Lawyer Marketing Online Regulations

In lawyer marketing online, there are specific ethical standards that should be adhered to by all lawyers. Every lawyer should have a very strong presence on the internet. One of the main components of a lawyer’s website is his biography. The biography should tell the client everything that a client needs to know about the credentials that the lawyer has achieved in his career. These credentials are very good pointers of professional experience. In most cases, lawyer marketing online regulations seem to vary depending on states. Of course, there is a need for professional responsibility in every state as far as matters of the law are concerned. The matters of ethic should touch on how lawyers ought to interact with their clients in their course of online marketing.

American Bar Association is a very good source of regulations on Lawyer marketing online regulations. In case any variations in responsibility arise, they are always clearly spelled out here. In most cases, the regulations extend to cover print ads, radio spots and detailed brochures in addition to marketing activities that are done online. Substantial information should be offered relating to the operations of the law firm, where it is located, the services it specializes in, and the number of years it has been in existence, among other things. The attorney should be the one to author all articles that are published on the internet. Do not hire the services of a ghostwriter unless that writer happens to be practicing in the legal profession. It all boils down to the principle of honesty.

A lawyer’s website should also comply with the ethical standards that govern website usage among professionals. According to a recent poll, the internet is the most common source of attorneys for Americans. The States Ethics Committee is aware of this fact and has been very keen on regulating lawyer marketing online standards in all states. The nature of content that is often regulated is worth discussing in detail here. The most commonly used word is “advertising”. There is tendency by many people to confuse advertising with solicitation. During solicitation, you have to talk directly to an individual. During advertising, there is not direct communication with clients. In other words, advertising is always directed towards a large audience.

In some states, the issues of ethics in advertising come into play once the client engages the services of a lawyer. It is only after the service has been offered that one can determine whether any ethical standards and professional codes were violated. A good approach to lawyer marketing online should give details that the clients wants to have about the company and about the services offered. Everything should be explained clearly.

The information that you give in any kind of lawyer marketing online drive should lead rather than mislead people. With advertising, it is sometimes tempting to throw in a lie here and there. However, the best way to advance in your career is to stick to the truth as much as possible. You need to interpret everything the way it ought to be interpreted. Once you have acquired a client, continue with the same positive spirit of honesty. Deliver on the promises you made in the advertisement.

Predictions + Commentary For the 2010 Financial Markets

We’re BACK! I hope everyone had a great Holiday… This year should be a great trading year and we will be adding more content, more trades, more educational tips + advice and other helpful items as the year goes on.

This week’s report will be a special edition with our annual commentary intertwined with our weekly commentary below.

S&P 500 / DOW / NASDAQ: As we look at the rise off the bottom from the lows of March 2009, a period of pullback/profit taking will be coming. There is no way that the equity market can fundamentally keep going higher without a healthy profit taking pullback. We find it quite amazing that the market has managed to rise even though the country has had all the turmoil in the economy that the U.S. has seen over the past 18 months or so – perhaps a buy the rumor and sell the news situation??? Perhaps all the sellers left and only buyers with itchy fingers and wads of cash in their pocket were left hanging around…who knows… time will tell – it always does.

We do think that we have seen the bottom in the overall Stock Market from the lows of March of 2009 and that the economy will improve from the misery that we saw in 2008 + 2009 and perhaps the market reacted to that, however the market cannot continue its huge move higher without a major pause or a bubble larger than the one that developed 10 years ago will be put in place – which will end badly for the bullish cause. Keep in mind that the DOW moved about 4000 points in about 9 months.

With that being said, how would we handle this? On a short-term trading program – we would ride the Bull Train until the Bull shows us that he has no more horns left, however… we will take profits quicker than normal on our bullish plays and use relatively tighter stop losses. We wouldn’t commit hugely to any long term bull trend setups. On a long term portfolio situation – we would start to move off any margin in our long term portfolios (starting now) and we would take profits on any “iffy” stocks or equity investments if we were in them. We then would seriously consider buying put options that would cover/help protect our total portfolio on any major weekly bearish signals/setups that showed up on the charts. If the weekly bearish setups start to form a solid bear setup on the monthly charts we would start going to cash (not to 100% cash but do some “healthy trimming down) with continued protection from put options (or the equivalent derivative trade). We aren’t talking a total capitulation as we don’t think 2010 will be a total bear year and we would not be shocked if we ended the year marginally higher but the RISK is there AND there is a decent chance that the market will pullback some time in the 1st qtr and linger all year on the bearish side of things.

There is talk out there that if the economy continues its recovery, corporate profits improve and with other factors getting better that those items will continue to fuel the rise in the US stock markets… however, others say that has been priced in (possibly prematurely so) and that valuations can only get so high before stocks become too pricey. Another concern will be how will the markets react to a rising US Dollar? The Dollar has firmed up and it looks like the bear has been tamed or at least slowed down in that market.

The charts, experience and common sense tells us that the US Stock market will finish lower than 10500 on the DOW by this time next year (how far lower – depends on a lot of factors – too hard to tell at this point)… However – you shouldn’t fight the BULL or major trends too aggressively… Play it smart and be agile and you should be OK!

Interest Rate Futures / Mortgage Interest Rates: The 10 year T-notes Futures are in a bearish trend on the Weekly Charts. We think that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate lows from 2009 will not be breached this year and if the 10 year T-Note Yield ($TNX) breaks 4.25 to the upside (the symbol $TNX and the 10 year T-Note Futures have an inverse relationship) that is a confirmation for the bearish cause in the mid and long side of the debt/interest rate futures market. The country is still mired in a national economic situation and the government’s actions are still a wild card but we don’t see 2009 highs being broke in 2010 on the 10 year T-Note or 30 year T-Bond Futures.

US DOLLAR (Symbol: DX): The Dollar’s bottom looks like it’s getting put into place. There is a higher low on the monthly charts and we are waiting for the Weekly charts as well as constructive daily action to give us a strong weekly signal before we declare that the bear is dead for this market… however, it has firmed up quite a bit and November’s low must hold for us to consider this firming up to be a legitimate bottom forming action.

Foreign Currency (FOREX + Foreign Currency Futures): With the Dollar firming up the FOREX market will be interesting this year.

Quick NOTE: The commentary below will be talking about the actual FOREX currency… Keep in mind – Forex’s symbol can have the USD listed first or second in the currency pair which is a major detail. Currency Futures have the symbol setup by having the Currency listed first against the US Dollar – at least the 6 that we trade do… keep in mind – when it comes to charts, trade direction, etc – there may be an inverse situation when comparing FOREX with Currency Futures. This situation occurs because of how the symbol is created and the implications of it.

In some currencies like the Swiss Franc… the Forex Market has it USD/CHF – ie. US Dollar over the Swiss Franc but the US Futures markets have it setup as CHF/USD – so the charts are inverse. The Canadian Dollar and Japanese Yen are also like that – where the charts on the Futures are “flipped upside down” in comparison to the FOREX Charts. However, the Australian Dollar, Euro and British Pound in the Forex market have charts which look nearly identical to their counterpart in the Futures market. Just keep this in mind as you may see at times that we may “Go Short” the Swiss FOREX and then post the futures equivalent trade which would be a LONG in the Swiss Futures. However, if it was the Euro – you could go long (or short) in either for the same trade – the FOREX pair and the Currency Futures contract trade in the same direction for the Euro, Aussie and BP. It’s not as complicated as it may sound so email us if you have any questions. By the way, most traders don’t trade both markets in the same currency at the same time… some traders trade currency futures and some trade in the FOREX market.

Australian Dollar: Looks Stable and Strong… May see some pullback in the recent uptrend but no major deterioration unless the US

British Pound: Looks Bearish – if the Lows of October 2009 break – the confirmation is in. Volatile markets are ahead.

Canadian Dollar: This looks Bearish and we don’t see any let up in that… the best a bullish Canadian dollar player could hope for is choppy action at this point.

Euro: Tough to call at this point in time. Our take in this currency is that it’s Nuetral and that feeling will turn moderately bearish if the December lows of 2009 are broken.

Japanese Yen: This market is in a bearish trend… We see an attempted firming up process starting to materialize but it’s not there yet.

Swiss Franc: Much like the Yen, this market is in a bear trend, although unlike the Yen – we do see a decent formation of a bottom getting put in place. If the Swiss can break 2009′s lows then all bets are off but this currency is trying to move higher.

Crude Oil: Tough call on this market. A bit volatile… The monthly charts look neutral to me with a bullish bias. The weekly charts point that another good upleg will begin if and when the highs of October of 2009 are broken. Push come to shove – this market probably moves higher.

Grains Futures: With the US Dollar firming up – this market may get a bit wild. I don’t have a clear trend indication at this point on the Grain Future complex. The Weekly charts are slightly bullish and the Monthly Charts are neutral (with slight bearish feel) on Corn, Soybeans, Soybean Meal and Soybean Oil markets. Wheat looks weaker than Soybean or Corn at this moment in time. If December’s lows break, I would lean towards the bearish side of the Wheat market. The weekly charts on Wheat are looking like this market is trying to get stronger but no confirmation yet.

If the grains continue to chop around in the “neutral area” and the Dollar heats up and starts really moving forward – the grain market will probably move lower. There is a lot of “if” in this complex so we would stick to short-term trading if we were you and play the market accordingly. If we get a confirmation through the year on a true Bull or Bear trend – we will obviously point it out in our weekly commentary.

Metals Futures:

Gold Futures:Will Gold continue to move higher? That is the trillion dollar question… Unlike the US Stock market where we feel that the highs for 2010 are probably in for the next 12 months or at the most – aren’t far from their current levels… it’s a tough call on Gold. The Monthly Charts tell us that this metal is due for a pullback however we can’t say that it wont be higher this time next year. We do not see any major weakness, outside of “normal” profit taking in this market in the near future.

Silver Futures: Not as strong as Gold… Potential Double top on the Monthly Charts… We are neutral with a slight bullish bias on the Silver market for 2010. However, we only still hold a bullish bias as the trend is still in place and not because we see a chart that will continue higher with strong setups and constructive action.

Copper Futures: This market is in a super strong uptrend… one must think a pause is near but we wouldn’t “short” this market at this point… you may eventually catch the top or a nice reactionary move lower but you are going to get beat up along the way.

Platinum Futures: Bullish Trend… We don’t see any bearish indications… should trade in a “normal” bullish uptrend on the weekly charts for 2010 – which generally are 3 to 5 week up trends with an occasional 2 to 3 week pause/pullback. The last 13 months or so only saw 2 red bars on the monthly charts so one would think a profit taking period is near, but like copper – you may get hurt trying to find it.

Real Estate: The real estate market is bottoming out however interest rates are heading higher… The good news is that we don’t feel that they will shoot up and mortgage rates are coming off a really low bottom – interest rates should still remain attractive to consumers this year.

2010 should be a decent real estate market and if you have the cash or credit to use – we would recommend looking for bargains to buy in the residential real estate market. How the summer real estate market performs will be a really good indicator on the overall health of the US Real estate markets. Many large markets across the country do well during the summer and many times it’s a great indicator on the health of the overall real estate market.

Some regions of the country still have some additional room to move a bit lower and there are still many places with inventory issues due to the foreclosures that continue to hit the market but buyers are coming back and the lenders seem to be loosening a bit. HOWEVER, keep an eye on FHA mortgages – we wouldn’t be surprised to see the FHA mortgage market seeing some major negative news coming out this year. Lenders did tighten up in 2009 but the FHA mortgage market picked up some of the slack of the type of mortgage clients that people said shouldn’t have gotten a loan but got one anyways through Fannie Mae in past years… ie. FHA was giving loans in 2009 to people who may not be able to adequately afford the home if using the standards that people said Fannie should have been held to in previous years… if the job market doesn’t improve and the economy has another major misstep (or the recover stalls badly) FHA may take some heat and FHA mortgage defaults may be the financial news of 2010! The good news for this FHA situation is that it looks like FHA/Lenders have taken steps to tighten up the guidelines in a fairly reasonable way over the last few months… will it be enough or done in time??? We shall see.

Bottom line – if you need to buy a home to live in and can afford it – we would buy in 2010. If you are looking into buying real estate as an investment – we would start looking for deals and if the price seems right, location is great and the deal seems good – we would go ahead and buy the rental house. We think that the worst is behind us… the market probably has 1 to 3 years left to fully be out of the woods but the national US Real Estate Market probably has bottomed out and if it hasn’t… it’s really close to it. The problem if you wait is that no one will waive a white flag and tell you its OK to buy a home… and by the time you realize it – the market will have moved higher… The risk of missing the move is higher than the possible loss of doing nothing in our opinion – so we think it’s a cautious buy at this time – with the caution being that you need to buy the home right and in the price range that you can afford!

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The Hand: A Unique Marketing Formula

Bill Graham, the famous rock-and-roll promoter, invented a marketing concept he called the “Hand.” For every concert he did (and he did thousands), he focused on five critical items. His formula not only let him see where the problems were, it let him make decisions quickly. The formula is as applicable to Direct Response Marketing as it is to concert promotion.The fingers of the Hand as adapted for DRM include the following: (1) the right offer, (2) going out to the right people, (3) through the right media, (4) with the right hook, (5) according to the right long-term plan. The first four are the most critical. I’ll discuss those first, before talking about the fifth as it applies to the whole formula.In the DRM business, we don’t really sell products and services. What we really sell are offers. An offer includes the product or service, but it also involves all the other things that go along with it: the bonuses, the guarantee, the call to action, etc. The offer is everything you’re proposing to give people in exchange for their money. Think about those old Ginsu Knife commercials — or any infomercials, really. Think of the way they present things in those infomercials: “You’ll get this. Plus, you’ll get this, this, and this. And for a limited time… ” They just keep piling it on until finally you find out you can get the whole huge package t one easy payment of $19.95!But no matter how “right” the offer is, it has to go out to the right person. The right offer for one person is often the wrong offer for another. So if you’re getting zero response on an offer, the first thing you need to do is to make sure it’s not going out to the wrong group of people.Next, the offer has to go out through the right media. Direct mail is my favorite, but your best medium may be an ad in a national magazine, or it could be TV or radio, or a mix of all those and more. How do you get that sales message out there to the right people? What’s the best delivery vehicle?Some media are wrong simply because they reach the wrong groups; in fact, that’s the number one reason offers fail. If you’re offering a product in the Braille language for the blind, you don’t advertise it in a print magazine. I know of one case where a government printed handy Braille brochures in paper and ink… without the raised dots that Braille readers feel to actually read the language.Finger number four is the right hook. I recall one marketer saying about his new program, “I’m writing so many commission checks every week my wrist is hurting.” That’s a hook. It’s something people will connect with and remember. Jeff Paul made millions of dollars with an ad where the hook was, “I’m at home making money in my underwear.” That sticks in people’s minds. It’s dumb, it’s emotional — but you remember it. A hook has to be unique, emotional, and noteworthy.Finally, finger number five: if it doesn’t fit together with the right long-term plan, then you really shouldn’t do it. This isn’t gambling; this is a business. For example, you need to keep and maintain names and contact information for all your customers, so they become part of your mailing list and you can make them other offers. Make that “finger” the basis of your overall game plan, then apply these other four.There are only a handful of elements here, and yet they’re vital; they help you make quick decisions, focusing on what really matters in your sales copy. They’re shortcuts, helping you determine what’s right and wrong with your offer. For example, if you do everything else right and don’t give people a reason to respond or make a call to action, then you’ve failed. Having a checklist like this, and knowing what’s most important, will help you see any mistakes before they occur. That’s vital for success.Consider aviation checklists. A seasoned, veteran pilot works through a pre-flight checklist every single time, even if he’s taken off thousands of times before. Probably, nothing bad would happen if they didn’t go through the checklist… but God forbid they should miss one thing on their checklist just one time, because it could mean their life, and everybody else’s along with it.Your marketing checklists won’t involve life-and-death situations, but it’s also important to know that there are formulas, common denominators, things you can point to in every business practice. Again, there’s some risk involved; there’s always some risk involved in business, but it’s calculated risk if you know the formulas and strategies that keep businesses afloat. Over time, applying these steps will become second nature — instinctual. That’s what all training is for, whether you’re trying to survive a war or fighting in the trenches of the business arena.This strategy of the Hand was developed as the result of decades of studying good DRM. These five main points are based on, and distilled from, thousands of different marketing strategies and principles that I’ve learned about over the years.Note that all five of the fingers have the word “right” in them: the right offer, to the right person, through the right medium, with the right hook, coupled to the right long-term strategy. There’s many a wrong way to do things, you see; you could have the right offer, but send it to the wrong person, and this formula wouldn’t work. It’s not enough to just have a good offer, it has to be the right offer to the right person, presented in the right way with the right hook for the right reasons. If one wrong gets mixed into the formula, it’ll go sour.So what are you doing to get people to respond? One thing you must understand here is that the product is secondary to the offer. Many times, people will respond to the right offer even if the product isn’t necessarily superior. Think about a state fair, if you’ve ever been to one. They’ve got all those booths where people are selling all kinds of products and services. If you stop and think, “Do I really need this product?” the answer is, “No, probably not.” And the product may not even be that great — and yet they wrap it around a great offer, and they’re up there pitching it in an effective way. There’s an energy and excitement there, as they’re telling you all about the product and its benefits. You may even get to try it out yourself.Then they tell you what their offer is, and today, it’s a state fair special! Today, you can pick one up for just $19.95! But wait, we’re going to give you a second one when you order today! And you notice they already have them packaged in sets of two, so all they have to do is reach back there and grab your set and hand it to you. Oh, and they’re also going to throw in this other handy little thing here. Normally, it’s a $19.95 value, but it’s free today — and yes, they’ve got it boxed up with the same set back there.That’s their offer, and it gets people to buy even if they aren’t necessarily inclined to do so. It’s not like they were on their way to Wal-Mart to buy that product; it just so happens that there was a buzz created when the seller was presenting that offer in that setting.Getting that offer to the right person is equally important. Sending even the best offer to the wrong mailing list won’t net you many sales, if the people you present to aren’t interested in the kinds of offers you’re making. That feeds directly into the idea of using the right medium; so if you’re working through direct mail, you’ll need to start with your existing customers, or work with a reputable list dealer to find a decent new list to offer to. If you choose not to use direct mail, which medium will work best for you?Add that to the right hook: the angle, the twist, the story — “making money in your underwear.” It has to be something that makes people remember you, makes people interested. It’s an angle; it’s just something you’re doing to get people to pay attention to you — like the bait in the fishing analogy I’ve written about before. If you’re using an artificial lure, is it interesting to the fish… or is it boring? A nice, shiny hook with a nice shiny lure on it will catch a fish. A boring lure won’t. And note that the concept of the hook isn’t just used in the marketing game. The movie, writing, and music businesses use it too. It’s something catchy, something people will remember, something they’ll talk about — even something that they’ll sing.Now: once you have all that in place, the fifth element is fitting them together with the right long-term plan. It’s important to remember your ultimate goal here. Whatever you’re selling right now, it’s probably not going to last forever. People stop responding to offers for whatever reason; eventually, your response rates will drop.Your ultimate goal is to build a customer list — a list of people who buy from you repeatedly — in order to build a lifelong business and income. The products may change, the methods may change, the market and the media may change, but you’re still working toward serving a marketplace, providing them value so they’ll continue doing business with you. So the fifth finger of the Hand involves figuring out where you’re going and what your goals are. Once you do that, everything else becomes part of trying to do the right things to accomplish that goal.