Lawyer Marketing is among the most competitive of all online marketing niches. In the early days of lawyer marketing, one could slap up some billboards, Yellow Page ads, and run some TV ads and the phone would ring. Advertising for law firms effectively began in 1977 after the U.S. Supreme decision in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona which virtually eliminated restrictions against attorney advertising. Even though it’s been under 50 years, the invention of the internet has brought on new opportunities as well as more competition.
Along with the increased opportunities, marketing on the internet has also brought numerous new necessary skill sets in order to be successful in lawyer marketing. Billboards are all but ignored these days and are difficult to track for conversion data. Yellow Pages are all but worthless – who do you know that has actually used the Yellow Pages recently? Most younger people don’t even know what they are. TV commercials are expensive and can be difficult to ascertain ROI. Most law firms have deployed online advertising in some form but due to a lack of experience in the various methods are not seeing the success they could.
Here are some of the issues that can cause your lawyer marketing to fail:
These are the main issues that we tend to run into when working with new clients on a lawyer marketing strategy for their law firms. Just looking over these areas of concern should alert you to the fact that there are far too many components to try to perform successful lawyer marketing on your own. Now, we will look into these issues in more detail and discuss what is necessary to correct some of them.
A large percentage of law firm clients that we speak to have outdated websites. In the internet age we live in today, potential clients judge someone they are thinking of doing business with by their online appearance. Your online appearance begins with your website and because the majority of internet users are searching on their mobile devices, a mobile-friendly site is crucial. For attorneys, the percentage of people searching on mobile can be even higher, especially for family law attorneys. Do you think that a spouse considering a divorce is searching on the family desktop at home?
Another common issue we see at FORWARD Lawyer Marketing is short and/or poor quality content. When doing research on the top-ranked pages we find that the highest-ranked web pages are at least 1,500 words and ideally over 2,000. In addition to the short content, another issue is simply poor writing. Again, today’s consumers are savvier and many simply will not do business with you if there are obvious misspellings and grammatical errors.
We perform a site audit and make recommendations on which pages should have more content as well as adding pages for specific geographic areas. Our SEO Director personally proofreads, edits, and optimizes each page adding internal and external linking and optimizing the title and META information as well.
The vast majority of our nationwide attorney clients focus their practices in specific geographic areas. In order to rank higher for local search terms, it is necessary to utilize verbiage that mentions things like city names, neighborhoods, and local landmarks. By doing this we are communicating to Google and the other search engines that a particular page is relevant to the area we are targeting. We will utilize geo-targeted keyword phrases in anchor text linking to relevant pages within the website as well as external links to offsite pages such as the official page for the city we are working in.
Building quality backlinks is another often neglected component in an effective lawyer marketing plan. If done correctly it can do wonders for your rankings, if done wrong, it can get your entire website banned! Another thing you must know about building backlinks is that when you write quality content other websites will link to your posts just because it is solid quality content. That said, due to the possibility of abuse and black hat link companies it is best to leave this to professionals.
The title tags and META descriptions are what potential visitors see when you appear in the SERPS (search results pages). For this reason, you want to write strong title tags that are descriptive of what you want to be found for. For example, as you see below, we wrote the title tag to rank for “Galveston Criminal Defense” so if someone is looking for a criminal defense attorney in Galveston this will appeal to them. In addition, we used it again in the description and also included the phone number. While it is true that Google dynamically rewrites a large percentage of these tags you have a far greater chance of the search giant keeping your tags if they are written properly.
This is one of the biggest mistakes we see made by many attorneys that we begin working with. Blog posts not only inform potential clients of your expertise on specific subjects but also alert the search engine spiders that you put out new content. The more frequently you post, the more often the spiders come back, and the more pages they index. For all of our clients that blog at least 2-4 times per month, their blog posts tend to get the most traffic of all of their pages. We utilize this by including internal links to relevant pages we want visitors to go to. For example, if we write a blog post on “How To Know Your Marriage Is Headed For Divorce”, we want to link to the attorney’s practice page on divorce.
Building a website and not adding fresh content regularly is like putting up a billboard in the desert. It is pointless because NO ONE is going to find it.
This is another area that is commonly left undone or at the very least, poorly managed. Many people utilize social media for research and will base some of their decision-making on a company’s social media presence. While it isn’t necessary to participate on all of the social media platforms, it is advisable to engage on Facebook and YouTube at the very least, and if possible Twitter and Instagram. We have attorneys that are doing Facebook Live sessions that are doing very well at increasing exposure and growing their audience. You also want to respond to any questions and comments. I don’t know of any lawyers that have the time to do this, or the inclination!
The number of clients we find that either don’t have analytics set up at all or have analytics set up poorly is astounding. The data received from analytics reporting is what lets us know whether or not our marketing plan is working and how much it cost per acquisition. Here are some of the things you should be tracking at a minimum:
We utilize all of this data to strategize and devise our lawyer marketing plans for law firm clients nationwide. For those unfamiliar with data analytics, some of these terms might be unknown to you. Not to fear, when we work with a law firm, we generate easy-to-read monthly reports that clearly break all of these components down so they can be understood by virtually anyone. By utilizing the data we receive we can determine where to place more emphasis, what is working, what is not working, and make adjustments to maximize return on investment.
Most people today are familiar with pay-per-click advertising, also known as PPC. This online advertising method has been around for over two decades now and was popularized by Google as Google Adwords, now known simply as Google Ads. We generally recommend that all of our clients have at least a modest PPC budget, even if they intend to rely mainly on SEO to drive traffic to their website. The reason for this is that SEO is a long-term play. While results from search engine optimization can be somewhat evergreen, it takes months to see movement in rankings, especially for a new website.
PPC allows a law firm to begin seeing potential client leads come in immediately and when done correctly can be cost-effective. The caveat here is DO NOT attempt to run a PPC campaign if you are inexperienced. Someone that doesn’t understand how it works can burn through their budget for the month in a matter of hours.
At FORWARD Lawyer Marketing, we have an experienced PPC team that is dedicated only to performing PPC for our clients.
Anyone that owns a business should be aware of Google Business Profiles by now. Formally known as Google My Business, this Google product is essential to your lawyer marketing success. Google gives a “higher authority” to its own properties so having a properly optimized Google Business Profile is a must. As with a website, your GBP isn’t something you can just “set and forget.” After optimizing it is also highly recommended that you take advantage of the ability to post content to your Google Business Profile and do so frequently. We have written an extensive post on this that can be found here – Google My Business Optimization And Best Practices Guide
Amazingly, a large percentage of lawyers do not pay sufficient attention to reviews. In addition to asking clients for reviews, one must also respond to them, good or bad. According to Google, responding to reviews is a ranking factor. A local consumer review study from BrightLocal released in December 2020 found that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020. Another local consumer study from BIA/Kelsey and ConStat reveals that 97% of consumers now use online media when researching products or services in their local area.
While this isn’t technically an online marketing component if you have a poor intake process you will either burn quality leads that could be potential clients or you will fail to convert them in the first place. Whoever you have managing incoming leads via contact forms, email, or phone calls must be trained to perform the task optimally. This should not be done by a minimally qualified employee such as a receptionist that is only qualified to answer phone calls. The intake process is where all of the marketing culminates into an actual paying client, or not… Again, we have written an extensive post on this so no need to repeat it here. Read How To Streamline Your Law Firm’s Intake Process To Increase Client Acquisition.
At FORWARD Lawyer Marketing we believe in taking a “leave no stone unturned” approach when it comes to our legal clients. With that in mind, we employ extremely experienced people in the industry. Our SEO Director has been marketing online for well over two decades and oversees all SEO tasks including editing content and performing on-page optimization as well as internal and external linking. Our specialty is lawyer marketing and SEO for lawyers at FORWARD Lawyer Marketing, call us at (888) 590-9687 to discuss how we can increase the revenue of your law firm.