This article originally appeared as part of Law Quill's LinkedIn Newsletter and can be found here.
Remember the days when attorneys simply practiced law or businesses simply sold things? These days are different, with more competition and the need for savvy marketing to set your business apart. If a business or law firm is going to get noticed, it has to develop a solid marketing structure. With a little planning, your marketing efforts can increase your law firm’s traffic, grow its client base, and expand its profits. Will this be the year you focus on your digital firm marketing plan and watch it propel your business to greater success? Here are 20 tips to get you started with your SEO.
1. Set Smart Goals For Your SEO
You have heard it before: set goals first. Although this step may feel like it slows down your momentum, it is a necessary task — one that will make everything easier. Make sure your goals are SMART, that is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. You may decide to create separate marketing plans for the law firm, specific practice groups, as well as the individual lawyers in your company. It may help to assign one person to take charge of your marketing efforts; smaller law firms or businesses may decide to give this task to the office manager, law firm administrator or secretary.
2. Focus In
The most successful companies tend to focus their marketing efforts, and this is especially important for small law firm marketing. In competitive markets (like the legal industry) Google tends to reward laser-focused websites that focus on a narrow niche of expertise. Do not try to be everything, because it will hamper your SEO efforts and get too expensive as well. When you zero in on a single area of law practice and target a specific geographic market, you may see successful results faster.
3. Define Your Brand as Part of Your SEO
If your law firm or business is steeped in a competitive legal market, you need to stand out. This is where branding comes in. Creating a brand is a strategic way to let consumers recognize you at an instant, perceive what you offer and understand who you are. Developing your brand is a good initial step to take before you set out with other marketing efforts, because your brand will speak for you in every platform you explore.
4. Polish Up Your Website
One important aspect of marketing is hosting an engaging, hospitable website. It takes effort and money to woo visitors to your site, and once they arrive, you want solid content, relevant answers and consumer friendly touches to keep them there. Evaluate your website to make sure that it is:
- Mobile friendly
- Quick to load
- Visually appealing
- Loaded with quality content
- Optimized for search engines
- Flowing with calls to action
- Consistently updated
5. Choose Local Keywords
Using local keywords and phrases are crucial for any successful SEO efforts. Local keywords help search engines find your website more easily, so help the search bots by adding informative localized material to your website and Google My Business listing. Check your profile to make sure that your basic office and website information is correct and consistent in every place your law firm can be found.
6. Start a Blog (REPEAT: Start. A. Blog.)
A blog provides a stage for you to spotlight your knowledge, publish client stories and highlight your brand. Offering quality content is a dependable way to draw people to your website, but it also assists your SEO efforts. Your blog posts should be loaded with value and readability — not packed with chunks of text. Consider creating content that can be easily skimmed and posts that are peppered with appealing visuals. Your blog can offer what potential clients are searching for: a solution to their unique situation. Consider outsourcing your blog to an experienced digital marketing agency that can help you with your SEO.
7. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business is a free and valuable feature, so take advantage of this space for your law firm. Google uses your completed profile, along with all other available information about your law firm, to assess the value and reliability of your company on the internet. If you are not already plugged in to Google My Business, you should claim your space and complete your profile as soon as possible. A load of information about your law firm or business will be showcased, including:
- The exact name of your company
- A concise description of your law firm
- A link to your website
- Directions to your office
- Hours of operation
- Contact information
- Client ratings and reviews
- Frequently asked questions
8. Profile Your Law Firm In Legal Directories
Legal directories are beneficial for any small law firm marketing plan. Start by listing your law firm’s information, and confirm that every detail is consistent with your Google My Business listing, website and social media profile. Anywhere people might be looking for an attorney is where your law firm should be listed, and here are some prominent spots to profile yourself:
- Yellow Pages
9. Monitor Your Online Reputation
Reviews can be a mixed bag. Positive ratings can be exhilarating, but negative ones can be discouraging. Managing your online reviews is a crucial part of marketing, and potential clients highly value peer reviews when considering which law firm to hire. Even the negative reviews can be used to show consumers your professionalism and diplomacy, so always respond to the reviews– even the critical ones. Sites rank higher when they have a high number of positive reviews, so keep encouraging your clients to leave a review and thank them when they do.
10. Tap Into Email Marketing
Creating and maintaining a current email list can be a tedious task, but it is a crucial inventory of all of your client base. Email is a powerful marketing tool, so consider using email campaigns in your small law firm marketing plan. Email reaches everyone, every time, and it offers an incredible ROI. Email marketing can bring exponential gains, potentially as high as $32 in return for every $1 spent. Email drip campaigns and regular newsletters can be employed to highlight your past successes, leadership in the industry, and ongoing law firm news and events.
11. Use Social Media To Enhance Your SEO
If your law firm or business has not started using social media, it may be time to jump in. Used wisely, social media has incredible benefits. Your competitors are probably already out there using it, because it is a powerful way to announce a brand and gather traffic and leads. However, it is important to start with the social media channel that reaches your target audience, since different social media outlets reach different people. Jumping into every social media platform can be overwhelming, because you must consistently offer your followers high-quality, regular posts. Using social media in a smart way can allow your small law firm SEO marketing to soar. If you are unsure where to start with social media, contact us! Law Quill now provides full social media marketing services to enhance your SEO.
12. Invest in Ads
There is a time and place for ads. Remember, buying ads is like buying apples, and working on organic marketing is like planting apple trees! However, Google Adwords and social media ad campaigns can both be key strategies. Pay per click advertising has advantages, such as: immediate results, control over your budget and paying only when consumers click.
13. Review and Refine Your SEO
Google Analytics is something you should consistently monitor, and reviewing your data will help you improve your small law firm marketing efforts. After reviewing the information, you can discern how your followers and readers are responding to your content, and you can tweak your posts and pages accordingly.
14. Connect With the Community
When you become involved at community events, make sure every interaction promotes your company/law firm name and brand. This creates visibility, which translates into leads. Any volunteer efforts require a genuine spirit of charity first and foremost, with marketing goals a close second.
15. Teach Others
The concept of giving to others instead of selling your services may seem counterproductive, but it is an important part of content marketing. Be generous with your offered content and focus on your target client. Teach them what they want to know, not what you would like them to know. Use an FAQ page on your website to determine what questions are occupying the thoughts of your current and prospective clients. Then, address these concerns as website articles and blog posts.
16. Write and Publish
Blog posts and website articles are key ways to educate and give guidance to potential clients. Along with these, consider writing an ebook to get your law firm’s name out there in the marketplace. You can also showcase your authority by guest blogging and writing articles for a community newspaper, or by writing a piece for your law school’s newsletter. All of these publications can link back to your website and blog, which helps your marketing efforts.
17. Be A Leader
Grasping a leadership mindset at the office is one key way to bring awareness of your brand and vision to everyone on the team. There are several ways to foster leadership within your law firm:
- Develop an effective management team
- Seek input from colleagues
- Coach others
- Take smart risks
- Make and stick with tough decisions
- Deal directly with issues
- Hold every team member accountable for their actions
- Bring organizational change when needed
- Develop problem solving skills
- Model and encourage a positive company culture
18. Reach Out To Your Clients and Customers
Your clients and customers are your gold mine: your income source, channel for happy reviews and one key way to gain future referrals. Take care of your clients and customers by meeting with them, learning about their company or thanking them for their business. Consider starting a client advisory forum that meets regularly to listen to and learn from client feedback. If applicable, start a new niche based on current client needs.
19. Watch the Trends
You cannot bend to every trend that comes along, but it is crucial for small law firm marketing to keep an eye on new ways to proceed with digital advertising. Some of them have already been mentioned, such as social media and content marketing, but here are some additional trends that are already proving important for 2021:
- SEO in Spanish
- Google Search Ads in Spanish
- Video Marketing
- Voice Search Optimization
- All pages and sites mobile-friendly
20. Get Professional Help
Do not be hesitant to get professional help in areas such as content writing, website design and video marketing. Hiring a professional may be the smartest investment you make, and it ensures that your efforts will provide the most engaging content and images in order to reach your potential clients.
How Law Quill Can Help
Founded by an attorney of 20 years, Law Quill understands SEO. If you are considering digital marketing but are not sure where to start, Law Quill can provide the resources you need to make the best decisions for the future of your business. Consider reaching out to schedule an appointment today, listen to the Legal Marketing Lounge podcast, or check out the bestselling book Click Magnet: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide For Law Firms from Amazon today!
About the Author
Annette Choti, Esq. has over twenty years of combined legal and digital marketing experience. She founded Law Quill, a full-service digital marketing agency for law firms and businesses in the United States and Canada. Annette is a sought-after CLE and keynote speaker for Bar Associations and legal events throughout North America. She creates and hosts the Legal Marketing Lounge podcast, and is the author of the bestselling book, Click Magnet: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide For Law Firms. Annette used to do theatre and professional comedy, which is not so far from the law, if we are all being honest.