Look! Up in the Cloud!

by Nancy Slome on May 18, 2013

Nancy Slome

If you’re like most in-house marketers, you’re limited to using software that has been “firm-approved.” And when there’s something you’d like to add to your desktop, the process can take months – if not years before the program is tested, accepted and then rolled out on a firm-wide basis.

But if you’re lucky, maybe there’s someone on the management team who will finagle an exception on your behalf. (But who wants to use cash in that favor chip just to get computer software?)

Fear not, legal marketers. There are some very cool Cloud-based collaborative programs that can really improve your productivity and do not require software to be downloaded and/or installed. Some programs let you try-before-you-buy; others have a limited free version, or are offered at such low-cost, that you can easily make the case to your superiors. These tools can be great timesavers and perfect for law firm marketers and business developers who need to collaborate with:

  • event planners
  • freelance designers, writers, agencies, PR firms, and Web developers
  • business development coaches and consultants
  • directories submissions consultants, and
  • the media

Here are some of the programs I’ve found particularly useful:

Project collaboration: Basecamp
I use it every day to manage multiple projects, such as print and digital ads, websites, proposals and contracts.

Meeting scheduling: Doodle
Really cuts down on the number of emails you need to send just to get three people to agree on a day and time for a ½ hour meeting.

File sharing: Dropbox and SugarSync

Although Dropbox is the most popular of the two, for me – SugarSync is much more user-friendly.

Personal or small-business CRM program: Highrise

Highrise has an incredibly simple user interface (Think: Zero learning curve!), and could be great for business development teams in small law firms. Highrise is also a 37 Signals product; the same company that developed Basecamp.

BEST PRACTICE / SAFETY TIPS FOR USING CLOUD-BASED PROGRAMS:

  • Never upload client documents to these sites.
  • Find out if your firm has a policy that prohibits storing firm-related documents in the cloud, regardless of their content.
  • Never store your user name or password to these accounts on your desktop, laptop or smartphone.

Nancy Slome is a principal and marketing consultant at One to One Interactive. Her firm provides practical online strategies and solutions for law firms. You can reach her at nancy@1to1interactive.net and follow her at @nancyslome.

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