Last time, I discussed how to optimize your firm’s SEO practices. As a law firm, the usual standards for blogging don’t apply to you. Of course, interesting content and catchy imagery are still appreciated and a necessity, but there’s more to blog about than the everyday hustle and bustle of legal life. I have talked about blogs a few times, both in relation to online marketing and in relation to content strategies, but what I want to talk about today is how you can make your blog a living part of your practice.
Making A Mark On Your Niche
A blog is a tool but it is also a means of communicating, not only with your clients, but also with your community and the other legal minds in your field of law. Now, if you have been reading along, you will remember my article from the 21st, titled, “Building Your Brand By Becoming An Authority.”This was all about how becoming an authority in your field can increase your chances of being recognized as a firm and as an individual. Well, you can begin building an authority in your blog. Shout Me Loud says:
Every day thousands of Blogs and micro blogs are added and almost 90% of them you will never hear. Reason being, the way they start, it’s the same way they extinguish. Even Google has understood the importance of a Blog Credibility and they started pushing the credible blogs in search engine ranking.
Rather than simply using your blog to add a higher word count to your website and be noticed by Google and other search engines for new and relevant content, try to make that content count toward your firm’s credibility in terms of writing something that is worth publishing in a legal magazine or book.
Use The Authority Of Others
Still in keeping with the theme of authority, creating a blog that contributes to the life of your business means not only proving that you know what you are talking about, but that you are interacting and taking the advice of others who are also authorities in your field of law. In other words, by linking yourself to “celebrities” in the field of law, you can endorse your firm, the same way that a cereal brand makes itself more appealing by putting a professional athlete in the box. Mashable.com states:
Blogging is all about networking, not marketing. Be it interviews, quoting the work of others or even comments, use the blog as a way to introduce yourself to new people.
It is important to make sure that this information being shared is still genuine and credible. It is nice to have a well-known figure to reinforce your own brand, but it will count for very little if the content being shared doesn’t keep with the theme of your business and the rest of your blog. Remember, we aren’t trying to market; we are trying to network.
There are a number of blog tips to be found online and through marketing firms, but be sure that the tips you take are going to propel you forward in terms of what benefits your clients, not just your financial ledger. Blog content doesn’t need to be highly intellectual, but it does have to reflect subjects that new and current clients might be looking to learn more about. Use your best judgment when choosing stories to publish, quotes to include, and even photos and videos you post.
Nothing goes unnoticed on the internet when it comes to building a blog, even those early updates which you are sure nobody took the time to read. If a client should go back and check on earlier subjects, you could get caught with some spam in your history that could create negative associations for your firm.
Last time, I focused on how Google Trends can be a powerful SEO tool. Meanwhile, I often discuss the potential of social media in the legal field, particularly because of how many firms still avoid it in fear of Facebook or Twitter usage reflecting insincerity. Today, I want to talk not only about why these platforms can be helpful, but how you, as a lawyer, can use them to your advantage.
Over the years, businesses have evolved, and this includes the practice of law. Many businesses can function almost entirely online, and while this might not be plausible for all companies, there is certainly something to be said for using the tools available to you in the best possible way, whether it’s video marketing, pay per click advertising, higher quality web design, or social media.
One thing that Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have in common is their ability to communicate with your clients and monitor potential legal infractions. In past updates, I have discussed the use of social media as a tool to share info and promote your practice, but what if you used it for more than just self-promotion? The American Bar Association states:
Used carefully, social media can give your firm a voice, amplify your professional reputation, and help drive new business. But that isn’t the whole story with social media. Social media now represents a ripe source of electronic evidence for litigators and potential sources of risk for those advising businesses.
In the past, almost all of the promotional activity for law firms came through word of mouth. One client would share with another client, or a partner in a practice would hand out a business card or two at a social function. Now, you almost need to think about these online accounts as though they are the social functions you are attending. Don’t just post stories and photos, talk to your potential clients through comments, liking, sharing their posts, and even private messages.
Handling Public Relations
Marketing yourself as an upstanding law firm means being an authority in your industry, and that can only be obtained through public recognition. About a decade ago, all of these supportive official documents would come in the form of professional publications, magazines, newspapers, and articles from educational institutions. Now, this same recognition can be found online. Legal Marketing Review explains:
Public relations has changed radically in the last few years. Social media is now a significant part of public relations. When you reach out to journalists you are now often reaching out to bloggers and a common way to do so is through Twitter. Journalists no longer have time to read traditional press releases.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just positive recognition you need to worry about in terms of social media and what the online world has to say about you. Social media can play a huge role in quality control in terms of keeping negativity to a minimum or crushing it all together. If you are aware and present in social media, you can help journalists, potential clients, local businesses, and the world to view you in the way that you want your firm to be viewed.
Don’t Depend On Your Account
Social media may be able to help you communicate with customers, monitor legal issues that may arise with those whom you are advising, and promote your firm among journalists, but it isn’t a magic wand. Simply opening an account isn’t enough to build a following and create a market for yourself. You must manage it properly, and use other resources as well.
I have mentioned before that social media is one of the best ways to share with potential clients you may not have reached yet, but it isn’t the only way. To be smart with social media means not only using it effectively, but using it in combination with other methods of marketing and customer interaction. You can make a bigger impact on your local community by using your account to participate in events and community activities than by simply posting informational videos and links to your blog.
Recently, we discussed the importance of preparing for the next trend in search engine optimization. We cannot sit back and expect that everything will go smoothly even if we’ve covered all of the basics. But it always helps to go back to the basics from time to time to make sure that everything is on the right track.
While anyone who has been concentrating their efforts on online marketing understands that without good content, you’re pretty much ‘dead in the water,’ there is much more involved in moving up the search engine rankings than having good content. Your goal may be to bring in more organic traffic, but to do that there is a lot of background work that must be done. According to SearchEngineWatch.com,
Creating a great piece of content that will perform well in search engines can be a time-consuming task. To ensure that your content will drive organic search traffic to your website, you must optimize it from start to finish, inside and out.
This fact may be of major concern to many lawyers who may not have the expertise to handle content marketing well, but there is a way to simplify the process. By using several tools found online, even a novice at content marketing can find success.
How to Come Up With Content Ideas
Some may not be intuitive enough to come up with useful ideas for content on their own. Because of that, more than likely when it comes to creating content, they’ll delegate that responsibility to someone else, usually a marketing team or professional on their staff. While these professionals certainly have something to contribute to the task, there are many things that a lawyer can do to create valuable content without having to go outside of his comfort zone.
One way to do this is by establishing yourself as an expert in your field, not your company. By using this information to demonstrate your unique blend of knowledge and expertise you can make sure that your firm gets the kind of attention it needs. As they explain at Slaw.com,
Too much of marketing is still too promotional and too focused on the firm, rather than on the audience the firm is trying to reach with its marketing. The lawyers in your firm are the subject matter experts. The lawyers are the ones involved with clients daily; answering their questions, solving their problems and advocating for their interests.
When you are creating content for your blog or site, rather than hiring someone to talk about you and your talents, instead you can share your knowledge with the consumer directly, creating a bond that will build up their trust in you and your talents.
Consider the Value
The secret to success in boosting your online rankings is to help the consumer to see the value in your services. Unlike retail businesses online where they have a product to promote, lawyers have to promote their thinking ability and expertise. These are not always easy to show a potential client without the use of content.
The fact is that many lawyers concentrate their efforts on social media. This can be a very effective approach to bringing traffic to your site. However, it should not stop there. As they explain at Good2BSocial.com,
Law firms need to understand that social networks are content distribution channels where you can begin to form relationships and influence. However, if your firm is looking to develop trust, then the firm’s website and micro sites are the critical place to focus your efforts.
Marketing is not the same as advertising. In order for you to be successful at online marketing, you have to think beyond the basics. There are countless tools, strategies, and techniques you can use to draw traffic to yourself. However, by learning how to effectively implement your content, you’ll be adding another level to how well you’ll do in your business rankings.
In my last blog, I discussed how important it is to have an online marketing plan that goes beyond the basics. Meanwhile, search engine optimizers cannot work on their own, separate from the rest of the business world; to achieve the best success, it should be a team effort. Part of the reason for this is because the Internet is constantly evolving and there is much work involved in keeping up with the changing trends.
This can be a challenge for new business start-ups that often have to play a game of catch-up with those who have been controlling the top spots in ranking order in the search engines. But that seems about to change with the new strategies being implemented online today.
It seems that there are two trends that are appearing in the search engines. The first is the array of Google algorithms that are used to determine where each business ranks in the search engines. With these algorithms, sites can be carefully analyzed to see how well they meet with popular demand. Those that rate high enough on Google’s charts get to land higher up in the rankings.
The Social Search
One new alternative for improving rankings is through utilizing social networking strategies. According to SearchEngineWatch.com, these networking sites have successfully developed their own trends,
Social networking has created its own search language: the #hashtag. Rather than relying on search engines, people in the social sphere decide what’s not and throw a hashtag in front of it. If it clicks, more people put the hashtag in front of it, and then it becomes a trend and a way to search or get noticed on social networks.
This strategy is called the ‘social search’ and as they explain, while it may take months for a business to be identified through Google algorithms, when social search is applied, the recognition could happen instantaneously. This can be a major windfall for new businesses trying to get their foot in the door of Internet marketing.
New Domain Extensions
Another new option to help start-ups move further up the ranking is the new domain extensions. While there is little chance that the .com domain is going to fade into the sunset, new businesses can now choose a domain extension that could be based on their location, industry, or even their own personal interests.
These new extensions give businesses even more of an opportunity to be noticed by adding a completely new way to be identified by the consumer. If these new extensions take off, businesses will no longer be grouped together with other unrelated businesses simply because of their domain extension. Those in the construction industry could share a .build extension while another business may prefer to be identified by its location, .NYC for example.
This new strategy will give new start-ups a fighting chance when it comes to getting noticed online. Some experts say it will help to clear away much of the clutter and trim search results down to those businesses that are in a position to meet the consumer’s unique needs. As they explain in Bloomberg Business,
Small businesses that settled for long, hyphenated, or otherwise cumbersome .com addresses because their first choices were already taken might want to reserve their business name followed by their city, for instance, like johnsplumbing.nyc. Or their business name plus their industry, like tennispro.sports.
As the online world continues to expand at such an exponential rate, it can be difficult for new businesses to find their footing. But with these new strategies for getting noticed online, they no longer have to feel as if they’re constantly on an uphill climb in order to just reach the playing field with other more established businesses.
Last week, we discussed how important it is to build up your problem solving skills so you can get the most out of your search engine optimization. Being able to identify problems and issues and respond accordingly will help you to avoid losing valuable business while you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong.
Today, we’re going to go back to the basics of building up your online presence and getting recognized as a credible entity within your industry. This can end up being a pretty tall order for most businesses. With the millions of businesses online vying for the consumer’s attention, without a definable plan in place to push your business higher up in the rankings it’ll be like shooting at a target in the dark; you may hit your mark if you’re lucky but most likely not.
Most businesses understand the importance of having a marketing plan to boost their company’s image. Without a plan it could be difficult if not impossible to connect with new customers or to maintain a relationship with old ones. You need to develop some type of approach to help you build up a loyal following of your business. However, that may not be enough for you to attain to the goals you’ve set out for your company. As they explain at SearchEngineWatch.com,
You may already have some type of marketing program in place, but are you limiting yourself to the traditional platforms that include TV, print and radio?
One of the most common mistakes businesses make when it comes to building a marketing plan is failing to look for alternative options when it comes to creating a marketing plan. There are 4 specific elements you should consider implementing in order to get the most out of your plan.
It is a given, and most businesses will agree that without an online presence you won’t see much success in this modern technological age. Still, there are countless people out there who have a website but are still not able to drum up any new customers for their efforts. So, when all your hard work pays off and a prospective customer lands on your website, you must also consider what you have done to make sure he stays put until he does what you want him to do. This means ensuring that your website design is user-friendly, and is attractive enough to make visitors want to stay and see more.
With Google’s new algorithm that incorporates mobile devices, having a design that incorporates mobile response will be extremely beneficial. These will play a major role in following through on all your SEO efforts.
The purpose of search engine optimization is to push your business higher in the search engine rankings. Most consumers do not have the luxury of spending countless hours perusing a bunch of websites that are unrelated to their needs so it’s important to get your business to a place in the search engine where it can be found. With a solid SEO plan in place, you can make sure that your business stays at the top of your game. This will require you to keep up with the constantly changing algorithms that determine how your business is ranked.
There may be times when you feel like keeping up with Google’s constant changes are just too much, but as they explain at 360psg.com,
Although these changes may seem overwhelming, savvy web marketers know that if you understand the history and trends, you are better able to anticipate where the future of search engine marketing is heading.
By incorporating a few simple strategies for adapting to these changes, you can better manage the constant fluctuations of SEO with less stress.
Take Advantage of Your Freebies
Most businesses are marketing on a budget. Unless they are a major corporation shoveling billions of dollars around every year, it can be very difficult to keep marketing dollars under control. However, by utilizing the many social media outlets you can do wonders for getting your business name in front of the public eye without spending thousands of dollars. Simply by keeping up your business profile and interacting with your consumers, you have the opportunity to build a positive bond with your site’s visitors. According to the OnlineMarketingInstitute.org,
Google looks at social media as one of the ways to assign value to your site. How many people are talking about it? Are they talking positively or negatively? More importantly, who is talking about it – are the people considered experts or gurus in your field? Are these comments one-offs, or do conversations continue over time.
The answer to these questions can make a huge difference in how Google sees you and moves you up or down in the rankings.
Make Sure Your Advertising Efforts Are Aligned With Search Engines
To do this, it is important for you to take advantage of PPC and Banner advertising strategies. When your company name continues to appear on search engines and on various websites, your image will soon be readily recognized. Keeping your name in front of the public eye is one of the most important strategies you can implement when it comes to search engine optimization. This way, when consumers are actively looking for what your business offers, you won’t be so hard to find. This will not only move you up in the search engine rankings but will be an important tool in boosting your conversion rates as well.
While practicing law may be your key focus for being online, attracting consumers who need your legal expertise is your primary goal. There is an inherent need to master the game of search engine optimization to see the success rates you hope to accomplish. The web is a highly competitive place and the days are gone when just having an online presence was enough. You need to actively market your industry and put your business in a position where it can be readily recognized in the search engines.
By having an online marketing plan that goes beyond the basics, you’re building up your reputation in a way that will attract more business to your site and put you ahead of the competition.
Last time, I presented several vital online marketing tips for firms. But I should point out that marketing is not the huge commercial operation it once needed to be. Many businesses, and small to mid-sized law firms are now taking their online marketing into their own hands with DIY marketing techniques. Although many firms still rely on a few outside sources for their marketing needs, there are many ways by which you can help push your firm to the top of your local ladder, especially in terms of search engine rankings and traffic conversion success.
Keep on Top of the News
One way that you can take things one step further for your firm without seeking outside help is by tracking the news. Both local and national legal news can make a big impact on your authority within your niche. If clients and potential clients see that you are in the know about cases in the news, legal happenings, and the current laws, they are more likely to put their faith in you as a lawyer. Outbrain.com writes:
Keep your finger on the pulse of emerging issues in your niche and use them in a process called “news jacking.” This technique involves taking recent developments in your practice area, like an important court decision or issuance of a new regulation, and providing your own opinions and commentary to it.
This also helps to add a bit of genuine content to your website that will rank well with Google and other search engines that utilize this concept as a method within their algorithms. Writing about newsworthy occurrences in your own words, rather than simply copying and pasting articles will also earn you big points with clients and search engines.
Take Initiative and Mix Old Customs with New Marketing Methods
While the more traditional methods of law firm marketing warrant a lot of word of mouth promotion, it can be difficult to continuously advertise your firm without seeming to be showy or pushy. What you need to do is get people to know who you are without coming off as needy for their attention and recognition. ABA Journal says:
You don’t need to hand a business card to everyone you meet at a reception if it feels forced and desperate. Instead, get other people’s cards, and email your contact information afterward. There’s a better chance they will remember you.
By mixing this personal method of interaction with the more modern approach of email, you can leave an impression on those you meet, and offer the services of your firm without feeling forced or repetitive. You can write the e-mail in a fresh friendly way that includes your firm letterhead, while still providing personal banter on how nice it was to meet someone.
Blog and Use Social Media in Interesting Ways
I talk about blogging and social media constantly, but here is an interesting DIY marketing tip that will allow you a little more freedom with your Twitter or Facebook posts. Don’t just create a social media account for your firm to promote events and company interactions. You can also create a personal account for clients and public which includes the business side of your intentions with less stiff content as well. Michele R. J. Allinotte writes on the American Bar Association website suggesting:
Most of the blog posts, which I usually write weekly, are on legal topics relevant to my practice areas. But to keep things a bit lighter, on occasion I also post about personal or family things, upcoming events for community groups I’m involved with, and informative nonlegal articles of likely interest to site visitors.
By keeping things light, you offer clients the ability to see who you are as a person, and this makes you more human and trustworthy in the eyes of those whom you will work with. However, remember not to post things that are too outlandish or extreme as this may scare potential clients away.
Last Friday, I talked about Google’s addition of mobile app data to its Search Console, which was another development for mobile-friendly websites. Meanwhile, I usually have something specific to touch on when updating my marketing concepts for law firms to follow but this week there are a number of things I want to discuss that are becoming really crucial this year. 2015 has brought about a few changes in Google algorithms already, which I have discussed in length in other posts, and with these changes, the online marketing world is beginning to shift as well.
As you grow and evolve as a firm, you must remember to share that evolution with your website and marketing tools and processes. This is the only way to stay ahead of the competition and make a real name for your brand in the future. Check out a few of these 2015 marketing musts that have made this year’s list of online law firm marketing trends to comply to.
Automated News Letters Have Become A Must
E-mail marketing may not be focused on as much as it was when the e-mail was the standard form of internet communication, but it is still very important in terms of keeping in touch with past clients, current clients, and building a relationship with potential new clients. Obviously, these e-mails should only go out to those who have registered for them or they could come off as pushy, but making this an option keeps your firm’s name in the forefront of these clients’ minds when they see it appear in their inbox. The Business of Law Blog explains:
Lawyers should send an automatic newsletter to contacts on the firm mailing list and to visitors who opt-in. Mailchimp has a plug-in for WordPress that will automatically compose, illustrate and send the newsletter on a specified schedule. For example, the Law Practice Advisor newsletter goes out beautifully every week without any manual input.
Whether people skim past your e-mail, delete it, store it for later, or read it as soon as it appears in their inbox, simply seeing the name of your law firm will register with them when they think about obtaining legal aid later on. This can go a long way to bring in new business over time.
Social Media Is A Regular Part Of Your Clients’ Everyday Life
This is no surprise as the above-mentioned e-mail has definitely been replaced by social media interaction. While many law firms are finally getting on board with this consumer communication method, it’s really important that lawyers remember that once you start utilizing social media it needs to be updated, checked, and replied to continuously. For some firms, this means hiring outside help or delegating these responsibilities to somebody within the practice.
People skim their social media in school, on their way to work, at home, at the dentist’s clinic, and just about anywhere else you can think that a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or PC might lurk. This means that having your firm in front and present on a Facebook or Twitter news feed each day is absolutely crucial if you want to stay fresh within the minds of those whom you have worked with or would like to work with legally in the future.
Content Takes A Front Seat In Online Marketing
I always talk about content, probably so much that you will skip right over this portion of my update, but I still think it is worth mentioning that genuine and interesting content is no longer just an option, it’s a necessity. It affects the way clients view your firm, the placement of your ranking on search engines like Google, and a number of other elements of your marketing and business that you may not realize. Legal Marketing Review suggests:
If you don’t have good content your SEO, social media and public relations strategies will suffer greatly. Be prepared to hire people to help you write blog posts, develop videos, infographics, e-books, podcasts, printed books and more. You also have to plan on a significant amount of time to share those pieces of content amongst the many new channels available.
Think of content the way that you think about a marketing ad in the newspaper, online, or a commercial on television. You want it to say what you can’t say in person to those who are viewing your site, and while you do want it to be attractive and bring in new business, you don’t want it to be too flashy or obvious. The best way to create unique and up to date content is to write it as though you are talking to a real client. It must be regular and genuine, or you will find yourself slipping down the list of local results in search engine rankings.
Know Who Is Visiting Your Site
Finally, one of the top priorities of this year is knowing your audience, and how frequently they are visiting your site. This means monitoring web traffic in one form or another, and staying on top of following up with as many potential clients as you can. This is when that automated newsletter is going to come in handy, or when small contests, community functions, and other events that can be shared through social media will take a front seat. HG.org writes:
Web traffic monitoring should be your top priority. You have to determine the incoming web traffic in order to gauge the visibility of your website, and effectiveness of your marketing. Once you understand your user habits, you can definitely increase your market profits.
Of course, a counter on your main website will show you how many visitors you have each day, week, and month, but you can also use social media. Keep a count on how many people are sharing, liking, and commenting on tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and other forms of social media. This helps you see what is working and what is not, so that you can tweak your method of consumer interaction to be more beneficial for your firm.
All law firms should know by now that internet marketing will play a huge role in the success of your firm, even if you are well known and successful already. Remember to make updates, add new content, and stay on top of what the audience likes to keep your firm fresh and in the minds of those that you interact with.
My previous post talked about the effect of social media on a firm’s clients. Moving past all of the social media concepts I have been talking about lately, I’d like to talk today about some internet marketing techniques that are “must-tries” for this year. Many firms believe that once they implement a few strategies, they can leave it at that and ride off of past successes for the future. Unfortunately, when it comes to the online world, things are constantly evolving, and so your marketing techniques must evolve as well.
Get Published Online
I have touched slightly on the subject of guest posting before on other community or law firm blogs, but it’s also important to create a certain level of authority for your firm above competitors in your area by being published online. If you can find a legal site, local, national, or otherwise, which accepts legal essays and articles, it might be in your best interest to have one published.
You can add a link to this article on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media feeds, post it to your blog, and advise clients, potential and current, to read it from your firm’s website.
It isn’t always enough to create amazing content for your clients, you also need to have a fair idea of who is reading it and who isn’t. To do this you can monitor the traffic to your site and blog by setting up software or utilizing online tools such as Google Analytics. HG.org suggests:
Web traffic monitoring should be your top priority. You have to determine the incoming web traffic in order to gauge the visibility of your website, and effectiveness of your marketing. Once you understand your user habits, you can definitely increase your market profits.
A stat counter on your website works well enough for those who are new to this concept, and it gives you the option to see how many people have seen your site per day in real time. These are offered for free by many online application developers, but your own web developer may have a tool that can be customized to fit your site as well.
Search Engine Optimization
This is something we have talked about before, but it is another ongoing marketing concept that needs to be continued over time. It seems like Google and other search engines are implementing new guidelines, rules, and internet laws on a regular basis, and these can affect the way that your clients see your website, and how your site is ranked compared to others in your industry. Legal Marketing Review says:
Search engine optimization requires optimizing such things as the URLs, headings, sub headings, text, meta-tags, images, load time, interlinking structures, categorization of content and so much more.
Search engine algorithms are impossible to track 100%, but one thing you can count on as a law firm is the ability to hire a professional who knows how to use SEO properly. These experts can be found online, and often offer services through a variety of packages that include not only better web design, but other methods of marketing and advertising tools as well.
If you are pretty SEO savvy yourself, you may not require a service of this nature, but even if you only hire on a search engine optimization expert as an advisor for a short time, you could surprise yourself and the rest of your firm with how great of an impact it can really make to your search engine rankings.
Remember that many potential clients will pass up a website in favor of another simply because of how they are stacked in the search engine results and the number of people who select second and third choices dwindle the further down the list you get.
Previously, I discussed the effect of the Google algorithm change that takes into account the need for mobile responsive sites. And recently, I have talked about a few of the varieties of social media and how law firms can use them to their advantage, but what I want to touch on today is why social media is making such an impact for all businesses the world over.
It’s not difficult to see that the internet age has been pushed to the side by the age of mobile technology. We are entering into vastly different ground here, with PCs and laptops being edged out by the most sophisticated tablets, cell phones, and other gadgets that seem to be hitting the shelves daily. The more that these technological gadgets evolve, the faster the business world must move to match them because so many companies now depend on online sales and it seems as though the majority of internet-based shoppers are taking to their smart phones to make their purchases.
This change in business practice and online use has also changed the way that various businesses across the world have to market themselves, and while law firms remain tragically traditional in some ways, in other ways it is crucial that they also evolve with the times. This means getting on board with social media applications and taking the plunge into consumer communication through this method of marketing.
More People Will See You With A Social Media Account
Having a Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account has little to do with following trends or seeming on top of tech changes, and much more to do with getting your brand out there and growing it from the ground up. Just as you would have done with word-of-mouth marketing in the past, the more places you drop off a business card, talk to potential clients about your firm, and call to network, the online world is booming with growth opportunities if you take the time to market yourself accordingly. Samantha Collier of Social Media for Law Firms explains:
Are you marketing your business on Twitter? If not, you should seriously consider getting started. According to Lori Taylor, the average Twitter user follows five or more businesses. Over a third (37%) of Twitter users will buy from a brand they follow.
The more social media accounts you have your firm set up with, the more people who frequent those sites will see your firm. If your account leaves a lasting impression in their minds, you may have pulled in a potential new client. Now, of course, the number of people who visit your account versus the number that will call for an appointment is still going to be vastly different, but remember that every impression counts, and if one site visitor tells a friend who tells a friend, that could be money in the bank.
Sharing Is Caring
Believe it or not, when it comes to social media it isn’t just your account profile that will bring in new clients. You also have the potential to get mentioned in other people’s status updates, have your content viewed and shared by millions, and make a mark on local events and other community businesses by mentioning them in posts and getting links in return. Social media is just that, a social way to share media, and what better opportunity could a law firm ask for to get noticed in their community, and nationally. Cube Social expresses these thoughts:
By now you’ll have people talking about you on social media all the time. They may be sharing your blog posts, discussing the events you’ve hosted, or simply chatting with your lawyers. Each one of these is a lead. Have a process for tracking them and following up with them.
As mentioned by Cube Social, all of that shared content can turn into serious leads if you know how to track them. There are services and software available to keep track of the people and businesses who have shared your images, videos, and other content from your social media account. I fully encourage my clients to take advantage of this opportunity, because it means you can follow up, even if only online.
All Advertising Are Good Advertising
This may not be one hundred percent true but to a certain extent it certainly holds some value because if you can get your name out there in the form of blog shares, social media likes or other forms of recognition, it’s still sharing your firm, and that can bring some heavy conversion in the form of website visits and follow up phone calls or e-mails. Sproutsocial.com states:
Only 34 percent of firms have established blogs. This is surprising considering a 2012 study found that general counsel read attorney blogs “as often as they read those by professional journalists.” Additionally, 76 percent of respondents said they attribute some level of importance to a lawyer’s blog when deciding which firms to retain.
Your blog, social media posts and website content say a lot about your firm, what you do, how you might interact in person, and how successful you are as a business. People want to know this before they waste their time calling a company that they don’t feel is a good fit for them. I hate to make this comparison, but sometimes social media accounts are a lot like online dating when it comes to selecting a law firm. It allows potential clients the option to scan through all of the local firms within your area, check up on staff members, see what your company ethics are, and assess the situation before making the call that they want to enter into a business relationship with you.
For this reason, among many of the others that I have listed throughout this article, it’s a good idea to use social media to your advantage every chance that you get, and only share the content, images, and videos that you feel really tell your clients who you are and what you do. The first impression is a lasting impression, even online, so be genuine, and you might be surprised by the results.
Previously, I discussed the dos and don’ts on Internet marketing for firms. I had also talked about the changes in Google’s latest algorithms a little while ago, and one of the big changes that we knew was on the way had to do with all websites being more mobile friendly. Well, this latest roll out began on the 21st of April and has already begun causing some waves in a variety of industries.
The latest algorithm change has offered greater rankings for those sites that are accessible through mobile devices such as phones and tablets, and while the jury is still out on how effective this latest change will be, it seems like businesses and individual site owners are taking it fairly seriously.
Mobile Searches Affected By Algorithm
Some sites have been reporting that this new algorithm change won’t have too large of an effect on rankings in general, but will only cause favor for searches that are actually performed from mobile devices. NPR.org reports:
The change is only taking place on Google searches made on smartphones. The results will favor websites deemed “mobile friendly,” giving them higher rankings than sites that are only optimized for desktops and laptops.
Other algorithm news reports have suggested that the entire online world is at risk of being topped by competitors who have gone mobile, if site owners don’t start making changes and getting their code in order.
Take Heed of Google Warnings
One thing that made this algorithm update a little bit different from some of the others is that Google came forward and made it known exactly what it was we were all being judged on. I have to admit that this makes my life much easier, and I could see how this warning would help law firms and other companies looking to marketing themselves online as well. Search Engine Land advises:
It’s unprecedented for Google to pre-announce a big algorithmic change like this, but Google did so in order to give publishers ample time to make their web sites mobile friendly.
In the past, many of the Google algorithm changes have come as a shock to those who use the internet as a place of business. There are actually new changes made at a constant rate, some of which we won’t know about unless we do the research necessary to make the changes. I have talked about Google in the past in terms of how nobody really understands all of what makes their ranking system tick, but what we do know as of now is that honest and genuine material is given priority, and now, that making your site mobile may be more important that we first thought.
Legal and Other Industries Majorly Hit By Changes
For my last point of this post, I just want to touch on the fact that these changes to mobile searching are making waves not only because it is such a big overall change to make for site owners, but because the world has become a place where mobile searches make up the majority of searches now performed on the internet. USA Today states:
Score Media Metrix estimates has a 65% market share of U.S. Internet searches, wants sites to load quickly and be easy to navigate on a mobile phone. Google is doing this because it wants consumers to “find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens,” Google said in a statement.
This is a good thing for law firms specifically because you also want consumers to find the content they need and be able to interact with you from mobile devices. If a mobile user can’t access your page and use all of the features the can use from a PC, they are likely to move on to the next competing firm in your area.
Enter any landing page or website URL.