For those of us "old" lawyers (I do not feel nor do I believe that I am old) navigating through digital marketing ideas feels like walking through a landmine without a clue which step is deadly.
Of course, marketing vultures have wasted no opportunity to take advantage of our generations' Internet naivety and countless marketing agencies have swooped "to the rescue" with big and bold promises of 5,000+ social media impressions, a guarantee to rank on the first page of Google, and increase your website's traffic by 500%!
The cost? Thousands, if not tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars a month.
The results? Diddly-squat.* The likes and impressions on your social media are done by bots or unrelated third parties (same goes for your website traffic), and your Google may last only a day. And think about this – why spend money on getting potential clients to your website when you don't have a dynamic, engaging, and converting website in the first place?
By the way, members of Great Legal Marketing can send us any vendor contract, and we'll tell you unbiasedly if you're getting a good deal or not.
I'm tired of seeing fellow attorneys getting deceived, tricked, and taken advantage of – pouring what little money they're making into high-ticket marketing systems that don't convert clients.
So, to better educate lawyers on how to market their law firm online, I've written this free article. Let's jump right into my most reliable pieces of advice for online marketing.
Five Ways to Increase Your Google Ranking
We all fall into the habit of just clicking on the first website that Google shows us. After all, the first link is supposed to be the best-matched result for your query. Now, you're not doomed if you're not the very first website to show up because that's not always the homerun answer a potential client is looking for, but it does pay off to be near the top. So, how the heck do you get your law firm's website up there?
The goal is the be both the first paid results, the first organic result, and have our Google My Business Page showing – overwhelm potential clients with your law firm.
1. Pay for it. Google is most definitely not against rewarding pay-to-play participants, and why wouldn't they be? At the time of writing this, Google allots three spots to be bought and one place for Google Maps.
My law firm, BenGlassLaw, takes full advantage of paid advertising opportunities with Google (and other platforms) because why wouldn't we?
2. Fill out your dang Google My Business profile already. It will never not surprise me that law firm owners haven't filled out their Google My Business profile. It's such a small step that can make such an enormous difference. Your Google My Business page shows reviews, location, contact information with a one-click call button, upcoming events you're hosting, article and blog posts you've made, and probably more that I'm forgetting. It doesn't take long, so just do it already.
3. Show up organically. Ranking organically on Google can be quite a challenge. You're either the only lawyer within 100 miles, or your practice area is so unique and specific there's little competition. No such luck for the rest of us. Several factors go into Google rankings that I don't have time to get into today, so I'll cover one of the most critical factors: key-word rich content.
4. Content Marketing. Consistently uploading informative content both increases your SEO (and therefore increases web traffic) and your credibility on the topic. Education-based direct response marketing is essential to attract and convert leads online.
5. Focus on collecting reviews and testimonials (there are never too many). Reviews, reviews, reviews. Get them anywhere and everywhere. Avvo? Great. Google My Business? Wonderful. Facebook? Sure. Yelp? Maybe! (My law firm didn't find any success with Yelp, but I have heard success stories, so whatever works for you.)
Consumers now, more than ever, let reviews and testimonials influence their buying decision. We no longer work in a time where positive reviews are a nice bonus, I would argue that they are necessary. I'm thinking it's likely that you look at reviews yourself before making a purchasing decision, especially a pricey one.
How to Stay On Top of Google's Constantly Updating Algorithm
Truly the most consistent thing about SEO and digital marketing is that it is continuously changing. What works today may not work tomorrow because Google updates their algorithm. I remember when people could go to link farms and buy dud backlinks that would dramatically increase their organic ranking until Google caught on and punished that behavior.
To keep ranking well on Google, you need to be continually updating and improving your website. So how do you keep up? In truth, I don't handle much of the website operations anymore because I have a full-time staff member, Tifiny, who manages it for both BenGlassLaw and Great Legal Marketing. No one excepts you do all of this on your own. If you don't have the means or desire to hire someone, outsource it.
My Final Piece of Advice – You Can't Build Your Dream House on a Swamp
None of these strategies and efforts will bring you success if you don't invest time (and yes, money) into a high-functioning, dynamic, and engaging website. Your words should be carefully crafted, informative, and entertaining, and free offers should be prominent on every page. My trusted friend, Tom Foster, of Foster Web Marketing, maintains my websites for both BenGlassLaw and Great Legal Marketing. Running a site entirely on your own will quickly suck all of your time, so it's essential to have a trusted vendor to maintain functionality and optimization of your website.
*Of course, not every single digital marketing company is making false promises. However, I do believe that these promises specifically deserve an extra layer of skepticism and research before purchasing.