How to Generate More Appointments With Lawyer Internet MarketingSherri Bohman
So, you have the best legal services in your city, a range of happy clients and a talented and reliable team. It’s time to grow your firm and generate new clients. The question is, how do you do it?
The answer: lawyer internet marketing.
According to imarc, 70% of law firms generate new cases and clients through their website. Furthermore, they found that 74% of legal clients use a law firm’s website to take action.
There’s a strong case for online marketing for lawyers. So, how do you do it effectively with a positive ROI?
In this guide, you’ll learn how to grow a law firm using six proven strategies. From making the perfect lawyer website to tapping into the power of social media, it’s all here.
1. Transform Your Website Into a High-Performing Salesperson
Too many law firms focus on creating beautiful websites. While design is important, it should be secondary to the main objective: generating new leads.
Your website must be engineered to attract your ideal client. This means that transforming it into an engine for lead generation should be a priority. Here’s how you do it.
Have a Compelling Home Page Headline
Ask yourself: Why should clients do business with you? What makes you different to your competitors? For example, Arnold & Itkin LLP uses their headline to add social proof points, sharing the total amount they’ve recovered for their clients.
To write your own home page headlines, follow one of these three frameworks:
- Say what you do: For example “Family Law Practice.” The brain wants to identify something as quickly as possible. This is one way to do that.
- Show your benefits and why you’re different: Talk about the benefits of doing business with your firm.
- Present an outcome or result: Arnold & Itkin did this in the example above. What is the typical outcome of working with you?
Include Social Proof
People are much more likely to believe their peers about a product or service than the company offering it. Therefore, use this necessity for social proof by including as many testimonials on your website as possible.
YLaw Group has an entire section on their website dedicated to testimonials, including one from a prominent sporting figure:
Start collecting testimonials from happy customers and include them on every page of your website today.
A Single Call-to-Action
In addition to social proof, every page on your website must have a call-to-action (CTA) that compels your prospect to take the next step in establishing a relationship with you. This might be to download a whitepaper or schedule a consultation. The important thing is it must be clear and specific.
Why? Because too many options risks confusing your website visitors. By offering a specific CTA, you’re more likely to get the behavior you want.
Here’s a formula for creating the perfect call-to-action:
- Contrasting colors: If your branding is blue, consider using an orange button. This helps the CTA stand out and draws attention.
- Benefit/Outcome-Driven Copy: Don’t use words like “Submit.” Focus on the outcome of the action e.g. “Download Free Whitepaper” or “Schedule Your Consultation.”
- Prominent position: Don’t bury your CTA and make it hard to find. Keep it “above the fold” in order to bring attention to it as soon as possible.
For example, Taylor Janis uses space above the fold to offer only two actions: browse resources or make a call:
This guides people at all stages of the funnel to take the right action. If you’re in research mode, you can quickly find resources to learn more. But if you’re ready to talk to someone, the phone number is right there too.
The CTAs also stand out from the rest of the page, with eye-catching colours against the black-and-white background. It’s clear that they want you to take one of these two actions.
2. Build a Value-Driven Content Marketing Strategy
As illustrated above, Taylor Janis offer resources to help their audience educate themselves on various elements of employment law.
A content strategy like this is one of the best ways to build trust with your audience. By adding value upfront, you grab the attention of prospects who are still researching the best course of action for their problem. Then, when they’re ready to talk to someone about taking the next steps, they’re most likely to choose you.
How to Create High-Quality Content
Start by getting into the mindset of creating quality content that educates your audience. This means avoiding legalese as much as possible.
Technical language will often alienate your audience. Instead, focus on the problem from their perspective. Put yourself in their shoes and ask: “will my audience understand this and want to keep reading?”
This doesn’t mean diluting the content, but rather using anecdotes and examples that the reader can understand. For example, The Sam Bernstein Law Firm uses content marketing to provide specific how-to information based on common questions from their audience:
As you can see, the content is written in a conversational manner. It paints a picture, tells a story and outlines the steps to overcome this problem.
Proper Content Packaging
How you present your content is just as important as how you write it.
Here are the elements every well-packaged blog post needs:
- Compelling headline: Similar to your website headline, the title of your content must include benefits and outcomes of what the reader will learn. For example, “How To Make An Insurance Claim After A Motorcycle Accident.”
- Great structure: Nobody wants to read a wall of text. Break your content up in paragraphs of no more than three to five sentences and use sub-headers to organize it into different sections.
- Use plenty of imagery: Include graphs, photography and screenshots to illustrate what you’re teaching.
Finally, be sure to include a call-to-action. For example, offer a relevant whitepaper to download. The Sam Bernstein Law Group do this by including a button that leads to a form:
Generating Readers to Your Content
Once you’ve published your content, it’s time to get your audience to read it.
Here are a few ways to distribute your content in both the long- and short-term:
- Social media: Turn quotes from your content into several Tweets and schedule them across a certain period of time. Create a Facebook video that explains the content, what readers will learn and why they should care.
- Communities: Look for Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups and questions on Quora where you can share your content.
- Repurpose: Turn your content into guest posts on relevant publications.
- Email list: Send an email to your clients and subscribers. Let them know about your newly published piece.
- SEO: Make sure your content is optimized for relevant keywords, e.g. “how to make an insurance claim”.
Many marketers focus on publishing a piece and hope readers will come. Don’t make this mistake. Get your content in front of your audience by distributing it to the channels where they’re most active.
3. Invest in SEO For Long-Term Traffic & Attention
According to Nectafy, 88% of local Google searches on a mobile device call or visit a business within 24 hours. This, among many other reasons, is why you should get your SEO strategy locked down. People are searching for your services, period. Here, I’ll share what you need to do to get started.
Choose the Right Keywords
Knowing which keywords to rank for will help you figure out the potential volume of traffic your website can generate. Using the Google Keyword Planner, enter a relevant keyword e.g. “family law chicago.” You’ll be presented with some keyword ideas, as well as the number of average monthly searches for those keywords:
The law space is competitive when it comes to SEO. Therefore, the best strategy is to identify keywords with low competition and a reasonably high volume.
You can also use a tool like Ubersuggest to identify these keywords:
Optimize Your Website for On-Page SEO
With your target keywords chosen, it’s time to optimize your website to rank for them.
Here’s a brief checklist of things to optimize your website for:
- Ensure your target keyword is in your headline (using the “h1” tag)
- Include your target keyword within the copy of your website
- Include your target keyword in your meta title and description
- Have your target keyword appear in the first 100 words of your website copy
- Make sure your website is mobile friendly with responsive design
- Include internal links to other pages on your website
- Include external links to other relevant pages
- Boost site speed (it should take less than 4 seconds to load)
- Optimize images for load speed and include target keyword in filenames (e.g. family_law.jpg)
Optimize for Local SEO
We say this a lot but if you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing yet, now is the time. By doing this, you’re more likely to appear in rich snippets on the SERPs, as well as the Google Map listing:
When entering your business details into Google My Business, ensure you include the following:
- An in-depth, properly formatted description (including links)
- Select the right categoryInclude your local phone number and addressAdd several photos of your business, clients etc.
- Include a high resolution profile picture
Once you have your listing, it’s time to generate reviews. According to Search Engine Land, Google Reviews have a direct impact on search rankings. So it’s well worth spending time to generate them.
The best way to generate reviews? Ask for them! Similar to how you generate testimonials, reach out to happy clients and ask them to add a review. Include instructions on how to do this in an email or on your website to make it super easy for your clients.
Law Firm Link Building
Backlinks are considered one of the top ranking factors by Google. Therefore, you want to work to generate as many (relevant) links as possible in order to rank for your target keyword(s).
For local businesses, it’s all about getting links from relevant websites over high authority domains. Therefore, local directories are one of the best methods of generating these sorts of backlinks.
First of all, make sure that the business name, phone number and address are consistent everywhere you publish it. This includes your website, Google My Business and these local directories.
4. Experiment With Google Ads & Facebook Ads
Once you have a high-converting website, you can justify spending on paid media. Two of the most effective include Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Here, I’ll run through the benefits of both, as well as best practices on what your targeting and ad creative should include.
How to Run Profitable Google Ads for Law Firms
Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns allow you to take control of your positioning on the SERPs while maintaining a positive ROI.
Simply enter your target keywords, create relevant ad copy and you’re ready to drive traffic.
While PPC campaigns can be insanely profitable, they're also highly competitive. With a high average cost-per-click (CPC) it’s important to get it right.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when executing and improving upon your existing Google Ads efforts:
- Research The Competition: Look at what your competitors are doing. Search for your target keyword and see what copy they’re using. Then find a way to differentiate yourself.
- Include Ad Extensions: Take as much space on the SERPs as possible by including ad extensions. These include sitelinks, call extensions and review extensions.
Target the right geos: Make sure you serve ads within a radius that you serve. You can do this by heading to Locations > Targeted > Edit Locations:
- Match ad copy to search intent: Not all keywords are made equal. Some may indicate a searcher looking for information vs. ready to talk to someone. Offer information for keywords that match the intent of the searcher.
- Focus on generating calls: With the majority of searches now being made on a mobile device, it’s wise to make it easy to call you. Use call extensions to make this easy and prioritize calls-to-action that drive phone calls.
How to Target The Ideal Client with Facebook Ads
If you think your law firm brand is too “serious” to be on Facebook, think again. With 2.23 billion monthly active users, your ideal clients are there to be found.
The sheer number of targeting options available is what makes Facebook Ads so appealing. Not only can you target by geographical location, but psychographic (such as interests and political leaning) and behavioral traits, too.
The best way to get your targeting right? Talk to your clients. Find out where they go for relevant information, which brands they follow and publications they read.
You can also use lookalike audiences. Simply upload a database of client email addresses, and Facebook will provide insights on common traits shared by those users. You can then run ads to a similar group of people as your current clients.
So, what should your overall objective be when running Facebook Ads? Futeral & Nelson uses Facebook advertising for brand building purposes. In the example below, they use a short videos to build a personal connection with their audience:
Or, you could use it to distribute your how-to content -- something that The Watson Firm has done to drive more readers to their blog:
Finally, of course, you can use it to directly drive leads. In this final example below, Ramos & Del Cueto simply outline their offer with a simple, relevant photograph:
When creating Facebook ads, use imagery that pops-out and grabs attention. You only have a few seconds to stop your audience from scrolling, and your chosen image is the best way to do this.
5. Use The Right Social Media Platforms
Not every social media platform is made equal. You’ll find some work extremely well, while others provide no tangible results. Here, I’ll share five law firm social media marketing tips to follow when executing your own strategy.
Law Firm Social Tip #1: Use Social Listening
Want to find where your customers are? Simply search for your brand name, services and relevant topics and see where they’re already talking:
You can also use social listening tools such as Mention to execute this process at scale:
Law Firm Social Tip #2: Plan Your Approach
Once you’ve found where your audience is, it’s time to make a plan. The best social media strategy for law firms include these elements:
- Goals: What are you hoping to achieve? What are the core metrics you’ll use to measure success (e.g. followers, engagement, traffic or leads)?
- Platforms: Which platforms are you going to invest in? Don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus on one or two platforms to begin with.
- Competitors: Which of your competitors are on your chosen social network? Analyze their content and make a note of the format and topics they focus on.
- Influencers: Who are the movers and shakers in your industry? Make a note of their follower-size and where they create content. This will help when engaging with them.
- Schedule: How often will you create content? Having a cadence will set expectations on when your followers can hear from you.
Law Firm Social Tip #3: Involve Your Employees
The more people from your law firm you can get involved, the further your reach can extend. Scaling your social activities can be a challenge. Which is why getting your employees involved can help take away some of the burden. Educate your employees on how they can help. Some ideas include:
- Connect and engage with prospects and existing clients
- Share the content your law firm creates (including content on your website or blog)
- Encourage them to create their own (relevant) content
Law Firm Social Tip #4: Create Your Content
Now you have a strategy, it’s time to create the content itself. Depending on your chosen platform, your content will take various shapes and sizes. For example, on Instagram, well-produced photography and illustrations resonates best. This can include motivational words of wisdom and photos from events you’ve hosted or attended:
On Twitter, both imagery and text-based content works well. This provides a great opportunity to repurpose your blog content into quotes and Twitter threads to add value directly on to the platform itself:
Not sure what to create? Follow this simple rule: work within the context of the platform you’re engaging on. This means creating content that people respond to best.
Look at other industries and see what works for them. Emulate their approach to fit your content and brand.
Law Firm Social Tip #5: Build Relationships & Generate Leads
Social media can be a terrific platform to engage with new leads and nurture existing ones.
You or your sales reps can quickly stay in touch with prospects and clients alike. For example, on Twitter, you can search for people talking about your brand name or other relevant keywords and engage with them there:
The same goes for platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Follow these social selling practices for maximum success:
- Focus on adding value. Don’t always go in for the hard sell.
- Position you and your sales reps as experts by sharing relevant content.
- Gently progress prospects to the next step of the relationship.
- Organize your efforts with Twitter Lists and LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Follow these approaches and you’ll see great results from your law firm’s social media efforts.
6. Manage & Maintain Your Online Reputation
“Reputation is hard to gain and easy to lose.”
It’s an old cliche, but a cliche for a reason.
Everything we’ve talked about so far will, over time, contribute to the reputation of your law firm. Now it’s time to make sure you maintain it.
Reputation Tip #1: Ask For Reviews
We’ve covered this already, but if you skipped ahead it’s well worth mentioning again. Ask for reviews as often as possible. Ask past clients via email as well as in-person.
Google reviews will not only help build your credibility, but boost your search rankings. Take these reviews and apply them to your website as testimonials to build trust and generate more leads from your landing pages.
Reputation Tip #2: Respond to All Reviews
Many lawyers treat reviews as static, one-way transactions. In reality, it’s the perfect place to build upon the conversation and show potential clients that you care.
It’s important to respond to all reviews - even the negative ones. If you ignore negative reviews, you put out the impression that you simply don’t care.
By responding to negative reviews, you have the ability to make things right and turn that negative experience into a positive one. Oftentimes, negative reviews stem from a misunderstanding on the clients’ part.
But you’ll never know unless you ask!
Make sure you respond quickly. If you find a negative review a month or two down the line, you’re too late.
Reputation Tip #3: Monitor Reviews & Conversations
So, you understand how important it is to get involved with the conversation via reviews. The question is, how do you do it? Free tools such as Google Alerts will allow you to keep on top of mentions of your brand around the web:
Alternatively, if you’re after something more sophisticated, use a paid solution like Mention (which we covered earlier). You can then get a daily digest of online mentions, or have them emailed to you as they happen.
Feature Image: Unsplash/rawpixel
All screenshots by author. Taken October 2018.
Image 1: via Arnold & Itkin
Image 2: via YLaw Group
Image 3-4: via Taylor Janice
Image 5-6: via Sam Bernstein
Image 7, 10-13, 15: via Google
Image 8: via Google Keyword Planner
Image 9: via Neil Patel
Image 14, 16: via Google Ads
Image 17: via Acquisio
Image 18: via Just Legal Marketing
Image 19: via Disruptive Advertising
Image 20: via Facebook
Image 21, 25: via Instagram
Image 22: via Mention
Image 23: via Law Firm Ambition
Image 24: via Wise Stamp
Image 25: via The Next Web
Sherri has over 7 years of business development and marketing experience in industries ranging from financial services and healthcare to her current focus in martech. She has her MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Texas and is the Product Marketing lead for advertising solutions at Web.com.