Landing pages — dedicated web pages that a visitor to your website, blog, social media post or e-newsletter is guided to after clicking on a link — are critical when it comes to converting those visitors into qualified leads.
If you have been directing traffic to the home page of your website, you are missing a big opportunity to capture more leads. Landing pages have been proven to more than double conversion rates when compared with website home pages. This is because they are created specifically for converting leads, featuring specialized content and offers that appeal to a targeted audience.
To make your landing pages pay, you need to know the basics about how to create a highly effective landing page. Here are 10 steps you need to take in developing landing pages for your law firm:
Have a singular goal. You want your landing page to do just one job for you — get the visitor to download that free report, sign up for a seminar, subscribe to your newsletter, etc. Don’t clutter them up with multiple offers. One page. One job.
Use a single, relevant visual. Choose an illustration or photo that is relevant to your offer.
No false endorsements. Don’t create false endorsements for your offer. Avoid cheesy endorsement copy that turns visitors off.
Use simple design. Keep your design simple with minimal, impactful copy that consists of a headline, subhead and bullet points that make the content easy to scan.
Quick load. Be sure your landing page loads quickly; you only have a few seconds for it to pop up or your visitor will lose interest and click off.
Compelling copy. The worse thing you can do is bore your visitor. Your copy needs to be readable, believable and lead the visitor quickly to your ultimate goal.
Eyes on the prize. Write and design your land page with your singular goal in mind. Do not clutter the content with irrelevant prose.
Inform and educate. Don’t waste the visitor’s time by not delivering anything of benefit. And don’t ask for too much information — a name and an email address should be sufficient.
Be truthful. If you have actual testimonials that would be appropriate, use them but be sure you are not making any false promises or guarantees.
Provide value. Make it clear what the value and benefits of redeeming your offer will provide to your visitor. If they are entrusting you with their information, you need to let them know it is a fair exchange for what you are providing with the offer.
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On September 24-25, Miami-Dade County held a P3 Institute entitled “The P3 Pipeline: A Forum for the Private Sector.” Among the topics discussed at the Institute was a measure currently before the Florida Legislature that, if enacted, will make the P3 procurement process easier for all parties involved.
Two bills, House Bill 97 and House Bill 95, have advanced to House committees and are moving through the legislative process. HB 97, known as “Public Records and Public Meetings,” is currently in the State Affairs Committee. HB 95, a companion bill known simply as “Public-Private Partnerships,” is in the Appropriations Committee. Approval by all required legislative committees is a necessary step before these bills can be introduced in the 2016 legislative session.
If it passes, HB 97 would exempt unsolicited P3 proposals by responsible public entities from public records and public meeting requirements for a specified time period. HB 95, a corollary bill, revises provisions regarding responsible public entities and unsolicited proposals for qualified projects. In doing so, HB 95 expands the list of entities authorized to conduct P3s to include state universities, special districts, school districts (rather than school boards), and institutions included in the state college system.
On a related note, the bills’ sponsor, Representative Greg Staube (R-Sarasota), has stated that several state legislators (without naming the legislators specifically) are discussing the possibility of a centralized state office that could offer Public Private Partnership procurement expertise to Florida counties. The office could be housed in an existing state agency, like the Department of Management Services or Enterprise Florida, to save money.
Whether the government can freeze all of a defendant’s assets before trial, even where those assets are not tainted by any connection to alleged federal offenses, thereby preventing a defendant from paying for his own defense, will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Luis v. United States, No. 14-419.
The federal Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996 (“MVRA”) requires that defendants convicted of crimes committed by “fraud or deceit” compensate victims for the full amount of the victims’ losses. Often, however, by the time there is a conviction, criminal defendants do not have any assets to satisfy those judgments. Seeking to address this problem, the United States has invoked the Fraud Injunction Act to freeze legitimate assets pre-conviction to pay a later judgment.
The Fraud Injunction Act statute authorizes a “restraining order” against assets when a person is “alienating or disposing of property, or intends to alienate or dispose of property” that is “obtained from” or “traceable to” certain federal offenses. In such cases, the statute permits a court to prohibit the use of tainted property “or property of equivalent value” before trial to ensure that sufficient assets are available to satisfy any judgment.
In 2012, the federal government charged Sila Luis with conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud – a scheme allegedly amounting to over $45 million, stemming from claims for home health services that were neither medically necessary nor actually performed. Using the Fraud Injunction Act, the federal government asked the district court to freeze all of Luis’s assets, including those that were not even allegedly obtained through fraud, totaling approximately $15 million. The district court agreed to impose the freeze. .
Luis then requested that the district court release her untainted assets so she may retain her lawyer. The district court denied the request, explaining that, because the government could locate “only a fraction of the assets” Medicare had paid Luis’s companies, her “untainted” assets also could be frozen. The district court likened Luis’s situation to that of a bank robber indicted for stealing $100,000; That is, if the robber has already spent the allegedly stolen money which he could not use to hire his preferred lawyer in any case, he also should not be able to spend a different $100,000 he “just happens” to have to hire the lawyer he wants.
Luis appealed the district court’s decision, arguing she was being deprived of her Fifth Amendment right to due process of law and her Sixth Amendment right to counsel of her choosing. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, upheld the district court’s denial of her request to release her legitimate assets, stating that Luis’s arguments were foreclosed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kaley v. United States (2014) and other decisions.
In Kaley, the Supreme Court held that when the government, following a grand jury indictment, restrains tainted assets needed to retain a lawyer, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments do not require a pretrial hearing at which the defendant can challenge a grand jury’s finding of probable cause.
Luis asked the Supreme Court to review the case. The Court agreed to do so and recently heard argument. A decision is expected by next June.
OSHA penalties are going up. EPA’s penalties are going up, too. However, while EPA penalties have been going up modestly every four years to take inflation into account, OSHA penalties have not increased in 25 years. Maximum OSHA penalties may jump as much as about 78 percent next year. For a provision quietly tucked away in budget legislation, this packs quite a punch.
The Legislative Change
On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Section 701 of that legislation is the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (the 2015 Adjustment Act). The 2015 Adjustment Act amends the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 to remove the OSHA exemption to the requirement that civil monetary penalties be periodically increased to account for inflation. The amendment also changed the frequency of the inflation increases from “once every 4 years” to “every year.”
In addition, the new law entitles OSHA to a single “catch up” penalty increase to account for the lack of periodic penalty increases, which “shall take effect no later than August 1, 2016.” OSHA is authorized to calculate this initial increase based on the percentage difference between the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in October 2015 and the CPI in October of the calendar year that the civil penalty was last adjusted under any different law. In this instance, because OSHA penalties have not been adjusted since 1990, the catch-up penalty increase will be based on the October 1990 CPI as compared to the October 2015 CPI.
Based on the October 2015 CPI, the percentage difference is expected to be about 78 percent. In the catch-up adjustment, $7,000 OSHA penalties could increase to as much as approximately $12,471, and $70,000 OSHA penalties could increase to as much as approximately $124,710. If OSHA rounds those numbers, the likely maximums would be $120,000 and $12,000.
Past Efforts to Raise Maximum OSHA Penalties
Under section 17 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), OSHA penalties for “willful” or “repeat” violations have a maximum civil penalty of $70,000 but not less than $5,000 for each willful violation. Penalties for “serious” violations have a maximum of $7,000 per violation. Those figures have remained static since 1990 despite repeated efforts to increase them.
For example, in 2009, a Senate bill and a House bill, both entitled the Protecting America’s Workers Act, would have amended section 17 of the OSH Act with one-time maximum civil penalty increases. The $70,000 “willful” violation maximum would have been increased to $120,000 but not less than $8,000 (up from $5,000). The penalties for “serious” violations would have increased from a maximum of $7,000 to a maximum of $12,000, and penalties for “serious” violations that result in employee fatalities would have been increased to a maximum of $50,000 but not less than $20,000 for employers with more than 25 employees. The proposed legislation did not pass either House of Congress. This year, updated versions of the Protecting America’s Workers Act were introduced which would make the same adjustments in penalties.
After more than 25 years and extensive legislative effort, OSHA penalties are poised for a significant initial increase, due to a provision added to an appropriations bill without hearings or debate.
Implications for State OSHAs
About half the states have their own enforcement programs under OSHA-approved state plans, even though they generally enforce OSHA’s standards. Thus, the statutory increase in federal OSHA’s maximum penalties will not directly impact state OSHA programs, whose maximum penalties are set by state law. However, this federal increase is expected to lead to state increases as well. Under section 18 of the OSH Act, state plans must be “at least as effective” as those of federal OSHA. Lower state maximum penalties are not likely to be seen as being “as effective” as federal maximums.
EPA Penalties Are Going Up Too
Under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, EPA penalties have increased every four years. Between 1996 and 2013, four adjustments of EPA’s statutory civil payment amounts were implemented. Annual inflation adjustments will now be required. In recent years inflation has been low, so the next increase will likely be relatively modest.
 Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, Pub. L. 114-74.
 Id at § 701. Prior to the amendment, Section 4(1) read: “by regulation adjust each civil monetary penalty provided by law within the jurisdiction of the Federal agency, except for any penalty (including any addition to tax and additional amount) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, the Tariff Act of 1930, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, or the Social Security Act, by the inflation adjustment described under section 5 of this Act[.]” H.R. 3019, 104th Cong. (1996).
 H.R. 3019, 104th Cong. (1996) (“The head of each agency shall, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 [Apr. 26, 1996], and at least once every 4 years thereafter[.]”) (emphasis added).
 This initial catch-up adjustment may not exceed 150 percent of the amount of the civil monetary penalties as of the date that the 2015 Adjustment Act was enacted.
 The October 1990 CPI is 133.5 and the October 2015 CPI is 237.838. For more information on CPI figures and calculations, click here.
 29 U.S.C. § 666.
 In addition, civil penalties for OSHA were subsequently included in proposed mine safety legislation, which was similarly unsuccessful. See H.R. 5663; Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., OSHA Legislation Gets Boost from Mine Safety Bill (Aug. 17, 2010).
 29 U.S.C. § 666.
 As described in the most recent (2013) EPA notice raising maximum penalties, “EPA’s initial adjustment to each statutory civil penalty amount was published in the Federal Register on December 31, 1996 (61 FR 69360), and became effective on January 30, 1997 (‘the 1996 Rule’). EPA’s second adjustment to civil penalty amounts was published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2004 (69 FR 7121), and became effective on March 15, 2004 (‘the 2004 Rule’). EPA’s third adjustment to civil penalty amounts was published in the Federal Register on December 11, 2008 (73 FR 75340), as corrected in the Federal Register on January 7, 2009 (74 FR 626), and became effective on January 12, 2009 (‘the 2008 Rule’)”; and the fourth adjustment was published in the Federal Register on November 6, 2013. 78 Fed. Reg. 66643 (Nov. 6, 2013)
A downed Russian airliner, the tragic Paris attacks, the European refugee crisis, states closing their borders to Syrian nationals, Charlie Sheen’s HIV diagnosis. What do these all have in common? They are hot topics for discussion around the watercooler. And they also will bring out a multitude of opinions. What’s the problem? Opinions can be controversial and, to some, down right offensive. Healthy debate about how the United States should handle the war on terror could be construed as evidence of religious discrimination (in some cases). Discussion regarding Charlie Sheen’s HIV diagnosis can also quickly spiral out of control and later be construed as evidence of disability discrimination. It’s a problem and employers need to be aware of it.
So how can you protect yourself? Well, you certainly cannot stifle discussion about what is happening outside of the workplace. Nevertheless, employers are encouraged to step up, stay on top of what’s trending and put a stop to any discussion that could reasonably be construed as inconsistent with the Company’s EEO policies. You won’t be popular. But let’s face it: running a business is not about winning a popularity contest.
Want to stay on top of what’s trending? Create a Twitter account and keep apprised of the most popular hashtags. The amount of work is minimal and you’ll be tuned in to what topics are floating around the workplace.
© 2015 BARNES & THORNBURG LLP