Lawyers need websites like other businesses do since people are now, more than ever, looking to the Internet to search for products and services. There are certain mistakes, however, that we noticed especially amongst solo entrepreneurs and often, specifically lawyers.
Here’s the list of what to avoid for lawyers when marketing yourselves online.
1. A bit of research always helps
You are paying good money to the web designer to create your online presence for you. Do you know what to expect? Do you have any idea what you really want? Good for you if you do, but a number of times you tend to trust the ‘expert’ who designs a site for you that in no way distinguishes itself from the numerous other lawyer sites (which are not doing anyone any good either). Worst case scenario: pages don’t load, don’t have cross-browser compatibility, contact forms don’t work and links are broken. If you want a website for yourself, get yourself up to date first. Spend some of the time you are ordinarily busy making money or reading books, to search for information. Be knowledgeable enough to seek out a proper expert first, and then talk to them about what exactly it is you are looking for and ask for their professional suggestions. If you don’t research on your own and if your fortune isn’t shining, you could not only end up wasting your money but losing more of it. Your site cries ‘amateur’ and ‘incompetent’ and online searchers have the choicest words of referral for your if they can even remember your name.
2. Taking the second step first
You are supposed to enlist in local directories specific to your profession, first. People see your description, take note of the testimonials, notice how succinctly you have put everything in with a couple of relevant photographs and they are like ‘damn! I need this lawyer’ and they look for a website link. If it isn’t there, it is not like they will not use your contact details, but having a website gives you a completely professional look. That’s primarily what your site is for – so that people can learn more about you having come through advertisements elsewhere. If you are trying to rank in organic search results for terms like ‘criminal lawyers, Colorado’ by creating a website, you could be getting ahead of yourself.
SEO or search engine optimization takes time and money and definitely, a lot of expertise. Law firms with deeper pockets than yours will target the most popular keywords as also the related words and to make an effort to outrank them before you are kind of famous is simply not advisable. There are other methods like social networking that are better suited to the average lawyer’s situation. By average we mean a lawyer who could be the best on the face of this earth but about whom not too many people know of, yet.
Don’t pay a fortune for keywords when you’ve just got yourself a website. Ask yourself and the people who are dealing with your online reputation creation whether you are not going to get enough clients to keep your hands full even if you don’t rank in Google SERP. Chances are, that kind of ranking can come quite a bit later.
3. Who is writing your content?
Are you known for your excellent drafting skills and did you decide to design your own content? Not a problem, so long as you realize that your prospective clients are usually laypersons who not only will not understand legal jargon but will run very far away from it. You don’t want to overwhelm people with information they do not need in a language they do not comprehend. Your content should focus on the types of problems you can help people solve. Name the problems instead of the only pointing out the legal provisions they come under and if you wish to optimize your content with keywords (without spending money), try to think from the client’s point of view. Are they worried about something they are being accused of and wondering how to get out of the mess, or are they trying to figure out the nuances of the word ‘felony’, popular as it has been made by the movies? Use their language, write down the names of the alleged offenses as non-lawyers would speak of them, and design your content in a helpful manner. Ask a non-lawyer friend to read through your content see if they like it.
4. Which reminds us…
What is your offer, exactly? Are you telling us that you solve problems related to matrimony, or is it property deals you excel in, or is it murder trials where you rock? And can you narrow that down further? Because, you know, we could be facing one of 30 (or more) different problems that come under the head ‘property deals’. And if we don’t see the specific problem listed, we could just walk away from you. If you target a large audience, you can do better business by referring clients rather than dealing with their cases personally. However, having your own clients figures prominently in your list of priorities, you’d do well to be specific and then very specific so that the people who you can really help can find you. This could be achieved as simply as by creating a list of problems (in lay terminology, please) that you are offering solutions for.
5. Not going for the jugular
If you are going to invest your time and money on a website, better be prepared to spend some more time and money in monitoring it. It is best to take this part of your marketing seriously or you will see next to no results. Don’t just create your website and forget about it. Keep in touch with the expert who created it for you and ask for updates. Go over the visitor stats and keep a record of how many visitors converted into clients. See how much money you are making out of what you put into that site. Check also to see if you can bring in more targeted visitors from other sources. A half-hearted effort does not really yield any good result no matter what it is you may be trying to do. Creating a profitable online marketing strategy is no exception. The website is just one part of it. There is the social networking we mentioned, and then the SEO part when you are ready, and the pay per click marketing should you go for it, and creating regular newsletters for your subscribers (who may not all be your clients yet) – these are all parts of your online marketing strategy. Do it seriously, monitor your ROI and make sure you get your money’s worth.