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Requirements of The CAN-SPAM Act for Commercial Email

(Note: Information links below open in new windows.) The following are the commercial emailing legal requirements that must be followed.Commercial Email

I read a good article about sending bulk commercial emails by Eric Sindrod, a San Francisco attorney that covers in depth about the legal requirements for mass email marketing campaigns.

First off, below is the actual language from the Federal Trade Commission website of the Federal CAN-SPAM Act requirements and The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business. The Act covers commercial email; non-commercial email is not subject to the Act. See below for more information.

The CAN-SPAM Act: Requirements for Commercial Emailers

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.

The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, covers email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a Web site. A “transactional or relationship message” – email that facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in an existing business relationship – may not contain false or misleading routing information, but otherwise is exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, is authorized to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act. CAN-SPAM also gives the Department of Justice (DOJ) the authority to enforce its criminal sanctions. Other federal and state agencies can enforce the law against organizations under their jurisdiction, and companies that provide Internet access may sue violators, as well.

What the CAN-SPAM Law Requires

Here’s a rundown of the law’s main provisions:

  • It bans false or misleading header information. Your email’s “From,” “To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.
  • It prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.
  • It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a “menu” of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender.Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor’s email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Finally, it’s illegal for you to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.
  • It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender’s valid physical postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must include your valid physical postal address.

Penalties

Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000. Deceptive commercial email also is subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising.

Additional fines are provided for commercial emailers who not only violate the rules described above, but also:

  • “harvest” email addresses from Web sites or Web services that have published a notice prohibiting the transfer of email addresses for the purpose of sending email
  • Generate email addresses using a “dictionary attack” – combining names, letters, or numbers into multiple permutations
  • Use scripts or other automated ways to register for multiple email or user accounts to send commercial email
  • Relay emails through a computer or network without permission – for example, by taking advantage of open relays or open proxies without authorization.

The law allows the DOJ to seek criminal penalties, including imprisonment, for commercial emailers who do – or conspire to:

  • Use another computer without authorization and send commercial email from or through it
  • Use a computer to relay or retransmit multiple commercial email messages to deceive or mislead recipients or an Internet access service about the origin of the message
  • Falsify header information in multiple email messages and initiate the transmission of such messages
  • Register for multiple email accounts or domain names using information that falsifies the identity of the actual registrant
  • Falsely represent themselves as owners of multiple Internet Protocol addresses that are used to send commercial email messages.

Additional Rules

The FTC will issue additional rules under the CAN-SPAM Act involving the required labeling of sexually explicit commercial email and the criteria for determining “the primary purpose” of a commercial email. Look for the rule covering the labeling of sexually explicit material in April 2004; “the primary purpose” rulemaking will be complete by the end of 2004. The Act also instructs the FTC to report to Congress in summer 2004 on a National Do Not E-Mail Registry, and issue reports in the next two years on the labeling of all commercial email, the creation of a “bounty system” to promote enforcement of the law, and the effectiveness and enforcement of the CAN-SPAM Act.

See the FTC Web site at www.ftc.gov/spam for updates on implementation of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The FTC maintains a consumer complaint database of violations of the laws that the FTC enforces. Consumers can submit complaints online at www.ftc.gov and forward unwanted commercial email to the FTC at spam@uce.gov.

For More Information

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair practices in the marketplace and to provide information to businesses to help them comply with the law. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

——-

Eric Sinrod, a Duane Morris partner in the San Francisco office, covers fast-breaking issues where the law and technology intersect in a weekly column published online at CNET News.com and Findlaw.com. He wrote an article titled, “Commercial Email – Getting It Right

Now, with the importance of email marketing, it is wise to brush up on the law when it comes to sending out mass emails for commercial purposes. As more people have gone to the Internet for their online shopping, and in most cases have bypassed the traditional print media such as daily newspapers for reading the current events of the day, and hence the print advertising does not place your business in front of a majority of the buyers as it once did; it is wise to expand your online marketing efforts to not only online advertising but also including some form of email marketing campaigns.

There is much to digest from not only understanding federal laws, but there are also state laws, and international laws regarding bulk commercial emails that must be carefully evaluated for companies in order to maintain compliance across the great Internet divide.

It is interesting to note, that the CAN-SPAN Act covers commercial bulk emailing only. Mr. Sinrod writes, “It is important to note that while the Act does regulate bulk email, it does not prohibit its transmission. Moreover, non-commercial email is not subject to the Act, and transactional or relationship messages generally are not subject to the Act (apart from the prohibition against materially false or materially misleading header information).”

If you are a large company or even a smaller company contemplating doing a bulk commercial email campaign, it is advisable to make sure you are email complaint before stepping out on the limb, and having it break.

Contact Professional Web Services today for online marketing expertise to get your business found on the Internet today.

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Google Increases Search Productivity – IT Cost Savings

Internet and intranet (private computer networks that uses Internet Protocol technology) search and productivity, along with savings in the IT costs can be realized with Google Apps, cloud based aps for businesses. The implementation of various Google business solutions for making things better, easier, faster, more efficient, more productive, improved cost savings for businesses looking for ways of searching for data within corporate intranets, and improving online collaborations between workers was the focus at the Google Innovation seminar.

Cloud Computing The Google Way
Global Computing and Marketing Worldwide
Wow, What A Google Day!

I got a chance to attend a really informative half day Google Innovation seminar held at the Santa Clara Marriott. The conference theme was how Google is innovating for businesses in the form of cloud computing applications and passing cost savings through some really wild changes for IT departments to save tons of time and money over traditional ways of finding, sharing, and the securing of all internal data, along with major improvements in the productivity of workers and huge cost savings to both big and small enterprise companies.

Read more about the cloud computing concepts at the Google Innovation for Business seminar, along with a first hand look at what the opposition (Microsoft) had to say.

Improve your online search engine exposure for your business website with professional Internet marketing services from Professional Web Services today.

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Social Bookmarks Internet Marketing 101 Strategically Applied

Learn how to maximize Social Network Marketing “SMM” for your business today.Marketing Online marketing comes in all shapes and sizes.

Internet marketing information on how to use social bookmarking for businesses today. Find out how you can help yourself in your own marketing efforts, for free.

The Web is a web of links that cross back and forth from all corners of the globe. Businesses need to think in terms of having an online global presence that is continually on an outreach ministries mentality. The days of placing a website online and just sitting back, and thinking that since we have built it, they will come in the form of new customers, is long past. Years have gone by with millions of websites being created that are all competing with you and your business. Yes, I do mean millions of websites are competing with your website whether you realize it or not. These millions of websites believe it or not, are using your words, that are used thorough out the World Wide Web. You do not own the words used. OK, some words are owned in the form of trademarks, but even with that, there are proper usages for trademarks in all types of written works, as well as properly displayed online in websites, blogs, news releases, email messages, ezines, newsletters, online news articles, and online videos. The truth of the matter is that every time a word is used on the Internet, it dilutes the entire pool of search results.

Whether you use Google, Yahoo!, Ask, Microsoft Bing Search, or any of the other smaller search engines, the fact remains that information is being generated at a astronomical rate and the search engines continually increase their total pool of information, and must try to pull the best results possible from the data mix. Yes, our searches are getting smarter. Instead of looking for just the word “widgets,” people are starting to use more natural language identifiers for improving their search results. Now they are starting to type “red widgets” or “purchase red widgets” or “buy red widgets” or “sell red widgets”, or you get the point. But, even those identifier words which help in the world of search from both a website perspective of including them in the pages, and the searcher’s perspective of being able to help improve their search engine results pages, it is not the complete answer to getting a page to show up in the search engine results pages.

Business Must be Proactive in their Online Marketing Approach

Taking a proactive Internet marketing approach is absolutely necessary today for businesses to compete in their respective market places. Yes, building a quality website, with information that is useful, informative, and effectively optimized for both the reader and the search engines is a requirement for good search results, but is not the only key to online marketing success. Another area is quality link building from outside sources. Yes, businesses must target their horizontal and vertical markets in the form of getting listed in directories and other online sources (many of which might cost an annual fee for a business to be listed), but that is not the only source for link building.

Free Link Building For Your Business With Social Bookmark Network Marketing

Everyone today has heard the term social websites. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace fall into this category. FYI; LinkedIn is a great way to expand your business contacts, and even a link back to your website, through what many business professionals are using today. However, I want to go into the category of Social Bookmarking.

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata.

In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine.

Most social bookmark services encourage users to organize their bookmarks with informal tags instead of the traditional browser-based system of folders, although some services feature categories/folders or a combination of folders and tags. They also enable viewing bookmarks associated with a chosen tag, and include information about the number of users who have bookmarked them. Some social bookmarking services also draw inferences from the relationship of tags to create clusters of tags or bookmarks.

Many social bookmarking services provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags. This allows subscribers to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users.

As these services have matured and grown more popular, they have added extra features such as ratings and comments on bookmarks, the ability to import and export bookmarks from browsers, emailing of bookmarks, web annotation, and groups or other social network features.

Source from Wikipedia, online encyclopedia.

With social bookmarks you get an added power advantage from other users bookmarking your website online, and thus improving the Internet exposure of your website online and to a certain degree of improving the performance of the business website within the search engines themselves. Don’t think that just because social bookmarks reminds you of services that are personal in nature, that this doesn’t apply to B2B and B2C businesses on the Web.

So, how can you help yourself, with your own website, without having to go to your webmaster to do it? Simple to start by just signing up for a free social bookmark networking account, and bookmark your business website online. If you aren’t sure which one to use, try some of the more popular ones to begin with. Delicious, Digg, and StumbleUpon are some of the more popular ones. I suggest you get an account and try it out for yourself. Hey, what have you got to loose? There free. Share with your employees too. Have them get an account so you and your employees can collaborate on all your business bookmarks for your industry.

List of Social Bookmarks:

Favorites Google Bookmarks
Delicious Digg
MySpace Facebook
Furl Yahoo MyWeb
StumbleUpon Reddit
Newsvine Windows Live Favorites
Technorati Twitter
Yahoo Bookmarks myAOL
Ask Fark
Slashdot Propeller (Netscape)
Mixx Multiply
Simpy Blogmarks
Diigo Faves (Bluedot)
Spurl Link-a-Gogo
Mister Wong FeedMeLinks
Backflip Magnolia
Seganlo Netvouz
Tailrank Blinklist

Social bookmarks list above courtesy of AddThis.com

Another list of social bookmarking links widget for your website.

Social Bookmarks Creator

Make it easy for others to bookmark your website or blog.

As the Internet becomes more popular, if you can imagine that, online applications will continue to become much more pronounced. Make it easy on your users to bookmark your website or blog using some of the free online bookmarking services by including another free online service that provides a free application that can be embedded in a website to either popup or provide a drop down menu for adding a bookmark using the users’ favorite online bookmarking applications. For example, AddThis.com provides a small snippet of javascript code that can be inserted into the website, that will automatically take the title of the page viewed and prepare the online form for adding the specific page to your bookmark files online. Also, by having an AddThis account yourself, you can keep track of the number of people that actually bookmarked your page using that particular online bookmarking application. So, if you have a blog or a business website, include a social bookmark for your customers to add it to their favorite websites today.

Most of the bookmarking programs provide a means for cataloging and compartmentalizing the various different types of bookmarks that you might want to collect. The nice thing about online bookmarks is they can go with you where ever you go. So, don’t forget, start bookmarking for social marketing today.

Do you need help with your online marketing efforts? Professional Web Services can provide webmaster support for your business now. Contact us for a free Internet marketing analysis of your small business, mid size businesses, or large corporate websites.

What are you waiting for? Now is the time to get started with professional Internet marketing by Professional Web Services.

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Proactive Internet Marketing for Your Business

SEO Marketing ServicesInternet Search

Almost all of us do it; with many doing it everyday. Many more do it several times a day. We are all searching the Internet for something. We use Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft Bing Search, Ask, or any number of the other search engines available online.

Are you taking your business for granted online?

Many businesses are simply placing a website online and thinking that is all they need to do for their online presence. But, think about how everyone is using search today to find the things, information, products, services, locations, directions, videos, instructions, helps, tips, and other business related information all at the tips of our fingers. If you are forgetting these search points, then you are probably loosing market share in your business.

That is why, you need to be proactive in your B2B and B2C business approach to Internet marketing. There are a number of major on-site optimization items that can really help your business out online. Don’t just simply sit back and do nothing about improving the performance of your business website. Most businesses have some advertising budget, but devote very little in the way of funding their online marketing efforts. Advertising is viewed as something that can be turned on and off, with quick results. However, advertising is not the best answer for a good Internet marketing plan. Nor is advertising, without a top Internet marketing plan, going to provide you with the best return on investment, and provide the best sales and marketing conversions of turning web browsers in to web buyers.

Developing your Internet Marketing Plan

A good Internet marketing plan begins at the very foundation of the website design structure, information architecture, and Web branding architecture. Graphic designers are good at putting pictures and designing Flash websites that definitely show flashy to the eyes, but do very little in the way of promoting the business online, due to most designers having very little training in good marketing concepts. My personal opinion is most graphic designers probably use only the right side brain approach to designing their websites. Right Minded MarketingIn today’s online marketing landscape, you must use both left brain and right brain when promoting the website, and not always waiting to the end of the website design to do it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a pretty website is going to be the ticket to your online sales and marketing success. Many B2B and B2C companies over the years have made that mistake with very little sales to show for it.

So take this right minded marketing tip to your business heart. Don’t sit on your online business laurels. Get more bang for your marketing dollars with Professional Web Services’ Internet marketing services.

Contact us today for an internet marketing evaluation of your business website. Find out what needs to be done to improve your online exposure. Learn how your business can become a bright Internet star.

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Secure eCommerce Tops the B2C Marketing List for eBusiness

Internet Marketing ServiceBusiness to consumer “B2C” Internet customers need to know their private information is secure when provided over a website eCommerce portal.

With all the inroads and growth in eCommerce in recent years, security concerns still tops the list for both B2B business customers and B2C consumers. B2C businesses should be putting forth security of personal data as their chief customer service concern. Identity theft and other forms of online theft is a huge problem today, and while secure browsers are being built to improve security in online transactions, this is only the tip of the iceberg in eCommerce security issues.

Implement Secure Shopping Cart Software

This is at the heart and sole of the online shopping world and it is important to investigate how security is being handled for ebusiness. There are numerous open source free software and paid shopping carts available with new ones added everyday. Some hosting services actually have shopping cart software built right into the services provided. Check with your hosting service provider.

Payment gateways must also be secure. Payment gateways are external services that enable internet merchants to accept online payments via credit cards, Paypal, and other electronic funds transfer services using a Secure Sockets Layer SSL and digital SSL certificates. Read this excellent overview of Guide to Merchant Accounts, providing information on payment gateways, Internet merchant accounts, 3rd party credit card processors, and eCommerce solutions.

When a secure page is navigated to and implemented in a Web browser window, a little closed (secure) lock Secure Web Site Icon will appear on the Web browser (typically lower right or upper right) and is usually an https:// file name. Take a look at this secure web page example. When in this secure mode, any information shared on that site can not be viewed by others on the Internet.

Have a True Privacy Policy

Privacy policies are an e-commerce area in which customer trust is most certainly abused. While most ebusiness sites have a stated legal privacy policy, the actual policy may not be legally private at all. See: Privacy Policy – Yea, Right! Include a tight privacy policy that does not rent, sell, or share E-mail addresses or any other private information.

Build An Ethical Business Foundation

Ethics in business is an area that is passed over way too quickly. It is at the heart and soul of the matter, and should be up at the top of a companys’ employees requirements list. Information can so quickly be extracted from any business database with-in an organization, and bought and sold in the market place. Don’t let this happen in your business. Implement an ethics policy for the entire company.

Build your company with good marketing ethics and include a system of checks and balances. Guard customers’ private e-commerce data as though it were your own.

Tell It Like It Is

As e-business continues to advance online, provide privacy and security information for your customers to easily understand. Do not wrap it up in legalese.

Market Your Business Online

Once you have the secure foundation in place, then promote your business online. Get your business found on the Internet. Internet marketing with Professional Web Services today will gain your business more sales tomorrow.

Article By: James Warholic
Professional Web Services

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Email Marketing Campaign Strategies Pros and Cons

Email AtWith 30% or more of the bulk unsolicited email marketing campaigns blocked by ISPs as spam, and people that simply throw emails away in the electronic trash can because they did not realize they opted in with one of the free software and information opt-in offers; email marketing using a paid mailing list to send out bulk email campaigns can hurt your company brand more than you know.

New Business Launching

You’re trying to get your new business off to a fast start, and you’ve come across an opt-in paid email offer online to target businesses across a wide spectrum of markets with promises of 2 million emails sent on your behalf, and you think, wow that sounds pretty great! Well, think about this for a second. Do you personally like receiving unsolicited emails? While you may have opted in when you signed up for that free software offer online, I venture to say that the majority of those emails sent to you, don’t even get read.

Other email marketing issues to date.

Viruses and the threat of viruses, spyware, and malware embedded in emails and email attachments are severely placing a damper on what was once a good way of life for a number of organizations to get their sales and marketing messages out. Embedded HTML CSS coding, attached images, tracking cookies, and javascripts, some of which can help make your emails look pretty and others can give be used for quantitative feedback mechanisms are in fact part of the problem. People sometimes get hundreds of emails a day and most of these go into the trash can. So by habit we are all trained to throw things away.

So how does this affect you if you and your business, if you are using this type of email marketing campaign strategy? It has an intrusive nature about it. If it does make it through the ISP email servers and the company’s email filter software programs, and that’s a big if, habits are hard to break. Since it is hard for a person to give more than a quick scan of the title before they decide to read it, or press delete, the bulk of e-mail is going into the trash can. Most people that have signed up for something online can not remember if they opted-in or out. Other websites trick you into a reverse thinking of, having to opt-out by unchecking the box. Still others share your information with all their hundreds of advertising partner sites and affiliate ad partners without you even being aware and the send you a ton of stuff. It was in the fine print…

So do you really want your company to be thrown in the trash can? Do you want your company branded with that marketing approach? Sure there may be some short term gains, but careful consideration needs be given to analyze the long term consequences to your company brand. The consequences can severely affect your brand both online and the real world. Do you really want your company to become known that way?

Email MarketingEmail marketing strategies for your business; the better way.

Invite your visitors on your website, to signup for a free newsletter. These are truly the opt-in sales leads for your business. These folks have been to your website, and would like to know more about you or the information your company provides. If you do choose a strategy to go the rout of an unsolicited email marketing campaign with a paid sales leads email mailing list, make sure it is from a reputable mailing list firm. Do your due diligence by asking them the tough questions. Find out where and how they collected their list of emails. Perform some searches online for the company that you are intending to buy the email sales leads mailing list from. Find out if there are any negative comments about the company online. Search for their url and read information in the online forums. Compare offers from other companies. Ask for references of other organizations that have used their email lists. Know what you are getting, before committing to spending a ton of money on this email marketing strategy. If you are having the company do the email marketing mailing campaign for your business, find out what it will look like in the email receivers’ inboxes. Will the email look good in the old and the new Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, and Mozilla Thunderbird, as well as Google Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Microsoft Hotmail? Find out what percentage of emails are likely to get through. Ask what percentage of these emails are likely to convert to a click through hyperlink, to a landing page on your business website.

Would you like to have an automatic opt-in email newsletter subscription service set up to gather emails or other important information from online visitors? Contact Professional Web Services today to get an opt-in email marketing strategy that will set your brand apart and gather sales leads for your business. Find out more about professional Internet marketing today.

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Marketing Attorneys, Lawyers, Legal, and Business Professionals

Legal Scales of JusticeWhen marketing an attorney online or other business professionals on the Internet, there are many important considerations to weigh out when developing your online Web presence.

Domain name strategies and online branding should be prime considerations for marketing your business profession.

Your first consideration that needs to be addressed online is your brand image. In the age of the Internet, domain names and branding are intrinsically linked together. If you are an attorney, consider the following article information for your website presence. While, you may want to start building up your law firm’s name for your business profession by including your law firm name in the actual domain name; this may not be the best or only solution for a professional to begin with.

Many times professionals such as lawyers, are placing their website placard on the Internet, without a good understanding of the marketing concepts involved online and expecting that is all they need to do to promote themselves. For example, many of the attorneys’ websites I have seen online give general descriptions and typically no locations of their business listed on the home page. If I am a consumer looking for an attorney in my city, how likely would I do a global search of the entire USA and world for “attorney” on Google Search? Let’s be realistic here, most people want a local attorney that can give them the personal touch, and one that can handle whatever the local issues are. They don’t want to use someone to represent them hundreds or thousands of miles away from their local needs. Likewise, if I need a lawyer’s service in another town or a distant state, I would want to find a local lawyer who can help me in those local towns and distant state locations.

Again, let’s take the attorney professional as an example, and look at what they would need to do when picking a domain name for their legal profession. Actually, you might want to have two domain names with very distinct and different information on both websites, though having unique content on each site is critical from a search perspective. It would not be a good idea from an SEO perspective to have both websites saying the same exact things. One website might have the actual law firm name of the law practice in the URL, while the other site could have the name of the legal specialty practice in the URL. Consider for a moment, how the Internet is shaping the way businesses and consumers find information today. Refer to: Online Marketing Tips for Attorneys and other Legal Professionals, below, for more pointers.

Most people look to the Internet first and foremost with searches for all types of professionals, before they even open up their Yellow Pages phone book to look for a professional or an attorney. Heck, most people never use the Yellow Pages anymore except on rare instances, and certainly the younger generation hardly even picks up the Yellow Pages even once a year. A person searching online is very likely to type in the name of a local city, with the word “attorney” or “lawyer” after the city name, when doing a Google Search. These search engine results pages would reflect the use of those keywords specific to the city being searched for. This is true for other searches too. A person would much more likely find the particular profession they are looking for by typing the city in addition to the keyword, attorney or lawyer.

OK, what about all the different areas of law practice? How do the areas of law affect your search results online?

For example, take a look at the long list of attorneys that specialize in a particular branch of law. If you are an attorney, how do you differentiate your law practice from the thousands (actual number of attorneys is well over one million) of attorneys online?

List of Attorneys and Areas of Law Practice

Administrative Law
Admiralty and Maritime
Adoption
Appellate Practice
Arbitration and Mediation
Aviation
Banking
Bankruptcy-Creditors
Bankruptcy-Debtors
Business Litigation
Child Custody
Child Support Collection
Civil Litigation
Civil Rights
Class Action Lawsuits
Collection/Creditors
Computer
Condemnation
Construction
Consumer Law
Contract
Copyright
Corporation/Partnership
Creditors Rights
Criminal
Divorce
Drunk Driving
Education
Elder Law
Employment
Entertainment
Environmental
Estate planning
Family
Finance
Firearms Law
Food and Drug
Foreclosure
Franchise Law
General Practice
Government
Health Care Law
Immigration
Insurance
Intellectual Property International
Labor-Employers
Labor-Workers
Land Use (Planning/Zoning)
Landlord Tenant
Lemon Law
Libel / Slander
Malpractice-Plaintiff
Military Law
Native American Law
Not For Profit
Nursing Home Abuse
Patent and Trademark
Pension and Profit Sharing
Personal Injury-Defense
Personal Injury-Plaintiffs
Phen-Fen and Redux
Privacy Law
Probate
Products Liability-Plaintiffs
Real Estate
Securities
Securities Arbitration
Sexual Harassment
Social Security
Sports Law
Tax
Traffic Tickets
Wills and Trusts
Workers Compensation

Think Like a Marketer, Not a Lawyer

To really distinguish yourself online today, requires using the keywords related to your legal profession. Most attorneys are specializing in one or more of the areas of law practice but not all. Simply telling your specialty one time in a website, is probably not going to help your branding efforts online, nor, will the small effort of publishing it once help get your website found in the general search results pages. You need to think like a marketing person, instead of as a attorney, when it comes to promoting yourself on the Web. In fact, you have to think of yourself as the client, and think how new clients would go about searching for your legal profession specialty on the Web. You need to know your clients semantically. Then the next requirement is the website needs to have good copy writing — actual body text (not just the website graphics) that reflects the way your clients think and talk. Get down to earth. Speak your clients’ language. Tell it like it is, and do it with style!

11 Online Marketing Tips for Attorneys and other Legal Professionals

  1. Consider having two websites, both your law firm name as the domain name for one, and another domain name for additional information and writing within your area of expertise. Must have unique information on each website.
  2. Use your local state and city names in your website copy writing.
  3. Include the keywords related to your legal profession throughout the website.
  4. Make sure your website is both a marketing and advertising tool that is search engine friendly, one that can be found in the search engine results pages for your local practice areas.
  5. Don’t just get lost in the myriad of online legal directories in which people have to go searching for, in order to find your name or someone else’s name.  Start building up your online brand in your location today.
  6. Promote yourself with a website blog. Blogs are simply a means of easily sharing with readers what is happening in your area of expertise. Note: One of the two domain names from above could be your blog website URL. That way, you could simply update it anytime you wanted and provide additional marketing and advertising channels online, with quality links back to your main legal website.
  7. Incorporate your brand architecture across all online market channels. In essence, make it known online that the two websites are yours (your brand) and promote that fact (the websites don’t need to look the same).
  8. Advertise in your local markets online. Set aside an advertising budget. Google AdWords and other online advertising channels should be serious considerations for marketing and advertising online.
  9. Build quality web pages that can be used for advertising and sales landing pages.
  10. Stay in touch with your clients through email campaigns and reach out to new clients with automatic sign up pages for more information.
  11. Consider again, writing a blog on the general subject matter and legal practice. A blog can gain you extra traction online.

The above pointers are things to consider going forward. Don’t get lost in the details. Start first with a quality website, one that is search engine friendly, and go from there. Need help with your legal marketing? Professional Web Services knows what it takes to get you found online today. Set your brand apart. Contact Professional Web Services for a website analysis and establish a great brand online today.

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Some Internet Motley Shorts

Just some clips from our Internet motley shorts.

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Online Marketing Means Knowing Your Customers Semantically

Do you know your B2C customers or B2B buyers intimately on the Internet? If you don’t know your customers, you are probably not talking their semantic language online and your website is probably not being found in the search engine results either.

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When it comes to online marketing, a close working relationship is a must between those that take care of your website and the products or services you provide. Simply having a website online, with just a sprinkling of your keywords throughout the site, is not good enough to getting a business found in the search engine results pages. Most of all, quality content is required, and that content better stand on its own merits. Sure, you can publish on your business website a list of things that you sell, but how is that going to hold up to the hundreds, or thousands, or even millions of websites that use those same keywords as yourself.

Think about the difficultly of reaching the right customer on the Internet. There are not an infinite amount of words in the English language. The most common words are used by everyone. With that being said though, the search algorithms have gotten much better at evaluating what a web page, and for that matter, what a website subject matter (the website theme) is all about. In the future, search algorithms will be using a form of artificial intelligence, where not only will they learn from you, but they will improve themselves with constant AI tweaking, and self learning to improve the search results.

So, how does this affect your business on the Web? What does artificial intelligence have to do with your business website, and how will artificial intelligence play out in the real world of Internet marketing in the future? The answers can be found in the actual copy writing that is on your website.

Semantic Text Analysis

Get Your Business Discovered OnlineNot only are the words you use important, but the writing style, the proper grammar usage, the syntax, word capitalization, alternative word meanings, and even the titles, headings, and the included pictures can all be relevant factors in determining what the main subject is all about. Prior to the use of computers, people would read an article and be able to point out what type of writing style was being used. For example: English professors would be able to tell if a style of writing was; Argumentative – the speaker involves himself, argues, explains or analyzes in order to try to convince the interlocutor; Narrative – a narrator states a series of events, happening at a given time, and in a given place; Enunciative – the speaker and the interlocutor establish a mutual relation of influence, make their standpoints known; or Descriptive – a narrator describes, identifies or classifies something or somebody. Source: Semantic Knowledge

Writing analysis has much to do with the way the words are interconnected to one another. There are classes (direct relations) between using certain keywords with those of others in sentence structures. Text analysis programs take into account these keyword relationships and produce sets of references between various keyword categories, which can identify what the main subject is about. It can also be used to give an indication of the frequencies of words used and the meanings of the ambiguous words used throughout a written document in order to give a better analysis of the theme topic being discussed.

Words have different meanings depending on where and how they are being used in the body text. Also, there are times within the body text, where the same words are used as nouns in some instances, and at other times as verbs; with many times the verb noun word usage is switched even in the same document. It is said that one in four words used in a document could be deemed as ambiguous. As computer algorithms are improved, the word usage ambiguity is broken down with mathematical formulas, by evaluating all the given factors to determine with a high degree of certainty what the written document is all about.

Semantic Text Analysis Example

Business Keyword Reference Field
Business Keyword Star Graph

The Star graph above displays the relations between references, or in this case, between the “business” word category and other references. The figures shown on the graph give the number of relations (co-occurrence frequency) existing between the various references in this document. This graph shows the relations between those references. They are oriented: the references on the left of the central reference are its predecessors, those on the right are its successors. Reference Semantic Knowledge Tropes

This is a prime example of showing the relationships between the word business, and the words prior to and after business. While most of the word associations make sense from a logical perspective, however you will notice that a few of the word associations seem out of context. For example: the water_travel successor represents a usage of the words “sprinkling of your keywords” used near the top of this article. However, when this article is taken in its entirety, it is obvious that this article is not about H2O travel, but how business and the Internet have a direct success relationship together along with a host of other keyword associations.

The Semantic Web

With the aid of powerful computer programs, search engine companies can now build search algorithms that are quite smart. We generally think in terms of Search as being something we do, or a place we go online to shop, look for products and services, read the local news, or the quest for information for our business or personal use. However, Search from the standpoint of the search engines is simply a program or group of programs all designed to take and catalog the library of information online, and provide the best results possible. But, it is wise to understand the end result, in that Search is not just one particular result or even one style of results for a select search phrase. What I mean by this is, the top search engines such as Google, I believe, builds a collection of results that try to cover as broad a range of information area as possible, while keeping the results as narrow to the search terms that are practical. I’m not referring to Universal Search with the inclusion of various types of vertical search content from picture images, videos, directories, book searches, or local news data sources into one universal search output, but more as it relates to the basic search database of website results.

I’ll give you an example: Let’s say we are looking for information on how to replace the cabin filter on a 2000 Honda Accord. If you were to do a simple search query using Google Search for 2000 Honda Accord Cabin Filter, you would likely find information on the parts, prices, replacement procedures, and associated automotive areas that are directly related to the search query. While the given search query example was not placed in the form of a question like, “How to, how can, what is, or where is;” never the less, the results are given in the form of an answer by answering as broad a range of probable questions as practical, while being constrained to the topic at hand. Take a look at the results from the above search. It is interesting to note, as people become more adept at searching, they will begin to constrain their own search queries with using more sentence like structures to search and find the information they are looking for.

So, how can you apply this semantic knowledge for online marketing?

Market Segmentation

Internet Marketing StandoutFind a hole and fill it! You need to ask yourself some business related questions. What is missing in your particular Web market segment? What horizontal or vertical marketing information is lacking? What products or services that your business supplies, produces, or could produce need filling online? What other market segments can be penetrated?

Research and analysis is 90% of the marketing effort required. Doing due diligence, studying the competition, and keyword analysis are some of the major factors right off the bat that need to be researched, analyzed, and evaluated for the Web opportunities that are present. Then by structuring an online marketing strategy plan that can take your business’s strengths, and apply this to the business opportunities present on the Web, will help produce a sales and marketing impact success for your business. Read about strategic marketing from an Internet perspective to understand the relationships between your business, your competition, and how by including a website SWOT analysis, which includes analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business online, can bring to light various marketing and advertising strategies that can be substantially applied for a sustainable competitive market edge.

The Top Ten Percent

To take advantage of your 90% effort requires the last 10% commitment. Think of it this way, you’ve done the research, you’ve identified the hole to be filled, you know what information is missing; now go do it. That might be easier said than done. Someone, either yourself or others, needs to take the next step and write the information down. Then, the information needs to get published online either in the form of a web page or pages of a website, or even in the form of a blog. The more proficient and succinct your copy writing is; using the best grammar that you can muster, taking into account the style of writing that is missing in the search engine results pages, the more likely you will be successful in your Web marketing strategy. Be aware, online marketing success is an ongoing process; it doesn’t happen overnight. Simply writing one or two articles in your particular field is probably not going to get you in the top ten percent of the search results, unless very few others have written and published about the same topical information.

Reaching Your Customers and Buyers Online Marketing Tip

Here’s an important marketing tip to remember when getting intimate with Web prospects. Reaching your customers and buyers online requires you to talk their language. When writing articles for your BtoB or BtoC business, in which you are planning for it to be used as promotional pieces to target potential customers; what good is it if you habitually only use keywords in your articles that are never searched for on the Web? Sure, you can use your own keywords or trademark phrases, but those trademark phrases also better include references to keywords used online by perspective Web customers. If there is a customer information barrier present between the way you talk and the way your customers talk, you are more than likely missing the sales and marketing boat. If there are synonyms for the various keyword terms, it is wise to also include these synonyms where appropriate, in the article too.

Natural Language Writing

KISS your prospective customers and buyers now! For those that don’t know the KISS principle (acronym for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”) states that design simplicity should be a key goal and unnecessary complexity avoided. It serves as a useful principle in a wide array of disciplines, such as software development, animation, engineering, strategic planning, Internet marketing, and online advertising. Read more about the KISS principle at Wikipedia.

Set Your Business Apart

Be different. Do it to the best of your abilities; learn, improve, and perform to a level of excellence that sets your brand apart online. Remember, everything is linked together on the Web. Your sales, marketing, advertising, and branding architectures are all inner related to each other through the information architecture(s) of the website(s). Read about marketing strategies for your B2B or B2C business. Don’t settle for mediocrity for your company. Start making a difference for your business and your future customers. Professional Web Services, can help set your business apart on the Internet. Contact us now for the business solution, to help you reach new prospects today while turning those new prospects and sales leads into customers tomorrow. I invite you to take the next step now into gaining more sales for your business. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Ask for your free Internet marketing SEO website evaluation today.

Now is the time to get your business discovered online. Contact Professional Web Services today.

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Paid Search Engine Submission is a Waste of Time and Money

Paying for online search engine submission is a waste of your business dollars.
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After receiving countless B2B and B2C Emails and discount sales offers of $99.95 for Search Marketing Strategies and to have your site found in the various search engines, the marketing and advertising truth needs to be told. First off, if a web site is not found in the organic search engine results pages, no amount of paying for it will help get the website listed in the leading search engines.

What is the difference between organic search results and ad generated listings?

It should be noted that the organic or natural results from the search engines are generated from an automatic search algorithm that places web pages in an order from the top on down, and are not the paid advertising listings such as pay per click ads that can be found on the right and at the very top of most of the search engines results pages. It’s important to understand the difference between paid search engine marketing and organic search Internet marketing strategies. Anyone and any business can bid to have their ad show up in the pay per click online advertising areas, and this can be an effective part for your business advertising strategy, while still optimizing your website for readership and organic search results.

Search Engine Robots Seek Out Websites

How are websites found online? Sites are found by links in other Web sites, email links, and search engine visitors. Links from other websites will provide a trail to follow for the search robots. Additionally when visitors come to a site they also leave a path. Actually, the trail follows them. For example: when a person arrives at a website, the log files keep a record of the information from where they came from. This information is followed by computer robots. As these computer BOTs scan the Internet they recognize good links and identifybroken links. The good links are then fed into the master search database. Another way in which a site is found is through a person following a link in an Email or simply typing in the URL or address into the search bar.

How to Submit Your Website to the Search Engines for Free

If a website is relatively new then submission to the leading search companies is a piece of cake. It takes no more than a couple of minutes and anyone can do it. It is a good idea to submit, but even if you do not submit the website, robot crawlers will most likely eventually get around and find your website at some point in time. Click here to submit a website to Google Search, Yahoo Search, and Microsoft Bing Search submit. Don’t be fooled into paying for something that is free, even by some of the search engines themselves.

Do not get taken in by the E-mail flimflam artists in which they promise to submit to hundreds of search engines for a price. There are only a few key players (Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft) in the world of Search Engines and the other search engines will find you anyways. What will happen, if you decide to submit to the hundreds of other engines, is you will be opening yourself up to a lot of free spam headed toward your email box.

Internet Security Privacy E Business Legal Ethical Intellectual Property Issues

Watch out also for the search engine data merging advertising scams. They promise you number one on all the major search engines for your keywords on all of their network sites. Find out the truth about these various e business legal and intellectual property issues, ethical marketing and advertising issues, & privacy and security concerns at the Search Engine Data Merging Keywords Advertising Scam.

Business Ethics and Other Important E Business Marketing Issues

If your site has been around longer and still not showing up in the search results, there could be a number of key factors involved. Everything from not addressing the keywords of your business properly in the website or in a highly competitive keyword area, not enough original content, not having the quality links back to your website, having an all graphics site (such as all Adobe Flash website), framed sites with no content to be found, OR having had mistakes, ebusiness ethical snafus, or other items which have banned the site from the results.

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Do you want more search engine traffic, qualified leads, and more sales for your business? Start bringing in those new customers with Professional Web Services Internet marketing services for B2B and B2C markets. Get your business and website found online. Email us today for an online marketing services quote and start bringing in more sales for your business tomorrow.


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