THE KEY TO ONLINE SUCCESS FOR LAW FIRMS
By now most law firms have accomplished the basics when it comes to online digital marketing. They have a well designed and user friendly web site. It includes the obligatory list of firm partners, areas of practice covered, case histories, and a free consultation offer. Some also have vanity 800 numbers, like 1-800-FREE-LAW, to call and immediately engage a potential client.
What is missing from most current law firm online efforts is a real attempt to reach out and effectively communicate and influence these potential clients where they live, work and play, i.e., on the local level.
Here are 10 ways that law firms can do just that:
- Develop locally targeted keyword content. Utilizing keyword rich content and metadata via geographically target pages will enable a law firm to obtain a much better local search ranking from search engines like Google. And getting seen early on is a great first step toward gaining that new prospect.
- Get listed on top business directories and local listings. A Google Places listing, for example, is a great way to position your firm as the legal industry leader in a particular location. Other top local positioning sites provided at little or no cost include Yahoo Local, Bing and Yelp.
- Optimize your Google Map listing. By optimizing your local map listing, you will come up in the free search results at the top of the page. When people find your lap listing they can scroll around and look for familiar roads, or they can look at the street view and really get a feel for where your offices are located. You are providing the prospect or client with convenience, which is always helpful and appreciated.
- Capitalize on Facebook’s Audience Insights to target local prospects. This tool allows a Law Firm to advertise to a custom audience. One example could be the firm’s own email list of people living in a certain locale who have visited their site looking for a particular type of attorney. A great way to hone in on new business.
- Develop local press releases and submit to wire services. Law firms who involve themselves in the community by helping local charities, sponsoring sports teams, etc. should spread the word about these good deeds by writing press releases for distribution in local newspapers, sending them to wire services and posting on the firm’s web site. These actions not only generate goodwill in the community but are looked on quite favorably by search engines looking for local content.
- Utilize a live chat feature. Many prospects when looking for a local Law Firm have immediate needs for information about their situation. Offering a live chat feature gives a law firm the opportunity to answer these questions while establishing rapport with the potential client-a win win for both sides.
- Create a UVP (Unique Value Proposition) with local emphasis. A UVP is an opportunity to give users who have interacted with your site a free, useful piece of content in exchange for their personal information (email, address, etc.).This could take the form of a newsletter which combines current news about your law firm’s practice along with local news about upcoming community events.
- Request backlinks from prominent lawyer referral sites. The number of backlinks pointed to your law firm’s website is an important indicator to search engines of the importance or popularity of your website. Lawyer referral sites like avvo.com and lawyer.com direct traffic from their site to yours at the critical time when prospects are seeking legal representation.
- Have a mobile responsive website. Latest research indicates that mobile digital media time (51%) is now significantly higher than desktop (42%). It is very important for a law firm to utilize a mobile responsive website, one that both creates a dynamic image on the smaller mobile phone screen and offers the same download speed and responsiveness of its larger desktop counterpart.
- Make social platforms a key component of your local marketing efforts. Let’s face it. Social Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube are here to stay, with new ones being developed every day. Many offer the opportunity for Law Firms to make contact with their constituents on a local basis. All of them are important to search engines and thus are valuable to have on a firm’s website. As the old saying goes: “If you can’t beat ’em, then join em.”
A law firm that incorporates these 10 components into its local digital marketing is well on its way to achieving online success. This will be accomplished by communicating and influencing potential clients where they live, work and play, i.e. on the local level.