Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lawyers, take a lesson from Cookie Monster...


Now that lawyers and other professionals are beginning to experiment with video to market their practices, I would suggest that it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at successful television commercials, like this one! 

What could possibly be the takeaway from a Cookie Monster ad you ask? Well, I will tell you...
  • Instead of itemizing all the cool things that the iPhone 6s can do, they show us Cookie Monster baking cookies with Siri's oh so very patient assistance! And they sneak in an added benefit. If you happen to have monster paws (or gloves on!), it works too.
  • Even though we're talking about a seriously sophisticated product here, they inject humour. I saw this at the gym for the first time last night and I will tell you that I was not the only one fixated and in stitches!!
  • They created positive connection. In this case, it was by way of the loving association with a childhood television character. But this lesson is transferable to other means.
A law firm video doesn't have to be a talking head telling the world how great your firm is and how many years of experience you have. Even if you don't have access to Cookie Monster and his friends like Apple did, there are a multitude of ways to communicate your valued difference in a way that creates human connection. After all, isn't that what works to your advantage when you meet clients for the first time?

If Cookie Monster can do it, so can you.


- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto

Monday, May 16, 2016

Leaders beware, trust is a two-way street

Humour me today, dear readers. A little anecdote sometimes makes the point better than any theory can...

I was speaking at a conference last week (more to come on that shortly!) at Exhibition Place. While on break, I decided to walk down to the water. While I was there, I did something I never do.  I handed my cell phone over to a stranger to take my photo (for a blog post... more to come on that soon too!). 

For those of you who don't relate, I make it a rule to not hand my cell phone off to strangers for photos, not as much for the monetary value, as for the confidential client contact details and related email and text messages.

But this time I did. Why was today different?

The woman handed me her phone first! She was running and needed photos for a fitness challenge she was doing (which looked very cool, by the way! so congrats my friend wherever you are).  Since I was already contemplating the need for a photo and wasn't exactly thrilled with my selfies, I handed my phone to her and asked her to reciprocate! 

It's human instinct to trust those that trust you. 

There's a lesson here. 

A common issue that comes up with lawyers, accountants and architects leading at various levels, is gaining trust from their teams. Well today, instead of thinking about what you could do to earn your team's trust, ask yourself a different question. Do you trust them? If not, why not? And how can you take your trust up a notch? If there are real professional, performance or accountability issues, what can you do to address them? They will feel the change, no matter how small a step you take. 

While there are many other aspects of trust in the workplace, following through on promises and such, this may just be one of the most honest ones. 

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Architects, advocacy is part of your brand

Professional practice tips
Architects that use their voice about what isn't working for them - in policy, in workplace equality and other aspects of our built environment - effect change. Every voice counts. 

Branding isn't just about a pretty logo (not that it hurts!). 

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Should law firms REALLY be on social media? [Video, Blab Replay]




I 'blabbed' yesterday with Kim McLaughlin of Lyra Communications about whether or not law firms should REALLY be on social media. We're both grounded in strategic marketing. So, we agreed on many things. But not on all! It made for an interesting debate. The many considerations outlined in this video will be helpful for law firms deciding whether or not to make a bigger effort with their social media presence. 

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto

Friday, April 29, 2016

Lawyers, are you committed to your marketing plan?

Professional practice tips
Commitment is one of the best predictors for law firm marketing success. So, when making decisions about the firm's marketing plan, consider meeting lawyers where they're at, training and building a turnkey plan that takes practical account of resources.

It's also helpful to build the personal marketing plans according to the specific interests and talents of the team (i.e. are they natural writers, speakers, networkers...) and coaching them through the bumps along the way. 

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Architects, should you think about profit first?

Professional practice tips
There's a new column at Toronto Marketing Blog. In 'The quick tips corner', we will be sharing tips from conversations, articles and videos shared by our professional network on social media. Here's our first installment: 

A short clip from Mark R. LePage at EntreArchitect in 'The Power of the “Profit First” Culture in Architecture':
We are making the world a better place with every new project and we would do it for free if we could 
...and that, right there may be our biggest problem. We would do it for free if we could. 

You won't be able to help anyone if you go bankrupt. So, if you care about helping them, think about your bottom line. And the less money worries you have, the more energy and attention you'll have to do what you do best... be an architect!!

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto

Friday, April 22, 2016

Video uploads double in 2014 - A “Video takes off” series




The number of videos uploaded to YouTube increased by 200%, from 2013 to 2014. The question explored on this video is why.

I will be speaking more about this with my colleague Roxanne Boutzis from SBR Network at the upcoming Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) conference. Learn more and register at the OAA website.

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Other videos from our "Video takes off" series:

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management


Small to mid-sized law, architecture, accounting, consulting, medical and other professional practices are invited to learn more about our Toronto based marketing videos and marketing services.

Breathe life into your marketing programme with video



Today's practice tip is on improving the performance of your marketing plan with video. Here's an excerpt from my article at SlawTips:

t’s information overload out there. And many lawyers are seeing readership of their blogs, articles and newsletters dropping off. So, this week’s tip is to consider changing things up by adding video. How can you make that decision? Give some thought to the following questions...


- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management



Small to mid-sized law firms are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, law firm marketing and legal business development services.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

What's good for the goose...



What's good for the goose is definitely good for the gander! 

I just got back from a two-day retreat, strategic planning for my business. That's right. I don't just talk about this stuff. I actually do it. And have been doing so, religiously, since I started my business 10 years ago.

So, while it's still fresh for me, here's why this annual event is so vital to my consulting practice:
  • When I review my notes from the previous session, I realize I'd been focused on my priorities throughout the whole year. Consistently, most or all of my goals from the previous year have been met. 
  • During my advance preparation, I find surprising changes in my business. I would have noticed them eventually, but not until after the opportunity was long gone or the impact of an issue was seriously felt. With regular planning, I can act in a timely fashion.
  • At the actual event, I revisit everything about my business and I am prepared to change / scrap or add as needed to supports my goals. Have my objectives changed? What types of clients are most strategically aligned? What area of the business is most profitable? How's my work / life balance? What's in the pipeline? How should I be bolstering the marketing plan? Are any systems or work processes in need of refinement? What's new in the marketplace? And so the line of questioning continues...

Today, I'm back at my desk. But, I know that I have the seeds for an action plan and I've begun implementing it before even putting it to paper. It's all good for my business. And, given the additional charge I get from the process, it's good for me. 

Exactly like my clients. 

--

Related articles: 


- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management


Small to mid-sized law, architecture, accounting, consulting, medical and other professional practices are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based marketing and strategic planning services.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Video boosts email readership by 65% - A “Video takes off” series



Did you know that "video" in the subject line of an email boosts readership by 19%?  Watch as Roxanne Boutzis of SBR Network and I talk about this. Join us at the Ontario Association of Architects' annual conference for our session: Video: The 1.8 Million Word Promotion.

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Other videos from our "Video takes off" series:


- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management


Small to mid-sized law, architecture, accounting, consulting, medical and other professional practices are invited to learn more about our Toronto based marketing videos and marketing services.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Senior executives prefer video over text - A “Video takes off” series




Should it be video or text?  Think twice before publishing that next post!  Check out these facts that compare recent stats for video relative to text.

I will be speaking more about this with my colleague Roxanne Boutzis from SBR Network at the upcoming Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) conference. Learn more and register at the OAA website.


--

Other videos from our "Video takes off" series:

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management

Small to mid-sized law, architecture, accounting, consulting, medical and other professional practices are invited to learn more about our Toronto based marketing videos and marketing services.

Monday, April 4, 2016

One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words - A “Video takes off” series



Is one minute of video really worth 1.8 million words?  In this one minute video, find out why professionals who want to promote their expertise should consider adding video to their marketing plan.

I will be speaking more about this with my colleague Roxanne Boutzis from SBR Network at the upcoming Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) conference. Learn more and register at the OAA website.

--

Other videos from our "Video takes off" series:


- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management


Small to mid-sized law, architecture, accounting, consulting, medical and other professional practices are invited to learn more about our Toronto based marketing videos and marketing services.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Delegate to break through that glass ceiling

Today's practice tip is on delegating to break through that glass ceiling. Here's an excerpt from my article at SlawTips:

Lawyers, you know that if you want your firms to be more efficient and profitable, you need to delegate. 
You know that if you want more time with your families and the occasional good night’s sleep, you need to delegate. 
You even know that if you want to grow in your role (and to allow others to do the same), you need to delegate. 
So, what’s the problem? 
Why are lawyers holding back when it comes to delegating?...

Stay tuned for more practice tips!  I'll be contributing to SlawTips every couple of months. 

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management

Small to mid-sized law firms are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, law firm marketing and legal business development services.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Should you bother with social media marketing?

SlawTips

My first SlawTips post went up last week (SlawTips offers practice tips for lawyers, weekly). 

This tip helps lawyers decide once and for all what they're going to do about social media marketing: 
Most lawyers have a profile on LinkedIn and possible one or two other social media sites. Some have made a great success of it. But many aren’t really sure what they’re doing there. So, they pop in once in a while, join some groups, post some news and share some articles, all to try and garner a bit of attention for their firms. They may even have encouraged their staff to do the same. 
All the while, that little voice inside their head is asking them why they bother at all. It just seems to be such a waste of time. 
And, I’m not going to lie to you. Often it is.
- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management

Small to mid-sized law firms are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, law firm marketing and legal business development services.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

The new tipsters!

 SlawTips

I'm glad to announce that I've just joined the recently expanded SlawTips team.  SlawTips provides short sensible tips for lawyers three times a week. I will be contributing to the practice tips section of the website. Practice tips are published every Thursday.       

I am joining current editors David J. Bilinsky (@david_bilinsky) and Garry J. Wise (@wiselaw), along with the following new members of the team:


I'm looking forward to some vibrant online discussions with the new team! 

My first article went up last week: Should You Bother With Social Media Marketing?

Dave's announcement also provides a little more about each of the team members. 

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management


Small to mid-sized law firms are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, law firm marketing and legal business development services.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sponsorships more than just ‘slapping on a logo’


I was recently interviewed by Simon Hally at The Lawyers Weekly about the role of sponsorships in the marketing of a law firm. Here is a short excerpt:

...“It’s not just a matter of slapping on a logo,” says marketing consultant Sandra Bekhor, who specializes in advising professional practices such as law firms.  
“Whatever you sponsor should be connected to your way of thinking and speak to a value that’s important to your firm. Anything you do in marketing will be best if you’re involved in it.”...

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management


Small to mid-sized law firms are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, law firm marketing and legal business development services.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Climbing the social media tree [Infographic]

social media tree

To date, LinkedIn boasts 400 million users! A small minority is doing phenomenally. Social media marketing is the best thing that’s ever happened to them.  But, let’s face it, most are standing still, watching the traffic go by. They’re unsure how to proceed and a little worried about making a mistake. They’re trying to figure out if they’ll get anything out of it. Or, if it it's just going to waste their precious time. This observation is especially true of a rather large cross section of lawyers, accountants, architects and other professionals. 

So, for all the doubters out there, here’s what the climb looks like and how the right approach can make it possible for you (and your team) to move from stuck to motivated and energized to build the practice. 

First Branch
You’re not on the map. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, twitter, you’ve heard the names and maybe even seen what they look like. But you’ve never created an account. It feels like another world. You're pretty much disinterested.

Second Branch 
You’re online presence is faceless. You’ve just started a profile. No photo. No logo. No activity. You have concerns about the competition and client confidentiality. You’re not convinced it’s worth investing your time or money. But you're quietly beginning to worry that you're missing the boat.

Third Branch
You only have a few connections. People reach out to you. You’re still uncertain but you start saying yes, selectively and hesitantly. However... you still have your doubts.  

Fourth Branch
You’re not responsive. You’re on. But you’re not. People are finding you and you’re not getting back to them.  You’re confused about how things work. Or you’ve delegated it all, without a plan.  You're feeling disorganized and disconnected.

Fifth Branch 
You’ve improved your profile. You tell the world a bit about yourself and maybe even show your face! You're beginning to show interest.

Sixth Branch 
You’ve added connections. You’re starting to find people you know, independently, and it feels less like... well, climbing a giant oak! You begin to reach out. Your curiosity has been piqued. 

Seventh Branch 
You’re mostly self-promotional. Your view changes. You start seeing the site as a way to reach real people and begin using it to broadcast news about your practice. Nobody’s responding. Your curiosity is waning. You're getting frustrated. 

Eight Branch 
You just 'like' stuff. You start noticing what others post and, mostly, do nothing more than throw out the occasional 'like'. Although you have started reading what others post. You don't take any risks and don't get noticed as a result. For the moment, you're a wallflower. 

Ninth Branch 
You are proactive. You start joining groups and finding people with common interests and synergies with your practice. It propels you into action. Your experience is starting to be inviting. 

Tenth Branch 
Your voice changes. Instead of posting promotional content, you start to use your real voice to share thoughts, ideas and opinions, including some controversial, funny or provocative commentary. Your market (and possibly even a few social media influencers) responds. You feel at ease. 

Eleventh Branch 
You become consistent. You start looking forward to and, even, craving interaction. You check for notifications on all devices. You’re motivated and committed. 

Twelfth Branch 
You become strategic. You post what readers are seeking and you respond to their posts. Your network is expanding. Your new connections are aligned with your practice and your goals. You're in the zone.

Thirteenth Branch 
You go offline. Your online activity transforms into real offline networking. The lines between online and off begin to blur. You’re chomping at the bit to do more because you’ve tasted success. You're connected.

Treetop
You are generating results. Your online activity supports your practice development goals. Traffic is up. Readership is up. Connections are up. But most importantly, you’re getting regular inquiries and referrals, all from your desired growth market. Your confidence goes deep. It's based being able to count on predictable results.


Social media marketing isn’t sales. It’s networking, with a plan. That’s not a new, untested concept. The better you get at it, the more your circle expands. If you’re doing it strategically (with clarity about who you want to meet and why), it can’t help but be good for your practice.  

You’d have to sabotage it, for it not to be. 

That said, despite the incredibly high numbers on LinkedIn and other social media sites, most people just get stuck at the wallflower or self-promotional stage. They never see the real potential. 

So, ask yourself, do you have any doubts about the effectiveness of business events, when well attended by your market or referral market?  If not, then why would you doubt social media marketing? It’s the very same thing. 

It’s just online (a boon to introverts everywhere... but that's another article!). 

And when it’s really working it doesn't stay online!    

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management

Small to mid-sized law, architecture, accounting, consulting, medical and other professional practices are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, marketing services.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Lawyers, stop wasting time on social media marketing




I fielded some tough questions about how lawyers can stop wasting time on social media marketing in this video interview with Catherine Moffitt of Cosgrove Associates (a consulting firm focused on law firm profitability and interim office management)! A summary follows.


QUESTION #1: Why should lawyers care about social media marketing?

It's a good question. I think it's on a lot of their minds. Despite the staggering numbers of lawyers and other professionals on LinkedIn, most aren't doing too much. Nevertheless, the rare few who have really jumped on board have made tremendous use of social media to build their practices. 

Compare social media to a trade show. Let's say you were given tickets to this great trade show where your clients and referral network were expected to be. Why would you say no? It's just lost opportunity. 


QUESTION #2: Does social media marketing eat into billable hours?

Another good question. While social media marketing can (and does) eat into billable hours, there's a good reason for it. Rather than directing efforts in a concerted manner, there seems to be a lot of frenetic energy out there. People are unsure what to do with the different sites, so they just post stuff and then they typically don't get anything in return. 

But you need a plan to be efficient, to direct actions towards goals. 

Let's switch gears to hockey as an analogy. When all the players on a hockey team are focused on the same thing, they move in the same direction and they get the goal. If they were willy nilly about it, someone running off to stretch, another saying hi to his wife... They wouldn’t win. 


QUESTION #3: If done correctly, does it work for lawyers?

You said it, if done correctly! That means you're not a wallflower. Nor are you (exclusively) self-promotional. If the only thing you do on social media marketing is say 'hey look at me I got published' or 'I'm speaking at such and such'...., no, you're not going to be successful. Returning to our earlier comparison to a networking event, if someone sincerely listens and asks good questions, he will leave with good connections. The same idea applies to social media. So, if the people are there and you go in with a good attitude and a plan, of course it would work. Why wouldn't it?


QUESTION #4: Should lawyers that aren’t comfortable doing this outsource it?

It's a reasonable question. Many lawyers and other professionals aren't comfortable with social media marketing. But there are ways to work with a professional to get comfortable and still save the part of the job that would be best done yourself, for yourself. Here are some of those ways: 
  • To define message and style ie the key to getting others to connect, whether it be by way of thought leadership, humour, being provocative or other. 
  • To tie the social media marketing strategy to the vision for the practice. 
  • To write descriptions for the people and the firm. 
  • To develop a strategy for posts, in order to maintain authenticity and not just be posting for the sake of it. 

When you do that work, you get comfortable. Firstly, you know what you're doing, so you're not out of your element. And you're satisfied that you're presenting an appropriate and suitable, professional identity. That doesn't mean everyone will like you online. Some will and some won't. That's fine. No marketer would ever suggest that lawyers should sell to everyone. They'll get a lot farther defining a specific bull's eye market and developing a strategy their market will relate and respond to.


QUESTION #5: What are the best social media marketing sites for lawyers?

I don’t have a blanket approach. Instead, I recommend that lawyers get clear on their goals and better assess their starting point: 
  • Where are your connections today? 
  • Who is your target market? What are they doing online? 
  • Who is on your team now? Are they excited about video marketing? Speaking engagements? Writing? Instead of establishing blanket expectations for everyone on the team eg x blogs or seminars per month, take into account the talents of your team. It will help to make the firm's goals achievable. 



QUESTION #6: How do you know if it’s working?

It's tricky! Think about going to a networking event. How do you measure if that worked? Do you count the number of business cards you gave out? The number of people you spoke to? There are lots of analytics available on social media. But, at the end of the day, the most important thing to know is if you converted online efforts to offline connections. For example, you could have a relatively small following online and have deeper engagement with those people. Maybe you met more of them. Collaborated on work. Gave referrals to each other. Started groups together... That's how to turn social media marketing into real life connections that help to build a law practice. 

QUESTION #7: How can lawyers set themselves up for success?

First lawyers should decide what is success for them because it's not the same for everyone. Then they need to put a plan in place, starting with best marketing practices applied to a flagship project. It could be a good logo, tagline, website, brochure, presentation... Regardless what the project is, it needs to be strategic about messaging ie so the firm knows what it wants to say about itself at the highest level, by area of practice and by professional. Once established, this clarity and consistency transfers into social media marketing, whereby each individual on the team will have their own professional personality but all efforts streamline to the same message. 

Though it might seem like a shortcut, aggressively moving forward with social media marketing won't make up for skipping these steps.

--

The bottom line is that lawyers should decide if they really want to make a success of social media marketing. If the answer is yes, then they should take it as seriously as any other professional effort and develop a plan and strategy aligned with the firm's goals. 

And even if it's executed internally, a marketing professional can help make all those efforts more efficient and effective, because enough time has been wasted on fruitless social media marketing!   


- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management

Small to mid-sized law firms are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, law firm marketing and legal business development services.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The untapped marketing goldmine for architects: Video


The Untapped Marketing Goldmine for Architects written by Sandra Bekhor, was published by The Business of Architecture show.  Below is a short except.

You Tube searches have surpassed Google. Seriously, Google. There is no higher mountain. So architects, what are you doing to do about it? 
Ironically, architects – deliverers of the most evocative, dimensional product out there – are trailing behind other professionals with respect to employing video in their marketing campaigns. It’s time for architects to tell moving stories (pun intended) about their craft. But, let’s be clear, that’s not a call for more talking heads telling the world how great they are. Sorry, but that doesn’t pull any heartstrings and, simply put, without emotion marketing is pretty insignificant. That’s not to say that video shouldn’t be driven by point of difference. It absolutely should. But, in a manner that captivates interest, attention and imagination. Nobody is your captive audience. 
Here are five ideas to get your creative juices going about video marketing...


- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hire the right fit the first time

Hire the right fit the first time written by Sandra Bekhor, was published by The Lawyers Weekly (November 13, 2015 issue).  Below is a short except.

Bad picks slow down plans, affect firm culture and shake client confidence. 
Most lawyers would agree that their biggest asset is their people. They’d probably also agree that their biggest vulnerability is their people. And yet when they get busy, the pace of the recruiting process doesn’t allow for a thorough assessment of, guess what? People.  
So, predictably, some new hires don’t work out. The new hire eventually leaves or gets terminated and it’s back to the drawing board to search for the next recruit. In some cases, this process drags out for months, or even years, while principals or supervisors debate whether or not they should let someone go.  
But all’s well that ends well right? Maybe. Or maybe not. 
To make that call, the real cost of a bad hire, aside from obvious expenses like recruiting fees, time lost doubling up on interviews or training, and the downtime between hires, needs to be better understood... 
Read article.


- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management

Small to mid-sized law firms are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, law firm marketing and legal business development services.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Can you explain your business to a 9 year old?


Last week I spoke at the Montessori Learning Centre career day in Pickering (as you can see from the lovely thank you note that just barely survived my gym bag). "Talk about your business, what got you started and share some tips", my friend Lucy, teacher, at the school says. "No problem," I tell her.

Then I started to think about it. 

Oh no. 

What did I get myself into?! 

I can explain my business to adults in my sleep (ok maybe not in my sleep... still you get the point). But to grades 4-8? All of these questions started to creep up about how to 'translate' terms and situations. 

In the end it was a good excuse to take the elevator pitch I already had through yet one more round of simplifications. Not to 'dumb it down'. To simplify. Kids are smart. They just need information to be communicated to them in familiar terms.  

While it may not be as obvious with adults, often that's what they need too. 

So, here's an excerpt from my talk... which I'm happy to say the children clearly understood, given the degree of interaction that followed:

"Architects, lawyers and accountants don't put their services in a box, like cereal or iphones. But they need marketing too. However, since these services aren't products you can see, touch or feel, it's even harder to market them. People have to use their imagination to understand.  As their marketing consultant, it's my job to spread the word about what they're doing, why it's great and who would benefit the most from working with them."

Needless to say, I won't be keeping this as my ongoing elevator pitch, verbatim. But it does provide inspiration for taking the jargon down a notch. 

So, if you already have an elevator pitch, ask yourself if you can use it to explain your business to a 9 year old. 

If not... maybe it's not done yet.  

- Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
President, Bekhor Management

Small to mid-sized law, architecture, accounting, consulting, medical and other professional practices are invited to learn more about our Toronto-based, marketing services.