Internet Marketing: Tips From a Professional
an interview with Stacy Faierman Marks by Dena A. Kleeman
(County Bar Update, January 2001, Vol. 21, No. 1)

 

Internet Marketing: Tips from a Professional

An interview with Stacy Faierman Marks of LegalElite.com by Dena A. Kleeman, chair, LACBA Law Practice Management Section. Faierman Marks can be contacted at stacy@legalelite.com. She welcomes your questions and participation. The views expressed are her own.

With the information age well upon us, it's time for lawyers to be conversant with the Internet. From a business perspective, the Internet is the latest marketing tool. But how is your law firm marketing on the Web? Are you getting the best exposure for your marketing dollars?

To help answer these questions, I interviewed Stacy Faierman Marks, founder and CEO of LegalElite.com. Her company markets high level professionals by featuring them in "Webinars" for CLE credit. I asked her to provide us with tips on marketing via a law firm Web site: Here is just a sample of the many tips she had to provide:

First, although the Internet and email are a new medium that can be used to market a law practice, the same basic principles of marketing should still apply. You still need to know who your target audience is; understand what kind of information they want; and keep your message clear, useful and tailored to your audience's level of sophistication.

Second, on any Web site you design, win people over by showing, not telling, them how knowledgeable you are. Add a "frequently asked questions" section to your Web site, send an email newsletter, offer an email question and response area on your site.

Third, provide value to the audience you're trying to reach. For example, at LegalElite, the company offers lawyers up to three hours of participatory MCLE credit for reading the emails sent to the discussion group.

Fourth, cross promote your Web site with complementary companies that target the same audience. The Internet is built on Web sites linking to other sites, so offer to exchange links with these other sites to drive targeted audiences to your site.

Fifth, don't get carried away with the use of technology at your Web site. People will choose the path of least resistance, so make sure you don't overload your Web site with too many fancy features that may make it slow to download or not viewable by some.

Sixth, register your law firm in the major Internet directories. For a fee of $199, you can purchase this service at Yahoo! Business Express: http://help.yahoo.com/help/bizex/and LookSmart Submit a Site: http://submit.looksmart.com/.

Along with registering, you need to determine how high your Web site is listed in the search engine -- i.e., how frequently your name pops up. Every search engine has its own criteria regarding what makes a Web site relevant in a search. To get a basic idea of how search engines assign relevancy to your site, visit the Search Engine Features Chart provided by Search Engine Watch at http://searchenginewatch.internet.com/webmasters/features.html.

However, one basic strategy is to try to put yourself in your customers' shoes. What key words would they use to find information about the services you provide?

Another strategy to get great rankings is by combining key words. For example, if you want to be in the top 10 results for searches using "Lawyer" as keyword, you might be up for a challenge. AltaVista lists more than 1,800,000 search results for the "Attorney" keyword. However, searching for an "Immigration Lawyer" only returns 1,531 results, and a search for "Immigration Lawyer New York" results in only 8 matches.

Finally, consider listing your firm with legal directories on the Internet, such as FindLaw (http://www.findlaw.com) or Lawyers.com (http://www.lawyers.com.)Carefully consider any fee requested by a legal directory since these directories may prey on Internet novices and charge for things that are available for free on other Web sites. A common model is to charge for hyperlinks (links to one's Web site from the directory). Don't do it unless the directory providing this service can prove to you that thousands of people visit the directory page every month. Ask for monthly page views rather than for "hits" to Web pages.

It's obvious there's a lot to know and learn about marketing via a law firm Web site. It's time for all of us to get started.

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