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Plan to open a new location for your law firm? Do this first

how to open a satellite office

Considering opening an office in a new location? You need to be in your clients’ peripherals long before you even sign the new lease (we’ll explain why in a bit).

The best way to place your firm in the community’s collective consciousness? Develop a strong online presence in your new location before you get there.

Forget billboards and TV ads – the best way to get your firm’s foot in the door is through online exposure.

open satellite law office advertising

When was the last time you called a number off a billboard? When was the last time you remembered a number off a billboard?

 

Once you have some exposure, it’s time to focus on SEO. SEO will continue to help you move through the ranks in your community, overtaking your competitors and building trust among clients.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Scroll down for EverSpark’s three tips on how to open a satellite law office. 

One Firm’s Failure is Another Firm’s Opportunity

Several years ago, the owner of a large Florida firm decided to open a new location across the country.

His firm had been hugely successful in Florida, constantly expanding and taking on bigger and bigger cases. He was eager for that success to spill over into a new market.

So, the owner signed a lease for a fancy new office in his new city. He hired new staff members to fill the office and put them to work designing billboard ads and TV commercials. 

Once those advertisements went live, the owner finally got to sit back and waited for the cases to come rolling in.

He waited, and he waited some more.

Months went by, but his caseload remained a stagnant pool of small, piddly claims. Weeks later, the location was forced to close, and the owner had to refocus all his efforts back on Florida.

He’d wasted tens of thousands of dollars, but why?

What did he do wrong?

The owner of that big Florida law firm missed the mark in several areas, but the most glaring mistake – and the main reason why his expansion endeavor failed – was that he completely neglected his firm’s online presence.

By choosing clunky, out-of-fashion billboards and cheesy TV commercials, he might as well have shot himself in the foot and attempted a marathon.

open satellite law office empty

A fancy new office is great until there’s no one in it.

 

Think about it – when was the last time you called a number that you saw on a billboard? When was the last time you remembered a number that you saw on a billboard?

That’s what we thought.

Step #1: Considering Opening a Satellite Office? Do *This* Before Anything Else

The first thing you need to do is create a new location page for your site.

Why? The answer lies in Google’s algorithm. Like other search engines, Google runs on location proximity, meaning it ranks sites based on those sites’ authority and influence in a geographical area.

That’s why when you conduct a Google search, local results will show up first. For example, if you search “doughnut shop,” the first results will be for doughnut shops in your immediate location.

Google knows that people who search for a product or service want options available now, in their area to which they can physically travel, as well as online-only options.

Yes, this might seem behind the times considering the prevalence of remote work, but Google makes it very clear that they don’t rank businesses in cities where the business doesn’t exist. Imagine living in Atlanta, looking on Google for a doughnut shop, but being given results for Cincinnati. That doesn’t do you any good.

So, if you want your office to rank in a particular city, you need to be physically present there. 

open satellite office google my business

Results for “doughnut shop” in Midtown Atlanta. Our writer enjoyed this research.

 

Here’s what that looks like for lawyers. Let’s say you’re a Charleston, South Carolina-based personal injury lawyer with dreams of expanding to Georgia – first stop, Savannah.

Before you sign a lease in Savannah, you need a new, location-specific page for your website that talks about the kinds of cases you take, how much you charge, and where you’re located.

Create a new location page long before stepping foot in your new office.

Better yet, you should make a new location page before you even sign the lease, and definitely before you buy new equipment and hire new staff members.

Setting up location pages gives you a virtual foothold which you can use to climb to the top of Google search results. Quickly ascend using SEO, PPC, or a mix of both. 

Step #2: Choose Office Space in the Right Location

Once your new location page is live, it’s time to find an office space. You’ll want to choose a spot that’s close to where accidents happen (near a state highway or major intersection, for instance).

More importantly, you’ll want to choose an office in a location that aligns with what’s on Google Maps. Sometimes, what’s displayed on Google doesn’t match up with the actual city limits of a town. 

For instance, take the EverSpark office. We bought an office in Sandy Springs, Georgia (right outside Atlanta) before we really knew what we were doing. Of course, we wanted to show up in Atlanta search results, but instead, we started showing up for Sandy Springs. Way fewer people search for “seo company” in Sandy Springs than they do in Atlanta.

The situation has since been fixed, but you can imagine our embarrassment.

All it takes is a quick check on Google Maps. Make sure the town you’re showing up for is the town you want to rank in. If it isn’t, we suggest finding an office in another location.

Step #3: Do Keyword Market Research

The best way to know you opened your firm in the right location? Research what people are actually looking for. 

If you open a medical malpractice firm in a town made entirely of doctors, you’ll be wanting for business. This can be avoided with some good-old market research. Start with keywords – the exact phrases people use to search for something in their area.

You might learn that local people never use the word “crash” when talking about an auto accident. That would be helpful for you to know if you’re a personal injury lawyer, because you’ll know which words to use in its place.

open satellite office keyword research

Keyword research gives you valuable insight for your target market. Look how much fun this guy is having!

 

With a little research, you may also learn that your money would be better spent in a small or midsize city instead of a glittering metropolis. After all, the more people are trying to rank for a certain keyword, the more money you must spend to be competitive.

Step #4: Reviews, Reviews, Reviews (and LSAs)

Once you’ve done good research and decided that the new location is right for you, it’s time to set up Google My Business. (Don’t know where to start? We can help.)

Get verified in your new location, post photos of your business, and collect reviews from satisfied clients. Even better, your Google My Business profile is used to set up Local Service Ads, which can get you showing at the top of Google search results and drive quality leads.

You’ll be a trusted entity before you even set foot in the town. 

Making Firms Lucrative Since 2009

Nobody wants to end up like that Florida law firm, groveling for space in a new location, but not having the wherewithal or resources to make it successful.

Not so with EverSpark. When you work with us, you’re working with an agency that’s helped dozens of clients expand into new markets. 

We’ll help you find the best location for your satellite office, set up Google My Business and Local Service Ads (LSAs), and make sure you get the most out of your new market.

Sound good? Contact us today to get started.