In Law Firm Marketing The Internet is a Seductive Mistress

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Multiple Ways to Get Clients with Law Firm MarketingThere 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.