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Lies and Truths: 8 Tips for Law Firm Marketing Online

8 Tips for Law Firm Marketing Online

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet – especially when it comes to law firms and online marketing.

So said a panel of experts last week in a provocatively titled panel called “The Outright Lies and Absolute Truths of Relationship Marketing on the Web.”  The panel presented their ideas during the 4th Annual Mass LOMAP Super Marketing Conferenceand the panel included:

Here are eight online marketing tips for attorneys we gleaned from the session:

1. Law firm websites should be inexpensive.  Some experts credibly argue that even amid a rise of social media, a website is still the most valuable new business tool a law firm possesses online.  However, it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. The panel explained that if a small law firm is spending $2,000 a month on a website, it might be time for a change.  As a benchmark, a small law firm should be able to manage its own website for just a couple hundred dollars a year.

2. Add a personal touch to your content. Should your website strictly contain legal-oriented content? No, said the panel.  While this idea may surprise some attorneys, adding personal touches to a website such as including a personal hobby or family connection can help prospective clients get a flavor for you as an individual and broaden your firm’s appeal.

3. Tend to those online reviews carefully. Some lawyers are inclined to believe that online reviews do not matter, but the panel suggested online reviews do matter – big time. According to data from Avvo, 84% of clients say online reviews matter and have a big impact on their decision making process for purchasing legal services.

74% of clients polled are willing to do law firm reviews

4. Go ahead, ask a client for a review. There’s a perception that clients do not want to be asked to complete reviews, but this isn’t accurate. The panel cited data that suggests 74% of clients polled are willing to do law firm reviews. However, word of caution, do not ask clients to do reviews from company devices. These reviews will be discounted by sites like Avvo and Yelp as not being authentic. Instead, encourage clients to do reviews from their home computers and on their own time.

5.  WordPress is the ONLY website platform to use. WordPress is an easy to use tool for creating websites and blogs.  It already has a long list of plugins and themes to attorneys can used to create a distinctive design and enable engagement. Better still, a reasonable investment in WordPress costs just a couple hundred dollars per year (if not less) to develop and maintain. If you don’t know how to use WordPress, the experts advise in investing in a copy of the book WordPress for Dummies.

new client leads convert 22 times more often if you respond to a client inquiry within minutes

6. Responsiveness is incredibly important. Speedy follow ups to initial client inquiries can improve conversion rates.  By contrast, taking too long to follow up might mean a prospective customer goes with the competition. According to the panel, new client leads convert 22 times more often if you respond to a client inquiry within minutes. Studies show clients expect a reply within 5 minutes or they will move on. The panel suggests setting up an automatic email response system.  For example, if an inquiry email comes in, call the client back immediately.

7.  Another way speed matters. In a web-enabled world, seconds matter. A website that takes too long to load often results in prospective clients moving on.  In web analytics, this is called the “bounce rate” and it can also lead to double-jeopardy as site speed and the bounce rate can also impact a website’s rankings in search.

8.  Pictures are still worth a thousand words.  Never underestimate the power of a great head shot. While most attorneys believe posing in front of books or in a library with a gavel in hand is the way to go, the experts all agree, no books or gavels in the background. Rather, a natural pose with a smile is the way to go. Also, don’t do a DIY job, invest in a professional photographer.

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What tips would you add?

Photo credit:  Flickr via Creative Commons; CC 2.0

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
5 Lessons from an Expert Webinar on Law Firm Marketing

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director with Business of Law Software Solutions (BLSS) a division of LexisNexis. In this capacity he directs communications strategy and execution in support of BLSS products including those for large law, small law and corporate counsel. With 15 years in experience in the marketing communications for the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of PR for Vocus, which develops marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He’s held multiple roles in PR both in-house with corporations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms both large and small. A veteran with two deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an Army officer. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University.
3 comments
TyroneBobbyJoeHill
TyroneBobbyJoeHill

Marketing can be really hard for any business, really. But I can only imagine how hard it can be for law firms. They have to include a lot of stuff other businesses don't. It's a good thing that there's so many marketing services out there! They can make the process a lot easier for any business. Thanks for the post! http://www.sporecreative.com

AG In the VA
AG In the VA

Regarding #5, "WordPress is the ONLY website platform to use." What do you think about Squarespace?

BLSS
BLSS moderator

@AG In the VA Sorry for the delay,  I haven't used Squarespace so cannot make a comment on way or another.  There are several services like it though, and usually these offer free trials so its worth trying them all out and seeing what works for you.  WordPress does take some time to work, but it's provides the ability to do all sorts of things!