The Case for Online Marketing for Law Firms
The Case for Online Marketing for Law Firms
You know what they say about good lawyer jokes? There are actually only three; the rest are all true stories. The legal profession in general often suffers from a bad reputation, which can have a harmful effect on online marketing for law firms. Much of that comes from misinformation that people get from media portrayals and news soundbites. When it comes to law firm content marketing, a better understanding of consumer trends and digital strategy can increase your influence in the marketing world.
Unfortunately, the task of reeling in and retaining those consumers is becoming more difficult. Whether you work for a law firm or as a content agency, careful online strategy tips the scale. Updating content marketing strategies and optimizing online channels should be your top priority. Here’s a convincing case for online marketing that is sure to persuade anyone.
Study the Legal Facts
Recent years have seen an over-saturation of the legal market. Study results shared by EconomicModeling.com shows that this trend was first noticed in 2009, when 53,508 law students passed the bar exam, only to find that there were less than half that number (26,754, to be exact) of available jobs. This led to many states having disparaging ratios of law school graduates to available job openings.
What does this mean for law firms and their online marketing strategies? They have to compete even harder to secure new business (and retain their already established clientele). It’s getting harder to be both the salesman and the attorney. However, with quality content marketing for law firms, you can reduce risks and improve your online reach.
Streamline Online Marketing Strategies for Your Law Firm
You know full well that lawyers have no issue fighting back when elements of a case or individual testimony aren’t going their way. The last thing you want is for your law firm content marketing efforts to be met with a resounding objection by potential clients.
How, then, are you to streamline your strategies to best meet their needs? The answers are optimization and connection, and we can help you accomplish both.
Work To Improve Website Functionality
You can start by recognizing the need to have a well-built website. The time has long passed when having a site was just an added benefit of online marketing for law firms, which rarely could offer potential clients. Today, those firms that do not have an online presence are struggling to stay afloat. Word of mouth is no longer the primary driving force of business. Indeed, according to Blue Corona, Inc., 97% of today’s consumers research businesses online.
Yet law firm websites must be more than simply an overview of their legal specialties and an online contact form; they’ve got to engage potential clients by offering a good user experience. That begins from the moment they click in. Blue Corona shares two important arguments to support this notion: First, website abandonment rates increase with every extra second that it takes a site to load.
Think about it. How often do you wait for a page to load? Tools such as PageSpeed Insights by Google track page load times to help you know when website frameworks need to be tweaked to run more efficiently.
Decluttering website pages does a lot to improve speed, which ultimately helps online marketing for law firms. Reduce the sizes of images, update old plugins or even delete them to speed up the website you are optimizing for. Don’t forget to develop websites to become mobile-friendly for users who access through their phones. Websites that look funny on smaller screens are a big put off.
Augment Law Firm Aesthetics
The second point is that most users form an opinion of a site (and, by extension, the company it promotes) within .05 seconds. What can one do in .05 seconds? Basically take in the colors, images and theme of a site. It certainly doesn’t allow enough time to read all of the wonderful law firm content you helped create. Thus, a site has to be appealing enough to make users want to stay the moment they enter.
One easy and effective way to improve online marketing for law firms is to incorporate a video into the home page. This serves as your law firm’s virtual “door greeter,” welcoming visitors and directing them where to go. Again, Blue Corona points out that companies that utilize video marketing on their sites enjoy 27% higher click-through rates.
Focus on the Format
Along with videos, the format of your text has a big effect on first-time viewers. A visual hierarchy of online law firm content helps readers understand what is most important. Headers, bullet points and titles create a sense of cleanliness and organization to the website. Try a simple, modern design that looks professional. It’s amazing what first impressions can do to improve bounce rates.
Never Settle for Standard Legal Content
The aesthetics of a site don’t necessarily overrule its content, however. If a site’s visual design is likened to a lead attorney, then its content optimization is its team of paralegals working behind the scenes to ensure that said attorney has everything needed to present a winning case. The success of online marketing for law firms isn’t measured in acquittals or settlements; rather, it’s in seeing your website pages earn high rankings in organic searches.
Argue for SEO Content Marketing for Law Firms
Just how important is search engine optimization for legal sites? Consider the following individual case study conducted by Blue Corona. Optimizing legal content writing for a law firm yielded the following results:
Imagine being able to generate an increase of over 860% in web traffic in less than two years. This kind of online marketing for law firms can happen simply by focusing on SEO.
What is SEO Content?
Search engine optimization is the way your law firm gets recognized online. Based on the content you have, Google will rank your website according to relevance, quality and other factors that users care about. If you want people to find your website when searching for legal information, you have to put in some work. Marketing for attorneys and law firms has a lot to do with creating great content that Google can analyze.
Content is a vital part of online marketing for law firms. Start by understanding what makes content rank. As you add useful information and gain exposure, you begin to establish your law firm as an expert in the legal industry, which helps you gain the trust of readers. Content like this improves your brand image and can help you find potential leads. Over time, like the picture above, you can see incredible results.
Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Organic results are not the only type of online marketing for attorneys. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a fast way to get on the front page of Google.
PPC advertising places your advertisement in hot spots where users can easily click on your website. You pay for each click, thus explaining the name. If you want fast results, take a little out of your marketing budget to advertise your services. Although users can tell you’re advertising, it’s a fast way to get clients who are looking for a law firm just like yours. With a combination of organic results and PPC advertising, online marketing for law firms can reach even further.
Leverage Local Associations With Content Marketing
What other types of content marketing optimization yield the best results for legal firms? Most people seeking your services are searching locally. Therefore, an emphasis should be placed on ranking high in local user searches. The best way to do this is by finding out how to land in Google’s Local Pack.
“Association” can be a buzzword in the legal community. A good online marketing company will tell you the same is true in content creation, yet in a good way. Say that a user is conducting a Google search for “divorce attorney in Detroit.” Notice what’s included in the results:
Google offers local listings to users who search for specific-location queries. A map is included, along with a link to both the companies’ websites and locations. If your law firm can land in the Pack, users see both your location and link to your websites before even getting to the top-ranked organic search result.
Optimize for Local Searches
How do you land a site in the Pack and further expand online marketing for law firms? One way is to structure keywords and phrases similar to the way the one used in the example search was presented. Insert these into your content as naturally as you can. By appending a geographic location to the keyword, the targeted audience becomes even more well-defined.
Another is to simply check that your Google Account information form is completely filled out. This ensures its placement in the right local service directory. Don’t forget to update your address and phone number on your website and social media accounts.
Promote Law Firm Practice Areas
Equally as important as linking searches with local users is lining up potential clients with the right legal specialties. People looking for specialized legal services are typically going to find them on their own. Individuals needing more general assistance are likely to cast a wider net.
Attorney at Work lists the following practice areas as being included in the most commonly searched online queries:
- Family law
- Personal injury
- Criminal defense
- Estate planning
Within each of these general practices areas are unique specialties (e.g., child custody, DUI, probate). Keep these thoughts at the forefront of your mind when developing keywords and phrases in your online marketing strategy.
Utilize Online Marketing Channels for Law Firms
Once visitors arrive at your law firm website, how comfortable are they going to feel that you will be able to help them? Attorneys call on expert witnesses to sway juries, and expert opinion has the same effect on prospective clients. You can answer website visitors’ concerns by positioning your law firm as a leader within a particular field. One surefire way to create such an impression is through blogging.
The Benefits of Legal Blogging
In its 2017 Legal Technology Survey Report, the American Bar Association reported that firms and individual attorneys who maintained blogs reported that as much as 80% of their client conversion was due to blogging, while blogging also yielded a greater than 50% success rate at retaining clients.
Why is blogging so effective for law firm content marketing? Consider that most potential clients come to a firm’s website with a very specific legal question. If that firm is able to offer a blog post that addresses that question, the reader instantly assigns an expert-level understanding to its attorneys. Plus, including a call to action in the blog post prompting the reader to explore other pages on the site leads to a greater chance of conversion.
Push past the stereotypes of online marketing for law firms by creating engaging content. No matter the topic, you can find unique ways to hook your readers. If users like what they see, they will share it with friends and family, thus expanding your exposure.
However, facing a blank legal blog post can intimidate even the bravest lawyers. Here are a few out-of-the-box methods of attorney content writing:
- Legal FAQs: What questions are your clients asking? Compile a few, or do an extensive post on a specific topic.
- Recent News: Whether it’s nation-wide or local legal news, take advantage of hot topics.
- Introduce the Team: Add some personality to your law firm by highlighting coworkers. Help readers see the unique talents and attributes of your team members, giving clients another reason to trust your services.
As you blog, don’t forget to use SEO practices that only enhance online marketing strategy for law firms. Legal blogs bring a lot of traffic and potential leads.
Don’t Overlook Social Media for Law Firms
Social media is another aspect of online marketing for law firms that most legal professionals are underutilizing. In its 2017 Report, the American Bar Association reported the following social media usage rates amongst its membership:
- LinkedIn: 53%
- Facebook: 40%
- Twitter: 19%
This relatively low leveraging of social media as a marketing tool by attorneys underscores a more serious point: Many people simply are not sold on social media’s effectiveness. Indeed, Attorney at Work’s research returned results revealing that only 7% of respondents believed that their increased workflow was due to social media.
However, attitudes in this area seem to be changing slowly, as the same study showed that 42% claimed that their social media marketing was “somewhat” responsible for bringing in new clients. Interestingly, Facebook was reported as yielding better client conversion results (31%) than LinkedIn (27%), despite LinkedIn being more widely utilized by attorneys.
Your job is to hasten your firm’s collective awakening to the benefits of social media in your attorney content marketing plan. Consider the extensive reach that social media offers (as shared by the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association):
Your law firm simply can’t afford to ignore that online marketing for law firms feeds from social media. Creating a strong social presence develops brand awareness, and encourages a wider social circle. What you share and who you associate with goes a long way on social media.
As you begin to develop that awareness, you can effortlessly engage target audiences by providing relevant content and interacting with them on your social media accounts. Additionally, another benefit of connecting with clients through social media is the access to their own individual social networks. Such a presence essentially serves as digital word-of-mouth marketing.
Now you have an online marketing strategy for your law firm, but where do you begin? Here are four steps to get you started:
- Choose a Platform: Does your law firm specialty target a specific audience? Consider how you can best reach potential clients.
- Define Your Strategy: Make a few goals before starting. How will you connect and engage users and enforce your law firm content marketing plan?
- Include Visuals and Engaging Content: Find media that will catch the eye of your followers. Every social media post can promote your services and content.
With consistent posts and a solid online marketing plan for your law firm, you can see an impressive increase in interaction with users. Every connection you have online can be another point in your marketing case.
Case Closed for Online Marketing For Law Firms
While the legal world is viewed by many as being cutthroat, the online marketing industry can be even more so. Just as clients need their attorneys to be bulldogs in the courtroom, you need to be just as aggressive in developing and optimizing law firm content marketing strategies.
Online marketing for law firms is necessary but remember that you’re not alone in this endeavor. At BKA Content, we offer services to help boost your online presence. This concludes our closing argument in the case for optimizing online legal marketing. What’s your verdict?