Clients Are the Only Game in Town
Whether you’ve been practicing in your own firm for 2 months or over 20 years, the name of the game is always more clients. Even if you have clients from years ago that still use your firm for their legal needs and you’re getting referrals from them (which is great!) you probably still need additional clients to keep your firm afloat and to achieve your career and life goals.
One thing that many attorneys don’t fully comprehend is that their law firm is really a small business. Why should you think of your law firm as a business? Because it is – it is a fully functional company with its own needs. Its primary need is cash – to pay the rent, your helpers, other expenses, and of course, you! It has cash income and cash expenditures. So if your law firm is a business, you need to treat it that way, right?
Most marketing specialists agree that you, someone in your firm, or an outsource, needs to constantly be marketing your firm to bring in additional clients. Great, you say – “What a wonderful idea! But how do I go about doing that?” That’s a perfect question, and one that we will help to answer in this article.
There are a lot of different ways to advertise a business. Unfortunately being a law firm, you probably have legal restrictions on what you can do to advertise, depending on your bar. Namely, for example, if you’re a criminal attorney you can’t just have someone stand outside the downtown jail and hand out business cards, right? You also can’t actively solicit in a situation where you could immediately benefit.
But you CAN tell people what you do during a regular conversation. Going back to that criminal lawyer scenario, if you’re casually talking to someone you just met and you exchange career info, of course you can tell them what you do. However, if you arrive at an accident scene and you’re talking to someone you don’t know you can’t just bring out your business card and say “Call me.”
Where to Market Your Law Firm
Now that we’ve covered in essence what you can’t do, what CAN you do? To answer that, let’s answer a question first. When someone needs an attorney like you to help them with their needs, where do they go to get help? Years ago that answer was easy – the Yellow Pages. Either that or they asked their friends (if they knew a friend that they know used an attorney that focuses on that niche). Another possibility for some people and in some focuses was billboards or television commercials.
Today, the phone book is almost never used. Most people have a smart phone and they know how to use it for searching to find solutions to their needs. Although you’d think you might know “Where are people looking for an attorney like me,” it really is much more complicated. Just like the number of radio and television choices have multiplied exponentially, the number of choices where people would go searching for you on the Internet is also nearly limitless.
You know that people go online to find solutions to their needs, and you know there are tons of possible ways for them to search for you. The question that begs to be answered now is “Where should I market my firm online?” The answer to that is: everywhere you possibly can, and for the best possible cost. When people are searching for attorneys in your niche in your area, you need to be where they’re searching. The message to them needs to be empathetic and caring so it elicits a response for them to call you. You can’t just say “I’m here, call me.” That may work in person because people can talk to you, become familiar with you, get to like you, get to trust you, and feel like you can help them with their needs.
Why Would PNC’s Contact YOU Versus a Competing Firm?
There are tens (or tons) of other attorneys competing online for any particular lead (which probably has a 1 or 2 in 10 chance of becoming a client anyway, right?). People do business (yes there’s that word again) with people and brands that they know, like, and trust. If the message you are conveying to them does not establish that, they won’t call you. If they don’t feel like they can trust you, they won’t reach out to you.
People also need that compelling reason to call you so then they contact you and become a potential new client. The reason must be clear in your message on your landing pages (any of your web pages that has a link on an outside web page, advertisement, or search engine result). Your message must contain the reason why people LOVE using YOU for their attorney, as well as how you can help them (on an emotional level) plus you need a call to action somewhere on your pages, preferably in more than one place.
Speaking of trust, when people do find a potential solution, what’s the first thing a lot of them do before buying, calling or visiting? They check for reviews! Online reviews are a huge factor in generating online leads. They’re the online version of word of mouth reputation from years ago. Back then if you didn’t have a good reputation in town, your business automatically struggled more than if you did have a good reputation. Today if you don’t have any or enough reviews online, or if your star rating on the popular sites (Google Maps, for example) is not remotely close to your competitors, your chances of getting leads is greatly diminished and your firm will struggle more than if your reputation was greater.
Okay! You know people have to feel like they know you, like you, and trust you, and you know a little about how to help make that happen through your online reputation and messaging. The overall message here to you is this: they need to feel like you can solve their problems. If they don’t feel that way, they won’t contact you. Now the question is – how do you get your message out and get it found by your potential new clients?
Where Should You Market Your Law Firm?
The answer as alluded to above is to be everywhere that you can be on the Internet. You need a website that is fast. It must have clear and concise messaging. Your website needs special coding on it so it’s found by Google and the other search engines. You need to have a Google Business Listing that will put your firm on the Google Maps. You need to be on every single law firm directory and local business directory you can possibly get on. Your listing needs to have the exact same name, address, phone number, and website on each of those listings as is on the Google Business listing, with no variation whatsoever – seriously.
You need to be on social media, even if you don’t like it. Social media can be a real boon to your firm if you use it right, and it can send traffic to your website. Traffic to your website is absolutely necessary because that’s the place that you have full control over and can show your potential clients that they can know you, like you, and trust you.
This next step is not a requirement but it would be extremely helpful – you should write helpful, caring blog articles that are clear and concise on one point (and one point only) and show your expertise in your field. That blog article should be placed on your website, and place that blog article link on other sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media you belong to. Now you can see a little more about why you should be on social media!
Video Blogs (VLogs) For Attorneys
You can also make short 1-2 minute videos (impromptu are fine!) giving an update about a case you just won, or tips to help people avoid pitfalls in the legal process, etc. A lot of legal professionals have had great success coming up with great content and becoming more popular from video – you just make the video on your smartphone and upload it to youtube.
The video should be titled properly so people find it. Your video should also have a really good description of what you’re talking about along with a transcription plus your name, address, phone number and website in the description area of the video. Plus, embed the video on a “Tips and Tricks” or VLog Page (or something to that effect) page on your website!
People Must Find Your Content to Become Potential Clients
Now that you’re considering all of these recommendations, the next question is how do you get people to find all of this great content you’ve put out on the Internet? There several possible answers, some better than others depending on your situation. Pay per click is essentially paying for people to ‘click’ to your website or other content. Pay per click can work out if you have a great campaign manager working for you and a big budget.
Pay per click isn’t something you want to take on yourself unless you have a lot of experience with it. The reason is because the learning curves are so great you could literally lose tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars during the learning process, not to mention that learning PPC is a huge suck out of your extremely valuable time.
If you do decide to run ads you probably want to know where you’d look to do that. Currently, the biggest pay per click platforms are Facebook Ads (coupled with Instagram which they own) and Google AdWords. There are additional up and coming PPC platforms on social media: Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each has their upsides and downsides. Plus there are other text, image, and banner ad platforms online that are less popular. Due to how popular browser ad blockers have become, those ads are no longer seen in many cases. That’s is the reason for their downfall.
SEO for Law Firms
Another way for people to find your content so they can get to know you is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the science and the art of manipulating your content so that Google and the search engines will index it (put it on their directory) AND rank it as high as possible on the search engine results pages (SERPs). The search engines use a combination of content (on the web pages) and authority. Authority is how Google views your web pages based on how important it thinks you are. This is based on links back to your website especially from very highly ranked web pages on other websites.
Now you may have heard this SEO term before, and you may have heard or even experienced that it doesn’t work or it’s too expensive. For more competitive businesses, yes, it is much more difficult, but still works every single time when it’s done right. There are no guarantees as to exactly what terms it will work for. But know this – the best SEO’s (the elite) in the world (an SEO is someone that practices SEO and helps businesses get found on the Internet) will find the best way possible to help your firm get found on the Internet. This is not pie in the sky or based on someone’s opinion. It’s a fact.
SEO? Yes, it IS expensive – very expensive. If someone comes along and says they can do your SEO for cheap, that’s not doing your firm justice. SEO is extremely resource consuming – it takes time – a lot of time. But – done right, it is the BEST way to be found on the Internet. For a legal professional, the payoff can be many multiples of the cost. This makes SEO an extremely effective INVESTMENT in your firm and it’s well-being.
Investing in Your Law Firm
Did you know that investing in your business can be the best investment you’ve ever made? The stock market has returns of what – 20% at best, per year? What do you think investing in your business could yield?
This article talked about a lot of things relating to how you can market your law firm. Marketing is very complicated. Many law firm owners and attorneys spend many hours of their time wasted due to inefficient marketing techniques.
You’re the expert in your law firm’s focus areas. You don’t need to waste time learning how to market your firm more efficiently, unless you really want to and you have the time. But here’s the thing – you really shouldn’t have that time. Your time in your firm should be spent running it, right? That way you can let an outside firm help you market your firm.
Questions About Marketing Your Law Firm?
Are you ready to allow someone else to market your firm? We have a checklist that has the top 11 things you must have to more effectively market your law firm online. Feel free to grab it here.
If you are ready to learn more, or you have questions about any of the topics covered in this article, we are here to help. Call Elite Law Firm SEO today at 602-899-5223 or schedule a free no obligation consultation to get your questions answered.