Are you looking to grow your law firm using online marketing, just not sure where to start or overwhelmed with everything to do?
If you said yes, then read on…
At Enlightened Marketing, LLC one of our areas of mastery is assisting attorneys and lawyers with building their brand, growing their business and profits, and leveraging their time. We do this by getting their phone to ring with high quality, qualified leads, and getting them more cases and billable hours. In the remainder of this article we are going to show you how we have done this and how you can do it too.
Because online marketing can be so complicated, about a year and a half ago we came up with what we call the 5 Pillars of Effective Online Marketing. This has helped countless business owners and attorneys across the nation simplify their marketing and make it more effective. In many cases this highly effective marketing method has produced life changing results.
Just like law, marketing is not a one-step-to-success process. It the proper combination of doing the right things consistently over time.
We know and understand that you and most attorneys have probably been bombarded by people and companies who ‘claim’ to know marketing and SEO. They make promises and talk big, but lack results, and unfortunately give the industry a bad name. It is our intention in this post to make things right by providing you immense value and information you can apply to get real results now.
Below we will break down the 5 Pillars of Effective Online Marketing as it specifically relates to law firms, attorneys, and lawyers.
Pillar 1 – Keyword Research/Website/SEO
All marketing should begin with detailed keyword research. If you are not doing keyword research or not doing it properly, you almost certainly throwing away advertising dollars, and are most likely not getting results online. A keyword is simply a term your potential client is typing into Google to find a practice like yours. For example, if you practice tax law in San Diego, your potential clients are typing in things like “San Diego Personal Injury Attorney” or “San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer”. Google sees these as two different keywords, as it does plurals as you can see in (figure 1) below.
SIDE NOTE: The reason we speak of Google when we mention search engines is that because over 70% of all searches online happen on Google. The second biggest search engine, YouTube, is owned by Google, so this is where you want to focus.
You can use Google’s Free Keyword Planner Here.
Also part of our first Pillar is your actual website. Your website should be mobile optimized as more and more your potential clients will be finding you using their mobile phone or device. You should have a clickable link to your phone number, meaning all someone has to do is touch or click on your contact number and it will automatically dial you. The best converting websites have a picture of you, your family, your team, or other pictures of real people doing real things. Even in a profession such as law…raw, real photos always out-convert professional photos. Make sure to utilize client testimonials on your website, as social proof is one of the most important factors in marketing and buying decisions that exist.
The last part of Pillar 1 is SEO, which is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. This simply means how well your website, video, blog post, or other piece of content is optimized to rank in Google and the other search engines (notice we listed Google first). SEO is a topic of it’s own, so if you want to learn more on that you can check out our post on Lawyer SEO Here. We will tell you this brings in more clients, cases, and profits for our law firm client partners than all other marketing combined.
Pillar 2 – Local Search Marketing
Most attorney’s do business locally or regionally only. It makes logical sense that if someone is charged with a DUI in Denver, they will be looking for a “Denver DUI Attorney”, not one in Seattle.
The first thing you will want to do is make sure your Google Maps listing is properly set up and optimized. This is done through your Google+ Local page and is all encompassed in what is now called, Google My Business. You can even have a Google approved local photographer come out and take pictures for Google Business View, which uses the Google Street view technology. This will give your potential clients a virtual tour of your offices and also keep Google happy using their services.
The second thing you will want to do in Pillar 2 is claim, set up, and optimize your Local Search Directories. Examples of these directories are Yelp, Manta, Foursquare, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo Local, CitySearch, Yellowpages, Superpages, and Insiderpages. There are also attorney specific directories you have probably heard of such as Avvo.com and Martindale.com, which are a must in the lawyer marketing niche. One great thing about these specific directories is that users can leave anonymous reviews, because in matters of tax law, drug and DUI law, bankruptcy, divorce/family law, and others, most people don’t want their name on a review. There are literally over 250 local search directories and we usually set up and optimize at least 50 for our clients and client partners. Start with the ones listed above and you will be ahead of a good portion of your competition.
Local directories are the new yellow pages and have been around since the beginning of the internet in the early/mid 80’s. The best thing about these directories is that they can get you and your business on the first page of Google before your website. You can even rank on the first page of Google with a local directory (aka a Citation) without a website. This is because sites like Yelp or Avvo have a high Page Rank, which is a level of trust Google assigns a domain. Another SEO benefit of these directories is that they link back to your website. You may have heard the term backlinks before, and you want a lot of good, quality, relevant, authority backlinks. A local listing on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) directory is an excellent backlink.
Pillar 3 – Social Media Sites
Social Media is one of the most overlooked parts of attorney marketing, but it is an integral part to an effective online marketing strategy.
For one, social media promotes brand awareness. Do you have a lot of competitors in your niche, with more coming every year? Exactly, which is why brand awareness is overlooked. There is a reason companies like Coca Cola and other giants spend billions of dollars on making sure their brand is recognized. In a similar way, when someone thinks about hiring or referring an attorney in your niche in your area, you want them to think of you. This is done by constantly having your logo, pictures, name, and brand being seen all over social media sites. The days of billboard and print advertising are quickly fading and being replaced by social media marketing. It is more effective and less expensive.
There are many social media sites, but below we will cover the 3 we have seen to be most relevant to and effective for lawyers and law firm marketing:
Facebook – With over 1.2 billion monthly users, that alone let’s you know you should be there. You can reach anyone with your message, almost anywhere. People are on Facebook in their vehicle, their home, their office, the park, and even in their bed. Facebook has been very effective for our top attorney client partners and will continue to be. We could write 5 or more articles of this length on Facebook alone, but for more free information on Facebook Marketing you can go here. We will leave you with the fact that Facebook owns over 1500 data points on each of us including where we live, what books we like, what pages we like, where we shop, what cars we drive, our interest, our fears, and even what posts we like. Do you think any of this would be useful targeting information for you?
Google+ – Google, being the 200 billion dollar giant it is, is not very happy they have not been able to take a bigger slice of the social media pie from Facebook, yet. But with the information and search data they posses, they will find a way over time to take as big or bigger portion. As you already have read, Google+ is not just a social media site, but also a part of Google Maps, and it is also part of YouTube, our next Pillar. We have even seen Google+ posts ranking in the organic search results. Very few attorneys post regularly, or at all on Google+…learn and understand it now, and blow away your competitors when it gets bigger.
LinkedIn – If your law firm works with people who are likely to be professionals, then you better be on LinkedIn. In fact, it is the largest professional social media site in the world and is growing rapidly. It is not only a great place to find clients and cases, but a great place to recruit your attorneys and network with other law firms and businesses. A quick tip, make sure you get to the 500+ Connections designation (figure 2), if not for the network, but for the social proof alone. Just like Facebook, you can have a personal profile and a business page. Make sure all your employees, paralegals, attorneys, and partners all link back to this business page.
Pillar 4 – Video Marketing
If you take one thing away from this entire article, it should be the prediction that by the end of 2016 over 60% of internet traffic will be video traffic. And if there is one area of marketing to focus on it should be video marketing.
As mentioned earlier, YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet, next to Google. In fact, it is larger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and all the others combined.
There are many reasons to use YouTube Video Marketing. For one it is a great way to utilize Attraction Marketing. Not familiar with that term Attraction Marketing simply defined is providing value to your prospects and potential clients by answering their questions on the front end, and selling your services and consulting on the back end. When faced with legal action, DUI, tax collections, bankruptcy, divorce, injury, or other unpleasant situations, people have questions and want answers. Be the one who gives them these answers instead of being like your competitors telling them how awesome their firm is. We all buy from those we know, like, and trust, so be that person to them and they will almost always hire you.
Of course you will want your video on the 1st page of Google for your keywords, so you will have to know something about SEO. The great news is that videos are up to 52x easier to rank on the 1st page of Google than websites, blog posts, or other pieces of content.
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If you’re not already convinced, prospects are up to 6x more likely to buy or make a purchasing decision coming from a video than other media. When someone can hear your voice, see your face, and feel like they are talking about you, they feel like they already know you when you get them on the phone or sit with them in your office. You have broken the ‘cold barrier’ between them and you, and you have done so in a leveraged manner. The bonus is your prospects will also be educated prospects after watching your educational videos, which will also leverage your time and boost your conversions.
Do not fear the camera or think you have to be perfect to do videos. Again, people want to know you are a real person, and this includes not being perfect. A video shot with a camera phone can bring in real leads and clients. Don’t know what to shoot videos on? How about 3 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), 3 SAQs (Should Asked Questions), and 1 video with you talking about your firm, interviews with your employees, or a tour of your offices. Videos are also the best way to get testimonials and edifications across to your target market.
Pillar 5 – Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is one of the quickest and most effective ways to secure leads and clients in attorney marketing or in almost any business model. This Pillar is often ignored or overlooked, because it is not understood, or because it costs money. As you well know where there are costs, there is value.
One of the best things about paid advertising is that on most platforms you can retarget your potential clients. This means once they visit your website or capture page you can follow them around the internet with your ads wherever they go. To them, they think, “Wow, this attorney is all over the place, they must be good…” Retargeting brings the highest conversions you will get with any form of paid advertising.
Paid advertising should be split tested properly and when done so is scalable and trackable.
The following are our three favorite and most effective methods of paid advertising for attorneys:
- Facebook PPC (Pay Per Click) – If you weren’t convinced above, Facebook Marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing that exists today. Say you are a criminal defense attorney in New York. Do you think it would help you to place an ad in the newsfeed of people likely to participate in criminal activities? Remember you can very narrowly target people based on age, gender, zip code, activities, history, interests, music, and many other factors. Put your information, videos, website, and ads where only your target market will see it and your CTRs (Click Through Rates) and conversions will go up while your CPC (Cost Per Click) will go down.
- YouTube PPV (Pay Per View) – This is quickly approaching our number one form of paid advertising. You know from Pillar 4 above that it is an extremely effective and important form of marketing. The great bonus is that YouTube PPV is where Google PPC was 10 years ago. We are getting .02 – .18 cent views on our attorneys videos and in one case produced 5 figures in profit for $3.82 ad spend. How’s that for a ROI?
- Google PPC – If you have done any paid advertising, it is probably top placement ads, or Google Pay Per Click Advertising. Although many people don’t use the paid ads when they land on the Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), some people do. In fact, in the attorney niche around 15 – 20% of potential clients searching for your keywords will click on a Google ad versus the organic results. The good thing is you can get to the top of the first page very quickly, as opposed to organic SEO. The not so good thing is it will cost you a sizable investment per click. Personal Injury attorneys can pay up to $150.00 per click, but in this and other niche attorney spaces, the lifetime value of a client far exceeds this cost.
Law Firm Marketing and Beyond the 5 Pillars…
Online Marketing is a constantly evolving and requires flexibility and adaptability. The algorithms that control where you rank on Google, YouTube, and which fans see your posts on Facebook (called Edgerank) now change on a daily basis. It is crucial you keep your fingers on the pulse of online marketing, especially in a niche as competitive as attorney marketing.
In most businesses and industries, if you use 3 or 4 of the Pillars properly you will completely blow away the competition. In the attorney space you will have to do 4 or probably 5 of the Pillars very well to dominate your competition.
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