Why Law Firms Should Promote In Online Directories

Marketing, Legal
27 min read
To grow your firm, you have to be everywhere where a potential client may look for you, including online directories, which can be extremely effective. Read this article to find out why this is so important.

There are four reasons why promoting in online directories is exactly what you should do:

1. Visibility. When prospects search for lawyers in Google, they see three paid ads, then three or four map listings and then a list of organic results. If they skip the ads and the map listings, which is how many potential clients search, chances are they will click on a directory listing in the organic search results.

Directories form about one third of organic results and very often get the top rankings. If you were to search for a criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, for example, the first organic result would be either Avvo — which is currently the biggest attorney directory in the country — or Yelp.

Of course, there will be many listings on that directory page. So how do you make sure your prospects see your profile? Have a sponsored listing. This guarantees that you are in one of the top 4 results.

  1. SEO. We talked about this when we discussed the importance of SEO strategies in the overall marketing plan for lawyers. Ultimately, in order to get top rankings, Google wants your website to have authority. One of the ways to gain more authority is to have more credible websites link back to your website. Thus, inserting links to your website in online directories — which are very credible websites — helps your website rank higher.

Some online directories don’t charge for links, which means you can insert a link to your website in their basic free listing. Most of the big directories, though, offer linking to your website as part of their premium listing service, so you’ll have to pay for it.

  1. Reviews. This is a double-edged sword. Online directories usually let your clients post reviews. Positive reviews drive more people who browse the directory to contact you. Negative – when there is they comprise a significant portion of all reviews – could really hurt you. There are ways to boost positive feedback online and to handle negative feedback, which is called reputation management.

4. Your prospects like directories. People find it easier to have relevant information properly sorted in front of them rather than having to go through Google search results one by one. So, there is a good chance that if they see your sponsored listing, click on it, and see what they were looking for, they will visit your website and contact your office.

How to get the best results   

Start with the directories that attract the most demand for your services. There are about a dozen online directories. Unless your firm has budget for sponsored listings for each attorney in every directory, you should start with the directories that generate most demand for your services.

To identify platforms that will attract most clients to your firm, you should interview them to understand what you can expect from your investment. Here’s what you should find out:

In addition, you should know your own numbers to better understand the expected ROI on this marketing investment:

Now that you have that information, you should be able to write up a clear funnel and estimate your potential return of investment. Here’s an example:

You pay $500 per month for a listing on the best online directory. If 1000 people see your listing, and you have a 3% click-through rate, that’s 30 people who will click on your listing. Let’s say out of those 30 people, 20% contact you, that’s 6 people. If you have about 30% conversion rate — meaning converting people who call you into paying clients — that’s 2 clients per month. This means you’ve paid $250 per converted client.

Now you should know how much each client is worth to you. Let’s say you’re a criminal defense lawyer. You make $3,000 — $5,000 on state cases and $15,000 to $75,000 on federal cases. You can average that number out for both types of clients, but either way, the numbers work out very well — you’ve paid $250 per client and you’re earning thousands from each.

Don’t forget to test. Almost all of our law firm clients have listings on one or more online directories. We can tell you from experience that you can never be certain what will work best for you. Based on the type of law you practice and where you’re based, the results you see from different directories can vary greatly. That’s why you should always test at least a few directories to find out which one works best for you.

That being said, you should be prepared to give each platform at least 6 months to a year in order to see results. Never rely on data from just one or two-month long test.

Allocate a portion of you marketing budget for testing out platforms, and stick to the ones that deliver the best results. Please, keep in mind that directories are useful for B2C attorneys, they don’t work well if you’re, say, a corporate lawyer.

Final point: monitor performance and switch, when warranted. Directories are in constant competition and some of them overtake others. Just recently we discussed this with an attorney who used to be on Nolo, but has noticed a decline in the quality and quantity of leads, which is why he’s switched directories. Be prepared to do the same, if you notice that a platform’s performance is on a decline.

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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Written by:
Sasha Berson

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