It’s no news to attorneys that their profession is not the most beloved of all. From misinterpreted Shakespeare quotes – “Let’s kill all the lawyers” is uttered by a murderous villain – to intentional propaganda campaigns orchestrated by influential social actors – the “hot coffee lawsuit” was about gross negligence, not greed – lawyers have not had it easy in the court of public opinion.
As long ago as 2013, Pew Research was reporting law as the least respected profession in America.
And yet, the average person will hardly stick their nose in the air and go pro se when they run into legal trouble. To the contrary, thousands upon thousands of Americas search for legal representation online every month.
Back in 2014, the American Bar Association already knew that legal consumers go online first when they need help. That trend has only gotten stronger with the rise of smartphones and other mobile devices. An astounding 81% of Americans now own a smartphone, and they are using them to look up legal answers.
The demand for legal knowledge online is intense. On pay-per-click advertising platforms like Bing and Google, search queries related to legal issues are almost invariably among the most costly for law firms that wish to place ads. Major firms compete relentlessly for a chance at visibility.
When it comes to attorneys, the average American’s reality is “can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.”
That means your lawyer marketing has a tough job to do when prospective clients arrive at your website.
Your #1 Lawyer Marketing Goal: Establish Trust
Average legal consumers don’t know the first thing about the law – only that they have a problem to solve.
Likewise, they may not know more than hearsay about lawyers. Not everyone has friends or family in the profession. But when they need to retain counsel for an urgent matter, they’re suddenly in the position of re-assessing their long-held assumptions. Your lawyer marketing campaign is precisely the vehicle to do that.
The best lawyer marketing builds trust from the very start.
You will often be up against three major marketing challenges:
Using Lawyer Marketing To Forge The All-Important First Impression
In some ways, choosing a lawyer is like reaching out to a therapist.
Contacting someone for help makes the problem “real,” and that’s a big psychological barrier for many people to cross. They know they’re dealing with a professional who has a specialized skill set. They might worry about whether their problem is “normal” and even what you will think about them for being in this situation.
Your lawyer marketing can cut off that doubt spiral and motivate action.
Let’s look at three indispensable ways to do it:
1. Publish Content About All Your Practice Areas And Service Geography
The first step in lawyer marketing is to get people to your website. While pay-per-click advertising can work quickly, not all small and mid-sized firms want to duke it out on the basis of ad spend. Clients respond more positively to organic search results because they assume a high search result rank reflects quality.
No matter your budget, you can make a lasting difference in online visibility with search engine optimization.
A lawyer marketing company can let you know all about the nuances of SEO, but there is one aspect to keep in mind: Content. Informative, helpful legal content serves as a preview of the value you have to offer. At the same time, publishing content expands your ability to rank prominently in searches related to your expertise.
Across all your practice areas, every type of case you handle should have at least one well-written blog article.
Likewise, every community you serve should have its own dedicated page discussing common legal issues. Yes, most clients’ woes come down to state or federal laws, not local ones. But the “near me effect” means consumers close to making a decision appreciate knowing you operate in their own neighborhood.
2. Use Attorney-Led Video Marketing To Foster A True Human Connection
Doctors, plastic surgeons, and dentists are enjoying outstanding results with video marketing. To most people, an attorney’s job is no less complicated – and no less nerve-wracking. Video storytelling is the key to helping people feel like they know you before you’ve even had the chance to meet.
Lawyer marketing with video has several distinct advantages:
Consumers responding to legal ads on daytime TV no longer make up the bulk of new business. Now, your future clients start their legal research as soon as they know they have a problem. Video content makes it much easier for them to like, know, and trust you compared to colleagues who only post still photos on their website.
Marketing videos can run the gamut from an explanation of a legal problem to a simple introduction to your team. Virtually all videos can be hosted on YouTube, driving more traffic to you from that platform and helping you save money on back-end technical resources. Some videos may even appear directly in search results.
3. Where Possible, Include Case Studies That Speak To Your Target Clients
Case studies are the highest form of social proof, showing clients you help others “just like them.”
Case studies are more appropriate in some practice areas than others. Where they do fit, however, they are among your most powerful tools. This is especially true for matters like slip and fall, where many clients have been exposed to the belief that bringing a lawsuit is “greedy” or otherwise unethical.
The most compelling lawyer marketing case studies put the voice of the client first. You may need to edit and condense, but let them speak in their own words. Case studies tell the story of what happened, positioning the client as the hero. Your firm becomes the wise advisor who provides insight to overcome the challenge.
Most case studies are released in the form of a brief PDF. Designed well, these can also be used as paper collateral in your office. More rarely, you may find clients who are willing to record video testimonials for your services. This is another great way to use YouTube to amplify your firm’s voice.
To Get More Clients Sooner, Lower The Barriers To Decision-Making
Clients can become intimidated and paralyzed by indecision. If they do not follow through and find an attorney when an incident is fresh in mind, they may yield their legal rights and defer to potential wrongdoing. All lawyer marketing should take into account the complex emotions that can arise at a time like this.
Here’s how to do it, honoring your clients’ needs while helping them make an informed choice:
1. Make It Exceptionally Easy To Get In Touch With You
While many lawyer websites have contact forms, most attorneys prefer an old-fashioned telephone call for confidentiality reasons. Still, picking up the phone may be the last thing on a prospect’s mind when trouble is at the door. Consumers want faster results with fewer steps, and making a phone call can feel like a trap.
Responsiveness is one way lawyers can show they truly care about the people they serve. In addition to phone and contact forms, consider introducing standard email, social media, and even text messaging. Walk through the process of contacting your firm so you understand the customer experience and how you can improve.
2. Remind Clients That Time Is Of The Essence
All legal matters are time-sensitive in one way or another. In personal injury, finding witnesses becomes more difficult by the day. Crucial evidence may be destroyed within just a few hours of an auto accident. And with each passing hour, clients run the risk of saying or doing something that could undermine their case.
The clock is ticking whether they know it or not.
Every piece of content you publish on your law firm website should incorporate a “call to action” (CTA). A CTA tells the reader precisely what to do next – in legal services, that usually means “call us today.” It’s a peculiar quirk of consumer psychology that if you don’t spell out the next step explicitly, fewer people will actually do it.
3. Put Customer Care At The Center Of Your Operations
Legal consumers want an attorney who will meet them where they are and talk to them on their level. They are always alert to signs that they are just another case and won’t really receive personalized attention.
Unless you are solo, you won’t be doing all customer care on your own. So, be sure you collaborate with the other members of your team, including office personnel, and make your expectations clear. Creating confidence that you’ll be there with your clients “every step of the way” is critical to lead generation.
Good customer service also has a less obvious benefit: More of your clients will be likely to leave you a review on aggregator websites like Yelp. You can and should follow up with satisfied clients to request reviews – and respond to all reviews you receive, even the negative ones.
4. Clarify Your Payment Process To Make Your Lawyer Marketing Easier
Last, but not least, do your best to help clients understand they won’t have to take out a second mortgage to have their day in court. Explain your pricing policies and how they relate to achieving your client’s goals. If you work on contingency or offer financing, be sure to highlight these.
Trust is the foundation of the attorney-client relationship. New York Ave helps you cultivate it with lawyer marketing that opens doors. To find out more, contact us.