Every prospective client has many options. How do you make sure they 1) find and 2) choose to retain you instead of one of your competitors? Naturally, lawyers look to marketing companies to help them, but most end up wasting money on ineffective marketing.
How do you make sure that the next time you hire a legal marketing firm, they will actually deliver the results you need?
Start by understanding what works and what does not BEFORE you hire a marketing firm.
Grill possible vendors with questions to make sure they have more than a sales pitch. Have them present a specific plan of how they’ll take you from where you are today (X number of new clients per month) to Y, where you want to be. No plan, no contract!
Keep reading to learn everything you have to know to ask.
Findability + High-performing Website + Helpfulness = More Clients
Make sure that you know these fundamentals:
You have to be where your ideal clients are looking for lawyers and where they’re looking for information regarding their legal challenges or needs. And here’s where they look:
If your website or information you provided shows up in the top results, you’ll be found by your prospective clients. If not, it will be as if you don’t exist.
If all those law firm marketing services paid off and your website or Youtube channel or directory listings are easy to find, your prospects will visit your website. But then, will they find a high-performance tool that helps them decide in your favor, or a limp online brochure that underwhelms in comparison to your competitors’ websites?
Literally, ALL your other marketing efforts will underperform or fail (and you’ll waste a lot of money) if you don’t have a website optimized to convert attention (visitors) into action (calls to your office or online inquiries, and/or people providing you with their contact info).
We’ll get more into this later.
The more helpful your content is, the longer you keep them on your site. And the longer they spend on your site, the more relevant your site will appear to Google, and the more people Google will send to your site (there are many other factors Google considers in its algorithm, but this one is considered very important).
Now let’s make it happen.
More people use Google to find lawyers than any other channel.
Your firm doesn’t even exist to most of your potential clients if you aren’t on page one for most relevant searches used to
But everyone wants to be on page one; how do you get there amidst such tough competition?
1. Deliver more useful information than your competitors do on a search engine optimized website (SEO). Create a page for each question your prospects and legal clients ask, and provide a meaningful answer. This will attract a lot more people to your site.
2. Run ads on page one of Google. This will bring a lot more people to your website.
3. Optimize your website for local search. This will bring a lot more people to your website.
You’ve probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO). On the surface, you might even know that it involves weaving of keywords (search terms) into website text.
But this is just one of literally hundreds of SEO tactics that matter. Optimizing your website for search means your website will be ranked higher when someone searches for the services you provide.
And the drop-off from one ranking to the next is astronomical.
Did you know the first website to show in search results historically gets about 30% of clicks, while the second only gets 15%? By the time you’re on page two of search results, you’re looking at less than 2% of clicks.
To optimize your visibility in search, there are on-site and off-site SEO tactics to take into account.
To get started, the big question in SEO for lawyers is how to know what keywords to use.
Our two cents: think like your prospects. What do they want to know? Can you think of an example? Good, but you’re not there yet. Now take that example and ask, “how would I ask that on Google?”
We’ll give you a hint: your prospects are more likely to google “what happens in a personal injury case” than they are “liability and financial compensation for personal injury law.”
Next in Findability comes producing and distributing value-added content.
Remember that question, “How helpful are you to prospects before they choose to hire you?” Well, content is where you make yourself useful. This is your long-term strategy to Get More Clients Using Content Marketing.
Yes, your website is filled with content. But content can get a lot more interesting—and a lot more practical—for your prospects.
Do you like filling out worksheets? Ticking-off checklists? Have you ever downloaded a white paper or a resource list?
These are examples of the kinds of content you should create for your prospects. And we’re not talking about checklists for the grocery store. No, we’re talking about valuable content that answers the questions your prospects have.
Forbes has something to say about how to do content marketing the right way, but we’ll give you an example:
Say you practice estate law. You have clients who are bereaved, sometimes overwhelmed with paperwork and legal mumbo-jumbo. And so they’re digging for answers and google, “what does an estate executor DO?”
That’s where your blog should pop up. Google sees you’ve written an article about that very topic. And in that article, you offer a free checklist of all the paperwork an estate executor needs to get—and in what order.
All prospects have to do to get it is enter their names and email addresses to download.
You collect those names and email addresses, then you continue sending those prospects resources. You already know what legal issue they’re facing, so it’s just a matter of sending them more information and tools that will be useful.
In basic terms, that’s how you get more clients using content marketing. Most of the buying process is done through research online before a call, so you need to make yourself useful to all those prospects who are still “doing their homework.” Give them value and help them through the process so they’ll remember you when they are finally ready to buy.
Your website will climb up in search results if you get SEO done right, but that will take time.
What can you do to maximize results fast?
You can pay your way to the top, and there’s no shame in it. All types of business entities—large and small—advertise here through Google AdWords.
You know how this works, but you may not have calculated the math:
The first three to four search results on Google are ads served through Google AdWords. These companies compete for potential clients’ attention. The game is simple: if your website works well in converting visitors into phone calls and online requests for more information, there is a simple arbitrage. For example, for every $1,000 invested in digital marketing for my law firm, I will get an average $5,000 engagement. Particularly for lawyers, there are some that are higher than that.
A $1,000 investment for a $5,000 engagement may seem pricey, but what’s the alternative? Continue getting by on sporadically-trickling-down referrals? No. This is the way to grow systematically. Those lawyers that know, get it.
Before hiring a good marketing company to run this for you, make sure to calculate your numbers:
Just like an experienced stockbroker, knowing your numbers will help you have a steady hand and make better decisions.
Let’s say you’ve done your SEO right, have an AdWords campaigns running, and you’re absolutely crushing it in website traffic.
Some people will reach out right away, while others may not be ready to engage in a conversation. Yet. That second group is much larger than the first. How do you make sure that you stay top of mind with these people?
Without going into technical details, remarketing for law firms works like this: after a potential client visits the website, they will start seeing banner ads on other websites reminding them about the website they have visited.
This is enormously important, as the decision to engage in a conversation with an attorney may take weeks or months to make. They absolutely must have you at the top of their minds when they’re ready.
Google itself is a directory of local listings, but it’s one of a hundred. In addition to curating your Google review ratings and keeping your profile up-to-date, there are other directories you should be on, too.
Here are some of the top directories for lawyers:
The “why” here is important. There are three main reasons why you should use directories as part of your law firm internet marketing.
Expert tip: You can pay directories to rank higher than your competitors in listings. So, when a prospect types in “personal injury lawyer in Chicago,” you can use paid ranking to get more of those clicks. Talk to your marketing company about the metrics and to break down costs.
This is a controversial one. Some marketing firms will pitch social media like it’s the hottest thing. But the reality is such that social media does not produce spectacular results for lawyers.
Think about it this way…people use Google when they need something (like legal services), and people use Facebook for entertainment. Professional service providers promote on Google to sell services, and Facebook to…well, branding, to show that they are human, not faceless businesses.
Consumers trust reviews on Google, Yelp, Avvo and Facebook as much as they trust recommendations from their friends. The more positive reviews your prospects see, the higher the probability that your services will be retained.
Ask your clients to post reviews. Some will, some won’t, but never fail to ask.
To make the task of leaving a review easier, do send them a link to the listing where you want them to leave a review (Google, Avvo, Yelp, Facebook, wherever) so that they can just click it and post a review.
Strangely, Google makes it somewhat complicated to leave a review, so here is the link to the 4-step instruction on how to add a review on Google.
Now, let’s be honest—some of those reviews will be positive, and others will be negative. And it’s crucial you address all negative reviews.
Your replies have to show the integrity your prospects want to know you have. If something went wrong, you will fix it.
Negative reviews can also be a learning opportunity if the complaint touches on something you should do better. All responses to negative reviews will amount to you either offering to help (“Please call me directly, I want to make this right,”) or calling out a malarkey review when one happens.
Part of reputation management also comes back to those directories we talked about above. A lot of those directories crawl the web to create business listings automatically, so it’s important to “claim” your pages to check details and ensure information is correct. This has to be part of your reputation management so that you know where to find any mention of your firm.
There’s a lot more strategy behind this, and knowing what tools to use to track new reviews is another thing altogether. We have a summary of Ideas For Growth By Encouraging Positive Reviews, so read up!
Having a high-performing website is a huge factor that will impact your success. But how is that measured?
A poor-performing website convinces (converts) less than 1% of all visitors to pick up the phone and call. And even if 1 out of every 3 to 4 people you talk to become your clients, that still means only 0.25-0.33% of all the people who visit the website, trust you to handle their legal matters.
Now, a high-performing website can convert as many as 10% of visitors into callers. And with the same 1-of-4 closing ratio used above, that’s 2.5% of all website visitors turning into clients.
If you have 500 visitors to your website in a month, that’s 12-13 new clients.
Here’s a checklist of some key factors that determine your website’s success:
Take a look at your goals—and at your marketing vendor. Are they a good fit for you? Are you a good fit for them?
Make sure to hire experts and keep them accountable. Have them report the following metrics to you on a monthly basis:
…and be sure to tell the marketing firm how many of the people you spoke to have already become or are expected to become your clients.
If the numbers are not where they should be, talk to us. We’ll get you more clients with a plan that takes all parts of digital marketing for law firms into account.
Comrade is a Chicago based digital marketing company that specializes in website design and marketing for attorneys. Read more about our content marketing service for law firms.
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