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March 5, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

Applying basic Web Analytics principles to Law Firm Websites

Last month I came across a great blog post on Web Analytics by Avinash Kaushik (most of his posts are great) about The Biggest Mistake Web Analysts Make…And How to Avoid It!  If you do not keep up with Avinash and you are in the field of online marketing I would suggest you start now.  His blog can be found at http://www.kaushik.net and you can follow him on Twitter as well.

He opens his post with this simple idea, “The single biggest mistake web analysts make is working without purpose.”

Brilliant!  I suggest you read the rest of his post as well.  What I would like to focus on is how the six questions that Avinash lays out relate directly to Law Firm Websites.  Here are the six questions of which I altered a bit in parentheses:

  1. Why does the (web)site exist?
  2. What parts of the website should you focus on first?
  3. How smart is their (your) digital marketing strategy?
  4. How well are they (you) doing in context of their (your) competition?
  5. What is the fastest possible way I (legal marketer) can have an impact on the business (law firm)?
  6. Any technical notes I (legal marketer) can make for the future, analytics or coding?

I would like to attempt to provide very broad answers to these questions as they relate to Law Firm Websites in hopes that readers of this post can expand on my thoughts and apply them directly to your work of improving your firm’s website on a consistent basis.

Why does the website exist?

I really like what Avinash has done here saying that rather than focusing on the obvious answer to this question we should identify macro and micro conversions for the website.  While the conversions will certainly differ from site to site here are a few thoughts.

Macro Conversion

  • Generate X number of visits to the Attorney Biographies (bios) every month.
    • People work with law firms because of their attorneys and therefore the more traffic to your firm’s biography pages, the more potential business you can generate from your website.

Micro Conversions

  • Newsletter, Client Alert registration.
    • Firms want to deliver value to clients and perspective clients that does not result in a fee with the ultimate hope of generating new business.  Tracking newsletters and clients alerts can help you understand if you are generating the type of content your prospects and clients need.
  • Generating X number of visits to bios from individual Office, Industry or Practice Area pages.
    • I believe that these three segments of Law Firm Websites are right behind bios in terms of importance.  Why, because they should lead to more traffic on the bios of course!  By knowing what Industries, Practice Areas and/or Offices generate the most traffic to the bios you can gain insight into what locations and areas are generating the most business for the firm through the website.
  • Social Media Activity
    • There could be a whole separate post dedicated to this topic.  If your law firms engages in social media (which I believe you should) make sure to measure it the best you can.  Visits to bios driven by LinkedIn and Facebook along with visits and (hopefully) subscriptions to your blogs are both good places to start.

What parts of the website should you focus on first?

The first question is always the hardest to answer as it forces you to take a good hard look at your website and prioritize what is really important.  The great part is the answering the first questions will make answering most of the remaining ones pretty easy.

If we look at the Macro and Micro conversions above I think the answer is pretty clear.  The Attorney Biographies should be your first focus.  They should be up to date, informative and contain clear calls to action.  It is not such a bad thing if you are updating the biographies on a daily basis with new articles written by the attorney, information from news outlets with quotes from the attorney, etc.

From there you can branch out to focus on the Practice Area, Industry and Office pages.  Avinash asks “What cross sells and up-sells do you see being pimped across the site?” I think that Industry pages are the best opportunity for cross and up-sells that law firm websites have going for them.  Perhaps they deserve the most attention after bios on your site.

How smart is your digital marketing strategy?

Does your firm and do your lawyers show up in places other than your website?  It is not enough anymore (and has not been for some time) to just have a website.  Do you have a presence on sites like Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and Chambers and Partners?  Do I find your firm’s content (LinkedIn profile, YouTube Videos, blogs, etc.) when I search for legal services surrounding your practice areas?  Can I stumble across a quote from one of your attorneys when I read the Wall Street Journal online?  Will someone from your firm reply to me on Twitter if I ask a question you can answer?

The point of all these questions is that you need to take a good hard look at where you are visible online.  Be where your prospects can find you.  This will be different from firm to firm but the first step to making any improvement is to know where you stand now.

How well are you doing in context of your competition?

With this question I do not want to mess around with the answer that Avinash provides.  He gives us some great free resources of where you can get get great information on your competition.  Tools like Compete and Google Trends for Websites allow you to view comparisons of your firm and your competition providing you with context for the data you began measuring in the first three questions.  There are also some for fee options in terms of law firm competitive analysis such as Hubbard One’s Monitor Suite.

Avinash also gives us a few other resources that can provide information of visitor demographics and competitive organic search data.

This context is great to have when your firm’s managing partner or the marketing committee ask you “so what?” after you inform them that you have had 30,000 visits to your bios, 247 new subscribers to your newsletter, 35 new Twitter followers.  With knowledge of your competition you get to answer, “this means we are beating the pants off of competing firm Y when it comes to the performance of our website!”

What is the fastest way you can have an impact on the law firm?

What can you fix today?  This is where you can log in to your Web Governance Software (disclaimer, I work for Siteimprove) and get to work!

Eliminate broken links and misspellings, make sure you have titled all pages and that your key pages are not slow to load.  A lot of little mistakes add up to a poor website so make sure you sweat the details.  Here are a few other things to check in on:

  • Do you have current contact information on appropriate pages for all your attorneys on the website?
  • Have you used words like “expertise”, “specialty” or other potentially prohibited words?
  • Are necessary links to your “Privacy Policy” and “Attorney Advertising Statement” on every page of your website?

Keeping your website free of errors and in line with industry standards is a great way to make a quick impact on its success.

Any technical notes you can make for the future?

Whether you can answer this question or not will depend somewhat on your technical abilities.  This is more icing on the cake if you can provide some feedback to your web developers or your vendor.

Check for simple things like do you have your analytics script (if that applies to you) on every page of your web presence (website, blogs, micro sites, etc.) and does your internal site search function properly.

I hope I have provided some valuable insight into Avinash’s very informative ideas surrounding web analytics that you can use to improve your law firm’s website.  If this post has helped you in any way I would love to hear from you.  If you think there is something missing, let me know!

All comments are welcome and as always thanks for reading.

February 13, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

Good customer service

It has been a while since I have written a post that directly relates to this blog’s title of “WhyshouldIbuy”.  Many posts have provided my opinions on how to improve a website or increase sales.  This post however IMHO discusses what separates good companies from bad in the market we work in today.

Good customer service is easy to recognize, appreciated beyond anything a product or service can do and is very hard to do well all the time.  For these reasons  I believe good customer service is the single most important factor in any company receiving repeat business and gives the company a great answer for prospective buyers to the question “Why should I buy from you”?

When was the last time you had an issue with a product/service that you count on in either your business or personal life in which it was necessary to seek help.  Were you able to solve your issue through an owner’s manual, on the company’s website, through email or did you have to call the company for help?  Whatever channel you went through to get help if you had a good experience I am confident you may even be smiling as you read the last sentence.  On the other hand if your experience was poor try not to throw your laptop, tablet, phone or desktop monitor across the room out of the frustration you may be feeling.  Maybe I am getting more worked up than other people but nothing upsets me more than when I encounter poor customer service.

I said earlier in the post that good customer service is easy to recognize.  People and organizations who provide good customer service do many of the same things.  If you are reading this wondering how you can improve here are a few tips.

Acknowledge that the problem has been heard

This seems like a really simple thing to do but it is easy to forget.  By letting the customer know you have heard their issue and are working on it they receive peace of mind that the issue will be solved.  On the other hand if you start working on an issue without telling the customer their voice has been heard they will be frustrated.  This frustration, if multiplied over several instances, will lead to the customer wondering “Do they even care about me?” which at some point will have them taking their business elsewhere.  Even if acknowledgement takes time away from solving the issue the customer will be happier in the long run.

Provide a time frame for resolving the issue

After you have communicated with the customer that they have been heard the next step is to provide them with a time frame for resolution.  This allows the organization to take into account all other issues in the customer service pipeline, prioritize this particular issue and communicate the resolution time frame with the customer so that everyone’s expectations are on the same page.  That way when you have resolved the issue (of course on time) the customer is satisfied!

It is very important that you are honest in your time frame so that the customer does not feel like they are being jerked around.  If resolution of their particular issue will take a longer time period it is wise to provide the customer with an explanation.  In some cases the customer may not be thrilled with the time frame you tell them but at the very least they know what to expect.

If the time frame changes be sure to communicate with the customer the new time frame and reasons for the change.  This transparency let’s the customer know that you care enough to keep them in the loop and don’t view them as just another support ticket.

On important or time consuming issues; over communicate

There will always be some issues that are difficult to solve, high priority or take a long time to resolve.  When encountered with these types of issues it is critical that you keep the customer informed.  Again the purpose here is to ensure the customer feels that you care about their issue, are doing all you can to get it resolved and making sure everyone’s expectations are in line.  I recommend keeping in touch by visiting the customer’s office if possible or if that is not an option call them on the phone.  I realize that email is convenient but good customer service is not about what is convenient to the organization, it is about serving the customer in the best way possible.

By speaking with them directly not only will you be able to communicate the status of the issue better but give the customer the opportunity to ask questions.  This will ensure that the customer knows you are listening to them, working on the issue, and do care that it gets solved in a timely manner.

Solve the issue!

You would think this goes without saying but I thought I had better be thorough with this post.  Make sure you solve the issue to the point that the customer is satisfied.  If you cannot solve it yourself you need to enlist the help of someone who can.  Customer service in many cases is simply about effort which is why many organizations fail.  Put the work in to get the job done every time and you will be rewarded with satisfied customers and a great reputation in your industry.

Follow up

The last step in good customer service is to follow up to ensure that the issue has remained resolved.  Depending on the issue it can make sense to follow up in a day, a week, a month or even a year.  I would again recommend doing so in person or by phone.

When you follow up well you provide the customer with extra service they may not have been expecting.  What is a better way to ensure customer satisfaction than by exceeding their expectations!

There will always be new products, better technology, cheaper solutions, etc.  Your organization can only control so much when it comes to the products/services that you offer.  What you as an individual and the organization as a whole has complete control over is how you serve your customers.  This will never change.  If you serve them consistently well you will reap the benefits of repeat business, a great reputation and provide perspective customers with a great reason to choose you over all your competition.

Why should I buy from you?  If you answer because we serve our customers better than the rest then my next question would be where do I sign up!

February 6, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

Siteimprove is growing up

Siteimprove - Web Governance Made Easy

Working at Siteimprove has been a great experience for me.  I started eight months out of college and have been there ever since.  One of the most interesting parts of the job is seeing how this company, and the United States Office where I work, has grown over the last four years.

In 2004 Siteimprove had one office in Copenhagen, Denmark and less than 200 customers and 20 employees worldwide.  We now have three offices (Copenhagen, London and Minneapolis) over 1,200 customers and over 50 employees with no intention of slowing down.

I have had the unique opportunity to be a part of growing the US office from a team of three to the team of nearly 20 we have today.  I want to extend my thanks to Morten Ebbesen (our CEO) and my good friend Torben Rytt (our COO) for providing me this opportunity.  If you are curious for a bit more history you can read Siteimprove’s story.

Beyond being part of the growth I have witnessed the change from Siteimprove providing basic tools to assist organizations improve their website to the launch of our Web Governance Suite (WGS) that I am confident will revolutionize (big word I know) how organizations manage all the little things that go into a successful website.

It has been very rewarding meeting with both our current customers and new prospects over the past few weeks in order to introduce this new software we provide.  I say that because I can see in their faces and hear in their voices that we are helping to solve a real problem with this software.  When a website gets large (even more than 100 pages) and the team responsible for it is very busy (like every organization) it can be hard to stay on top of things like broken links, misspellings and accessibility issues, Search Engine Optimization best practices, web analytics data, and even checking to ensure the website is responding at all.  The WGS can check for all of this in one place making the lives of those responsible for an organization’s website a little simpler.

I understand that this post comes across as a sales pitch so you will have to forgive me.  I am just very excited about what we are doing at Siteimprove.  We have even launched a new website.  For me, it is more than just a great product and company.  I have also been able to meet people from a variety of organizations like the National Association of Government Webmasters, Higher Education Web Professionals and most recently from the Legal Marketing Association of which I am now a member.  I have learned so much from all of the people in these wonderful organizations and that knowledge has certainly contributed to where Siteimprove is today.

The growth of any company is something that interests me and is why I have written this post.  I would love to hear other company success stories from anyone who reads this and is willing to share them with me.  You can do so in the comments or by sending me an email at ste@siteimprove.com.  As always, thanks for reading!

January 30, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

The difficulty of making things simple

I am currently reading a very interesting book called “Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management” by Scott Berkun.  I have found that not only is it helping me to understand how software development and other complicated projects get finished but I have also found that some of the tactics directly relate to a complex sale.

One of the main ideas I believe is having a huge impact on me being a more successful salesperson is being able to take a very complex idea like the benefits of software to assist with web governance and boil it down to some very simple takeaways that can be understood by everyone in a prospect’s organization to the point that they can make an informed decision of whether or not to subscribe to our software.

Simplifying my message has provided me with the following benefits:

  • Being able to convey my offering’s value in a short period of time making for more effective meetings and presentations
  • My message is understood by everyone in the presentation meaning more people believe our software can help them therefore increasing the chance of a sale
  • I can ask more questions and understand the needs of my prospects better because I am not spending time explaining our value

It can be difficult to find the most important points of what you have to offer but the benefits I listed above make it worth the time.  With that in mind here are a few tips to help you simplify your message to more effectively communicate your message.

Know your offering inside and out

The first step to making things simple is making sure you know everything there is to know about your offering.  How can you determine what the most important points are if you do not know all there is to know.  Do not be afraid to ask others in your organization for information.  In many cases engineers, designers, management, etc. can provide you with information much faster than you can figure out for yourself.

Know the industry you are selling to inside and out

This ties in with the first step.  Knowing all there is to know about who you are selling to allows you to determine what the most important points of your offering are to your prospects and customers.  Reading industry publications, blogs and articles is one way to consistently learn more.  The other way is to ask your customers what struggles they have and how your offering has helped them.

Determine the most important points in your offering

Once you know your offering and industry you can make informed decisions on what are the most important points in your offering.  This can be time consuming but do not get discouraged.  All the time spent simplifying your offer will be saved in the future as your meetings are more effective and your sales go up.

Be able to update those important points as you learn more

You cannot spend all your time researching your product and industry (you have to sell too) so as you learn more over time be willing and able to refine your pitch.  In some industries (like software) things constantly change so the main points must be in line with the current needs of the customers.

It can be difficult and time consuming to identify the most important points of your offering but it is worth it.  You will have more effective meetings, get more people from the prospects company on your side and ultimately make more sales.

Do you agree?  What tips do you have to help simplify a message?  As always thanks for reading!

January 23, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

Why I love LinkedIn

LinkedIn Logo

I have a confession to make. I really love the social network for business professionals LinkedIn.  I find it informative, intuitive and that it consistently comes out with new features to help me be a better salesperson.  I thought it would be good to share why I believe it is so useful so that others can take advantage of this great business tool as well as share ways to use LinkedIn that I might be missing out on.  These are in no particular order.

Industry News

Everyday when I log in to LinkedIn I am greeted with the top news stories in the industries that interest me.  They call this “LinkedIn Today”.  You can choose what industries you want to follow and have the top three stories (based on number of people reading and/or sharing the story) on your LinkedIn homepage.  This brings me the daily benefit of keeping up on industry trends but also introduces me to good news resources I can then follow on Twitter, subscribe to their blog, etc.

The Networking Opportunities

This is the biggest benefit of being a part of LinkedIn.  Simply by having a well written profile (mine can be found at www.linkedin.com/in/stevehennigs) I am able to represent myself and the company I work for to millions of people.  Per the Wikipedia article on LinkedIn there are over 135 million people in 200 countries with a LinkedIn profile.  For more here is Wikipedia’s LinkedIn article.  If someone views my profile, reads this blog, checks out a discussion I have started or commented on, or if I find anything they have done interesting we can “Connect” and become part of each others’ “Networks”.  Then I can see all their “Connections” and vise versa.  What a great way to meet new and interesting people.

Side note on “Connecting”: Do not simply go around connecting with people at random.  If you cannot bring value to the person you connect with then they have every right to deny your request to connect, you should champion the same level of scrutiny to those who request to connect with you.  The network you build is counting on connections you make to add value to them as well.
LinkedIn Groups

The “Groups” in LinkedIn provide professionals with similar interests a forum to meet one another and discuss topics relevant to their profession in an open discussion.  These groups are so great!  Simply by joining a group I get insight into what is important to my clients and perspective clients at this very moment.  Not to mention I again get to learn a thing or two about my industry from people much smarter than I.  The other benefit of the groups is a big one.  By commenting on discussions I can engage in real conversations with people important to my business on topics they are interested in discussing.  That is true networking gold.  I can also display my expertise on a given topic to others in that group if I take the time to answer the comment in an intelligent and pointed manner.  It is not often that a salesperson can interact with that many people on a highly relevant topic so Groups are very useful to me.

Side note on Groups: By being in the same Group as someone else you are then “Connected” to them.  You can then see more information on their profile than you could if you were not in that Group.  This can be beneficial if you there is a business you would like to work with but have not been able to find an appropriate contact through other means.

LinkedIn Profile

I could not write the post without discussing the “Profile” as its own category.  Many people view your LinkedIn Profile as your online resume and you should treat it that way.  Put your best foot forward so that when people visit your profile (because you have been so darn interesting in your “Groups”) they will want to connect with you.  Some quick tips on the profile:

  • Ask your connections for “Recommendations”.  People can recommend your work therefore providing added credibility to what you do.  This is a must!
  • Have a well written “Headline” and “Summary”.  Do not just put your job title and some boring information.  Use these areas to really describe how you help those you work with/for.  Beyond this being interesting to those who visit your profile it can also help your profile be found by search engines.
  • Promote your other online activities.  You can link to your Twitter account, blogs, company or personal website and much more right from your profile.  This means you can add even more value to your connections!

There are numerous other features that I find useful by being a part of LinkedIn but I do not want to write a novel in this post.  A few I will mention that you can investigate further are the “Apps”, “Answers”, “Jobs” and “Profile Statistics”.

So that is why I love LinkedIn.  It provides me with daily knowledge and allows me to connect with interesting people.  Why do you love LinkedIn?  What did I miss?

As always, thanks for reading!

Image courtesy of Google Images

January 12, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

Being great is a choice

We get to choose,

if we read an article that will help us professionally
how often we call, text, email, tweet, Facebook, Google+, or whatever our family and friends
to take that college course
to run that extra mile
to work hard every day
whether or not we volunteer
if we learn the latest trends in our industry
to keep our promises

to do none of the above.

Being great is a choice, unfortunately so is being average.  What is your choice today?  This hour?  This minute?

January 3, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

The importance of thank you

I have not always sent thank you notes after receiving gifts (Christmas, Birthdays, etc.) but have started in the past few years with some encouragement from my wonderful wife.  I used to think they were trivial and insincere but they certainly do not have to be.  In fact a thoughtful thank you, whether it be a card or in person, can really leave a great lasting impression on the individual receiving thanks.

This is true in both personal and business settings.  A thank you for a gift, thank you for purchasing your offering, or thank you for completing a task at work makes the other person feel appreciated for their efforts.  This can be beneficial for you in the future but I suggest you to it simply because it is the right thing to do.

So next time you receive anything from another that you appreciate take the time to sincerely thank them.  You will feel good because you are doing the right thing and they will feel appreciated for their good deed.

December 19, 2011 / Steve Hennigs

Be goal oriented, my advice for 2012

Man with broken path to a goal. He is holding the missing piece of the path.

Recently I have finished reading a book entitled “The Best Damn Sales Book Ever: 16 Rock-Solid Rules for Achieving Sales Success!” by Warren Greshes. While I thought there were a number of good points related to Sales what really stood out to me was Mr. Greshes’s strong belief in living a goal oriented life.

As I thought about how to wrap up the year in regards to this blog it seemed like an obvious choice to discuss the idea of being goal oriented and share a few of my own personal goals for 2012.

Before I share a few of my goals I would like to present what I feel the benefit of being goal oriented to be. By setting goals you actively determine what is important to you and take the first step to making that a reality.

It is hard work to say definitively that “This is what I want to accomplish and here is how I am going to do it”. That being said, it is worth it.

So how does a person go about setting goals? Here are a few tips:

  • Be specific about what you want to accomplish – I want to lose 20 pounds
  • Determine a time frame for accomplishing your goal – I want to lose 20 pounds by April 1, 2012
  • Aim high! – I want to lose 30 pounds by April 1, 2012
  • Determine how you are going to accomplish the goal – I will only eat takeout once per week and I will exercise three times per week for at least one hour
  • Write this all down and put it somewhere you can see it every day!
  • Ensure you have buy in from your family

Now that you have the formula for effective goal setting, get to it! Here are a few of my goals if you need some inspiration:

  • Read at least one book per month
  • Post at least twice per week to this blog
  • Exercise at least three times per week at for at least one hour per session
  • Practice guitar at least two times per week for at least 30 minutes per session
  • Make $XXX,XXX,XXX for the year (I have a real number written down) by closing X number of deals from X number of client meetings

Those are some of mine, what are your goals for the coming year?

Happy holidays to all and thank you again for taking the time to read this and any other post on WhyshouldIbuy.

December 14, 2011 / Steve Hennigs

Is your law firm ready for the web of Big Data?

Person buried in paper

The last week of November I attended The Gilbane Conference in Boston where one of the main talking points throughout was the need for organizations to address the problem of Big Data as it pertains to the web.  While I had heard the term Big Data before I was used to it being used with regards to Business Intelligence tools and Search Engines not necessarily with a focus on individual websites or online presences.   For those of you unfamiliar with the term Big Data here is the definition as provided by Wikipedia:

“Big data are datasets that grow so large that they become awkward to work with using on-hand database management tools. Difficulties include capture, storage, search, sharing, analytics, and visualizing. This trend continues because of the benefits of working with larger and larger datasets allowing analysts to “spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime.” Though a moving target, current limits are on the order of terabytes, exabytes and zettabytes of data.”

I thought it was an interesting topic and that I could write a post in order to drive awareness.  As I thought more and more about the definition and what I had heard at the conference it hit me like a ton of bricks that this is an issue that law firms and legal marketers need to pay attention to sooner rather than later!  While I would guess that the Big Data issue would extend beyond the web for law firms I would like to focus on the web in this post.

Some Big Data information

The first thing to consider is simply the size of law firm websites.  Through a service Siteimprove provides to law firms called Siteimprove Quality Assurance I was able to look at the average number of web pages on a large law firm website.  We currently provide Siteimprove Quality Assurance to 30 of the NLJ top 250 law firms and the average page count of those 20 websites was over 7,000!  That is a lot of pages to keep track of and it is the opinion of industry experts like Kevin O’Keefe and Robert Algeri that law firm websites will continue to grow in size and that the growth will be significant.

While the number of pages on law firm websites is alarming it can become downright frightening when you consider all the other types of content on the web today that law firms must be able to leverage and effectively analyze to further boost their online presence.  There is video, PDFs (and other documents), vCards, email marketing and other campaigns.  Of course we cannot forget social media which is something that law firms are just starting to embrace according to the Wall Street Journal.  When social media is fully embraced the problem only grows.  Yikes!  All of this together can leave one feeling quite overwhelmed when attempting to digest the data and turn it into something useful to drive the law firm’s business.

The solution?  Web Governance!

I had written a post a while back entitled Website Governance and the new Law Firm Website that I hope provided some good thoughts on how to tackle the issue of Big Data.  However as I think about it more and more that post may have been a bit too narrow.  This was confirmed when I stumbled upon a true definition of Web Governance and how to champion the concept of Web Governance in an organization.

First the definition.  While the Wikipedia offering is good it did not offer the detail I wanted.  I found that detail in a blog post by Lisa Welchman entitled Web Governance: A Definition.  In this post Ms. Welchman puts forth the business case, framework, and descriptions of terminology used for Web Governance in layman’s terms.  By taking the time to implement Web Governance at your law firm you can  attack the issue of Big Data head on by determining what is important to the business of your law firm, what policies (social media included) must be created to ensure a strong and consistent message, and how to follow web standards in order to provide a quality web experience to your website visitors.

I thought that this sounded great but found myself wondering how to get the ball rolling within an organization to move towards Web Governance?  The business case Ms. Welchman provides was a good start but in some organizations it may not be enough.  I was lucky enough to come across another blog post that addressed this particular issue as well.

Jonathan Kahn blogs for the magazine A List Apart which is written by web people, for web people and he had written the post Web Governance: Becoming an Agent of Change that not only gives practical advice for how to implement Web Governance at your organization but also encourages you to stick with it no matter how difficult.  In the post he asserts that there cannot only be change on an organization’s website but the organization as a whole must change.  He does a great job, like Ms. Welchman, of presenting the case for Web Governance before diving into the how to’s.

Both articles are great if you find yourself swimming in a sea of web data and struggling for air.  Big Data on the web is here and not going away, is your law firm prepared?

Kudos to Kevin O’Keefe and his recent post WSJ on social media and law firms survey: Few taking plunge into genuine interactivity as that is where I first found the Wall Street Journal article.

Image courtesy of Google Images

December 7, 2011 / Steve Hennigs

Tips for successful Event Management

Event Management

In the past week I have attended two different events that the company I work for has sponsored.  One was a multi-day event while the other was just one day and in both cases I was very underwhelmed with how the event was managed.  Things that I thought were common sense were not done which left me (and those who were with me) very disappointed with both events.  With this being in the forefront of my mind I wanted to share a few thoughts on what could have been done better in hopes that people will read this post and do one of two things.  Take my advice or add additional thoughts on how to professionally manage an event.  In either case I believe that other event managers can use these thoughts to ensure they do a great job.

Introduce yourself to every sponsor

I thought this for sure would be a no-brainer but alas this was not the case at either event.  It is important that the event sponsors know who to turn to if anything were to go wrong or if they have any questions.  Simply by introducing yourself you show early on that you appreciate their sponsorship and are willing to help make sure that the event is successful for the sponsor.  This level of personal service can go a long way towards potential sponsors coming back for multiple years to your event.

Make sure there is a reliable internet connection

I may be more interested in this than some companies because I sell software that assists with Website Governance but anymore there should be a reliable internet connection at most any trade shows.  Many people have multiple devices that take advantage of internet access (laptops, smartphones, tablet devices, etc.) and when they cannot access the internet it can be very frustrating.  Sponsors and event attendees alike have work that needs to be completed even though they are attending an event.  Some work can be completed without internet access, most however cannot.

The food has to be good and easy to serve

Not many things can derail the positive energy at an event like bad food or poorly organized service of the food.  Attendees spend their day learning about their industry, talking with vendors, doing work remotely for their company, and much more.  When it comes time to eat they do not want to hassle with poor organization and expect a good meal for the fees they have paid to attend the event.  This in my opinion is one aspect of Event Management that should be perfect at every event.

Do your homework on the Keynote Speakers

I only bring this up because I have gone to events with great Keynotes and events with equally bad Keynotes.  A great Keynote Speaker can set the tone for the entire event.  Attendees and Sponsors are energized by these people and the Keynote can become the face of the event and the reason people decide to come back year after year.  I see the complete opposite effect when there is a poor Keynote.  Attendees begin to wonder what the rest of the sessions will be like if the Keynote is bad.  I have found myself thinking if this is the best they could find to kick things off the rest of the sessions can’t be any better.  You only get to make a first impression once, so make it count by bringing in a solid Keynote for every event you manage.

That is my two cents on ensuring an event runs smoothly and leads to people coming again year after year.  Please comment if you agree, disagree, or if there is something I have left out!

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