In our series covering the ways in which new attorneys can generate leads online, in a recent post discussed how you can make sure you’re making the right investments in digital marketing. In this post, personal injury attorney Reza Torkzadeh of The Torkzadeh Law Firm shares his insights on the importance of a strong web presence, search engine optimization (SEO), and lead generation.
Like most young attorneys, my focus in law school was on learning the discipline of the law — I didn’t think much about how I was going to bring new clients through the door once I actually started my practice.
I quickly learned that, rather than serving clients, a majority of my time in those early days was focused on lead generation. As I heard one lawyer say, “The most important part of a case is getting one.” And, although it was incredibly challenging, I eventually found being a solo lawyer to be an exciting combination of legal practice and entrepreneurism. But there were certainly some bumps in the road.
It all starts with a website
There’s no doubt about it — the single most important marketing tool for an attorney is a user-friendly, responsive website. Without an effective site, your other online marketing efforts will likely go to waste, as prospective clients will be unable to learn about your practice and the value you deliver. They also won’t have an easy way to contact you if they do want to move forward with your services.
Your website should include engaging, informative content, and an attractive design and clear navigation. It should also have easy-to-access web forms, and the site should work well on all platforms — including desktop computers, smartphones and tablet devices. This last point is critically important, as we’ve seen the world of search engine optimization (SEO) evolve to the point where the majority of people are using their mobile devices to search for the services they need online.
Let’s imagine an individual has suffered some injuries in a car accident and now needs to explore her legal options. That person may open up a laptop and search for a local attorney, but she’s even more likely to use her smartphone or tablet. These devices tend to be more accessible on the fly, and mobile web browsers are now so easy to use that fewer people feel the need to use desktop computers when conducting their searches. Your firm should be ready to take advantage of this type of traffic.
Being active online
I’m always astonished by the number of my fellow attorneys who do not have an online marketing strategy in place. They tend to rely solely on referrals, or they worry constantly about where their next case will come from. That’s not very efficient, and in fact it can result in disaster for today’s attorneys. In a competitive environment, you need to test and explore the various options out there and discover new channels for attracting leads to your firm.
For most attorneys, these strategies include SEO, which allows your website to appear as high as possible on Google and the other search engines when users search for keywords related to your firm’s areas of practice and the geographical area you serve. It may also involve search engine marketing (SEM), which is essentially paid advertising through the search engines.
Then there’s the power of lead generation services and online directories, which allow you to pay for high-quality leads made up of people who are likely to need specific legal services. These solutions tend to provide more targeted leads than SEO or SEM and represent a cornerstone of most law firms’ digital marketing efforts.
Making sure visitors can find you — and contact you
However, none of this will make a difference until you have an effective intake process. This includes clear contact forms on your website, but it also means having a process to evaluate and follow up with the leads you receive as quickly as possible. Legal consumers often contact multiple firms at once, and sometimes the attorney who follows up the fastest is the one who wins the client.
To that end, think about your processes and invest some time and resources into improving them, if necessary. For this to happen, you should be able to track where your leads are coming from, what it costs to receive each lead, and whether or not you’re getting a proper return on your investment.
Remember: you can be the best attorney in the world, but without cases, you won’t have a successful practice. Your online marketing strategy should span multiple channels and generate a constant flow of quality leads made up of cases you actually want to take on. In an increasingly competitive market, effective online marketing is your path to a prosperous career in the law.