Many lawyers have diversified practices that focus on several different areas of the law. However, when potential clients are searching for a lawyer, they typically want to hire someone they perceive as an "expert" - rather than a "jack-of-all-trades." Effectively marketing each of the practice areas you specialize in can make a tremendous difference in your ability to expand your client base and increase revenue.
One way to successfully target different audiences is through your website. Research indicates that 66 percent of American adults use the Internet on a regular basis. In addition, nine-out-of-10 teenagers are now online. As these teens grow up and become consumers of legal services, can your law firm really afford not to market itself effectively online?
A website enables lawyers to connect with large audiences to showcase their services, reinforce their credentials and expertise, and demonstrate what sets them apart from the competition. It also serves as a point of reference for a referred, potential client to learn more about your firm before making a decision on which firm to contact.
But, developing a successful online marketing presence that targets specific client groups separately and improves conversion can be challenging. First, how can potential clients find you? And second, once they do find you, how can you best present your expertise in different practice areas without being viewed as a generalist? There are a few things you can do to enhance your Web site that will help you attract and convert potential clients.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is one of the best ways to convert potential clients into actual business. Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, etc. are the most common ways for new clients to find you on the Internet.
The goal of SEM is to achieve higher rankings within the search engine results list, which then translates into more potential clients. The closer you are to the highest ranking, the more likely you are to get noticed and be chosen by an attorney-seeking Web user.
Here is how SEM works. Search engines send out "spiders" that automatically visit millions of Web sites on a regular basis and collect information about those sites. For example, the spiders look for keywords or keyword phrases that occur frequently on the Web site and then index these results. Once this information is indexed, Web sites are ranked based on the number of times a particular word or phrase appears in the content or title tag of a webpage.
Another factor that determines website ranking is how many other websites have a link that directs users back to your website. These links are important because search engines view them as giving "credibility" to a website.
Overall, the best way to evaluate the success of your SEM program is to review the results. Make sure you ask potential clients how they learned about your law firm, read your traffic reports, and consistently check your search engine rankings.
Specialty Webpages and Websites
Most law firms have a general website that offers an overview of the firm, areas of law practiced, and a snapshot of its attorneys. This is a good way to provide potential clients with background information about your firm, but not such a good way to maximize your rankings in search engines and drive potential clients to your website for topic-specific searches.
When you are trying to target a specific type of client, a general website is too broad to effectively get your message across. Therefore, if you wanted to grow your personal injury practice to emphasize an expertise in truck accident cases, for example, you might consider adding a specialty webpage to your current website, or creating an entirely separate website focusing on that single topic.
In addition, a specialty webpage or website can be peppered with marketing terms that aim to keep your law firm placed high in the search engine results list for that specific practice area. These top rankings suggest to consumers that your law firm is the "go-to" firm for resolving their legal matter.
Everyday, thousands of people search online for a lawyer. These potential clients are not only seeking general information about the firm, but they also are hoping to gain a better understanding about their own legal situation.
Practice Centers can help by enhancing any website with six to eight page of regularly-updated content, including articles, frequently asked questions, tips, and other relevant information relating to a specific area of law. Practice Centers improve the odds of attracting quality clients because it speaks directly to the legal issues at hand and positions you as an expert in that area of law.
A law firm landing page is a webpage customized to emphasize one particular practice area. A landing page looks similar to the firm's main website, and is designed to increase traffic from search engines by attracting a specific, targeted audience, concerned with a specific legal issue. A landing page enables the law firm to promote the expertise of its various attorneys, and helps the consumer looking for a lawyer with that particular expertise to find him or her faster.
Now that a website visitor has found you, how do you turn them into a client? Once you attract a potential client to your website, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention and convince them to keep reading. Therefore, the content on your home page is probably the most critical copy on your entire Web site. When it comes to your home page, first impressions do count!
When creating copy for your home page, consider what distinguishes you from other attorneys and law firms in your area. Keep your content short, concise and relevant to your target audience. The more compelling your website copy is, the more likely it is that the website visitor will pick up the phone and call you.
Currently, there are approximately 2,000 to 3,000 legal blogs nationwide, and that number continues to grow. In the past, blogs were more of an online journal or diary that chronicled personal events. Today, blogs have evolved into a critical marketing tool that allow lawyers to communicate expertise, express opinions and increase the online visibility of their law firms.
Blogs can effectively be used to communicate a ruling, event, or decision to potential clients and what that would mean to them. It's an easily updateable tool, which is highly favored in search engine rankings.
Tracking Your Marketing Success
If you are going to spend the time and effort on marketing your various practice areas, you need to commit to tracking your success and ensuring that your marketing dollars are being well spent. Make sure you track the phone calls and e-mails that come into your law firm.
Many lawyers claim that the prospective clients who find them via the Internet usually end up hiring them. The reason? By the time a potential client calls or e-mails you, he or she has already thoroughly researched your capabilities and expertise online, and is prepared to make a decision. By implementing some or all of these Web marketing strategies, you can help ensure that the lawyer they hire is you!
Find out what FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing services can do for you. To learn more, visit FindLaw's Law Firm Marketing Solutions.