The following guest post is from Gerry Oginski, a Mac-using medical malpractice & personal injury trial lawyer in Great Neck, New York:
As the internet has taken hold and more lawyers have recognized the benefits of marketing online, one marketing tool is defining the standard of advertising on the web. Online videos. It is the newest, hottest tool available for lawyers to communicate their message on the web. Admittedly, attorney videos are one-way communication, but they offer significant advantages over every other advertising medium.
Most attorneys have failed to understand the true value of video and how it can improve their chances of a potential client calling them over their competitor. Legal marketing experts agree that the sooner you start to see the value of video marketing, the sooner you’ll see the results. Legal marketing expert Larry Bodine recently commented that putting video on your website is “…a great opportunity to present how you look, how you talk, what you’re like, and make yourself more attractive to clients. It’s a great business-getting technique.” The key to encouraging a website visitor to call you, is with video. Static websites and fancy graphics just do not cut it any more, and fail to distinguish yourself from your competitor. Tom Foster, CEO of Foster Web Marketing says “If you get in early by putting video on your website, you can take advantage of good search placement on the video search engines.”
If you thought that internet video was for the MTV crowd, you’d be wrong. If you thought that video for your website was only for geeky techno-lawyers, you’d be wrong too. If you thought that putting a video of yourself online was useless, you’d definitely be wrong. In fact, Google thinks you’re so wrong that they recently paid one billion dollars to buy a video sharing site called YouTube. To give you an idea about the reach that internet video has, consider a ten minute video clip by comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham: his video has been viewed over 60 million times. Most attorney videos are viewed in the hundreds of times, but it shows the potential that video has. Plus, if done correctly, does not cost you anything more if it is watched 100 times or 100,000 times.
In the pre-internet age, lawyer advertising was limited to television,
radio, yellow pages, billboards, newspapers and magazines. Since the
1970′s when the Supreme Court of the United States decided that lawyers
could advertise (Bates v. State Bar of Arizona), the general public has
been bombarded with lawyer ads. Every jurisdiction in every state has
their own peculiar set of ethical rules regarding what lawyers can and
cannot say in their advertisements. Cheesy lawyer advertisements have
been the bane of late-night talk shows and comedy shows for decades.
Lawyers trying to get a foothold into their particular market often
looked upon lawyer advertising as a necessary evil. Many felt it was
beneath them to advertise. Not many lawyers wanted to be in the same
category as a salesman looking to pitch his latest slicer and dicer.
Traditional advertising is costly. Lawyers often complained that the
cost to advertise in each medium were prohibitive. The ads themselves
were not able to be viewed repeatedly for the same cost, and unless a
potential client was looking for an attorney at that moment, they would
likely ignore the daily messages they were inundated with.
The New Millennia :: The Internet
With the dawn of the internet, attorneys began to develop web sites as
an ancillary way to "get their name" into the public eye. Many New York
lawyers felt, and still do, that they’d rather busy themselves
practicing law, rather than marketing their services. The common
thinking was "Hire a marketing person to do all that advertising for
us." The problem was that most marketing people had no experience with
developing web sites for lawyers. Many did not know what a website
could be used for and how it could be advantageous to a law firm. The
early lawyer web sites consisted of only a few pages and held little
information besides your law firm name, and the type of law that you
practiced. It gave no real information and did nothing to distinguish
you from your competitor down the street. It was analogous to a downed
pilot in a war movie who was obligated to give only his name, rank and
serial number. Those bland websites did little to encourage a potential
client to call.
With the advent of interesting and focused lawyer websites, it is
simply not enough anymore to have static websites with fancy graphics
and photos. How does your website with nice pictures of tall buildings
and cityscapes and mean-looking lawyers with their arms folded across
their chests, like the Knights of King Arthur’s Court preparing for
battle, differentiate you from your colleagues? The reality is that
your website is probably not very different from your main competitors.
Maybe your website uses different colors; maybe you have a different
template and design; maybe your font is different. Put aside the design
and focus on the substance. What is it that you are trying to tell a
prospective client who is searching for an attorney online? What
information do you offer that your competitor does not? How can a
prospective client make an intelligent choice about whether to pick up
the phone and call you instead of the biggest law firm on the block?
Does your website distinguish you and your firm from every other law
firm practicing in your specialty? If it does, you have a distinct
advantage. If it doesn’t, you need to look critically at what you are
doing in order to improve your online presence.
Google :: Why You Need To Know How It Works
Today’s internet has exploded with creative and useful ways to educate
and inform millions of viewers. A "Google search" has made it
commonplace to search for anything and anybody with a click of a
button. Google has cornered the market on creating the easiest and
arguably most powerful search tool on the internet today. Why is this
important for lawyers looking to market their services and their law
firm? It’s not only important, it’s vital for a lawyer to understand
how Google searches work. Only by understanding the concepts of how a
search engine works, can a law firm take advantage of it with video
Typically, a potential client will do a Google search if they are
looking for an attorney online. Obviously there are many search
engines, but Google’s popularity cannot and should not be ignored. The
results that pop up on Google will likely determine if your website
will be clicked on. If you are on page 10 of a Google search result, it
is unlikely your website will be found. The same reasoning applies if
you had a full page ad in the yellow pages and were at page 30. The
yellow pages representative always managed to explain that even if you
were at page 30, “just one client” would be enough to pay for your ad.
Unfortunately, the yellow pages rep never explained why a potential
client would call your firm, 30 pages from the front, instead of the
other 29 lawyers in front of you. However, if your website comes up on
page one of Google, there is a good chance that a website viewer will
click on your site. Unfortunately, with all the competition today, that
alone does not get a potential viewer to call you.
Once a viewer actually clicks on your site, what do they find? Is the
website static and filled with fancy graphics or flash media that does
nothing to differentiate your site from all the others? What
information do you provide that will cause a viewer to want to pick up
the phone and ask you questions? The answer according to Gerry Oginski,
a medical malpractice and personal injury attorney in Great Neck, is
video. Oginski has created over 100 educational video tips on medical
malpractice and personal injury law in New York using only his iMac and
iMovie ’06. He posts them on his website, and uploads them to video
sharing sites such as YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo and AOL.
Benefits of Video For The Practicing Attorney
Millions of viewers go online every day to watch video clips about
every topic imaginable. From ‘how-to’ videos where you can learn to
build a house, to bizarre videos of no-talent singers pretending to be
Tom Cruise in their dining room. From sports to politics to technology,
there’s a video online to steal a few moments of your time.
Video allows the attorney not only to convey their marketing message,
but allows viewers to see, hear, and determine whether the lawyer
inspires confidence and knows what he is talking about. Video allows
for more than a 30 second commercial that screams at you. Online video
gives lawyers the opportunity to explain to viewers how they are
different from every other lawyer who is competing with them.
Video Is The Key To Show You Are Different
How does video distinguish you from everyone else? By creating a
personal bond with your viewer. Admittedly, it’s a one-way
conversation, but it allows the viewer to see you, hear you, and judge
for themselves whether you sound confident and intelligent enough to
want to call you.
So far, the biggest users of online video for law firms have been
personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers. These attorneys have
gotten in on the ground floor and are just now learning how to optimize
their videos so that the major search engines identify the videos and
improve their search engine ranking for their website. That’s the
golden key that every attorney who advertises online appears to strive
for. To be able to say that "Out of 4 million websites, Google thinks
my site is #1 in their organic search rankings," is indeed, a feat to
strive for and emulate.
Why a Potential Client Would Call You
If a potential client is searching for a lawyer online, what would make
them choose one lawyer over another with the same credentials? You each
have a website. You each have similar experience. You each charge
basically the same for similar services. So, how are you different, and
how can you communicate that to a nameless, faceless visitor to your
A video that tells a visitor who you are and welcomes them, has already
gained brownie points. What should you talk about? If you talk about
how great you are and how amazing your credentials are, does the viewer
really care? Or is the viewer more interested in how you can solve
their pressing legal problem? If you can answer their unasked question
through a video, not only will you have scored all the points, you can
bet that person will call you and not your colleague down the street.
Generating Half The Calls To His Office
Oginski says “These educational videos, together with my informative
website have caused my phone to ring. In fact, they generate half of
all the calls to my office.” He explains that this is a dramatic
increase from the previous year when he only had his website online.
“Using a Mac is the key to creating, producing, editing and uploading
my videos. Once you learn how to use iMovie, making educational videos
is simple. I wouldn’t use anything else to edit my videos.”
Virginia Personal Injury Trial Lawyer Ben Glass, who teaches marketing
to lawyers all over the country says that after viewing Oginski’s
website and the videos he created, agrees that “It’s no longer good
enough to just have a message that you ‘shout’ out to consumers via the
Yellow Pages, TV, Radio or the Internet. The informational videos that
Gerry Oginski has created uses cutting-edge marketing ideas and
combines them with the latest technology in order to ‘start a
conversation’ with potential clients. That’s the key to getting a
website visitor to call.”
What happens to those lawyers who choose not to use online video?
Oginski believes that “those lawyers will lose the chance to get
excellent placement on the video search engines. Those same lawyers
lose the ability to improve their search engine rankings, because video
clearly helps improve their website rankings. Lawyers who fail to
create useful videos lose the opportunity to connect with their website
visitors and distinguish themselves from all the other lawyers out
there competing for the same business. Those lawyers lose the advantage
of letting a viewer get to know them and trust them before they ever
walk into their office.”
About Gerry Oginski, Esq.
Gerry Oginski is an experienced medical malpractice & personal
injury trial lawyer practicing law in New York since 1988. He has
created, produced and uploaded over 100 educational videos online about
New York medical malpractice, wrongful death and personal injury law.
Gerry’s popular website (www.oginski-law.com) consistently comes
up #1 in the organic search results when you do a Google search for
"New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer." Gerry’s video blog can be seen