One must always remember that lawyer marketing can ideally get a phone to ring at a law office. However, in the final analysis, the profitability of a given legal practice is ultimately up to the practitioner.

I say this within the context of a nice dialogue I had recently with a new lawyer. This individual had been in private practice for just a few years and was doing her due diligence as to the viability of direct mail advertising to jump start her practice.

She knew that she needed help, which is always the most important first step toward correcting an ailing law practice. Further, she described herself as a “research fanatic,” who enjoyed attempting to become an expert on each undertaking she felt worth pursuing.

In light of this self description, I felt somewhat honored when she communicated to me that after careful thought, deliberation and most importantly, research, I was the one to teach her how to, “make money.”

Recognizing her statement was not meant to be taken literally, I proceeded to discuss my marketing services and how the prospect of the right direct mail material can get potential clients to call who she had not had access to previously.

She listened respectfully. However, in time I deduced that in point of fact, her prime objective within our discussion was not necessarily to learn how to make direct mail work best for her within her given practice and community. Rather, whether I could guarantee that my direct mail materials would make her law practice financially successful.

Such a question instantly indicates why such well intentioned and often academically brilliant lawyers have such a hard time running their own legal practices in a way that lends itself to long term financial success.

Anyone with business experience recognizes that marketing is one of, if not the most important initial investment toward the financial viability of any business venture. Without potential prospects who are aware of your goods and services a well intentioned pursuit of business success will become destined for quick failure. Once you have made the consuming public aware of your existence, an effective marketing appeal must prompt your targeted consumer to take action to either purchase a given product you are offering or call you as the one to aid them in their search for a legal professional.

This intelligent lawyer I refer to falls into the category of many young lawyers who seem unable to grasp the fundamental principal that law is a business. Yes, law is a profession. However, the marketing of oneself and in turn a legal practice is but a first, albeit a critical first step toward the long term financial health of a legal practice.

At the end of the day, good marketing brings potential customers (clients) to your doorstep, or in most cases, your phone line. The potential client does not give a hoot as to your academic credentials or professional standing unless your interpersonal skills are those that are able to capitalize on your powerful marketing materials; direct mail information that brings a lawyer that all important initial contact from a prospective client.

From that point forward, the ability to close on that potential legal client rest within the lawyer’s capable hands. Lawyers must prepare in a way that is able to communicate with potential clients in a manner they can understand. Lawyers must make potential clients seeking assistance feel comfortable with you. That you are both a lawyer that cares about them and not just their retainer fee and that you will be responsive in answering their questions and concerns.

If your direct mail materials spur the objective of getting scores of potential clients to contact you immediately, one must not wonder why a lawyer is not accumulating needed revenue when choosing not to return the calls of such potential clients in a prompt fashion.

Further, if when a direct mail responder calls for legal assistance a lawyer seems in a hurry to get off the phone or within seconds prioritizes communicating to the prospective caller the lawyer’s legal fees, it is no wonder why a lawyer with access to the most potent marketing materials will still not be able to make suitable income in the practice of law.

The best marketing materials alone will not guarantee financial success to a given attorney or law firm that purchases them. One believing such a notion needs to think long and hard as to whether they are willing to alter such a philosophy or otherwise learn from the success of financially successful individual practitioners.

Individual lawyers are businessman selling legal services to the prospective public. As such, it is customer service, from point of contact through to the desired consultation with the individual reaching out for legal aid that will become the final barometer as to whether a lawyer will indeed, “make money,” in the private entrepreneurial undertaking of law.

Lawyers dominating their legal markets using direct mail are not eager to share this information with others.

I feel quite confident, that if you take the time to analyze the most financially successful lawyers in your community, you will uncover that it has often been direct mail advertising that has been rendering the advertising expenditures you have been throwing at the internet useless.

This is so because the potent direct mail piece has now often become the first marketing tool to capture the potential client’s attention, not the internet. If marketed correctly, the right direct mail appeal stops your potential client’s online search in its tracks, and in turn channels these unrealized direct mail revenue streams away from even the most experienced top dog internet marketers.

Don’t let appearances fool you. The high brow law firm or attorney you would never expect to engage in targeted direct mail to get clients? They are doing it and in increasing numbers across the nation right under your collective upraised noses.

To maintain appearances and maintain luxurious office accommodations, a law firm must make money. Like it or not direct mail marketing has become the essential marketing tool for savvy law firms across the U.S. who have prioritized the generation of revenue over the dissolution of their respective law firms.

In the final analysis high brow law firms become this way through revenue generation. Or in more blunt terms; making money. Nice clothes, cars and offices are no longer simply handed down from generation to generation. Such amenities must now be earned in a competitive legal environment the likes of which has never before existed. It is simply a wasted exercise to scoff at those lawyers profiting from direct mail.

Adapt. Compete Win. Without utilizing direct mail advertising I submit that your law practice will never be on an even playing field with the “reputable” law firms within your community so many financially strapped lawyers can only envy.

Online marketing corporations have too much invested in lawyer advertising revenue to allow the notion that there is a far more effective means of landing legal clients.

Financially successful lawyers discreetly accumulate clients away from their legal competition through the use of powerful direct mail appeals. It is not in their interest to empower their unsuccessful lawyer competition.

Conversely, there is no limit to the unrestrained sales appeals of online corporations touting the need to pour money into internet advertising as the only available forum with which to market a law practice.

Online internet sales companies are loathe to acknowledge the existence of direct mail marketing as the most cost effective means for client retention. Not unlike those lawyers profiting from direct mail, corporations who have profited handsomely from foolish online lawyer advertising spending will go to great lengths to subvert the true statistics as to what marketing strategies truly create revenue for the lawyer, as opposed to the internet salesperson.

As I have written in great length elsewhere, it is my belief that pay per click advertising expenditures are fools gold when planning long term strategic marketing goals. (I will not even discuss the lack of any marketing value of corporate online websites who get lawyers to actually pay to be herded into the same online portals as their competitors and somehow believe that this will earn needed revenue)

The reasons that pay per click advertising fails law firms are varied, including, but not limited to, spiraling expense costs at the mercy of Google and other search engines playing you off of your legal competitors. More specifically, an unjustified return on whatever cost allocation the lawyer is able to designate to his or her desired pay per click keyword terms.

With this being said, there are still countless numbers of lawyers who have grown dependent upon pay per click advertising as the only perceived outlet with which to market their respective law related services.

For nearly all lawyers, especially those recent graduates just starting their own independent careers, the marketing competition to sustain a robust legal practice can be daunting. For young lawyers who know of no other world than the virtual marketplace of online or social media, anything less than a top of first page internet ranking spells the real prospect of financial failure; even more so within our nation’s urban markets.

The reality that I have first position/first page rankings on all of my targeted online keyword terms is no doubt an achievement that I covet and work hard to maintain. Nonetheless, as I have strenuously tried to communicate in other forums, such top rankings have not been able to usurp the absolute requirement for the top law firms such as my own to invest in the most effective direct mail marketing strategies to stay on top of the client retention curve.

Unlike years past when online non paid internet marketing (seo rankings) were the be all and end all of lawyer marketing competition for client retention, a present day allowance for lawyer direct mail advertising has altered the playing field altogether.

As time passes, and internet legal marketing failures persist, lawyers who have seen the light in regard to the incredible return on investment (ROI) of direct mail marketing are emerging in all corners of the U.S. Lawyers like us welcome the disparagement of direct mail within our legal jurisdictions. In this way our legal “competition” becomes no competition at all. With unsuccessful lawyers complaining about “ethics” over dollars, I am pleased to continue to accumulate dollars.

Please be wise to the emerging marketing minefields that continue to spur the dissolution of more and more legal practices with each passing year. By understanding the economic motivations behind online marketing appeals that fail to disclose the most cost effective means of lawyer marketing, you have the ability to profit handsomely from the knowledge that it is direct mail marketing that may best enable your practice to vault itself above all of your legal competitors.

In the field of legal marketing, once you’ve convinced yourself that you know all there is to know, you will inevitably come back to earth.

I recently was able to digest an extremely informative research article in regard to search volume of varied legal phrases for those looking online for law related subjects. Most importantly from my perspective was the statistics as to how often the term “attorney” v. “lawyer” was used. Digging deeper from my own experience, what are the search statistics as to singular and plural and other related terms such as “counsel,” etc.

When beginning my own legal practice years ago, I had it in my head that the term “drunk driving” in all of its variations was undoubtedly the phrase with which to market my dui defense practice. One must keep in mind that in those days there was no internet or other easily accessible research tool to refer to in regard to such research. Further, utilizing one’s own legal focus group campaign for such insight would be cost prohibitive.

What I learned at great financial cost, was that my flawed insistence on advertising a practice around less than ideal marketing terms was a lesson worth learning. While it is commendable to be assertive and confident, not taking advantage of resources around you is simply foolhardy.

Although recognizing that one can never stop learning, with 25 years of experience as a battle tested guide, I believe that I have accumulated as much marketing insight as any lawyer. This knowledge includes an understanding as to every nuance as to what the general public is looking for within legal marketing materials.

Understanding the general public’s behavior in regard to initial search queries when reaching out for legal services is not a small thing, it is an everything! Without such knowledge you will be left to speak the same language as far too many unsuccessful lawyers unwilling or unable to make the effort to connect with a non lawyer general public.

By understanding public behavior, as well as how to illicit favorable responses to your marketing approach, the most profitable advertising campaigns can be employed.

The recently reviewed article confirmed my own experience in regard to public research for the best legal related terms with which to market a legal practice. However, one on top must always understand that there is often no where else for the successful practitioner to go but down.

In your own sphere of legal practice new legal competitors are bound to come at you each year. This is not a reality to be sobered by, but one to embrace and be prepared for.

Each year thousands of new lawyers receive law degrees. Thankfully, most all of them will never be equipped, much less motivated enough to seek the right professional assistance for a potent marketing campaign.

However, it only takes one formidable upstart competitor within your jurisdiction to emerge to have the need and wherewithal to successfully re calibrate your marketing efforts.

I have withstood the challenges of varied legal competitors for 25 years. Whether by phone book directories, then internet and now direct marketing, a flexible cost effective approach to marketing allows for continued solid financial footing with which to to assert my own legal dominance in my community.

While some say I am nuerotic in my approach to maintaining my profitable legal standing, I could not practice in any other way.

As lawyers, we all know, or should, that the practice of law is an ongoing competitive pursuit. What so few lawyers have come to realize is that the marketing of oneself and a legal practice is that same ongoing and competitive pursuit.

While a less than stellar lawyer can be financially successful with the right marketing formula, I would venture to say that a great lawyer with little marketing insight will have far less opportunity for true financial success.

Paying attention to the smallest minutia within a direct mail marketing campaign or other advertising effort matters. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

What one communicates to a potential client always matters most. However. the vehicle carrying your words, from the size of text, choice of color and paper material, layout, etc., will become the final barometer as to whether the words directed to your potential client base will enable you to achieve the future financial success all lawyers are after.

Many lawyers seeking my assistance have initially expressed reluctance to embark on their direct marketing campaigns due to not knowing where to start.

There are two components to the successful direct mail campaign;

1.) prompt acquisition and dissemination of mail pieces to identified targets, and

2.) presentation of your practice to potential clients in a manner able to be noticed, and more importantly to be contacted.

While understanding that these two components are vitally important for the aspiring direct marketing firm, flip flopping the priorities between the two is a consistent error I have seen befall far too many outstanding legal practitioners.

One must understand that the universal failure that has stymied the vast majority of lawyers seeking direct mail success has not been an inability to locate arrest list providers within your jurisdiction.

Rather, it is too frequently the inability to garner the requisite attention and interest among potential arrested legal clients to generate a phone call to your firm.

While it is in fact the case that some state legal jurisdictions may preclude the ability to acquire arrest lists, the majority of counties throughout America do not.

Further, especially within smaller counties, the lack of arrest list availability is simply the bi product of lawyers never requesting such listings from a local law enforcement agency.

Most law enforcement agencies have been pleased to provide such arrest lists in return for financial compensation for their respective departments. In many such circumstances it is simply the initiative of law firms requesting the ability to purchase such listings that have enabled them to open up access to these new streams of revenue for police agencies never capitalized on before.

As a result, if you practice in a community that either does not have a private arrest list provider nor a local police agency that at present distributes such listings to lawyers, a simple expression of interest to your local law enforcement agency backed up with your willingness to compensate for their services can often open access to your desired information.

For many lawyers the potential lucrative undertaking of direct marketing is worth the brief time to open this line of communication with your local police authorities on the issue.

Fortunately, throughout the U.S. most lawyers do not have such an initial impediment to beginning their direct marketing campaigns.

Private companies, whether located within your state or not, have been more than pleased to service the needs of lawyers intelligent enough to secure their individual arrest list services. In fact, my arrest list provider is located within a state two states over from my own.

What is critical, no matter whether your arrest list provider is your local sheriff’s department across the street or a private provider hundreds of miles away, is when and how the provider transmits the information to you.

In my own legal practice, a private provider simply sends me a targeted list of individuals meeting my selected criteria via email each day. Weekend arrest lists come Monday.

From there I simply print out the pre formatted lists of potential clients with one click to labels within my printer. From there I’m good to go with my potent legal mail pieces ready to be sent to my future clients in under five minutes.

Some lawyers prefer not to pay a private list provider and secure the list personally from their local law enforcement agency without paying a middleman.

In such circumstances lawyers will pay their local police agencies whatever the pre arranged list charge will be. The lawyer lists will then customarily be available for pick up, or will be faxed and/or emailed to the respective law firm.

In my own personal circumstance, I have found that individually targeting my potential client demographic based upon residential zip code, etc. through a private provider, in conjunction with the speed with which my provider delivers the list emails, has been a worthwhile investment cost.

With that discussion behind us, far too many lawyers believe that all they will need is access to a list of potential arrested clients to achieve direct mail success.

I cannot tell you the amount of times lawyers nationwide have contacted me not for my direct mail material, but for the mistaken thought that I was a direct mail arrest list provider.

Short sighted lawyers believing that they will be able to go it alone in regard to their marketing efforts remind me of myself. Simply get me the lists they say, and I will be able to profit handsomely from whatever materials I send the way of a potential client’s mailbox.

Do yourself one fundamental favor. Before deciding that direct marketing is the right way to go, be candid with yourself and your marketing abilities.

Always keep in mind that you will not be marketing your legal services to your peers but to every day people who have been arrested.

Do you really know how to speak their language in a way likely to land that all important phone consultation?

I thought I was that man who could. Thousands of dollars of wasted financial resources and years of unrealized income told me that I was not the marketing maven that I had initially believed myself to be.

As a lawyer please take careful consideration to investigate the two above referenced components prior to embarking on your direct marketing efforts.

Potential direct mail success is worth this initial strategic investment of your time.

Internet Advertising & Marketing For Lawyers

In my capacity as an authority on google search engine rankings for dui lawyers and other legal specialties nationwide, it is imperative that credible attorney seo consulting services become a foremost priority toward one’s advertising efforts.

As an actual practicing attorney seo marketing consultant, I am here to help navigate the turbulent marketing road for lawyers seeking to maintain dominance within google places attorney listings like I do. One need only to observe my own consistent top lawyer rankings in Google to learn why I stand available as a trusted resource to learn how lawyers get clients from google business places listings both today and in the years to come.

Recently there has been a major change in the way Google has seen fit to display professional listings across America. The changes are significant to your Google places attorney marketing efforts and hasten the need to potentially recalibrate the manner in which your marketing efforts are prioritized.

Please note that the commentary I offer below is simply my opinion; an opinion based upon years of online working practice in maximizing Google listings to my advantage. I believe that  in the near future lawyers will learn that successful google business places attorney consulting will now be more important than ever as Google aims to direct future profit motivated endeavors toward funneling all available businesses toward pay per click advertising.

As such, a proper marketing campaign which incorporates direct mail in conjunction with proper Google business places optimization will best insulate the best marketing attorneys from future financial losses.

Unlike entities such as Facebook, Google’s revenue stream is fairly easy to determine; pay per click advertising. Google’s strategy thus far has been brilliant. By offering useful online tools that aid in locating professional services near you, the public has become reliant upon Google as a go to source in fulfilling online consumer needs. As more and more people gravitated to Google and away from original competitors such as Yahoo, Bing and AOL, Google’s free helpful online tools enabled businesses and consumers to benefit from Google’s seemingly qualitative user experience. In so doing, Google has become a trusted name that prioritized the needs of the consumer over profit motive.

Unlike other search engines that had allowed their online pages to become riddled with advertising clutter that turned away users, Google had formerly offered useful free tools on its pages that greatly benefited the online user. One of the most notable of invaluable free services for both consumers and businesses alike has been Google Places listings.

For anyone who has engaged in online research for a particular business trade the appearance of a local map with markers on businesses near you is not an unfamiliar site; but it could be less visible for lawyer google places listings soon.

Why would Google reduce listings for such a popular free service that helps consumers locate local businesses? Because Google Places listings for attorneys are free. In other words, the more people who use Google Places to find a professional or business service the less money Google makes on pay per click advertising at the top of every page.

Free Google Places listings will still appear for certain industries and services that do not have a track record for paying Google for Pay Per Click advertising. However, for lawyers willing to pay Google at least $60.00 or more for a click on a website appearing within its pay per click listings, Google sees little advantage in allowing lawyers willing to become paid advertisers continue to freeload off of free Google Places listings.

Think I’m kidding? Take some time and consider how Google has brilliantly manipulated the business public into participating in its Google Plus listing service.

As a means to take on the Facebook market of interpersonal communication through networks of like minded individuals, Google used the bait of free online tools that would interest businesses seeking to attract clients through its organic (non paid) search results. Most significantly to myself and others like me, demonstrated authoritative authors and/or websites would be rewarded with their picture displayed within Google’s search results for a given inquiry.

Seeing the value of my photo appearing within Google’s listings recognizing me as an authority in my legal defense practice, both myself and other participating lawyers nationwide were motivated and encouraged to participate in bolstering the use of the Google Plus service. As thousands of businesses nationwide began to participate and profit from having their pictures appear online in conjunction with links to their valued Google Plus page, Google was willing to sacrifice short term revenue from lost pay per click revenue in return for populating the ranks of Google Plus, a service it had hoped would become a viable competitor to Facebook’s market demographic.

Google Plus has not become the rival to Facebook that Google has anticipated. However, its objective to compel greater participation into Google products and services was a worthwhile investment for them, but not for the business professional. Why? Because I believe Google’s experiment in offering businesses free online tools to attract customers will soon become reserved for the most powerful and savvy lawyer marketers. For lawyers, doctors electricians, plumbers, etc. who wish to become a visible presence online using Google places business listings the challenges may prove to become that much more difficult.

Google has placed a renewed emphasis on rewarding top ranked free listings to national brand name companies. Further, they have often reduced the number of attorneys visible on map searches from seven to three. In conjunction with eliminating free Google Plus pictures and authorship profiles as well reducing the visibility of free Google maps for local professionals, I believe Google is now engaged in a concerted effort to leverage its effective monopoly on search engine marketing by compelling the use of pay per click advertising.

In the world of the future, those professionals left to endure in the pay to play arena of pay per click advertising will experience significant reductions in revenue if not prepared to become the most effective lawyer google business marketer within your targeted community today.

I recently had a heartfelt and somewhat emotional discussion with a young lawyer seeking my marketing advice. This extremely intelligent and capable attorney had become disillusioned that his hard work toward marketing his newly established practice was not paying dividends.

Based upon all of the social media wisdom as to how to use internet marketing to land clients, this gentleman got an A for effort.

Pay per click campaigns in all internet search engines, Facebook, Google Plus, legal networking, blog postings, social media distribution, all boxes checked.

Unfortunately, for this gentleman and far too many other lawyers, the flaw behind their inability to achieve financial success is not their lack of energy, competence or drive to succeed. Rather, it is lawyers continued misdirected marketing efforts that both drain their monetary ability to sustain their practices and diminish their enthusiasm to engage in the legal profession.

I assert one basic premise that runs counter to nearly all of the unsuccessful marketing advice you may have heard; social media is almost always a worthless pursuit to capture the legal clients you need to sustain a law practice.

The fact of the matter is that when someone is in need of a criminal lawyer they do not turn to Facebook or Google plus to find one.  The reasons for this are varied, however common sense is a good resource to help determine why social media is not a trusted forum with which to appeal to clients needing legal assistance.

Why do I believe social media efforts run counter to successful client acquisition goals? Because those in your social media circles, whether on Facebook or Google Plus know you! The last thing most people wish to do when arrested for a crime is to publicize their ordeal on social media for all of their social followers to see.

Ok the millennial lawyer says to his or herself, I will get on my big boy pants and target my marketing pursuits to the internet search engines to advertise my practice. If I can succeed there, I can succeed anywhere!

To many young lawyers educated in the age of social media and online resources, the internet is the be all and end all as to all thought processes related to legal marketing. To these lawyers, the thought that other more successful forms of legal marketing exist to land great clients is silly and runs counter to everything they observe around them.

Where prior generations of lawyers often knew of no other viable marketing resource than the phone book yellow pages, present day young lawyers are too often failing in the same ways that prior generations of lawyers did when seeking success through phone book advertising.

To the prior generation’s first full page lawyer phone book advertiser, as long as the phone book had a marketing monopoly on lawyer advertising life was great. Unfortunately, life was proportionately not as great for each respective lawyer phone book advertiser pages behind this one fortunate lawyer advertiser who existed within every geographic community irrespective of ability.

With no other viable means with which to advertise, lawyers aimlessly poured monthly marketing dollars into yellow page advertising, no matter that their costly advertisement would rarely be viewed  twenty pages or more behind the lawyer phone book marketing leader. (In my case fifty pages back was not uncommon within my phone book)

For well intentioned and intelligent lawyers, unless willing to attempt equally unsuccessful billboard advertising or television commercials, there simply was no other way but the phone book to market a legal practice.

Turning our attention to today’s legal marketing environment, the challenges for the lawyer seeking more clients is now basically the same to that of the lawyer phone book generation.

Although in this new age of internet marketing yearly contractual commitments are no longer readily enforceable, the price it will take to capture the scarce marketing real estate atop Google is just as steep. Further, as a lawyer who markets at the top ranked search engine listing level, I can state with personal experience that top search engine organic listings is not the monopoly for landing clients that the phone book formerly was.

Why? Because unlike the age of lawyer phone book marketing, today’s lawyer marketer has access to one legal marketing avenue never before existing to prior generations of lawyers; direct mail marketing.

The allowance for lawyers to directly market themselves to potential clients who have been arrested destroyed the lawyer phone book advertiser. As a top ranked present day search engine marketer, direct mail advertising has done similar damage to the effectiveness of lawyer internet marketing.

No longer must aspiring lawyers take a leap of faith commitment to yearly phone book contracts that commit them to potentially putting their law practices under bankruptcy protection.

Similarly, in today’s internet world, lawyers who know to profit from direct mail advertising no longer need to concern themselves with wasteful spending on misdirected internet marketing.

Lawyers in the know now realize that it is simply imprudent to spend valuable financial resources to compete for online marketing real estate that may never be visited.

Although old school, the continued success for law firms nationwide is premised upon the power of direct marketing to potential clients who need your services right away.

To the law practice in need of clients, it is direct mail marketing that often provides the valuable edge to lawyers who can at long last take the time to understand the common sense behind why it is the most successful form of legal marketing to lawyers throughout America.

One of the most recent marketing deceptions perpetrated on lawyers has become call tracking services. Unlike other forms of advertising, legal marketers tout the “objective” analysis of phone tracking as a valuable tool to enable lawyers to measure the effectiveness of their respective advertising campaigns.

Seems to make sense doesn’t it? If as a lawyer I am able to access a report of all calls made to my office should I not be able to determine the return on my advertising investment?

In theory the answer should be yes. However, based upon prior experience in conjunction with dialogue with other lawyers, here is how I unfortunately see your phone tracking research to unfold.

In the majority of cases no nefarious activity will take place with which to be concerned with when referencing daily/monthly phone tracking activity from a paid marketing service provider. In such cases lawyers need not concern themselves with the legitimacy of the calls allegedly coming into their offices. However, what they would need to concern themselves with is not the legitimacy of calls, but lack of substantive call activity to track.

Inevitably, when trying to uncover the root causes for a failed lawyer phone tracking campaign, focus can be paid to marketing corporations who have the means by which to sprinkle pay per call leads to the smattering of legal clients paying for an online presence. At various times of the month, rankings may very well be manipulated to achieve such outcomes in the hopes both you and your competitors will be able to reference some activity from your investment. It should go without saying that such a marketing set up will never allow for legal dominance within a respective community, much less over your legal competitors.

For those lawyers seeking to achieve that dominance through “exclusive” top rank advertisements, I would highly advise that needed attention be paid to the potential for manipulation of your phone tracking monthly results. It has not been an isolated occurrence for lawyers to express disillusion that the seeming voluminous phone tracking data as to incoming calls has not been reflected in higher client retention numbers.

In fact, I have learned that in the wake of such discrepancies it has been legal secretaries and support staff who have too often born the brunt of blame when in reality the legitimacy of call volume activity has not thought to have been called into question.

For example, when reviewing call tracking activity, lawyers may question whether secretaries have been keeping potential clients needlessly on hold, or failing to take messages properly as explanations as to why an increase in client caseloads have not materialized. Although legal support staff may not always perform to an optimum level in the area of client service, dare I suggest another explanation to account for the seeming inability to increase a client caseload where phone tracking suggests an increase in call volume.

Yes, in the competitive world of internet marketing geared to capturing lawyer advertising dollars, unethical practices may sometimes be permitted to let us say “skew” the statistical data provided to you, the high volume lawyer advertiser.

As a high volume lawyer advertiser, significant attention may very well be paid to your account and keeping you satisfied. However, this attention may often not be through strategizing effective marketing strategies aimed to enhance your legal practice, but rather through efforts to manipulate your marketing data to create the illusion that you have paid a marketing partner you can rely on.

Without naming names, my own personal experience with a so called “legitimate’ national legal marketing service provider was one that caused me to question the phone tracking data being provided to me. Quite simply, the alleged phone volume activity was certainly not reflecting an increase in my phone consultations with prospective clients. Even if I were mistaken in that regard, my monthly income was most definitively not outpacing the monthly revenues being paid to this particular legal marketing service.

By and large my intention in conveying this information is not to impugn the integrity of the practice of using phone tracking services as a valuable tool with which to assess return on a lawyer’s marketing investment dollar.

What I am saying is that I believe that investing whole heartedly in this form of legal marketing may very well be fraught with peril. Not merely due to to the potential manipulation of call data, but most often due to the ineffective results such strategies provide to lawyers seeking the most effective means with which to build a strong client base.

Direct Mail Research

When beginning my experience with direct mail I did my homework. For countless hours I studied and researched all I could in regard to the merits and/or limitations of marketing by direct mail. After weeks of investigative effort to unlock the keys behind the secrets of marketing by mail I came up empty.

Nearly all of the information I was able to locate concerning direct mail marketing was always the same: 1.) Targeted Mailing Lists Are Critical and 2.) You Must Test And Retest Your Direct Mail Pieces In Order To Determine Your Most Effective Response Rates. That was about the extent of “professional” insight I was able to find through weeks of research.

Prior to deciding whether I would embark on a direct mail campaign, I valiantly tried to uncover research touching upon the response rates for those arrested and targeted by a mailed informational piece. More to the point; what percentage of people who would receive my mailer are likely to call me in the best of circumstances.

What I found discouraged me and almost derailed my efforts to utilize what I have come to believe is the most effective bang for the buck marketing available for lawyers seeking dui clients.

Unlike what I had knew to be true in my state, I kept reading that a five percent response rate for direct mail was indicative of a successful direct mail campaign. While I understand that for lawyers in my field of law a five percent client acquisition rate from direct mail alone can be quite a lucrative undertaking, to me it was not nearly enough.

Over time I would come to learn the underpinnings behind this flawed research disseminated too often by marketing firms with no clue as to what it actually takes to succeed in the unique world of lawyer direct mail marketing. More significantly, I was not derailed in my marketing pursuits by relying upon research that did not take into account that those to whom I was marketing not only were those who needed my services, but needed my services now.

Why Direct Mail Research Different For Lawyers.

The inevitable flaws behind the professed research of those not experienced in the practice of law is that nearly all available direct mail research takes into account all businesses and trades as if they are the same. It assumes that both, 1.) your direct mail piece will be the only one received in circumstances where one does not immediately need the services of an attorney, and 2.) that your mailing is indiscriminately sent to people who may need the services of an attorney in the future, but not now.

Unlike other businesses utilizing direct mail in the hope that recurrent exposure will generate business in the event that their services are needed in the future, lawyer direct mail goes to people who need the services of an attorney right away. When people are arrested the challenge is therefore not to convince someone that they may need your service, (if they have money they already know they need a lawyer), but rather how to differentiate oneself from the inevitable onslaught of unprofessional mailers competing with your mailing for the person’s attention.

Defense lawyers have the unique benefit of a targeted mailing list for specific people needing your services immediately. There is simply no other profession more ably positioned to benefit from the workings of direct mail. Once this distinction has been made when assessing the merits of direct mail response rates when applied to defense lawyers, the five percent response rate to measure the relative success of such a campaign goes out the window.

You now know better. Unlike other trades sending out indiscriminate mailings to people with no competing mailers in their mailbox, defense attorneys do not need to learn how to use direct mail to educate consumers that there services may be needed sometime in the future.  The beauty of direct mail for attorneys is that you are sending needed information to specific people who need your services now.

Therefore, when it comes to direct mail marketing what lawyers need is simple; the actual direct mail piece that establishes you as the authority on legal defense to the person who needs your services now.

It is imperative that prior to embarking on your winning direct mail campaign that you consult with your state disciplinary commission or other entity as to the rules governing direct mailings. It is not an uncommon occurrence for significant time and expense to be put forth by a motivated lawyer to create and produce a great direct mail piece only to learn later that it must be modified or is not approved at all.

If at all possible I would suggest hand delivering the sample direct mail piece you have created to the relevant legal authority governing direct mail solicitations within your state. At that point please be sure to return to your office with some form of proof that your direct mail item has been delivered to the relevant agency; I prefer a file stamp on a provided item that I submit in person while dropping off a duplicate.

Unfortunately, in my state ultimate approval for a mail piece will not formally be communicated. Rather, a mailed acknowledgement is sent to the lawyer at a later date acknowledging receipt of the direct mail item that you propose to direct to those who have been arrested and in need of services in your state.

As I have created and experimented with many failed direct mail items, I can speak with experience that one must cover their backside so as to possess proof that all legal requirements and processes have been followed.

For example, although written acknowledgement should be forwarded to me within my state that my direct mail piece has been put on file, there have been times when I have not received such a confirmation. It is for this reason that my earlier recommendation to submit a duplicate copy for filing and retention of your piece is a worthwhile practice.

Although there may undoubtedly be roadblocks in regard to what must be printed or provided to potential clients within a proposed mailing, I have found that with a little creativity one’s ability to put forth an effective sales presentation on your behalf should not be affected. I fact, I have learned that the more obstacles or inconvenience put in the way of a competing lawyer, the more apt that lawyer is to go away or simply create the same boring and regulated mailing that every other lawyer in your community will throw in the direction of an individual; a proposed client who will never give such a mailing a second look.

In all of my years of practice and multiple pieces that I have created, I have never once been asked to modify a submitted mailing.

The above board practices that I insist upon have effectively insulated me from the potential complaints of other lawyers. More importantly, my direct communication to potential clients has been presented in such a way as to instill hope and confidence within those who feel vulnerable following an arrest. As a result, it is appreciation that I will most typically receive from those who receive my legal information, not complaints.

Once again, I urge you to consult with your specific state as to any and all direct mail requirements and/or prohibitions that may exist within your legal jurisdiction as I am only versed on the simple requirements that exist within my own state.

Following your proper adherence to all relevant legal requirements for direct mail in your state, you will be well on your way to having your legal practice prosper with a new successful avenue of legal marketing. More importantly, you will finally be in the enviable position of gaining the gratitude of many people who simply do not know where to turn following an arrest through the most effective legal presentation that I am aware of.

On some occasions I have had lawyers contact me through the use of a pay per click online advertisement within one of the search engines. Upon reviewing the content within my site they will invariably digest information as to why I believe pay per click advertising is a wasteful and counterproductive use of their financial resources. Monies that benefit only the search engine companies at the expense of the lawyer’s bottom line.

Such lawyers after reading my views on the subject quite justifiably ask me, “if pay per click advertising is such a wasteful investment, why am I on it?” The direct answer; keyword research.

In my former writings on the subject I express my thoughts as to how Google initially invites participation into their respective services through free valuable online tools only to later take them away.  Once one relies upon a certain search engine and is accustomed to using it, Google knows that the chances for the consumer or business customer to revert to a different search engine experience is limited.

For example, Google formerly offered a “keyword volume tool” that could provide business customers the means to simply and efficiently determine the best keyword terms to focus on to grow their respective businesses.

For the purposes of this article, Google sees no relative benefit to providing this sort of meaningful business information to potential pay per click business customers any longer.

Businesses or lawyers such as myself used such tools to focus our website optimization efforts accordingly. Such efforts were used by those small businesses savvy enough to utilize these resources in a manner to enhance their own organic (free) website listings. While Google claims that they reward websites that provide the best online user experience for the consumer, this reward is usually only reserved now for national companies that are not the small business target market user for pay per click advertising.

Google has now taken offline its former keyword volume tool. What information is shared is often difficult to access or otherwise inferior to the keyword informational research available before.

By limiting the tools and information by which to achieve free organic website success, Google has continued its efforts to drive small businesses into its pay per click revenue stream.

Continued offering of free keyword research tools was obscuring needed focus upon pay per click marketing as a consideration for the small business online advertiser. If enterprising lawyers or businesses could continue to learn what keyword terms to focus on and what terms to avoid, organic website efforts could continue to be used to effectively focus only upon search terms actually used by the consumer. Needless to say, this focus on targeting a website for organic (free) listing website ranking success runs counter to Google’s desire to compel the online business toward the use of an all inclusive keyword  pay per click marketing strategy.

The significance of this to the search engine companies is that financial outlays of advertising revenue that could otherwise be thrown at pay per click services were being driven toward efforts to build websites geared to optimizing the most relevant consumer search terms for their given business within free online rankings.

It goes without saying that this type of business focus on free organic marketing through website activity fixated upon search engine optimization runs counter to Google’s self interest in enhancing its vital pay per click revenue stream.

In order to counter this relatively recent Google activity adverse to the interests of the business marketer, new ways needed to be found to acquire the valuable information necessary to best prioritize online marketing efforts. Ironically enough, the best new informational tool I have uncovered is the efficient use of pay per click listings, not as a means to effectively market my website, but to once again effectively acquire the keyword term information my potential consumers were inputting into the search engines.

In this manner, my pay per click account information has been used to restore my ability to provide the needed informational resources available to bolster my free organic online marketing efforts and not Google’s pay per click listings. Because my website is considered a top ranked informational resource valued by Google I pay very little per click on purpose yet still achieve high pay per click rankings. This allows me to accumulate the critical information necessary to determine what keyword search terms lawyers who could benefit from my direct mail services were accessing.

The key distinction is that my use of pay per click is to access information and not acquire potential clients. Client volume comes from strengthening the optimization efforts of one’s core website so as to achieve top free organic listings within the online search engines. As such, knowing the keyword terms I must target enables me to focus and prioritize my online marketing efforts toward strengthening my own website at the expense of Google’s pay per click bottom line.