Marketing your law firm these days is hard work. There are more attorneys then ever before, over 1.3 million in the U.S. according to the American Bar Association. So how can you stand out? What can you do to generate more business for your law firm? Here are 12 ideas that may help you start generating more leads for your practice in 2017.
For those law firms who need to generate business right away, there is probably no better solution than marketing your law firm through a smart and efficient Google Adwords campaign. More people than ever before are clicking on paid search ads, especially since Google removed the right side ads and added another ad up top. The first 4 results on a page are now Google ads!
If you are asking yourself, “Do people click on paid ads?”, yes they do. In a click test we ran recently, more of the test participants clicked on the first 3 paid ads than the first 3 organic search results.
So what is the key to making paid search work? Choosing the right company to run manage your Adwords campaign. Choose the wrong company to manage your PPC and you might as well light a match and burn your money. It’s especially important to keep that in mind if you have tried Google Adwords in the past and it didn’t work. It absolutely does work but the vast majority of law firm Adwords campaigns are run improperly and inefficiently. If you have a company managing your Adwords campaign that knows what they are doing, it can be incredibly profitable and you can start generating leads in as little as 24 hours!
Instead of sending visitors to a your site, consider having a custom landing page created to help increase the conversion rate. A custom landing page can make you look like an attorney who specializes in the types of cases you want to generate. Additionally, it often provides less options for where a visitor can click, meaning their focus will be on whatever you put on that page. An intelligently designed landing page can lead to more calls or case evaluation requests being generated.
One of the biggest problems with failed paid search campaigns is the landing pages used together with the ads. Whether it’s a page on your site or a custom made landing page made specifically for your ads, you never want to send traffic to a page that gives off a poor reflection of your law firm, provides a bad user experience for site visitors, or both. If you don’t think that users care about the design of your site, think again. Sending visitors to a page that doesn’t convert well is a big waste of money.
When you have a successful search engine optimization campaign, there aren’t many types of marketing campaigns that will result in a lower cost per conversion.
Of course, this takes time so if you need cases right away and don’t have the patience or the budget than SEO may not be for you. Depending on what types of cases you want and where geographically you want to get them from, it’s important to understand that this can take a year or longer to start seeing results. In less competitive markets or campaigns, it could be as short as a few months to get ranking and start generating leads. If you want to generate personal injury cases in Manhattan or compete with the firms going after mass torts on a national scale, this will take longer due to the level of competition on Google’s 1st page. Choosing the right company isn’t easy. If you are wondering how to choose the right law firm SEO company, read about how to choose the right one here. There are a small percentage of good law firm marketing companies out there, so choose wisely. Not only will hiring the wrong company be a waste of time and money but it can also lead to your website getting penalized in Google search, making SEO even harder and more expensive for future campaigns. Just remember, if it sounds to good to be true is most likely is so never fall for guarantees or low cost services. There’s a reason why good SEO is not cheap.
Law firm websites have a reputation for having incredibly boring content. Be different and create valuable content that is “share worthy” and it can help link building campaigns (important for SEO), as well as potentially provide you with some PR (more on that below). For example, we recently helped one of our clients to conduct a study that analyzed over 2 million accident records in the state of Texas. We identified the most dangerous intersections in the state based on the data and shared that information with local media outlets. This led to a giant spike in traffic to his website after he was featured on multiple media outlets and websites. Many of those outlets linked back to his website to share his study which is good for SEO as well.
While this type of content is not practical for all firms to create, valuable content can also come in the form of simply answering questions that many people have about the type of law you practice. Creating answers to who, what, when, where, why questions is valuable content that may lead to more traffic and more leads. How would you like your website to the the “answer” given by a voice search on Google Home or the Amazon Echo? Voice search is growing at a rapid pace and by 2020, experts predict that 50% or more of all search will be mobile search.
When I say PR, don’t get this confused with a press release. Journalists stopped caring about the typical boring page long press release a long time ago. I’m talking Public Relations. Do something that the press cares about and it may help to bring awareness for your law firm if the media covers you. The example above about the dangerous intersections? That led to him being featured on multiple television news reports and interviewed on camera by multiple stations. Notice the screenshot from NBC news below.
Having multiple press mentions is great for your brand when the messaging tied to it is a positive one, as was the case here.
You know those ads that follow you around after you’ve visited a site? Those are retargeting ads (also called remarketing ads). Most people who search for a lawyer online take multiple days to select the law firm they hire. Most will visit your site and compare you to multiple other law firms they find online. Often this selection process takes multiple days so reminding them of your law firm as they browse the web can help keep you top of mind. If you are spending money on paid search or organic SEO, then using retargeting ads is a must.
Are you losing potential clients because of a poor intake process? Even after 10 years in law firm marketing it still surprises me how bad some law firm’s intake process is. Whether it’s an unfriendly sounding receptionist answering calls, calls that go to voicemail or simply not responding to leads in a timely manner, you should be analyzing your process and working to make it better. Law firms with a really strong intake process in place are the ones that are able to convert more leads into actual clients. Keep in mind, the average person looking for a lawyer online is comparing you to multiple other firms. Law firms that have a streamlined intake process in place and return calls or online case evaluation requests quickly are the ones that do best.
A Princeton University study in 2014 polled adults on how they viewed certain professions, including lawyers, chief executive officers, engineers, accountants, scientists, and researchers. Any guess which profession rated lowest on warmth and trust? You guessed it. Lawyers.
So how do you combat that perception? One great way is through video. Video can be a powerful way to gain the trust you need from your website visitors and help to improve conversion rates. Below is a video we created for a Panish, Shea & Boyle in Los Angeles that aimed to increase the level of trust and approachability of the firm (as well as to improve) website conversion rates.
Just keep in mind, not all video is good and in many cases it can hurt conversions. Low quality videos with poor lighting, bad sound or weak messaging are just going to give visitors a very poor perception of your law firm. Hire a professional to handle this for you or you will end up negatively impacting your conversion rates.
Reviews are incredibly important to your business, maybe more than you know. In a study we conducted on “How Consumers Choose Attorneys” (we will be sharing our data soon), the majority of participants said they would not hire a lawyer without first checking their reviews online. So, no matter how great your website is, people will still go to Yelp, Google, Facebook, Avvo, etc. to see what kind of reviews you have online before they hire you. Make it a practice to ask clients to review your law firm, although keep in mind Yelp does not approve of asking for reviews. If you do want to encourage more Yelp reviews without actually asking, consider adding a Yelp badge on your website, add a link to your Yelp account in your email signature, add a “People love us on Yelp” sign/sticker in your office.
Additionally, Google local maps listings rely heavily on reviews. Note the review stars below?
It’s not just a matter of the number of reviews you get either, credibility also matters to Google. Notice the #1 position here has 35 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars and the #2 position has 73 reviews with a 5 star average. If it was simply about review totals then we would see the 2nd listing placed in the first position. There are many other factors at play when it comes to Google maps rankings. While we are on the subject, it’s important that you do not try to game Google reviews. There are companies out there offering to get reviews for your firm but they are often fake. Aside from being unethical, this has the potential to cause you to be penalized and would prevent you from ranking at all. I’ve already seen multiple law firms fall out of the rankings in Google maps as a result of fake reviews.
What if you get (or have) negative reviews about your law firm online? That’s ok, no business is perfect so the odds are that you will get negative reviews at some point in time. It’s important that you respond to them online so consumers hear your side of the story as well.
Which pages in your site are the most highly trafficked? If you don’t know, you should. By looking at Google Analytics, you can find out which pages are visited most often.
What is the messaging like on these pages? Are they built with conversion in mind? Are there selling points that give a visitor a reason to call you instead of your competitors? Is there a call to action? Make sure that these pages are set up to help increase your conversions. Focus on what your visitors really care about. They don’t care about where you went to school. What consumers care about most is what kind of experience you have handling cases similar to their situation and what your past results are like.
Email marketing can be a great way to grow any business, that includes law firms. In order for email marketing to work, you need to be sending out some phenomenal content. Of course this starts with building an email list so you have people you can send out emails to. How do you do this? For starters, you need an email sign up list on your site to start collecting emails. In order to get visitors to sign up, you should be offering something of value to your visitors. That could be a free consultation, a free downloadable ebook, sign up for a contest, giveaways, host a webinar, etc. Together with an email marketing service like MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, Infusion Soft, etc. you can get the process rolling.
Most law firms have a tough time trying to figure out what different types of marketing is working or not working for them. A simple solution for many instances is using call tracking phone numbers. Call tracking numbers can be used for organic search traffic, paid search, directory listings like Findlaw or Yelp, TV ads, radio ads, etc. This way if you are paying for SEO, you can see how many phone calls were generated from organic search traffic. If you were running SEO together with PPC, tracking numbers would allow you to see how many calls were generated from SEO vs how many were generated from PPC. If you are a firm that pays for Findlaw directory ads, you should have a tracking number tied to your ad so that you can see how many calls your ad is responsible for. Have multiple websites? Use call tracking numbers on each one to see which ones are producing leads. By using call tracking, you should be able to “trim the fat” and cut the types of advertising campaigns that are not working and put more budget into what actually is producing more leads for you!