What are some basic steps I can take to market my firm on the Internet?
While Internet marketing is a business unto itself, full of companies that assist law firms to improve their search engine rankings and overall Internet presence, there are a few steps you can take at your firm level, with very little Internet knowledge, to improve your firm’s web presence.
1. Create an effective website
The website is your firm’s office space on the Internet. And, your visitors are very discerning based on appearances. If your website looks unprofessional, visitors will be less likely to trust the quality of your services. First impressions are everything. A professional website conveys to visitors that your firm is competitive.
2. Become a scholar in your practice area by writing blogs
“Blogs” are articles you can write and post on your website. You can write blog posts about everything from current trends in your practice area to high-profile cases, helpful information for individuals unfamiliar with your practice area, and more. Every article you publish increases your firm’s exposure on the Internet. If you have a library of blog posts on your practice area, individuals looking for an attorney in your practice area may stumble upon a blog entry you wrote and seek you out as counsel. Moreover, blog posts can increase traffic to your firm website and with the increased traffic, your firm will improve its position in search engine results.
3. Email marketing to practice area professionals and clients
Creating a mailing list is easy. With periodic emails, you can let clients or other attorneys in your practice area know of your latest trial victory or new content on your blog. These emails should have readers visiting your firm’s website to see the newest content they have yet to see. This helps to increase traffic to your website and improve your website’s position in Internet search results.
4. Sign up for attorney directory services
This Internet marketing tip is great for attorneys. Once you build a new website, it won’t automatically start showing up at the top of Google search results in your practice area. People need to know your website exists. One great way to let the world know your firm’s website exists is to have your firm’s attorneys appear in attorney directory services. Sites like martindale.com, lawyers.com, and superlawyers.com, are the leading lawyer directory services. These sites are frequently at the top of Google and Yahoo search results when clients are searching for attorneys in a specific location and practice area. So, although your firm’s website isn’t at the top of Google or Yahoo’s results for the practice area and geography, you can take advantage of these directory services that are.
Many of these sites already have a generic profile for every admitted attorney. If you go to Martindale.com or Lawyers.com, you can probably find yourself. However, your law firm’s website will not show up, your firm’s telephone number may not show up, and your biography may not show up. When clients are looking for attorneys, they select the attorneys who have complete biographies.
These directory services charge a monthly fee for the ability to edit your attorney profile. Once you gain access, you can list your firm’s website, telephone number, and a bio of yourself, where you can list your credentials to pitch your services to potential clients.
One big advantage of using directory services is that they will help improve your website’s ranking in search engines. When you sign up for an attorney directory service, you will be able to list your firm’s website and link to your firm’s website. When clients go to Lawyers.com and see your profile, they can click on a link on the page to get to your firm’s website. Part of the search engine algorithm (how Google and Yahoo choose which websites appear first in search results) is how many “credible” websites link to your website. A link from Martindale.com to your website tells Google that your website is more valuable, and because of this your website will start appearing more prominently in search engine results.
For more information, check out this blog post on Law Firm Marketing Using Attorney Listing Services.
5. Advertise on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo
Related: Tracking Law Firm Marketing
Advertising on search engines can increase the amount of traffic to your website. This increased traffic can amount to new business for your firm. Advertising can also lead to better search engine positioning for your firm’s website. If your firm pays to show up in an advertising box on the first page when anyone searches for “New York probate attorney,” the number of people clicking on your firm’s page are bound to increase, and with the increase in traffic your firm receives, the better your firm’s website will be positioned for in “organic” search engine results (search results that are not advertising boxes that show up alongside the regular search results).
These five tools should be enough to get you started to help your firm obtain new clients by marketing effectively on the Internet.