All professionals should be making full use of digital marketing, and solicitors are no exception. The good news is that there’s no need to supplement your law degree with one in digital marketing.
We have come up with a few ideas that will help any law firm kick-start its digital marketing drive.
Focus firstly on paid search advertising. Law firms should appear in Google’s top results if they want to beat competitors to new business.
Here are a few tips for setting up a straightforward AdWords campaign:
- Create separate ad groups for each area of the practice: for example, one for divorce, another for personal injury, and a third for employment disputes.
- Each ad group should contain keywords directly related to the topic it covers. The AdWords keyword planner tool will give you keyword ideas and estimates on bids. To avoid triggering generic searches and paying for irrelevant clicks, use broad match modifier as keyword matching type, along with phrase match and exact match in separate ad groups.
- Keyword match types help control which searches can trigger your ad. For example, you could use broad match to show your ad to a wider audience or you could use exact match to hone in on a specific group.
- Block irrelevant traffic by adding negative keywords (such as free, internships, code of conduct, definition, regulation authority) that don’t relate to your services. If you don’t offer medical malpractice advice, for example, add the term ‘medical’ to the negative keyword list.
- Ideally you should test different ads per ad group – two, three or even four if you’re feeling creative. Don’t forget to choose ‘rotate’ as ad rotation parameter (campaign settings) so that your ads rotate. Your choice of landing page is important as it will affect your quality score. Your ad should direct customers to the most relevant page on your website. If your ad is targeting people looking for advice on divorce, it should redirect to the area of your website covering divorce.
- Finally, don’t neglect ad extensions as they can increase your click-through rate. Create sitelinks (and description lines), callout extensions and call extensions. Call extensions are particularly relevant for solicitors; it’s also advisable to use call-only ads alongside normal text ads.Once your campaign is up and running, start thinking about how you are going to track its performance, and the leads it generates. Do you have a contact form on your website? It is one of the easiest ways to track leads for your practice. The more you know about your AdWords campaigns, the better you can optimise them. Download search query reports to analyse the search terms your keywords are triggering – and to add better keywords and new negatives. You can also look at your bids and average position to see if you need to increase or decrease them. The Auction Insights in AdWords shows how your campaigns are performing compared to those of your competitors.
Another part of paid advertising is display. It differs from search in that it includes image ads, banners, videos (along with text ads) – with the added advantage that your ads will appear on relevant websites.
You can target by:
- Contextual targeting (using keywords as in paid search)
Display usually generates fewer leads and conversions but lots of impressions so if raising awareness is your main objective, it’s ideal. If you’ve just launched your practice, for example, display is the way to go.
Focus on Mobile
Predictably, mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches. It is increasingly important in today’s mobile-first world to target mobiles accurately, and advertising on mobiles is hugely relevant for law firms. People tend to search for solicitors while on the go so if your website is not mobile friendly, now is the time to optimise it to avoid losing potential clients.
Solicitors are trained communicators so you have no excuse for neglecting social media, a great – and inexpensive – way to engage clients. Posting updates is easy once your accounts have been set up. Facebook is a great tool for getting information on, and reaching, potential clients. Target them by interests and demographics, location, age and gender – all important considerations for a local law firm. Don’t forget to optimise your Google+ page with your business name, contact number and location so that customers can find you on Google maps. Start building your law firm’s social profile now and keep potential clients up to date with your services.
Location is important for solicitors, as would-be clients are unlikely to drive hundreds of miles for legal advice. Bear this in mind when you set up your paid search campaigns and choose your target location accurately. Select a radius around your office so you don’t end up paying for out-of-towners clicking on your ads.
Video is a popular advertising format and YouTube is a great way to reach a large audience. It offers several advertising formats: display ads, overlay ads, skippable or non-skippable video ads, and bumper ads.
If you specialise in family law or personal injury, for example, a short video ad can have a huge impact on potential clients. It also personalises your practice if you feature in it, allowing viewers to put a face to the name.
Website and SEO
Although paid search is important, you shouldn’t focus all your efforts on it. Don’t forget about organic search, which has one huge advantage: it’s free. Now is the time to optimise your website to ensure your practice ranks high in the search results when people go searching for a solicitor online.
You needn’t grapple with Google’s complex algorithm to rank in Google’s top results. If you follow these simple rules, you will achieve better SEO results:
- Your website should be well written with high-quality content.
- Your pages should contain your main keywords so the Googlebot registers your website as accurate. If, for example, you are a solicitor specialising in family law, you’ll need a landing page for divorce. Don’t forget to name your images accordingly. (On the divorce landing page, avoid having an image named ‘picture’; rename it ‘divorce agreement’ instead).
- Analyse your competitors’ keywords and look for gaps in the market. You can use several tools for that: SpyFu, SEMrush or AdWords keyword planner.
- Keep your website updated with news, blog posts and fresh images. A portion of your website should be updated regularly, which is why having a blog or a news section is a good idea.
- Your website should contain links to other websites: resources, publications, the Law Society.
- Your website shouldn’t take long to load. Optimise it for fast loading speed.
- Optimise your website for mobiles too. If it doesn’t load properly on mobiles, you will lose potential clients. Use one of the free tools available to analyse your website’s mobile friendliness. These will make recommendations as to how you can improve performance on mobiles. (Try thinkwithgoogle.com).
- Finally, set up Google Analytics to analyse your website’s performance and traffic. Insights on website visitor behaviour are invaluable in the competitive legal arena.