Thursday, March 29, 2012

Direct Mail Marketing vs. Email Marketing – Response Rates and Trends

Posted by Laura Powers

At Furia Rubel, we are frequently asked how email marketing campaigns measure up to classic direct mail marketing campaigns. Our answer is: they really don’t compare.

Law firm email marketing campaigns (like printed business-to-business traditional newsletter campaigns) have the primary objective of raising awareness for the firm and sharing firm news and accomplishments. This is why open rates, the number of people who click open an email, are so important.

When measuring classic direct mail marketing, we measure a response from the audience. There is no "open rate" data for direct mail. Since response rate is the measurement, the primary objective of a classic direct mail piece is to drive the customer to make contact with the company.

Q: Can you share any information on direct mail open rates vs. email open rates?

Classic direct mail open rates vary depending on the mailing list and the mailing piece. For this data, I always reference reports from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). A helpful example that answers the question is from DMA’s most recent data which shows that letter-sized envelopes mailed to in-house lists, generated from databases, Outlook or a CRM system, had a response rate of 3.42 percent in 2010. However, letter-sized envelopes mailed to purchased / prospects lists only had a response rate of 1.38 in 2010.

Q: Are email open rates getting lower while direct mail open rates are getting higher?

Classic direct mail response rates held steady from 2006 to 2010. While, we typically see a drop in open rates in client email marketing campaigns if the lists are not kept current, or the email content is not client-centric (i.e., there is only marketing messaging included or there is no valuable content included for the audience). Email marketing open rates are expected to continue to increase in the short-term. Currently, this is one of the most popular and favorable ways for businesses to connect with customers.

Q: Are the stats different for unsolicited junk mail vs. mail from your attorney or someone you do business with?

Yes, see above regarding in-house list vs. prospect list response rates.

For more information: http://www.the-dma.org/cgi/dispannouncements?article=1451

 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pinterest Updates Terms of Service Language and Wants You to Know About It

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Earlier this year, Pinterest exploded onto the social media scene. The addictive website is a visual tool to curate images and their corresponding links to personalized boards. Pins range from household cleaning tips and marketing infographics to fashion and food recipes. Some marketers have had great success with Pinterest and others deem it a waste of time.

With Pinterest’s popularity came, cautionary tips and tricks to not infringe copyright laws and acceptable use policies. Over the weekend, we noticed that Pinterest updated it’s terms of service and did a great job letting its users know about it – by sending an e-blast and including the update on pinners’ recent activity feed.

These proposed Terms of Service will be put into effect April 6, 2012. Some key takeaways include:

•  Pinterest’s original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest the user grants Pinterest the right to sell the user’s content. This has been removed from their updated terms.
•  The Acceptable Use Policy has been updated and pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse are not allowed.
•  Simpler tools have been developed to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements.
•  New language was added to prepare for new features such as a Pinterest API and Private Pinboards.

For more, check out Pinterest’s updated Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy and Privacy Policy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

SEO Best Practices for Lawyers and Law Firms - Avvo Webinar Recap

Posted by Amanda Walsh

I had the chance to listen in on an Avvo webinar today lead by Leigh McMillan about SEO for law firms and lawyers.

In the webinar, On Page SEO vs. Off Page SEO was discussed. Ayodhyanath Guru over at jafaloo.com has some easy to understand definitions: “On Page SEO is the science of optimizing the contents of a website such that it becomes friendlier to the search engines. Off Page SEO is defined as the things you do offline to your website in order to achieve good search engine ranking.”

Tips to keep in mind:
- Each practice area should have an individual page within your website. Don’t put all your content onto one webpage.
- Optimize internal anchor text. Anchor text refers to links within web copy that link to another internal page within your website. These links should be keywords and NOT say “click here,” as generic language doesn’t tell the search engine what the link leads to.
- If your firm is mentioned on association websites, directories or as part of nonprofit sponsorship, be sure that the mention links back to your website.
- Excessive Flash animation and images will hurt your rankings. Utilize alt tags and sprinkle keywords throughout the text.
- Be sure to redirect your website URL without the “www” to your entire website URL. For example, furiarubel.com redirects to http://www.furiarubel.com/. Don’t build two separate sites as this can hurt your Google search results. Talk to your web developer about doing 301 redirects.

Do NOT:
- Buy links. Google knows when links are not legitimate or relevant and have tools to evaluate these links.
- Engage in comment spam. This is the practice of commenting on blogs ONLY to insert a link.
- Leigh also recommends avoiding vendors who utilize these practices.

Free Tools and Resources:
- Toolbar.google.com – Doesn’t give precise ranking, but a good guide.
- Google.com/webmasters/tools – This is a free tool, but registration is required to prove ownership of the site; Google will tell you if it has problems “reading” your site.
- Seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors – Great website for analyzing Google’s search factors.
- Backlinkwatch.com
- Davidmihm.com/local-search-ranking-factors.shtml

Be sure to keep these tips and tricks in mind when working on a strategic SEO campaign for your law firm's website.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Using Social Media Effectively Before, During and After Conferences

Posted by Amanda Walsh


As I mentioned, Laura Powers and Gina Rubel have been attending the Legal Marketing Association annual conference in Dallas, Texas. Laura shared a great post from Lindsay at Zen Legal Networking outlining the Twitter handles of various people who are also attending the #LMA2012 event.


There are many benefits of social media engagement pre- and post-conference. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when going to your next conference and what to focus on afterwards.


- When preparing for an event, do some research by using the event hashtag on Twitter (in this case, #LMA12) and seek out those that will also be there.


- Identify thought leaders and like-minded attendees in advance and make a note of those that you would like to meet in-person.


- Be on the lookout for special meetings or events at the conference geared toward the attendees who are using social media.


- Stay in touch post-conference and maintain those relationships. If the conference is an annual event, you probably will see the same people next year.


- Building solid relationships online and in-person can also open the door to tap these contacts as a focus group in various parts of the country for legal marketing ideas and tactics.


By being active on social media and using a hashtag for the event while you're tweeting, you can start conversations and build relationships pre-conference, during and post-conference, as well. 

Thoughts on Client Relations and Building Client Loyalty

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Gina Rubel and Laura Powers have been at the Legal Marketing Association conference (Twitter Hashtag - #LMA12) in Dallas over the past few days, learning about emerging trends in legal marketing. We have been following along with their tweets and Facebook postings. Yesterday, Gina shared this blog post on The Legal Water Cooler Blog by @heather_morse called, “Why do some people stay, and some people leave?

Heather recaps LMA 2012 keynote speaker James Kane’s talk on client loyalty. I visited Kane’s website yesterday and watched his speaker video. Although, I’m not attending the LMA conference with my colleagues, I can understand why his speech was a big hit with conference attendees and a popular topic on Twitter. He seems to be a charismatic and informative speaker who picked a topic that many legal marketers can relate to and understand.

Morse summarizes Kane’s keynote in a thoughtful way, summarizing that loyalty stems from trust, belonging and purpose, as well as looking to the future in the relationship. To read more of Heather’s recap of Kane’s speech, visit The Legal Water Cooler Blog.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Honing Presentation Skills – Learning from the Best

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Earlier this week, my colleague Leah Ludwig and I had the privilege of attending a half-day women’s leadership program led by productivity expert and phenomenal public speaker, Neen James.

The event brought together an intimate group of female professionals from a variety of backgrounds to learn how to effectively deliver memorable and impactful presentations. The interactive morning session left Leah and me with a few public speaking and general presentation tips and tactics to keep in mind for upcoming opportunities.

publicspeakingexpert.co.uk
Embrace the strategic “pause” – At important or impactful parts of your presentation, don’t be afraid to pause and let your message sink in. This will help keep your audience’s attention and let them catch up with you while processing the information you have shared with them. They will be on the edge of their seats waiting for your next remarks.


Use of audience member names – Everyone loves to be called by name whether it is while listening to a great speaker, during a sales pitch or sitting in on a work presentation. Neen provided a few tips directly addressing this topic. If presenting to a small group, ask the event organizer to use table tents with participant’s names, so when interacting with the group, you can use audience members’ names to capture and keep their attention. If you are speaking or presenting for a larger group of people and you don’t directly know anyone in the audience, try to meet a few people beforehand and keep their names in mind – addressing and interacting with these individuals during your presentation.


Move around the platform – Depending on what type of venue or space in which you are speaking or presenting, don’t be afraid to utilize all of it. Neen did a wonderful job of walking around the room when speaking and even “stepping back” when other women leaders were introducing themselves. A good speaker should feel comfortable moving around, but should never forget to stop, stand firm and speak clearly when emphasizing an important point.


It’s not about you – Also, Neen addressed the all too familiar feeling of getting nervous before a presentation or speech. She coached us to keep the focus away from ourselves when preparing to present. Really, it’s not all about the speaker and it’s not all about the audience either. Neen encouraged us to remember that it is all about creating a conversation with the audience. that Also, by remembering that everyone in the audience or in the board room put their pants on one leg at a time, just like we do, will help to banish nervousness when presenting.


The morning was filled with many more useful resources for preparing a presentation, tips for audience engagement and techniques for improving public speaking. If you want to learn more, visit neenjames.com.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Louis Vuitton vs. Penn Law – Lessons in Intellectual Property

Posted by Gina F. Rubel, Esq.

Courtesy of http://fashionlawcenter.com/?p=804
The National Law Journal article by Sheri Qualters, “Louis Vuitton says Penn Law symposium poster infringes its trademarks,” highlights a recent disagreement over the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s use of the Vuitton brand on invitations and posters for an upcoming conference on fashion law.


The article states that Michael Pantalony, Louis Vuitton’s director of civil enforcement for North America, wrote a letter to the dean of the law school, Michael Fitts, expressing dismay over the use of the company’s trademarked “toile monogram.” Pantalony wrote “that the egregious action is a ‘serious willful infringement’ that knowingly dilutes the company’s trademarks and may mislead others into thinking such actions are fair use.”


The University of Pennsylvania’s associate general counsel, Robert Firestone, responded stating that the student-run Pennsylvania Intellectual Property Group responsible for the symposium, “does not believe that the poster and invitation infringe or dilute the company’s trademarks.”


Firestone quoted a section of the U.S. trademark code that “expressly protects a noncommercial use of a mark and a parody from any claim for dilution.” He further maintained that it is highly unlikely that one would think that Louis Vuitton sponsored, or was associated with, the symposium in any way. To close his letter, Firestone invited Pantalony to attend the seminar: “The students have invited some of the in-house counsel from some of your peer fashion companies to speak on the panels, and I am sure the students would welcome your attendance as well.”


When the author of the article reached out, neither Firestone nor Pantalony responded. I’m sure it won’t be the last that we hear about the disagreement.


What I find most interesting is that graphic designers, illustrators and lay-marketers alike often use parody-like images to convey a message for an event. Such parodies may be called into question by the originating brands and there seems to be a very fine line.


While I’m not an intellectual property lawyer, I am intrigued by this dialogue and the amount of media coverage it has received so far. As a lawyer and strategic marketer, these are the types of issues we face regularly when clients present ideas using other brands’ images or ideas. Now more than ever, we are hearing about copyright infringement because of the explosion in popularity of online sharing and in particular, the website Pinterest. I am curious to see how this plays out.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Tips for Successfully Communicating a Law Firm Succession, Merger, or Acquisition - Avvo Blog Post

Law firm successions happen all the time – some are planned for and others are not. To learn more about communicating such changes effectively with internal and external audiences, check out Gina's latest blog on Avvo Lawyernomics here.

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