Many lawyers seem to think that internet marketing = SEO.
To them, all that matters in the realm of internet marketing is where their website shows up on the search results. (In fairness, it’s hard to blame them – for years now SEO companies have shouted, spammed, and sweet-talked their way into over-priced contracts “guaranteed” to produce results.)
If you personally haven’t had a bad experience with an SEO company, I “guarantee” that you know someone who has.
Don’t get me wrong – there is a place for legitimate SEO. It is important that your website is search-engine friendly and that it shows up when people are searching for help in your practice areas.
But thinking about SEO before you have a solid internet foundation in place is like a retail business spending a fortune putting up billboards and advertisements while their actual store is in ruins and unprepared to serve customers. It’s backwards. It doesn’t make any sense.
Here are four factors that are MUCH more important than your Google rankings. Get these right, and then you can start thinking about SEO and other marketing strategies.
1) Your Website Should Inspire Trust.
Obviously you need a website. But don’t settle for a website that’s just “good enough.” Your website will often create the first impression of your law firm for prospective clients, and as such it should be professionally designed and should inspire confidence and credibility. We highly recommend including video on your website as well – it’s an excellent way to build trust and rapport with potential clients and referral sources.
Here’s an example of a website that does that well – note the video prominently featured on the Home page.
2) Your Website Needs to Capture Contact Information.
Here’s a scenario that happens too often: A consumer knows he needs to hire a lawyer, so he’s doing some research on the internet. He finds your site and is impressed by it. But a couple of weeks later, when it’s time to actually make the hire… he forgets all about you and hires a competitor instead. You can prevent this from happening if you can capture the contact information of potential clients and create maintain top-of-mind awareness with them. Do this by offering a “giveaway” – a Report or a White Paper that visitors can download at no charge in exchange for giving you their email address. Then plug that address into your follow-up system.
Here’s an example. Look on the right sidebar of the Home page to see the Special Report, as well as a call-to-action to subscribe to her newsletter.
3) You Should Have a Value-Based E-Newsletter.
A monthly e-newsletter is an excellent way to stay in touch with your network and maintain the top-of-mind awareness that we just discussed. But, it’s important to provide value with your newsletter – give your audience a reason to keep reading it. We recommend that you include recent blog entries, videos, inspiring quotes, and news that will be of interest to your readers. If you can provide relevant, valuable content, your e-newsletter will become one of your most powerful marketing tools.
4) You Need an Engaging Social Media Presence.
Social media is an effective way to connect with your audience and keep them connected with you and your firm. We recommend that lawyers have a Facebook Business Page (different than a personal profile), a Twitter profile, a LinkedIn personal profile, a LinkedIn Company Page, and a Google+ page. Focus on providing engaging and valuable content to your audience. Make sure that you link to these platforms from your website so that potential clients can connect with you easily.
Click here to see an example of an engaging, value-focused law firm Facebook page.
The items discussed above, plus a few others, comprise what we call your “internet foundation.” These elements need to be in place before you think about additional internet marketing like SEO or Pay-Per-Click ads. In addition, your off-line marketing will be much more effective if your internet foundation is in place.
If you’d like to know more, we’re currently offering Legal Ink readers a FREE download of our Special Report entitled Five Ways Your Internet Foundation Will Make or Break Your Marketing. It’s packed with practical information that you can apply today. Click here to download it now.