Digital marketing for law firms is challenging, and faces a number of obstacles that aren’t present in other industries. Here’s why: (1) unless you are in a niche legal bracket, the general public does not look all that favorably on lawyers, (2) the business landscape is saturated with lawyers and law firms meaning competition for digital marketing space is fierce, and (3) consumers are bombarded with messages, emails and adverts making traditional mediums diluted. These three factors translate to a crimson cardinal doctrine that should be central to any law firm’s growth: of all the tools any top Internet marketing agency has to offer, content marketing matters the most.
How Clicks Turn into Cases
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an art and science that makes you visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and content marketing accounts for more than 70% of any search marketing strategy when it comes to ranking factors and conversion. In order to get clicks into your website that translate into cases, the consumer must go through a funnel that looks like this:
- They perform a search, your law firm lands on page one or two of Google
- The SEO title and description offers a compelling reason why they should click
- The content immediately resonates with them
- The content extends trust and a positive outlook
- They fill out a form, or call
In order for this to happen, content must be optimized to rank your site, and it must use clever marketing strategies that tug your consumers by their emotional and impulsive heart strings. The latter of these clearly makes sense, but where is the evidence that content is so imperative for a winning digital marketing strategy? Before directly answering this question, law firms need to understand four things: (1) More than 92% of Internet searches are performed on Google, (2) Most of these searches are performed on mobile devices, (3) Google is powered by various algorithms that are continuously updated, and (4) Google’s primary goal is to offer the best user experience.
Google Hummingbird – This algorithm was introduced as a core component to rank factors and rewards sites with content designed to deliver a positive user experience. Keyword stuffing was finally deceased and instead web pages needed to be powered by content that was original, well-written, educational, entertaining, and in-depth.
RankBrain – In October of 2015, Bloomberg broke the news about RankBrain, Google’s central newly defined component of the Hummingbird algorithm powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. The AI facet crawls written web content and turns it into mathematical entities known as vectors. Then various keywords and phrases are ran with this data and the machine learning element makes a guess at the intent while growing in knowledge and becoming more informed as it moves forward.
In order for your site to appear on an advantageous chunk of SERP real estate where clicks can occur and transform into cases, your content must resonate with the people who read it, and with the Google bots that crawl and judge it. When you work with a top SEO agency that has years of experience in the legal space, you are already setting your law firm up to be an industry powerhouse.
Marketing Psychology 101: How Many Lawyers does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?
There is a reason why lawyers are often found at the butt-end of a bad joke, and a smart content marketing strategy will remove you from this ill-viewed cohort. Various studies have been conducted, and across the board there are three main reasons why so many people loath lawyers: (1) they cost “shiploads”, (2) stereotypes are made and spread by people ignorant of the law, and (3) lawyers are perceived as being egotistical. When you hire a digital marketing agency you should ask them to present a proposal to ensure your content not only ranks your website, but debunks these perceptions.
Lawyers are Damn Expensive – Your content needs to show value, and not just rely on waiving your statistics. Let’s just come out and say it; unless you work in corporate law or some niche market, most of your clients will be ignorant when it comes to law, and how lawyers work. Your content needs to break down where their dollars go from all the hours spent researching, interviewing, and filing. They also need to fully understand what a snapshot of their life would look like in a legal post-win landscape, versus life without legal defense. People spend over $400,000 on a Lamborghini Aventador as opposed to dropping $20,000 on a Toyota Corolla because, while both will get them from point A to B, the Lambo offers luxury, power, a certain aesthetic, and makes a statement. When people looking for legal aid may say, “oh, well, hell, life goes on”, and decide against attorney representation, they need to see the value. Let your content preview the luxury of having a cleared name, the opportunities for power that come without daggers hanging overhead, and how clients can vibrate beautifully through society without a “scarlet letter” sewn to their shirt. If your content can achieve this, that “damn expensive fee” will translate to “a smart investment requiring certain temporary sacrifices”.
Your Audience is a Room of 5-Year Olds – Ever hear the phrase “duct tape can fix anything”? Most people look for the cheap quick-fix, and shockingly this includes dealing with courts of law. The idea of representing yourself in court is appealing to a wide margin of your potential client base because they assume a few hours in a public library and a new suit will make them Robert Shapiro. They think lawyers are arrogant and the same knowledge carried by lawyers can be tapped from a few books. Your content needs to, simply and straightforwardly, showcase your law firm’s knowledge in a “baby-steps” process that will disarm your judgmental audience, while educating them in the process to make informed decisions (like hire you for representation).
People buy from people they like, and people don’t like your “stereotypical bragging attorney”. Any good digital marketing for law firms will offer strategically written content that ranks your website while applying that human touch with a little marketing psychology to convert readers into clients.
Hair of the Blog: Should Law Firms Have a Blog?
Just whereas a little Hair of the Dog might cure a hangover, a good blog can cure consumers of their mistrust of lawyers and any hesitancy in working with your law firm. A blog is absolutely necessary for SEO, as well as personable marketing, and if done right it can be a minor investment with a big return. If your legal firm isn’t blogging, here are some reasons why it should:
- Fresh Original Content – Blogs bring in original, unique content on a regular basis. Google’s algorithms value websites that do this because new, well-written educational content demonstrates their mastery in their space, and offers a richer experience for online users.
- SEO Rocket Fuel – Blogs can serve as custom landing pages for off-site content link building strategies that garner powerful SEO results.
- Make Connections – Blogs can be used to market to specific client profiles. For example, some content will resonate with a person filing a wrongful death suit, versus an innocent individual facing a murder charge.
- Advanced Marketing Stepping Stones – Blogs can be used as powerful landing pages with links to educational assets your firm offers people in an Inbound Marketing Campaign.
- Oh the Humanity – Blogs showcase your lawyers as being human, likable, and having integrity.
If your law firm takes cases in various sectors of the law, a blog will be even more beneficial. Blogs help rank websites, and legal blogs are among the most read in the professional landscape. Having a mixed bag of carefully categorized blogs will sit well with clients and “looky-loos”. After all, a doctor on the verge of losing his private practice over an expensive divorce is going to convert to a client very differently than a person would faced with vehicular manslaughter on a DUI–emotions and psychology play pivotal content marketing roles in blogs, as much as they do on your tier one level web pages.
Digital Marketing for Law Firms Runs on Content
How many times have you had to remind a client or prospect they are not a lawyer, and they need to let you do what you do best? When it comes to digital marketing for law firms, the best SEO agencies from New York to Los Angeles tell lawyers the same thing:: you are lawyers, not marketers. Content marketing is an art and a science, and in the legal landscape it is all the more complex. Some law firms hire in-house marketers, while others partner with SEO companies that have extensive backgrounds in law firm marketing and PPC. Either route you take, just make sure you work with true experts. Make them prove their value in a detailed deposition!