Let’s start out with a few eye-popping statistics:
- Over 90% of all law firm websites fail to deliver any kind of personalized content geared to their target audience.
- Over 95% of people seeking legal advice use the internet first to find answers.
- Less than 35% of law firm websites are optimized for mobile devices, though almost 40% of all law firm related traffic comes from searches on smartphones.
- Over 70% of people who begin a legal search online, end up contacting a law office or attorney via phone.
- People earning over $150,000 per year are most likely to find a lawyer through an Internet search!
Marketing your law firm today is much different than it was even ten years ago. Since the advent of the Internet, prospective clients have taken control and are now doing their own research online, long before they ever reach out and talk to a law firm or attorney. This shift has changed how firms need to both market themselves and interact with potential clients in order to be successful.
Research shows that people now go to the web on their own with legal questions. They want to get a feel for their legal issues and begin to have their specific challenges addressed and questions answered before they speak with an attorney. If your law firm doesn’t address these pain points, you’re going to fall behind your competition. It has become crucial for law firms and attorneys to identify, anticipate, and satisfy the requirements of both their current and potential clients before the phone call is even made.
What is inbound marketing?
Traditional or outbound marketing, is no longer as effective as it used to be. Think about how easy it is to skip commercials, change the channel, or toss out unsolicited ads and flyers. People no longer want to be “interrupted” or have messaging pushed out at them.
Inbound marketing for law firms does just the opposite. It is about attracting new clients instead of fighting for their attention, by offering them free content that’s relevant, valuable, and engaging… content that educates, answers their questions and concerns. It doesn't take the place of legal advice, but builds trust and lays the foundation for a relationship with potential clients, well before they even contact your firm. One of inbound marketing’s strengths is to portray you as an expert and thought-leader in your area of law. Your target audience will now seek out your information because you’ve become an authority. That’s what inbound marketing is all about - creating value to attract law firm clients like a magnet.
5 Tips to begin a successful inbound strategy
Create an effective law firm website
Over 90% of law firms have a website. What can you do to stand out from the competition and drive more and better visitors down the path to becoming new clients? Your website is the hub of everything you do and one of your most important marketing assets. It should showcase your attorneys, as well as the services you offer and how you work with clients. It should be the go-to website for potential clients seeking information about your practice areas and possibly their case, as well as a strong resource for visitors.
Make your website into an effective lead generation machine. Your firm’s website is crucial to the success of your marketing strategy and should be much more than just an online brochure. It should be considered your law firm’s best performing “salesperson” and will establish you as an authority and thought-leader for both your existing and potential clients. This is where the magic happens…where prospective clients come looking for trust, answers to questions, and more information.
Getting new clients is already challenging. Don’t make it even more difficult by having a useless website that sends potential clients running to the competition.
Use content to connect with your target audience
Content marketing is about connecting with your ideal client without selling. It’s not about pushing or pitching information to advertise your law firm and its services. It’s about delivering valuable information, knowledge, news, and relevant insights to raise your firm’s profile and help prospective clients make a better, informed decision when choosing a law firm. Developing relevant, unique content that engages potential clients is hard work. Valuable content answers the questions prospective clients are asking, attracts visitors, and builds trusts and credibility. Remember, you’re writing for consumers, not the search engines, and not for other attorneys, so lose the jargon and legalese and be thoughtful and informative.
Blogging and articles are great ways to get information out to your potential clients, but content doesn’t just have to be written. Mix it up. Add video, images, memes, eBooks, infographics, and Powerpoint presentations. Even written content can be more interesting when you change up the format. Try out new ways of reaching potential clients, like Q&As, checklists, and newsletters. Don’t be afraid to provide free information and insights about relevant, timely topics that would be of interest to your target audience.
Really great content:
- is written for your target audience, ideal potential clients, and not your peers.
- is shareable ( are social sharing buttons readily available?)
- can be scanned quickly - short paragraphs, bold text, bullet points, numbered lists, quotes and so on to make the text easy on the eyes and easy to digest quickly.
- uses strong titles and headlines - Create enticing, actionable titles that use keywords strategically and naturally.
- anticipates your prospective client's hopes, fears and concerns.
- is better than currently ranked pages - Check out the competition. Review the pages that are currently ranking well for target keywords and work to make your content better.
Engaging content will improve the visibility of your law firm in the search engine results, increase traffic, generate more leads, and convert more visitors into paying clients. Statistics show that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and advertising and generates about 3 times as many leads. Conversion rates are nearly 6 times higher for law firms using content marketing than other forms of advertising.
Build a social media presence
Your law firm needs to create strong, relevant content that’s interesting and engaging, and follow it up with social posts that brings value to your target audience and captures their imagination. Go where your ideal clients are spending their time. Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. It helps build brand awareness and authority. It’s a great way to get content from your website in front of potential clients. Social media can help you develop new business relationships and warm up leads during your prospective client’s buyer’s journey. A strong social media presence, on the right platforms, will help your law firm generate new business and increase revenues.
So what does your law firm need to do?
- Get out there and build strong law firm pages on the appropriate platforms.
- Use multiple channels to reach your audience.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Search for connections.
- Join groups and participate in discussions.
- Check out who’s viewed your profiles and connect with them.
- Comment on other’s posts.
- Share, like, follow, and retweet interesting and relevant posts.
- Be helpful and insightful.
- Try paid ads; they’re inexpensive, targeted, and give you more reach.
- Have a clear focus and show you’re the expert.
- If you want to become a thought-leader and build your brand, jump in with both feet; nothing happens if you stand on the sidelines and watch.
Get out of your comfort zone. Start connecting. Build new relationships and reinforce old ones. Start a dialogue. Build a community. Reach out and engage and you’ll build a great law firm presence online that will bring new clients in the door.
Establish trust and credibility through reviews
Law firms have traditionally relied on word-of-mouth referrals to get new clients in the door. But the landscape has changed and there is now a new, modern version to the word-of-mouth concept: online reviews. We’ve all seen those gold stars when searching for a product, service, or provider and they have impact. Consumers now read reviews to judge and compare local businesses, and that includes law firms and attorneys. It’s safe to say that the next time a new client finds you, it will likely be via an Internet search, probably on a cell phone, and it will include the phrase “reviews.”
Reviews often form the first, and sometimes only impression prospective clients have about an attorney or firm. So, whether you have good reviews, bad reviews, or even no reviews, your potential clients, searching for legal help online, will develop an impression of your law firm that can affect their decision to hire you.
Smart, proactive law firms take control of their online marketing and make the effort to translate what happy clients have to say into their overall web presence to present the best possible impression to prospective clients looking for legal help. Positive reviews from your former clients give prospects confidence in your ability to solve their legal troubles.
Set up and claim your Google My Business listing and take advantage of Google reviews, as well as other popular and legal review sites like Yelp, FindLaw, Martindale, and AVVO. Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied clients to review your law firm and make it easy for them to do so. Strong online reviews will help your law firm stand out from the competition and find new clients. But, reviews also keep your name, law firm, and services in front of existing clients. A few facts:
- 92% of searchers read online reviews.
- 88% of consumers trust reviews as much or more than a personal recommendation.
- Over 40% of potential clients form an opinion about your law firm by reading just 1-3 reviews.
- Over 43% of potential clients search for law firms by reviews.
- Almost 50% of consumers will visit a law firm’s website after reading positive reviews.
- 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a law firm more.
- Only 13% of potential clients consider using a law firm with only 1 or 2 star rating.
- And most importantly: The star rating is the #1 factor used by consumers to judge a law firm.
Measure, tweak, repeat
The beauty of inbound marketing is that it’s transparent and trackable. But in order to learn what is working, and what’s not, you need to continually track your progress. With the help of analytics and other metrics tools, you can monitor what’s working well, where you’re succeeding, and what areas need improvement. Reporting and metrics can tell you many powerful things like:
- how many people are coming to your website
- where they’re coming from
- what pages they’re visiting
- what actions they took (submit a form, download an eBook or whitepaper, filled out a survey)
- did they use a mobile device
- if they are following you on the social platforms
- if they are reading and/or subscribing to your blog
- and much more
Remember…what gets measured, gets managed. A good reporting process is not only a way of measuring success, it’s a valuable decision-making tool for your law firm. If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.
How do you appeal to, attract, and retain clients?
A comprehensive inbound marketing strategy empowers your firm to create valuable content that both engages and educates your target audience and ideal clients. It helps your firm build credibility and trust and convince a potential client of your knowledge and expertise, all while nurturing them down the path to becoming clients. Best of all, it helps your firm set itself apart from the competition. This enables you to focus your time and money on the best legal marketing techniques to meet and often exceed your growth goals.
Located in McLean, Virginia, just minutes from Washington, DC, Bethesda, MD, and all of Northern Virginia (NoVA) we have been helping businesses locally, and across the U.S., leverage digital marketing since 2003. Our mission is to help our clients grow their revenue and brand awareness with strategies that integrate outstanding websites, valuable content, a strong social media presence, and state of the art advertising and promotion.
With industry veterans possessing over 30 years of experience in translating technology into business tools, we have the background to guide you through the process of building traffic, sites and sales through all your web properties.