The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing on the Internet
Book review by Dena A. Kleeman
(County Bar Update, October 2005, Vol. 25, No. 9)

 

The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing on the Internet

 

A look at site design combined with sophisticated Web-based marketing techniques

 

Book review by Dena A. Kleeman, Esq., co-chair, LACBA Law Practice Management Section. The opinions expressed are her own.

 

Webinars. Web logs. Extranets. Marketing on the Internet has gone well beyond the online brochure. To understand Web site design as well as sophisticated Web-based marketing techniques, an excellent read is The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing on the Internet by Gregory H. Siskind, Deborah McMurray, and Richard P. Klau, from ABA Publishing.

 

The book leads off with a how-to guide for choosing your Web consultant and integrating Web-based marketing into your overall law firm marketing plan. Web site design, promotional content, informational content, and even interactive content are all covered in depth in a series of short, well-organized chapters. The use of e-mail—both through distribution lists (e-mail newsletters) and through discussion groups (list serves)—is also covered.

 

Next, the authors discuss using the broader Web for marketing through wireless and palm access, Extranets, Webinars, and Web logs. The terms are defined, the effective marketing aspects of each are chronicled, and the supporting technology is surveyed (e.g., companies that support the various marketing strategies).

 

An effective marketing strategy must measure its success, and the authors devote a chapter to “Measuring the Results of Your Internet Efforts,” including a survey of software products and services. For example, the authors survey Web site programs that count the number of visitors to a site as well as those that track (in conjunction with a more sophisticated Web site design) the source of the visitor (i.e., from particular links to your site or locations on your site).

 

The book concludes with an ethics chapter based on the ABA Model Rules for Advertising and Solicitation but with references to various state bar rules and issues. (Note: California Rule 1-400 is currently the subject of proposed revisions based on the ABA model rules. For further details, please go to www.calbar.ca.gov/ethics for a link to the Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct.)

 

Content plus relationships. The authors emphasize that “Web design—the look and feel—is important.” Photos show actual law firm Web sites, including introductory mission statements, lawyer biographies, information on practice areas, and contact information. Concepts such as ease of navigation and accessibility to Web site content are discussed, using sample Web site navigation bars and hyperlinks.

 

Throughout the book, the authors reiterate that “selling legal services is still a relationship business.” Each Internet strategy is presented and critiqued by the authors from this angle. For example, in discussing Web site contact information, the authors suggest using brief online surveys, buttons (graphic icons) to request firm e-mail newsletters, and even instant messaging options for visitors to chat with firm lawyers or marketing staff.

 

Tips, samples, and resource lists. Each chapter features useful tips. The chapter on e-mail marketing suggests tracking your newsletter’s click-throughs (i.e., links to other resources) to find out how many people are actually reading the firm’s newsletter and what subjects are of particular interest. The chapter on Web site content suggests that links to other resources can be placed in pop-up windows that return readers to the firm’s Web site, keeping visitors at the firm Web site as long as possible. Another tip suggests adding e-mail-link-to-colleague buttons above each posted article to expedite the distribution of the article. In this fashion, Web site readers help market the law firm by spreading its content (i.e., articles written by firm lawyers) to potential clients and referral sources.

 

For firms seeking to comparison shop for Web designers and hosts, the authors provide several detailed, sample Web hosting proposals and agreements. These function as a checklist for what firms must consider in building, enhancing, and maintaining their Web sites.

 

As an added bonus, the authors direct readers to other information resources. One referenced resource—www.internetmarketingattorney.com—hosts annual awards for excellence in Web site design. The site presently showcases the 2004-2005 awards and features a host of current and archived articles on Internet marketing for lawyers (e.g., “Client Friendly Websites” in the October 2004 issue of ABA Law Practice Magazine).

 

Although many of us are Internet savvy and have implemented Web-based marketing plans, for those seeking to expand their knowledge, and upgrade and update their marketing efforts, A Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing on the Internet, is well-organized, worthwhile reading.

 

The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing on the Internet
by Gregory H. Siskind, Deborah McMurray, and Richard P. Klau
published by ABA Law Practice Management Section, second edition, October 2002
$79.95, 268 pages

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