If you run a law firm, you probably already have your hands full. Marketing can seem like the last thing on your “to do” list. However, an effective marketing plan is a must – it’s the only way to keep your business competitive when compared to other firms in your industry. To help make the process of putting together a strong marketing plan together for your law firm, here are ten ideas to get you started.
1. Well Designed Website
Your website is the door to your business. Often, people will search, land on your firm’s site, and make an instant judgement as to whether they will do business with you. People do judge a book by its cover – it’s unfortunate but true. You need to make sure that your site properly conveys who you are, what services you handle, and how the visitor can get in contact with you. You need to do all this will building their trust and giving them an incentive to choose your website over any of your competitors. When having your law firm site designed (or redesigned) you want to make sure you include these four key elements:
- Social Proof: Testimonials, reviews, and awards your firm has won all help build trust in the eyes of new visitors. This trust increases the likelihood that they will fill out your contact form or call you.
- Short Contact Form: Studies have shown that the less fields your contact form has, the more likly that the visitor is to fill it out. Think about it; who really wants to fill out all those form fields? It creates a higher barrier to entry, which decreases conversions.
- Responsive: It isn’t even a question anymore – people are going to be viewing your website on their mobile phones. If your website isn’t responsive (moves to fit into the width of the) people visiting on their smart phone are going to hit the back button.
2. Optimize For Search
Search engine optimization can be an incredible way of driving targeted, local traffic to your firm’s website. But how do you do it? It all starts with an optimized website. Site optimization begins with keyword research. What phrases/topics is your target demographic searching for to find the service your law firm offers? Start by heading over to the Google Keyword Planner. This nifty little tool will help you find the keywords that your target demographic is searching for and their search volume. You’ll want to use the Keyword Planner to compile a list of keywords that target your services and location. Here are a few examples that may help you get started:
- “criminal defense [your state or town]”
- “divorce lawyer [your state or town]”
- “DUI lawyer [your state or town]”
Notice how each keyword has the service and the state or town. This helps narrow down the searchers based on intent and location. When compiling the list, be sure to only use keywords that have a search volume of 30 or more. Any less and optimizing your site for that keyword may not be worth it because not very many people are searching for it.
Once you have that list of targeted keywords, you will want to start creating informative and helpful content around each of them. The goal isn’t to try and game the system by creating keyword optimized content. The goal is to use these keywords as a guide for what your target audience is looking for and give them the best information on it. If you successfully create optimized, informative, and helpful content, the search engines will reward you by placing your content higher in the search results.
3. Strong Call to Action
A website is almost completely ineffective if it doesn’t guide the visitor to completing a desired action. Like any marketing campaign, your website has to take the visitor through your website and guide them to a call to action. This journey usually looks like this for most law firm website interactions: user lands on website, clicks around to see what services the firm offers, checks out testimonials/reviews, sees “Contact” page, and fills out the form or makes a call. For your visitor to complete their journey, you need to ensure that your call to action is clear and always available on the screen. Sometimes visitors scroll all the way to the bottom of a page and want to immediately ask a question. If there is no way for them to click to a contact page or call you, a large portion of those visitors will leave.
A strong call to action can come in many forms but the best ones are incentives. Rather than “Contact Us”, your law firm could say “Claim Your Free Consultation”. The words “free” and “complimentary” are easy ways to incentivize your site visitors into becoming leads.
Even one of our newest clients, Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyer Ken Barrett, has seen great results from incorporating a strong call to action on his site. Regardless of whether your site is new or old, your law firm can benefit from a strong call to action.
Sometimes people will come to your website, look around, and leave. Why? Often it is because they are in the midst of making a purchasing decision. Especially when it comes to choosing a lawyer, people like to “window shop” before making a final choice. During the purchasing decision phase, you need to stay top of mind. If you fail to stick in their mind, they will forget your firm and choose one of your competitors. Just think about the sheer amount of other firms that are in your town and the towns around you. You’re up against a lot of competition. The best way to stay top of mind is with remarketing. You’ve probably experienced remarketing before when you’ve visited an ecommerce store, left, and started seeing their ads. Remarketing is the process of putting a cookie on the visitor that just left your site and using it to show them ads on other websites that they visit. It can be a very powerful way of reminding individuals looking for the legal service you provide to come back and contact your firm.
5. Content Marketing
The pages on your website are like doors. The more pages/doors your website has, the more ways that a new visitor can come in. Content marketing is the process of creating informative content and promoting it to your target audience. Not only does it give you the ability to get that target demographic on your website, it also allows you to build trust with that person. By offering free and helpful content, you show them that you have their best interest in mind (without asking for anything first). By following that up with a strong call to action or incentive such as a free consultation, you will see your conversion rates skyrocket.
6. Guest Blogging
I talked earlier about the importance of SEO and optimizing your website. However, that was only the first half of the optimization process (called on-page SEO). The second (just as important part) is called off-page SEO or “backlinking”. Links are like votes to the search engines. The more votes/links your website has, the higher it will be places in the search results for the keyword that page is optimized for. However, each vote/link is not weighted the same. Your website only wants links/votes from other websites that are…
- Relevant to your website
- Have unique, informative content
- Are linked to by other powerful websites
One way to get these links is by guest posting on other websites in your industry. A guest post will allow you to create helpful content and, within that content, link back to more helpful content on your own website.
As a lawyer, you may be a bit confused as to where to start guest posting. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Contact other lawyers in your industry and ask if you can put together a post for their blog.
- Contact the legal associations you are a part of and ask if you can submit a guest blog post.
- Contact a local blogger or newspaper and ask if you can submit an article.
As with the other content you create, you want to make sure that your guest post provides a unique and informative take on the topic you’re writing about.
7. Legal Directories
Submitting your law firm’s website to a legal directory can be a great way to increase your exposure online. Often, people will want to research your firm before doing business with you. If they search your firm name, you want them to find information on sites other than your website. Legal directories also give you the opportunity to gain powerful, relevant backlinks for your website. Below are great directories for lawyers:
When you submit your site to these directories make sure that you fill out your profile completely. Add as much unique content to it as possible – don’t just copy and paste content from your website. Duplicate content is a big red flag in search engines and can even lead to your website being penalized. Also, be sure to engage with the community. Many of these sites give you the opportunity to answer legal questions from users. While you may not get a lead out of it immediately, it does build your credibility in the industry.
8. Get Reviews
Reviews are one of the most important elements of any successful local digital marketing campaign. This is twofold. First, reviews are valued by potential customers as a source of unbiased information. Second, reviews act as a ranking signal for search engines. That means, the more 5-star reviews your law firm has, the higher it will be ranked in the search results when someone in your location searches for a service your law firm provides.
Many law firms don’t take advantage of this simple marketing strategy, which can make it even more effective for your business. The key is not to sit and wait for the reviews to roll in, it’s to actively ask for reviews from past customers. As a lawyer, you will want to get positive reviews from the standard Yelp and Google Business as well as industry directories (mentioned above). A compilation of positive reviews can have a dramatic effect on how your business is viewed by new visitors and search engines.
9. Exit Pop-Up
As mentioned above, many visitors coming to your site are in the purchasing research phase. They aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase or commit to a lawyer because they still need to learn more. These people will often land on your site, look around, and hit the back button to do more research (on your competitors sites). In an effort to convert some of these visitors to leads, you should put an exit pop-up on your website. This type of pop-up is triggered when a visitor hovers their mouse off of your page, as if they were to hit the back button. Once triggered, a pop-up will appear. To make this pop-up as effective as possible, you will want to offer an incentive to get them to leave their contact information. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a direct ask such as, “Claim your free consultation”. Rather, you can offer a valuable piece of content in exchange for their email address. For example: “Download our free guide on how to choose the best lawyer. Enter your email below to have it delivered to your inbox.” This strategy is can dramatically increase conversion of individuals who were just “browsing” into new leads for your law firm.