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Forefront eNewsletter

ISSUE III 2019

Law Firm Online Marketing – Five Proven Strategies to Get More Clients

Have you ever wondered why your law firm competitors, despite being inferior lawyers, seem to be growing faster than you and getting more cases? Even though, you may think to yourself, you know your firm has better lawyers.

The reason is almost always: Because marketing.

And in this day and age, online marketing is the best way to grow your practice,  especially compared to old-school marketing tactics (like billboards and radio ads). Why? Because law firm Internet marketing doesn’t just yield new clients, it provides actionable data to your law firm.

Who visited your website? Where did they come from? What search terms tend to yield the best potential clients (and which ones generate mostly tire-kickers?)

Law firm online marketing has catapulted many enterprising law firms from small to large and has helped many more still get not just more cases, but the right kind of cases. In this article, we’ll explore five proven strategies to market your law firm online.

Let’s get started.

#1 – Develop Your Law Firm Marketing Plan

When it comes to marketing your law firm, avoid simply aimlessly diving in. Publishing ads, writing blogs, and updating your website without an overarching plan and a “true north” will likely lead to wasted time and money. You need a marketing plan.

Your law firm marketing plan doesn’t have to be an overly complex, 20-page document (in fact: it shouldn’t be). The best marketing plans are summary in nature, an executive summary that fits on one page.

Your law firm Internet marketing plan should include:

The purpose of your marketing plan:

  • Are you looking to build your firm’s thought leadership?
  • To generate new clients and cases?
  • To develop your firm’s reputation?
  • All of the above? (Everything else in your plan should align to these goals.)

The strategy, or key initiatives/elements of your marketing plan:

What key projects or ongoing initiatives will make up your law firm online marketing plan? These are the campaigns that you or your hired law firm online marketing agency will manage for you, including:

  • SEO and content marketing
  • Paid Internet advertising (PPC)
  • Email marketing / lead nurturing
  • Social media marketing

(We’ll cover these strategies in more detail shortly).

The tactics, or nuts-and-bolts of your law firm Internet marketing plan; the who/what/when/how of your plan:

  • How often will new content be published? (Consistency is key when it comes to online marketing for law firms).
  • What subjects will your content marketing cover?
  • Who will write your marketing content, manage your advertising campaigns, and so on?
  • When will you distribute press releases?

And finally, the metrics by which you’ll measure the success of your law firm online marketing plan:

  • Is your website traffic increasing each month?
  • How do your website pages rank in a Google search?
  • How many leads are you generating each month?
  • What is the cost of each lead and client generated?

Defining your law firm online marketing plan is a vital first step to marketing your law firm.

Need a head start? Download our Law Firm Marketing Plan Template.

#2 – Design an Amazing Law Firm Website

Your law firm’s website isn’t just the storefront for your practice, it’s the epicenter of your online marketing strategy.

Your law firm’s website is the hub of your firm’s online presence … and it’s where all of the other marketing initiates (that we’ll cover next) will ultimately lead your audience. So naturally it’s important that your firm’s website is easy to find, easy to navigate, easy to read, and (most importantly), makes it easy to get in touch with your firm.

I often see law firms make the mistake of spending a lot of time (and money) driving traffic to their website, but they overlook the website itself. The site may not be mobile friendly, it may be dated-looking, or it may not be optimized for conversions (that is: converting website visitors to paying customers).

Consider the checklist below a must-have list of elements for your law firm’s website.

  • Mobile-friendly / mobile-optimized
  • An informative, but uncluttered home page
  • A striking hero bar (top section of your home page)
  • Easy to navigate (and find what you’re looking for)
  • A full page per practice area
  • A full page per case type (e.g. car accidents, truck accidents, slip-and-fall, etc.)
  • A full-page bio for each lawyer in your firm
  • Clear all-to-action (contact info)
  • News and blog section
  • Built-in security (HTTPS)
  • Fast page loading (vital for search engine optimization)

Many lawyer websites are simply too busy and crowded. They try to cram too much information on the home page. Or they have all information about each practice area on a single page (a cardinal sin, as law firm websites are concerned).

As a rule, break up information into multiple pages wherever possible. Use a simple navigation at the top of your site. Avoid content that’s too dense. Break up text with images and other iconography. The more content and the more segregated the content the better.

Learn More:

#3 – Develop a Comprehensive SEO Strategy

SEO is a powerful way to increase your law firm’s online visibility and (most importantly) get new clients. But what is it, exactly, and how does it work for law firms?

SEO is the process by which an organization actively works to move their website higher up the Google search results page for a keyword. In other words, if someone does a google search for “estate planning lawyer in Boston,” (and that is your practice area and location) ideally, you’d like your law firm to show up in the results.

So how does Google decide which websites are the “best,” and what to show in a search result?

The short answer is: content, content, content.

Google’s job, in a nutshell, is to provide highly-relevant content to people searching for a specific subject or topic. So, the best way to get on Google’s good side is to regularly generate quality content about and around your firm’s practice areas.

The more informative, high-quality content you have on your website, and create every month, (a) the more likely Google is to rank your site, and (b) the more likely visitors to your site will acknowledge that your firm is an expert in their area (and the more likely they will be to contact you).

Quality wins over quantity when it comes to law firm SEO and content marketing, but consistency and ongoing fresh, new content is important to law firm Internet marketing overall.

But what kind of content should your law firm produce for SEO?

A regular stream of blogs is the bedrock of any law firm Internet marketing (and content) strategy. The more high-quality, relevant articles your firm writes about and publishes, generally speaking, the more visitors your website will receive (and the more new clients you’ll ultimately acquire).

Your website should have a built-in-blogging platform, making it easy to write and publish new content regularly. And your marketing plan should call for a schedule for new content (blog articles), as I describe above. The key here, is to stick with it.

I’ve seen many law firms, eager to kick their marketing into high gear, start strong and publish a few articles every month for a few months only to slow down as the cases, clients, and general workload take priority. It’s important to keep the momentum. If you can’t commit to a publishing cycle, hire an agency to write and publish content for you. (A good law firm marketing agency will have copywriters that are knowledgeable and able to write for your practice areas.)

Not sure what to write about? Sit down and think about:

  • What events or circumstances prompt someone to need a lawyer in your practice area?
  • Why / under what circumstances should someone hire a lawyer in your practice area?
  • What are important factors when selecting a lawyer within your practice area?
  • What are the top 5 (or 10) most common questions new clients have during intake?
  • What are the potential outcomes for a typical matter in your practice area?

Any or all of these would make for a great blog article.

Writing blog articles is good for demonstrating your firm’s knowledge and skillset and is great for driving SEO for your law firm. In both cases, authoring content is a staple of any law firm online marketing strategy.

Recap

  • SEO upside: Lasting, long-term results that don’t require paying per click .
  • SEO downside: SEO takes time, it can be 3 to 6 months before you start seeing results.

Learn More: Read our Ultimate SEO Guide for Law Firms

#4 – Advertise via Google Ads (PPC)

SEO is often referred to as “organic” because, over time, your law firm’s pages and articles should show up in the organic (unpaid) section of a Google search.

PPC, on the other hand, is the process of advertising on Google’s Ad platform, where your firm’s ads appear within search results.  

When you advertise via Google Ads, you tell Google what keywords you want to bid on (advertise around). Then, when someone searches for that term, your ad may show up. You pay only when someone clicks on your ad (and goes to your website).

The ad itself looks very similar to a regular (organic) search result. Typically, when you perform a Google search for something, the first one to three results are sponsored ads, which you can identify by the discreet “Ad” label to the left of the ad.

One of the major benefits of PPC (over SEO) is (nearly) instant gratification. You can create an ad campaign today and start receiving new clients tomorrow.

Suppose you’re a personal injury law firm in New York. You can create an ad campaign that bids on keywords like “personal injury lawyer nyc” or you can bid on the keyword “personal injury lawyer” and target your campaign to the tri-state area. When you do, your firm’s ad will appear in search results (like the example above).

When setting up your AdWords campaign, you’ll need to create:

  • A Google AdWords account and campaign
  • Keywords – what keywords you want to bid on, or appear when someone searches
  • Ads – what shows up in the search results
  • Landing page – the page that visitors who click your ad will be directed to

How much you should budget for AdWords spend (your defined budget for PPC) will vary widely based on your practice area and market (city). The more competitive an area is, the more you’ll likely need to spend to show up in searches regularly. As a rule of thumb, plan to spend a minimum of $1,500 / month. Competitive practice areas like personal injury or bankruptcy in large cities can cost $20,000 / month or more.

Managing your PPC/AdWords campaign takes time, like all of your law firm Internet marketing plan, and isn’t set-it-and-forget-it. You’ll need to monitor results, test different ad copy, test different landing pages, and review and refine regularly. I recommend either committing to learning the process and taking the time necessary or hiring a legal Internet marketing agency to build and manage a PPC campaign for you.

Recap

  • PPC upside: Nearly instant results, your firm appears at the top of search results.
  • PPC downside: You pay for each click to your firm website.

Learn More: Managing a Law Firm PPC Campaign

#5 – Engage in Email Marketing

As you’re marketing your law firm, you’ll be engaging in SEO, PPC, and a variety of other means of driving traffic to your website. But not everyone who visits your website will hire your firm that day. For instance, your blog post on “The best way to incorporate your new business” may have shown up in a search and caught the eye of a potential client, but they may not be quite ready to pick up the phone and call a business formation lawyer (yet).

You’ll need a way to collect their information and stay top-of-mind until they’re ready to hire a lawyer. The best way to do that is email marketing.

Put simply, an email marketing strategy includes:

  • A means by which you collect contact information and email addresses, and
  • A system and routine where you regularly communicate to your (growing) audience

You’ll need a thoughtful, deliberate process for both. You should be collecting email addresses of everyone that reaches out to your firm (that should be built into your initial intake process).

You’ll also want to begin writing and sending a regular newsletter to your database of contacts. This could be monthly, bi-monthly, or even weekly, and it should educational in nature. Your newsletter should include things like:

  • Excerpts of / links to your most recent blogs and articles
  • What’s new with your firm / “In the News” items and links to press releases
  • Commentary on a recent court decision or ruling
  • Frequently asked questions by your target audience

Of course, the style and layout of your newsletter should match the branding, look, and feel of your website.

Email marketing is meant to nurture and remain top-of-mind with three important demographics:

  • Former and current clients who may need your services again
  • Prospective clients that you’ve contacted but haven’t hired your firm (yet)
  • Current and prospective referral sources, or other professionals well-positioned to refer business to your firm

The last demographic (referral sources) is an often-overlooked group that your firm should work to stay top-of-mind with.

Closing the Loop

There you have it: five proven strategies for law firm Internet marketing; 5 ways to grow your law practice.

Internet marketing can often yield a 1 + 1 = 3 effect. Each of these marketing strategies, when implemented together, can enhance your overall marketing traction. Email marketing will connect with people who found you via SEO. Social media is a great way to promote your upcoming webinar. And so on.

Ready to learn more?  We’ve just covered the tip of the iceberg. Read our complete, Comprehensive Guide to Law Firm Internet Marketing.

Onward and upward.
 

Tikit

Uptime Legal Systems is a leading provider of cloud services to the legal industry. Uptime provides a complete Law Office in the Cloud™ to hundreds of law firms around the world. Services include hosted practice management, cloud-based document & email management, legal-grade email, cloud-based phone service and managed IT for law firms. Click here for more information.

 
 
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