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  • Using Google’s New Text-Enabled Ads to Increase Conversions


    Ever invite a friend to dinner, or asked them about the best hotels in New York City? Chances are you did so through mobile messaging. In fact, nearly two-thirds of smartphone owners use messaging more than five times a day to communicate with others. And people aren’t limiting their use of messaging to social communications - 65% of consumers say they’d consider using messaging to connect with a business to get information about a product or service or to schedule an in-person appointment. No wonder Google is introducing text-enabled ads (Text-to-Chat) to bring the efficiency and effectiveness of messaging to search ads. To see how this may work, let's say you've set up a Google Adwords ad with an Ngage Live Chat service. Every time, a prospect clicks on the below ad for "Pain & Suffering Calculator", he or she engages with an easy way to text you to start a conversation and continue it whenever is most convenient for them. Tapping on the texting option launches a user’s SMS app with a pre-written message tailored to the service they’re interested in. For example, “I’m looking for a Personal Injury Lawyer.”   Many advertisers are already using text-enabled ads to take advantage of a new and faster way to connect with clients on mobile to increase conversion rates. This provides mobile users more flexibility than ever to choose how they want to connect with businesses. Through messaging, you can initiate valuable conversations with them by tapping into one of their most preferred modes of communication. As Google begins to prioritize mobile-friendly sites and text-enabled ads, you don't want to fall behind your competition. To learn more about Ngage’s Text-to-Chat feature, which gives you the ability to immediately convert web visitors to clients without having them click to your site, contact us today at 1-877-912-8668.  

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  • SEO for Your Law Blog: Title Tags and Headlines


    As you may know, one of the most significant benefits to regular blogging is the impact it can have on your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. As you continue to offer your readers useful, informative content, you can boost the search rankings of your web pages and give your law firm greater visibility in a competitive digital environment. To that end, there are numerous SEO practices you can use to improve your blog’s search rankings. Today we are going to focus on two of the first elements of a blog post you will need to consider: the title of the page and the headline of the blog post.

    Optimizing the title tag

    The title tag is what appears in the search engine results (also referred to as the page title). It’s that first line of blue text your potential clients will see when they discover your content in a Google search. What most beginners don’t know is that they have some say in what appears in the title tag. If you have access to the back-end of your site, you can go into your platform — whether it’s WordPress, Sitefinity or another platform — and edit it. hart.serpresult When editing your title tag, try to abide by whatever character limitations are in place. You also want to make sure you have relevant keywords in the title (typically near the beginning), as these help make the listing more relevant for both search engines and users. Keep in mind that Google still has the final say on what appears in the search results and may modify your tags to better fit the searcher’s needs. But typically, if your title tag is pertinent and informative, Google will use it. While optimizing your blog posts is extremely important, you should never stuff the title tags with keywords, as doing so could lead to Google penalizing your page. That's certainly a situation to avoid whenever possible.

    Optimizing the page headline

    The headline is the title of the page on your actual website — not in the search listing. When it comes to blog content, this is the title of the specific post you are publishing. The headline should give your readers a good idea of what the blog post is all about. hart.childsupport The best blog headlines should be both informative and have SEO value. Consider the main topic of your post and insert a relevant keyword into the headline. Again, try not to go overboard and stuff keywords here. It's important to recognize that the purpose of your page headline is different than that of the page title. Although you want to have a page title that's compelling and will draw clicks from external sources, your headline should give an accurate overview of what readers will find within the content that follows. Thus, your page title and page headline may be different from one another. Both your title tag and page headline offer opportunities to create first impressions of your content and your firm, and they are important tools to attract more readers. Although the bulk of your attention will be on the body of your blog post, you should certainly give due attention to these two elements, as they can positively impact your search rankings and the number of people who find your content online. Looking for leads? Get targeted quality divorce and family law leads faster with Martindale-Nolo's Lead Generation program.

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  • Online reviews

    Making Online Reviews Work for You: Is a 5.0 the Right Goal?


    In a recent study, Northwestern University’s Spiegel Digital and Database Research Center analyzed how online reviews can impact consumers’ purchasing decisions. While legal services were not included in the study, the findings are illuminating, particularly in two aspects: Finding:  As you might expect, the higher the scores a product received, the more likely someone was interested in purchasing that item. However, for all products, once a score exceeded 4.5 stars, people stopped saying they were more likely to buy, and at 5 stars, some consumers were less likely to purchase a product. Why? Their answer was that a perfect score seemed “too good to be true.” Conclusion:  The desire to have the highest possible score is understandable. However, when it comes to online reviews, it’s crucial to consider the thoughts of the potential client who is looking at your reviews. The Northwestern study has confirmed what we’ve seen elsewhere: a perfect score, particularly if based on a smaller number of reviews, would not make an attorney or law firm more attractive to most prospective clients than an attorney with a significant number of reviews and a lower score. Finding:  The research found that reviews become more important to consumers when a product or service is more expensive and the decision to choose one product/service over another involves greater consideration. Conclusion:  Hiring a law firm is often a significant financial commitment for individuals and small businesses. Choosing which lawyer to hire falls exactly into the higher price/higher consideration decision process that leads a consumer to put a greater focus on online reviews. When we talk to lawyers about reviews, we stress that a perfect score is not necessary for a prospect to hire you, and that people who use Lawyers.com and Martindale.com focus on online reviews as part of their research. Northwestern’s study provides further evidence that online reviews need to be a key component of every law firm’s marketing plan.

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  • Keep It Simple: Your Law Blog Should Be on Your Firm’s Domain


    A common question we receive from attorneys who are just getting started with their blogging efforts is whether they should host the blog on the firm’s domain or on a separate domain. For example, imagine there’s a Cincinnati-based law firm called Thomas & Jones Law, and the firm’s website URL is www.thomasjonescincy.com. The attorneys may wonder if they should host their blog at www.thomasjonescincy.com/blog or create a new website altogether — something like www.cincylawblog.com. This is an understandable question. It’s reasonable to believe that creating multiple websites could expand your firm’s digital footprint. But in almost every situation, the answer is the same: keep the blog as part of your main website. By creating a new domain just for your blog, you are essentially creating an entirely new website. This means you’ll have two URLs that you will need to market and that your customers and online followers will need to remember. This could cause confusion that you can easily avoid by hosting your blog on your firm’s site instead. In addition, these two domains will now be competing against each other for positioning in the search results. Ultimately, your blog is a marketing tool designed to increase conversions and get more new clients through your door. It positions you as a thought leader in your field and has numerous search engine optimization (SEO) benefits to improve the search rankings of your site and web pages.

    Alternatives to creating a separate site for your blog

    Still, you might be wondering what steps you can take to grow your digital footprint and bring in traffic via new channels. There are plenty of ways you can market your blog and your legal knowledge without having to create an entirely new website. The following are a few tips:
    • Post links to your blog content on social media: If your firm has a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter (and it really should), make sure to post links to your blog posts every time you publish new content. Your web platform likely allows you to link your social media accounts to your blog so that your social media channels automatically post a link every time you publish a post. What follows is an example of this from an Immigration Law website.

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    • Post full blog posts to LinkedIn and other platforms: LinkedIn, Medium and numerous other platforms have article publishing tools, allowing you to publish content that reaches people in new ways. You can either create content specifically for these sites to get people interested in your blog content or post samples of some of the content already on your website. Both strategies enable you to promote your blog and give you another opportunity to connect with potential clients.
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    • Place previews of your recent posts on your homepage: When visitors come to your site, give them a taste of the content you’re providing through your blog. This will focus more attention to your blog content and give visitors a chance to see your thought leadership in your area(s) of practice.
    dkeblog Although we recommend hosting your blog on the same domain as your firm’s main website, there are plenty of other opportunities to share your knowledge online — especially with the members of your target audience. Be sure to explore all the options to outpace your competition when it comes to digital marketing.

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  • 3 Ways That Lawyers Can Be People Too on Social Media


    Social media is a great opportunity for prospective clients to learn more about you. My very first post on The A.R.T. of Social Media for Lawyers focused on three core concepts that you should focus on in building your law firm’s social media presence. This post will enhance all of those concepts as you look to create your brand personality on social media, but will focus on adding your human side to the equation.

    Share Your Behind-the-Scenes World

    What is your typical day like? Do you spend your day sitting at your desk, sweating over depositions or other paperwork, or do you spend time going to the courthouse? Use your smartphone’s camera to capture the action. Here are a few examples: The Work-Related Example the-work-related-example The Throwback the-throwback-example Getting Ready for Action getting-ready-for-action-example

    Share Your Knowledge

    Sharing your insights provides a benefit to your potential clients: they get to know you as an authority of the law. Comment on a recent news article and add your own twist. Sometimes the funnier or more outrageous the article, the more personable you appear. Here are a few examples: The Funny the-funny-example The Serious the-serious-example

    Share Your Successes

    Have you recently been honored with an award, been a guest speaker, received a great review, or won a big case? Or maybe you just want to share how you are an integral part in the community. Sharing these types of stories lets people know that you care about what you do and the communities you support. Here are a few examples: Guest Speaking guest-speaking-example The Big Case the-big-case-example Your Charitable Deeds or Community Work charitable-work-example While the samples shown here are Facebook posts, you can easily apply these strategies across all your social profiles. And if you are so inclined, sharing videos of these types of events engages readers. Remember: before you were a lawyer, you were a person just like everyone else. Let that individuality shine through on your social media posts.

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  • To Share, or Not to Share?


    One of the most important components of online marketing for a law firm is blogging. If your firm has multiple attorneys focusing a variety of practice areas, you may be wondering: should each attorney have his or her own separate blog, or should your firm have one main blog to which each attorney posts at different times? This is a good question and one that's best to settle before you ramp up your blogging efforts. The answer comes down to what you are looking to get out of your firm's blog and the voice you'd like to establish. Thus, one strategy is not inherently better than the other. The following are some different formats and arrangements you could try out:

    A single blog with one voice only

    This is the simplest way to set up your blog. Every time someone from your legal practice creates a blog post, you post it under the firm's name. The tone and voice generally remain the same from post to post and should be consistent with your overall branding.

    A single blog with attorneys writing under their names

    In this situation, the firm creates the space on its website for its blog, but has accounts for multiple authors who can write and publish content under their own names. This allows the opportunity to provide more of a personal touch to readers who might be interested in getting to know individual lawyers and their unique voices before working with them. Attorneys may write in their own voice and with their own personality, as long as it remains under the umbrella of what's appropriate for the firm’s overall brand image. If your firm goes this route, it's important to make sure all attorneys who are writing blog content are actually strong writers and will contribute on a regular basis. In these situations, it may be helpful to work with an outside editor who can review all content before it gets published. It's a great way to ensure consistency in terms of tone, style and formatting.

    Each attorney has a separate blog

    Using a different approach, your practice may allow attorneys to create their own law blogs outside of the firm's website, but under certain conditions. For example, the firm may require all attorneys to link back to the main website, write in a respectable way and keep the firm's overall messaging top of mind at all times. The biggest challenge with this option is that any search engine optimization (SEO) benefit of this content does not directly benefit the firm's website. It may also appear like your attorneys are all off on their own and are prioritizing their own interests over those of the firm. These are the three general options you have available to you, although there are different varieties of each you can explore. Most firms opt for either of the first two. However, it typically depends on the size of your firm, whether or not you have attorneys who are strong writers and if those attorneys are able to keep up with creating regular blog content.

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  • Blogging to build trust for attorneys

    What to blog about when you can’t think of topics


    The case for blogging is strong and many lawyers I work with have been convinced that they should be writing posts on a regular basis. But writing those posts is easier said than done. Attorneys often find themselves staring at a blank screen, with no idea where to start. During a recent webinar we held in September, 19% of participants said they avoided blogging because of it was too hard to find good topics to write about. If this sounds like you, I have good news. The best source of topics is hiding in plain sight: It’s your audience. And by taking the following steps, you can turn their deepest concerns into the start of your next post.

    Ask “Who is my audience?”

    Are you writing for other attorneys in hopes of earning referrals? Or are you writing for potential clients? And who is that potential client? A divorcing parent? A worker who was hurt on the job? Choosing an audience will help you narrow down your choice of topics. And chances are, you already have good picture of who your ideal client is. (If not, creating client personas may prove to be a useful exercise.)

    Connect with their concerns.

    With your audience in mind, ask what concerns your intended reader. Let’s say you’re targeting referral partners.  Think of what matters to them. They want to be sure you have expertise in your field, and see how you work up close. So complex legal arguments, legal research, and other in-depth topics are all appropriate. On the other hand, if you’re writing for the potential client, you need to understand where they’re coming from. They’re not legal experts, and they have pressing questions about their case. To serve this audience, write about topics that could affect their case and explain the legal issues that impact them in language they can understand. To help you pinpoint those topics, I’ve compiled a list of questions to help you better understand your potential clients. Write down the answers to these questions on a notepad as you move through the list. You may find you have a year’s worth of blog articles at the end of this exercise.
    • When people find out you’re an attorney, what questions do you get asked the most?
    • When potential clients call your firm, what concerns do they have?
    • How do recent changes to the law impact your typical client?
    • Before you take their case, what issues do you want clients to be aware of?
    • What are the most common misconceptions your clients have about your practice area?
    Speaking directly to potential clients’ pain points through the writing on your blog will help build trust in your expertise and will show you can explain their legal issues in a way that they understand. So the next time you can’t think of what to write about, go back to the reason you started blogging--your audience.

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  • Use images in your blog posts

    Why It’s Important to Include Images in Your Blog Content


    When you create content for your legal blog, your primary focus should be on delivering useful information that your readers will find interesting and valuable. But almost as important as the content are the images you choose, because images  attract readers and keep them engaged. One study found that about 94 percent of users are more likely to read a blog post that includes an image than a post that does not. The image you choose also has a big impact on social media, where images are previewed. Those previews quickly grab users’ attention on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, making readers more likely to click through. An image that’s engaging and representative of your content will attract more readers to your blog.   Additionally, images can make your content easier to read and digest. You’ve probably seen it yourself — if you visit a page and see a seemingly never-ending block of text, you’re not likely to read all of it. In today’s world of shortened attention spans, you need to break up your content into smaller, more digestible chunks. In short, images make your blog content visually pleasing and more likely to keep readers’ attention.

    Selecting and uploading your image

    Before posting your image, make sure you have the right to do so. The simplest way to comply with copyright law is to use images you have created yourself. That's fine if you happen to be a talented artist or photographer. But for the rest of us, there are websites such as Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, and Getty Images that offer stock photos available for purchase. Other sites, such as Pixabay and Pexels, offer a smaller selection of stock photos for free. Next, make sure the image’s file size is appropriate. An image that is 2–3MB or more in size can slow down your page’s load time, which could lead potential readers to leave. Instead, optimize any image you use to reduce the file size. Here’s how: Reduce the dimensions: Many blogging platforms automatically resize your image to fit on the screen. If not, your users could be wasting time loading image details that won’t even be shown. A good rule of thumb is to keep the height and width of your image below 700 pixels. For larger images, consider creating a small “thumbnail” image and linking it to the full-sized version. Use the right format: The three image formats used online have different ways of compressing your image. With a little knowledge, you can pick the format that best preserves your image quality while greatly reducing the file size.
    • JPEG — Recommended for photographs.
    • PNG-8 — Recommended for logos or images with blocks of flat color.
    • GIF — This format has largely been replaced by PNG-8, but it’s still the format of choice for animated images.
    Choose a compression level: When you save your image, most editing software will ask you to choose how much to compress the image data. The greater the compression, the more the file is reduced,  but that reduction often comes at the expense of image quality. Before publishing, find the compression level that most greatly reduces your file size without noticeably distorting the image. When adding the image to your post, look for an option to add alt text, and make sure it includes a brief description of your image. Alt text is not normally shown, but it is read by screen readers used by people who are visually impaired. It’s also used by search engines to guess what your image (and your post) is about. It’s important to understand the power of images in attracting visitors to your blog and enhancing its readability. That understanding can make a big difference in the success of your blog in particular and your digital marketing strategy overall.

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  • Martindale-Hubbell Costume Collection Drive

    Martindale-Hubbell Donates Halloween Costumes to Kids in Newark, NJ


    We had such a great experience working with Jersey Cares collecting for their halloween kids costumesSchool Supply Drive that we decided to partner with them again for their Halloween Costume Collection Drive. Once again, our employees from Martindale-Hubbell stepped up to help kids in need. We are proud to say that our company’s caring employees purchased and collected children’s Halloween costumes, ranging from scary masks to cute little pumpkin costumes, to aid this effort. In 2009, the first year Jersey Cares sponsored this drive, they collected a total of 138 costumes; the next year, the donations totaled 1,200 costumes. Jennifer Lewellen, Jersey Cares’ senior manager of service events, estimated last week that the number of donated costumes could have doubled from last year.  When I checked in with her this week, we were delighted to hear,

    “Our final number is 3600! We tripled last year’s drive and are so excited about it. We couldn’t have done it without volunteers like you and your team!”
    halloween costume collection driveteam with their new costumesJersey Cares is a nonprofit organization established in 1993 that recruits and engages volunteers in rewarding, effective efforts that address community-identified needs.  We at Martindale-Hubbell are honored to support their mission to help New Jersey’s families and hope you will, too!  Find out more by visiting Jersey Cares

    Happy Halloween!happy children in Halloween party trick or treating

     

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  • How election cycles can help with law firm marketing

    Election 2016: How the Candidates Can Improve Your Visibility


    In a time where social media, blogs and traditional media are overwhelmed with disagreements, malaise, and worry over the effects that this election could have on our future (and you personally),  it’s wise to remember that when everyone is writing about a certain topic, writing about completely different topics will make yours stand out all that much more. This is the time to get online and start blogging by sharing about your firm, t your areas of practice, and topics about the laws that are front and center in your field. Elections remind us of the problems our country faces, but they tend to ignore the people bearing the brunt of those problems. Candidates may be constantly discussing their solutions for the future, but you have current and potential clients facing those problems right now. Google is being flooded with opinion pieces, blogs, social media posts and similar content debating candidates and policies, but the people who are looking for an attorney — who need answers to their queries and are looking for solutions — are still as present as they were before we even knew who would be running for office. The message boards on popular legal forums like Lawyers.com, Avvo and Findlaw are still there, and Google is still being searched for attorneys with the same frequency. So what can you do to take advantage of this time before a new president is elected?

    1.       Get online and start writing
    Now is the time to produce your best original content. With less competition from those distracted by the elections, your articles and blogs have a much better chance of being noticed, getting read and even going viral. Show how at such a negative time, you have the ability to be positive and help your clients.
    1.       Solve now problems, not future problems
    While we are distracted by the directions in which politicians want to take our country, there are plenty of people who need help right now. The list is endless: workers who need workers’ comp, people injured in accidents who need compensation for medical expenses, corporations who need defense, those accused of crimes who need defense. Get online and let your potential and current clients know that you, their advocate and defender, haven’t t gone anywhere — you’re right here and ready to help.
    1.       The great distraction
    Psychologists have found that at times of great political engagement, such as presidential elections, people tend to be more scared of the future, and depression rates rise. You can help readers focus on the things that are important: changes to the law, benefits that people didn’t know they were now entitled to, new laws that have changed in your local area. The sky’s the limit.
    1.       Do your housekeeping now!
    Now is the time to get your website and social media sites updated by making a real push to increase connections and friends on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others. Add new chat services to your existing site, fill out professional profiles on relevant legal networks, and get your print media and advertising campaigns scheduled.  For the millions distracted or depressed by the election, your online presence should be the first thing they see when the election is over. When the presidential campaign is finally put to bed, people are going to be reaching out to their attorneys or looking to tackle new problems. Let them know that in the midst of an election season like no other, you were on the ball and thinking about them. Seize the moment and enhance your online image so that its impact engages newly attentive readers.

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