Legal marketing is one of the most competitive and potentially profitable niches online. In addition to the highly competitive nature of the Law Marking niche, law related websites fall under what Google considers a “Your Money or Your Life” type site. Legal, Financial and Medical websites are subject to additional scrutiny and higher standards by Google. Obvious reason is that “Your Money or Your Life” type websites and businesses have the capacity to do great good, but also great harm to prospects.
The three important type of promoting an Attorney website are:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Google Ads (Adwords) Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Chances are that you have tried each type of marketing listed above, with varying degrees of success or frustration. After frustration with one of these marketing areas, it is natural to think that it “just does not work”. In order to know of one of these marketing types “works”, It is vital to understand it’s function, limits, challenges and reasonable expectations. We will summarize the benefits and challenges of each.
Attorney Site Search Engine Optimization
Goal of SEO is to improve ranking in search results for relevant keyword phrases. The first step in SEO is often overlooked- Keyword Research. While you may believe you know what phrases prospects are using to find your law firm website, the only way to know what phrases have the best search volume is with research and analysis. Once lists of appropriate keyword phrases is developed (for each page of website), then optimization can begin. Factors that may affect a website’s ranking in search that are not directly on the website itself are called “off-site SEO” factors. Off-site SEO factors include links to site from other websites, reviews, Google my Business listings, social media, professional associations, BBB Online rating and many others.
Benefits of Attorney Website SEO
High rankings for relevant search phrases in Google search results can produce quality phone calls and website visits that convert to new law firm clients. While good rankings are challenging to achieve, there is no cost to being listed in Google’s organic search and business can flow from search positions for many years.
Challenges of Attorney Website SEO
Many local law firms that specialize in the same practice areas as your firm will be active competitors in search results with varying degrees of success. Due to the complex nature of search results rankings, it may not be possible to simply “throw money” at the situation and expect to rank #1 for your most important search phrases. If your law firm is actually “the best” in your local market in a particular practice area, that stature most now be expressed in a manner that search engines can index.
Reasonable Expectation for Attorney Website SEO
Attorney website optimization takes a significant amount of time and expertise. It is not realistic to expect to start seeing positive results in less than two months of intensive work on your website. We mentioned that “throwing money” at the situation was not sufficient. In addition to help from a qualified and experienced SEO, the firm should expect to assist with elements that the outside marketing professional can suggest, but not handle themselves. These elements may include things such as maintaining an A+ rating with BBB, professional associations, encouraging law firm clients to leave positive reviews and providing actual photo images of firm office, personnel, company functions, etc. to use on law firm website and off-site marketing.
Attorney Site Google Ads Pay-Per-Click
Pay-Per-Click search marketing is vital for law firm marketing efforts. Reasons why PPC is important is because it provides diversification from organic search results and it offers the chance to obtain addition “real estate” on Google’s search pages.
Unlike Google’s organic search results, Google Ads should be considered more like a P & L statement- how much was spent vs. the value of site visits, phone calls and lead form conversions. As long as PPC is profitable, paid ads campaigns should be maintained and possible expanded. If it is found that a reasonable cost per conversion is not obtainable, bidding on attorney firm brand related phrases is still advised. Bidding on clicks or called based on search of company name should be very inexpensive. You may think that since your firm’s website already ranks in the top position for search of company name, bidding for an ad on same is wasteful. Studies and experience show that bidding for such ad space increases valuable clicks to site that far outweigh ad cost.
Benefits of Attorney Site PPC
In addition to diversification from depending on traffic purely from Google organic positions, PPC offers fast results. Several years ago, Google introduced “Call Only” campaigns. Call Only generates phone calls directly from Google Ads without visitors entering your website. When phone calls from prospects are highly valued, and click cost tend to be expensive, Call Only may reduce lead costs.
Challenges of Attorney Site PPC
Due to the competitive nature of Attorney site PPC ad marketing, cost per click or phone call is often bid-up to sky-high levels. It is vital to have your law firm’s PPC account professionally managed to reduce cost of irrelevant clicks and calls.
Reasonable Expectation with Attorney Site PPC
Setting up an Attorney or Law Firm website PPC marketing campaign is quite involved although it can be handled in about one full day or two of labor by a skilled PPC expert. Campaign should be monitored and improved frequently avoid wasted paid clicks/calls and to optimize ads and bid levels.
Attorney Site Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing for Attorneys is not likely to produce a direct positive return on investment, yet a proper social media presence is vital. Reason it’s important is because social media is an indication of a company’s stature, reputation and engagement with clients and the community. Ever find yourself interested in a product or service and visit that company’s Facebook page? Many of your prospects do! What is your impression of that business when their Facebook page has few pages likes, is not eye-appealing and has no new posts in months? Social cues are significant to your prospects and search engines alike.
Benefits of Attorney Social Media Marketing
In addition to the possibility of receiving business directly from your social media efforts, social posting and engagement can demonstrate value, reputation, attention to details and activity. It offers the opportunity to form a great impression with prospects and an emotional connection with them.
Challenges of Attorney Social Media Marketing
Let’s face it, Law Firm marketing on social media is much less “sexy” than niches such as promoting muscle cars, travel or fashion. Most people do not contact an Attorney until they need one. This is the reason why Law Firms should have a clear understanding that social will help, but can not drive their business development. Social media should tell your firm’s story from the past right up to this current week.
Reasonable Expectation with Attorney Social Media Marketing
Prospects visit your social media profiles to get a “feel” for your firm and Attorneys. You may have tried Facebook Advertising in the past and been frustrated with results. The frustration comes from expecting conversions and leads directly from social media. Realize that social media activity is vital to a firm’s reputation and engagement with prospects. It will also help your firm’s website do better in search results from one degree to another.