It’s becoming increasingly difficult to market a small law firm using the same methods as in the recent past. TV, radio, billboard, magazine and print advertising is expensive, and the audience for any particular outlet is always too fragmented to see a hefty return on your investment. Nearly all marketing for every kind of business has moved online, and that includes the legal profession. If you’re still handing out pens with your name on them instead of sending people to a website, you’re bound to be left in the dust by your competitors with a robust online presence. It’s never too late to start, so here’s a handy list of the 5 top online marketing strategies for lawyers:
Find Your Unique Selling Proposition
Online marketers use a term called a unique selling proposition to define a business. Other people call this kind of thumbnail picture of a business an elevator pitch, but you can just think of it as a definable brand. You need to be able to tell a stranger exactly what it is you do, and you may only have a few words to accomplish this. If you attempt to market on the Internet in a vague way, you’ll never get any traction. You need to decide what slice of the public you wish to serve, and then aggressively market to catch their eye online.
A brand is a way to promise a potential customer value. At first, it’s simply an offer of value for the time they’ll spend getting to know about you with your online marketing materials. Later, it’s a promise of value for the money they’ll spend to engage your legal services. Tell potential customers what you do, and how you’ll do it better than others.
Make Your Website Into Your Brand Ambassador
Would you hire a circus clown as your receptionist? That’s what a poorly thought out website looks like to a visitor. Your website exists to support your brand. No matter what legal specialty you’re in, everything on your website, from its theme to its About Page, should stay on message.
Marketing for lawyers online requires brevity. The average website visitor forms an impression of your website in less than a second, and unless you get straight to the point and tell them exactly what your brand can do for them, they’ll click away. Everything on your website should lead a visitor to a call to action, and that means staying on message and keeping that message short and to the point.
Understand Search Engines
Search engines have no idea if you’re a good lawyer. They might not even know you’re any kind of lawyer unless you know how to tell them. The Internet is now the primary source of referrals for legal services, and the most lucrative clients use search engines to look for lawyers almost 80 percent of the time. That means you need a website that makes people who look at it want to contact you, and you have to make sure they arrive at your website in the first place, too. Only Search Engine Optimization can do that. You need to optimize your website for important keywords. Keywords are words and short phrases that people will type into search engines when they’re looking for something. You need to support your brand strategy by stressing the right keywords and concepts in your online materials. Search engines like Google change the methods they use to rank websites by keyword, and the methods needed to climb their rankings are no longer achievable without professional help. Hire an SEO consultant to make your webpages more attractive to search engine algorithms, and then try marketing campaigns designed to attract natural traffic, also known as organic search traffic.
It takes time to establish a web presence that catches Google’s eye, so you can speed the process of attracting potential customers by purchasing Google Adwords. Web ads that involve only text are inexpensive, and you can bid on relevant keywords on Google’s service to come out on top of rankings immediately. It’s important to use highly differentiated keywords for your particular service, or you’ll attract the wrong people, and spend a lot of money on fruitless searches.
Integrate Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can seem frivolous, but they’re a very important part of search rankings. They’re how today’s generation discovers many of the goods and services they purchase online. It’s wise to have a presence on at least one social media platform, and more if you’re able. Not only will a social media presence boost your search engine rankings, it serves to humanize you for potential customers. People use social media as a crude form of background check, and they find out if you’re a real person they want to meet using social media.
Combine Online and Offline Marketing
Offline marketing with a call to action once revolved around the telephone. That’s not going to work in the Internet world. People expect to be able to find out everything about a business by going online, day or night, 365 days a year. All your offline marketing materials should drive traffic to your website, in order to get a true chance to convert visitors into customers for your legal services. Make sure all your offline events and materials find there way onto your social media sites as well.