By Todd Mosser
Since opening my law firm in 2013, I’ve learned the hard way that managing a firm and marketing legal services have absolutely nothing to do with the practice of law. Thankfully, in recent years I’ve worked with SEO and web developer Sagapixel to develop my firm’s online presence to reach more people online and convert viewers of my site into clients.
While I wrote this from my perspective as an attorney running an appeals law firm, this short list of “do’s” and “don’ts” can apply to just about any service-based business looking tackle online marketing more effectively.
DO choose an area of practice that is underserved in your locale.
DON’T focus on an area of law that is saturated or already has a big player in your market area.
While this might not seem like strictly a marketing concern, if the market for your area of practice is saturated or already has a big player, you will have difficulty getting seen online.
Why? Because in this situation, it will be difficult to rank well for the keywords and longtail keywords that people looking for your services use to find you, or lawyers like you. Also, Google Ads will be much, much more expensive because of the competition for those keywords and longtail keywords.
How to know whether you can compete in your chosen market? Do some research, and not just online – big players often have billboards and commercials on local TV stations to reach their local market, in addition to their online marketing efforts.
If you don’t see any big players for your area of practice, google it as if you are a potential client looking for your help. Who comes up? What does their site look like? Do they blog? A tool like Ahrefs can tell you what other keywords those sites rank for, and whether you can easily rank for those or not.
Again, marketing a law firm has nothing to do with the practice of law, so this is probably not something you’ve been trained to think about. The upshot is, you could be the best XYZ lawyer in town, but if no one knows about you because the local market in XYZ law is saturated, you will not be able to attract clients.
Think about your skillset – is there anything you can offer clients that no one else can? I was very fortunate to start my career in government, handling appellate matters, and I was able to open my own law firm practicing appellate law, a pretty narrow area of practice with few competitors. What can you do to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of attorneys in your location?
DO work with a web developer and SEO specialist to refine your online presence and convert viewers to clients.
DON’T let your website act as merely an online business card.
I’m sure you know that the YellowPages are passe. Everyone Googles what they need, be it a product or a service. For this reason, you must prioritize optimizing the effectiveness of your website in getting potential clients to view it and converting those viewers to clients.
You are busy practicing law and growing your reputation as an experienced and effective practitioner in your chosen area of practice. Do you have time to learn all you need to know about web design and SEO, especially as the technology and Google AI evolves constantly? Just as you would want an experienced adoption lawyer handling the adoption of your child, you need an experienced web developer and SEO strategist to stay on top of developments and keep your site ranking and converting. In a way, your law firm IS your child!
An effective web development and SEO service will:
- Help you create your personal brand to differentiate you from other firms
- Optimizes UX (user experience) to keep viewers viewing rather than clicking away
- Create content for the site that shows the viewer your services and your authority
- Use content and site structure to start viewers on their Buyer’s Journey and convert them to clients
- Use various SEO techniques, including blogging, guest posts, and paid ads to make sure your site is viewed by searchers looking for your services
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Google Ads is an “online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers pay to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, video content and generate mobile application installs within the Google ad network to web users”, according to Wikipedia.
How do they work? Potential advertisers bid on the keywords they want and a clickable ad appears in Google search results for that keyword (or phrase, in the case of longtail keywords). The advertiser pays Google when someone click on the ads. The cost per click depends upon how competitive the market is for that keyword or phrase. Thus the advice to practice a niche area of law, or some area of law that is underserved in your location.
Again, this is something your SEO strategist will do for you.
DO keep track of the performance of your online marketing strategies.
DON’T just assume your website and SEO is as effective as it can be in reaching potential clients.
If you have a website you can access Google Analytics, which logs how viewers behave when they land on your site. This information shows you how effective your online marketing efforts are. It is important to stay on top of this as the Google AI and ranking factors evolve – certain aspects of your site structure or content may require tweaking as a result. Once again, your SEO strategist will monitor this for you.
Best of luck in marketing your business online!