Business Strategy, Digital Marketing

By Postali

The information technology revolution has made it easier for law firms to promote themselves and to connect with potential clients. But as technology evolves and as more legal practices get into the digital marketing game, the playing field has become more competitive than ever. Strategies that worked just a few years ago may be falling flat today. If this sounds familiar, here are eight proven tactics that you can use to get your legal practice’s marketing strategy back on track:

  1. Design a Modern and Effective Website

Nowadays, your law firm’s website does much more than replace a yellow pages listing—it gives the prospective client an opportunity to vet you and the quality of your services. The most important element of a law firm’s marketing strategy is almost always its website. Keep the following in mind to ensure that your website is working for you:

  • Streamline navigation—The website must be designed so that visitors can easily find relevant information and then contact you if they want to retain your services. The quicker they can find what they want, the more likely they are to remain on the page, read content, and contact the firm. Each page should include calls to action and contact information to drive conversion.
  • Enhance mobile user experience—More and more people access the internet through their smartphones, so you need to ensure that your law firm’s website is optimized for mobile users. Every mobile device will display your website differently, so it’s important that you test your website on multiple mobile platforms.
  • Integrate your website with your larger marketing strategy—Your website should help build your brand by focusing on your primary area of practice and offering compelling reasons that people should hire you. Depending on your goals, you may also want your website to rank highly in search engine results pages for terms likely to be used by potential clients in need.
  1. Boost Your Business Through Search Engine Optimization

When you take action to increase the likelihood that your website will appear near the top of a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search, you are conducting search engine optimization (SEO). Just like the physical world, the Internet is teeming with lawyers. You need to ensure that internet users will find your website before the competition’s by doing the following:

  • Focus on link building—When links to your website feature directory listings, articles in the media, and relevant and respected websites, search engines will rank your website higher in their results.
  • Think locally—Most law firms only want to work with clients within a specific geographic area, which means that their SEO should have a local focus. You can improve your local search rankings by creating consistent NAP (name, address, and phone number) citations and by building links from local directories, chambers of commerce, local media, and community organizations.
  • Display compelling content—SEO depends in part on relevant keywords featuring on your website, but those keywords must be integrated into quality content. Your search rankings may improve if visitors to your website stay to read accurate and accessible legal information or interesting blog posts.
  1. Create Quality Content

Content refers to all of the written content on your website, and its importance cannot be overstated. Good content not only helps your SEO, it also determines whether you effectively engage with visitors to your website. Your content will need to inform website visitors and persuade them to retain your services. Here’s a checklist for successful content:

  • Build an accurate and relevant body of static content—Static content refers to informational pages about the legal topics that are relevant to your practice. For example, if you’re a DUI lawyer, you’ll want static pages about BAC testing, common legal defenses, what to do when pulled over, etc.
  • Blog actively—Your website should feature a blog where you regularly write about current developments and issues in your field of practice. Be aware that you’re not writing a case note or a law review article, but an engaging piece destined for the layperson. These posts are also meant to convert readers into clients, so don’t forgot to connect the blog post to your legal practice.
  • Ensure that your content is unique—You may be tempted to just copy and paste articles and resources that you find interesting, but it’s important for your SEO and your reputation that all of your content be original and unique.
  1. Tell a Compelling Story

Just like persuading a jury at trial, telling a compelling story is one of the most effective ways of attracting people to your law practice. Don’t just tell—show—your potential clients how your services will help them overcome their problems. The following are effective storytelling tools that can breath life into your marketing materials:

  • Take good pictures—Everyone knows the old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words, but many law firm websites and marketing materials display mediocre photography. Hire a professional photographer to capture you, your staff, and your office at their best.
  • Harness the power of video—A short video on your website’s main page will help you connect with potential clients even before you meet them in person. You can explain who you are, why you practice law, and what you do to help your clients overcome their legal issues.
  • Let your clients and case results do the persuading—When potential clients see how satisfied your clients are and hear about the good case outcomes you have obtained, they will be encouraged to retain your services. Client testimonials, case results, and any positive media attention you have received from your work should be featured prominently on your website.
  1. Take Advantage of Social Media

Social media refers to a host of online platforms on which people interact, share information, and create communities. Just like any other business, law firms can attract new clients by actively engaging on relevant social networks. If you’re too busy to post on Facebook or Twitter, you might even consider hiring a social media and online community manager.* Here’s how to boost your legal practice through social media:

  • Cultivate an online community—By tweeting about relevant legal issues or case results, you can show your community that you are an actively engaged legal authority. You can also create a Facebook page where you post links to your blog posts, comment on current affairs, and engage in informal conversations with members of your community.
  • Learn from your online community—Social media isn’t just about broadcasting to your social media followers. You can also learn from the concerns and experiences they express online to create a legal practice that better meets their needs.
  • Get the most of LinkedIn—You can avoid being cast as a generic legal practitioner by optimizing your LinkedIn profile and those of other lawyers in your firm. This means creating a profile with a concise statement of your specific expertise, a great headshot, a list of case results and professional accomplishments, and recommendations from at least 10 clients and fellow practitioners.

*Disclaimer: The value of social media lies in the ‘social’ aspect of these platforms. While outsourcing your social media may give the illusion that you’re well-connected, the true value of these platforms can only be harnessed by genuinely engaging with your audience.

  1. Don’t Overlook Direct Mail

Direct mail is one of the oldest and best known marketing strategies for law firms, yet it’s also one of the hardest to implement. Thanks to new technologies, direct mail campaigns can target potential clients with greater speed and accuracy than ever before. Set your direct mail campaign on the path to success by keeping the following principles in mind:

  • Act quickly—Criminal and traffic cases require the defendant to act quickly, so the sooner your letter is in the mail, the better. Ideally, your letter should be placed in the mail the same day the arrest occurs or the charges are issued.
  • Avoid return mail—Although you can never completely eliminate return mail, you can take steps to minimize it. Your direct mail campaign will be much more efficient if you take the time to confirm every address to which you send a letter.
  • Get the recipient to open the envelope—The targets of your direct mail campaign will be more likely to open your envelopes if you use high quality, custom designed materials. This added investment to each mailing will pay off in the long run.
  1. Increase Your Ability to Follow Up On and Convert Leads

Your digital marketing efforts are designed to get potential clients to contact you. If you’re a solo practitioner or a small firm, you probably don’t have staff dedicated to handling new client intake. However, if you are unable to talk potential clients when they call, it’s likely they’ll just hang up and call another lawyer. You can keep your leads from slipping away by doing the following:

  • Have a 24/7 answering service (or at least make sure someone answers during normal business hours)—Whether you hire a new staff member or outsource your call intake, your firm will benefit from performing call intake at all hours and every day.
  • Follow-Up—Not every potential client will retain your services during your first interaction. Don’t rely on them getting back in touch with you – use a lead management or practice management system to help convert these potential clients.
  • Be ready to work with non-English speakers—In most parts of the country, a significant portion of the population doesn’t speak English as a first language. If you are unable to effectively communicate with leads form these demographics, you will lose potential clients.
  1. Pay for Online Advertising

Pay-per-click advertising, also known as PPC, helps to get your law firm’s name to the top of search engine results pages. When someone enters a query into a search engine that is relevant to your law practice, your advertisement will appear alongside the search results list. PPC can grow your client base while your organic search rankings—generated from your website—are still developing. Here’s how to get the most out of PPC:

  • Develop a PPC strategy before investing—Depending on the structure of your law firm, you may want to invest in multiple ad campaigns for each practice or geographical area.
  • Choose the right audience—Determine which audience you are targeting and how to most effectively reach that audience with your ad copy and keyword choices. It’s usually not the best strategy to simply replicate your competitors and try to outbid them.
  • Manage your PPC campaign—Effectively managing your campaign can be a complex process. You will need to monitor the performance of your different ads and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Online advertising is an ever-evolving field that is not easily mastered by the casual user. If you’re serious about getting the most out of pay-per-click advertising and digital marketing for your legal practice, you should consider hiring a professional. Postali is a full service legal marketing agency with a proven track record of success. To learn more about how to promote your law firm, send a message to hello@postali.com and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @Postali.