Did you know? Ninety-six percent of people turn to Google or another search engine when they are in need of legal advice. Almost two-thirds of prospects look for and contact a lawyer they found online. There are plenty of other stats where these came from, but they all point in the same direction: lawyers need to have a strong online marketing strategy. But, many lawyers have spent their careers solely focused on law, so they’re not sure where to begin when it comes to marketing their firm. Here’s what you need to know to get started:
PPC vs. SEO
PPC and SEO are two acronyms that you will hear a lot of once you begin marketing your business online. Some people confuse the two, or even use them interchangeably, but they are two separate marketing concepts.
PPC refers to pay-per-click ads that show up in search engine results. Law firms can choose keywords that are relevant to their business, for example “Chicago personal injury attorney,” and then create an ad to show to people who search for this term. If the prospect decides to click on the ad, he or she will be directed back to your website or a custom landing page that you have created specifically for this campaign. These are very effective in driving traffic to your website, however they will cost you. The exact amount will vary depending on how competitive the keywords are that you want to target. A lot of attorneys are probably targeting “Chicago personal injury attorney,” so this will be more expensive than “auto accident attorney Chicago,” which is more specific and therefore probably less competitive.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is an unpaid marketing strategy that aims to bring leads to your website by making you more visible in search results. There are many different tactics that can be used to improve a law firm’s page ranking, but one of the prominent ones is creating content around specific keywords. Law firms who target keywords with PPC ads will show up in the “sponsored ads” part of the search results, but if you implement an effective SEO strategy, your ranking with the organic search results will improve instead.
Talk to a legal marketing expert to determine how you should use these two strategies. In general, PPC ads are used to generate leads and see immediate results, while SEO is used on a long-term basis to slowly improve the organic ranking and attract new clients.
Quality vs. Quantity of Leads
Marketers used to focus on collecting as many leads as possible because they believed that the more leads you had, the better the chance that some would convert. But, this traditional way of thinking has now been replaced as marketers have started to prioritize the quality of a lead over the quantity.
For example, a law firm does not necessarily want to talk to someone who is searching for legal advice online to write a paper for school. But, lawyers would be interested in someone who was specifically searching for a local law firm to represent him or her in a personal injury case. This lead is more qualified because he or she has a clear intent to hire a lawyer. These are the leads that your law firm should be looking for instead of casting a wide net over anyone who is searching for something related to the legal field.
Once you grab leads and direct them to your website, they will either convert or leave the website. To convert means to turn into a customer, which for law firms could mean a prospect filling out a free consultation request, making a phone call, or emailing you directly. Conversion optimization is the process of increasing the number of people who land on your website and turn into customers instead of leaving before taking any action.
An online marketing firm can analyze your existing website to see if there is anything that could be causing prospects to leave. Is it easy to navigate through your site? Can you find the information you’re looking for? Is it clear where visitors should go if they want to convert? Are you asking prospects to provide too much information in order to submit a form? Prospects have a rather short attention span, so everything has to be simplified to ensure they don’t lose interest and leave the page.
Lawyers can also increase conversions by establishing themselves as the expert in their field. This is done by creating valuable and relevant content on a regular basis. Prospects who visit your website will see that you are knowledgeable in the field, and will feel more comfortable reaching out to you about your services.
Who to Hire
The legal field is unique, so you shouldn’t work with a marketing company that does not have experience in legal marketing. What’s so different about legal marketing? First, clients expect lawyers to be well versed in law, so every marketing message must be crafted in a way that reflects the law firm’s expertise. E-commerce businesses may be able to market to anyone around the world, but lawyers have to stick to a local market, which makes their SEO strategy that much more complicated. Speaking of that local market—lawyers are facing more competition now than ever before. They need aggressive marketing that will help them reach prospective clients before the dozens of other lawyers in their area. To achieve all of these goals, you will need someone who knows legal marketing inside and out.
This may seem like a lot of information, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about online marketing for law firms. If you’re interested in learning how we can help you create and implement an online marketing strategy for your law firm, contact us to schedule a free consultation today. We have worked with three of the largest law firms in the country and have the experience and expertise to help with campaigns large and small in the legal space.