In the 1980s and 90s, you could find all the clients you needed by simply advertising your law firm in the Yellow Pages. Then the internet age arrived, and all of a sudden you needed a website. Today, potential clients spend countless hours scrolling their social media feeds “liking” and “sharing” everything that catches their eye. Given the constant changes, you may feel lost and have no idea how to answer the question, “How should I be marketing my firm?”
The reality is that legal marketing today looks nothing like it did 20 or even 10 years ago. And with every passing year, what works changes just a little bit — and sometimes a lot. If you hope to stand out from the competition, you need to constantly modify your law firm marketing strategy.
Regardless of how much things change in the world of legal marketing, you will be well on your way to attracting the clients your firm needs to be successful if you adhere to the following three tips.
1. Be visible — clients need to be able to find you in order to hire you
Being “visible” to clients today is a lot different than it used to be. As mentioned above, decades ago you could just put an ad in the phone book or even the newspaper and expect to get clients in the door. Now, you need an online presence to attract clients. But how do you create that online presence? This is how:
- Build a website: First and foremost, you need a website — but not just any website. Sure, you could hire your nephew to build a website that has your firm name and contact information, but that probably isn’t going to cut it. You need to create a website that is properly optimized with current Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques so clients can find it when searching on Google, Bing, or any other online search engine.
- Set up a “Google My Business” account: You may know that Google is a search engine, but did you know that it’s also a business directory? If you’ve ever run a search in Google for a particular service, then you’ve likely noticed the businesses listed right next to a map showing their location. This list is compiled through a tool known as Google My Business, which is free for businesses to use to manage their online presence across Google. But if you don’t set up your firm account in Google My Business, potential clients may never see your firm in these listings.
- Legal directories: Speaking of directories, another way to get in front of potential clients is to set up profiles for your firm on legal directories like FindLaw.com and Abogado.com. Many people who use these directories are in urgent need of legal help, making it more likely that they will immediately contact an attorney.
- Social media: Regardless of whether you are a fan of social media or not, there is no denying its marketing potential — even for law firms. In fact, social media law firm marketing is quite effective, with some polls showing that almost half of people today use social media to evaluate professional services, including attorneys. What does that mean for your firm? Simply put, if you want to stand out, you need a social media presence.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: If you’ve ever run a search in a search engine, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen PPC ads as they appear at the top of your results. In terms of visibility, being at the top of a search engine results page is invaluable.
But, getting clients to find you is merely the first step. Once they find you, you need to convince them to hire you. You do that by building credibility — which brings us to tip #2.
2. Be trustworthy and credible — give clients a reason to contact you and not your competitors
Don’t think credibility is important? Consider this scenario: Suppose you need a plumber, and you look online and find two in your area — one with a five-star rating and another with only one star. Ask yourself, who are you going to contact?
Legal consumers are the same — they are going to reach out to the attorney they think is the most trustworthy and qualified to handle their case. So how can you build credibility online? Well, there are several options:
- Law firm ratings and reviews: This one is a no-brainer. As a consumer yourself, you know that people rely on online ratings, so ask past clients for reviews. Any time you can get a good rating or review — whether on Google, social media, or your own website — it can translate to another client contacting your firm for help. This is one of the most effective ways to build online credibility.
- Useful, well-written content: If you think having a one-page website that simply lists your practice areas and where you went to school is enough, you couldn’t be more wrong. Sure, clients will eventually want to know your qualifications — including your education and where you are licensed to practice — but you also need to tell clients how you can help them. And to do that, you need unique, well-written content that speaks directly to potential clients and provides the information they need to make an informed decision. Use your website’s content to convince them that your firm is the most qualified to meet their needs and handle their case.
- Attractive, well-designed website: Think of your website as your firm’s virtual office space. In fact, for many clients, your website will be the first interaction with your firm. And it won’t make a good first impression if your website looks like someone put it together haphazardly. When it comes to building credibility, never underestimate the power of a professional-looking website.
3. Be flexible — when necessary, embrace change
Every law firm needs to continually monitor and update their marketing strategy — from a website to social media accounts, and everything in between. Just because a particular marketing tactic worked in the past, doesn’t mean it’s going to work today or six months from now. You need to be willing to change your legal marketing strategy.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the tactics mentioned throughout this blog post are merely a few of the many that may work for you. In fact, there are a lot of factors that go into developing an effective law firm marketing strategy, including your location and practice area. And depending on your specific situation, you may need to leverage only some — or conversely, all — of the tactics discussed here.
Sound complicated? Well, it certainly can be. But don’t be afraid to ask for help from legal marketing experts if you need it. After all, you went to law school to be a lawyer, not a marketer.
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