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Posts published in “Business development”

Does Your Firm Have a Website?

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Did you know that having no website is like handing out blank business cards? Scary, right? But, it does not have to be!

If you are truly interested in growing your practice, you need to launch a great website! But HOW? Let's explore six tips to get you started on your journey to build your first website:

What is your purpose?

First, determine who you are marketing to. Yes, you want to market to new clients but what type of practice do you have and what type of practice areas do you want potential clients to know you specialize in?

Who is your competition?

Ask yourself: Who are my competitors in those practice areas? Do if they have a strong or weak website? Does their website answer the basic questions any potential client would want to know about their firm? Be sure to do this as this will help you (or your webmaster) build your own website.

What makes you/your practice unique?

Make a list of what sets your firm apart from all the rest (including your competitors). This is called your firm's unique selling proposition. Ask yourself: "what would be meaningful for my potential clients/guests to see?" Use this to establish your goals, expectations, and measures of success.

What guidelines should you consider?

Take a moment to review these important rules regarding your duties to prospective clients: Rule 1.18 and lawyer advertising: Rule 7.1-7.5 of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. You can also e-mail or speak with a Risk Management Advisor here at the South Carolina Bar.

Who will help build your website?

Decide if you have the skills to build your website yourself or if you need to hire a webmaster. If you decide to hire someone to help you, don't worry. The decisions you make now will help your webmaster know what direction you want to take.

Have you reserved a domain?

Decide what you want your domain to be. Your domain name should be focused around your practice. What do you think most prospects would type in on their internet browser to find your law practice? If you're not sure, poll your staff, colleagues, friends, and family to see what their response might be. Check out these tips from Attorney at Work on how to design the best law firm website (and from GoDaddy on how to choose the best domain).

Look for additional tips in the March edition of SC Lawyer magazine. In the meantime, contact pmap@scbar.org or eworley@scbar.org if need further assistance.

Are you listening? How understanding client feedback can help your business…

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What do clients say about your services? Client feedback is a crucial component in increasing client satisfaction and loyalty, just like any business.

Whether you gather client feedback through realistic discussions or provide general surveys, not only is it important to gather information, but also, to understand what clients are expressing. By doing so, this allows you to make changes to not only to your services and systems, but also to how you deliver services and systems to clients.

Here are a few questions to ask clients about the services you provide. Also, check out these three simple tips from Ruby Receptionists to make every client’s experience great and another article on how to become a trusted advisor from Attorney at Work.

Consider that by positively improving your client's experiences, clients will share their positive thoughts and feedback with others. This in turn, will hopefully lead to increased firm profits, not from higher rates and fees, but by simply hearing what clients are saying and making it your goal to provide quality client experiences through your own clients' feedback.

Written by: Emily Worley, PMAP Assistant, SC Bar

Edited by: Courtney Kennaday, Director, PMAP, SC Bar

Build Your Network!

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Bankers, accountants, financial advisors, physicians, realtors, and even other attorneys can all be a good referral source. It’s important to maintain regular contact with other professions so that your practice is the first source they think of. Here are six great tips to build your networks from Tips for Lawyers and a few tips on how to master the meet and greet (Attorney at Work). Check out other great networking resources in the South Carolina Bar Lending Library and don’t forget to join the Solo and Small Firm Section. The Section is a great way to receive discounts on select CLE’s, participate in the members-only listserv, meet other solo and small firm attorneys across the state, not to mention lots more! E-mail pmap@scbar.org for more information.

Do You Have a Mobile-Friendly Website?

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Check your website with this Google Mobile Friendly Test Tool to see if your site is mobile device friendly. Why? Because, if it is not, it will have a significant impact on how Google ranks your website and where your website appears in mobile searches. Enter the URL (your web address) through  Google Search Console to get the data, tools, and diagnostics to create and maintain a Google-friendly website. PMAP = Practice Management Assistance for Bar members. Just email pmap@scbar.org.

Business Card Strategies

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Let me make this perfectly clear: your business card says a lot about you. When I open the desk drawer with my Rolodex and piles of rubber-banded cards, it's like pulling open a drawer of memories. (It also reminds me that I need to scan them with my Fujitsu ScanSnap and save them with CardMinder.)

In some cultures, it is considered correct business politesse to hold the card presented to you with both hands, observe it, and comment, before putting it carefully in your wallet.

I have my own rules for business cards, to wit:
• Make sure someone can read your card easily without glasses or a magnifying glass (the “over age 40” rule).
• If you use your domain name in your email address, make sure you also have a web page with that domain name.
• Send two business cards to each client at the close of your case and ask them to refer you business.
• Whenever you give your card, give three (one for that person and two for friends).
• Use both sides of the card – include your practice areas on one side, a map to your office, or a piece of advice.
• Make it unique and easy to spot.

Making your card unique and easy to spot is tricky in the rather conservative field of lawyering. You want the impression you make to be favorable, so keep that in mind before you get too wild and crazy. And if inexpensive business cards are what you seek, the Internet is a good place to go. Try Vistaprint, but don't forget to give your local supplier a chance to compete.