You didn’t go to law school to become an expert at law firm marketing. Yet the legal skills you poured blood, sweat, tears (and money) into acquiring will never be fully utilized without knowing how to properly market your law firm. So let’s begin!
YOUR LAW FIRM WEBSITE IS YOUR #1 CLIENT ACQUISITION ASSET
The purpose of your law firm website is to bring prospects to your door. If your website already gets lots of traffic but you’re not getting enough leads, or if you don’t have much traffic at all, then your website is not doing its job.
Here are the steps you need to take to create a law firm website that attracts the right target market for your firm:
Make sure your law firm website is mobile-friendly.
Look around wherever you are and you will see people with their faces stuck on their phone screens. Because that is how people search the Internet these days — on their phones. In fact, over 63% of searches in the U.S. are currently performed using mobile devices. Your law firm website needs to be designed so it is easily navigated and viewed on multiple devices — phones, tablets, laptops, etc. Plus, Google now penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly.
Have a solid keyword strategy for your law firm website.
Your keywords are the bait you use to catch the right fish. This is how people find you when they do an organic search. Your keywords need to be placed within your text and also within the structure of your site (title tags, alt tags, metadata, etc.).
Add fresh content consistently with a law firm blog.
Your website should include a blog that adds fresh content to your site on a regular basis. Absent a blog, you will need to regularly update the content on your site. And remember that content is not just text. You should be incorporating video, relevant visuals and case studies or free reports for prospects to download.
Make sure your law firm website’s home page tells your story.
Your home page is essentially your online storefront, so you need to make sure it conveys your marketing message with both content and visuals. There should be no question in a visitor’s mind what you do and how that benefits them. The design should be modern and feature all the elements of contemporary sites today.
Have a clear call-to-action on every page of your law firm website.
You need to tell visitors to your site what you want them to do. For most law firms, this is to fill out a contact form for a free consultation or a downloadable eBook. Your website should have dynamic contact forms on every page, making it clear what visitors should do to get more information or book an appointment.
Use diverse content sources throughout your law firm website.
Not everyone likes to read text. Not everyone wants to watch a video. This is why you need to have diversity in your content sources. By using different types of media, you will appeal to a broader number of people who visit your site.
Use retargeting ads to recapture attention from people who have already visited your law firm website.
Only a very small percentage of people who visit your law firm website for the first time will respond to your call-to-action. This is because most people are just browsing. To ensure they will visit you again when they are closer to making a buying decision, use retargeting ads (ads that follow visitors around on other sites). It’s a cost-effective and effective way to increase your conversion rates.
Check your law firm website’s page speed.
Page speed is one of the main factors Google uses to determine which sites should be served up first in search results so make sure your site loads as quickly as possible. Even trimming off a few microseconds can improve your ranking. Some ways to accomplish this include:
- Compressing images.
- Compressing code and removing slow scripts.
- Optimize mobile content using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
Google’s Page Speed Insights tool can provide you with any other technical changes that may be necessary to increase your page speed.
Optimize your law firm website for voice search.
According to comScore, voice search will comprise 50% of all Internet searches by 2020. Currently, 2 of 5 adults use voice search at least once per day. Because people speak differently than they write, your content needs to be more conversational in tone in order to optimize your site for voice search.
Focus on creating short sentences that include your location(s) and practice area(s). Think about how you talk about your firm at a networking event or during a consultation. Consider the questions you hear every day from clients and prospects, write them down with the answers and add them to your website. Cut out any legalese that the average person would never use in a voice search. For example, people don’t look for a “family law attorney,” they look for a “divorce lawyer.”
CONTENT MARKETING AND SEO FOR YOUR LAW FIRM WEBSITE
Most attorneys are not going to dedicate the time and study it takes to be proficient at SEO. You should either have in-house talent for that job, or you should farm it out to a firm that not only understands all the intricacies of optimizing your online properties for search but also knows the marketing rules that attorneys must abide by so you don’t run afoul of bar rules and regulations.
There are six key SEO factors reflecting what it takes to be successful at search today:
Content. Your law firm website needs to house valuable, in-depth content that is highly relevant for the terms prospects use to find you online.
Architecture. How your site is built – the URLs you use, the page load speed, your security and crawlability – helps search engines know what your pages are about and helps ensure these platforms that users will be greeted with a fast-loading, malware-free landing page if they click through from a search engine results page (SERP).
HTML. HTML tags are used to signal to search engines what the content is all about, so the search engines can then serve up that content when a relevant search query is made.
Trust. The more authoritative your website, the more likely it will rank high in search results. Backlinks, shares, reviews, and the age of your website are used to determine your site’s authority.
Links. The more links you have to your website from other trusted sites, the better it is for your SEO. Backlinks are known as incoming or inbound links. They are website links that come from another source to your law firm website. The number of backlinks you have on your site will determine its popularity. In a nutshell, backlinks are like votes — they signal to a search engine that you have a website that is worth visiting for specific topics.
User experience. Ensure that your content includes geographic information (your NAP – Name/Address/Phone) and that your site delivers a good user experience (low bounce rates, repeat visits).
SEO WILL DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR LAW FIRM WEBSITE, BUT CONTENT MARKETING WILL HELP YOU CONVERT THEM TO CLIENTS.
Content marketing for your law firm website should serve three clear goals:
- Drive traffic to your site
- Convert traffic into leads
- Nurture leads to becoming clients
To meet these goals, you create high-quality content that visitors looking for legal help in the area you practice will find extremely useful. You then post it on your blog and your social media pages to attract people to your site.
Now, you do not yet know those visitors. You don’t know where they are in the buying process — just getting started? Refining their selection? Ready to buy? Each stage of the buyer’s journey needs content that speaks to where they are in the process. Not everyone is ready to take you up on the free consultation offer. They need to be wooed a bit and that is where lead-converting content comes into play.
EXTEND YOUR REACH VIA SOCIAL MEDIA, PPC, VIDEO MARKETING AND LOCAL SEO
LOCAL SEO FOR LEGAL MARKETING
No matter how far you think your sphere of influence may reach, the fact is that if you have a consumer-based law practice, you have a local business. Your firm draws clients from a very specific geographical area. One of the keys to getting new clients is to be very good at local SEO, making your firm easy to find when consumers are looking online for law firms that do what you do.
Competition for the all-important first page on Google is fierce and your strategy for local SEO has to be equally aggressive if you want to outrank your competitors in local search.
If you have started deploying local SEO tactics but are still not showing up on the first page of Google, there are some key elements you may be missing. Here are six ways you can improve your local SEO right away:
- Pay attention to on-page elements. To reach local prospects, you need to have the name of your city or region your law firm serves in your website’s page title and meta description.
- Make your online listings consistent. If your NAP is outdated because you’ve changed locations — or listed in different ways across a number of directories — you are confusing Google and making it harder for people to find you.
- Optimize your Google My Business listing. Include a description of your law firm, NAP, business hours, etc.; pick your category; add photos or videos; and include your 5-star reviews. It is VERY important that your NAP matches EXACTLY here and on your website, online directories, etc.
- Prioritize online reviews. Make it as easy as possible for clients to review you by including a link to your Google My Business listing in emails, your e-newsletter and your website.
- Use schema markup. Schema markup is computer code that lets Google know what is on each page of your website. This is how they provide people with relevant search results to their online queries.
- Create local content. Add location keywords to your content where it makes sense — but don’t overdo it, or Google will frown on it.
PPC ADS FOR LAWYERS
Paid search ads — also known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads — occupy precious real estate on every page of Google search results. When someone enters a search for the type of law you practice, the top 3-4 listings are usually ads:
The reason you want to be there is simple: over 40% of clicks go to the top 3 ads. But here’s the deal: it’s expensive. The average click cost for lawyers and law firms is $54.86, according to Google.
One way to get around the high cost of Google PPC ads is to utilize remarketing.
If you have ever done any shopping online, then you have probably noticed how that pair of shoes you had your eye on keeps following you around wherever you go online. You may have even gone ahead and bought those shoes because their appearance on other sites you visited whetted your appetite. That is remarketing.
Remarketing ads on Google’s Display Network reach 92% of all Internet users. Facebook is also an incredibly powerful platform for remarketing campaigns. With both, you can specifically retarget visitors to certain pages of your website or a blog post to regain their attention on any website they may visit, and you don’t need a big budget to do it.
Remember that paid search ads work best for people who are ready to buy, so design your ad content to appeal to those people.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR LAW FIRMS
Consumers today are turning to social media for more than just interacting with friends and family; they are looking for information relevant to their lives. Here are 5 steps you can take to up your law firm’s social media game:
Understand the purpose of social media.
Social media is a different kind of marketing cat and you can’t treat it like traditional marketing channels. Its purpose is to enable you to form relationships, demonstrate thought leadership, get on the radar of prospects you might not have been able to reach in other ways and to eventually drive them to an action that will allow you to keep the communication going — i.e., visit your website or blog, download a free report, watch your videos, etc.
Gauge your current online reputation.
You begin your social marketing program by listening first to what people are already saying about you. Set up a Google Alert for the name of your firm and each attorney. Do searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for your firm name.
Choose the platforms that serve your target market and compliment your practice area.
In general, B2C attorneys will want to be on Facebook, while B2B attorneys will prefer LinkedIn. However, there may be opportunities for you on other platforms so dig deep into the demographic profiles of your client base and search for similarities among the social networks. For example, if your practice targets women, you need to look into Pinterest. Using the Pew Research Center Social Media Fact Sheet will help you sort through this.
Set goals for your social media program.
The only way you’ll be able to judge whether social media provides a return on your marketing investment is to set and measure goals. Make them as specific as possible — i.e., obtain 100 downloads of your free eBook from Facebook followers every month.
Create content sources.
Social media is a short-form play, where you use a few enticing sentences or comments and link to longer content for the user to explore. This is why it is imperative for you to have a blog, which is really the content hub for your social media marketing efforts. Each time you add a new post, you link to it from your social network pages. This is what feeds the beast! You also need to create a YouTube channel for your videos and link to those as well.
Any law firm social media marketing program that hopes to succeed these days will also include paid ads to supplement organic posts. Check out this post on 7 Tips to Pump Up the Performance of Your Social Media Ads for guidance on what is working today for law firms engaged on social media.
GRAB ATTENTION WITH VIDEO MARKETING FOR ATTORNEYS
⇒ 78% of Internet users over the age of 18 watch videos online. (Pew Internet Project)
There is simply no better format for delivering your message to prospects than video. It’s the closest you can come to face-to-face prospecting, allowing you complete control over your messaging. You should be using videos liberally on your website and social media networks.
Your video can make an offer to download a free eBook or other premium content like a newsletter and drive those who click on the offer to a landing page where they can get that material once they provide their contact information.
Landing pages are essential to lead conversion. They have no other purpose than to direct someone to fulfill your call to action. Your landing page should include some additional succinct selling points that support the video’s call to action and a built-in form that captures a name and email address.
Once you create your video content, upload it to YouTube and Facebook and share it on all your other profiles — LinkedIn, Twitter, and your blog. If you serve millennials, consider hosting a live stream event on Facebook where people can ask you questions. It may seem weird to you, but it’s what works for getting them engaged with you.
MANAGING YOUR LAW FIRM’S ONLINE REPUTATION
Online reputation management is observing and influencing feedback about your law firm on digital platforms — social networks, search engines, and review sites. It involves a number of tasks, including:
- Monitoring customer feedback on every key platform where your business is talked about/reviewed.
- Watching closely to ensure competitors and others are not disparaging your firm online.
- Addressing any issues or concerns raised by clients or others in online reviews.
- Finding ways to get clients who have had positive experiences with your firm to share their reviews online.
Why is managing your law firm’s online reputation so important?
⇒ 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. (BrightLocal)
Over the past few years, ratings and reviews have become increasingly important to consumers, which means they should be important to you:
- 89% of consumers use online reviews/ratings to inform purchase decisions.
- 97% of consumers look at online reviews about local businesses.
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Put simply, online reviews and ratings are sought out, read, and closely followed by consumers. That’s why attorneys cannot ignore them.
HOW CAN YOU TELL WHICH LAW FIRM MARKETING STRATEGIES ARE WORKING? TRACK EVERYTHING.
Most law firms can’t afford to throw money away on legal marketing strategies that don’t work. Measuring the performance of your website, email marketing, landing pages, social media, and PPC ads are vital to the success of your law firm marketing program.
But beyond the visitors, clicks, and calls, you want to be sure you are also measuring what is truly meaningful to your law firm — new clients! Some of the key performance indicators you should be looking at on a regular basis include:
- Client acquisition cost
- Average case value
- Number of new clients by source (referral, website, PPC ad, social media, etc.)
- Number of contacts (calls, emails)
- Number of calls that convert to appointments
- Number of prospects that show up for appointments
- Number of appointments that convert to clients
HOW YOU CAN TELL WHICH LAW FIRM MARKETING STRATEGIES WILL WORK FOR YOUR LAW FIRM
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