Create a Legal Marketing Internet System for Less Than $400
No matter how much I harp on the need for diversity in law firm marketing, attorneys still come to me looking for a way to attract clients via the internet.
And they want this to cost them nothing.
In reality, there is nothing in business that does not cost you one or more of the following: Time, Heartache or Money.
You invest financially, emotionally and/or physically in just about every aspect of your business.
But I have developed a system you can use to attract clients via the internet with some effort and a little financial investment.
In the audio program below I outline this system and I give you the costs of each component and the vendor you can use.
I do everything except serve coffee and dessert.
Listen now because I’m going to take this podcast down soon.
I use this system myself. It includes no SEO “tricks” and no “link building.” It is relationship development applied to the internet world.
Listen to it today, right now, because I’m going to pull it down in a few days.
My clients tell me I give away too many of my secrets in these articles so I’m going to start putting an expiration date on some of them.
This one will expire in 2 weeks.
How Lawyers Get Quality Clients With Internet Marketing
Can a lawyer get quality clients with internet marketing?
The answer is “yes.”
But not how some of the gurus would have you believe
There are underutilized strategies for using the internet to successfully attract quality clients.
Let’s be clear on what the internet does for you.
It creates visibility.
It helps you develop credibility.
It differentiates you from everyone else who does what you do.
If lawyers marketing their services on the internet focus on these three things they will attract quality clients.
Here’s what I mean:
Visibility is making sure people know who you are, what you do and how you can help them.
You should have your own blog and you should post an article on it at least once each week. But don’t stop there. Offer to write articles for other (preferably high traffic) on line publications. Also offer to write white papers and articles for industry trade publications. On your biography for all of these writing assignments make sure you include a link back to your blog.
Traffic from publishing your written work on the internet will build over time.
You should also record regular videos. Post these videos on your Youtube channel and to your blog. Review the transcript for these videos once it is published on Youtube. Make sure it is accurate. Youtube is the second most popular search engine today and your videos will increase your visibility.
Podcasting can also help you increase your visibility. People regularly search podcasts on iTunes and via Google play. Having your podcast available in those search venues will increase your visibility.
Credibility comes from the quality of your content. If you offer quality content to your readers, viewers and listeners, you will build credibility. Your body of work will be a testament to your knowledge.
Regularly creating quality content is not easy. You have to invest time and energy in the research and production of the content.
Differentiation is difficult to convey in an online setting. Again, the quality of your content will help in this area. If you educate your audience and provide them with excellent insight into your area of expertise, you will begin to differentiate yourself.
The volume and depth of information you share will, at minimum, provide a prospective client with the opportunity to compare you with other lawyers marketing themselves. High quality content is a differentiator.
The internet is a great place to showcase your talent and knowledge. Focus on visibility, credibility and differentiation and it will serve you well.
If you found this article helpful, here are three additional articles you must read:
There are three ways to use the internet to attract clients as a lawyer. The right way, the wrong way and the way you are currently doing things. If you have the desire to get more clients from the internet, read this article.
If you like attracting clients you need to pay attention to the internet. But paying attention should not include selling out all your other marketing initiatives to use the internet to attract clients.
This is the six month initiative I use to help my clients boost their online marketing. If you want to improve your client attraction via the internet, take this challenge.
In Law Firm Marketing The Internet is a Seductive Mistress
There is a cunning and seductive mistress looking to captivate you and lure you into her lair. She will romance you and entice you to invest in her, financially and emotionally. And for a time things will be good. For a time you will be rewarded with a blissful relationship.
But she is a fickle mistress. And one day, without warning, it will all be over. No more romance. No more happiness. Just emptiness left where once a beautiful and productive relationship thrived.
In law firm marketing this cunning and seductive mistress is the Internet. Many lawyers are doing well, some very well, by sourcing clients exclusively through the Internet. They use Pay Per Click advertising (if they have a substantial budget) and Search Engine Optimization techniques. Both of these strategies are designed to deliver their webpage to the person who is searching for their services at exactly the right time. And they work… until…
Well let’s start at the beginning:
The Internet has replaced the Yellow Pages as the medium many people use when they need help resolving a legal issue. People looking for a lawyer go to a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing) and they type in what they are looking for. The phrase they type is called a Keyword. They may type in: Criminal Lawyer Chicago or Probate Attorney Memphis or Marijuana Possession Chicago or Lawyer Who Writes Wills Memphis.
After they hit enter on the search engine screen, millions of pages will pop up with content that matches the keyword phrase the prospective client typed in. The pages show up with 10 results on each page. The results appear in the order of the best match to the keyword phrase (as determined by a sophisticated formula that varies by search engine). Also appearing on each page (on the top and on the right side) are listings that are paid advertisements. These appear in order based upon the amount people have invested in an auction. The more the attorney bids, the more favorable the placement of the advertisement.
Search Engine Optimization is the process that people use to attempt to control the natural (also called organic) listings. Pay Per Click Advertising is the term used to describe the auction process.
Many attorneys have become hooked on this new, sophisticated, interactive version of the Yellow Pages. They spend huge amounts of money with consultants, advertising companies and engineers working on getting their website on to the first page of the search engine results for the most popular keywords used to describe their services.
This strategy works. Particularly for attorneys who work with consumers. Immigration attorneys, criminal attorneys, divorce attorneys, personal injury attorneys all love the Internet because it allows the anonymous searcher to find them and engage them in a nonthreatening way.
While I agree that Internet marketing should be a component in a law firm marketing plan, it should only be ONE component. Why? Simply because it is dynamic. It changes constantly. If used as a sole source of client attraction, it leaves your entire marketing plan dependent upon the whim of the search engines. If the search formula changes from one day to the next, your Internet presence can go from first page to third page and you go from getting 30 new clients in one month to zero the next month.
You must have diversity in your legal marketing plan. The rule I use with my clients is the rule of ten percent. This means that they should get no more than ten percent of their clients from any one form of media. Which means they need at least ten different ways to attract a client.
Are you having trouble thinking of ten ways to attract clients? Let me help you:
1). Search Engine Optimization and/or Pay Per Click Internet Advertising
2). Speaking at Local Events
3). Writing Articles in Local Publications
4). Networking in Organized Groups (BNI, Chamber of Commerce, Industry Organizations)
5). Publishing a Print and/or Email Newsletter
6). Being Quoted as an Expert in the Local Media
7). Taking a Leadership Role in a Charitable or Civic Organization
8). Starting a Mentor Group for Young Lawyers Who Will Potentially Refer Business to You
9). Sending Educational Direct Mail to your Target Market
10). Writing and Publishing Educational Advertorials in Local or Industry Trade Publications
Notice there are nine methods on this list that do not include the Internet. And this is just the beginning. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of other strategies that can be employed to attract clients.
My point on this issue is simple. If you have the budget, invest in the Internet BUT make sure it is only one portion of your overall marketing plan. If it is more than ten percent of your time, money and effort, you not only give up control of your potential client flow, you risk losing it all.
The Truth About Search Engine Marketing for Law Firms
Many of the self appointed watchdogs of law firm marketing have been screaming, yelling and jumping up and down about search engine marketing and its use by law firms. The issue many folks have with search engine marketing centers around the use of services that provide links to your website from related sites.
Search engines view inbound links as a measure of a website’s importance and relevance. These services (based primarily in India and the Philippines) control hundreds of sites with legal content and, for a fee, they will link back to your law firm website from those sites. Over time, these links will help boost your search engine ranking.
Search engine algorithms place a high value on inbound links because they should determine relevance and credibility. If someone likes your content and they link to it, this should indicate that it is valuable. Unfortunately, link building (paying for links) has become so prevalent that it is almost impossible to compete without purchasing links in one form or another. While good content may receive 20 or 30 “true” links over a one year time period, a link building service can generate that many links to your website in less than a month.
Search engines have added some safeguards to try and detect and ban sites that use these services. Google has been known to demote sites that add too many links quickly (using speed as a measure of suspicious activity). In addition, several links from the same site will devalue the power of those links in the algorithmic formula). These measures, while minimally effective will still make it difficult for individual websites to compete with those who subscribe to link building services.
Is it worth it?
Should you use a link building service to help with search engine marketing? There is no easy answer to this question. Link building will certainly help your website place better in search engine ranking but if you do not know how to leverage that traffic or how to qualify those inquiries, you may be wasting valuable resources. In addition, these services can often take one year or longer to have any significant impact on your website’s position.
You are better off using the money you would spend on link building to help you deepen your relationships within your community. Take a few hundred dollars each month and host a breakfast at your office for some of your key referral sources. Build your true local relationships and you will get at least as many good referrals as you would from the additional Internet traffic.
Search engine marketing is important. You can influence you position in the rankings by writing good content on your blog frequently. While this will be a slow process and you probably won’t be number one in the search engine ranking game, but you also won’t have any concerns about a change in algorithm or being banned for building links. And your budget won’t take a hit as a result of investing in something that may never pay off.
Marketing for Attorneys and The Magic Beans
Marketing for attorneys is just like Jack and the Beanstalk. Every attorney I meet wants to plant the magic beans, go to sleep and wake up with a beanstalk that will lead him to a beautiful place in the sky that contains untold riches. Of course there is a giant who guards this place and he enjoys eating attorneys who climb the beanstalk. Occasionally, one or two attorneys will make it down from the beanstalk with the hen that lays the golden eggs. But most of them spend a lot of time and money and in the end; they get devoured by the giant.
In marketing for attorneys, the magic beans are their website. The attorneys believe you plant the seeds, go to sleep and wake up with a vehicle that will lead the clients to your doorstep. In a few cases, this actually happens. But in most cases, fees, costs, and unforeseen expenses (the giant) beat you up pretty well before you even sniff any gold.
Don’t get me wrong, a website is a critically important tool in marketing for attorneys. You must include it in your arsenal but success doesn’t happen overnight. Here are four things you must do if you want your website to deliver qualified clients to your doorstep:
Post New Articles at Least Three Times per Week
Static web pages are as useless as brochures. (In case you didn’t know, I hate brochures. They provide no value and they only enrich the printers who sell them to you.) You must have dynamic content on your website and it must be updated a few times each week to drive your webpage to the top of search engine rankings. The articles you post do not need to be long but fresh content is critical.
Focus the Content on the Client
Don’t write about you and your firm. Someone who just arrived at your website is searching for help in solving a problem. Write about solutions to problems. You must enter the conversation that is going on in your client’s mind. Provide the information the client needs and he will check out your background once he sees what you can do for him. This doesn’t just apply to the Internet; it is a fundamental principle of marketing for attorneys.
Offer Information for Free in Return for Contact Info
The thing that separates your website from a brochure is the response device. This is a little section on the website where you offer information in return for the client’s contact information. It can be in the form of a little box at the top of the page that says: “Enter your first name and email address for my free report titled: ‘Five Things You Need to Know About Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer’” or whatever your practice area may be.
Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up
Marketing for attorneys is all about follow-up. The web is no different than any other media. Once you get a lead you need to call and email that person within 24 hours. After your initial contact, if they don’t ask to come into your office for a consultation, you should keep them on your mailing list forever. That’s right. I said forever. Your goal is to be the FIRST and ONLY attorney they think of when they have an issue in your area of expertise.
In marketing for attorneys there are no magic beans but your website can eventually help you live happily ever after.