November 11, 2015
Using Your Online Presence to Engage With Your Clients
While we all love a good advertisement on the side of a city bus or on a park bench, it may not be the most effective of marketing strategies for your legal firm as we quickly move into the digital age. 10 years ago, survey respondents said that looking online
was the last place they would try to find a lawyer. Well, guess what? The tables have turned and now it is one of the top places people will check out before they pick a lawyer is online...and that's before most people will go to ask their family and friends.
Call it what you want, search-ability or Google-ability, but it's time for you to optimize your web presence to make it easier for potential clients to find you as they extend their search online.
No, you won't get it done in an afternoon, but we'll help walk you through some of the best ways to start today and get your name out there. We promise, you'll be getting more calls and client leads before you know it!
5 Tips on Optimizing Your Online Presence:
Yes, we know you already do this on a regular basis, but keep in mind how important those references from your network may be when it comes to getting mentions and traction online. Regularly reaching out to your network -- and yes that means outside of the legal realm too -- and staying top-of-mind with the people who can provide you with some huge client leads is a great first step to building out your web presence.
When was the last time you followed up with someone who can provide you with a reference, shoutout online, or on social media? Just do it! Head to the next networking event or conference, with plenty of business cards and make some connections. Check out the Clio Cloud Conference
for example or look into any events your local Bar Association may be hosting.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the major components to really being found
online by all those potential clients out there. A quick way to check on your SEO? Do a search related your practice and the area you are located in. Are you in the results? Do you or your website pop up? If not, then it's time to optimize your website with the relevant keywords and headings.
This applies to everything from your website, to your social media, and anything else you may publish online that pertains to you and your firm. Utilize a tool like Google Keyword Planner
to find the words that regularly come up in people's searches for content and play around with the wording on your site. We also like this refresher course from Moz on the Beginner's Guide to SEO
. And check out their free tools
to see how your SEO stacks up on your site.
Organic search is one of the biggest ways for potential clients to find you, and it's really as simple as Googling some related terms like the ones we just tested above. Welcome to the new era of the White Pages!
3. Social Media
LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? Where do you stand on your social media platforms? If you haven't visited one of the sites in a while or don't have a profile, either personally or professionally, then it's time to get out there.
Having an online presence beyond your professional website is an important key in clients finding and trusting you when they do their online research. Typically before people ever talk to a salesperson, they are 57% of the way through the buying process.Adding a social media presence does few things to your repertoire.
First, it shows that you're adjusting to the digital and online culture and certainly makes you more appealing for the up-and-coming generation of millennials. It also makes you far more approachable as a person, when it comes to clients making their decision on picking a lawyer or attorney. Finally, it gives you a platform to easily share your expertise and provide your 'friends' and 'followers' with quick and easy to digest info that will establish you as more than just a name that pops up when you search for lawyers online.
4. Content Creation
Okay, your website is search engine optimized, you're out there on social media, and your professional and personal network is sharing you out to their network. Now what? Give them content. Start blogging, publishing whitepapers, or creating quick how-to videos.
Today, people turn to online searching to solve some of their very specific problems and often they're looking for very specific content out there to answer their questions. You can easily become their answer. Creating tailored content for the types of issues people looking for a lawyer may face, will not only set you apart from the crowd, but it's a great way to help along your SEO.
Remember, focus on one problem to solve at a time and keep your content specific to that problem -- the more you hone in on it, the more likely you'll be found through organic search.
5. Staying in Touch with your Network
People have turned their attention away from traditional research means to the Internet to solve majority of their problems, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't continue to stay in touch with your network.
Staying top-of-mind continues to be incredibly important because although people may now be searching online, they are still more likely to trust someone they know through a friend. Dedicate a few minutes a day to getting on LinkedIn or Twitter and reaching out quickly to a couple contacts in your network.
No, this doesn't mean sending a big ol' email, but it can be as simple as 'liking' their new job status or sending them a Twitter message (super easy when you only have room for 140 characters!)
Doing so, suddenly links you up with everyone in your network's network and you've just one degree closer to connecting with some potential leads and customers...and hey, it's all done online!
For the Win
We're not quite advocating for you to leave behind your old school networking, follow-ups, and referrals with clients, but what we are saying is that by optimizing your web presence, you're more likely to spend less time searching for clients, because they're the ones online looking for (and finding) YOU. We say that's a win.