If you aren’t online, you don’t exist.
— 21st Century Parable
Most people turn first to Google to find your website after they hear about your services. If they can’t find your practice on the first page of Google, they are likely to move on to one of your competitors.
While it is unlikely that you will need to mobilize a massive online marketing strategy as a solo practice or small firm, you should still have a Web presence that works for you and your clients. For instance, every law firm should have a website. But not every firm needs a blog, and not every firm needs to be on social media.
To help you understand what a successful Web presence really means for you, you need to first ask yourself this: Why am I online?
Lead Generation vs. Online Brochure
Most firms fall into one of two camps:
- You want to drive new leads from your website to your law firm.
- You just want a website where referrals can visit to learn a bit more about you before they call.
Law firms in the first camp focus on internet marketing, inbound marketing, and search marketing. They want to drive traffic, show up first on Google, and be the premiere [practice area] lawyer in their area.
Law firms in the second camp basically want an online business card or brochure website. They don’t care about new lead generation as much as they care about whether they will show up if someone types their firm’s name into a search engine.
Knowing the Why Helps You Determine the What
You have to know why you are online, because the motivation behind your website becomes the reason behind any other online marketing efforts you make.
If your goal is to drive consistent traffic to your website to gain leads, then you need a well-maintained website that you support through consistent marketing efforts. These days, such a website should include:
- A clean, crisp design that is easy to navigate
- Consistent branding in images and content
- Consumer-driven content that engages your audience
- Targeted content pages geared toward each specific issue you handle
- Clear calls to action that tell your visitors what you want them to do next
- Responsive design to ensure you capture the attention of every visitor
In addition, you also need to consider other online marketing tactics, including:
- Blogging. Whether you subscribe to Sam’s preference for keeping your blog separate from your website, or my preference that your blog should be part of your website, you should absolutely use your blog to drive of traffic back to important pages on your website. And, according to HubSpot, businesses that blog at least 20 times per month see nearly four times the leads of those that don’t blog. So the more you blog, the more leads you will generate.
- Email marketing. Growing your email list and sending out targeted emails is a brilliant way to get leads. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. Email marketing is also a brilliant way to stay top of mind with your clients, so consider reaching out every once in a while with useful legal developments, updates about your office, or even just a quick holiday message. Relationship building matters!
- Social media marketing. Another necessary tool to use to send traffic to your website is social media. In fact, according to a HubSpot’s “State of Inbound Marketing” report, social media offers 100% higher lead-to-close rates than outbound marketing. The trick here is figuring out which social platforms to use, how often to post, and even what type of information you should share. Regardless where you are, definitely follow these golden rules: include links in every post, tweet or pin, and add photos and videos to increase click-thru rates.
On the other hand, if your goal is just to ensure you have a professional website that mirrors who you are and what you do for prospects referred to you, then you need only go as far as having a well-designed, well-written website that answers the key questions most visitors will likely have prior to contacting you.
And the only thing you need to worry about for SEO purposes is that your website shows up when people search for you by name.
So Now What?
Take a step back to assess why you are online. Identify your goals for your online marketing efforts. Then review what you are doing now.
Are your current efforts enough to get you where you want your business to go? Are you doing more than you really need to? Ask these questions, answer them truthfully, and then take whichever steps are necessary to get your online presence in line with your goals.
Originally published 2014-11-06. Republished 2016-11-18.