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Common Marketing Mistakes Law Firms Make

Missing online targets

With roots dating back to Ancient Greece, the legal profession has been around a long time. While many legal theories remain the same, marketing practices have evolved quite a bit.

Today, many legal questions can be answered with a quick online search. Yet millions of people still need legal services every year. Rather than replace lawyers, search engines and other online resources have made firms more visible than ever.

At the same time, many law firms have misconceptions about the most effective ways to market themselves online. They may think that traditional media advertising is the only way to go, or they may think they don’t need a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to earn new clients.

In our experience, the following mistakes can cost law firms serious opportunities. Here are some of the most egregious law firm marketing mistakes we’ve observed – along with a few ways to fix them.

1. Ignoring Search Leads

Online journeys begin on search engines like Google. Experts estimate that Google handles 70,000 search queries per second and 5.8 billion per day.

Legal information is an especially popular search topic. In fact, the National Law Review made waves in 2015 when it published survey results showing that 96% of people seeking legal advice will use a search engine at some point.

Providing outstanding legal information can draw some of that search traffic to your site. Once a user is there, they can read specific information about your law firm’s expertise and how you can help them. This results in new client leads.

Don’t discount the role that search could have on your law firm’s bottom line. There’s a good chance that many of your visitors are already being referred by a search engine. If they aren’t, you’ve been missing out on huge opportunities.

2. Trying to Compete With the Big Guys

Law firms that realize they need search leads may get a little zealous. There’s nothing wrong with having an ambitious SEO and paid search (SEM) strategy, but law firms should be cautious. They need to go after clients in their niche rather than trying to duke it out with the biggest law firms in their region.

Large law firms have the resources to commit a large budget to both paid search and organic search marketing. Our recent research discovered that large firms that achieve consistent growth spend $2,300 per lawyer on the payroll to run digital marketing campaigns. As a result, these firms can dominate results for terms like “injury lawyer in Miami”.

A competitor ranking far above another competitor

It’s not bad to have big goals, but a more realistic plan is to target hyperlocal areas specific to your firm.

Again, setting lofty goals is never bad, but if you run a smaller firm, you don’t necessarily need to do this to earn steady client leads. Instead, you can target hyperlocal areas in your region, such as specific communities, neighborhoods, and legal niches in your home town.

Performing deep keyword research can also allow you to take business from the bigger guys by offering better, more specific content.

Being strategic is especially important if you want to make the most of your budget. Search engine marketing statistics show that paid ads for law firms have an average cost of $6.75 per every click they get. This leads to an average cost per action (consultation sign-up, signed client agreement, email submission, etc.) of $86.02!

With the right strategy targeted towards your specialty client areas and local market, you can easily achieve results at a lower cost per lead.

3. Pushing Sales Pitches Instead of Legal Information

Another effect of overeager law firm marketing is that some firms think that SEO content is there to sell, sell, sell. They want to feel as if every ounce of effort they spend is going towards drumming up new leads.

In truth, most people don’t respond to hard sales pitches, especially online. Digital marketing research shows that only about 10% of website visitors intend to obtain a service or make a purchase. Most of them are just gathering information.

If you can supply quality information, they will return to your website repeatedly as a resource. Then you build trust, and they are more likely to become a client lead.

Always aim for high-quality, informative, valuable content with every blog and web page you write. Offering better answers to legal questions or deeper, more specific information about the laws in your area is one great way to beat out the competition for online leads.

4. Thinking Your Current Website is Good Enough

Every website has some room for improvement – and many law firm websites have lots of room!

While your website doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, it should meet the following criteria:

  • Optimized for readability and search visibility
  • Intuitive site layout
  • Clear information about your firm, its practice areas, how long it has served the community, and any special qualifications
  • Obvious (but not obnoxious) contact forms to capture client lead info and schedule consultations
  • Accurate name, address, phone number, and business hours information
  • A Google My Business profile that’s complete, somewhat detailed, and accurate
  • A blog section ready to publish valuable, informative legal content
  • Practice area pages for each main legal domain your firm covers
  • Location pages describing your services and availability in specific communities

5. Ignoring the Gold Mine That Is Client Reviews

One of the biggest factors in whether or not someone will decide to go to your firm over a competitors’ is your online reputation. Ninety-one percent of people read online reviews before making a purchase, and 84% trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation.

Client leaving a review on her cellphone

Encouraging client reviews (and responding to them) helps clients trust your firm and feel valued.

You can’t take reviews for granted. They should be a central part of your client engagement and retention strategy. Make it easy for clients to leave reviews by emailing them a convenient link. Prioritize one review source, such as Google reviews or Avvo reviews, over others. That way, clients don’t feel overwhelmed being asked to leave multiple reviews at once. Make it clear that their opinion is valued and that your reviews are going to be read by other people.

Some law firms even go so far as to secure testimonials and video detailing some of their past client successes. This can be a worthy investment, especially if you have recently won a big case.

6. Not Knowing Your Current Performance

The most important part of any marketing strategy is to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) and set goals. Your KPIs should reflect value-producing actions taken by your website visitors. Think pages viewed per session or average consultation signups per week – not just website visits or search engine conversions.

Measuring these metrics and then setting targets to improve them drives the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. It also encourages you to respond to the data feedback you’re given, allowing you to tweak your marketing strategy to be more effective and profitable over time.

If you have any questions about developing or improving your marketing strategy for law firms, get in touch with our experts. We can provide you with a free audit and strategy overview to help you understand where you’re currently at and how far you could go with the right marketing activities.

Call EverSpark Interactive at 404-313-7076 or use our quick online contact form to get in touch with one of our digital marketing experts today.