Marketing your legal business can be tricky. While there are the old standbys such as purchasing billboard space, something more is needed in a digital world. Consider that, while word of mouth is still a powerful way to get referrals, 96 percent of people seeking legal help used a search engine in 2013. About 38 percent of people used the internet to find an attorney in 2014, while 74 percent of searchers visited a law firm’s website in order to take action in their case. About a quarter of searchers viewed a YouTube video related to their troubles.
What does all this mean? It means that, even a few years ago, the balance of marketing power was shifting online. Thankfully, attracting clients can start with a few simple methods related to SEO and utilizing social media
Creating a Blog
When it comes to SEO and marketing, content is king. Content marketing requires writing the content and then sharing it via social media.
Part of writing the right content is determining keyword mapping and intent. Once you have the keywords related to your practice’s specialty figured out, you need to understand searcher intent.
For example, as Ryan Stewart points out in the link above, searcher intent can be broken down into a classic funnel of attention, discover, and money. For “attention,” searchers are looking for information related to their case, like how long they can expect to spend in jail on a DUI conviction. “Discover” relates to discovering an attorney that can handle their case. This is likely going to be a local search, such as “Los Angeles DUI attorney.” Finally, “money” is actively seeking out your services. “Hire an LA DUI attorney” would be an example of this.
While the money intent is probably the most important, as that’s what gets you direct clients, you cannot discount the other categories. This is where the blog comes into focus, as you can write blogs for each intention. Money intent has the lowest volume of searchers but the highest conversion rate. Meanwhile, discover has high volume but low conversion. It does serve to show your expertise, however.
Now that we know how people search for information, what should you blog about? One of the best ways to develop topics is to write in your niche and show your expertise. If, for example, you are a probate lawyer, talk about how parents can set up a special needs trust. While chances are there are not a large volume of clients looking for that specific example, it shows your other clients that you are well versed in the laws in your field. This gives them confidence that you will be able to help them with their problems, as well. It’s a perfect example of mid-funnel content. A second method to this part of the funnel is to comment on recent law changes, providing expert analysis.
However, you can also provide general advice, such as what to do after a car accident if you are an injury lawyer. This is top-funnel content — perfect for getting eyes on the page en masse.
Bottom funnel, where the person is seeking a law firm specifically, is up to you. Why should they pick your firm? Answer that question, and you have a blog post.
The 80/20 Rule
In the 1800s, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto stumbled on an interesting ratio while trying to determine how much of of the country was owned by the population. What’s more interesting, however, is how it can be applied to many other topics.
In our case, Pareto’s Principle of 80/20 means 80 percent of content should be audience-focused. That is, it is not promotional, it focuses on the top of the funnel and perhaps some mid-funnel. The last 20 percent is bottom funnel, making a case for why someone should use your services instead of another firm.
This ratio is important if you actually want your target audience to read your blog. Too much promotional content turns readers off, when they simply wanted to be informed on topics.
The blog post is written, but how do you drive traffic to it? Consider that, according to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of adults use Facebook, 71 percent use Instagram, and 45 percent use Twitter. Of the Facebook users, about three out of four users check the site daily. Posting the blog to social media means capturing some of those users.
It’s important to not forget a call to action in your bottom funnel posts, as well as your social media profiles. This can cost you potential clients who might otherwise be interested in using your firm as representation.
However, just using social media as a place to link to your blog posts is not enough. You need to use innovative social media engagement. In short, make quizzes or do live chats. Engage with your audience. Respond to comments. Do a livestream explaining legal concepts or explaining a recent trial and what it means in the legal world, as well as how it affects the layperson.
While simply posting blogs is a great way to drive traffic, videos improve user experience and engagement across all devices. Videos are simply better for SEO. Better SEO means improving your ranking in related searches, which in turn increases brand awareness. Potential clients also better engage with images and videos than they do with just words.
As mentioned above, a simple video explaining basic legal concepts to someone who has never seen the inside of a courtroom can have a significant impact on traffic.
Now that you have the post written or video filmed, and you have social media accounts to post it to, you need to consistently produce content. If the last post was more than a month ago, you are losing traffic.You are missing opportunities to reach prospective clients and show your expertise, or educate someone in need of advice. Make a schedule for posting, and stick to it.
Keeping Data Safe
Finally, a word on cybersecurity. Posting to social media means more accounts that can be breached, which could open up access to other parts of your IT infrastructure. Engaging in content marketing with a call to action, such as asking readers to sign up for an email newsletter, means more personal information you need to keep safe. Maintaining a high level of cybersecurity in order to keep highly personal and sensitive information secure is of utmost importance. Make sure your IT partner is up to the task.
Law firms can utilize content marketing by creating a blog to draw potential clients in. By creating content that either explains general legal concepts or shows expertise in a niche, and then engaging through social media, firms can generate traffic.