In today's advanced digital world, law firms are still lagging behind when it comes to achieving online presence. Many law firms rely on more traditional practices for acquiring new clients, profitable cases, and billable hours, such as paid advertising, purchasing lists of contacts, and word of mouth. But, the ubiquitous Internet is connecting the future of business; an average of 9 out of 10 American adults use the Internet (Pew Research Center), and the time spent with screens and devices now stands at an average of 10 hours each day (Nielsen). Therefore, there's no question that any business, regardless of industry, should pop up on the results pages of a Google search in order to beat the competition.
What Is Inbound?
Inbound (content) marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3x as many leads, according to Demand Metrics.
Inbound marketing is a technique for attracting qualified leads organically via content creation, pulling in potential customers who are actively looking for answers. So even if your law firm has a track record of acquiring solid referrals from past clients, people tend to conduct their own research on recommended firms. Inbound strategies use a methodology (see image below) where people essentially find you online; turn visitors into qualified leads, and leads into customers. Unlike paid online marketing campaigns (PPC), inbound is a long term strategy. Designing your inbound marketing funnel is the first step to building a strong, positive digital presence, followed by the inbound essentials. Here are a few fundamental components to get your firm started.
Photo Credit: HubSpot
How To Market Your Law Firm With Inbound
Build Trust Through Blogging
Prospective clients seek out a law firm they can trust. It's the reason referral clients are common; a person is often referred by someone they know and trust. Concurrently, online sources that generate qualified leads as well as referrals can accomplish the same effect when done right. A blog that is attached to your law firm website denotes:
Expertise on relevant and helpful topics that addresses people's interests, pain points, and legal questions.*
Brand awareness and thought leadership.
Authority and search engine ranking positioning (SEO strategy).
*Legal knowledge is becoming increasingly accessible on the web for free, which is another indication that law firms need to embrace inbound methods and use them to their advantage.
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Consistency in producing and publishing content is key - at least once or twice a week. A blog post should be at least 500 words, with a title and keywords or phrases pertaining to legal issues that people are likely to type into Google (e.g. "How to file for divorce" or "What happens when you get a DUI?"). If you or the members of your firm are swamped with work or just don't have the writing chops and know-how to carry out digital marketing methods, hire a savvy inbound marketing agency to take care of the content for you, which will include website optimization, landing pages, SEO best practices, nurturing, email campaigns and promotions, etc. This way your firm can avoid the hassles of trial-and-error, and loss of time and money when keeping it in-house.
Distribution Of Content
While your blog post will generate traffic overtime with the strategic inclusion of keywords and other SEO elements, it's not enough to simply post your blog and call it a day. Boost traffic and awareness by distributing your content on various platforms. Share your content on social media channels using best practices for lawyers. This part of your marketing and PR should come with a strategy with the goal of establishing a positive, strong brand image in order to build relationships and trust with your followers. How can a law firm do that effectively? One way is by offering a human side through webinars, positive referrals, lawyer bios, charity events and photos.
Convert Traffic Into Qualified Leads
As your valuable content garners traffic organically, work to get your visitors to form a relationship with you so that your firm remains top-of-mind. To start converting strangers into prospects, collect lead intelligence. Capture their basic contact information by using the following strategies:
Include web forms to the sidebar of each blog post and pages of your site; keep the forms short requesting name, email/phone, a question (e.g. What legal issue would you like to learn more about?) and/or message.
Strategically place call-to-action buttons on blog posts and throughout your content to encourage visitors to act (for example, "request a 30-minute consultation" or "request our free demo" CTA's).
Inbound marketing is a powerful form of marketing that can bring on significant ROI. Legal services revolve around the idea and practice of selling knowledge. In which case, inbound strategies fits perfectly in the realm of engaging and educating potential clients with content.
There's a lot to learn about professional inbound marketing and SEO, but that shouldn't deter a law firm to broaden their scope and adopt new technologies and methods to grow their client base.