Having a website is vital these days if your law firm is to attract new clients in what has become a highly competitive profession. But having that online presence is no longer enough – your potential clients are increasingly use search engines and social media for answers to their pressing legal questions.
It would be unusual indeed that your potential clients already know that your business exists. And unless they have been referred by others, it is unlikely that they will be entering your business name into a Google search box in order to find you.
Instead they will be entering terms like “Boston law firm”, “Sydney family lawyer” or “Georgia defense attorney”, and if your firm is not being delivered as one of the results in the first 3 pages, then you need to include content marketing and social media marketing as part of your overall law firm marketing plan.
Get The Basics Right
Analyse your practice
Identify your legal specialty. Is it family law, criminal law or intellectual property practice? Small law firms and solo practitioners often specialize in one field while medium to large law offices may have separate departments handling litigation, intellectual property and corporate practice. Determine your target clients: their location, ages, gender, etc; research and list their most common legal issues – drill down to very specific issues, e.g. DUI for commercial drivers. Try to identify what motivates them to engage one law firm over another.
Then research the online space they inhabit – individuals may be on Facebook and Twitter, businesses and business people may add or substitute LinkedIn to these. And stalk your competitors’ websites to help uncover the Internet marketing strategies, including the keywords and semantics they use that are working for them, and include these in your written content.
Domain names and website development
Buy a domain name containing relevant practice terms and the specific geographical location that you operate in such as “estateplanningsydney.com.au” or use your law firm name or initials such as “KPGLaw.com”.
SEO tip: Having a keyword in your domain (e.g. “estate planning”) will often improve your search engines results for that term.
With so many people now accessing the internet via mobile devices (some don’t even have computers!), it has become imperative that your website be mobile-friendly. If you are constructing your site in WordPress, be sure to choose a ‘responsive’ theme. These will automatically reconfigure to suit the device upon which they are being viewed. To see what I mean, look at this site KerryFinchWriting.com on a computer monitor, and then on a mobile phone. You will see that the elements are the same but are rearranged to be easily read by phone. It does not need to be ‘stretched’ to be readable.
Tip: Your website’s theme, logo, and overall presentation must be consistent with the law firm’s image.
Law firm websites must be written for their ‘ideal’ clients; thus, articles must focus on legal solutions written in a language that non-lawyers can easily understand. Avoid legalese in headers and page titles. Use legal terms sparingly and only when necessary, taking care to provide a simple explanation and relevant examples of such terms.
Always include a blog section in your site. It may be labeled ‘News’or ‘Articles’, but having it will allow you the superb flexibility to a regular supply of written content (along with videos and images) to your site. The search engines, and your clients, look for new information on websites, and if they don’t find it, they stop visiting. Simple as that. If neither you nor a member of your team has the time or skill to write ongoing unique and relevant content for your site, seek out the services of a content writer who can provide this to you on an agreed regular basis.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As mentioned earlier, ranking well in search results is vital for law marketing success. Make no mistake, your potential clients are using search engines such as Google and Yahoo! to find solutions to their problems and, ultimately, the right lawyer for their needs.
By employing ethical and transparent SEO practices, including content marketing strategies, the search engines will be able to find your website and all of its pages, and index and rank each one of them.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow you to interact with existing and potential clients, building trust and relationships that motivate them to engage your law firm’s services. Be sure to synchronise your website, blog and social media profiles so that site visitors can follow and share your content readily and obtain regular updates of your website content.
Google Places and paid advertising
When searching for your business niche on Google you have probably seen your competitors businesses come up in a special section at the top of the results, with their location identified on a map. Is your practice there? If not then you should set up a Google account in your business name, and apply for a Business Listing in Google Places. Note, only 10 places are available for each niche in geographical area.
Paid advertising is a next-level online marketing strategy, and this needs to be managed by experts if you want to ensure you are not throwing your money to the wind. It can be in the form of Google Advertising (those results at the top of and to the side of search results), Facebook Ads or LinkedIn ads. You may choose to focus on one, or invest in all – drop me an email if you’d like me to refer you to my colleagues who have the expertise and accreditation to provide these services.
Finally, if you are concerned that your online presence is not delivering you the clients you want, I’d be happy to review the content on your website. A top-line review is complimentary (enter your details on the box to the right), or learn more about having me prepare a complete Website Content Survey.
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