In planning your 2018 law firm marketing program, it’s all about digital marketing – mobile, social media, email – with a strong focus on lead conversion. You should take it as a given by now that legal consumers are doing their research online, so having a strong online presence is a must-have for your practice. Not only are your potential clients doing their research online, they are rarely going past the first page of Google search results.
In fact, research shows that 90 percent of consumers won’t go past that first page. So, it’s not enough to simply launch a website and declare yourself a digital marketer. There is much more to it than that.
The six key elements every law firm marketing program must have in 2018 include:
- Website with blog.
- Mobile marketing.
- Branding program.
- Email system.
- Conversion system.
- Social media marketing program.
1. Website with a Blog
Your online presence begins with a professional looking and functioning website. This is your virtual storefront where you showcase who you are, what you do, where you are and how potential clients can reach you.
If you don’t have a website or it’s been awhile since you updated your site, it’s time to move to a site that is built using responsive design. This means that no matter what device people are using to find you – smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop – your website will provide them with a seamless experience. Ever look up a website on your smartphone and have to pinch and stretch the pages in order to read them? Responsive design eliminates that problem.
Your online presence begins with a professional looking and functioning website.
Google gives heavy ranking weight to fresh content, so if it’s been awhile since you updated pages on your site, you need to do this as well. Your content must be relevant for the search terms people are using to find you. It’s no longer a best practice to pepper your content with your keywords – in other words, writing for SEO instead of your target market. Google could even penalize you for keyword-loading too much. Instead focus on key messages that attract your core audience and write in-depth content on those subjects since Google also rewards you for longer form content (as long as it’s relevant).
It is also critically important for Google SEO that your NAP (name, address, phone) listings are consistent wherever you are on the web, including your website, social media pages, directories, etc. Google views consistent NAP listings as a trust factor, so make sure your NAP listings are exactly the same wherever they appear.
Another trust factor that Google relies on is online reviews. Prominently display your online reviews and client testimonials – not only on your home page, but also have a full page dedicated to testimonials somewhere on your website.
Blog: When integrated with your website, a consistently updated blog is great for SEO purposes since Google rewards fresh, relevant content, but consistency is the key. You must be posting quality content at least 10-20 times per month. The content must be relevant to your target market, using the keywords they are using to search for you on a regular basis in order to reap the SEO benefits.
Your blog performs another important function as the hub of your social media marketing efforts. Once you create a post, you need to cross-market it on your social media networks, driving that traffic to your blog post.
2. Mobile Marketing
Over half of the traffic to most legal websites are from a smartphone so being mobile friendly or mobile responsive is critical to your online success. Furthermore, last year Google started giving priority ranking to websites that are mobile responsive. All your online properties – from your website and your blog, to your e-newsletter, and your landing pages – must be optimized for mobile to give consumers a seamless experience with all your online properties. Google also looks for mobile-friendly sites, and you will be penalized with a lower ranking if your sites are not mobile-friendly.
3. Branding Program
You need a consistent brand identity in order to look professional. If you don’t already have a professionally designed logo, business cards and letterhead, get that fixed. It doesn’t cost much, and the positive impression will make you and your team proud. Use the same colors to brand your website and all your firm materials. Create a memorable tagline that will stick in the minds of consumers. Come up with three to five very specific reasons why people should hire you versus anyone else. For example, one of our unique competitive advantages is that we have trained over 18,000 attorneys to increase their revenues and build a better law firm.
4. Email System
Email marketing remains one of the most effective and least expensive ways to maintain contact with current and former clients and referral sources. It’s a proven way to generate new leads for your law firm. Using an inexpensive email service like Constant Contact or MailChimp will allow you to design, produce and email monthly e-newsletters and other promotions as well as keep your email list clean and current. The key here is to send it to everyone every single month. If you don’t have time to do it, give us a call so we can help you out.
5. Conversion System
Generating leads is the easy part. Converting them is where the rubber meets the road. And you can’t do a good job of lead conversion without a software system in place to automate the process. To be any good at lead conversion you have to track:
- The number of leads coming in.
- The number of leads that turn into appointments.
- The number of appointments who show up for the initial consultation.
- The number of people who sign up at the initial consultation.
- The number of people who sign up later after the consultation.
The key is to develop methods for consistently staying in touch with prospects through every stage and encouraging them to take the next step with your firm. You need to have a software system in place that will communicate with people who have contacted your firm, but not scheduled an appointment and move them to take the next step. If they miss their appointment, your solution must communicate a sense of urgency to them to reschedule as quickly as possible. If they don’t sign up at the initial consultation, you must keep in touch with them, so they remember you when they are ready to take action. All of this cannot be managed manually – you need a software-driven system! The good news is we have created the first one custom designed for law firms. We call it our Rainmaker Lead Conversion System.
Converting [leads] is where the rubber meets the road.
6. Social Media
According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 70 percent of Americans use social media – 68 percent use Facebook and 76 percent of those Facebook users visit the site every day. Your prospects are on social media, maybe a lot of them – and they may be the kind of people you won’t be able to reach any other way.
Social media for law firms is about the soft sell, not the hard sell. It’s not about pitching your services on Facebook. It’s about engagement. Forming relationships. People don’t hop on social media to be sold something. But like most people, a percentage of them will have legal issues and may need your help. They also like getting solid information on topics of interest to them – whether it’s getting a divorce, protecting their assets, avoiding a lawsuit, selecting the right attorney, the legal process, etc. Social media is the perfect place to post on current topics, putting your own spin on things, or providing general information that touches on your practice area – i.e., A Divorced Dad’s Guide to the Perfect Kids’ Weekend, How to Cut Taxes with an Estate Plan, What to Do When Your Insurance Company Totals Your Car, etc.
Building a strong online presence takes time, but it’s time (and money) well spent in terms of attracting new clients to your firm.