Choosing a career in law involves years of hard work, dedication and perseverance, and that’s all before you’ve even stepped foot in a courtroom. After years of schooling, passing the bar and starting your own firm, you realize that no matter what city, province, state or country you’re in, the competition is fierce.
In order to compete in the market, you’ll need a business plan and strategy for how you’ll retain clients not only in print media and bus ads, but also online. Based on a survey conducted by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG) in March of 2012*, 76% of consumers used an online resource when seeking an attorney.
So, where do you get started? Well, assuming you already have a website created, there are several key online marketing strategies that you should implement right now. Some are free, some are not, but all should be considered if you want to reach the 76% of consumers who are making their decision online.
1) Choose a specific set of targeted keywords to help search engines categorize and rank your website.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo & Bing feed off of the information your website gives them, so be sure to select a targeted list of 3 – 5 keywords to get you started. If you’re like criminal lawyer Frank Retar from Windsor who focuses on DUI and drug offenses, then “criminal lawyer” and “DUI” might be two keywords you select. If you’re a personal injury lawyer who defends slip and fall clients, then “person injury” and “slip and fall” should be featured prominently on your website.
2) Have a “call to action” form on your homepage as well as “call to action” buttons that link to an online form throughout your site.
A call to action on your website entices the user to submit their information, whether by email or by calling for a consultation. It should be simple and easy for the end user to locate. Ask only for enough information so that you can get back to them in a timely manner regarding their legal need. Name, phone number, email address and type of injury or type of criminal charge should suffice.
3) Be mobile ready.
It’s incredible that, even with the rise in mobile internet use, there are still many websites that do not have a mobile ready version of their website. Choose which type of mobile ready website you want (responsive website or a mobile ready version) and get it done! As of May 2013, 91% of Americans own a cell phone and 56% own a smartphone. If that isn’t enough to convince you, 35% of Americans aged 16 and up own a tablet. **
4) Use your memberships and associations to your advantage.
As a lawyer, chances are you’re part of one or two organizations which have a directory listing on their website which lists and/or profiles its members. Be sure to get your profile included on their directory and, if possible, have them link to your website. A few examples of these types of memberships and associations in the Windsor – Detroit area are: University of Detroit Mercy Law, Essex Law Association, University of Windsor Law, and The Law Society of Upper Canada.
5) Try a small Google AdWords budget, but do your research first.
With the amount of competition out there, you have no choice but to pay a small sum of money each month to be listed in Google’s search rankings. Having a small budget with Google AdWords is a great compliment to the on-site and off-site SEO referenced in the first key point. Just be sure to do your research or enlist someone who can do it for you. Selecting the wrong keywords, areas or daily budget could end up costing you a fortune with very little return on investment.
More from Sebastian on his Google+ profile.
*Based on a survey of 4,000 adult internet users conducted by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG), March 2012.