The 2013 Law Firm Internet Marketing Playbook
Any great team has game plan, a strategy for success, a concrete vision for the future. SmithSEO can help you to optimize your online marketing strategies and convert more online visitors to clients. It’s time to get in the game!
Setting Up Your Offensive Line
Whether you are new to online marketing or a seasoned professional, these plays will help to set your 2013 online marketing strategies in motion. Before jumping into more complex strategies it is important to set the foundation that will bring you to the goal line and beyond. Understanding the basics of internet marketing and the unique business climate of your firm will help you to take advantage of opportunities provided by marketing your firm online.
- Review the Latest Google Best Practices Guide by Jerry West – As a first step, or as a refresher course, this guide will benefit anyone trying to gain an online presence. Jerry West is recognized as one of the top online marketing experts and his guide provides insight and strategies for getting maximum “Google Love”. I highly recommend a look at this book.
How to Develop Your Winning Competitive Advantage in 2013
[caption id="attachment_521" align="alignleft" width="281"] Image Source: biography.com[/caption]
I recently saw an interview with billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Buffett was asked about which qualities of a company he looks for when assessing an investment opportunity. Without hesitation he answered, “an enduring competitive advantage”
This led me to thinking about what this means for my own business and for the businesses of my clients. We are all paying attention to standard performance measures in order to assess the health of our firm at any given time, but a competitive advantage can be the key to a law firm’s long-term success.
What is a competitive advantage?
It may seem self-explanatory, but in order to use your competitive advantage to its fullest potential, it’s important to clearly define what that advantage is.
Basically, there are two types of competitive advantage:
Comparative Advantage – In which your firm is able to provide a service at a lower cost than your competitors. This may not mean that you sell those services at a lower price, but it does allow you to either have a larger margin than your competitors or, should you charge less,
Google’s social media service, known as Google+, has now unleashed the power of its millions of members to local business owners. Google recently announced that is replacing its Google Places product, which was aimed at small businesses, with the new Google+ Local strategy which integrates the social media service and its local search platform. For small business owners this could mean additional opportunities for search engine visibility.
Google handles billions of searches every day, with many of those searchers are looking for local businesses and brands. In fact, according to Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president for local search and Google maps, searches for local services account for 20 percent of all Google searches. With one Google+ business listing your business may now have the opportunity to appear in several of the Google search platforms including, organic, maps, mobile and now Google+.
The Google+ platform itself aims to provide relevant local information using its social networking technology. One of the cornerstones of this idea is the +1 feature. Similar to the Facebook “like” feature, +1 allows Google+ users to tag webpages of businesses and products they feel strongly about. In this way, Google is attempting to leverage its social networking user base to
Don't Ignore Your Google Places Listing!
Getting your business found on Google is more than having a well optimized and relevant website representing your law firm. Google Places, which takes up a large portion of the 1st page search results (consider the image below as an example), and for practically any service based business requires specific action on your part.
The above serves as an example of a search on Google, with the Places results on the 1st page
Is my law firm in Google Places?
Most likely it is, due to the fact that many businesses were automatically listed within Google places from various sources of freely available information regarding your law firm.
How do I go about claiming my listing?
If you head over to Google Places, and select Get Started on the right hand side of the page (as per the image below), you will be required to sign in with your Google Account details (assuming you have a Google account, otherwise we recommend getting one to manage all aspects of your Google activities online).
Is Website Performance Important?
Amazon found that it increased revenue by 1% for every 100 milliseconds of improvement. [Source: Amazon]
Mozilla shaved 2.2 seconds off their landing pages, thereby increasing download conversions by 15.4%, which they estimate will result in 60 million more Firefox downloads per year. [Source:Mozilla]
Not sure how well your website is performing? Try this tool from Pingdom.
More crazy cool stats here: http://www.webperformancetoday.com/category/mobile/page/2/
Top Internet Marketing Strategies for Aggressive Law Firms in 2012
The tactics below are often overlooked by most law firms and we believe through our experiences that their importance in 2012 will only grow!
Conversion Rate Optimization
You’re site ranks top three for most of the keywords you’re targeting, but you’re still hungry to boost lead count and revenue. Where do you turn? Try Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). CRO is the art and science of improving your website’s conversion rate. Here are some tips to help improve your conversions in 2012:
- Has it been a few years since your last website design? Consider redesigning your website with two key things in mind; usability for your visitors/clients and a clean design that keeps your company site looking modern, professional, and approachable. Make sure that you are also having the site designed for viewing on different platforms including mobile platforms.
- Is your content engaging, educational and persuasive? Focus on your reader’s experience and make sure that your copy is engaging, educational, persuasive, and clearly articulates who you are and what they can do on your site. Make sure you have a
Official release here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/place-search-faster-easier-way-to-find.html
Google Maps/Places/Local (whatever they want to call it...) just got a lot more important!
Our goal as SEO's should be a #1 ranking for all client's primary keywords. This article says it all: http://training.seobook.com/google-ranking-value
As much as search engine optimization is about maximizing results, it’s also about fixing what’s broke. Getting your marketing efforts up to speed and functioning on all cylinders involves continually evaluating the performance of your website and making real-time changes and improvements that give your clients what they’re looking for the first time (and every time) they visit your site.
For example, I recently read an article by search engine strategist Carrie Hill that does a terrific job of explaining the primary factors that cause site visitors to leave (or ‘bounce’) off a web page immediately after landing on it. In marketing metrics, this is referred to as bounce rate. When your site’s bounce rate is low (desirable), visitors are taking the time to learn about you and your services; when it’s high, they’re leaving before your marketing message has a chance to captivate them and move them to contact you.
Hill offers helpful tips for lowering high bounce rates. Of utmost importance is making sure that your pages match the search query term that brought them to your site in the first place. This is one of the reasons why the right keywords are vital to search
Does your website try to "close the sale", or are you proving to your visitors that you have the best firm for their needs?
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="301" caption="What's your strategy for standing out from the competition?"][/caption]
Let's face it, hiring a lawyer is a very important decision. The problem is, most law firm websites look similar and provide similar information to their visitors. So how can you stand out?
Why not show off your expertise as opposed to screaming "call me for a free consultation"!
Just a few ideas:
1. Start a blog and update it regularly.
2. Create a free report that shares valuable information with your target audience (e.g. 21 Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Case).
3. Create a few videos and answer common questions that you receive from clients.
Here's a recent post by marketing guru Seth Godin:
Do you really expect that the first time we transact, it will involve me giving you money in exchange for a product or service?
Perhaps this is a good strategy for a pretzel vendor on the street, but is that