This photo shows how people search for and retain lawyers in 2018. The potential client is at home, using a laptop to find an answer to her problem, and calling a lawyer on her cell phone. It is a certainty that your next client will find you this way.
What is less well-known is what happens in the client's mind when she views all the law firm websites and makes a decision to call you. By learning a few online marketing secrets, attorneys can optimize their websites so that the lawyer who gets the call is you -- and not your competitor.
People love reading blogs.
77% of internet users read blogs, and in fact, they read them more than once a day, according to Hubspot. Most people (79%) read blog posts in the morning, with reading peaking at 10 am.
A potential client who is visiting an attorney's website will naturally click the link to the firm blog to see if the attorney has posted something relevant to the client's problem. It's a quick way to see if the attorney has shown that they know what they are talking about.
Potential clients are looking for answers to their current situation, and a lawyer who has written a helpful blog post has instant credibility. The secret for attorneys is to pay close attention to questions that current clients ask when they are on the phone or in your office. Writing about legal solutions for the client's problems is an excellent way to turn a website visitor into a new client.
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A blog makes your website rank higher in Google search results.
Put another way, blogging is the most effective method of search engine optimization. By writing a blog and updating it regularly, potential clients are much more likely to see your website in response to the questions they ask in search engine queries.
According to business2community.com, businesses with active blogs:
- Generate 55 percent more site visits.
- Generate 97 percent more links to their websites.
Get their web pages indexed by Google a whopping 434 percent more often.
“Search engines are always looking for new content. Content marketing makes that happen. By writing new content for your law firm's website or blog on a regular basis, you give Google something new to index. The more the Google expects regular content from your law firm's website, the more Google's bots come back to crawl and index what's there. The more information Google has from you, the more offerings it has for search engine users,” writes blogger Victoria Blute, Director of Education of LawLytics.
It's easy to see why 53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.
Blogs have an exceptional return on investment.
Businesses that write blog posts targeted to consumer clients get 88% more leads than those that do not, according to Hubspot. If you want your phone to ring, write blog posts. Companies with more than 51 blog articles experience a 77% lift in median monthly leads.
A little-known secret is that the more you blog, the more clients you get.
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.
- Companies seeking consumer clients that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4 times as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month.
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5 times more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.
For maximum results, attorneys should publish blog posts two to three times per week.
The perfect blog post may be a longer post.
It is clear that Google prefers content-rich sites, not just because Google has determined that it's valuable -- but because search engine users prefer content-rich sites. If your blog has the information potential clients are looking for, they will spend all the time they have to read your in-depth answer to their problem.
"There's a strong case that for most topics, key search phrases, and audiences, longer is better," says Lean Labs writer Jasmine Gordon.
- Posts that take 7 minutes to read -- or 2,100 words -- will capture the highest total reading time on average, according to Medium.
- From an SEO perspective, the top three Google results are between 2,350 and 2,500 words, according to a chart published by SerpIQ. "It's evident that a fully fleshed out site with a lot of quality content is going to be favored by Google," says SerpIQ writer Kevin Espiritu.
- Posts with 1,800 and 3,000 words will attract more than 15 times more inbound links than a post with fewer than 600 words, according to Moz.
That said, there is no ideal length for a blog post. When reading online, many people skim the content. A concise 500-word post will take less than two minutes to read, because the average American reads about 300 words per minute. This is a good length for today's short attention spans.
"Deciding whether a blog post should be long or short should be taken on a case-by-case basis. There are lots of good reasons to write a long blog post, just as there are good reasons to write a short post,” Blute says. “Where short posts are concerned, the benefit is in conveying information in a way that agrees with the attention span of most readers -- and sometimes, you only have so much to say."
"You should always aim to write material for your blog that's substantive, informative, useful and trustworthy. But consider that you don't want to use more words than you need to. A blog post that consists of 300 words and says everything your potential client needs to know shouldn't be stuffed with more words just to fill up space."
Get more readers with headline hooking techniques.
The title of your blog post will determine whether it is read and shared. The title is like a newspaper headline or the subject line of an email -- one glance will determine if a potential client will read the text.
For titles, short is good. Titles with up to 60 characters, or 6 to 13 words, attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic. Employ the technique of “newsjacking” when writing a headline, that is, the moment a big news story breaks, look for the “legal” angle and immediately comment in a blog post. For example, [Popular person] Just Said What They Really Think about [Your Topic], or [Media Figure] Just Gave the Best Response to [Your Topic]. Piggybacking on a popular topic is an effective to get attention.
Feel free to use the “magic words” of direct-mail marketing:
- You: Write as if you were speaking directly to the potential client.
- Free: Offer a free download or free subscription to your blog.
- Amazing/incredible: People respond to something out of the ordinary.
- Easy: Let subscribers know how much easier life will be with your service.
- Discover: The word Learn implies work, but Discover implies fun.
- Act now: Motivate an immediate response with a limited-time offer.
- Never: As in “never worry again,” or “never overpay again.”
- New: Like the word Free, New has the ability to make people sit up and take notice.
Save: Showcase monetary or time savings.
Use words that have an emotional hook, like Amusing, Surprising, Heartwarming, Beautiful, Warning and Shocking. Also use “superlatives” such as Unbelievable, Mindblown, Absolutely, Unforgettable and Best.
Borrow techniques by the news website Buzzfeed to write headlines that go viral. Try the Buzzfeed Title Generator to see how it works.
Top 10 lists always work well, as in “Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in [Your Topic]. Research shows that it is more eye-catching to use a number (10 instead of the word Ten) and to use an odd number (7 instead of 6).
Now you see why this blog post is titled “Discover 5 Surprising Secrets to Get More Clients in 2018.”