Here are five easy-to-implement marketing techniques that will increase your call volume. Most are free if you do them yourself. We have provided examples that you are welcome to copy.
Few law firms have adopted all five techniques, even though each approach has a high return on the time or money invested in implementation.
- Written Review Requests
Reviews are important for two reasons: (a) prospective clients rely heavily on them when deciding who to call, and (b) Google’s algorithm uses reviews to help determine who will appear in its local 3-pack, which for most lawyers delivers more website traffic than organic rankings.
You will obtain additional reviews if you send 2-3 emails to all your satisfied clients. The language can be short and simple:
We hope you were satisfied with the work we did on your behalf. If so, you can help bring our services to the attention of others in need by writing a short review.
You can place your comments on any review site you currently use (e.g., Google+, Yelp, Avvo, Lawyers.com, Nolo, or other site). Or you can simply write a few sentences and send it as a reply and we will post your comments on our website.
Be sure and follow-up a few weeks later with a reminder email:
Thank you again for retaining us to provide you legal services. If you think we did a good job for you, we hope you have had the opportunity to write a review of those services on Google+, Yelp, Avvo, Lawyers.com, Nolo, or other site. If so, thank you very much.
If not, could you take a few moments to do so now? It would be a big help to us.
We put Google+ at the beginning of our list of suggested review sites because that is the site Google pulls from (of course!) for its star rankings and review quotes in its local 3-pack.
- Citation Creation
Citations are simply profiles of your firm placed in online directories. They are as critical to your online success as they are simple, for they are used by Google along with the reviews discussed above to determine which lawyers to feature in Google’s 3-pack.
Every abbreviation, initial, dot, and letter in every citation must be identical, so take care when creating the model profile to be copied by your staff.
In the description, place the keywords you most want to rank for. Don’t be too ambitious with your keyword selection if you work in a highly-competitive locale; pick a phrase you have a chance of ranking for. And don’t try stuff a lot of extra keywords in your description.
We recommend you begin building profiles in the following directories:
- Written Backlink Requests
Backlinks, or inbound links to your website, are the number one factor influencing Google’s ranking of your website. In a study of the rankings of one million websites, web pages ranking #1 had 168% more linking domains than web pages ranking #5. That study’s author puts it succinctly:
“If you don’t have backlinks, you’re not going to rank.”
How do you get more backlinks without paying four figures a month to an SEO firm that owns hundreds of websites from which it can link?
Ask for them. We recommend sending these emails to:
Websites which have mentioned you or your site without linking to your site
Thank you for mentioning [me or my firm] in your recent article. That means a lot to me.
I noticed that your mention of us did not link to our website. Could I trouble you to update your post with a link? Here is the link to my home page: www.smithandjones.com.
I really appreciate your help.
Websites whose owners you know or who have other reason to consider your request
I use your website to [______] and find its guidance valuable. I notice you link out to a few businesses, and am wondering if I could talk you into linking out to my law firm at www.smithandjones.com.
We assist people who have reason to visit your site, and your link to us might prove helpful to some of them.
Thank you for your consideration.
Buzzstream, which costs $24/month, can help you manage the outreach by tracking which websites have responded with a link.
- Multi-use FAQs
If you only have time to write one original piece of content, make it a comprehensive set of Frequently-Asked Questions. You can then use them multiple ways:
- Offer them as a lead magnet using inexpensive Facebook ads.
- Email a list of the questions without answers to your prospects, providing a link to the answers.
- Break them apart to build a digital HelpDesk that your staff can use to answer questions … and encourage clients to use the HelpDesk before calling your staff.
- If you have time to write a lengthy and comprehensive collection of FAQs, print a designed version as your book. Hand it out at talks, display it in your lobby, and feature it on your website.
- As explained below, offer to provide the FAQs in referral request letters and emails.
We have created lengthy FAQs for most consumer-oriented specialties. As an example of the type of collection you could produce for yourself, the list of questions we answered for bankruptcy prospects is provided below.
- Written Referral Requests
Too many lawyers are reticent about asking past clients for referrals. As a result, they are missing some of the easiest prospects to sign. If you only implement one of our five suggestions, make it this one.
Every 3-6 months send an email or postal letter to your past clients that offers to provide your latest educational material, including the FAQs from #4 above, to anyone they know who might be in need of your services. Here is one possible approach:
We appreciate the opportunity you gave us to serve you, and thank you for placing your confidence in us.
If you know someone in a similar situation, they probably have many preliminary questions and would benefit from reading our detailed FAQs.
Perhaps you could forward this link to that individual. Thank you for helping us help others.
We know that many lawyers don’t have time to handle their marketing themselves. If that describes you, we can help boost your marketing results. To schedule a 15 or 30-minute conversation with our president Travis Hise to review your efforts and your opportunities, click below.
Questions answered in our 36-page bankruptcy FAQs:
I. Bankruptcy in General
Q. How does bankruptcy work?
Q. How will I know when I need to file bankruptcy?
Q. What common mistakes do debtors make before filing for bankruptcy?
Q. How often can I file for bankruptcy?
Q. Do you have to have a certain amount of debt to file?
Q. How long does a bankruptcy case take?
Q. Can I keep using by credit cards if I’m planning to file for bankruptcy?
Q. I’ve heard that I have to take an approved credit counseling course before I can file bankruptcy. How do I find one? How long does it last? Do I have to follow the counselor’s recommendations?
Q. Can creditors object to my filing for bankruptcy?
Q. Will I lose all my property if I go bankrupt?
Q. Do I need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy?
Q. Isn’t a “credit repair” company a better option than bankruptcy?
II. Stopping Creditor Harassment
Q. How does bankruptcy stop my creditors from harassing me?
Q. How will my creditors know that I have filed bankruptcy?
Q.: Can my creditors continue to contact me after I file bankruptcy?
Q. How long after I file bankruptcy will my creditors stop calling me?
Q. Are all creditors and debts subject to the automatic stay, or are there exceptions?
Q. What can I do if a creditor continues to make demands for payment of their debt even after I have filed bankruptcy?
Q. How does the automatic stay stop foreclosures and repossessions?
Q. How does the automatic stay stop evictions?
Q. How long does the automatic stay last?
Q. What creditors can get the stay lifted and how do they do so?
III. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Q. What is Chapter 7?
Q. What are the most common reasons for filing Chapter 7?
Q. Who can qualify for Chapter 7?
Q. What is the Means Test?
Q. What documents do I need for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Q. What happens after I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Q. What are the key events in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Q. How long does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy take?
Q. What does the Chapter 7 trustee do?
Q. Will I need to go to court?
Q. What should I expect at the Meeting of Creditors?
Q. What problems can occur at the meeting?
Q. What other problems can occur in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
IV. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Q. What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Q. What are the most common reasons for choosing Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Q. Who qualifies to file for Chapter 13?
Q. What documents do I need to file in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Q. What happens after I file for bankruptcy?
Q. What are the key events in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process?
Q. How long will it take?
Q. What does the Chapter 13 trustee do?
Q. Will I need to go to court?
Q. What can I expect at the 341 meeting of creditors?
Q. What problems can arise at the creditors’ meeting?
Q. What are the advantages of a Chapter 13 filing?
Q. What are the disadvantages of a Chapter 13 filing?
Q. How does a Chapter 13 repayment plan work?
Q. What debts must be repaid in Chapter 13?
Q. Can creditors object to my repayment plan? What are the most common objections?
Q. What is considered a reasonable expense during the life of a repayment plan?
Q. What happens if I fall behind in making my plan payments?
V. Choosing the Best Chapter for Your Situation
Q. What are the main differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
Q. Who are the best candidates for Chapter 7?
Q. Who are the best candidates for Chapter 13?
Q. Can I change from one chapter of bankruptcy to another? Why might I want to do so?
VI. Bankruptcy and Your Debts
Q. Which debts are discharged by bankruptcy?
Q. Which debts are not discharged in bankruptcy?
Q. Are some debts dischargeable in Ch 13 that are not dischargeable in Ch 7?
Q. What are priority debts?
Q. Do I have to file for bankruptcy on all my debts and credit accounts or can I keep some open?
Q. What is a reaffirmation agreement?
Q. Can I make payments on a discharged debt if I haven’t signed a reaffirmation agreement?
Q. Under what circumstances can I discharge my student loans in bankruptcy?
Q. Can I eliminate back income taxes by filing bankruptcy?
VII. Bankruptcy and Your Property and Income
Q. What property will I lose and what will I get to keep if I file for bankruptcy?
Q. Can bankruptcy help me if I am behind on my mortgage or my home is in foreclosure?
Q. Can bankruptcy help if I am behind on my car payments or if my car has already been repossessed?
Q. Can bankruptcy help me if my wages have been garnished?
VIII. Marriage, Divorce, and Bankruptcy
Q. If I file for bankruptcy, does my spouse have to file as well?
Q. Can my spouse and I file for bankruptcy together with a joint petition?
Q. What are some situations in which filing a joint bankruptcy with my spouse would be beneficial?
Q. What are some situations in which filing a joint bankruptcy with my spouse might not be a good idea?
Q. If my spouse files for bankruptcy and I don’t, how will my spouse’s bankruptcy affect me and my credit?
Q. Does my spouse’s income affect my ability to file for bankruptcy even if my spouse does not also file?
Q. Can my spouse and I file for bankruptcy together if we are in the process of getting a divorce? Can we use the same lawyer?
Q. If we are thinking about a divorce, is it better to file for bankruptcy before we get divorced or wait until after the divorce is final?
Q. If our divorce decree made my spouse responsible for some of our debts, can my spouse discharge those debts in bankruptcy? Can the creditor then come after me? And if I pay the debts will I be unable to get reimbursement from my spouse?
Q. I am engaged. Should I file for bankruptcy before I get married? Will my spouse be responsible for my debts (or vice versa) if I get married?
IX. Short and Long-Term Consequence of Bankruptcy
Q. If I file for bankruptcy, will other people, like my employer, landlord, friends and neighbors find out?
Q. Can I lose my job if I file bankruptcy?
Q. Can my landlord evict me if I file for bankruptcy?
Q. What steps can I take to repair my credit after bankruptcy?