When it comes to effective digital marketing, the speed of technology, innovation and adoption presents unique challenges.
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If you're trying to introduce your law practice to a new level of online marketing, you may be feeling overwhelmed. A mere glance at the stats can scare you — the prospect of forking out up to $500 for a single click to your website isn't appealing to everyone.
However, I have seen far too many lawyers who heavily invested in their organic performance — and successfully, for some time — only to see their entire online assets evaporate after another Google algorithm update.
I recently had a conversation with Nicholas Wooldridge, a high-profile lawyer who has been generating a huge chunk of his business online.
I asked him to share the secrets of his digital marketing strategy. Here are five tips he says you should take into consideration if you are serious about effectively marketing a law firm or law-related business online.
Tip 1: Properly position yourself in your chosen market.
Question: According to the American Bar Association, there are more than 6,000 licensed attorneys in Nevada. How do you set yourself apart in such a competitive marketplace?
Woolridge: Whether there are 6,000 attorneys or 60,000 attorneys, it does not change the fact you need to get in a proper mindset and skillset. You need a niche. You also need to fully understand online prospects are so much different from a peer referral. The clients you obtain online are generally more demanding, they like to shop around, and they usually ask for a rock bottom price for your services. You also need to expect loads of phone calls and free consultations. Even with a sterling reputation, expect to encounter resistance and mistrust as you are attempting to convert a trepidatious online contact to an actual client. This is why you really need to love your work and be persistent in order to thrive long-term.
Tip 2: It all works as a whole.
Question: What do you think is a more effective form of digital marketing, organic search or paid search?
Woolridge: In my experience, everything works. My strategy is to take the “totality” approach where you must be visible to your prospects simply anywhere they search. In this regard, I like to be present in paid searches (both branded and keyword-specific searches), all legal directories and major customer review portals such as Yelp, Avvo, Lawyers.com, and so forth. We have an in-house team that manages our organic campaigns. The team includes attorneys who submit and edit content, a search engine optimization (SEO) unit, outreach specialists, media person, supervisors, as well as an IT unit that keeps the things up. Although some businesses refer to organic traffic as “free” traffic, I would say the investment in organic promotion is comparable to paid promotion.
Tip 3: Be a good lawyer for your clients, and make sure those happy clients leave a review.
Question: Do you have any preferred methods or strategies for marketing your firm online?
Woolridge: Client, or customers, reviews are absolutely essential. They are akin to online marketing gold. Not only do they impact your rankings directly but they also provide for an excellent decision-making point for other prospective clients. It's not news that a client will normally perform a search on your name, and it's better to have all these reviews lined up in your favor. I do not solicit reviews. I also do not work with a “reputation management” agency. In my opinion, these are wastes of resources. Here is the secret — do your job right, and do your job well. The reviews will be a natural quality assessment of your work.
Credentials are important, too. Highlight your image with a host of reputable recognition plaques to win additional trust from your prospective clients or customers.
Tip 4: Use digital marketing on social media, but do so responsibly.
Question: How do you incorporate social media into your online marketing strategies?
Woolridge: In our niche of criminal defense services, we deal with the problems as they arise. As such, people usually turn to search engines and not social media when they look for a criminal attorney. But we do social campaigns to boost our brand recognition. It helps your organic rankings when your brand is in a search uptrend. Also, we do sponsored posts where we comment on breaking legal news.
Tip 5: Love what you do.
Question: What advice would you give to an attorney interested in getting found online by prospective clients?
Woolridge: Without a passion for justice, I would never be able to make it. The most important thing is to feel the urge to be able to help. Whether I am in a courtroom during a high-profile trial or in a yoga class, I keep reminding myself: be grateful for what you are and keep on assisting others.
Persistence is key.
If you embrace and follow these five tips, you will set yourself on a path towards effectively marketing your business online. Nevertheless, I cannot guarantee your success or say with 100 percent certainty that your law firm’s web site will get ranked on page 1 of Google. If you encounter a setback, do not give up. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “energy and persistence conquer all things.”