How much did you learn in law school about marketing your law firm?
> Crickets <
That’s what I thought. Nada, zip, zilch. Law school teaches you how to practice the law, but virtually nothing about building a successful law practice and law firm marketing. So it’s no wonder a lot of attorneys are floundering when it comes to marketing — trying things that may have worked at some point but are no longer effective, trying to keep pace with technology, trying to stay afloat.
I bet you find this, well, trying.
I bet you wish you had a list of what you need to focus on for your law firm marketing in 2017. Wish granted:
- Long form content. Google values long-form content and people prefer more in-depth information on the legal issues facing them as they are researching attorneys on the Internet. But your content can’t be lengthy just for the sake of word count measurement — it has to be really good. If you’re stuck for ideas, develop a list of questions your clients typically ask you and create a really robust FAQ section on your site. Your content must be unique, valuable and respond to the needs of your prospects.
- Social media charity campaigns. A lot of lawyers are already deeply involved in charitable organizations, but the mention of such is usually relegated to a bullet point on their bio page. Time to open that door and let in the light. Social media is a perfect place to espouse your cause. Choose something you really care about, make it local (it will be much more meaningful to your prospects and clients if it’s something they either know about or support) and run a social media campaign to support that organization. For example, run a Facebook ad that says you will donate $1 for every new like you get on your Facebook page. One caveat: steer clear of anything that smacks of controversy.
- Multiple channel outreach. Use your blog, not your website, as the hub of your content marketing efforts. When you create a blog post, link to it via all your social media networks to get the full promotional value of your post.
- Visual content. When you create your longer content, be sure you are sprinkling it liberally with visual content that supports the main message. Break up long areas of text with interesting visuals that will draw the reader in. Include video testimonials on each page of your site. Format text differently so that it’s visually appealing. Have some graphics that drive home your point. Remember that people process things visually first — if they are faced with a wall of gray content, they are much more likely to bounce off your site and go on to the next one.
- Quality backlinks. Having high quality backlinks is extremely important for your SEO. They signal to search engines that your site is an authority on the subject it represents. So how do you acquire them? You don’t. You hire a reputable SEO firm that knows what it’s doing and won’t get you into any trouble by doing it the wrong way. Trust me. This is something you should throw money at.
- Video content. Video content on your website is no longer a nice to have, it’s a have to have. Not only do you get rewarded by Google for having it, you amp up the trust factor with prospects who can watch your videos, get to know and trust you, and then hopefully take the next step to give you a call. One of the most effective ways to capture leads with video is to take a subject you know will be of great interest to your prospects (tip: answer a common question/concern you’ve heard from most of your clients) and create a short video to distribute on your social media platforms. Your video should make an offer to download a free ebook or other premium content like a newsletter and drive those who click on the video to a landing page where they can get that material once they provide their contact information. Landing pages are essential to lead conversion. They have no other purpose than to direct someone to fulfill your call to action. Your landing page should include your video, some additional succinct selling points that support the call to action and a built-in form that captures a name and email address. Once you create your video content, upload it to YouTube and Facebook and share it on all your other profiles — LinkedIn, Twitter, and your blog. If you serve millennials, consider hosting a live stream event on Facebook where people can ask you questions. It may seem weird to you, but it’s what works for getting them engaged with you.
- Focus on conversion. For years law firms have focused on generating leads from their websites and given scant thought to conversion. To improve your website’s conversion rate — its ability to turn visitors into clients — you first need to know what your current conversion rate is and have a system in place for ongoing tracking. Your Google Analytics data will be able to tell you most of what you need to know. To help convert visitors into clients, you need to have your primary call-to-action, whether it’s a free consultation, a newsletter sign-up or a free e-book, prominently displayed on every page of your site. You need to have your USP (unique selling proposition) well-defined and displayed on your home page so people know what separates you from your competitors. You need to utilize Live Chat to capture people who need answers right away.
I’ll discuss the rest of this list in Part 2 of this post.