Law firms that focus on specific geographical regions know the power of local marketing. It’s logical—put your marketing in front of the people who are most likely to hire your firm.
To generate even greater marketing returns for your firm, though, start implementing HYPER LOCAL marketing. You want to not only be visible in your local area, but also want everything about your marketing to speak directly to the local population through messaging, content, campaigns, events and imagery that clearly differentiates you as a local expert. To that end, here are 10 steps to building a strong, hyper local legal marketing machine:
1. Localize Your Messaging
Instead of generic messaging to a local audience, localize your message to more directly resonate with those who matter most to your law firm. For example, instead of using “Preserving Family Wealth” or “The Expertise You Trust” in your ads, use localized messaging such as “Preserving Family Wealth in Boulder for 20 Years” or “The Expertise You’ve Trusted in Tulsa for 3 Decades.” Localized messaging packs a powerful punch and sets you apart from the law firms using bland, broad statements.
2. Localize Your Blog
Capitalize on Local SEO by implementing a hyper-local blog. One of the keys to the blog’s success is to use hyper-local language, such as city, town and neighborhood names. Cover important legal issues, but with a local twist. Cover local issues that arise in the news, as well. As you build content over time, the goal is to get Google and the other search engines recognizing you as not just an authority, but a local authority.
3. Localize Your Partnerships
Use your local presence as a strategic advantage by collaborating with local, non-competing businesses in cross lead-generation activities. This can be in the form of informal word-of-mouth referrals, or even joint marketing campaigns. For example, if you’re a real estate lawyer, you can partner with a CPA, mortgage company and real estate brokers. If you’re an employment lawyer, see how you can partner with local associations and groups assisting those in need, whether battling discrimination, sexual harassment or other issues you specialize in. If you’re an intellectual property (IP) lawyer, you can partner with industry-specific consultants and local industry leaders in the area. In other words, regardless of the type of law you practice, there are typically multiple partnership opportunities for you to explore.
4. Segment Local Analytics Data
An often overlooked element in your marketing is to segment your law firm’s marketing and website analytics data by geography. Instead of looking at your entire Google Analytics data set in aggregate, for example, it would be more helpful for you to filter out all the data from outside of the regions that you serve. For example, if you’re licensed in Colorado, then why in the world would you give equal weighting in your analytics analysis to visitors from Georgia or Florida? By looking at the actual data that impacts your business, you’ll gain a much clearer sense of what’s working and how to optimize it for further marketing results.
5. Go Mobile
Mobile Internet usage actually surpassed desktop Internet usage this past year. According to the Mobile Marketing Association, 43% of Americans use their mobile devices as their primary search tool, and according to the Local Search Association, 60% of U.S. adults search for local services specifically on mobile devices. With numbers like these in mind, it’s imperative that your website design is responsive so that your target local audience can view your site easily on their smartphones.
6. Local SEO
Local SEO has long been a valuable source of website traffic and leads for law firms, and this trend will only intensify moving forward. According to a 2014 Google study, 80% of consumers use search engines to find local information. In an April 2015 Think With Google article, the company revealed that “near me” searches in Google increased 34X since 2011 and nearly doubled since last year. Optimizing your website for geo-based terms, registering with Google My Business, getting listed in online directories, and as mentioned above, executing a localized blog, are all effective ways to increase your visibility for local searches.
7. Local Advertising
Local advertising, whether paid search ads or local billboards, etc., enables you to get your message in front of many people in a short period of time. For paid search, utilize location extensions to allow your ad to take up more real estate in the search engines, which correspondingly pushes your competitors’ ads further down the page. Keep in mind that for location extensions to be displayed, your ad must appear at the top of the page. For outdoor advertising, keep the message ultra simple, use extra large font sizes and focus exclusively on only one key objective.
8. Host & Speak at Events
According to a 2014 study commissioned by J. Johnson Executive Search and conducted by ALM Legal Intelligence, event marketing is the most effective marketing activity for law firms. If you focus on speaking at local events in your region, you’ll be seen as an expert in the field. The key is to speak at events that your prime prospects are likely to attend. You can also host a series of events, packaging your firm’s attorneys as experts, plus you can exclude the competition from entering your doors.
9. Request Local Reviews
In a survey by Software Advice, 43% of respondents claimed to use online reviews to research attorneys. This is a higher percentage than those even searching for doctors. And among the review sites, Yelp was named the most popular and the most trusted for finding an attorney. Online reviews matter! The best way to generate more reviews for your law firm is to simply and politely ask for them. Do not offer any incentives. Do not tell people what to write. Simply ask, and in most cases you’ll see your review volume increase.
10. Get Involved
In Jim Stengel’s book Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profits at the World’s Greatest Companies, he reveals that in a 10-year study of 50,000 brands, the 50 highest-performing businesses were the ones focusing on ideals. In fact, these 50 firms grew 3X faster than their competitors. What are your law firm’s ideals? What local charities and non-profits can you partner with? Get involved and help your local community. It will not only raise your status in the eyes of the local population, but it’s also the right thing to do.
Hyper local marketing can increase your law firm’s reach, site traffic and leads. Follow the blueprint above, and see how a hyper local focus can improve your firm’s results for years to come.