Most law firms’ digital marketing plans do not fail because of lack of information or desire. They fail because the execution of the tactics doesn’t tie seamlessly into how the different tactics work together to be more efficient.Below is an outline of the most critical digital marketing tactics and how you can better connect them so they work together effectively.
- Content Marketing
- PPC and Paid Advertising
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Email and Marketing Automation
- Online Public Relations
- Social Media
- Referrals Helped by Online Tactics
Building a brand is not just for traditional marketing. Building a brand online has direct consequences for your search engine optimization based on the ways Google looks at your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.If you have many people searching for your brand and positive reviews, your search rankings will go up. If your competitors are doing that better than you, it’s used against you in organic ranking algorithms, which are an essential alternative to only paying extremely high costs per click in Google ads.Having a clear set of branding guidelines for everything from the way that you use your logo, your colors, and fonts, to your mission statement and tagline, is imperative to make sure that your digital marketing doesn’t go off the rails and send mixed messages.Being positioned as a thought leader is critical for law firms that want to impress prospects and clients in general and niche practice areas. Having a plan to build your brand and protect it with reputation management, as well as building personal brands for your top attorneys, is much more strategic than just hiring someone to build a new website or run your social media without these key elements in place first.
Search engine optimization is tied to almost every other tactic directly or indirectly. If you are doing content marketing, you are doing SEO with the right frame of mind. If you are promoting your content with other tactics like social media and PR to get more links to your website, your SEO will benefit. When your SEO improves, more people see your brand and trust you more. That makes your visitors more likely to convert into leads because highly visible brands tend to have an easier time building trust.
I believe that content marketing even has an impact on paid search. If you run Google ads and send people to a website with very basic information, is that as powerful as sending people to an information-rich website with an impressive blog and powerful resources? Given the very high cost per click in Google ads, you want to put your best foot forward and make sure your firm is positioned as a leader in your field.
There are plenty of content marketing experts out there these days, but did you know a lot of them just switched over from doing other things? Are you aware that many of them have no idea what a backlink is or how to handle technical website issues? If you are only relying on writers, you may get the best content, but if they don’t understand how all the digital marketing pieces work together, that content will fail to be seen.
Google ads are one of the quickest ways to get leads. Google ads can be set up fairly quickly and even with a high cost per click, if you build landing pages with a very persuasive message (rather than just dumping people on your home page or an overly busy practice area page), you can make it work.
Running Google ads year-round even with a low budget for very niche topics with high “purchase” intent is a great way to ensure people are seeing your brand for key practice areas.
Paid search is a highly specialized process that includes conversion optimization, where you are A/B testing different headlines, value propositions, images, and calls to action.
If you leave this only in the hands of someone who is great at Google Adwords, you may be leaving a lot of leads on the table because you will be paying too much for each click due to your low conversion rate and low quality score.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of making your website win. You need to really think about marketing psychology and what will drive a customer to buy from you. CRO is a highly specialized art and I learned from Brian Eisenberg, the godfather of conversion optimization, that it can be taught and there are very specific methodologies that need to be followed.
Part of the conversion optimizer’s arsenal is developing personas and mapping out the buyer’s journey with the process your customers take when researching and then considering what firm to hire, as well as finally deciding who to hire.
Using tools like Unbounce or Lead Pages, conversion optimizers can often blow away the conversion rate of your main website, especially when they set up A/B testing software and prove what value propositions and headlines work to convert customers.
If you have a low conversion rate, your efforts, not only in paid search but in all of your other tactics, will be watered down to the point where you can’t afford to do the same things that a competitor with a high conversion rate can do.
If you convert at 10% or 15%, you can afford to pay more than 10 times the cost per click of somebody with a 1% conversion rate. Don’t leave this stuff to chance and just blindly start running paid ads or hoping your search and social traffic will convert because somebody managed to get you to the top of Google or in front of people on social media.
Email marketing is one of the cheapest forms of digital marketing. Once you have the email list, it’s almost free, yet people fail to build their lists. E-books and white papers can help you build your list but you must think strategically and set those up with landing pages to entice people to download them.
Once people download something from your website or fill out a form, you can put them into a marketing automation drip campaign and follow up many times with them in a way that gives them additional helpful information.
This nurtures them from being a weak lead into being a very engaged prospect. Buying placement in email newsletters that reach a large number of your customers can be one of the most effective ways to get new business, yet very few people understand it.
Building your email list enables you to promote the strong content you’ve created, and that will have a compounding effect on your search engine optimization and social media.
PR firms often charge $5,000 or $10,000 a month for their services. Did you know that, if you publish a book and have a niche blog, you can most likely get publicity yourself using PRleads.com or HelpAReporterOut.com?
Some of the best backlinks for search engine optimization come from public relations-style outreach.
If you have newsworthy content, submitting press releases to submission sites like BusinessWire and PR Web is fine, but if you really want your public relations to take off, you should tie it directly to outstanding pieces of content like industry surveys that you create.
If you are part of a trend, you can write a press release on the topic and also write a more evergreen version of the press release as a blog post. You can even do an infographic on the topic and tell journalists about it. Better yet, offer to do an infographic for a popular or high-traffic website.
Your brand will benefit from this type of visibility, and as we have discussed, your brand power will impact many digital marketing channels.
Social media is here to stay, but it’s important to understand that, according to BrightEdge and Conductor, only 2% to 5% of traffic to websites comes from social media, while more than 50% of traffic comes from search engine optimization.
So if you make them work together by having your social media be a powerful method of promoting content that Google will love, you will do much better than you would by just posting blurbs and graphics on your Facebook business page.
LinkedIn publishing is one of the best ways to build thought leadership, but you need to be aware that you should only publish the first half of your already published post and then link back to your original post so people can read the rest. The search engine optimization geeks of the world understand why you need to do it this way (to avoid potential duplicate content issues), but the average social media expert doesn’t necessarily know this.
Getting referrals is one of the top ways your law firm can get business, but if your website is not persuasive, you might not close those deals. Referral prospects may also search for you to see if you are truly coming up as an authority. They may also kick the tires of your social media profiles, and if you look half-asleep, they will ask someone else for a referral to a better firm.
In the e-commerce world, many people do affiliate marketing and build pages on their websites to show referral partners how they can best promote for you. Consider making a page on your website for your best referring firms such as CPAs, real estate professionals, and medical professionals.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to build your website just using the gut instincts of the highest-paid people in your firm and those of your web designer. Websites that improve their conversion rate do so by testing what works and doesn’t work.
Before you design a website, you need to have a conversion optimization and search engine optimization strategy. Otherwise the content that you choose for your website may not be enough to move the needle in other areas.
Time and time again we see companies relaunching their websites but failing to use 301 redirects. Suddenly their search engine optimization crashes and customers are getting 404 error pages instead of the proper website. Before you develop the code of your website, you need to understand what things could block the crawling of a search engine robot, slow down the load time of a page, or make a website less usable.
My first book was titled Web Marketing on All Cylinders because I wanted to make a roadmap for how all of these tactics fit together. It took 420 pages and three years, but it was well worth it. It became a college textbook (still in use after five years), landed me speaking gigs at Harvard University and Brandeis University, and brought my firm tons of new customers.
This book is significantly shorter and more to the point, but there is no way around the fact that digital marketing simply has an almost overwhelming amount of detail to it.
That is why you need a team. You need people who understand the strategy as well as highly specialized people who deeply understand each of these very specific tactics. If these tactics are not done deeply and correctly, you might as well not do them at all.
As I mentioned in the beginning, 67% of clicks go to the top five search engine results. If you want your digital marketing to succeed, in my opinion, at the very least you need an aggressive search engine optimization and content marketing program for your law firm.
When you set a budget and delegate specific tasks to the right people, like farming out the technical part of your search engine optimization and hiring a content writer who really understands your practice areas, you will be much better off.
You will feel good about your content and you will rest easy knowing the right technicians are working along with the most creative people who are using the most sophisticated tools —- including artificial intelligence — to make a seamless process for getting high-quality leads on a regular basis.
Marketing your law firm is difficult without a guide like Yoda or a guidebook like this.
Not only do you need to think about your search engine optimization (SEO), but you also need to plan your content and then increase your conversions and track them.
You now have a solid understanding of how SEO works from both a technical and an on-page perspective.
You understand that it’s important to generate a range of high-quality content to attract new customers, generate links, and position yourself and your firm as an authority in your industry.
You and your law firm have a unique opportunity now to put this information into practice.
When you do, you’ll find that you’re able to:
- Analyze your competition to see what they do well and how you can gain a competitive advantage.
- Analyze your own website and content to see what could be improved.
- Research your customers to see what sort of content resonates best with them.
- Develop a content strategy that helps attract, engage, and convert customers.
- Create a content strategy that uses a range of different publishing mediums, including podcasting, webinars, and e-books.
- Understand the tools (paid and free) you can use to make your life easier and make your website win.
The world is ready to see your website and consume your content — are you ready to share it?