This is a guest blog post by Natalia Selby, Marketing Coordinator at Mediahawk.
Any new business owner knows that bringing in new clients regularly is crucial to ensuring the lights stay on. This is particularly significant to lawyers starting their own firm, where breaking new ground depends on how far you can spread the word.
Legal representation has largely been a word-of-mouth business, with personal recommendations historically being the best source of leads for a firm. Although word-of-mouth referrals will always remain one of the most powerful means of attracting new clients, it is out of your control as to ‘when' these referrals might happen. This means that developing new ways of gaining new clients and keeping business coming in on a regular basis is essential.
Building a strong client base begins with ensuring that you have established exactly who your target audience is. It's important to start small, home in on your target audience and aim to build a strong reputation among the initial clients.
As you know, the legal market is a highly competitive industry with large potential gains if the right clients are secured. To help you get started, here are four powerful ways to attract your audience and start building a strong client base.
1. Local SEO
Personal recommendations are hugely important in many law offices as satisfied clients will recommend legal services to their friends and family based on their experience. But how does word-of-mouth translate to online? Well, this is where local SEO (search engine optimization) comes in as often your prospects will type in search phrases such as ‘lawyers near me', or your brand name, directly into Google. This is one of the reasons why local SEO is vital to allow new prospects being able to easily find your firm when searching online.
Thousands of consumers are using local search every day to find local businesses. In fact, 96% of clients are looking for legal help via search engines so if you are not visible to your local clients you are missing out on potential leads, or even giving away business to your competitors who have optimized for local SEO.
Google My Business is a fundamental necessity for local SEO, enabling your firm to be visible on search results pages relevant to your firm's location. You can set up your free Google My Business listing by visiting: http://google.com/business and effectively put your business on the map. Doing so will help prospects easily locate and identify your firm when searching online.
In the example above, Henry Hyams Solicitors have optimized their Google My Business listing so that they appear under the search term ‘solicitors in Leeds,' allowing their firm to be easily discovered by new prospects. With Google My Business you can also include photos, opening hours, a telephone number, client reviews and your website link as well as share the latest news about your law firm and mention any offers which might be available.
Blogging is also a great way to appear in searches during a prospect's research phase. By maintaining a blog, you are likely to generate 67% more leads compared to companies that don't blog. Depending on the area your law firm specializes in, you will need to consider carefully the type of content that will help your clients, and then to regularly produce valuable content to attract new clients.
As a legal advisor, you will be aware of the many questions that your clients frequently ask during a consultation. This gives you an opportunity to blog about the most relevant and asked questions to aid new prospects in choosing to proceed with you. For example, you could blog about the common questions regarding a divorce process such as child custody rights. Potential clients searching for these questions are able to review your blog, and your business, to gain advice and guidance.
Including a blog on your website, and updating it regularly, can also be one of the easiest ways to continuously produce fresh content, which then tells search engines that your website is active and frequently updated.
Search engines are designed to provide the most relevant, up-to-date, high-quality answers to a user's query. So, by ensuring your blog posts meet these criteria, search engines are more likely to favor your website over others and to showcase your blog on the results page which will help your business be more prominent during prospective clients' searches.
3. Paid Search Advertising
Google AdWords or pay per click (PPC) advertising is a fantastic way for a law firm to target and draw quality leads to their website, particularly when appealing to local consumers or prospects in need of a specific service you provide.
Years ago, although still used today, advertising in your local newspaper may have provided you sufficient business. However, with today's technology, we can find anything and everything we are looking for by simply using our mobile phones. This makes local online ads a more effective tool to grab the attention of your target audience.
As many legal matters are complex, 74% of consumers start their research online and end up phoning a law firm for further help and advice. That is because when it comes to legal issues, people prefer to speak to someone about their private matters. Therefore, it is essential that call extensions are enabled in your PPC ad.
In the example on your left, when a user types the search term ‘solicitors in Leeds', Slater Gordon's ad appears at the top of the results page on mobile devices. With the call button enabled on their ad, prospects are able to ‘click-to-call' the law firm directly from the results page. It's important therefore that you are tracking your calls to identify which campaigns or keywords are driving conversions.
When call extension is enabled on your ad, Google AdWords will only be tracking the calls where a user clicks on the call button via the ad, but what about the users calling you after entering your website through the ad? AdWords cannot track these calls, therefore, you only have half the picture regarding your ads' true performance.
This makes call tracking essential for businesses and call tracking providers, such as Mediahawk, are able to aid legal organizations with connecting all calls generated from an ad campaign or specific channel. You are then able to credit the ad, keyword or service that has led to each conversion and thus identify the most successful ones. Using this information, you can effectively manage your marketing budget to optimize your best-performing ads and improve others to reduce their cost per click (CPC).
4. Video Marketing
Video marketing has become increasingly popular, in fact, YouTube is now the second largest internet search engine, meaning that more people are consuming videos than ever before. Video content is more engaging than simply reading a page of text. Our brains love video, that's because it is programmed to retain visual content better than a page full of words and viewers are able to retain 95% of a videos message compared to 10% when reading text.
Legal matters can be rather complex and overwhelming to those who know very little about legal processes so simply reading text about your services or blog posts may not be as engaging for all users. By combining audio and visuals you can bring your words to life, you can show who you are as a lawyer and connect with any potential clients on an emotional level. People hire a lawyer, not a law firm, so utilizing videos in an educational way to demonstrate your expertise can develop confidence and build trust. Where possible, invest in videos through the YouTube channel and embed informative videos on your landing pages.
Video marketing can be a powerful tool for law firms in helping you increase website traffic, build trust, showcase your expertise and engage with your target audience. What's more – people enjoy sharing useful videos with others, which helps you to expand your reach.