Just 10 years ago, internet marketing was simple–create a basic website and get found by potential clients online. Web marketing today is extremely complex and specialized. In many ways, it’s a lot like the stock market where experienced traders consistently profit, while the unsophisticated investor is usually a day late and a dollar short. The same is true for web marketing. It is now a multi-billion dollar industry, which always leads to experts who crunch data, stay abreast of the ever-changing rules of the game, and who master the rules and strategies that mean the difference between incredible success and abject failure.
One of the main features of the evolution of web marketing is that potential clients absolutely expect successful law firms to maintain a powerful online presence. A great website is no longer an option, it’s a necessity, for the law firm that expects to attract clients from the internet.
You, undoubtedly, already understand that fact, and that’s why you’re reading this book. Maybe you have not yet invested in a professional website; or maybe you have a website that is just not producing results. The good news, this is a great time to get started because we are in a transition period due to the ever-increasing popularity of social media, drastic changes to the Google algorithm, and the phenomenal growth in the use of smartphones for web browsing.
On second thought: This may be the best time ever to jump into web marketing your law practice.
More than 65% of all legal services consumers consult the internet before hiring a lawyer⏤and that number will certainly increase each year.
1. Define Your Target Audience to Maximize Results
Before undertaking any marketing endeavor, the first step must be to define precisely who is the intended target of your marketing efforts. If you don’t have a clearly defined target audience, you cannot possibly craft an effective marketing message. Lawyers often resist the directive to define their target audience out of fear they will exclude valuable prospective clients. That, however, is a major mistake.
Defining the audience does not mean you are excluding anyone in particular. It simply means that your marketing message will more strongly resonate with the target audience. Otherwise, your marketing will be so general as to appeal strongly to no one.
Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, it costs a lot more money to market to a large general audience. Narrowing the audience of prospective clients is much more cost-effective.
Define Your Avatar
What is an “avatar”? Your avatar is a detailed description of a single representative member of your target audience. It is a very specific description, including age, sex, occupation, marital status, interests, education, etc. We recommend that you even give your avatar an actual name.
What is Your Avatar's Urgent Legal Need?
What is it that made your avatar decide to start looking for a lawyer now (instead of 3 months ago)? It might be an illness that makes estate planning a major consideration, a pending criminal charge, or an abusive spouse.
What are Your Avatar's Secondary Motivators?
Describe your avatar’s concerns or motivations for hiring a lawyer. For example, “wants to avoid probate of residence and vacation home,” “needs to avoid felony conviction or she will lose her job,”” wants to file divorce but afraid his spouse will be awarded custody of children.” etc.
2. Use Landing Pages to Convert Prospects Into Clients
NEWS FLASH! The Home Page of your law firm’s website is not the most important page on your website. All of your marketing should be directed to unique optimized landing pages. Your website should have an optimized landing page for each marketing message.
What is a Landing Page?
Basically, a landing page is any page that an internet user will be directed to when he clicks on a link in your ad or blog post. The most effective landing pages are optimized to be hyper-relevant to the hyper link the user “clicked.”
Why Use Optimized Landing Pages?
An optimized landing page ensures that when a web user clicks on a link, he will land on a website page that is specifically optimized to provide more specific information that the user has already shown he is looking for (by clicking on the link).
Think about it. If the link simply directs the web user to your website’s Home Page, he will then have to click through your website to find the information he is seeking. Even if the web user is directed to a practice area page, it will not be as specific as an optimized landing page.
Landing Pages Make It Easy!
A fundamental goal of your marketing is to help the web user by directing him to the information he wants with as little effort on his part as possible
3. Create Unique, Compelling Content to Attract Prospects
There is no question. Content is king. The quality of your website content is more important that SEO! The more recent changes to the Google algorithm rewards unique, relevant content on websites.
The mission of each of the search engines is to provide the best, most relevant content to web users. Google spiders crawl the website constantly, madly searching for the best content to return on the Search Engine Results Page (“SERP”) for the web user. Its smart technology recognizes sentence structure, antonyms, synonyms grammar and other elements of writing.
When high-quality, unique content is located, Google rewards the web page containing that desired content. Additionally, web users essentially “vote” on the quality of a web page’s content by spending more time reading it. Google also tracks that data as well!
High-quality, unique content also attracts the attention of other website owners and bloggers who may reference your excellent content with a link to a page on your website.
PRO TIP: “Inbound links” to your website also help your ranking on Google. Essentially, Google views inbound links as evidence of the authority of the website. It should be noted, however, not all inbound links are created equal. A link from a governmental (i.e. .gov) and educational websites (i.e. .edu) websites are generally more valuable than others. However, links from other law-related websites are also valuable.
4. Help Google Find You With Expert SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the art and science of making a website as attractive and irresistible as possible to the search engines, like Yahoo! and Google. There are many facets to SEO, and an in-depth discussion of the topic is beyond the scope of this article.
SEO consists of 2 parts: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is done on the website. at its most basic level, it involves making sure that search engines are able to detect and understand written content and images on the website.
On-page SEO also involves making the website faster, adding metadata to images and videos (search engines cannot see what’s in a photo or video), reducing the file size of graphics, utilizing proper site structure, and many other tasks.
Off-page SEO, as you might expect, involves processes outside the boundaries of your website. Primarily, those processes include acquiring links from other websites and directories, utilizing social media and establishing social bookmarks.
Both on-page and off-page SEO are important for purposes of improving a websites position on Google SERPs. However, SEO is never actually completed. It is a necessary and on-going aspect of properly managing a website.
Due to the highly specialized knowledge required to develop and maintain SEO, it is exceedingly rare and unlikely that a novice would be able to master the processes. Virtually all top ranked websites are managed by SEO professionals, such as Zen Rocket Web Marketing.
5. Start Getting New Clients Today With PPC Marketing
The benefits of PPC advertising cannot be overstated. It provides a reliable way to reach a large audience of your prospective clients each and every day. Google Adsense is a very powerful PPC platform. Google ads are limited to text-only, and law-related keywords. Although it lacks in-depth demographic targeting options, it allows you to target a user’s specific, highly-relevant search query.
Pay-per-click marketing, or “PPC.” is the “expressway” to web marketing results. Whereas, SEO is a steady process of continually improving a website’s ranking, PPC allows you to get on page 1 of Google almost immediately
PPC is available on many platforms. The most commonly used for law practices are Google Adwords, Facebook and LinkedIn. The process generally creating an ad and then setting a daily budget for your ad. Each platform allows some level of targeting to try to get your ad in front of your target market.
To some extent, PPC advertising requires “trial and error.” You start with an ad, measure the results, and then test other versions of the ad to attempt to constantly improve its performance and profitability. Of course, experience is an important aspect of PPC advertising–from creating ads, properly setting audience targeting, split-testing ads, crunching the data, and accurately measuring ROI.
Law firms that attempt to “save a buck” by managing their own PPC frequently wind up breaking even, at best, or losing money. The price if an experienced PPC professional is well-worth the cost.
BONUS: Social Media, Powerful But Misunderstood
This is amazing! Most law firms have absolutely no idea how to use social media to grow their practice. The fact is, most people have no interest whatsoever in seeing a law firm’s links to law-related articles or blog posts about law firm news. Nevertheless, social media is an incredibly powerful tool for growing a law practice.
How can that be? If people don’t want to see typical law firm posts about law articles, cases and law firm news, then how is social media helpful to a law firm? The key is not to post the stuff that no one wants to see!
Make your Facebook and Twitter posts about things that people do care about. For example, post about a cause that you support, people in the community, or maybe even current events in your city. People will share those types of posts because they are helpful and interesting. Your posting strategy should involve writing blog articles on your website, and then posting links to those articles on social media. This strategy will drive traffic to your website and increase awareness of your law practice, which raises your credibility (especially when prospective clients find you from a selfless blog post rather than from a marketing ad).
Trying to keep up a steady stream of relevant blog posts is not easy. Trying to do it manually is even more difficult. A professional social media manager, like Zen Rocket Web Marketing, will utilize software to actively manage all of your social media accounts and to collect and analyze the data to measure your success.