Legal Marketing Tips for Small Law Firms and Startups
Small law firms and startups face many challenges that larger firms may not have to consider. Among those challenges, the most poignant may be a smaller law firm marketing budget. While larger firms may have seemingly infinite marketing resources, small firms can still compete with targeted marketing techniques and proven advertising methods.
In order to optimize your resources, you can focus on online promotion of your business. Although many firms still use traditional advertising on billboards and phone books, online lawyer marketing can provide you with an effective and efficient method of promoting your business. This article will present several online marketing tips for small law firms and startups who seek to grow their business while providing high quality service to clients.
Focus Your Business on a Target Service
Most successful online marketing provides targeted information that focuses on specific needs of potential clients. Although you may have a general practice operation, you should focus your online marketing on a select few practice areas. This allows you to create information for specific audiences and target the locations you want to serve.
You may focus your online marketing with the following techniques:
- Select a domain name (or URL) that includes your city and main practice area
- Create content for your website that discusses your main practice area and related subtopics
- Include your geographic locations on your website
- Get links to your website from local organizations and agencies
When you target a specific location and promote a main practice area, people near you will gain confidence that you are an authority in your field of work.
Prioritize Online Marketing Efforts
Although many law firms continue to use offline marketing methods, such as billboards and flyers, online marketing has much more potential than traditional marketing. You can reach a large number of people in a short period of time. You can provide more information in electronic format than you can offline. You can also target your message to specific individuals instead of plastering physical ads for all to see.
When considering what types of online advertising will work best for your small firm, consider your audience. The majority of people begin their search for a lawyer online, and it is possible to track the words they are using to seek legal assistance. By utilizing online tools, we can determine the types of online marketing methods that might work best for your specific practice areas and geographic location.
Common online marketing methods include:
- A robust website with extensive content
- Legal SEO that focuses on organic and local search
- Pay per click advertising
- Email blasts to potential clients, colleagues, and selected organizations
- Legal directory listings
- Reviews from past clients on targeted websites
A lot of research is necessary to determine which of these online marketing methods is best for your small law firm or startup. People in different geographic areas and those searching for various types of attorneys often use different methods to find services. Thus, it is important to focus on the online techniques that will work for you, specifically.
Developing an Online Marketing Plan for Your Small Business
When you opened your small business, you likely developed a business plan that considered your ongoing focus. You should do the same with your online marketing goals. Here are some things you should consider adding to your online marketing plan:
Website Focused on Conversions
Your website should provide informational content that is also transactional. That means, it is focused on converting the readers into clients. This involves an interaction between effective lawyer SEO, high-quality content, and skilled design. It can be difficult for a small law firm to integrate all necessary elements in a website, so working with an online marketing company is often the best option for developing an effective site.
The following elements are important in a successful legal website:
- WordPress – This is a website platform (CMS) that provides comprehensive development abilities. Avoid other platforms, such as Squarespace or Findlaw, which can limit your online presence.
- Fast loading time – You can use Google Page Speed Insights to test the loading speed of your pages. It should rate 80/100 or higher to be fully optimized for viewing.
- Multi-platform – Your website should be viewable on multiple platforms, including computer, phone, and tablet. All lists and buttons should be responsive across platforms.
- Security – Your website should be secure, with an SSL Certificate, otherwise viewers may get errors as they browse.
- Yoast SEO – This is a plugin for WordPress that will aid you with optimizing your content.
- Google Analytics – You should be tracking your traffic and conversions, which can be easily done with GA and goal tracking.
- Dedicated hosting – Your website should exist on a dedicated and fast hosting platform.
- Effective design – Good website design is visually appealing, but quick to load. Also, focus on navigation and structure of pages.
- Unique content – Every page should have content that targets the needs of readers; however, you may be penalized for keyword stuffing and duplicate content.
- Client testimonials and case results – Your potential clients want to hear how you have served others through testimonials and actual case results.
- Avoid errors – When you delete or move a page or blog, you can create an error on your website that will confuse readers and make them navigate away from your website.
Use Keyword Research to Create Amazing Content
One of the most important elements of your marketing plan will be effective keyword research and content that converts readers. The first step is to find out what your audience is searching. By using tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Google Keyword Planner, you can develop lists of keywords that you will want to include on your website. Your ultimate goal is to show up in a Google search result for those keywords through effective content creation.
You can make a list of keywords you want to rank by drawing from the following:
- Record common questions from current clients.
- Complete a Google search for your practice areas and look at related search terms
- Review FindLaw articles and subtopics
- Review competitors’ websites
Amazing content should be structured around the keywords that you find are commonly searched in your location area by people searching for attorneys in your practice areas. Although you should not “keyword stuff,” or artificially place keywords throughout content, good content should naturally discuss the topics you found in your research. Include keywords as organically as possible.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Most businesses are already listed on Google My Business (GMB); however, those listings may not be optimized with complete information. It’s important to claim your listing or create one if it does not already exist. You should include all relevant information requested by Google to complete your listing and provide potential clients with information about your small law firm or startup.
Make sure you include the following in your GMB listing:
- Full address, including suite number
- Complete phone number
- Photos of your location and any signage
- A link to your website
Completing your GMB listing is essential to showing up in the top three pack, or “map pack,” which appears just below the map in a Google search. Aside from ads, this is the highest possible ranking after a Google search.
Complete Your Profile on Business and Legal Directories
There are a number of business directories and legal resources that list attorney firms and provide potential clients with information. It’s important to make sure your business information is accurate on the following resources:
- Yellow Pages
Your city, county, and state may also have business listings that you take advantage of. It’s important to keep these listings up to date.
Track Your Success Online
It’s important to track the success of your website and other online marketing methods to determine what works for you and your business. Although you can complete preliminary research to determine what should work for your law firm, sometimes the only indicator of true success is time and actual results. You should track your website traffic, conversions, ranking, and more through Google Analytics, Call Rail, Gravity Forms, and other online tracking platforms.
Work with an Online Legal Marketing Agency to Boost Success
As a small law firm or startup business, you can promote yourself online to establish a reputation and reach potential clients. However, the online marketing landscape can be complex. Often, working with an online marketing agency can be an effective way to utilize your resources wisely.
James Attorney Marketing provides brand reputation management and lead generation services to clients throughout the United States. To find out what we can do for you, contact us at 714-874-8128 or use our online contact form to send us a message.
20 Tips To Improve Your Web Marketing
What next steps do you recommend if I only have a modest digital presence?
1. Make sure your website has a call to action. Placing a submission form and prominent phone number in the upper right corner will help.
2. Collect email and physical addresses from everyone you come into contact with and stay in touch with them. You want to be top of mind when someone asks if they know a good lawyer.
3. Your website needs keyworded content to obtain decent page position on Google. Write or obtain a regular flow of articles (more on this below).
4. Claim your Google Places listing! It is the fastest and easiest route to appearing prominently on Google page one.
I am an active digital marketer. What can I do to enhance my results?
5. Are you reaching out to your contact list regularly? If you are only using email to do so, add postal mailings to at least your best prospects and referrers. Send high-value educational products.
6. Have you optimized your website by cause of action and fact pattern? The more specific and numerous your articles and targeted keywords, the more on-target traffic your site will pull.
7. Do you have more than one website? The more aggressive and successful digital marketers have several. Target your larger or desired niches with focused websites instead of trying to have one website serve them all.
I practice in a large city. How can I move my website to Google page one?
8. Creating inbound links and keyworded articles are the keys to success. Both quantity and quality count.
9. Remember that the battle is fought one keyword phrase at a time. To chalk up some small successes, aim at long-tail keywords with less competition.
10. Your inbound links should come from websites with a variety of PageRanks. Not all of these should connect to your home page; some should be to interior pages. The links should use your targeted keywords in their anchor text. Growth in the number of links should come steadily rather than a lot at once.
11. New articles should also flow regularly, contain targeted keywords in the headline and first and last paragraphs, number 400-500 words, and answer common client questions.
I have claimed my Google Places listing but do not appear on page one. How can I improve my position?
12.Optimizing for Places is different than optimizing for organic page position. Creating consistent citations across dozens of directories is the key to success.
13. Longevity counts, so keep building consistent directory listings and give the process time to work.
Do you have any content writing suggestions for me?
14. Research keywords before writing. Google’s Keyword Tool will tell which phrases in your practice niche are most commonly searched.
15. Place the target keywords in your headline and first and last paragraphs, writing naturally as possible.
16. Draft several short (400-500 words) articles rather one or two long pieces. Use a different keyword phrase in each article.
17. Write regularly. Set a schedule, say one article every two weeks, and meet it. The attorney who sticks with a regular writing schedule is very difficult to beat at web marketing.
Any parting advice?
18. Stick with it. The slow but steady tortoise beats the sprinting-then-resting hare every time in web marketing.
19. If you are unable to regularly carve out time for digital marketing and keeping up with its twists and turns, consider hiring a pro to handle it for you.
20. Don’t procrastinate. Google rewards longevity, so the earlier you get started the better your odds of success.
To obtain recommendations specific to your website, geographic region, and specialty, contact Mike Margol at 714-434-5927 or by email.
Legal Web Marketing Tips to Attract More Email Subscribers
To most e-commerce platforms, a well-cultivated email list is worth its weight in gold. This is no less true for law firms, who can experience notable benefits from gathering more email subscribers:
- Greater brand awareness;
- Increased referrals;
- Higher client satisfaction;
- And more!
Your firm might already have a good base of email addresses or you could be starting from square one—whatever the case, the following legal web marketing tips can assist you in attracting more email subscribers.
1. Make friends with bloggers and legal marketers.
Reach out to legal bloggers and ask if they’d be interested in occasionally letting you guest post, as well as contributing to your firm’s blog every once in a while. This can help to increase your name recognition among readers who have already demonstrated an interest in content similar to yours. Of course, be sure to link back to your firm’s page within your author bio!
Other places to make connections beneficial to your legal web marketing efforts: networking events and conferences.
2. Keep mobile viewers in mind.
More and more Internet users are choosing to surf the Internet and check email on their smartphones and tablets. Don’t leave them by the wayside! Optimize your website for mobile viewing to ensure that mobile users can easily navigate your site and enter their email addresses into an opt-in field, and be sure all email images and layouts work well for smaller screens.
3. Make the opt-in field engaging.
Featuring an opt-in field in the sidebar of your website can accrue email subscribers, but it’s probably not going to get your firm very many. To really see results, try other legal web marketing strategies that make your opt-in field more engaging and visible. For instance, arrange to have an opt-in pop-up box show in the center of the page when a visitor lands on your blog.
Also, include calls to action at the conclusion of each blog post such as: “Like the post you just read? Sign up to receive email from Law Firm Name! We’ll send you free, valuable content and news about what’s going on at our firm—and no spam, we promise.”
4. Offer something of value.
People love to receive free things. Offer a free e-newsletter full of valuable legal insights, a cache of insightful blog articles, or access to a promotion. An estate planning and trust law firm, for instance, can feature a free e-book full of smart saving and investing tips.
5. Split test to see what works best.
Try placing your opt-in field in another area of your website, altering button colors, or experimenting with various calls to action. Then, split test to see how visitors respond based on the amount of traffic and conversions. You may be surprised to see that one legal web marketing strategy works much better than others.
Learn how to optimize your website for lead conversion!
Are Digital Marketing Courses a Waste of Money?
There’s a difference between working in the business vs. working on the business, and if you’re trying to grow your law firm while handling multiple clients, you’re likely doing both. Being stretched for time—and money depending on the level of business you’re generating—you’re probably looking for ways to work in and on your firm smarter, not harder.
Most lawyers aren’t trained in professional marketing, that’s why there are Internet marketing courses to help you learn quick and effective ways to market your firm like a pro. But do Internet marketing courses really help your marketing efforts, or do they simply offer empty promises that waste your time and money?
Let’s take a look at why Internet marketing courses may or may not be your best plan of attack.
Advice Caters to Big Marketers
Internet marketing courses offer great tips, and put systems into place that can generate measurable results—if you have a large marketing audience to begin with. Companies that have a lot of affiliates and other resources promoting their services will do great with Big Business advice. Law firms that have a niche audience, and don’t have multiple affiliate partners, will probably not benefit from it much.
Results Promised Are Often Unrealistic
Internet marketing companies will often inflate the results you’ll experience by taking their course(s)—after all, that’s a part of their own marketing! To find out if a course actually worked for someone, ask the company to provide testimonials from other law firm clients, both past and present. If the course is worth the investment, testimonials will speak for themselves.
TIP: Make sure the testimonials you receive are from other law firms. The company’s course may have worked wonders for an ice cream shop, but Dippin’ Dots aren’t your business.
TIP 2: If an Internet marketing company tells you that their course will double your business in a month, walk away immediately. No course can generate such Superman results, no matter what industry you’re in.
Personal Attention Isn’t Offered
Most Internet marketing courses are video based, so you’re not actually dealing with a live person (unless you take a live marketing course, and that will set you back big bucks). No matter how comprehensive these videos are, you’re bound to have questions about course material. If you’re going to invest in any video course, make sure there’s live help available to answer any questions you have.
It takes time to build your law firm, and while there are courses you can take that offer good advice and marketing tips, there are no quick fixes. By consistently posting valuable content to your website and social pages, growing your audience, and providing impeccable client service, you’re guaranteed to build your business for the long haul.
Preventing Poor Client Experiences
The cost of even one negative client experience is incredibly high; the White House Office of Consumer Affairs estimates that it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to keep an existing one, not to mention the damage to your brand online and by word-of-mouth.
Don’t wait until something goes wrong to try to fix it, otherwise you’re fighting a losing battle. Use these attorney marketing tips to proactively prevent poor client experiences.
- Understand expectations and set realistic goals
The first thing your attorney team should always do when meeting a new client is to clarify his or her expectations.
- What problem(s) are they bringing to the table?
- How do they expect your firm to help?
- What is their ideal timeline?
- What is their budget?
- Who should be the primary point(s) of contact?
Once you discuss what you realistically can and can’t do for the client, the goals to work toward, and the right steps to take to reach those objectives, you’re on stable footing for a mutually beneficial relationship.
- Identify the level of attention each client needs
Realistically, some clients are going to be more high-maintenance than others. Larger accounts are also going to be higher up on the priority list for your firm and warrant more attention from both sales and attorney marketing standpoints.
Identify the ideal level of attention to devote to each client, whether it’s a weekly update or quarterly check-in. Clients who hear from you as often as they’d like will feel confident that you are managing their case correctly.
Uncover their unique preferences
In addition to how often they’d like to be contacted, clients also differ in several other preferences. For instance, it’s good to know whether clients prefer to be contacted by email, phone, or in-person, and in which format they would like to receive bills.
- Check in and ask for feedback regularly
One of the best ways to proactively prevent negative client experiences is to perform client service audits throughout the course of your relationship. These can take many forms, from formal email surveys to informal check-in calls or face-to-face discussions to ask where your firm excels and where it could improve. Be sure to schedule them on your attorney marketing calendar for every six months.
The Power of Proactivity
It’s unrealistic to create an extensive attorney marketing plan tailored to each account or to prevent mistakes 100% of the time. However, it is possible to take as many proactive steps toward client satisfaction as possible in order to build positive client relationships and free up time spent addressing preventable mistakes. When errors or miscommunications do happen, you won’t be scrambling to get back into your clients’ good graces.
A social media strategy can increase client loyalty. Ask us about tailoring one to your law firm!
How To Promote Your Law Firm Using SlideShare
Content is king when it comes to effective legal marketing, but content in the form of static text is now taking a backseat to image-centric content. Image-sharing sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter have already made their mark, but a site that’s quickly gaining traction on the image-sharing scene is SlideShare.
SlideShare already has over 60 million unique visitors per month, and generates over 215 million page views.1 Plus, SlideShare presentations rank well on Google, as competition is lower on SlideShare than other social channels (for now).
If you’re not yet using the site, let’s take a look at how you can promote your firm using SlideShare, and tap into the potential of this effective marketing tool.
SlideShare’s Flipbook Format is Perfect For Storytelling
SlideShare has a linear format much like a digital flipbook, so it makes the platform perfect for telling stories about your firm, your firm’s services, and why a potential client should contact your firm over your competition. SlideShare slides also make it easy for viewers to flip through at their own pace, and return to specific slides if they should choose.
SlideShare Lets You Focus On Your Audience’s Needs
SlideShare allows you to upload specific slides that can coach and guide your target audience. For example, if you’re a DUI-defense attorney, you can create a slideshow that includes legal How-To’s for the DUI offender, and step-by-step instructions on what to do next—namely contacting your law firm.
TIP: If you keep seeing the same questions asked about a topic you know well, create a slideshow that provides answers. You can then post a link to the slideshow if that question/topic should arise again on your social media pages, website, or blog comments.
LinkedIn Gives SlideShare Shows Lots of Love
LinkedIn acquired SlideShare in 2012, and since then has made an extra effort to promote SlideShare shows on their site. When you post a SlideShare presentation on LinkedIn, you can share it as a status update on both your personal profile and company page, and, of course, upload the link to all of your other social pages for maximum exposure.
SlideShare Can Capture Client Leads
SlideShare allows you to include call-to-action hyperlinks not only within the slides, but embed lead conversion forms using a tool called LeadShare.
Here’s how LeadShare works: When a viewer is browsing through your SlideShare presentation, a contact form will pop up at the end. If the presentation is uploaded on your blog, website, or social media pages, the lead form will appear there, too. After the contact form is filled out, the captured lead will appear on your SlideShare dashboard, or get emailed to you.
Want to learn more ways how SlideShare can generate leads for your law firm? We can help! Contact one of our legal marketing experts today.
5 Pieces that Should Be in Your Media Kit
From the FAQ page of your website to an “About Us” flyer sent to prospects, there are several ways to portray what your law firm is all about and how you address clients’ legal needs. Using these marketing fragments can work well for certain situations, but what about when you need a standalone piece that tells your firm’s story, answers questions, and represents your brand?
That’s where a media kit comes into play. A media kit is a package of promotional and information materials that enables you to present a thorough portrait of your firm in one comprehensive package. It’s useful in a variety of capacities and can be given to everyone from media contacts to prospective clients to attorneys you’re aiming to recruit. When the time comes for you to tackle building a media kit for your legal marketing purposes, be sure to include the following pieces.
1. Contact Page
The purpose of compiling a packet of information is to encourage readers to contact your practice. Therefore, provide contact information to the person/people who would handle media and case inquiries. You may want to prominently feature this page at the front of your media kit alongside the “About Us” page.
2. About Us Page
What are your law firm’s mission and differentiators? The About Us page is the perfect place to expand upon what characterizes your firm, be it the workplace culture, the prestigious attorneys, or involvement within the community and familiarity with local issues. Overall, this sheet defines your firm and should give readers a snapshot of your brand and reputation. Quick legal marketing tip: the About Page presents an opportunity to outline your firm’s specializations for easy reference.
3. Facts Sheet
A facts sheet encompasses basic details about your firm including its history, office locations, and recognitions earned. Oftentimes, marketers tend to format this legal marketing piece into an easy-to-read list of bullet points, although more firms are capitalizing on visual trends such as infographics. If you’re unsure about what to feature on this page, ask yourself: what questions do prospects ask most? What kinds of details are mentioned in the boilerplate of your practice’s press releases?
4. Professional Biographies
Turn the spotlight onto your firm’s partners and attorneys. Craft a biographies page full of relevant information about the people who are the lifeblood of your practice. All attorney biographies should be professional, of course, but don’t be afraid to break from the generic corporate template in order to engage readers and portray your unique brand.
5. Other Necesssary Items
The best thing about crafting a media kit for your law firm’s marketing purposes is that you can customize it to best suit your needs. For instance, if you receive a lot of media requests, you could include a few published press releases or articles about your firm to give media professionals a sample of your firm’s public relations highlights. Make your media kit your own and experiment to see which pieces result in the most traction.
5 Steps to Quickly Build Your Blog Platform
Realized the law firm SEO and marketing benefits of blogging? Check. Snatched up the domain name you wanted? Check. Opened a blog account on WordPress? Check.
…Uh, now what?Typically,
This is the exact thought process that many attorneys experience after crafting their firm’s blogging forum, whether it is housed on WordPress, Blogger, or any of the other notable platforms. Instead of losing marketing momentum, follow the action steps below to make the most of your new attorney blog immediately after launch.
1. Become familiar with administrative features
With blogging/content management system (CMS) tools like WordPress, the possibilities are endless; your attorney blog can do any number of things including housing articles, photos and images, portfolios, and videos.
It’s easy to get lost in the fray, so get down to the nitty-gritty—become familiar with the administrative features first.
For instance, after logging into an account in WordPress, users have access to their “dashboard,” the main administrative homepage where they can push articles live, tweak the look of their WordPress pages, and much more. Click around and explore this page to get a feel for the Dashboard’s inner workings.
2. Decide your look and layout
Building a blog page from scratch means that you can tailor it to your law firm’s brand and appeal to your specific reader audiences. There are several design options at your disposal including:
• Saving time by implementing an existing layout theme or template (either free or for purchase)
• Fashioning a basic page by fiddling with the administrative options on the administrative homepage
• Hiring a designer
Typically, unless your attorney blog requires extremely complex features and a very unique design, the most cost-effective option is to utilize an existing layout template available for free or a relatively small fee (usually a few hundred dollars maximum).
When choosing a template, keep the function of your page in mind. It doesn’t make sense to implement a template geared toward showcasing photographs front and center if you’re mainly going to be pushing articles about filing bankruptcy, for example.
3. Peruse valuable features
After familiarizing yourself with your platform’s user interface and applying a page template, play around with the features that you’d like on your attorney blog. WordPress, for example, provides users the ability to cherry-pick “widgets,” or sidebar features. Widgets such as “follow me,” which enables readers to sign up to follow your blog, can be extremely helpful sidebar features when it comes to growing your readership base.
Don’t forget that links to social media pages are essential to driving search engine optimization (SEO) and promoting content sharing and reader interaction.
4. Publish a blog post
You are now ready to dive in and post your first article! Remember not to be too critical—the first post is all about working out the kinks.
5. Test drive the site and troubleshoot
Once the first post is live, view your attorney blog like a new reader would. Fix any formatting errors and tinker with your page layout until you’re satisfied that it will wow your firm’s audience!