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Shape Up! Practice Management Tips for 2010

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GROWING YOUR PRACTICE WITH ONLINE VIDEO: 10 TIPS FOR GETTING IN FRONT OF PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS

Most law practice Web sites are little more than electronic versions of Yellow Pages advertising. Beyond the obligatory “contact me for more information” plea, they don’t encourage visitors to interact or give them a sense of who the lawyers are. Using video to attach a face and a voice to your services can help win the day.

Thanks to an oversupply of similar text and presentation styles—coupled with a short 21st century attention span—a Web site typically has mere seconds to move a visitor to action. If it doesn’t, that visitor will click away to another site. And another. To stand out, you must find a way to break through the noise your competitors are making with their Web marketing.

Unfortunately for most law firms, that doesn’t happen. The typical firm Web site follows a format that does little to help differentiate it because, of course, it’s the same format the competition is following. As a result, a high percentage of the money spent on these sites is wasted. Sound bleak? Well, don’t give up. Let’s talk about how you can break through the noise and speak directly to potential clients by tying video to your site.

The Perfect Icebreaker: Adding a Face-to-Face Element
For the most part, law firm Web sites lack genuine interaction for the visitor. Moreover, these sites don’t encourage trust any more than their print and radio counterparts. Like Yellow Pages ads, they don’t give visitors the warm-and-fuzzy feeling that a face-to-face meeting would.

Searching for a lawyer can be a daunting prospect, especially for individual clients, who are often under stress or duress when seeking legal assistance. The best way to calm those feelings of fear and overwhelm is to meet the prospective lawyer in person. Web video makes this possible on a grand scale, enabling you to easily add that face-to-face element to your site. You can replicate an in-person interview that addresses prospects’ concerns, and offer your visitors an opportunity to check you out before picking up the phone. Through video, lawyers can now speak directly to their audiences and showcase their personalities and areas of expertise. It’s an ideal icebreaker and an efficient means of generating the interest and trust needed to compel potential clients to make an appointment. A high-quality interview placed strategically on your site can be a huge time-saver for you and prospective clients. You reach a wide audience in a minimum of time, and viewers can get the information they need to prequalify themselves before they call.

With that in mind, here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your online video marketing efforts.

1. Make sure your video is professionally done. The whole point is to establish credibility and trust, but you’ll do the opposite with a poorly executed and produced video. Yes, many of the videos you find on sharing sites such as YouTube are mediocre at best, but that is changing rapidly as more companies and professional services firms realize the value of promoting themselves in this manner. Find a personable, engaging interviewer and a top-notch production crew to really stand out.

2. Embed your video on the front page of your site. Don’t hide what’s going to become one of your most effective selling tools on a dusty inside page. Get it out front on the homepage. Visitors and search engines will love you for it.

3. Submit your video to as many outlets as possible. Although YouTube is the clear leader here, there are many other video-sharing sites worthy of consideration. Here are some you will want to check out:

4. Link back to your site. When placing videos on the sharing outlets, put your URL near the top of your video’s description. You’ll get a higher search ranking and potential clients will quickly see where to go for more information.

5. Put potential clients’ search terms in the title. Find out what words people in need of your services are typing into search engines, and use the most popular ones in your video’s title. If you don’t know what those terms are, get professional help or use some of these free resources:

6. Make your tags and descriptions search engine-friendly, too. Most video-sharing sites let you tag videos with keywords and post a short text description, so get the most out of these by sprinkling in the search terms you’ve identified.

7. Don’t forget your thumbnail. A thumbnail is a still shot from your video that appears along with search results. Don’t waste this chance to present yourself in the best light possible—choose a key moment from your video, preferably one where you’re smiling as you speak.

8. Interact with your viewers. Most video-sharing sites also allow viewers to post comments. Use this as an opportunity to answer questions, respond to comments and further promote your practice.

9. Consider a pay-per-click campaign. Natural search engine optimization, while effective, takes time to bear fruit. You might want to jump-start the process with a pay-per-click campaign that gives you a sponsored search listing. You can learn more at www.google.com/intl/en/ads; http://sem.smallbusiness.yahoo.com/searchenginemarketing; and http://advertising.microsoft.com/search-advertising.

10. Add new video content often. Search engines look for it, and so do potential clients. Keep your content fresh and up-to-date and keep visitors coming back for more. These days, standing out from the crowd means maximizing your online presence and leveraging the technology to present your advantages. Using online video can help you do just that.

About the Author

Diana D’Itri is co-owner of Law TV Network, a subsidiary of IDR, LLC, and has helped business professionals for years differentiate themselves and increase Web conversion through turnkey broadcasting technologies.

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