Inbound Marketing for Law Firms: What You Need to Know
Many new clients only start looking for a law firm when there's a desperate need for it: following a criminal case, when they're ready for a divorce, or when they need legal paperwork drawn up or handled for them.
While a quick Google search might not be the most reputable way to choose a great law firm, it is the strategy of choice for many people in need of legal assistance.
Even when larger firms are looking for a law firm to keep on retainer for long-term use, they need to be able to find your law firm in order to choose you. By building your inbound marketing efforts, you can substantially increase the number of new clients in your area who are coming your way.
Why is Inbound Marketing Important for Law Firms?
Content Builds Trust
You're a good lawyer with a solid reputation. You're known for winning the majority of your cases, for getting great outcomes for clients who use you for a divorce, or for finding the best loopholes in any contract you look at — and closing them for your clients. There's just one problem: that reputation will only take you so far when it comes to new clients, especially those who don't know any of your previous clients personally.
Building trust with new clients, or potential new clients, starts with creating content that will help them deepen their understanding of the situation they've found themselves in, explaining the potential consequence of trying to go without legal representation, and showing them how you can help them avoid these consequences. For example, you might:
- Write a blog post detailing the potential consequences of getting a divorce without a lawyer
- Explain traffic laws in your state, the consequences for breaking them, and provide information about how you can decrease the burden of those consequences
- Detail cases of individuals who thought they would be fine without legal representation, but who discovered to their detriment that it was a poor choice
- Explain some common problems with contracts and how consulting a lawyer can help either a) build a tighter, more ironclad contract or b) find loopholes in the existing contract
Your goal in building a content library is to address the key concerns held by clients who are looking for a law firm like yours.
Paying attention to keywords will help: what are potential clients searching for? Law firm or law firms in your city is one great keyword, but it's only the tip of the iceberg! You want to make sure you cover all the key content areas.
Search Ranking Matters
You know the higher you rank in Google and other key search engines, the more likely you are to get traffic to your website. The top five results on Google get approximately 60% of the traffic — and if your page doesn't appear until the second page of the search engine results or later, you might find you're getting almost no traffic for your content.
Ideally, you want to build trust with Google and rise through the search engine rankings until you're as close to the top of the list as possible.
If you can't rise to the very top in your primary search terms, start looking for secondary keywords that can help push your search rankings higher and allow you to cash in on new searches.
Example: "Divorce lawyers in Cincinnati" could be your primary keyword. If there are a lot of divorce lawyers in Cincinnati, you may struggle to rank high with it. "Divorce lawyers in Cincinnati who handle custody disputes" could be your ticket to more traffic.
Social Proof Builds Credibility
Whether you're an established law firm that's been around for years, passing your legacy through generations, or an up-and-coming firm with brand new lawyers on the staff, you need potential clients to believe in your credibility. Word-of-mouth is great, but in today's digital age, some of your best recommendations won't come from someone who speaks to a new client in person.
Today, your clients are interested in social proof. 88% of your potential clients trust reviews on your website and social media pages just as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from a friend or colleague. They want to know other people have worked with your firm in the past, they trust you, and they would recommend you to their friend, or family member.
Building social proof takes time. With a little effort, however, you can significantly impact the online reputation of your business through:
- Building an active social media presence with likes and followers
- Encouraging your clients to leave reviews, especially the ones who are satisfied with your work
- Addressing negative comments instead of just deleting them
- Asking for reviews from long-time clients who would be willing to help you build your online presence
The Importance of Guest Content
As you start building your online presence, you'll find plenty of opportunities to post on your own website. Just as critically, however, is posting on other people's websites. This has a number of benefits:
- It shows these reputable individuals consider your information to be credible, which helps increase your reputation.
- It builds links back to your website, which will help your search engine rankings.
- It gives you another source of traffic, allowing you to bring in readers from that website to check out yours.
Writing guest posts on websites that aren't necessarily for legal advice will also help grow the number of visitors who come to your site naturally.
Example: If you're in family law, you might post on parenting websites:
- How should newly divorced parents navigate child custody agreements and child support?
- What happens if someone wants or needs to gain custody of a child who belongs to a family member?
Example: A business lawyer, on the other hand, might post about legal issues related to the business they pursue the most often:
- How can businesses protect themselves in the event of an accident on their property? Are they liable in the event of a specific situation?
Guest posting may not have immediate results for your website. Instead, it will help build long-term credibility so when a reader on that website has a problem down the road, they will think of your firm and the article you wrote.
Optimize Lead Conversion
You've created the content that brought visitors to your website. Now what? Building your lead conversion rates should be your next goal. This might include:
- Offering gated content that is accessible only when a reader fills out a specific form.
- Creating a form for individuals who want more information, whether it's being added to a mailing list or getting a call back from your firm.
- Optimizing your website to encourage client interest and increase overall conversion rates.
As your online presence grows, so will the number of people visiting your website. Ideally, you want to make sure your website is designed to appeal to members of your target demographic.
Bringing in traffic is great. Bringing in traffic that will convert is even better.
Inbound marketing is the modern marketing. As a law firm, if you want to keep up with the times and remain competitive, it's critical you make inbound marketing part of your regular strategy.