May 11, 2007 no. 488 - Vol. 5

"Trying is the first step to failure."

Homer Simpson (born on May 10, 1955)

In marketing, generalities fail and specifics persuade. The same is true when you decide which services you wish to market. Read today's Law Firm Marketing to define a new niche to seize a big competitive advantage.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Warning on Chinese share values

A fall in Chinese shares is a real possibility amid "risks of market euphoria", according to a report from Goldman Sachs. It warns that optimism and speculative trading have pushed share prices ahead of market fundamentals. If speculative activity continues among retail investors, it says that the market could develop into a bubble. The Shanghai Composite Index is at a record high having breached 4,000 for the first time on Wednesday.

China says April trade surplus nearly doubles to $17 billion

China's monthly trade surplus more than doubled in April to nearly US$17 billion, the government said Friday, adding to pressure on Beijing ahead of closely watched talks with Washington on its swollen trade gap. Chinese and U.S. trade envoys are due to meet May 23-24 in Washington for talks on Beijing's surpluses, currency controls, product piracy and other contentious issues.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Define a new niche to seize a big competitive advantage

by Trey Ryder

In marketing, generalities fail and specifics persuade. The same is true when you decide which services you wish to market. When you practice in various areas of law, your prospects and referral sources see you as a generalist. Often, they don’t remember you for any particular area of practice. In their minds, your image is blurred.

On the other hand, when you practice in one narrow area of the law, your prospects and referral sources know exactly what you do. Your image is clear and precise. So even if you want to practice in a broad area, or offer a broad range of services, you’d do well to define your niche in narrow terms so prospects and referral sources see it as one specific niche. The more narrow your niche, the easier it is to establish yourself as the authority in that niche and for people to perceive you as the expert. Also, the easier it is for clients, prospects and referral sources to remember exactly what you do.

The more narrow your niche -- and the more effective your marketing program -- the more your law practice will soar. It's no exaggeration to say that when you specialize in a narrow niche, the sky’s the limit.

So, how do you "specialize" when you're good at many things -- and when you may want to do many things?

Simple.

When I started in marketing, (a long time back), I was overwhelmed with all the skills I needed to learn. I thought no one person could possibly know how to write powerful ads, generate publicity, design seminars, create newsletters -- and do it all well. (Obviously, this was long before we knew what a web site was.)

Now, 33 years later, I see the bigger picture. I realize that basic principles apply across the board -- and view marketing much differently from the way I viewed it 3 decades ago. Today, I know how one person can understand how to create a powerful marketing message -- and then deliver that message using a number of different methods.

So today, I use a wide range of tools, including advertising, publicity, seminars, newsletters, tapes, web sites, and more. Yet these many tools all fall under the one umbrella of Education-Based Marketing.

Here's how you can create and profit from your own unique niche:

Step #1: Determine the areas of law in which you want to practice. Do you want to practice family law? Estate planning? Commercial transactions?

Step #2: Determine the types of clients you want to serve. Do you want to work with affluent consumers? Business owners? Doctors? Or all clients who need specific types of services?

You can approach your law practice either from the service point of view -- i.e. the services you want to provide. Or the client point of view -- i.e. the clients you want to serve. Or a combination of both, providing these types of services to those types of clients. Then write down your clients/services statement, so you can see clearly -- in writing -- exactly who you want to serve and what you want to do for them. Next,

Step #3: Create a new playing field. Don’t accept everyone else’s parameters. One problem lawyers have is that they practice in areas of law that are nearly identical from one lawyer to the next, and from one law firm to the next. If you want to hire a personal injury lawyer -- or an estate planning lawyer -- or a divorce lawyer -- you can probably find a dozen up and down your city block.

True, the generic label helps prospects identify the type of lawyer they need. But the generic label also reinforces the perception that all personal injury, or whatever type of lawyers, are the same -- just because they all share the same label.

Don't accept the playing field defined by the marketplace, tradition or other lawyers. Create your own niche. Rise to a new level. After all, if you’re investing money and time in marketing, you have the right to call your own shots. That means you get to re-define the playing field so it benefits you.

Step #4: Name your niche or area of specialization using fact-oriented, descriptive words. The old marketing adage is that people buy benefits and not features. Even so, when naming your niche, don’t use a benefit title because it says nothing and arouses suspicion. When I named education-based marketing, I wanted a term that clearly described what I do. I could have called it Power Marketing, Marketing That Works!, Brilliant Marketing -- or some other ridiculous combination of cute, meaningless words. But, instead, I wanted a term that accurately described my marketing process in terms my prospects could relate to and understand. Hence, education-based marketing.

Name your niche so it describes what you do as factually and accurately as possible. At the same time, make sure your new name covers all the services you want to provide. If you use a narrow name, often prospects will think you provide only those services, not realizing you can and want to provide services outside that narrow area as well. So you want a niche name that creates the impression of specialization, yet is broad enough to include everything you want under that umbrella.

Step #5: Market like crazy. From a competitive point of view, a new niche is worthless if your prospects don’t know it, understand it and see it as a major competitive advantage. You could be the only lawyer in that niche -- and the only lawyer using the term -- but who cares if your prospects don’t see why they should hire you instead of your competitors. As a result, your new niche should become a key part of your marketing message. Then you need to educate prospects about why a lawyer in your niche -- who provides the services you offer -- is exactly the lawyer your prospects need.

Step #6: Reflect your new niche in all your marketing materials. If you create a powerful niche -- and believe in it -- then shout it from the mountaintops. All of your brochures, seminar materials, advertising, publicity and web sites should reinforce the existence and importance of your niche. The more traction your niche develops, the more validity prospects attach to it -- the more prospects and competitors talk about it -- and the more real is becomes. Soon, prospects see it as a genuine niche, as opposed to a term you made up after a little wine. At that point, the niche you created moves from perception to reality, which, for marketing purposes, is the same.

SUMMARY: In a marketing sense, you should specialize in some area of law. You’re in the strongest competitive position when you create your own narrow niche. You should create the perception that you specialize in exactly what you want to do. Make sure your niche is broad enough to include all the services you want to provide -- yet narrow enough so your prospects perceive you as a specialist in that area.

IMPORTANT: Take your time and make the decision about your niche’s name carefully. Create terms for your niche and ask clients and friends for their reaction. See which niche names do and don’t appeal to them. See if they have an idea what the niche name means. The name you attach to your niche determines whether it fails or succeeds. So make this decision slowly, carefully, wisely.

I first wrote the term education-based marketing in 1984. Today, 20 years later, I still use it because (1) it describes exactly what I do, (2) it’s the only marketing method I use, and (3) my prospects hire me to provide those services. That’s the test of a good niche.

Now I urge you to develop one for yourself so you gain a significant advantage over your competitors.

© Trey Ryder

FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Trey@TreyRyder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Historia Verdadera

TLC

El presidente de Ecuador Rafael Correa se reunió con el subjefe de la diplomacia de EE.UU, John Negroponte a quien le expresó su total rechazo al libre comerciobilateral y le ratificó su empeño en el proceso de transformación social de su país.

Designación

Los abogados Jaime Varela Aguirre y Luis Winter Igualt fueron designados como consejeros titulares del Consejo de Defensa del Estado (CDE) de Chile, el nombramiento fue realizado por la presidenta Michelle Bachelet.

LAN y TAM

Las compañías aéreas LAN-Chile y TAM sellaron una alianza estratégica con el fin de potenciar su presencia en Brasil y Sud América para hacer frente a Gol, otro operador brasilenõ que el último tiempo ha ganado espacio en el mercado con su modelo de bajos precios.

Inversiones

La empresa minera Volcan de Perú decidió inscribir sus acciones en las Bolsas de Santiago y Londres. La empresa es el tercer productor mundial de zinc con cuatro centros minieros ubicados en los departamentos de Pasco y Junín.

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  • Brief News

US House passes Iraq funding bill

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill which would fund military operations in Iraq to the end of July. Under the bill, further funding would be dependent on events in Iraq meeting certain, as yet undefined, benchmarks of progress. Bush said he would veto the bill but hinted a compromise was possible, saying the idea of setting benchmarks "made sense". Bush has already vetoed one bill linking funding to troop withdrawal.

Pope addresses Brazil's youth and meets with the president

The Pope has urged young Catholics in Brazil to steer clear of sex, drugs and other "snares of evil" while resisting the temptations of wealth and power. He also spoke out against abortion. The visit is his first to Latin America since becoming Pope in April 2005. He is to celebrate a series of open air Masses before traveling to Aparecida for the main event of the visit, a conference of Latin American bishops. There he is expected to touch on the growing challenge the Catholic Church faces from evangelical groups.

Eurozone rates on hold at 3.75%

The European Central Bank (ECB) has maintained its benchmark interest rate on hold at 3.75%, as expected. But many analysts think the European Central Bank will raise rates as early as June, to keep inflation in check. Bank of England announced that it would increase rates to 5.5%, the highest level in six years. A day earlier, the US opted to keep its interest rate at 5.25%, amid fears over the cooling housing market.

Serbia chairs Europe rights body

Serbia is to take over the chairmanship of the Council of Europe despite concerns that the country is abandoning attempts at political reform. The council is Europe's leading body monitoring human rights and justice. Serbia takes over the council's chairmanship as part of the normal rotation among its member nations.

Crime dominates Guatemala campaign

The leading candidates for Guatemala's elections in September have launched their campaigns against a backdrop of soaring murder rates. Crime and punishment - or the lack of it - are high on the agenda.

Stocks' Gains May Be Linked to Housing Losses

One of the strongest stock market rallies on record has come at the same time as gasoline prices are soaring, the economy is slowing and real estate is in the doldrums. The winning streak has some people scratching their heads. One factor worth considering: Investors who were speculating in housing are now betting on stocks.

Citing Domestic Successes, Blair to Step Down

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced that he will step down on June 27, putting a firm date on the long goodbye that will end a decade on Downing Street. In an emotional speech, Blair said that 10 years was long enough for him — and for the country.

Bolivia, Brazil reach deal on sale of Petrobras refineries

Evo Morales announced that Bolivia reached a deal to purchase the country's only two oil refineries from Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, closing the latest chapter in a year of often-delicate energy dealings between the South American neighbors. Bolivia will pay US$112 million (€83 million) to buy back the formerly state-owned facilities, which together provide some 90 percent of Bolivia's domestic fuel needs, Morales said Thursday. Speaking to oil workers and union members packed into the presidential palace for the evening announcement, Morales downplayed the tensions that had accumulated during the negotiations.

Brazil calls U.S. pilots to testify in air traffic probe

A congressional commission investigating Brazil's troubled air traffic control system said Thursday it will ask two American pilots involved in the South American country's deadliest air disaster to testify. Lawmakers want to question Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino. The disaster was a factor cited by air traffic controllers as they began months of protests, complaining of precarious work conditions, that caused slowdowns at airports nationwide. "Because the whole problem with the air traffic controllers started with the accident we want to hear from the pilots," the commission's president, Rep. Marcelo Castro, said. He also said the commission was consulting with the Foreign Ministry to determine whether the pilots could be compelled to testify in Brazil or if investigators would have to travel to the United States. He said the pilots might be able to testify in written depositions.

Brazil Credit Rating Raised One Level to BB+ by Fitch

Brazil's credit rating was raised to BB+ by Fitch Ratings, leaving the South American country on the cusp of investment grade as it uses surging dollar inflows to pay down foreign debt. Fitch raised Brazil's foreign and local-currency credit ratings one level, one level higher than Standard & Poor's does and two levels higher than Moody's Investors Service does.

Chemical weapons treaty 10th anniversary marked

Member nations to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) marked the 10th anniversary of the accord at an unveiling of a memorial dedicated to chemical warfare victims at the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Netherlands on Wednesday. Member states pledged to refocus attempts to persuade North Korea and Middle Eastern nations to join the treaty, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a video message.

Heading toward reform of the F.D.A.

The Senate passed a bill to reform the Food and Drug Administration this week by such an overwhelming margin — 93 to 1 — that some much needed changes now seem likely to gain full Congressional approval and become law. The downside is that an amendment to allow the import of safe and inexpensive prescription drugs from abroad had to be eviscerated to get a veto-proof majority. The bill would require the F.D.A. to focus on the entire life cycle of a drug to make sure it is safe and effective, not just the early testing stages that determine whether a drug should be approved for sale. The agency would be given new powers to regulate drugs after they are on the market and new authority to mine vast databases in search of signals that a drug may be causing adverse effects. Among other welcome powers, the F.D.A. could require manufacturers to conduct more trials when safety concerns arise, and it could order changes in warning labels without haggling for months with the manufacturers. Unfortunately, the bill would also push the agency into even greater reliance on user fees from the pharmaceutical companies to finance its drug review activities. That is a dangerous dependency that distorts how the agency allocates money and staff and how fast it reviews drugs.

Euro becomes currency of choice for cocaine traffickers

The euro has become the currency of choice for Latin American cocaine traffickers as the drug's popularity among Europeans has soared and the value of the currency against the dollar has risen. Europe's appetite for drugs was increasingly being supplied from West Africa, which has emerged with alarming speed as a major shipping hub for cocaine, heroin and synthetic drugs from all over the world.

  • Daily Press Review

Africa

Questions linger on cause of crash
East African Standard, Liberal daily of Nairobi, Kenya

Horrid stench engulfs premier Varsity Legon@59
Ghanaian Chronicle, Independent, published in Accra, Ghana

Zuma: A sniper was sent to kill me
Mail and Guardian, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

Michael Sata's 'clean' record questioned
Times of Zambia, Government-owned daily of Lusaka, Zambia

Americas

Garner: Forget Past Issues
Barbados Advocate, Independent daily of St Michael, Barbados

Benedict in brazil
Buenos Aires Herald, Liberal daily of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Democrats pass short-term funding for Iraq war despite veto threats
The Globe And Mail, Centrist daily of Toronto, Canada

Flood alert! - Parish disaster committees watchful
Jamaica Gleaner, Centrist daily of Kingston, Jamaica

Asia Pacific

Not-guilty ruling nixed for Muraoka
Daily Yomiuri, Conservative daily of Tokyo, Japan

China approves five-year space development plan
People's Daily Online, Pro-government daily of Beijing, China

Pilot stranded on clifftop
The Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily of Sydney, Australia

Janajatis Announce Three-day Nepal Bandh
The Himalayan Times, Independent daily of Kathmandu, Nepal

Election death toll climbs past 100
The Manila Times, Pro-government daily of Manila, Philippines

Sexist MPs at work again
The Sun, Independent daily of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Europe

Turkish Parliament Approves Electoral Reforms
Deutsche Welle, International broadcaster of Cologne, Germany

Finnish police investigators arrive in Rwanda to investigate genocide charges
Helsingin Sanomat, Centrist daily of Helsinki, Finland

Russia, U.S. reaffirm need for cooperation on North Korean nuclear issue
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia

Ahern bounce lifts support for Fianna Fáil to 36%
Irish Examiner, Centrist daily of Cork, Ireland

Vyugin Resigns With a Promise
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia

UN disarray at lead role on growth for 'unfit' Zimbabwe
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

Alarm bells ring for political parties as early elections loom
Turkish Daily News, Independent daily of Istanbul, Turkey

Middle East

As illusive as ever
Al-Ahram Weekly, Semi-official, English-language weekly of Cairo, Egypt

King Unveils His Vision of an Ideal Welfare State
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Hariri throws full weight behind Chapter 7 route
The Daily Star, Independent, English-language daily of Beirut, Lebanon

Blair: I did what I thought was right
Gulf News, Independent daily of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

PM to challenge some Winograd report findings
Ha'aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel

Malaysian PM visits Iranian pavilion at 4Th Halal Exhibition
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran

Report: Livni met secretly with IDF intel. head during war
The Jerusalem Post, Conservative daily of Jerusalem, Israel

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