It's not easy to admit when you've made an internet marketing mistake. Sometimes, attorneys put thousands of dollars into a new advertising method before realizing that something just isn't going according to plan. But what's actually preventing your internet marketing campaign from succeeding? The answer may surprise you. In this guide, we'll take a look at some of the most common marketing mistakes that attorneys make when they're using the web to advertise their services.
Mistake #1: Paying Before Your Website is Ready For Traffic
If you've just found out about a new web marketing technique, you may be enthusiastic about trying it out. Sometimes, in fact, legal marketing professionals can get a little too enthusiastic about new methods. If you're not making sure that your website is ready first, you may as well be lighting your money on fire—you're unlikely to gain any actual new clients no matter how much money you throw at your advertising project.
Signs that your website isn't ready for primetime include pieces of it that don't display or display incorrectly depending on what browser you're using. If your website looks boring, dated, or simply like a thousand other attorney websites, you're also going to have a much harder time keeping potential clients on your website. Optimize your user experience, and you'll have better luck with every internet marketing campaign you ever engage in.
Mistake #2: Buying Expensive Google Keywords
If particular keywords on Google are the most expensive ones to buy, they must be the best ones, right? Wrong. This is one of the mistakes many people who are new to buying direct ads on Google make. However, most of the firms that are paying big bucks for big, heavily used search terms are very large firms with very large marketing budgets. If that doesn't describe your firm, you don't need to be buying the most expensive keywords you can on Google.
Instead, focus on locally based, “long tail” keywords. You should also consider using some negative keywords, so that you're not putting your advertisement up for searches that may not be relevant to what your firm does.
Mistake #3: Focusing on Search Engine Optimization Keywords
A few years ago, search engine optimization was all the rage, and it largely depended on having the right ratio of keywords in your internet marketing copy. However, many different websites misused SEO and created low-quality websites that didn't really fulfill users' needs but did have a lot of keywords.
Today, Google and Bing/Yahoo have made their search engines substantially more difficult to fool with keyword counts and nonsense content. If you're overusing search engine optimization keywords in your internet marketing, odds are that your website is or will become “sandboxed” by Google—artificially lowered in search rankings in order to discourage spammy techniques from internet marketers.
Mistake #4: Low Quality, Jargon-Filled Content
Attorneys may have gone to three years of law school, but usually their clients haven't. That's why it's important to make sure that any content you create on your website avoids the pitfall of being written at a law school level. In general, an average high school graduate should be able to read your website copy and come away from it with a good understanding of the material you've presented.
One of the best ways to make sure that your internet marketing content really is readable for lay people is to simply give a draft of some of your content to people you know who are less informed about the law than the people in your office. These people can provide you with questions or pointers that can help you move in the right direction.
Mistake #5: Underbudgeting For Internet Marketing
Over 80 percent of Americans now have access to the internet, and about 60 million internet users in America will be looking online for an attorney in 2013. That's a huge potential market, and what's more, over 50 percent of those potential clients will eventually contact an attorney about their case after researching lawyers online.
With this big an audience on the line, it's silly to make internet marketing a secondary marketing priority in 2013. The internet has become the biggest way to shop for a lawyer, surpassing even the time-tested personal recommendation as the most common method for attorney research and selection.
Mistake #6: Shotgun Marketing
Many lawyers believe that their marketing materials should try to appeal to as many people as possible. This kind of marketing is like a shotgun—when you fire it, it goes everywhere instead of being precisely targeted. The kind of internet marketing you should want is like a rifle—targeted narrowly so that you have the best chance of hitting what you're aiming at. Shotgun marketing costs more for a smaller return, and the best marketing principles for attorneys today all involve making sure that you're targeting the correct audience for your marketing materials.
Mistake #7: Putting All Your Eggs In One Basket
There's no reason to spend your entire internet marketing budget on just one or two websites, no matter how big those websites are. Diversifying where your website appears in advertisements is a great idea. If you put all your eggs in one basket, keep in mind that search engine algorithms change all the time. You don't want to be just one Google update from losing a large number of clients because the site you advertise with is no longer popular. Diversification shields you from changes large and small in internet marketing trends.
Mistake #8: Losing Flexibility
If you find an internet marketing strategy that genuinely works for your law firm, you may be tempted to keep simply using it without continuing to search for new techniques. While this may work in the short term quite well, it's very likely that you can expect to see additional changes to internet marketing trends in the mid and long term. The law firms that will do best at internet marketing in the future are those flexible enough to change and adapt their techniques to take those trends into account.