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A decade ago, you could stuff your law firm’s website with countless short, targeted pages of content—no matter their quality—and find yourself at the top of Google search results for attorneys.

That’s no longer the case.

Google’s algorithm—and the people behind it—are working much smarter these days. The law firms that climb the highest in the search results for a query like “car accident lawyer” will be the ones with a lot of content, but also the highest quality content, in your area.

You may be wondering: Do I focus first on getting more content on my site? Or should I emphasize quality and ignore volume?

The answer is you need a perfect balance of both.

Managing the line between quality and quantity in your website content can ultimately make a difference for your firm’s new client acquisition—or lack thereof.

This is how you achieve great content marketing. It’s a powerful tool in getting more clients because it provides useful information, not just sales pitches. It attracts clients by building goodwill.

One study found that consumers were 131 percent more likely to buy something after reading informative content from the seller.

But Mike Crimmins, digital manager at Firmidable, emphasized how you can’t just do any content marketing. You have to employ the right strategy. And that means you can’t jam keywords into a weak page and expect results (anymore).

“Your content has to be helpful,” Mike said. “Google’s algorithm is pretty good at deciphering quality content from poor content these days. If you write 200 words filled with spelling errors, and your page is stuffed full of keywords, the algorithm will know it’s useless.”

Keep reading to find out:

  • How to balance informative and lead-generating content
  • Why you need more content
  • Why deleting content is sometimes a great idea
Informative vs. Lead-Generating: Find the Right Content Mix for Law Firm Success

Before you can strike that perfect balance, you need to know the goals of each type of content typically deployed for law firm websites: educational and lead-generating.

A substantial, educational page does what its title intends—gives the reader the information they seek, in (hopefully) an easy-to-read format that will answer the question they typed into Google.

Lead generation, on the other hand, focuses on persuading the searcher to contact your firm and become a lead. That often means shorter copy sections and emphatic, visually striking calls to action.

Remember: Google—and digital marketing technology as a whole—are getting smarter by the day. Good, informative content will please the search engine, bringing prospective clients to your page.

But once they arrive on your site, you need to entice them to enlist your legal services.

“We want information; we want to be a true resource,” Mike said of the strategy our legal marketing agency has developed. “But we want to have a hybrid information page and lead-gen page.

“In a perfect world, all our pages would be like that.”

They would have content calibrated just right to both inform and persuade.

Getting Your Law Firm’s Content Marketing to Critical Mass

One piece of finely calibrated, informational and inspirational content is great. But it’s not enough.

It’s when you build up a beefy collection of quality content that you start to see results, driving leads to your site who, once there, you deftly guide toward clicking that button to talk to a lawyer.

In fact, according to a recent HubSpot study, both quality and quantity are immeasurably important.

Their stats showed that companies publishing 16 or more blog posts a month earned 3.5  times more internet traffic than those who posted 0 – 4 posts per month. And, more importantly, those companies who posted more content brought 4.5 times more leads than the companies who posted less.

Think about it this way: Your potential clients are searching with questions about attorneys and legal services. The more content your site has—quality, helpful content—the more answers you have. Those people will naturally flock to you.

“The more content you add, the wider net you cast to get more visitors to your website because you were able to target more keywords than just your homepage,” Mike said. “And you can get more specific on those pages, which Google will find to be a valuable resource. Assuming they’re all quality pages.”

Take an inventory of the services your firm provides, down to a detailed level. Do you see specific situations that your attorneys have significant experience helping people with? Write a page for each one—full of useful, substantial content.

How Deleting Content Could Actually Help Your Law Firm’s Online Success

This part seems counterintuitive.

Didn’t we just establish that you need to pump up the amount of content you have on your firm’s website?

Well, yes. But we also said the content needs to achieve a certain quality. Shoddy content will shoo Google away, which is the last thing you want.

When the quality is low, you run into the problem that more is not always better.

So consider combing through your archives. If you find something that’s not much help to potential clients, delete the page.

“Let’s say 5 percent of the time, you should be deleting old, low-quality content,” Mike said. “The other 95 percent of the time, you should be creating new, quality content.”

Pruning old content helps ensure that the overall impression your site makes on both Google and prospective legal clients is high caliber.

There’s no exact formula. But knowing the elements at play—and the general direction your firm should take—gives you a better chance of building a potent presence on the web and in turn creating the kind of thriving practice you’ve always envisioned.

If you need help figuring out your content marketing strategy, talk to the Firmidable legal marketing firm today.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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Remember the phone book?

In its heyday, it was a high-powered advertising machine. The book was indispensable; everyone cherished theirs. It contained the phone number for any business you could ever need.

It was the place for law firms to be. Here’s how the cycle normally went:

  • Potential client sees your television advertising.
  • They didn’t have time during the 15-second ad to write down the phone number or remember the full name of your law firm.
  • They went to the phone book, flipped to the right alphabetical section, and voilà. There’s your print ad.
  • They recognize you from TV. They call and become a client.

It just doesn’t happen that way anymore.

These days, TV advertising is still king, especially for lawyers. Instead of the phone book, however, viewers now whip out their smartphones, laptops or tablets to look up your firm.

How much are you paying attention to what they see there?

At the Firmidable legal marketing agency, we often find that attorneys have gaps in their strategies for reaching new clients as they switch from one screen to another. Law firms are used to the phone book approach because it always worked for them. They might not even realize the clients they’re losing now.

It’s why “second-screen marketing” is so crucial.

It puts you everywhere your potential clients are going. If you’re advertising on television, you’re reaching them in one place. If you aren’t employing a paid search ad campaign or a search engine optimization (SEO) program—if you just don’t have a strong web presence—you’re missing them in the second place they go.

Keep reading to find out how to incorporate second-screen marketing into your law firm advertising strategy. We’ll cover:

  • Understanding the link between TV and mobile devices
  • Creating marketing that’s crisp and consistent from one screen to the next
  • Making sure your mobile website speed is robust
Figure Out Your Future Clients’ Second-Screen Habits

Mandy Lee, media manager for Firmidable, says you can see the trend of people using multiple screens simultaneously in law firms’ marketing results.

“We have plenty of data showing people still call the number that shows up on your TV ad,” Mandy said. “But we also have data showing that they’re going to the website, too. The tipping point—where people are searching more on their mobile phones and not looking at your TV ad alone—has definitely happened.”

Google has done significant research on the topic, too. Their study found that 84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their “second screen” while watching television.

Furthermore, in 2015, while the Academy Awards aired, Google studied the rate of search queries related to the award winners and found a spike. They then displayed real-time advertisements congratulating each winner.

Linking the online ads to the TV audience led to a 19 percent increase in people clicking on the content from Google compared to other ads without the TV tie-in.

Here’s more from the study:

“Two-thirds of smartphone owners say they turn to their phones to learn more about something they saw in a TV commercial. An effective TV ad can stimulate dozens of micro-moments, where your potential customer is looking for more: product specs, prices, details, or reviews. These mobile moments are great opportunities for brands to provide an engaging experience.”

So, your TV ad—while still extremely valuable in today’s media landscape—doesn’t reach its full power in isolation. In fact, according to another study, 81 percent of people who use their cell phones or tablets while watching TV are researching what they’re seeing. And 65 percent of them look up items from advertisements specifically.

“When you look at your client intake numbers, pay attention to how many new clients are searching for you online and finding you when your TV ads are running, compared to when they’re not,” Mandy said. “The majority of the time there’s a big difference when you’re airing ads every week.”

Make Sure Your Second Screen Advertising Matches the First Screen

Now how do you make the two forms of media work together?

At our legal marketing firm, we emphasize the importance of integrated marketing. You need a smooth transition between screens (and any other forms of marketing you use), so users are confident they’re on the right path.

That means you have to match the language, the message, the tone, the colors, the design and multiple other pieces of your TV campaign and your digital marketing.

As Google itself said, “Make it easy for consumers when they reach out to learn more. Align your ad copy and landing page with your television creative.”

“Everything needs to be integrated,” Mandy said. “We’ll see clients who have a different marketing firm doing their TV and their website, and it can lead to inconsistencies. That’s the last thing you want.”

When Potential Clients Get to the Second Screen, Don’t Keep Them Waiting

Talk to any SEO marketer today, and one of the first things they’ll mention is site speed.

It can be a huge ranking factor in internet search results. And it can be the difference between someone connecting to you on that second screen—or hitting the back button and finding your competitor.

Again, take Google’s word for it. In a 2019 study, here’s what they found:

“Fifty-four percent of people say that as the load time for a brand’s mobile site increases, so does their frustration. And that affects the bottom line. In retail, we’ve seen that a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rates by up to 20%.”

It takes a thorough tune-up of your site to improve the speed. You’ll need an audit of your site’s code, image sizes, interactive features and more.

Fine-tuning these little details can make a large difference in the cases your firm is snagging.

If you need help getting your second-screen marketing up to speed, talk to Firmidable today.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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Your law firm, like any successful practice, tries hard to reel in qualified clients when they come to you.

What about potential clients you don’t even know you’re missing?

Think about the hours you don’t have someone manning the phone. If someone calls then looking for help, do you ever find out about it? Even if you do, chances are they’ve called someone else by the time you get back to them.

The solution? A 24-hour legal call center.

At the Firmidable legal marketing agency, we highly recommend that law firms use legal intake call centers. We produced a webcast on just this topic, featuring Tom Ball of Alert Communication—a national attorney answering service—that aired in June.

Watch a recording of the webcast here.

In this blog, we’ll tell you all the ways a law firm call answering service can help your firm get more clients and revenue. They can:

  • Help you find clients from leads you missed, or didn’t even know you had.
  • Use personal responses to stop callers from shopping and land you more clients.
  • Save you money on advertising, or make the best use of it.
Mine the Gap: Legal Call Centers Show You What’s Missing

Imagine the space between a train and the platform. Now, imagine that the people getting on the train are your prospective clients, and the train car is your firm.

It seems simple. People stroll from the platform to the train without incident.

For law firms, it’s not so easy.

So many leads are lost in that proverbial gap. What about people calling after hours, or on holidays?

They never make it to the train car.

And the worst part? Many firms don’t even have a decent idea of how many clients they’re losing during the intake process—or lack thereof.

Consider this story, told by Firmidable president Nathan Chapman, about the moment he was convinced that all law firms should use call centers:

“I was a participant in a three-way phone call with Tom and a personal injury attorney who was running a paid search digital advertising campaign. The attorney was using his trusted paralegal to be on the front lines of handling the calls and the web leads generated by the campaign. In contrast, I hoped Tom’s call center could generate more cases and revenue than the paralegal was doing alone.

During this introductory call, the attorney complained about spam being generated by the campaign. Tom said, ‘Wait a minute, tell me more about the spam.’ The attorney replied, ‘Well, we have all kinds of leads who seem like callers, but when we go talk to them there’s not a real person there.’

Tom paused for a moment and said, ‘That’s not spam. That’s people who have been on hold too long and hung up before your intake team got to them.’ If not for Tom’s insight, I would’ve been trying to solve the spam problem.”

If you’re a lawyer, think for a second about the leads your law firm is losing. Do you know how it’s happening? Or do you even have a way to find that out?

“Nobody knows that,” Tom said. “We haven’t found one law firm that can really nail that down.”

A call center can put some solid ground for your firm where the gap was. A client can see your ad, no matter the time of night, call the phone number and have their case information entered into your system—or even get signed up as a client over the phone.

Translation: With a call center, there’s a record of every lead coming your way. No more missing calls—and potential cases.

Live Response is Crucial: Stop the Shopping and Land More Legal Clients

No matter the time of day, you need a real person answering your calls 24/7. It’s been proven, over and over again, to convert leads into clients.

A call center provides that.

“The initial caller experience is critical,” Tom said. “Let’s talk about it from their perspective. They expect immediate live response and not to be put on hold.”

Think about what your clients are going through.

They don’t want to hire a lawyer—it means something has gone wrong in their lives. Sure, you can be of great help, but it’s not a happy time for them when they show up at your door.

They reached out to you hoping to ease their problems. When they can’t reach you, they move on to the next lawyer—your competition.

As Tom says, your marketing has compelled them to call, but another law firm ends up claiming the benefits. “You’re effectively marketing for your competition down the street,” he said.

It’s why a live response is so important. Having a real person on the line when the potential client calls—one that can empathize with the caller and thus build trust—will greatly increase your chances of winning over that client.

That’s something an impersonal online form can’t do.

Tom said his employees are trained to “stop the shopping” during calls with potential clients. Remember: they’re not eager to talk to more law firms, so don’t make them.

At the end of the call, a competent call answering service worker will invite the client to end their lawyer search while they’re still on the phone.

In fact, conversion rates—or the portion of prospects who become signed clients—jump from 45% to 70% when the client is kept on the phone to sign a retainer, Tom said.

“You have to have methods in place to make sure that after they hang up with you, they’re not moving on to another law firm,” Tom said.

Give them the light at the end of the tunnel that they’re looking for.

Crunch the Numbers: An Attorney Answering Service Will Save You Money

At our legal marketing firm, we’ll often encounter this scenario when producing a digital paid search campaign: the law firm only wants their ads to run during normal business hours, so they can properly answer leads when a potential client sees the ad.

Makes sense, right?

The problem: paid search ads are based on an auction system, and ads during the business day end up costing you more.

If you have a 24/7 intake process, you can run ads at any time—which means your marketing dollars work harder, thanks to the lower cost of after-hours ads.

“Many firms just look at call centers as an extra expense, when in reality, they’re actually lowering your costs,” Nathan said. “That’s why we’re so high on them.”

Think about what lost leads—the people contacting you during off hours—are costing your bottom line, too.

The math is simple. The decision is easy. Hiring a call center, in our opinion, helps law firms thrive.

If your law firm wants help adding a call center to your intake process, talk to Firmidable today.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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People use these two terms in the same breath: advertising and marketing.

But they aren’t the same thing.

When you’re trying to draw more clients to your law firm, you need to understand the difference. Because the success or failure of your law firm advertising depends on your law firm marketing.

So what’s the difference between marketing and advertising?

In a word: strategy.

Marketing is the research and planning you need to identify who your potential clients are and how best to bring them to you.

It encompasses everything from sponsoring community events to making sure your staff is skilled at answering phone calls.

And it includes advertising.

Advertising is, indeed, a major tool you can deploy as part of your legal marketing strategy. It’s not a complete strategy on its own. It’s a specific tactic for reaching an audience.

Your marketing plan can tell you which types of advertising to invest in the most: online advertising, TV ads, billboards, bus ads, print ads or others.

In this blog post, we’ll explain how knowing the difference between marketing and advertising can make a difference in growing your law firm’s revenue.

Law Firm Marketing Means Planning

The first way to tell whether something is marketing, not just advertising, is to look for a thoughtful, wide-ranging plan.

You could view your law firm’s website as a form of advertising. But your marketing plan guides how you structure your site.

It’s best to commit a marketing plan to writing.

Before we launch a website build at our legal marketing agency, we research and create a brief that covers points like these:

  • The profile of the law firm’s prospective clients
  • An understanding of what those clients are looking for
  • The practice areas the lawyers want to grow
  • Types of cases the law firm wants to attract
  • The geographic areas the law firm wants to reach
  • The tone of voice the firm wants to convey
  • Points of differentiation with competing attorneys
  • Slogans or other lines of encouragement (free case evaluations, no fee unless you win, etc.) that the firm uses across different platforms
  • The visual style of the website
  • The site’s ultimate goals: generating phone calls, generating case leads through online forms, increasing name recognition, etc.

If you don’t get these and other goals and details written down, it’s amazing how easily something important gets overlooked.

For example: Firmidable once consulted with a firm in Phoenix that previously hired a website vendor to build a new website.

Once the site was live, the partners were unpleasantly surprised to discover that they weren’t getting calls from clients in Tucson.

Why?

Because the web developer simply built them a website (advertising) without first laying out a bigger picture strategy including which geographic areas the firm hoped to serve (marketing).

The lawyers wanted to reach people in Tucson, but this goal wasn’t written down.

So the site ended up without any content on Tucson—and Google had no reason to send people searching for lawyers in Tucson to the site.

Capturing the clients you want, and the revenue that comes with them, requires having them in your plan.

“The person who built the website had no idea they were even interested in Tucson,” said Nathan Chapman, president of Firmidable “They just assumed, ‘Here’s a Phoenix firm, we need to do really well in Phoenix,’ and had no idea what their goals were. That’s the difference between marketing and having somebody execute a specific piece of advertising.”

Legal Marketing Means Discerning Which Form of Advertising to Use

Another way to tell if you’re going beyond basic advertising to accomplish holistic marketing is to look for a comparative evaluation of different types of advertising.

One Firmidable law firm client got pitched on doing digital display advertising by a competing vendor.

Our legal marketing firm produced the law firm’s TV commercials, built their website, runs their search engine optimization (SEO) program and runs their paid search campaigns.

We had previously evaluated online display advertising for the client, comparing it to the other channels, and found it wasn’t our top recommendation for the dynamics of that firm’s market and getting the best return on investment.

Still, the law firm wanted to try display ads, so we built a campaign for them.

The advantage of having us do it? We’ll provide ongoing comparative results from the display ads and all their other forms of advertising, providing more clarity on what direction to take next.

One way to ensure you’re doing savvy marketing—instead of throwing dollars at one-off ad campaigns—is to work with a legal marketing agency capable of managing multiple channels.

A vendor that focuses on certain advertising products will naturally push you toward those.

An agency that takes a wider, marketing-based view of your law firm’s growth, can discern what’s working and what’s not.

“One of the biggest things is the openness, honesty and transparency you can get if you have your marketing under one roof,” said Alex Ludwig, senior account executive at Firmidable. “We want to know what’s best, so we can tell you the truth about what’s best for you.”

Legal Marketing Means You Get Consistency Across Different Channels

A third way to know if you’re getting real marketing, as opposed to disconnected advertising efforts, is to see if your recognizable brand comes across on each platform you use.

Firmidable recently published another blog post on the power of integrated marketing.

Cohesive marketing reinforces your messages, making them more effective at drawing in clients.

These are some of the elements of a well-coordinated marketing strategy:

  • Consistent colors applied everywhere
  • The same format of the firm name used on all your channels
  • The same logo on all your materials
  • The same slogan used across your channels
  • A distinct tone of voice applied everywhere

As you add new pieces of advertising over time, it’s easy for these elements to get out of whack. Having a central point-person to enforce your brand standards can solve the problem.

Marketing vs. Advertising: Getting the Most for Your Firm

An article from Concordia University-St. Paul in Minnesota defines the discipline of marketing this way:

“Marketing is a process that involves design, creation, research and data mining about how best to align the idea of a product or service with the target audience. Marketing helps to define the product even more than the actual product does.”

This is what it says about advertising:

“Advertising is the literal process of making a product and service known to an audience. It is the description used to present the product, idea or service to the world. This generally entails advertising campaigns in the media.”

For a law firm, the difference between marketing and advertising is the difference between jumping in blindly and planning ahead.

It’s the difference between a tool and a strategy for using that tool.

It’s the difference between uncoordinated efforts and cohesive campaigns.

If you want to discuss a marketing strategy that gets the most out of your advertising, talk to us at Firmidable.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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Let’s say you’re interviewing a new lawyer for your personal injury firm.

His name’s Cooper. He makes a strong impression in his initial interview, so you invite him to meet more of the partners.

When he comes back, you notice that he’s dyed his brown hair blond. And he suddenly only answers to the name “C.J.”

A little odd. So you start digging around on his LinkedIn page. His resume talked about his personal injury experience, but his page is all about real estate transaction work.

Now you wonder, “Who is this guy? Is he really the right person for our firm?”

Imagine an entire law firm that behaves like C.J.

Its billboards are red, but its website is blue. Its TV ads—let’s face it, they’re getting outdated—talk about workers’ compensation claims, but the firm now focuses on employment discrimination. In some places, the firm is called Acme, Smith & Doe, APLC. In other places, it’s The Doe Law Group.

How can a legal client be sure this is the right firm for them?

What the firm and Cooper (or C.J.) need is a consistent voice across all their channels of communication.

When your messages sync up, each part of your marketing reinforces the others. Your marketing dollars go further because your potential clients recognize you better—and come to your door.

But at our national legal marketing agency, we see law firms struggling with this all the time, losing their focus, lacking a distinct identity and ending up with scattershot marketing.

In this post, we’ll explain how you can grow your firm with an integrated marketing approach:

  • Why branding consistency is so important
  • How law firm marketing gets out of whack
  • How to bring order and potency back to your legal marketing
Why Integrated Marketing Works

The power of an integrated marketing strategy comes from reinforcement of your messages.

This idea applies across many professional services. Consistency in marketing emerged as a key trait of successful practices in a study of more than 400 financial planners by the Journal of Financial Planning in 2011.

The Journal quoted a business consultant to financial planners: “The secret to good marketing is on the back of a shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, repeat. Pick a few things and repeat them. Pick the things that are right for you, your brand, your target market, and execute them consistently.”

It sounds simple: to have a distinct brand, the look and feel of your messages has to be cohesive. But the execution takes some thought, planning and work.

Take this example: one of our clients was shopping around for someone to make a billboard. They asked Firmidable and a company that focuses on billboards to mock up designs, so they could choose their favorite.

Firmidable built and operates their website and produced their TV ads, so we used established elements—the same logo, the same color palette, the same slogan, etc.—for the billboard. When potential clients see the billboard, they get a clear impression of the firm.

The competitor? Working in a silo away from the rest of the law firm’s marketing strategy, their design lacked connection to the firm’s identity. Different colors, no logo, no slogan.

If someone saw that billboard, then opened their phone to visit the firm’s website and saw something totally different, the disjointed experience would create friction in their path toward hiring the firm.

They went with Firmidable’s design.

“You want to be recognizable,” said Ellie Platt, Firmidable art director. “Branding consistency is so important to establish loyalty with your clients. You don’t want to make people feel like they ended up in the wrong place, especially when they’re coming to you at a tough time in their lives.”

Another one of our clients, attorney Danielle Beaver, practices disability law in Hawaii. In recent years her former partner retired, which prompted a brand change for her firm.

Our legal marketing firm prioritized branding consistency for her. Her identity as a local, Hawaii attorney is a crucial part of her strategy. So we created a logo featuring a ti leaf, a special plant in the lore of Hawaii, and used it across all of her marketing—from her TV ads to her website.

This consistency is important because it eases the way for people to hire you.

“Marketing people talk about the concept of ‘the funnel,’” said Mark Waller, senior writer and editor at Firmidable. “If you can make a distinct impression on your clients starting with their earliest awareness of you, by the time they’re ready to decide on a lawyer, you’re already there with them. Consistent messages build on each other.”

The funnel represents the steps a client takes toward a decision.

Your TV ads or billboards create that initial awareness, even before someone needs to hire you.

Then they have a legal issue and begin searching for law firms online. They’re actively shopping, moving through the funnel.

When they see your website, they recognize you, thanks to your consistent marketing. They give you a closer look.

After that, you might serve them a digital ad that more directly urges them to call your firm. Now you’re catching them right at the point where they’re ready to become a client.

If you do this well, it sets you apart from your competitors.

“You generally look at law firm websites, there’s not much cohesion,” Ellie said. “There’s a good chance the other law firms in town are not paying as much attention.”

How Law Firms Lose Focus

We see law firms all the time who have different vendors producing their different marketing efforts. They’re often frustrated. Their search engine optimization (SEO) vendor is telling them one thing; their paid search advertising agency is telling them another.

Over the years, they plugged different elements into their marketing, gradually creating a mishmash.

“A lot of firms and businesses, over time, slowly spend more on marketing,” said Alex Ludwig, senior account executive at Firmidable. “So they’re piecemealing things together as they go along, rather than sitting down and doing one comprehensive look at their strategy.”

“When it gets fragmented, it becomes an issue.”

You also have to question the motivation of different vendors who specialize in different services, each having natural biases in favor of the service they offer. Are they giving you a recommendation because it makes perfect sense for you, or for them?

“You don’t know what’s actually working, or who’s telling the truth,” Alex said. “We run into this issue often.”

How to Restore Harmony to Your Legal Marketing

To achieve marketing that’s consistent and builds upon itself, you need someone at your firm to be the point-person for enforcing your brand standards across all of your platforms.

If that doesn’t sound like a job description anyone wants, a legal marketing agency with the capacity to manage multiple marketing channels can do the work for you.

“If you have someone who does it all for you under one roof, you can be agnostic about which marketing techniques to use,” Alex said. “They’ll make sure you have the best solution for your budget and your market.”

We’ve seen the importance of a cohesive, integrated marketing plan even in our own business as a legal marketing and advertising agency.

Just over two years ago, Firmidable commenced a complete rebrand.

Ellie developed a purple and black color palette and look for all of our materials. Most importantly, she implements the same style everywhere—across our website, emails, social media ad campaigns, printed pamphlets, the design of our conference booth and even the sign outside our door.

“Everything fits together,” Ellie said. “We’ve created this brand that, when you think of purple, you think of Firmidable.”

We were able to achieve that because all the pieces—the content, the design and the execution—came from one place. Everything worked in harmony because we had a unified vision.

This is also how we think law firms should deploy their marketing efforts—because we’ve seen it work for firms across the country.

If you’re looking for a more efficient, integrated marketing plan, get in touch with Firmidable today.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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Deploying a paid search advertising campaign used to be a nice add-on to your law firm’s digital marketing strategy. It gave your efforts to attract new clients a boost. But your main priority was your website.

Not anymore.

Instead of being the dessert of your legal marketing meal, paid search is now the hearty appetizer. It can even serve as an entrée, depending on your budget.

Paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, aren’t new. But their importance to lawyers and other professional service providers is increasing.

According to Statista research, spending on paid search campaigns increased about 20% across Health and Pharma, Finance, Insurance and Retail/Consumer Goods in 2017. A report called The CMO Survey adds that, as of 2018, “Consumer Services and Professional Services/Consulting spend the most on Paid Search, at 40.4% and 36.7%, respectively.”

And yet, here at the Firmidable legal marketing firm, we see attorneys hesitant to use paid search. Why?

Some might have used it in the past and didn’t see the results they wanted. Some focus on other marketing efforts—building a website, juicing organic search engine optimization (SEO) results (which are still necessary!).

But our viewpoint? To reach the most prospective clients in the quickest way possible, you should think about shuffling your priority list in favor of paid search.

In this post, we’ll show you how an effective law firm marketing strategy in 2019 starts with paid search. It can do three key things:

  • Snare clients already deep into the process of shopping for lawyers.
  • Keep your costs low with proper monitoring and tweaking.
  • Boost your brand awareness.
No. 1: Get Clients Who Are Ready to Choose a Lawyer

When a potential client is searching for a lawyer, they’re past the point of needing cursory information. They have a problem, and they’re looking to solve it as quickly as possible.

Paid search ads, such as Google Ads, are a more direct way to make your page the first one a client sees on their list of search results. Studies show that the majority of the time, they’re going to click that first link.

“It rarely gets better than getting in front of a person who’s looking exactly for what you provide at that moment,” said Alex Ludwig, senior account executive at Firmidable. “They’re already close to making a decision on who to call.”

Alex gave an example: A potential client saw an ad for a law firm and decided to Google the firm. The first result was a paid search ad for a different law firm, not the one they started out looking for. The client didn’t realize this initially, clicked the ad and called the firm.

Even when they figured out that they reached a different firm from their original search, they hired the lawyer with the paid search ad anyway.

The client’s main concern wasn’t the specific person they were calling. They cared about fixing their problem.

“Hiring a lawyer is not like buying a little trinket from Amazon,” Alex said. “You’re going to put a lot more thought and effort into it. If we can come in and intercept people who are in this process, we absolutely want to.”

No. 2: Why It’s Crucial to Monitor Your Firm’s Campaign

Quickly converting a web searcher into a client sounds like an easy win for your firm. But you won’t be the only lawyer doing paid search advertising.

“In every market I’ve come across, there is someone advertising to be the top search result for whatever your practice area is,” said Mike Crimmins, digital manager at Firmidable. “If you’re not paying for that, someone else is getting that business.”

You may have tried it once with little or no success. So you’ve sworn it off.

A paid search campaign requires intense care, however. You can’t just input it to a computer and let it run. To get the best result, you have to monitor for tweaks and updates along the way.

“If you’re not paying attention to it, you’re going to waste a lot of money,” Mike said. “You might be spending money on a search term you don’t want to pay for. For the campaigns we run, we make hundreds of changes per month.”

Paid search is a bidding game, for the most part. You can read more about the process here. But basically, the more people are searching for a term, the more you’ll pay for it.

If you aren’t monitoring what’s happening on the internet with your search terms, you could end up paying too much for terms that don’t capture the people you want—and missing other opportunities.

Mike gave this example: A car crash happens on a busy highway. A personal injury attorney might bid on the phrase “car accident” in a certain city. Then a huge wreck happens in that targeted area, leading hundreds or even thousands of people to Google “car accident [insert city].” Most of them are looking for news, not lawyers.

But when that happens, your price for that keyword soars. With proper oversight, you can avoid a huge bill for something that hit the wrong target.

“That’s why we monitor daily, weekly, to see how much we’re spending,” Mike said.

No. 3: Your Law Firm’s Entryway to Blossoming Brand Awareness

A well-executed paid search campaign can get you clients quickly, sure. But as the entry point to a strategic legal marketing plan, it also can cement awareness of your law firm for years to come.

“You build up some wins, build up some cash flow, and then put that back into the marketing strategy,” Alex said. “As you continue building up paid search, you can move on to making sure you have a great website with lots of content, a smart SEO strategy and more traditional tools like TV and print ads.”

And those clients you bring in off your first paid search campaign? They’ll pay off down the road, too.

“Ultimately, you want this to snowball into having a large awareness in the market,” Alex continued. “The more people you pick up from this, the larger the pool of referrals you’ll have, and the more cases you’ll end up getting in the future.”

This is how paid search makes your dollars work for the long-term.

If you want to see how a paid search campaign can work for you—and find a legal marketing agency that can expertly manage your campaign—call Firmidable today for a conversation.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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I want to share with you a tip about a legal conference taking place May 2-3 in Dallas. You should consider attending.

As reflected in the “Survive or Thrive?” theme, the conference host, Vista Consulting, helps plaintiffs’ law firms make the internal changes needed to actually thrive in today’s incredibly competitive legal environment.

This conference will be two days packed with hands-on information—plus just the right amount of inspiration.

(Don’t miss my session, How to Evolve Your Firm’s Legal Marketing Strategy: A 7-Point Checklist. Frankly, I’ve seen too many law firms stuck in the ‘90s as they try to get potential clients.)

More info is below from the Vista Consulting conference organizers. Let me know if you can make it—and I will look for you there!

Vista Consulting Team 2019 Annual Conference: Survive or Thrive?

Who? Vista Consulting Team and dynamic speakers to help your firm thrive
What? The must-attend conference of 2019 for plaintiff attorneys and law firm professionals
When? May 2-3, 2019
Where? The Adolphus Hotel, Dallas, TX
Why? Two days of interactive sessions by leading speakers—learn from industry experts how to position your firm to thrive

View the Conference Speakers Here.

It’s Not Just What You Know, But Who You Know…

Attendees will close out the first day of the conference with a hosted cocktail party at Waterproof rooftop lounge. Connect and converse with your peers from across the country. Cheers!

Register Here.
Or Call 225.383.2974

Firmidable has been a national expert legal marketing firm for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of lawyers—and their clients.

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The lawyer reviews you get online can help your law firm thrive, or hold it back.

But how do you even find what everybody’s saying about you on the internet?
You need a strategy for online reputation management.

It sounds like digital marketing jargon, but done correctly, reputation management is a savvy, systematic way to improve your firm’s image and caseload.

Chris Jewell, who oversees Firmidable’s reputation management program for law firms, said it can be tough for attorneys to get a full picture of their online profiles.

Outside of the big hitters—Google, Facebook and Yelp—your firm can pop up on a lot of websites that provide user reviews, including specialized rating sites for attorneys like Avvo, Lawyers.com, FindLaw and more.

“Your firm is on sites you don’t even know you have a listing on,” Jewell said. “It’s hard to monitor when you don’t even know you’re there. But it matters.”

It matters because reputation management isn’t just a sideline to your main legal marketing efforts. A smart approach can turn your online ratings into a tool for attracting more clients and cases.

In this post, we’ll explain:

  • Why it’s better to have more online reviews.
  • How to get more reviews.
  • How to find opportunity in negative reviews.
Having More Lawyer Reviews Makes You More Visible Online

Many of your clients are coming to you in dire situations. Their lives have gone awry. They need legal help. Choosing an attorney is a momentous decision. They’re looking for reassurance.

So it’s no surprise that statistics show online reviews are holding more and more weight in clients’ decision-making.

For example:

  • According to a study by Birdeye, which provides reputation management services, 83% of potential legal clients read online reviews as their first step in finding an attorney. And 90% of clients choose a law firm that appears on page 1 of search results.
  • An analysis from BrightLocal, a search engine optimization (SEO) firm, showed positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use local businesses.
  • BrightLocal also found an astounding 91% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • The SEO firm Moz concluded that reviews are the third most important ranking factor in local internet searches, which is a crucial arena for many law firms. That makes reviews more important than referrals from social media or other websites.

To synthesize that: Having more reviews—especially good ones—not only makes your firm look good, it helps more people find your firm in the first place.

And then many of your potential clients will be reading, and trusting, whatever people are saying about you in the reviews—for better or worse.

If your strategy for managing reviews isn’t solid, you risk losing out on case leads.

Because so many young people trust reviews, this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.

Managing Your Online Reputation: How to Encourage More Reviews

Gary Sells, a New Orleans Social Security Disability advocate, knew he cared about his online reputation, but didn’t exactly know what to do about it.

“I did not recognize the importance of reputation management” as a strategic program, he said. But, he said, “I was concerned about online reviews. Now I know I can control them somewhat. That is comforting.”

With Firmidable’s help, Sells uses a reputation management system that combines all his online reviews into one platform—so he can quickly and easily see what reviews people are writing about him.

He can respond to many of the reviews directly from the platform. He can also use the software to request reviews from clients after he wins their cases.

There’s no shame in asking for reviews. The key to doing it honestly and ethically is to avoid leading clients about exactly what to say. Simply make a polite request for a review and leave it at that.

People may be more open to giving you a review than you think.

The Birdeye study found seven out of 10 clients will leave a review of your firm when asked.

“People are always willing to do a review, but actually getting them to do it is another thing,” Sells said.

Following this process has made a huge difference for him.

He’s been using a disciplined online reputation management approach since October. He’s seen his total number of reviews triple, which has led to more clients calling his office.

“I have had a couple of potential clients say they called because the reviews were positive,” Sells said. “I think the reviews prompt people to take a second look at the website and then feel more comfortable.”

From February 2015 to October 2018, Sells only had 10 total reviews across multiple sites.

Since October alone, he’s built the number up to 30 using his reputation management dashboard.

Turning Your Responses into Another Chance to Sell Your Firm

Sometimes, even a negative review can become a positive for your firm.

If all your reviews are glowing, it can raise suspicions that they aren’t real. An occasional negative review, ironically, increases the credibility of the good reviews by signaling authenticity.

But if your firm has negative reviews floating around on the internet unanswered, that can hurt you.

An empathetic response to somebody saying they had a bad experience with your firm—and an apology—can make you look even more impressive than a routine good review.

Your professional, concerned tone projects that you listen to and care about clients. You don’t run away from criticism. Your respectful response casts doubt for other readers about the seriousness of the negative reviewer’s story.

The reviewer may even change their tone and upgrade your rating.

You can also use your response to highlight something positive about your firm, your mission and the caliber of service you strive to provide, allowing you to insert a subtle pitch for hiring you in this seemingly unlikely place.

“When they leave a review, it helps your business, even if the review is sometimes bad,” Jewell said. “Responses matter. It shows engagement. It shows you care. It helps you stand out from your competitors. And it’s still boosting your SEO.”

As a side benefit, a critical reviewer might occasionally call your attention to an area where you can improve your firm.

Online Reputation Management Can Help You Compete with Bigger Firms

There’s another benefit to having a sophisticated approach to managing your lawyer reviews: It’s a great equalizer.

The internet doesn’t necessarily care if your law firm has two lawyers or 200. You’re just a listing, with a collection of contact information, content, links, search rankings and reviews.

“It can be a huge—and cost effective—boon for smaller firms looking to compete with the big players,” Jewell said. “It also means the big players need to be cognizant of their own online reputations.”

At our legal marketing firm, we hear from lawyers all the time who worry their competitors are outsmarting them in their digital marketing.

Reputation management is a way to gain an edge over other firms in your market—and win the trust of new clients.

If you want to know more about how online reputation management can give your law firm a boost, contact Firmidable today.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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Think of some celebrated television commercials and you might imagine majestic Clydesdale horses, drop-dead-gorgeous super-models or humorous talking geckos. So to receive praise—and even an award—for lawyer commercials?

In true fashion, the 100-year old Advertising Club of New Orleans’ recent advertising industry awards gala gave its top TV prize to a big-budget spot for locally-brewed Dixie Beer. But, more remarkably, the Silver award went to legal marketing agency Firmidable for its television campaign for a workers’ compensation law firm based in Rapid City, South Dakota.

“We’ve never been so proud to be Number Two,” Firmidable Founder and President Nathan Chapman said with a laugh. “For over 25 years we’ve created the nation’s very best legal marketing right here from New Orleans. But year after year, it’s been impossible to compete for advertising awards with sexier subjects. This year, we thought we had a shot.”

The judges, who are brought in from other cities to avoid bias, agreed.

“Our client didn’t have the budget to fly in a crew to South Dakota for a multi-day shoot,” recalled Chapman, who also serves as the agency’s creative director. So the agency had to start by getting creative with the budget. It arranged for some of the law firm’s clients to go to a Rapid City recording studio where Chapman asked them to tell their personal stories of how ordinary workdays became nightmares after becoming injured and denied workers’ comp benefits.

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From New Orleans, Chapman conducted the interviews using a video chat service so he could look the interviewees in the eye and establish a rapport. The interviewees often choked up with the emotion of their stories, something Chapman doesn’t feel would have occurred if he was just a voice on the phone.

The interview audio was edited in house by Firmidable production manager Cindy Bower and then turned over to art director Ellie Platt, who worked with New Orleans motion designer and animator Joe Fleming to illustrate the commercial series.

Ellie and Joe drew upon an animation technique known as kinetic typography—where the motion of words and graphics creates its own attention-grabbing imagery.

“Great advertising is not about the advertiser, it’s about the audience,” Chapman said. “You don’t hear from any lawyers in these spots. We let ordinary people tell their stories.”

When done, the agency felt they had something special. Recognizing that legal advertising virtually never wins an advertising award, Firmidable Vice President Katie Baxter smiled: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a loud cheer when they announced a Silver award before.”

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About Firmidable: Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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When a potential client reaches out to you, you face a 30-second test.

React correctly, and your law firm could see revenue climb each year. Handle it poorly, and money walks out the door.

The difference is in your intake process. How much attention are you paying to it? In this post, our legal marketing firm shares savvy strategies for making it soar.
Take this real-life example:

Over the years, a mailman gradually bought property he saw for sale along his daily route. Eventually, he owned $40 million in real estate. But he didn’t have a will.

He needed a lawyer.

So he consulted with three attorneys. The first treated him outright rudely. The second treated him like a cold business transaction.

The third treated him like he was her best friend.

She asked about his family, his life, and made it clear she cared about him as a person, not just an income opportunity.

Who do you think he chose?

This story comes from nationally known law firm coach Jim Brown in a recent webcast hosted by Firmidable. His presentation was full of incisive ideas for fine-tuning your intake process to grow your firm.

You can watch a recording of the webcast here.

Many attorneys overlook intakes as a crucial part of their firm’s success. But a smart, smooth and empathetic intake system can mean the difference between a vibrant firm and a languishing one.

With a strong intake program, you get more cases—and better cases. You get a higher return on the legal marketing investment that brings in your case leads. You get more value for your time and effort, too.

“I once heard Jim say that he could make a nice living with all the leads and missed opportunities that most law firms let fall through the cracks in their intake process,” said Nathan Chapman, president of Firmidable. “And I believe him.”

Keep reading for more tips from Jim on how to optimize your intakes—and lead your firm to new heights.

Treat Your Law Firm’s Prospects with Empathy. It Pays Off.
If your law firm wants more cases, treat clients as human beings with real problems.

When a client contacts your firm, remember that they’re coming to you as a person in need. They’re dealing with a personal injury, an employment law issue, an estate planning matter, a workers’ compensation claim or some other life-altering problem.

Jim noted the thing people dislike most about lawyers is the fact that they have to hire one in the first place.

“Life has become so complicated that people resent that they need an attorney,” Jim said. “You can break down that barrier in the first 30 seconds of the phone call. The person talking on the phone should tell them, ‘It’s a shame you have to hire an attorney. But that’s why this firm was created. This firm was created to help you with the problem you called us about.’”

As in the example at the beginning, if your firm is looking for more cases, don’t treat clients as business prospects. Treat them as human beings with real problems.

Make your receptionist a priority. That’s the first person speaking to potential clients and the first possible block on a prospect becoming a client. Empowering receptionists and emphasizing the importance of their role can turn leads into cases every day.

“I tell my clients to change the (title) of receptionist to Director of First and Last Impressions,” Jim Brown said. “Great receptionists become even better with that title. Get them business cards, plaques with that title, and you’ll be amazed.”

He even suggests having your whole firm participate in professional empathy training once or twice a year.

Educate Your Law Firm’s Intake Team on What It Takes to Win a Case

Just like your receptionist, the people deciding which clients to accept and which to turn away are hugely important to your firm’s success.

A few tips to improve every step of your intakes:

  • Educate your intake team about what makes a case winnable. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many firms don’t do this. It makes a huge difference.
  • Hold a meeting with your intake team every three months. Reinforce what you want from them. Talk about what’s going right and what’s going wrong. You can always improve your process.
  • Follow up with the potential clients you turned away. Often, you might find they won their cases with another firm. Many lawyers never think to call the clients they passed on and see how their cases turned out. If you do, you could be surprised at the insights you’ll gain.
  • For bigger firms, consider a two-tiered intake process. Have one person answer the phone and log the prospect’s information. Have a second person gather the details of the case to help make a faster decision on whether to take the client or not.
  • Track your intake employees’ performance. How many appointments are they making? How many prospects are they converting to clients? And how many of those clients won their cases? Give them bonuses for good performance. It works.
A Surprising Way to Keep Your Intake Packets from Going Missing
If you’re sending out intake packets, never to see them again, you can get off-duty firefighters to follow up at clients’ doors.

So your law firm nailed making a great first impression. A client said on the phone they wanted to sign up with you. You sent them your intake packet.

This is the point where lawyers across the country dread getting “ghosted.” Though you sent out your packet—you never hear from them again.

It’s draining.

If your firm struggles with this, consider hiring a firefighter to solve your problem. Seriously.

Some lawyers enlist a courier service to shepherd their intake packets back. Firefighters can be a more efficient, reliable and cost-effective alternative.

Firefighters often work strange hours in their regular jobs—logging a 24-hour shift and then taking off the next 48 hours, for example. This leads many to look for second jobs or part-time gigs when they have long breaks from work.

“Firefighters look presentable. They’ll go into any neighborhood,” Jim said. “You create an ID on your computer and then laminate it. Pay them per head for each house that they go to, and they do a great job.”

You can go to your nearest firefighters’ union and gauge interest. Jim works with a firm that receives 200 clients a month, all signed up by firefighters. Some firms even give the firefighters a tablet computer and a portable printer to further streamline the process of getting clients to sign.
Give it a try.

“They don’t have to know anything about your area of law,” Jim said. “They just have to know how to say, ‘Sign here.’”

Goodwill Can Go a Long Way for Your Legal Practice

Remember the mailman turned real estate mogul?

When he needed a lawyer, you probably guessed that he went with the third one he met, the one who treated him like a close friend.

You were right. Her firm drafted his will. And a lot more.

“That firm ended up doing his estate planning, does all his tax work and negotiates all the buys and sells of every building he does now,” Jim said. “And (the firm) makes over $100,000 a year in fees on this person. All because the lawyer who met with him the first time was so personable, so respectful—and did it just the way you should do it any time you meet a new client.”

If you want more information about upgrading your intake practices, contact us at Firmidable.

Firmidable is the nation’s best legal marketing agency. We know more than anyone about how Americans choose their lawyers.

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