7 Sure Fire Ways For Your Legal Marketing to Fail – The Essential Lawyers Marketing Guide

1. Failing To Define What You Want Your Marketing To Achieve For You

This is the number one pitfall of nearly all campaigns. You are guaranteed to fail if you don’t decide up front what you want your campaign to achieve for you. Without formulating your critical success factors for the marketing initiative you will never be able to measure success or failure, and if you cannot do that how will you know if your limited legal marketing budget has been well spent?

Practical tip: This is guaranteed to happen if you say yes to a speculative call from a newspaper which has some “last minute advertising space” but you must agree to advertise “today” or the firm of solicitors next door to you will be offered the slot. Let them have it and you can have the last laugh!

2. Trying To Please Everyone

Marketing obtains the best possible results when you have clearly defined your target audience and you speak to them in a language that they clearly understand. In business law, you might find that you work best with certain sectors of business, or in private law that families are your best audience. When you know this all of your marketing materials can be amended to reflect this knowledge and provide you with a much better return on your investment.

Practical tip: Review your current client lists for different legal sectors and see if there are any trends appearing.

3. Communicate Too Little Or Too Much

With solicitors it is always normally the first one which causes the problem. If you have a client database you must do what every hugely successful business does; that is to communicate with it and sell it more of your services. Look at Amazon or Tesco, they email their clients at least once a week, normally twice. I know that one of the concerns that lawyers have is that this will scare off their customers. This is simply not true. If customers do not want to read your emails or mailed marketing message, they will choose not to. It does not stop them using your service again but it will put your name front of mind when they need legal assistance.

Admittedly solicitors would find it hard to communicate with their clients once or twice a week, but once a month should be very easy.

Practical tip: It is 10 times easier to sell more services to existing clients than it is to recruit new ones. Start talking to your client database now before Tesco Law or Halifax Law does.

4. Not Making Use Of Your Free Marketing Space

When a client attends your premises they are a captive audience. What are you doing to communicate with them now?

Your clients should have a choice of marketing materials to read (see below), some educational information sheets about your various areas of law, and advertising messages in your office windows and on internal walls. Is this happening?

Practical Tip: Remove any materials that do not relate to your practice. Whilst it is good to support charities, do this from the extra profits your practice makes from selling more of your services to existing clients as opposed to displaying charity literature in reception (as a lot of solicitors do).

5. Not Having Brochures To Support Your Marketing Communications

Many solicitors seem to believe that brochures are now an expense that they can do without. This is a fatal mistake. Do Banks produce brochures for every service they offer? Do insurance companies produce brochures for their car and household insurance policies? Will they produce them for legal services when they enter the markets en masse? Yes of course they will.

If you are competing against an insurance company in the future and a client visits the insurance company’s amazing website and requests their brochure, when they then pop into their local solicitor to see how they can help them will they feel something is missing when no “sales materials” are provided to help them to make their “informed decision” of which legal service provider to use?

Practical Tip: If you do not have any brochures, obtain at least one practice brochure now and then add one more type of brochure per month until you have at least two types of brochure for every legal service that you offer.

6. Not Having A Website, Or Having One That Is Badly Out Of Date

Many solicitors still do not understand the power of the website. Please let me help you: If you are not receiving at least 20 new enquiries from your website every month you are doing it wrong! It is that straightforward, there are solicitors winning more business than they can handle online. If you are not doing so your website is not working.

Practical Tip: Ask a website professional to audit your website and explain why it is not working.

7. No Time To Market – Too Busy Helping Clients

This is the one area that is a huge problem for solicitors with their legal marketing. In most cases if there is a marketing deadline to be met and a legal matter deadline, the marketing will always fall by the wayside. The trouble with this is that marketing needs momentum to really flourish and provide you with outstanding results. You must commit to spend time growing your business as you do when working on the business you have already generated. Failure to do so could be fatal in a more competitive arena.

Practical Tip: Set aside at least one hour per week to ensure that your marketing builds momentum.

Captive Insurance Company – Reduce Taxes and Build Wealth

For business owners paying taxes in the United States, captive insurance companies reduce taxes, build wealth and improve insurance protection. A captive insurance company (CIC) is similar in many ways to any other insurance company. It is referred to as “captive” because it generally provides insurance to one or more related operating businesses. With captive insurance, premiums paid by a business are retained in the same “economic family”, instead of being paid to an outsider.

Two key tax benefits enable a structure containing a CIC to build wealth efficiently: (1) insurance premiums paid by a business to the CIC are tax deductible; and (2) under IRC § 831(b), the CIC receives up to $1.2 million of premium payments annually income-tax-free. In other words, a business owner can shift taxable income out of an operating business into the low-tax captive insurer. An 831(b) CIC pays taxes only on income from its investments. The “dividends received deduction” under IRC § 243 provides additional tax efficiency for dividends received from its corporate stock investments.

Starting about 60 years ago, the first captive insurance companies were formed by large corporations to provide insurance that was either too expensive or unavailable in the conventional insurance market.

Over the years, a combination of US tax laws, court cases and IRS rulings has clearly defined the steps and procedures required for the establishment and operation of a CIC by one or more business owners or professionals.

To qualify as an insurance company for tax purposes, a captive insurance company must satisfy “risk shifting” and “risk distribution” requirements. This is easily done through routine CIC planning. The insurance provided by a CIC must really be insurance, that is, a genuine risk of loss must be shifted from the premium-paying operating business to the CIC that insures the risk.

In addition to tax benefits, principal advantages of a CIC include increased control and increased flexibility, which improve insurance protection and lower cost. With conventional insurance, an outside carrier typically dictates all aspects of a policy. Often, certain risks cannot be insured conventionally, or can only be insured at a prohibitive price. Conventional insurance rates are often volatile and unpredictable, and conventional insurers are prone to deny valid claims by exaggerating petty technicalities. Also, although business insurance premiums are generally deductible, once they are paid to a conventional outside insurer, they are gone forever.

A captive insurance company efficiently insures risk in various ways, such as through customized insurance policies, favorable “wholesale” rates from reinsurers, and pooled risk. Captive companies are well suited for insuring risk that would otherwise be uninsurable. Most businesses have conventional “retail” insurance policies for obvious risks, but remain exposed and subject to damages and loss from numerous other risks (i.e., they “self insure” those risks). A captive company can write customized policies for a business’s peculiar insurance needs and negotiate directly with reinsurers. A CIC is particularly well-suited to issue business casualty policies, that is, policies that cover business losses claimed by a business and not involving third-party claimants. For example, a business might insure itself against losses incurred through business interruptions arising from weather, labor problems or computer failure.

As noted above, an 831(b) CIC is exempt from taxes on up to $1.2 million of premium income annually. As a practical matter, a CIC makes economic sense when its annual receipt of premiums is about $300,000 or more. Also, a business’s total payments of insurance premiums should not exceed 10 percent of its annual revenues. A group of businesses or professionals having similar or homogeneous risks can form a multiple-parent captive (or group captive) insurance company and/or join a risk retention group (RRG) to pool resources and risks.

A captive insurance company is a separate entity with its own identity, management, finances and capitalization requirements. It is organized as an insurance company, having procedures and personnel to administer insurance policies and claims. An initial feasibility study of a business, its finances and its risks determines if a CIC is appropriate for a particular economic family. An actuarial study identifies appropriate insurance policies, corresponding premium amounts and capitalization requirements. After selection of a suitable jurisdiction, application for an insurance license may proceed. Fortunately, competent service providers have developed “turnkey” solutions for conducting the initial evaluation, licensing, and ongoing management of captive insurance companies. The annual cost for such turnkey services is typically about $50,000 to $150,000, which is high but readily offset by reduced taxes and enhanced investment growth.

A captive insurance company may be organized under the laws of one of several offshore jurisdictions or in a domestic jurisdiction (i.e., in one of 39 US states). Some captives, such as a risk retention group (RRG), must be licensed domestically. Generally, offshore jurisdictions are more accommodating than domestic insurance regulators. As a practical matter, most offshore CICs owned by a US taxpayer elect to be treated under IRC § 953(d) as a domestic company for federal taxation. An offshore CIC, however, avoids state income taxes. The costs of licensing and managing an offshore CIC are comparable to or less than doing so domestically. More importantly, an offshore company offers better asset protection opportunities than a domestic company. For example, an offshore irrevocable trust owning an offshore captive insurance company provides asset protection against creditors of the business, grantor and other beneficiaries while allowing the grantor to enjoy benefits of the trust.

For US business owners paying substantial insurance premiums every year, a captive insurance company efficiently reduces taxes and builds wealth and can be easily integrated into asset protection and estate planning structures. Up to $1.2 million of taxable income can be shifted as deductible insurance premiums from an operating business to a low-tax CIC.

Warning & Disclaimer: This is not legal or tax advice.

Internal Revenue Service Circular 230 Disclosure: As provided for in Treasury regulations, advice (if any) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

Copyright 2011 – Thomas Swenson

Affiliate Marketing – Make Some Great Legal Tender – Here’s How It Works

For everyone who would like to make some cash online, affiliate marketing is one of the best means to get started.

How much would you enjoy picking up a little extra money each month? Or even replace your income, struggling less and making more bread?

Affiliate Marketing: make some great money, here’s how it works

Affiliate marketing is the operation of introducing online shoppers to particular products and grabbing a percentage of the sale for your efforts.

As an affiliate marketer, you are assigned your own links to a product. This is so the seller can tell when a customer that you referred buys their product.

What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?

There’s a whole bunch. For one, this is a very good way to make a passive income, because folks from all over the globe are acquiring stuff online every minute of every day. You don’t need to put forth any of your own products either.

A lot of sellers offer terrific motivators to affiliate marketers, with some offering as much as 50% to 75% in commissions on products that you bring customers to.

It’s really easy to find places in which to insert your links and make great money. As a result, you can earn some cash on the side, or even replace your total salary if you get good at it.

Article writing

Writing articles that relate to the products that you’re making an effort to promote can be hugely beneficial in many ways.

Writing articles on one topic, but with lots of viewpoints will give you a leg up to understand precisely what the product you’re promoting is all about and help you to recognize your target audience.

Also the more articles you write, the more everyone will learn about you. This develops your online presence and your credibility as well. And that will be huge later on down the road, when you’re ready for your own website.

Writing blog articles

Writing blog articles for free as a trade-off for being permitted to place links to your products may quite possibly be helpful because you will have complete access to each blogger’s followers.

Now you don’t need to go out and locate your own prospects. You simply market to people who are already captivated by the idea and are web-savvy. Which by the way, is a must for somebody who is considering paying for merchandise online.

Not to mention, there are also article sites that will enable you to integrate links to your merchandise at the bottom of the article. And better still, there are some sites that may even pay you small fees for your articles.

The secret to drawing as many guests as possible is to compose a terrific article that doesn’t look too much like a sales pitch. And at the same time, enlightens your readers on how their lives can possibly be even more improved if they check out the stuff that you have listed.

Affiliate Marketing: make some great money, here’s how it works

One fine day, you’re eventually going to want to jump in with both feet and get your very own website. This is going to open multiple channels of communication with millions of potential buyers.

Here is where you can manage your own store with links to the assortment of products that you are marketing, as well as develop a customer base through blogging.

It doesn’t need to be something fancy, only something uncomplicated so customers can navigate easily.

Along with using social media marketing as a means to get even more people connected, you can ultimately have tremendous success with affiliate marketing. As long as you single out quality merchandise to market and promote them convincingly.