Too many attorneys try to make their online marketing strategy without really considering whether it ties into their already established community marketing efforts. Over 80 percent of attorneys in the United States get most of their clients from within a 10 mile radius of their office. That means that your internet marketing plan for your law firm should focus on getting clients from your local area—and today's search engines make that possible. In this guide, we'll look at ways to maximize the number of local potential clients who see your online marketing campaign.
#1: Get Involved In Person, Not Just Online
Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can just use search engine optimization for your law firm without any other marketing tactics. You need to have some kind of on the ground presence if you want to draw in clients from your local area. Wherever you are, there will be local organizations that will actively want attorneys to volunteer their time. Get involved with local non-profits and with clubs and organizations. For example, you may want to become active in your local Chamber of Commerce, which often gives you multiple online mentions and links back to your website that will help your local search ranking results.
#2: Cross Promote Your Offline Activities on Facebook
When you participate in events in the offline world for charitable organizations, make sure that you mention it on your Facebook feed. Sometimes, attorneys worry that talking about themselves would be distasteful or that people won't be interested—but it all depends on where you're posting. On Facebook, personal narratives are expected and welcomed by the vast majority of followers, as long as they're sincere and authentic.
The biggest mistake you can make is to look like you're only helping out for exposure. Don't oversell yourself—talk more about the organization you're involved with than you talk about your own involvement.
#3: Talk About Local Issues
If there's a local case that everybody's talking about, it's great to weigh in on your blog and social media feeds. People expect and want to see analysis of local legal issues from attorneys in their local area. This helps potential clients understand how you look at cases, which can in turn help them decide whether or not your firm would be a good fit for their legal needs. Make sure that when you discuss local cases, you're keeping your language jargon-free. The more legal terms you use, the more easy to understand definitions you need to provide—or you'll risk losing the vast majority of your audience.
Keep in mind the average education level of your local clients when writing your content about local issues. If you're focused on clients who have high income levels and have advanced degrees, you can certainly use much more complex analysis. If the majority of your clients are high school graduates but never graduated from college, you'll want to explain legal arguments in more detail and with easy to understand analogies.
#4: Stay Authentic—And Never Lie
This is one of the biggest things that attorneys need to keep in mind when they create online marketing materials for their law firm. Remember that your online presence isn't completely separated from your offline presence. This means that there's no use in trying to make yourself sound much more impressive than you really are, and you should instead play up your real strengths.
If you try to use puffery and make your offices and attorneys sound significantly more impressive than they are, people won't be fooled for long. Instead, you'll lose your chance at a good reputation in your community. Unless your law firm has the freedom to simply pick up stakes and move to a new location, you need to be good to the people near you. That means trusting in yourself enough to know that you can put on your most authentic face.
#5: Show Yourself As a Positive Influence
By volunteering with local groups for walk-a-thons and fundraising events as well as helping out with your legal expertise, you show yourself to be a real person who is interested in doing things for his or her community. When you become a positive influence in your area, your firm can start becoming a household name. This kind of name recognition will serve you well—when people do web searches, if your website is anywhere in the first page, people will be more likely to visit you because of your name recognition.
Too many attorneys today neglect these kinds of very basic community relations efforts, but the truth is, these kinds of efforts will also get you onto websites for local organizations and media. This will make your firm climb higher than other local firms in Google results for people searching for lawyers in your local area.
#6: Make New Friends—But Keep The Old
Make sure that when you're making new connections in your community, you don't lose the connections you've already built. Talk to people in your immediate family, if they live nearby, as well as your social connections locally to help you build on your networks and create new business relationships.
Make sure that you're consistently remembering your past clients, as well, by following up via email and occasional mailing updates. If you forget about the people you've worked with in the past in favor of getting new clients, you're missing out on some of the best and most consistent business your firm could be doing.
#7: Keep Your Community In Mind
Make sure that you're keeping community standards in mind when you create your website. If you're in a town that tends toward being more traditional and old-fashioned, you should probably keep your website on the more conservative and traditional end. However, if you're in a vibrant and progressive downtown area and are trying to attract a younger clientele, you may want to have a website that has a little more fun.