Internet marketing helps law firms attract new leads and clients. It’s an effective option because you’re able to reach a large audience.
Many firms rely on the partners to bring in new business, but a group of partners doesn’t have the same reach as the internet. With the right strategy in place, you can target a specific audience and reach many individuals who need your exact legal expertise.
Consumers use the internet to find service providers because it’s quick and easy. They can conduct research on their own time, and evaluate different providers from the comfort of their own home.
For us as business owners, this means we need to have a well-optimized internet presence. Having a strong internet presence means we’re more likely to be found through a Google search, and thus generate website traffic.
10 things you need for successful law firm internet marketing
Our list below includes some obvious items, along with more advanced tips and techniques you’ll need if you’re serious about getting customers online.
1. A well-designed, mobile website
Your website should be professional, educational and engaging. This seems obvious, but many law firms haven’t updated their website in years. Plus, you need to accommodate smartphone users with a mobile-friendly version of your website – mobile searches represent as much as 15% to 20% of search queries. The example below shows how this attorney’s website adjusts to fit a mobile screen.
The navigation should be easy for the visitor to understand so they can find exactly what they are looking for. Make it simple for visitors to move around the site, and make sure your calls to action are prominently displayed – more on that below.
2. An awesome ‘about us’ page
When people come to your website, they want to know who is leading the company. The ‘about us’ page (or tab) is often one of the most visited pages. Make sure you have current headshots (or a team photo) along with an updated professional bio for each employee.
Use this section to inject some personality into your website. What makes your law firm special? Why should consumers hire you rather than the competition? This is your chance to show visitors why you are different.
3. An active blog
Many business owners scoff at the idea of maintaining a blog, claiming it takes too much time and effort. But an active blog is a must-have if you want to rank organically on search engines.
That’s because search engines favor sites that are updating regularly. Every blog article you publish is a chance to be found through a search. The more blog articles you publish, the more opportunities you have to be found.
Blogging also helps build your credibility and expert status. Remember, consumers turn to the internet whenever they have a problem or a question. If you have insight on how to solve that problem, you’ll start to build credibility with that person. The alternative is having web searchers make their way to your competitor’s website.
You want search traffic coming to your site so you can educate them, and capture their contact information, which leads us to number four…
4. White papers or e-books available for download
It’s great to drive traffic to your website. You will generate inquiries from people who are ready for your services right then and there. But what about the people who are still doing research? They need some basic information as they move through what we call the buyer’s journey.
This is why white papers, e-books and tip sheets are so important. It allows you to provide something of value in exchange for some basic contact information – name, email and maybe a phone number.
Once you have their contact information you can follow-up with additional resources that can help them make their decision. These leads go into what we call workflows, or a series of follow-up actions to help them make a buying decision.
It’s important to keep in mind that closing a deal doesn’t typically happen in the first click. In fact, your website isn’t intended to close the deal, it’s there to educate consumers.
That’s why we recommend using blogs in combination with downloadable offers. And it’s why we recommend having these offers prominently displayed as a call to action on your site. The screen shot above shows how our call to action is displayed on our home page.
5. A keyword strategy with goals
Our last two tips were all about content. Hopefully you’re starting to realize the importance of publishing quality content on a consistent basis!
In order to really succeed with content, you need to make sure you use the right keywords. Keywords in this context form the basis of a search query. For example “when do I need an estate plan” or “what to include in an estate plan.”
You need a keyword strategy because you have to understand how your potential clients are using search engines. Some phrases get more searches than others.
You don’t want to be using phrases that get only 10 searches a month when you could be using phrases that get hundreds of searches per month! Check out the example below.
You also need to consider the difficulty of each phrase and how long it will take to rank on the first page. Keyword research can be done with a number of free tools, but we recommend working with a professional who can provide insight on how to select keywords and how to set goals accordingly.
6. Video content
Video is another area that many attorneys shy away from. Yes, being on camera can be intimidating. But it can be a very powerful tool to reach and educate potential clients.
Legal services are intangible – it’s not like going to the store to buy a new shirt. So having a video that explains how you work with clients is very important. Consider asking a few of your satisfied clients to do a testimonial video for you – that means less camera time for you and your partners.
Keep in mind that 100 million internet users watch videos online every day. And according to a recent Forbes study, 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week. There are many companies using video to acquire customers online, and law firms need to get on board.
7. Local search optimization
We’ve talked a lot about steps you can take to rank organically and drive potential clients to your website. This is important because 75% of web searchers never click past the first page of search results. Ranking organically does take time, and can reach a different audience than if you have optimized your internet presence for those near your geographic location.
Simply put, geography is factored into search results. You might have a blog article titled “10 things to include in your estate planning documents” that ranks on the first page organically. You can be driving traffic to this page from people all over the country.
If someone living in the same city or town as your business conducts a search, they could also find you via a local search. Yes, they might see your blog article. But the local search factors built around your office location can make you visible as well. So make sure you have your business optimized for local search.
8. Updated social media profiles
With a well-designed, mobile website and tons of useful content, you want to make sure as many people as possible know about what you have to offer. Social media is a great tool for spreading the word and interacting with past and perspective clients.
Unfortunately, many attorneys disregard social media as a waste of time. But rather than look at is as a time suck, you need to understand how it can fit into your digital marketing strategy.
You need to be where your customers are, and we know that consumers are active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Use the time you spend on social media to build trust and credibility.
Make sure you have completed all the necessary information in your profile, and that you update your accounts regularly.
9. Marketing tools to help you manage everything
At this point, you’re probably wondering how you are going to manage this yourself. How will you know if your blog articles are performing and if social media is actually producing results?
There are numerous tools available for business owners – some are free and some require paid accounts. A simple Google search for “social media tools” or “digital marketing tools” will yield endless ideas.
These third party tools are great if you’re just getting started. They’ll provide some basic insight and allow you to collect the data you need to make more informed marketing decisions. But few of these tools are all encompassing, which means you won’t get the full picture of your marketing efforts.
If you’re serious about the growth of your law practice then you need a marketing automation tool like HubSpot. With all your marketing efforts managed and tracked from one central dashboard, you’ll have more accurate information about how your campaigns are performing.
10. A defined sales process
In many industries, ‘sales’ isn’t a word that people like to use. But it’s a part of being in business. You can have a great strategy in place for attracting perspective clients to your company. But if you don’t understand how to ‘close the deal’ then you’ll miss out on a lot of great cases.
Your sales strategy doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be outlined and executed with every lead. This will help ensure you’re not wasting time with poor leads, and that you give your time and attention to the leads that will be most profitable for your law firm.
A few final thoughts
The tips we’ve included in this list will help ensure your law firm is more visible on the internet. Some of the ideas here will give an immediate pay-off, while others will take time. Make sure you track your progress, collect data and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Have more questions about law firm internet marketing? Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!