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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Brief Timeline

On April 20, 2010, an explosion occurred at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, sinking the rig, killing 11 workers, and injuring 17 others. As a result of the explosion at the incomplete well, oil began to gush into the ocean. The exact rate of the spill has been difficult to pin down, reported as anywhere from 8,000 to 60,000 gallons per day.

The spill went uncontained for 87 days, as BP made several attempts using four different methods to cap the well. BP was finally successful on July 15, using a “top hat” containment dome that was specially engineered to prevent ice from clogging the tube to the surface, which allowed all the oil spilled each day to be salvaged by ships. Later, two relief wells were installed to mitigate pressure within the dome, and by September 19, the spill was permanently cemented closed.

By December, a federal lawsuit had been filed against BP, holding the company liable for the costs of cleanup and damages. The case was settled in November 2012 when BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion in reparations, as well as plead guilty to several felony counts. A separate class action case was settled in August 2012, creating the Medical Benefits Settlement for certain people whose health was harmed by the spill.

As of June 2013, BP has declared cleanup efforts finished in most affected states. However, tar balls are still often reported on beaches and the Coast Guard continues to lead residual cleanup. The full, long-term effects on the environment, its wildlife, and human inhabitants remain to be seen.

Thinking Outside the Box for Your Legal Marketing

In previous decades, marketing for your business was much less complicated. Produce a few television ads, create some print ads for a newspaper or magazine, and design a variety of posters or short media spotlights, and you were likely to have created at least a decently successful marketing campaign.

However, in the last decade, the explosion of internet marketing and social media has not only expanded the number of available outlets for marketing, but has also made creating an effective marketing campaign much more difficult. This is especially true when it comes to the saturated legal market, as the ever increasing number of law firms all over the country are constantly competing for business.

As a result, legal professionals often need to use a variety of marketing outlets, especially those beyond the traditional, to create a noticeable and effective presence. Creating social media profiles on sites such as Google +, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; utilizing evolving SEO methods; interacting with clients through online chatting services; and other creative marketing techniques can go a long way towards helping law firms create focused and powerful marketing campaigns and,  thus, increase their number of clients.

Online Marketing for Dentists

In years past, people in need of a new dentist would likely look to the yellow pages to get an idea of the dentists in their area and find a name to call. However, these days, phonebooks are largely obsolete, and most people in need of a dentist or another medical professional turn to the internet. This trend has significantly increased the importance of online marketing for dentists, both in terms of visibility and in terms of website quality.

Competing against other dentists in your area for prominent placement in internet search engines is a task that requires dedication and a clear strategy, as companies that do not rank highly are likely to not be found and therefore,  are not likely to get many new patients. Few people look past the first few pages of results in Google or another search engine, and as such, it is important for offices that want to be found to make sure that they show up. Dental offices looking to rank well will either need to do significant research into how to effectively optimize their website to rank well, or entrust that task to a professional search engine optimization firm.

However, showing up highly in search engines is not the end of the story. Once a potential client finds your site, they are not likely to contact you if they don’t find a professional-looking, well-written site. As such, making sure that your site looks good, is easy to navigate, and contains high-quality, helpful content is of the utmost importance. Again, dental offices will likely either need to invest a decent amount of time into their site design and content creation, or turn these tasks over to a professional team.

Legal Marketing: Where Things Stand

In the legal field, marketing has undergone a dramatic change in the past decade. What had, until recently, been a fairly stable marketing landscape for many years has, with the implementation of ground-breaking technological change, become a rapidly changing field.

Driving this change, of course, is the emergence of the internet and social media as powerful forces in the marketing landscape. It is no exaggeration to say that a significant portion of all legal marketing potential lies in these new forms of media. At present, the possibilities of online marketing appear nearly boundless; the growth of new avenues for reaching clients, and the sheer speed with which this change occurs, make predicting the future of legal marketing online extremely difficult.

The case of one element of online legal marketing, however, shows how important it is for law firms to begin implementing marketing strategies in these new areas as quickly as possible. Search engine optimization (SEO), which helps law firms to stand out from their competitors in search results, was only recently a new development in legal marketing. However, at this point, attorneys in large urban markets such as Chicago and New York are already discovering how difficult it is to get ahead of the competition after delaying implementation of SEO strategies. While it is impossible to know whether this same dynamic will play out with other forms of legal marketing online, it is an important lesson to keep in mind.

Nevertheless, legal marketing in traditional forms of media continues to be an enormously important form of reaching clients. Television ads, billboards, radio spots, and magazine placements can all be drivers of significant business for a law firm. However, as the old and new media continue to realign, and consumer expectations continue to change, the most important thing any attorney can do for his or her business is to make sure to follow a coordinated, concentrated legal marketing effort that maintains consistency across media.

Legal Marketing in the New Media Landscape

In the new media world, almost all forms of advertising are undergoing transformative shifts. Reaching consumers in a targeted, intelligent manner has become easier than ever to achieve, but figuring out which of the wide variety of available marketing strategies can have the most significant effects has become increasingly difficult. The relationship that consumers have with the various forms of available media, their expectations for marketing presence in these areas, and many other factors can make marketing in the new media landscape more complicated than ever before, even as the possibilities of achievable results continue to improve.

These new marketing possibilities and challenges affect few markets in as unique and critical a manner as the market for legal services. With law schools continuing to produce a surplus of new attorneys every year and the growth of select automated legal services, the legal field is likely to continue to see increasing competition for services for the foreseeable future. In this setting, finding a way to effectively reach potential clients is arguably the most critical goal for any law firm short of getting the best results for its clients.

One of the most basic, and most essential, elements of any legal practice’s marketing efforts has to be online presence. By focusing on a diverse number of different marketing strategies, from incorporating social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to making search results work for your firm, it is important to increase your firm’s exposure by every available means in order to begin the process of attracting and retaining clients.

Additionally, figuring out which groups and markets to target is key for legal marketing in the new media landscape. For an attorney in an enormous urban market, the challenges and opportunities for reaching new clients are dramatically different from those encountered by a legal professional working in a small rural setting. While the new forms of media can both be used effectively for attorneys in both these and many other situations, the exact nature of strategic efforts in using those media can vary dramatically.

Finally, it is important to remember the considerable capacity that new media has for not only reaching new clients but sustaining current clients. Social media, mobile apps, and many of the other elements of the new media landscape can, in many ways, work better at fostering long-term contacts between attorneys and clients than simply reaching new clients.