Making your law firm website noticeable to the masses can cost you a lot of money. Thankfully there is a wide range of free digital marketing tools that you can use to dramatically improve your process and make it far more strategic.
Google Analytics — www.google.com/analytics
Google Analytics helps you track multiple elements: the leads you get; the channels driving traffic such as organic search, paid ads, and social media; your conversion rate and bounce rate;, most visited pages: and more. Register for a free account with Google then add a snippet of code in your law firm’s website header.
Google Search Console – https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome
Whereas Google Analytics shows you how customers use your site, GSC gives insights on how search engines interact with your site. Search Console tools and reports help you measure your site’s search traffic and performance, fix tech issues, and according to Google “make your site shine in Google Search results.” It is where you can see the keywords that are sending people to your site and the click-through rates, along with mobile performance by page. It is what you use to upload bad links to the disavow tool and more.
Google Keyword Planner — https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner
A keyword planner is a specialized research tool that allows people with websites to identify the right keywords that they can use to target for display ads, video ads, app ads, and search ads but also for SEO. Find the right keywords with the right combination of search volume and competition.
Google Trends — https://trends.google.com/trends/
This tool will let you know what is trending around the world or near you right now. It’s a tool that enables you to see the latest trends, visualizations from Google, and data. Explore topics using search keywords such as: “lawyer+ practice area” or “criminal defense lawyer.” Comparing keywords helps you to understand the search demand for various keywords that are related to your practice area. There is a section known as “interest by subregion” where when you click on the state, you will be able to see how your search interest is broken down by metro area.
Think With Google https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/
Google has a website where they share all kinds of interesting marketing insights. One of the most important is the mobile load time tool. We use GTmetrix to check load time quite frequently but Google’s tool is also excellent. Take a Saturday morning and explore Think With Google, and you will be pleasantly surprised at what they offer to help you improve your marketing and technical insights.
Ubersuggest — https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/
Ubersuggest is another tool that is considered by many to be the best option or substitute for Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool will allow an individual to search for specific keywords that may fail to appear in Keyword Planner. Ubersuggest will also show you searches of newer keywords, unlike Google Keyword Planner.
SEMrush – https://www.semrush.com
Get insights into your competitors’ strategies in display advertising, organic and paid search, and link building. You can uncover your competitors’ ad strategies / budget, find the right keywords for SEO and PPC campaigns, see side-by-side domains comparisons of common and unique keywords, and switch from charts to spreadsheets. Do a site audit, so you can prioritize fixing SEO issues. Then you can do a social media audit and track against numerous competitors in terms of followers, reach and engagement. One of the newer things is topic research, where you can see a mind map of what keywords relate to a topic, along with the top headlines (by most linked to) and the top questions asked in relation to them. It’s truly an amazing tool.
Screaming Frog – https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk
With Screaming Frog you can download all of the website page names or URLs of your site and competitors into Excel. It will show you the status codes, title and meta descriptions, and all kinds of information about the pages that you can use to determine the next steps to take for increasing your rankings. It is referred to by search engine optimization experts as a crawling tool or spider and is one of the foundational tools needed to properly do SEO.
HootSuite is a social scheduling tool. This tool allows people to write social media updates in advance and schedule the updates to be posted hours, days, or weeks later. This strategy will give you or your firm the appearance of always being active throughout the day. People are interested in sites that are always active, and with the HootSuite tool, your social media profile will be active even when you are not online. One drawback of social media is the fact that it can technically eat up almost all your time, which is why you need a good strategy and tools. Buffer is another social media management tool that deserves a look.
Unbounce – https://unbounce.com/
Unbounce is partially responsible for me and my team getting flown to Google headquarters four years in a row. Rather than sending people to the homepage or even a very busy sub-page of a website from Google ads, we often build landing pages using this tool to improve conversion rate optimization. We can make a page that is less cluttered than the main website and that has a multitude of persuasion elements built in that can be A/B tested, to prove what is making the website successful or not. Lead Pages is a similar and also extremely popular tool.
Ahrefs – https://ahrefs.com/
If you want to check your backlinks and clean up the bad ones, this tool is essential. There is a great common link option where you can see the backlinks that occur frequently between your competitors. That is a gold mine and a roadmap for getting more links for yourself. There are many link tools out there but this one has the best data. When you do comprehensive bad link cleanup you can also use Open Site Explorer, SEMrush, Majestic or other tools; https://www.linkresearchtools.com is a more expensive option. Then combine the data because each of these tools gives slightly different Interpretations of what links you have.
HotJar – https://www.hotjar.com
HotJar, unlike Google Analytics, is more concerned with where people are scrolling, moving, and clicking than what pages they are going to. You can set up heat maps, capture a user’s actual session via screen recordings, surveys, ways to let customers give feedback, conversion funnels, form analytics, and make sure you are GDPR compliant. Hotjar Connecticator is a WordPress plugin that sets up on your website very easily. Similar and often more expensive tools include Crazy Egg and ClickTail.
Google Optimize – https://optimize.google.com/optimize/home/
Forty-five percent of small and medium businesses don’t optimize their websites through A/B testing, according to a recent survey. Yet all high-end conversion optimization companies make it a staple of how they improve websites. You can set up simple A/B tests to figure out things like which headline performs better than another or use multi-variant testing to examine the impact of multiple persuasion changes together. For smaller sites with limited traffic, it can be difficult to get statistical accuracy, so UserTesting.com and HotJar can be great alternatives. If you don’t have the money to pay for Visual Website Optimizer or Optimizely and are afraid of the learning curve, get started with Google’s own tool.
Smartsheet – https://www.smartsheet.com
My team used BaseCamp for many years with mixed results. It’s almost too sophisticated and cumbersome to get complete buy-in. Even if you get your team to buy in, then your customers get freaked out having to do anything but just use email to keep track of things. In comes Smartsheet at the suggestion of one of my customers. It’s like Microsoft Excel on steroids, where you can insert comments next to line items, designate the status of a to-do list item as well as who is responsible for it, and you can upload files and run a crazy amount of reports without having to keep multiple spreadsheets, if you set it up right. You can also create collapsible menus to show top-level detail versus all of the detail on a list of things such as every type of content you are producing or a list of blog posts. Sure it has Gantt charts and all of that, but if you just want to show everybody on your team a list of what is being worked on, it’s perfect.
HubSpot – https://www.hubspot.com/
HubSpot is like a Swiss Army knife. It is perhaps the most well-known and comprehensive digital marketing suite. It has tools for improving your content marketing that range from helping you do a better job blogging to setting up marketing automation workflows. It has advanced analytics that do some things like longer-range attribution tracking that Google Analytics doesn’t have out of the box. It has suites for sales and marketing and even a free CRM system. They wrote a chapter in my last book and they have also included a nice bit of information below.
These are some of the tools I use every month, if not every day. Chiefmartec.com has almost 7,000 tools in its yearly review of the marketing and technology landscape. With the advent of artificial intelligence, big data, and lots of venture capital money going into this space, you can expect to see even more tools and ones that will make or break your campaigns.
Learn more about HubSpot and how it can help you rev up your law firms digital marketing.