The 4 Most Important Ways to Market Your Law Firm Online in 2016

 

If you haven’t started spending the money and time to market your law firm online, now is more important than ever to start. Mobile phones, social media, and search engines are more popular every year — and this has dramatically changed the way people find professional services such as lawyers. According to LexisNexis, three out of four consumers seeking an attorney will use online resources at some point in the process. Investing in a top-notch website and smart online marketing is the #1 way to market your law firm these days. Here are four key areas you need to invest in this year.

1. A Professional Website That Reflects Your Business

Your website is your calling card, and you have to to develop it so your brand and value propositions come across clearly to prospective visitors. Your law firm’s website should be built first and foremost with SEO in mind. Make sure you hire or seek out strategic SEO support in choosing the right website structure such as title tags, navigation, site map, and keywords to include in your website content.

It’s also a smart SEO play to build content pages that can rank and be linked to. For example, if you’re a domestic litigation firm, you’d want to build targeted pages to capture searches for things like, “alimony law,” “child custody law,” “divorce law,” “legal separation,” and more. Here is a great example of this tactic used by Cordell & Cordell in San Francisco:

cordell & cordell san francisco men's divorce law firm website

Also ensure your website is easily navigable and includes all of the pieces of information new clients might be searching for online. Excellent items to include on your website are a video of you speaking to show personality, client testimonials, contact information, areas of expertise, and pricing structure. And finally, a key area of focus on a law practice website is your site’s calls to action (CTAs). These are the messages that ask your visitors to take action before they leave your site. Make sure you have clear buttons that encourage your visitors to learn more, contact you, or request an initial phone call. You should also think about capturing email addresses for a newsletter that can help nurture prospective clients who are not ready to purchase from you, but could develop trust with you through monthly guidance and advice.

It’s best practice to build your website on WordPress, and you can find relatively affordable WordPress website designers to help you out. If you’re stuck on where to start and how to build a website, Lawlytics.com is a tool for lawyers that helps you build a website, focus on SEO, and create content starting at $200 a month.

2. Thought Leadership Content on Your Blog

Second to having a great, professional website for your practice is creating thought leadership content for your blog. Blogs have many benefits and pay off well past their investment. Blogs help you grow brand awareness, establish trust with current and future customers and drive increased organic traffic from search engines. Most importantly, blogs increase sales conversions.

“About half of my new clients find me because of my blog,” said Phoenix-based attorney Ruth Carter. “It gives me a way to showcase my knowledge in my practice areas as well as my personality, so when clients meet with me they already have confidence that I can help them with their specific problem.”

Carter’s blog is an excellent example of writing fresh, relevant content.

ruth carter law firm blog

Like Carter, your blog will add continuous fresh content to your website, which matters to Google’s search algorithm. It will also seamlessly provide content you can share on all of your social media sites and establishes your firm as an authority in your field. In addition, blogging also can be personally rewarding. Kevin O’Keefe, founder and CEO of LexBlog notes in his blog post “10 reasons lawyers ought to think about blogging” that blogging is fun, allows you to chase your dreams, helps you get good at what you do, and lets you help the people you want to help.

“I believe the majority of us went to law school with the goal to ‘make a difference,’” Kevin said. “Perhaps not having a clear idea what “making a difference’ meant or how we were going to do it, we’ve been looking for that window, that opportunity, to make a dent. To leave the world a better place because we were here. Blogging by allowing you to reach, engage, and influence people gives you that opportunity to make a difference.”

If that’s not enough reason to start a blog for your firm, take these statistics into account: businesses that blog get 67% more leads than businesses that don’t and get 97% more links to their site, which also helps establish authority in Google and increase search engine results.

3. A Local SEO Keyword Strategy

Local SEO means targeting location keywords such as “divorce lawyer san diego” or “property law san antonio texas.” The importance of local SEO is easily understood through four key statistics from Google:

  • 20% of all search queries are for local businesses
  • 40% of all mobile searches are for local businesses
  • 50% of mobile searches for local businesses are followed by a visit or another type of contact
  • 97% of consumers search for local businesses online – only 3% are not searching online

When your law firm ranks high on Google’s search engine, you get free traffic and you can convert those visitors into customers. This is more effective as a long-term strategy than spending large amounts of money on capturing people through search engine ads. It can be difficult to rank for competitive terms in Google, but it’s often easier to rank for local terms because not all lawyers are paying attention to a local SEO strategy.

Do you keyword research for local keyword terms you want to rank for, then build your website around these terms (the navigation and content pages as mentioned in the above example of Cordell & Cordell), and blog with your local keywords. A more in-depth plan to building out a local SEO strategy can be found in this Guide to Local SEO for Attorneys.

4. Smart Online Reputation Management

FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters, is a leading provider of business development solutions for small law firms. They recently launched a 2016 study that found consumers are more likely to hire lawyers with online reviews. According to the report, two-thirds of consumers surveyed said they would be more likely to hire a lawyer with online reviews. This is especially true for younger consumers — 81% of Millennials (age 18 to 35) are more inclined to hire lawyers with online reviews. But even a majority of Baby Boomers (age 55 to 70) feel the same way.

To get started with building a great online reputation and managing your reviews, make sure your law practice has established profiles on the top review sites. Do your own research on where attorneys in your field are being reviewed, but it’s generally best practice to have a Yelp page, allow reviews on your Facebook page, and establish a Google My Business page. Additionally, tools such as Avvo have been established for consumers to browse and rate attorneys, so it’s a good idea to make sure your law practice has a presence there too. Once you have profiles, you can request customers fill out reviews either in person or via email at the close of your relationship.

Investing in a professional website, content marketing, local SEO, and online reputation management should be your top strategies for marketing your law firm this year and into the next. If you’re struggling to find the budget and time to add these important marketing items to your yearly plan, you can consider a loan for your legal practice and look into hiring additional marketing support through UpWork.com or CloudPeeps.com.