As a lawyer, it’s very frustrating trying to find a balance between doing your job and how to get new clients for the law firm.
I have been vexed with the constant feeling of falling further behind the recent trends and new technology; things like social media sites, changing Google algorithms, and the multitude of available platforms for advertising and branding.
Lawyers are asked to be experts in their practice. For many of us, that is more than a full-time job.
We are expected to evaluate the strength of new cases, talk to prospective clients, make sure that they would be a good witness, create effective systems to move cases forward, and possibly go to trial. All this while managing a caseload, and balancing family, friends, colleagues, exercise and feeding our souls somehow.
Here is the dilemma: I never had enough time to create effective marketing plans and punch lists while focusing on the practice of law – something has to give. My opinion is lawyers should not try to be marketing experts, but we need to know enough to make sure we don’t get ripped off by snake oil salesmen. I co-founded Think Tank Ad Agency, a marketing group that helps lawyers to strike that balance.
After years of focusing on marketing and top-line growth for my firm, I have concluded that the best way to get new clients is to hire the best available help that understands the challenges of practicing law while growing the practice.
After getting burned by several outside agencies, I have made it a priority to always hire inside the firm to ensure quality control and message consistency. For the past 20 years, I have dedicated most of my time to marketing and top-line growth for my own firm and other ventures.
Law Firm Advertising Idea to Get New Clients
There is no shortage of law firm advertising ideas to get new clients. We all hear the same justifying pitches and clichés over and over again: you have to spend money to make money – blah blah blah.
One of my greatest challenges has been making sure that I know enough to find good help without going down the rabbit hole of spending too much time trying to become an expert. As lawyers, our natural tendency is to dive in, figure out how things work, and look for any flaws.
With so many options available for advertising, I have invested most of my time and energy into a diverse advertising plan that has moved away from traditional ad spends in print, mail, or tv and radio. My focus has been spending money online and spending time on referrals and articles to inform prospective clients.
I do not pay for leads or lead services. I do not pay to be listed on directories like YP.com, Lawyers.com, MartindaleHubbel.com, Avvo.com, or Findlaw.com
I want to have prospective clients visiting my site directly; not looking through a list of lawyers who have all paid to occupy the top spots in a directory.
1) Advertising Idea to Get New Clients: Start Blogging
I keep reading about blogs and how great they are. I think they are wonderful if you are a prolific writer or a consistent writer, but most lawyers are not spending free time writing about legal issues and cases. Making matters worse, when lawyers spend time writing, it is not always reader-friendly and easy to understand.
Content writing is probably great when they are set up correctly, but there is a lot to take into consideration. They need to be organized well and easy to search, they need to be easy to read and provide useful information, and there are technical issues like RSS feeds to increase popularity, as well as links to other pages and keywords that match frequent searches by readers.
Create Legal Advice Blogs
Most of the effective advice blogs are FAQ formats or posted answers to questions. These are useful with the proper disclaimers, but many lawyers give their “advice” with caveats for specific facts and requests to call and discuss individual claims. Legal advice blogs are best for general information.
Example of Good Legal Blog Sites
Google search results in literally hundreds of legal blogs. Here is a link to see the top 100 blog sites listed by the ABA Journal.
I believe that a blog is most useful as an extension of a website, serving as an outlet for information that is updated frequently and dynamic exchanges like listserve posts and conversations.
Write Relevant Blogs
The key to writing articles that people will actually read is to serve the needs of readers asking questions. The easy part is figuring out what questions people are asking; the hard part is writing clear and informative answers to those questions.
Create a Blog With Content People Are Actually Searching For
In my firm, we use the word “alignment” to guide everything we create for our website and blog. We want to make sure that we are answering real questions that people ask frequently, and we want to make sure that people find our site because we are providing clear and informative answers to their questions.
Focus Your Blog Content on The Clients Need
By now, you probably got the message: give the people what they want!
We take FCRA cases in my firm, but we never expect people to search for credit report violations. Most people who call my firm with a potential FCRA claim are searching for “errors on credit reports” or “how to fix my credit report”. We write articles that provide information about how to correct errors on credit reports and how to fix credit reports.
My expectation when I write an article is that most people simply want to know if they can fix the problem themselves. I try to give as much do it yourself information as possible, with the option to call a lawyer if you don’t think you can do it yourself.
I really don’t like lingo. The word “optimize” gets used all the time. This is my take on optimization: people are looking for information that helps them to understand the law and suggest what to do if they have a problem. Our job, as lawyers, is to explain that on our website [for which Google rewards us] and to further explain how we can help when they call or visit us for a consultation.
There are many terms that people use all the time to quantify the value of a good website or blog. The key to good articles is “fresh content” that is also “unique”. Simply stated, content needs to be updated on a consistent basis, and it needs to be run through copy scape or any good plagiarism software before it is published on a site.
“Conversion” is any transition point, whether it is a view that becomes a click, a call, or form filled out, an email, a retainer signed, or payment received. The key to a successful website is to move prospects through the conversion process so that they become a client.
Search engines rank sites based on many factors, including traffic, visibility, the usefulness of information, age of the site, just to name a few. For a site to be search engine friendly, I strongly suggest that you look at page rank for other sites that your web designer has created, or just ask how the other sites are ranked and ask to see what tool they are using to show page rank.
2) Advertising Idea to Get New Clients: Use a Good SEO Service Company
Over the years, I have been fortunate to be able to focus on marketing and growth in my firm. I have helped others to find marketing solutions for their firms. As lawyers, we have to make informed decisions when it comes to hiring others to help with marketing. The problem with online marketing is that the results are not always obvious. Making matters worse, vendors often give us reports they produce based on what they want us to see.
I have gotten to the point where I can quickly look at a site and see how it is set up and how it is performing. If a site is not set up to perform well, it may be beautiful, but it’s like having a great looking car with no engine.
A good SEO website and a well-optimized blog go hand in hand. It’s important to have both.
How Much Should I Spend and What Can I Expect For Results?
I always look for universal buying principals when making a decision about a vendor. I want to know how much it costs, how long it takes, and what I can expect to see for results.
The problem with online marketing is that most agencies custom tailor quotes depending on firm size and current marketing spends.
I developed a simple pricing structure with estimated costs for online marketing and SEO services [search engine optimization], based on services that we provide starting at $125 per week.
The key to good SEO marketing for law firms [or excellent] is proper alignment, good rapport, and strong communication, coaching to teach how to fish, and strong empathy and concern for your practice.
Usually, SEO experts will do a quick site evaluation [1 day], a quick onboard process with deep discovery and deliverables specified in less than 1 week. Results should be apparent and delivered by 30 days, and concurrent reports should be provided weekly.
What makes a great value from a SEO service depends on your needs. In general, creating blogs and articles for organic traffic takes time, so you may not see results right away.
With strong SEO articles and expert optimization, your site should move up to page 1 of Google and stay there within 3-6-9 months. There are many variables, but that is a realistic deliverable. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when you start you will see progress and you will eventually see more clients as a result of your efforts.