before you write should be to plan ahead about how, where, and when to announce the publication of your blog to get it in front of your target readers. Learning the best distribution techniques is essential to make sure the time and thought you spent creating the blog is not wasted. It does little good to write a series of well-written ...
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Hyperlinks, or links, are the mainstay of the internet. A link in your blog indicates you’ve researched your content and offer additional information to readers. Types of links Internal : A link between two pages on your website. Your website depends on those links for effective navigation. External link:  A link from your site to another site. Without external links, there’s no World Wide Web. External links can direct readers to information that supplements your content. Incoming links: A link from another site to your site. Also called a back link , the quantity and quality of sources of backlinks to your site are among the factors ...
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Pro bono publico (English: For the public good; usually shortened to pro bono) is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment. It is service that uses specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them. Many of you first learned the importance of providing pro bono services in law school. Once in private practice, you continued the practice offering no or low-fee service to non-profits or low-income consumers and donating to civil legal aid organizations. Your efforts benefited your professional development, the public, and the profession. Offering Pro Bono Benefits ...
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An email newsletter is an easy and effective way to contact all of your clients at once. It helps keep your name in mind when you are not in regular contact. Preliminary Steps Identify your goals. What do you want to accomplish with a newsletter? Perhaps you want to keep clients informed of changes in the law or to increase your referral base. Knowing your goals will help you decide on the content and how frequently you’ll publish. Review the ethics rules. The rules regarding advertising are found in Rules 7.1–7.5, or Information About Legal Services in the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct . It’s a good idea to read the rules and follow ...
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You’ve reviewed your website, compared it to your competitors, and decided it’s time for an overhaul. However, you are not a website designer nor do you desire to be one. It's time for professional help. How do you select the best designer for you? Set a Budget Know what you’re comfortable spending and what you want to accomplish for that price. If your budget is small, pick a simple, well designed site that will professionally represent your firm. You should also establish an annual budget to maintain and update your website. Define the Goals for Your Website Are you trying to increase brand awareness or looking for new leads for your practice? ...
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Your firm’s website is one of the most important marketing tools you have in your business development tool kit. It is the place where clients come to discover who you are and what type of legal service you offer. Because of its importance, it’s worthy of periodic review. Your first question should be—who am I trying to reach? Write up or review the profile of your target audience. Consider their legal questions, their interests, and concerns. Knowing your audience will help you design a website that meets their needs and keeps them coming back. What pages are necessary? 1. Home Page No matter the size of your firm, large or solo, your home page ...
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What’s in a Font?

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You’ve spent time researching and writing your latest blog post, but have you given thought to the font you use for display? Visual elements are just as important to the success of your blog as the words you select. The font you use helps transmit the message you want to impart to your readers. What is a font? A font is a design term for a set of characters which include lower and uppercase letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols. A font combines typeface and other qualities, such as size, pitch, and spacing. Originally, the term "font" referred to a size and style of typeface. In recent years, however, the terms have been used interchangeably ...
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“I’ve been asked to present a seminar on elder law for the employees of SDJ Corp.” Lance announced to Linda, his partner. “Sally, the owner, is my client—I helped her with estate planning. She said a lot of their employees are approaching retirement and have questions.” Lance is fortunate. He has met several of the employees of SDJ Corp. and understands that, while highly skilled with tools, they are not so comfortable with words. He will design his presentation accordingly. Planning Know your audience . Who are you speaking to, and what are they expecting or needing from your presentation. To obtain a complete analysis of who will be in the ...
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Develop a client base that perpetuates itself. Words of Wisdom, Master Lawyers Section The above words of wisdom from a member of the Master Lawyers Section are supported by the research. A client base that continues to use and refer your services is cost effective and increases your bottom line. Consider: It can cost five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones. National Law Review A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. Bain & Company How to keep clients satisfied and coming back. The impression your office creates begins with the first contact the prospective ...
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"Employment of lawyers is projected to grow 8% from 2016–2026. Demand for legal work is expected to continue as individuals, businesses, and all levels of government require legal services in many areas."—(10/2018, Bureau of Labor Statistics ) According to the federal government, the prospects for lawyers are good. The projected 8% growth is about as fast as the average for all occupations. However, competition for jobs over the next ten years will be strong. Therefore, finding your niche practice area in your desired community can help you rise above the competition in 2019. How do I find my niche? To find your niche, look at your experience, ...
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A well-written and well-received blog needs some planning. Start by blocking out some time to write the post—you’ll probably need two to three hours. Then: Review your description of your target reader— know who they are and plan to write to them. Think about your writing voice; write in a style that communicates your personality, builds a relationship with your potential clients, and makes you stand out. Choose topics that show your knowledge in your niche market and appeal to the largest possible audience. Every few months, plan for one 1,000 to 1,500-word post on a complicated topic that your readers will want to share. Writing the ...
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