Building a marketing strategy for a small law firm or solo attorney doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In this article, we provide 5 completely free, high-converting digital marketing strategies you can do all on your own to get more legal clients.

I was in a recent email exchange with an attorney about her current law firm website and marketing strategies. When it came to cost, I asked and she was happy to share: “I don’t really know… they gave me a free website upgrade from my old one I think, and charge me $1,000 per month I think, for SEO—I think.”

To be completely unaware of how that $1,000 is helping her marketing efforts is an unfortunate reality that speaks for the industry. There’s no shortage of law firm marketing & SEO companies taking advantage of lawyers.

Given that Command Legal’s primary mission is to educate & empower attorneys to make smarter marketing decisions, we found it necessary to reveal something: you can build a strong legal marketing strategy all on your own—for free! With that being said, when it comes to the more technical aspects of marketing—like building a high-quality website that builds consumer trust—you are better off hiring professionals. Once you’ve built your marketing foundation, though, the rest is relatively straightforward.

If you’re willing to learn and spend just a few hours per week monitoring and improving your law firm’s online presence with the five items on this list, you can see a major boost in website traffic, lead-generation, conversion rates and new clients. Onto the list…

#1 — Sign up at online business directories & crowd-sourced review platforms

Claiming your business profiles on the online business directories most used by legal consumers can help build brand awareness and boost your visibility in local search. 

Given the importance of hiring a local attorney, ranking for local search is a high-priority strategy to get in front of the legal consumers most geographically qualified to hire you as their attorney.

According to Legal Ink Magazine, legal consumers use and trust Yelp more than Martindale-Hubbell, Avvo and Super Lawyers—combined. Read The Ultimate Guide To Yelp For Lawyers & Law Firms to learn your way around claiming your business and optimizing your profile.

Another common method legal consumers use to find lawyers is standard Google Search with local intent (e.g. “San Francisco IP lawyers” or “Boston Family Law Attorneys”). The rise of local search has made claiming your Google My Business (GMB) profile absolutely critical.

Despite the relatively low popularity of even the most established online lawyer directories, you should still claim your profiles and add links to your website. Popular non-legal-specific online local business directories include Yellowpages, SuperPages, CitySearch and more

With our Law Firm SEO package, we will submit your law firm to up to 83 directories, so you have the highest potential to show up in Google local searches.

Once you’ve established your presence on these business directories, it’s time to collect reviews.

#2 — Generate ratings & reviews on popular platforms

An incredible 83% of legal consumers read online reviews as their very first step when seeking an attorney. For this reason, your online reputation is your most important marketing tool. Referrals are a major source of new business for most law firms, but with the recent rise of online ratings & reviews, the potential for growth through referrals could very well become digital—especially when 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

Your reviews on Yelp & Google My Business (GMB) are the most important, given their popularity and direct factoring into Google local search rankings. Too many businesses sit back and wait for the reviews to roll in. Instead, be proactive about building your review base. 

Review-building creates a snowball effect for your client base: more positive reviews can lead to more business and more happy clients to leave more positive reviews. A Harvard Business School study found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue.

To get that snowball rolling, remind your happy clients that it’s helpful to get feedback in your follow-up email—and make it easy for them to find your profiles. Put links in your email signature and in the header/footer of your website. Google My Business even offers a tool to build a review link you can send directly to your happy clients.

Respond to the reviews you get on each profile, letting each client know how much of a pleasure it was to work with and help them. Check out Law Firm Reputation Management Pro Guide to learn how to extend the effectiveness of each positive review you get.

#3 — Engage on social platforms & online forums

Engaging with and educating legal consumers online is a great strategy to becoming a thought leader within your legal focus areas. 

Visit sites like Quora, Reddit and even LinkedIn groups to find topics and questions directly begging for a bit of your expertise—and if the given group is in your geographic location, all the better. Simply sharing your thoughts and giving direction boosts your digital persona and can help you attract clients or referrals from lawyers in other practice areas and geographic locations who follow you.

Most lawyers are ineffective when it comes to social media marketing. When you approach Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, etc., your objective should not be to promote your brand—lawyers are notorious for this. Instead of screaming “hire me!” provide your audience with educational, informative, interesting and/or entertaining content that adds value to their feed.

People don’t go online so they can be told what to buy; they are online to find a solution to a problem, whether their problem is as trivial as boredom or as complex as a sticky tax law issue.

Curating engaging legal content isn’t easy, but if you know what they want and need, you can create posts that get shared and build your audience. Depending on your audience, you might want to look into infographics, video content or slide shares—be dynamic and experiment with your content formats to see what your audience most appreciates.

#4 — Improve your website copy & value propositions

Your website is the first impression of your firm to many of your digital visitors. Although the design of your website is a major factor in whether or not visitors even stick around for a few seconds, your copy is the sales pitch. Strong value propositions that address pain points and preview a solution inspire website visitors.

Your mission in writing your website copy (and you should at least be involved in writing it), should be to create value propositions specific to your client persona. The operative word: value

People do not want to buy a lawyer, they want to buy a solution to their legal problem. For your welcome statement, instead of writing “Houston’s Most Dedicated Immigration Attorneys,” try using a something that appeals to your visitor’s true desire: “Houston Immigration Attorneys Determined To Keep Your Family Together.”

The solution-driven, client-focused welcome statement provides an opportunity for emotional appeal. It is an outlet to propose to your website visitors the true value of hiring your law firm.

Of course, it is always a good idea to have a copywriter or content marketer to polish up your copy, as they can maximize SEO potential and give it a delightfully poetic flow that readers will appreciate—as long as the heart of your messaging is built of your firm’s philosophy.

#5 — Write targeted content & find guest blog opportunities

Publishing personalized content on your law firm website’s blog page can be the sole determinant in whether or not your digital marketing efforts succeed. Content is one of the top two most important Google ranking factors—with backlinks being the other.

Check out 20 SEO Copywriting tips for legal content.

Many law firm marketing companies offer legal content writing services, but if there’s one marketing strategy you should build and execute on your own, it’s writing your own blog content.  Great content educates your target audience and answers the questions stemming from their legal issues. Building a content strategy isn’t a difficult process: you can build one simply by recalling some of the most common problems faced and questions asked by your ideal client.

Learn how to Write Better Legal Content With These 5 Simple Steps.

Publishing guest blogs on popular websites that your target audience visits can help expand your audience and boost your SEO (thanks to backlinks). Seek opportunities on websites for your local news stations and those with focus on your legal services. When strategizing content, pick topics that will benefit both your audience and the existing audience of the given website.

Before starting your guest blogging journey, read The Lawyer’s Guide To Guest Blogging to maximize your chances of getting opportunities and finding success.

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