The Internet has transformed the way we live our lives. The average person consults the Internet to find everything from recipes to yesterday’s game highlights and, of course, legal services. The typical consumer will search Google first, then proceed to the firm’s website or a review site. He or she may watch a YouTube video, “like” the firm on Facebook, or follow it on Twitter.
The challenge for today’s attorneys is to understand how these activities work together and how to use them to connect with potential clients. Having a well-defined Internet marketing strategy is crucial for many businesses, but is especially important for attorneys whose main source of business is their local communities. Here are the seven tools and techniques of an effective online lead generation campaign.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When someone needs legal representation, the first place most turn is Google. They typically search by geographic location and practice specialty. For example, “Boston bankruptcy attorneys.” Search engine marketing allows you to reach and engage the searchers who are looking for you. The process of creating the most relevant site that is also the most search engine friendly is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. If you’ve optimized your site properly, you’ll appear in the search engine results, making it easier for potential clients to find you and generating a flow of inquiries.
2. Mobile Marketing
A customized mobile app is a great way to tap into your client base — your best source of repeat business and referrals. The AttorneyConnect mobile app keeps your clients engaged with you and your law practice through the privacy of their personal mobile phone. “Go mobile” to stay connected with your clients and grow your business.
Having your own blog not only helps establish credibility and protect your online reputation but will also help potential clients get to know you and your expertise and build trust and rapport. A blog also improves the search engine rankings of your website and increases website traffic, driving more prospects to your site.
In addition to blogging, another way to boost rankings is by creating content that Google can serve up like articles, videos, or podcasts. You can post this content on your site or publish your filings, decisions, briefs, and newsletters in online databases like JD Supra. You’ll be found more frequently and bump your competition lower in the search engine results.
5. Legal Directory Listings
Avvo and Justia are popular online directories that specialize in attorney profiles. Completing your listing, answering questions, and posting speaking engagements, case examples or articles allows you to have a complete online profile and engage with clients.
Client reviews are one of the most valuable factors for building your business. Asking a happy client to write a few words about the quality of your work and the help you provided shows prospects that you are a knowledgeable, credible and trustworthy attorney. Encourage your current clients to write testimonials and feature them on your site and LinkedIn profile.
7. Social Networking
Facebook, Avvo, Justia, LinkedIn and other social networking sites are now critical elements of an online strategy. For firms whose clients are increasingly using social media, devoting some time and resources to this effort can pay off through stronger client connections. Keep your accounts active and up-to-date.
Use Online Tactics to Boost Offline Business
As more consumers turn to the Internet, having a strong, complete online presence is more important than ever. These seven online marketing tactics can reinforce the effectiveness of your traditional relationship building, networking, and lead generation activities.
Remember, your online presence is a combination of all of the ways you are represented on the Internet: your website, online profiles, videos, blog posts, podcasts, social media pages, directory listings, and more. Used separately, each one helps you be found by more prospects and clients. Used together, they will help you get as much visibility online as possible to grow your business in 2014.