Developing a stronger online presence is the biggest marketing goal for 37% of attorneys, according to a year-end survey How Attorneys Are Marketing Their Firms in the Digital Age by Answering Legal.
This option led "Generating more leads -- 19%" and "Developing a stronger referral network -- 15%." "Data shows that 76 percent of consumers now turn to the internet when looking for a lawyer to hire, therefore being present in the top of relevant online search results should be a top goal for any firm," the report said.
In-person marketing is still important, but the problem is that many task-oriented, introverted attorneys are no good at it. Besides, in-person business development is a one-to-one transaction, whereas the web is one-to-many. Online marketing can be much easier than in-person marketing, and can create a virtual presence that enables your reputation to precede you.
When it comes to referrals, the survey found that current and former clients were the best sources.
Social media makes it easy to that in touch with clients. I've met people on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn with whom I ended up doing business. The most effective online marketing is based on corresponding in-person techniques used to generate new files. For example, the online equivalent of attending a networking event is to attract potential clients to your website.
Two solid approaches to get clients from clients include providing your current clients with the best customer service experience possible, because doing so might bring future clients right to your door. Second, attorneys should be sure to follow up with former clients from time to time as well.
Asked about their websites, 62% of attorneys said it, "Looks great, has a mobile-friendly design, and is SEO optimized. Most consumers now visit an attorney website on a cell phone — so the site must be responsive on all devices. Attorneys are still learning how to give visitors a “mobile moment” — a short story, a brief video or a free download — something that make a mobile visitor remember your site.
“To keep visitors from clicking away, lawyers need a website that loads quickly. There are several studies that show that nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less and potential site visitors will abandon a site that hasn't loaded within 3 seconds," said Stephan Futeral, CEO of JustLegal Marketing.
Time to start blogging
27% of attorneys said, "I publish pieces on it at least semi-regularly. The more you blog, the more clients you will get.
A law firm website should be updated at least two to three times per week.
Problematically, 40% of attorneys said their firm did not have a legal blog. "Seeing that 40 percent of the lawyers don't even have a legal blog, and that 16 percent don't have an active blog, is far from ideal," the report said.
Blogging can help lawyers increase their website traffic, build online credibility, create return visitors to their site, and be quite beneficial from an SEO standpoint.
While blogging can be somewhat of a commitment, we recommend lawyers engage in it at least semi-regularly. And as 17% of our survey responders have found, busy lawyers employ someone who writes blog posts for them.
“There are legal writers who can capture your ‘voice' and create consistent, relevant content on topics that legal consumers want to know about. By doing this, the lawyer is freed up to actually practice law," said Dina Eisenberg, Former Prosecutor, Owner of Delegation & Automation Consulting Firm.