There's nothing worse than having an ad that's good enough to be clicked on, but is targeted so poorly that most clickers never look past the first page. For lawyers, geographic targeting can help to eliminate this problem, saving you up to 50 percent on all of your marketing and advertising campaigns online. In this guide, we'll talk about why geographical targeting is so critically important for law firms, and how to successfully implement targeting that reaches the consumers most likely to pay you a visit.
The Distance Rule
For law firms in urban areas, the majority of your clients are likely to come from within a two mile radius of your firm. In rural areas, the majority of clients come from an area within 10 miles. This means that whenever you advertise to people who are outside of this distance, you're much less likely to get a new client—those clients are more likely to try to look in other directories to find an attorney who is closer to their home or office.
Do some research on your own client base. Locate the addresses of your clients and see what radius draws in most of your clients. If you can restrict your advertising to a radius just slightly beyond this, you'll be ensuring that you're able to reach the vast majority of people who are willing to go to your office, without wasting time and money on the clients who won't come to your office no matter what.
Options for Geographic Targeting
The options you'll have for geographic targeting depend completely on what platforms you're using to design your online marketing campaign. For example, if you're on Facebook, you will have the option to put your advertisements in front of people from a particular city or state, and the smallest area you can broadcast an advertisement to is a zip code. For many law firms, this will be a small enough area, but other firms may want to use a tool that allows them even more precision.
The leader in precise geographic targeting is Foursquare. While this app started out as a way to check in to locations and show friends where you were hanging out, it has developed into a robust geolocational advertising platform for companies with and without physical locations. Foursquare will only be useful in areas with a high number of Foursquare users—typically, this means urban areas with high numbers of young people, like New York City and Austin, Texas.
Getting Your Site Ready for Mobile Traffic
Because they're so good at identifying and broadcasting a user's location, it's often easiest to attract smartphone customers to your law firm with geographic targeting. However, if your website is outdated, it may be hard to get those smartphone users to go from a click on your website to a phone call. Make sure that your website displays correctly in both Android and iOS browsers, as well as older smartphone browsers. You may want to accomplish this with a mobile-only version of your website, but if you do, make sure that you give mobile users the option of viewing your full site if they choose.
Niche Targeting in a Geographic Region
Once you've narrowed down your targets to a specific area, you should also consider making your niche more specific. For example, do you want to put your ads in front of people in a particular age range? Even if you want to target both men and women, should you be showing them the same advertisement? Geographic niche targeting allows you to apply different ads to people in different demographics, making it even easier for you to address the most likely needs of potential clients before they even click on your ad.
Let's say that you want to get even more specific. If you're trying to target other attorneys with your marketing, you should consider looking at LinkedIn, which allows you to advertise to people in a particular geographic area with a certain job title. This can make it much easier to get access to people working at a particular job level or in an industry your law firm tends to interact with often.
Advanced Geographic Targeting Options
When you start using geographic targeting, you may even want to base your ads, landing pages, and so forth on the suburban market, while making sure that you're advertising with their specific suburb name at all times. You can also use geographic targeting from services like Foursquare to draw a line around an area you want to target. Whenever people enter the area that is targeted, they'll see your ad. That's great when your firm's clients are typically coming from particular places—schools, businesses, and healthcare facilities.
When you are able to specifically geotarget the exact area that's most likely to produce clients for you, you'll have more budget left over for experimenting with new niche areas and new demographics. This kind of growth is often ignored, because attorneys are trying so hard to find revenue growth in their existing marketing budget. Consider allocating some of your savings toward really experimenting with the types of targeting available—doing this is likely to pay off in a big way in the long term.
Analyzing Your Geographic Targeting Results
You can start an analysis of your geographic targeting soon after your campaigns begin, but not too soon—give it a few weeks so that the statistical noise has a chance to even out a little bit. Don't get too excited over small and unexplained fluctuations in your traffic, because this could represent normal seasonal changes unless you've been tracking your web traffic for multiple years.
When you discover that a particular geographic region is especially fruitful for generating new business, consider adding additional demographics to your targeting efforts. If these new demographics are unsuccessful (even after you've tailored an ad specifically to the likely needs of that demographic), you may want to try a different demographic.