Law firms these days are heavily engaged in online attorney marketing, usually centered on a website (which is one of the best assets you can build for yourself). With all the dollars being poured into attorney websites, we still find countless websites that may be effective at getting people to visit through proper Search Engine Optimization, but they are not set up to properly turn those visitors into actual clients.

You should think of your online marketing in two parts when it comes to your law firm's website.

The first part is the "Marketing" part. This is comprised of everything that you do to get people to actually visit your website. This may include but isn't limited to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), search engine marketing, social media marketing, online banner ads, and pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) advertising. Each one of these things helps people find your website in their search to hire an attorney.

The second part is the "Sales" part. If you are more comfortable with it, you can call it the "Conversion" part. This is made up of the user experience that you offer people who visit your website that gets them to actually contact you.

The Sales/Conversion part is the most often ignored part of online marketing for lawyers. It's all too easy to get lost in getting more people to visit your website without paying attention to the root issue - getting as many visitors as possible to actually call you and/or order free information from your website.

Speaking of free information, one of the first changes we usually recommend to attorneys is to make sure they have an offer for a free report and/or book. At BenGlassLaw (my personal injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability law firm in Northern Virginia), we offer free reports for each of our practice areas. These reports also us to "capture" leads who may just be researching their problem and aren't ready to call a lawyer - there are a lot of those kinds of people out there, and they often end up being our best clients.

What we really focus on when looking at the overall user experience on our website can be summarized in the following phrase: "Get 'em where they need to go."

Visitors to our website need to be guided to the next step for themselves, whether that is calling our firm or ordering free information. Since we practice in more than one area of law, we make sure to have the primary practice areas displayed right up front for visitors who come to the home page.

Once they select a practice area, they go to a page that only discusses their particular legal issue and offers the free book (here are some free tips on creating great landing pages for your book offer).Making your online marketing more effective.

Additionally, the content that we write for the website contains links to the appropriate practice area, so that when people find us through "long-tail searches," they will still be guided to the right place to solve their problem.

Of course, the phone number is prominently displayed for anyone who is ready to call us right away. That is all part of the "Get 'em where they need to go" idea. You never want to get in the way of your potential client taking action that ends with them getting in touch with you.

Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.