Answers to Your Attorney Marketing Questions from Great Legal Marketing

Ben Glass and his team at Great Legal Marketing work with an elite mix of attorneys from virtually every practice area from personal injury to bankruptcy and beyond. We are definitely not for everyone, in fact, while we attract many who "want" to get better we know that only about 20% of any population will actually do the work necessary. The difference in results has nothing to do with where your law practice is located or how much experience you have. This is all about the choices that YOU make.

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  • I made sure my site has tons of keyword phrases on every page. Does this mean it has been optimized for search engines?

    Too many attorneys make the mistake of using the same keywords over and over, hoping the phrases will continue to point customers in the right direction—while others rely on over-linking each page, hoping to attract anyone to their pages by any means necessary.

    In order to optimize your website properly, you have to see your content as smaller parts of a comprehensive whole. If done correctly, these pages will work together, rather than just being forced together.

    When deciding on keyword placement for your personal injury attorney marketing, pay careful attention to:

    • Diversification. The search terms your customers use to find you will be as varied as the people themselves, so you’ll have to think carefully about what a prospective client might search for.
       
    • Grouping. Always keep the bigger picture in mind when writing content. Where would your piece best fit on your site? Which link would best provoke the visitor to continue reading? Always group similar content together and provide easy, one-click routes for customers to keep moving through your site.
       
    • Flow. You should always reread your copy to make sure it feels natural and that keywords have been well-integrated. Is the most important information given first? Does your linked copy lead to a page that fits the keywords used? If not, rewrite it so that your information builds and reads organically.

  • How can I successfully market my law firm with all of the constraints my state bar association puts on advertising?

    One of the major challenges facing attorneys today is the set of rules and regulations put forth by their state bar associations. These guidelines and regulations are in place to make certain that lawyers advertise in an ethical manner, but some believe that some of the rules are not well thought out or fair. What can you do about these constraints, and how can you still advertise successfully?

    First, know your state’s advertising rules—and follow them! Even if you don’t agree with everything, realize that it’s important to follow the regulations closely. You do not want to find yourself arguing about whether or not you have been professional, and you do not want to have to delete big chunks of your marketing plan.

    Secondly, it is vital to understand that you can still have great attorney marketing campaigns, effective commercials, and killer websites even with the limitations in place. Sure, you might have to put in a bit more effort and think out of the box—but that’s where you find the best ideas and inspirations anyway. Instead of letting the rules stifle you, let them challenge you to find a new way to reach potential clients.

    Finally, know that the Ben Glass style of marketing has been formed with these regulations in mind and is designed to work without attorneys having to worry about crossing any ethical lines or getting negative attention from their bar association. We even give our members regular updates about their state’s newest advertising rules.

  • I don’t get it: what makes attorney marketing so different?

    Why do you need learn about marketing strategies that are specific to attorneys and law firms? Why can’t you just get help from any number of so-called “marketing gurus” on the Internet? Let’s face it: marketing legal services is very different from marketing other goods and services—and you probably already know that from trying to get exposure and better cases for your law office.

    First of all, attorneys must market their law offices under the direction of their state bar associations. They face limitations that other businesses simply don’t have to deal with, such as not being able to claim specializations or not being able to post content without approval. You are literally playing with a different set of rules from those other companies use.

    Secondly, you have a lot of very similar competition. More lawyers are graduating from law school every year, and yet jobs for attorneys are getting harder and harder to come by. You probably have stiff competition in your area even if you’ve chosen a niche—and some of your competitors may be spending a fine dime on marketing efforts.

    Finally, attorneys have the added challenge of marketing to a very specific and very local audience—something that is tough to do online. How do you make sure your online marketing dollars go toward only a small geographic area, and how do you make sure you are targeting your ideal clients?

  • I have been asked to write a chapter for a book. Is it a good use of my time, and how will it benefit my legal marketing?

    Only you can answer whether it is worth it to contribute to a print-only source, because you must decide what that “worth” is. Is it clients coming in the door, the knowledge you will impart to future law students, or the validation that comes from being in print? If you enjoy the task, then by all means, take it on.

    That said, paper media will never give your marketing the boost that online marketing will. Consider the differences when writing content for:

    • Books. Book chapters will take up a great deal of your time, are not available freely to the public, reach only a handful of readers (most of whom will not be clients) and take a very long time from conception to print. Financially, you will earn what little dividends you can from the book’s sales, but not much else. However, your contribution to “old media” may establish some added credibility in your field.
       
    • Papers and presentations. These fall somewhere between old and new media, and have benefits of both: added professional standing, the respect of your peers, and a searchable and downloadable source of informative content.
       
    • Online publications. This is the perfect combination of advertising and professional authority. Most publications are trending toward online versions (many are only available online), making them the ideal media for your marketing. With links both to and from your website, your customers have multiple avenues in which to discover your content, improving both your credibility and your search engine rankings.

  • I’m a personal injury attorney, so most of my keywords revolve around “injured in a car accident,” or “injured on someone’s property.” Won’t a lot of other attorneys be using these keywords, too?

    Sure, but that’s not all bad. If there are several popular terms that are being used to find your competitors, you would be wise to let your customers know that your services are available in this area, too.

    Remember: your keywords must be both popular and competitive to draw in your ideal clients. Popularity refers to the number of times your potential clients search for a particular a key phrase during a specific period of time. Competitiveness is a term used to describe the number of webpages that are optimized for that particular key phrase.

    This does not mean you should seek out the top five most popular terms and use them repeatedly throughout your site. If 100,000 people are searching for “personal injury attorney in Atlanta,” you probably aren’t going to be on the first page of search results using that term.

    Whether you just started your online campaign or you’re trying to improve your firm’s personal injury attorney marketing, the best rule of thumb is to strike a balance between popularity and competitiveness. You will have more success finding a less popular keyword phrase that has a lesser amount of competition.

    So how do you find your perfect keyword phrases? There are many different search engine optimization firms that can help you choose and implement keywords effectively. If you want to go it alone, there are a few online programs (such as Google Analytics) that can help you discover which phrases are being used to find your site everyday, helping you hone your marketing campaign.

  • Why Is Education-Based Marketing a Good Idea for Attorneys?

    There are two different parties that benefit from education-based marketing: you and your clients. Let’s take a closer look at how this type of marketing strategy helps everyone involved.

    Why your clients benefit

    When clients are first confronted with a legal issue, they need information even before they need an attorney. Getting the information they need may help them find the best attorney fit for them. The informed client will not waste his time (or your time) speaking to an attorney that could not help them; he will not call up a bankruptcy attorney for help with his misdemeanor charges. He will also be armed with enough information so he can make informed choices about his life and legal issues. Finally, educated clients are more likely to partner with you, work with you, and let you do your job for them.

    Why you benefit

    An educated client is a good client: you don’t have to spend a significant amount of time explaining simple legal concepts to her and you don’t have to worry that she does not understand the process. In addition, education-based marketing is a great way to find ideal clients that you may not otherwise get into contact with; by putting helpful information on your website, anyone searching for information may find your website in her search results.

    Remember: when your clients benefit, you benefit—and when you benefit, your clients benefit.

  • When it comes to legal practices, why are there riches in niches?

    Too many lawyers and law offices take too many types of cases—and some even take basically any case that walks in the door. The thought behind their action is that the more cases and the more clients, the better. However, this is simply not true. By having a niche practice area, you can get better cases, make more money, and establish yourself as an authority on the topic.

    By picking a niche, you are picking an expertise: you can spend your time and effort learning about a much narrower field of knowledge—and over time your community will recognize your knowledge and experience. When someone need an attorney for the legal issue you specialize in, she will either already know that you can help, or she will quickly find you online.

    By picking a niche, you are also making the decision not to take on cases that don’t optimize your time and your skills. You should pick a niche that you are interested in, that you feel you excel at, and that brings you the type of success you are looking for. Get rid of the cases that don’t showcase your skills and that you don’t enjoy or profit from.

    Ultimately, you will find that your practice thrives with a focus: you can invest more time in your cases rather than in keeping up to date with dozens of practice areas. You can establish yourself as an authority by showcasing your strengths. And you will see that clients come looking for you, not the other way around.

  • How can I tell if my keywords will give me a high Google ranking AND attract my ideal clients?

    Many attorneys find it difficult to find the “sweet spot” of advertising for humans and search engine robots. If you haven’t had much experience using keywords before, here are a few must-have guidelines to remember:

    • Practice the 5 W’s. Most of the keywords you will use to attract your ideal clients will be local search terms. Think like a reporter: your keywords should cover the who, what, where, when and why of your ideal customer. “Who” is you (attorney, law firm, etc.); “what” is your practice area (divorce, bankruptcy), “where” is your area (to avoid using your home city and state over and over again, pick five or six towns near you where your ideal client is likely to live, work, or shop). “Why” is a mix of long-tail keywords (“died while in surgery in TX”) that produce a set of small, specific results. “When” is always now.
    • Make your content match your keywords. The goal of your marketing should be to provide organic keyword placement so that your content is highly searchable and reads naturally. If your headline contains the term “Texas birth defects,” your supporting content must relate to these keywords in a direct and natural way.
    • Do your research. If you’re really at a loss, you can always visit your competition’s websites to find out which terms are being used for your services in your area. After you have narrowed down which terms you want to use, you can visit your website’s backstage area to discover which phrases your customers used to find you, helping you identify and expand on the most effective key phrases for your website.

  • After investing tens of thousands of dollars into a complete overhaul of our law firm's website, and implementing SEO best practices, we've rocketed from the 20th to the second page of Google results for our key search term. What can we do to make it onto the first page?

    It's probably not the answer you or your partners want to hear, but your best option is to simply wait and pursue other marketing initiatives in the meantime.

    No doubt, it's a major accomplishment to climb from the 20th page of Google search results to the second page, especially if this happened over the course of a few weeks. The problem is that potential clients who search on your main key phrase (say, “San Diego car accident lawyer”) won't be inclined to click through to the second page of results; they'll either choose a firm on the first page or type in a different search term. Also, it will be extremely hard to dislodge the firms on the first page of results, which have had a significant head start and are probably using equally cutting-edge SEO techniques.

    The good news is that, over the next few months, you may well see your site lifted up to the first page of results. This is a common Google effect; sites that have “staying power” and that have built up a large library of internal links and quality content tend to rise in the rankings over time, though not as quickly as most webmasters would like. This is just more evidence that the best marketing for lawyers is self-reinforcing over time.

    Once you've made it to the #9 slot on the first page, your next target will be to get “above the fold”; believe it or not, many impatient searchers are too lazy even to scroll down to the bottom five results! (It's also possible that you may find your placement improved by a change in Google's search algorithm; these rollouts tend to have unpredictable effects, though, and you may just as well find yourself demoted to the third page as promoted to the first.)

  • Do I really have to throw out all of my old marketing materials? Some of them were expensive!

    If you want to continue using brochures, keychains, or other printed materials that you have boxes and boxes of in your office, you can. Handing them out will give you more exposure than throwing them away, so feel free to use them until they’re gone. But when they’re gone, don’t reprint them—replace them with something better.

    Think of it this way: when you graduated from law school, did you receive a clock, pen, or nameplate with the scales of justice printed on it? You may still get these presents every year from well-meaning family members. The problem is, they’re stereotypical and hackneyed images of the law profession—and if everyone uses them, it means everyone is the same.

    Take a look at your old brochures. Is your name the only thing original about them? Are you talking about your qualifications and case results rather than addressing your customer’s problems? Are the only incentives to call you a phone number and firm email address?

    The key to great marketing for personal injury lawyers is to subvert your customers’ expectations. You don’t want to do what every other lawyer is doing; you want to distinguish yourself in your field. This means providing a lot of information for free, having the patience for a low-pressure sale, and pointing all of your marketing toward getting the customer to contact you rather than hire you.

    The good news is, you already have the information you need to change your marketing. You know what clients tell you when they first walk in your door: their fears, their questions, and their concerns. Imagine you needed help, and someone provided the answers before you even asked your questions. That’s the person you want to be.