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First, 10 General Concepts to keep in mind.
You benefit from a Full Time Electronic Office . This is a gift to clients and referral sources and as necessary as a business card. A web site allows you to communicate effectively 365/7/24 and even when you are on vacation.
Use Memorable Web and Email Addresses - You want a memorable URL, one that is as short as possible and can easily be remembered and spelled. Matching email and web addresses are the way to go (for example email@example.com and www.mediate.com/jsmith).
The Internet is Affordable - The cost of a quality web site as a landing spot for all marketing is very reasonable. You can market to email addresses for life for free. A quality web site also allows you to enhance all other advertising and to reduce the cost of other advertising.
The Internet is Convenient. Most people now prefer to receive their information digitally. This allows them to print or forward the information. There is no more need for the 3-panel color brochure. Visitors will print out your web pages if they have interest.
Include All of Your Information in a Boundless & Beautiful Web Site. By having all of your business information on the web, you lessen your own and staff labor and cost. Your clients and referral sources can also access all of your information instantly.
Your Web Site Will Help You Close Deals. Web sites are increasingly how mediators are considered and compared. People will often be looking at your web site as they talk to you on the phone.
Dynamic Web Sites are Forgiving! You do not need to "get it perfect" before going public with a Dynamic Web Site. You can easily change your information on an ongoing basis. Fresh is good! Performance anxiety on the web is a thing of the past.
Clients Like the Internet . Using the Internet is convenient, affordable, empowering and has participants often at their edited “best.” In any event, there is a clear record of dialogue and this promotes responsiveness and accountability. It is an additional, valuable commmunication channel.
Providing Value on the Web is Rewarded . You will drive traffic to your web site with valuable content and this supports your occasional email newsletter to remind referral sources of your quality professional work.
You can Manage Your Internet Practice From Anywhere , including Hawaii.
10 Technical Recommendations
Know your email software inside and out and utilize your email features to make your messages effective. A bit of bold or splash of color is wise to emphasize key information.
Use Nicknames and Your Address Book . This will help ensure that you get the address right and allows you to strategically group communications.
Use Your Mail Box System as an electronic filing system . Dump that file cabinet! With electronic filing, you can use your email search capacity to find important documents. Get in the habit of sending emails to yourself, often with attachments, with strategic subject lines that allow for easy filing and retrieval.
Use Email Stationary (Forms) to expedite individual and group mailing and to ensure quality and consistency of message.
Establish a Dynamic Web Site that you can easily change on an ongoing basis without additional cost.
Get Detailed Statistics on your Web Site Performance and be able to understand your statistics.
Get Your Site Linked on other sites . This, along with meta tag key words, is the best way to rise in the search engines!
Be sure that your Meta Tags are Capable so that you are found by search engines, look good in the search engine reports and look good when people do get to your site.
Send out a Periodic Email Newsletter. This is the best way to remind referral sources that you exist and get them to your site.
Get Your URL Out There! You should have your web site on cards, stationary, directory listings, voice-mail, on articles and elsewhere.
These products will have you doing things right on the Internet, with ongoing technical support:
Mediate.com Dynamic Web Site Package, see www.mediate.com/Web
MediatorDirect , see www.mediate.com/Direct.
For more information on the Internet in Mediation, see www.mediate.com/ODR
Jim Melamed co-founded Mediate.com in 1996 and has served as CEO of Mediate.com ever since. Mediate.com received the American Bar Association's 2010 Institutional Problem Solver Award.
Before Mediate.com, Jim founded The Mediation Center in Eugene, Oregon in 1983 and served as Executive Director of the Academy of Family Mediators (AFM) from 1987 to 1993. Jim was also the first President and Executive Director of the Oregon Mediation Association (1985-86).
Jim has received the following awards:
Jim's undergraduate degree is in in psychology from Stanford University and his law degree is from the University of Oregon.
The views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., Mediate.com or of reviewing editors.