HensonFuerst – Online Marketing Q & A

by Richmond Williams | January 1, 2010

David Henson

With video blogs, branded social media accounts, EXP, and a (PR365) Web site devoted to their Health Initiative, David and Thomas Henson of HensonFuerst tell One Shot how they’ve moved past Web 1.0 and what their firm’s plan is to remain on the cutting edge of online advertising.

Q: What prompted you to make online a priority for your firm?

A: Over the last five years, we have seen a rapid decline in the importance of Yellow Pages in our advertising portfolios, and I predict that in the next five years we will see similar declines in broadcast television. The real problem is that consumers are and will be making important life decisions differently from the last two decades. With the explosion of digital media, TiVo/DVR, streaming TV programming from the Web, and the combination of TVs and computers into one box on our desks, I think we must plan ahead to anticipate where our potential clients will be tomorrow. We believe that place is online, and squarely in the middle of social media, blogs, video blogs, and more.

Q: Specifically, what roles have EXP and the HensonFuerst Health Initiative (PR365) played with your online branding?

A: They’ve allowed us highlight the efforts we make to improve our communities. For the last 35 years, these communities have supported our firm and allowed us to grow to levels we never thought possible. Our responsibility then, is to return the support. Our Health Initiative is the charitable arm of our firm in which we give back to others on a continual basis. EXP allows us to showcase those charitable programs while strengthening our brand and image. We want potential clients to know that we can be their lawyer, and we genuinely want to have a positive impact on their lives and in their communities.

“To be on the cutting edge, we have to devote substantial resources and energies to being the leaders.”

Q: Why did you decide to produce your own video blog, and how much time and planning go into each video?

A: At the recent cj conference, the presentation on social media hit me like a ton of bricks. The second most widely utilized search engine on the Web is YouTube. That is a revolutionary change. Consumers are no longer using conventional Web pages to find what they are looking for. We must be present in the places where they are looking. We spend about an hour per video blog entry. We are still early in the process, and I believe that we will continue trimming this time down. Our goal for 2010 will be to add a new video blog entry every two weeks.

Q: What do you hope to gain with this interactive media, how are you tracking the results?

A: We hope to dominate interactive, and social media and be leaders in the legal community. We plan to have the most current and educational content available to serve as a leading resource for those who are injured in North Carolina. We are carefully tracking Web results, video view rates, and the popularity of items posted. While the statistics are all important, our true goal is to obtain high quality cases. Part of the paradigm shift in social and interactive media is that it will no longer be solely about the numbers and statistics – it is about defining who and what your firm is, and whether others will place trust in your services.

Q: What are your plans to incorporate video blogs into your e-mail marketing strategy?

A: We will incorporate video blogs into all of our press releases and mass e-mail outreaches. We must keep up with the revolution and move beyond static Web sites and e-mail – these tools must become interactive and offer educational value to clients. Part of the social media explosion is that our potential clients have greater access and place greater emphasis on what others are saying about our firms.

Q: Do you consider your Web site to be one of the best interactive sites in the country? If so, how will you keep it on top? If not, what changes or additions do you think will get you there?

A: We are getting there, but we have a long way to go. I think we are more interactive than the majority of firms who are still working on getting Web 1.0 nailed down – we cannot use them as the benchmark though. To be on the cutting edge, we have to devote substantial resources and energies to being the leaders. Recently, our firm retained an in-house social media director, and we are very excited to begin working with cj’s new social media team. With the work of our in-house director, and support from cj, at the beginning of 2010 we will be launching a new initiative for our blogs, video blogs, and various social media pages. We must have fresh, educational, interesting, and relevant content in a way that attracts potential clients. This process is much more organic than shooting production for TV commercials once or twice a year; it has to be a daily, or even hourly, occurrence.