Law firm business

This extra issue of Rural NY SBO is specifically for small New York law practices, which have a distinct set of challenges in rural communities.


Law office tips on buying billing software

Legal Tech News tells seven things a law firm should know before it invests in time and billing software. [ALM subscribers only; subscription is free.]


Use SEO to market your law practice

Clients are lazy. If they are looking for a law practice with a specific specialty, they turn to Google.  To increase your chances of being chosen, your website’s pages need to be search engine optimized to prove your firm does what the client is seeking.

This explanation from a company that does law firm advertising explains what’s involved in SEO. This  explains why location information is so important to potential clients.


7 ideas for marketing to existing clients

Just because you don’t give clients discount coupons doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about ways to tell past clients about additional help you could provide. This post from the SBA blog suggests some ways to to that.


Biggest threats to your firm’s data: employees

The biggest threat to your law firm’s security is your own employees. Data breaches most often occur due to simple employee negligence or oversight, such as accidentally emailing confidential information. Learn five steps take to develop email compliance standards to safeguard your sensitive information.


How to write a business plan

A detailed explanation of how to write a business plan capable of becoming a tool for managing a growing law practice is one of the small law firm resources available from the New York City Bar Association. It is written by Robin Kravitz, Esq.


Artificially intelligent “lawyer” is hired

Baker & Hostetler recently reported it has licensed the artificial intelligence product developed by ROSS Intelligence for bankruptcy matters.


Is social media worth the investment?

Five legal technology marketing experts suggest ways to make social media pay off for your law firm. [ALM subscribers only; subscription is free.]


Protect your most valuable data

Legal tech industry  experts warn  it is no longer a question of if cybercriminals will get in, but when.  To protect your firm, start “mapping business functions … and … the systems used to support those functions.” Read more. [ALM subscribers only; subscription is free.]


Attorney-client quick match service

Legal Services Link automates the process of connecting someone seeking legal services to an attorney with appropriate expertise. There’s no sign-up fee for an attorney to view postings, but updating to premium in order to reply to postings requires an annual fee of $250.


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Make the most of summer

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you can take a vacation from your business. Planning and marketing are two jobs that need to be done year round. Some news of particular interest to farmers and would-be farmers is here, too.


List your SBO on Bing places for Business

While Google is the big name in search engine land, other smaller SE’s have their fans, some of whom may be customers looking for what you have to offer. These directions will help you get your business listed on Bing.

Note: Be sure your essential NAP information—name, address, phone number) is identical on each search engine. For example, don’t use Route 28 as your address on Google and Rt. 28 as your address on Bing.


Free read: 27 Strategies for Raising Capital

Startup Wisdom by Maury Forman and Jordan Tampien presents 27 different strategies for raising capital. Forman is with the Washington State Department of Commerce Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, but the strategies are applicable in all states. The book is free to read online or download.


Seasonal marketing is always in season.

Read 10 strategies for optimizing each marketing season even if your products or services aren’t seasonal.


Keep the local content coming

It’s hard to rank well in search unless your website is regularly being updated. Even a local business with little local competition needs to keep adding new, quality content.


Young farmers get help to grow

The New Farmers Grant Fund has awarded  $743,000 in grants to support 25 early-stage agricultural businesses across New York State.  See a list of the recipients here.

Registrations are due by July 1 for a week-long Armed to Farm workshop for New York State military veterans who have been farming less than 10 years or want to start farming. Get information and register for the free program which begins Aug. in Hamilton.

Farmers 18-35 years old can  apply for the Achievement Award or the Excellence in Agriculture Award by submitting their applications to the New York Farm Bureau website or contacting NYFB at 1-800-342-4143. by Aug. 15, 2016.  See eligibility requirements and applications.


Can essay contest fund retirement?

Metropolitan newspapers have been laying off staff for years. Many small rural newspaper publishers are in their sixties and seventies. One of them, the owner of The Hardwick Gazette in Vermont is making his newspaper operation the prize in an essay contest. He hopes enough ex-news staffers enter so the $175 entry fee equals half his paper’s annual gross income.


B2B booster steps

To be competitive, a small, rural business-to-business firm must make really good use of its resources. Learn small ways to boost your B2B profitability.


Optimize email for opens and clicks

B2B email marketing is a dependable and cost-effective workhorse. To get the most opens and clicks, optimize those emails. Also check out what’s trending in email design now. Spoiler: Designing for mobile first and sharability are big in 2016.


Tips for marketing to millennials

Almost half (46%) of today’s B2B consumers are now millennials, according to a 2015 study commissioned by Google. Learn nine ways boring brands are marketing successfully to millennials.


Have a conversation to help buyers buy

To help buyers buy, which accelerates the sales process, you actually have to talk to them. Research proves you don’t need a face-to-face conversation: A phone call works just as well.


Identify who makes the buying decision

One of the biggest mistakes that B2B sales organizations tend to make is confusing the “end user” of their solution with the “decision maker” for the purchase. Research and build relationships with various stakeholders and decision makers as part of the long sales process.


Make an awesome About Us page

What does a website visitor need to know about you and your business to compel them to stick around? Learn tips for your About Us page  content, layout, design, and concept.


Gated B2B content: When, why, how

Gating content means you restrict access to people willing to give you information in exchange for it, usually via a form fill. Invest the time to review (or create) a content marketing strategy before you decide what elements of that content to put behind a gate.


Link your solution to  customer’s problem

Your potential customers have:

  • Problems they want to solve
  • Needs they want to meet
  • Desires they want to fulfill

Your website should be the link between what the customers are searching for and your business.  Learn how to supply the missing links.


7 no-link ways to improve local SEO

This article gives specific tips for improving organic traffic through an optimized website, a  Google My Business listing, and local citations (directories).


8 benefits of a business credit card

A recent survey by seven Federal Reserve Banks showed 72% of business owners who apply for a traditional loan get turned down. One of the most common reasons for loan denial was insufficient personal and business credit scores. One of the simplest ways to establish a positive business credit history is by using a business credit card.


Personal touch makes a webinar  stand out

Webinars help B2B firms stand out in crowded market segments. You need solid educational content to attract an audience and a personal voice that holds their attention and showcases your authority on your subject.


 

Video for SBOs

People love video. Search engines and social media platforms love it, too. This issue of Rural New York Small Business Owner focuses entirely on how to get the benefits of video without a huge investment of time and money.


How to leverage the power of video

Tips on how small business owners with limited time can harness the power of video on their websites and on the social media sites they already use.


Video production in 12 simple steps

Although written for people who use video in teaching online courses, this introduction  to video production will work for SBOs, too. It tells what to do and the cheapest tools to use (and some slightly more pricey options). It also includes a link to a webinar, links to some free courses, and links to examples of video productions.


How to create a product page that converts

It is not enough to have a video about your great product or service: You have to make sure customers can find that video. That means paying attention to the product URLs,  titles, and  descriptions which allow customers to find you via a search engine.


How to use YouTube video shopping ads

Google, which owns YouTube, has initiated an e-commerce functionality within YouTube videos so customers can click through to purchase. Learn about the two types of video-embedded ads and how to set them up.  Also, read  elsewhere what Google has to say about using YouTube TrueView to drive retail sales.


Landing page videos boost conversions

Dollar Shave Club showed that videos are a perfect way to tell your business’s story.  Studies show a video on your landing page can increase the conversion rate by up to 86%. ( A landing page is a web page with only one objective, such as to get newsletter signups. The only link choices from a landing page are to accept or decline the call to action.)  Learn how to make an effective landing page video.


Video can go into newsletters, too

This article, which first appeared on the AWeber blog, tells why you’d  use video in email newsletters.  The article links to three other video tutorials on aspects of video for email newsletters. Neither article mentions that some email service providers won’t let email containing video be delivered or shut down when a recipient tries to view a video within newsletter.


 

Keep it simple

Simple tips and short lists of ideas for a more efficient, productive, and profitable small business operation—all without working any harder.


7 ideas for marketing to your customer base

Most of a small business’s sales come from existing customers. This article from the SBA blog discusses seven ways to boost sales by encouraging customers to buy more or more frequently.


Reinvent retail with Internet-connected tools

Although some bricks-and-mortal retailers have flamed out, census data suggest that physical retail is thriving . The best retail businesses tap into customers’ increasing use of Internet-connected tools to search, shop, and buy.


For email newsletters, appearances matter

A well-designed email can have a big impact on the success of your marketing campaign. Get Convince and Convert’s guide to best practices for email design free. Entrepreneur has a different set of tips for a great-looking email newsletter. Between the two, you’re covered.


Straightforward guide to B2B lead generation

This four-point guide will help you find the right leads to pursue to keep from wasting resources on businesses that aren’t likely to convert to customers.


10 on-demand services to watch in 2016

Your customers want convenience. Check these 10 on-demand services to inspire ideas for how you can provide more convenience in your small business.


Music festivals are marketing opportunities

Just about one in 10 Americans attends a music festival each year, making such events a great place to connect with customers. Niche festivals offer opportunities to get your brand before the public—especially millennials—at relatively small cost. This article gives four ways to get noticed at a music festival.


Working  website has more than good design

Appealing aesthetics may get attention, but they aren’t enough to make visitors spend time on your site and come back again. This article suggests thinking of your home page as an online-dating profile for your business. This one ticks off a few essential website elements.


7 digital productivity tools

If you’re going to run a small business these days, you need to take advantage of digital tools that allow you to be  more efficient and productive.


Donations are opportunities. Donate strategically.

A small business gets hit up for donations right and left.  “It’s in your best interest to think about what you want from your charitable giving program and use it,  just like all of your other tools, to build your reputation and your brand.” Read the full article.


How to create a QR code for your business

In many situations, such as those print ads on diner placemats,  a QR code that can be scanned with a smart phone is more convenient for customers than typing a URL.  Here are easy directions for creating a QR code for a particular link. You’ll need a QR code app to test your code. If your smartphone doesn’t have one,  learn how to find, download and use an app for your device.