Legal Search Marketing – Six Steps for Successful Local Marketing

Clients come from all walks of life, they go online at all hours of the day, they point, they click, they research and buy online. In fact, 97% of consumers research online before they make a purchase. This means prospects may be looking for your particular area of expertise right now. Yet you could be one of many attorneys who lose revenue each year by neglecting to maximize your firm’s online visibility in your area.

Internet searches are becoming increasingly more localized and specific to geographic locations. Local search is on the rise as people become more sophisticated search engine users. Because most people seeking legal assistance start their search on Google by entering their location and the specialty they need, local search should be considered part of a firm’s online marketing strategy.

Consider these statistics regarding local search:

  • 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (comScore)
  • 73% of online activity is related to local content (Google)
  • 66% of Americans use online local search, like Google local search, to locate local businesses (TMP/comScore/proprietary average)
  • 54% of Americans prefer the Internet and local search over phone books (comScore networks)

Clearly, having a well-defined local Internet marketing strategy can be crucial to certain businesses, particularly attorneys whose main source of business is their communities.

Here are the six elements of well-constructed local marketing campaign:

1. Correct and consistent business listings.

Ensuring that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is listed correctly and consistently across multiple platforms like Google Places, Yahoo! Local and Bing Local Listing Center is the key element that enables a successful local search campaign. Be sure to claim and check your listings.

2. Place Page optimization.

Last year Google changed its layout to feature local business listings and Place Pages more prominently. A well-executed local optimization plan is now even more vital to leverage leads generated by online listings. Make sure you optimize your Place Page on the three major platforms: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

3. Ratings and reviews.

Ratings and reviews are the digital equivalent of “word of mouth” referrals and are probably one of the most important local search elements. The quality and quantity of ratings and review contribute to how often the search engines display your listing or your location. They are to local search what “backlinks” are to SEO, creating credibility and authority for your business online. Encourage your clients to write short reviews.

4. Local directory advertising.

While the search engines have done a terrific job of increasing the effectiveness of their local search platforms, Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), city guides, and special interest directories can provide high-value leads at cost-effective levels. Include these ads for a well-rounded campaign.

5. Social networking.

Facebook and LinkedIn are now critical elements of an attorney’s presence online.  For firms whose prospects and customers are increasingly using social media, as we all are, devoting some time and resources to this effort can pay off at the local level, both for marketing promotions and for client service. Keep these accounts active and up-to-date.

6. Local online display advertising.

Online display advertising can be beneficial for generating leads by increasing the awareness of your services. While business listing management and local paid search often deliver clients based on how closely your firm is located, display can help make the case for why they should do business with your firm. Display can also help support other marketing efforts with a consistent, targeted message. Consider adding local display to your campaign.

Local search delivers highly relevant results to the consumer, helping them find the products and services they seek in a specific location and helping attorneys gain clients who are in need of assistance. And for firms with limited marketing dollars, local search offers a more cost-effective alternative, with targeted advertising dollars delivering a higher ROI. To find out more about local Internet marketing for attorneys contact Ian Bardorf at www.bardorfmarketing.com.

Ian M. Bardorf is an Internet marketing, mobile marketing, and social media advisor to attorneys and law firms seeking to grow and advance their business via the web. This article is copyrighted as original content by Ian M. Bardorf and Bardorf Legal Marketing. This article may be reproduced or republished with appropriate attribution and credit.