Part of having a successful legal practice is continually growing your client base, as well as consistently scaling up to take on more and more challenging (and lucrative) cases. But attracting new clients is difficult in this day and age. Instead of sinking money into advertising or relying entirely on word of mouth, many firms and individual attorneys are opting to focus on search engine optimization.
Attracting Rather Than Promoting
Focusing on SEO flips the script on marketing. The old-school style of marketing, which is now referred to widely as outbound marketing, has companies reaching out to potential clients, pursuing leads with phone calls and ad campaigns, and while it’s been effective in the past, it’s becoming outdated. Inbound marketing involves setting your website up so that it attracts visitors in need of your services, via SEO, social media, and other strategies. It’s the way of the future, and it’s particularly well suited for lawyers.
The Flawed Thinking Behind Outbound Marketing
The reason inbound marketing via SEO is so perfect for law firms (and outbound marketing is so inefficient) is that people don’t need lawyers all of the time. By placing a billboard, you’re counting on one of two outcomes: one, someone in need of a lawyer will drive by and be so enamored by your firm’s name or logo that they’ll contact your firm, or two, a person who will later need a lawyer will internalize your branding and remember you when the time comes. While these are possibilities, they’re not rooted in the reality of how people find representation.
Why SEO Is a Better Option
It’s much more likely that a person who needs a solicitor will do an Internet search for a few select keywords, like “business lawyer London” or “divorce solicitor Manchester.” SEO is about putting yourself in position to be the first result when they make this search. You’re thus attracting a client who’s already in need of your services and actively considering hiring someone like you, rather than promoting yourself to a public that’s largely indifferent to your message. The return on your investment is much greater when you target an audience that actually needs the service you offer.
96% of people use a search engine like Google when they’re looking for legal advice. But just having a website isn’t enough. People in the Internet age are accustomed to getting what they want immediately. Out of those 96%, 98% will choose to go with a business that is on the first page of their search results. This means you can spend thousands on a professionally designed website, with beautiful portraits of your partners and well-written copy about why your firm is the best option, and still not see an increase in your clientele. You’ve got to optimize your site for search engines if you want to get more traffic.
The Internet is a godsend for professionals, like lawyers, who offer services that people need only occasionally. It lets you spend your marketing pounds on attracting interested consumers rather than promoting yourself to a disinterested populace. SEO is the best way to do that.