Online Marketing Playbook for Attorneys


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This practical, step-by-step guide takes you through the often-complex world of online marketing and outlines the digital tools and strategies you need to grow your practice.

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Online Marketing Playbook for Attorneys

  1. 1. The Online MarketingPlaybook for AttorneysA practical guide to the digital tools andstrategies that can grow your | 
  2. 2. | Table of ContentsIntroductionDefine Your Target AudienceMake Sure Your Site Speaks to Your AudienceEnsure Your Site Is Mobile OptimizedOptimize Your Site to Be Found in SearchConsider Having a Site for Each Practice AreaPick the Right Marketing ChannelsSet up Google+ and AuthorshipEstablish a Program for Lead Follow-upResources3469121517262832
  3. 3. | IntroductionIt used to be so simple: For attorneys and law firms seeking to market their services, merely having a basic websitewas the answer to being found online. And in the years before the web, being listed in the Yellow Pages wasenough. Today, thanks to rapid advances in technology and increased competition from purported do-it-yourselflegal websites, the legal profession has had to step up its marketing game.As their online habits have become more involved and sophisticated, your prospective clients have come to expectmore from firms like yours – more high-quality information, more aesthetic value from your marketing efforts,more flexibility in engaging with you on their terms.How do you reach them more effectively? How and where do you communicate your expertise to them? And howdo you keep track of interactions with them once they’ve connected with you?The following report is designed to provide answers to these questions and more. It is a practical, step-by-stepguide through the often-complex world of online marketing, filtered expressly for the needs of legal practices likeyours.The tools and strategies outlined here can help you build new leads, enhance your firm’s visibility and authoritywithin the marketplace, foster rewarding client relationships, and ultimately, grow your practice.
  4. 4. | Define Your Target AudienceDefine Your Target AudienceUnderstanding your target audienceis key to successfully marketing yourpractice online – and key to building aneffective website. With the advent ofdigital and mobile technology, consumers’expectations for content and how it ispresented have increased, while theirattention spans have gotten shorter andshorter. The Internet, and the informationtransparency it provides, gives people theability to compare attorneys and firmsand formulate first impressions fasterthan ever before. The more your website,content and marketing speak to them andtheir needs, the greater likelihood that theywill contact you to engage your services,not your competitors’.While it may seem limiting to define andfocus on a specific target audience, inactuality, a clearly defined target audiencegives your content and marketing morerelevance and clarity. In short, it will makeyour marketing perform better.Here are three questions you can use to profileyour target audience:What are their demographics?Mapping out the age, sex, marital status and other keydemographic variables of your typical clients is a great startingpoint. If you are in multiple practice areas or geographies, createaudience personas for each one. These personas will guide yourefforts when developing and optimizing your website, creatingcontent and deciding where and how to market your practice,including which social media networks like Facebook and Twitter orQ&A sites like Avvo to participate in.What are their primary needs or problems?Identify the main problem(s) your target audience is experiencingin relation to your practice area. Do they have an urgent need,such as a DUI, or a longer-term need such as the creation of a will?Do they have other concerns that could be afactor?List the most common supplemental factors your clients tendto experience. Look beyond the immediate need and outlineany additional concerns, directly related to the primary need ornot, that you and your firm can help them solve. (For example,a person experiencing a divorce may be concerned about livingarrangements or time away from work.) You can then createcontent for your website and social media around these concerns.This type of content demonstrates your understanding of theissues your target audience is facing and likely researching online.123
  5. 5. | Even if you think you know your target audience, it is well worth creating written personas that you can use as thebasis for your online marketing. This will help ensure that every touch point you have with prospective clients stayson message.Below are two examples of personas based on clients’ legal situations.Sarah• Age 24• Single, no kids• Employed full-time at her first salaried jobSituation:Sarah just picked up her second speeding ticket (for$205) in 5 months. She paid the first ticket ($150),but can’t afford the second ticket, let alone theinsurance premium increase that will come with it.She otherwise has a clean driving record.She is most concerned about:1) Cost of the ticket, plus insurance2) Time away from work that may be required3) Doing the wrong thing and having her ticket notdismissed as a resultShe has never hired a lawyer before and doesn’tknow where to start. She does not use the YellowPages – neither in print or online. She is socialmedia savvy. She has 600 friends on Facebookand is very active on Twitter – in fact she posted aphoto of her ticket and the officer on her Facebookpage and asked her online friends for lawyerrecommendations. She gets two recommendationsthat she researches online using Google (on hersmartphone) and does a search for additionallawyers close to her home. She goes to the websitesof all attorneys she is considering and looks themup on Facebook. She picks the one with a highAvvo rating and a website that gives her confidencebecause of client testimonials and photos that showa confident, yet compassionate attorney.Jeff• Age 45• Two children under 10• Employed full-time, professionalSituation:Jeff’s wife has filed for divorce – seemingly out of theblue. He has little time to process it. His friends aretelling him he needs a lawyer right away, and havemade specific recommendations. Both of the lawyersthey have suggested, however, know his wife, so Jefflooks elsewhere.He is most concerned about:1) What he needs to do first2) His living situation – she wants him to move out3) His kids – where do they go and how will decisionsabout them be handled in the interimJeff uses the Internet, but doesn’t consider himselfto be tech-savvy. He is active on LinkedIn, so hesearches first for divorce attorneys who might be inhis network. Four names, connected to him throughpeople he respects, come up. He isn’t ready to sharehis personal situation with his business connections,so he thoroughly researches the four potentialattorneys, reviewing their websites, reading theirblogs, checking ratings and reviews, searching theirname in press articles. He narrows it down to thetwo attorneys who provided the best informationon their website, and calls them for an initialconsultation. One calls him back right away andspends 30 minutes answering his questions. This isthe attorney Jeff hires.
  6. 6. | Make Sure Your Site Speaks to Your Audience Present your image in a eye-catching mannerConsumers spend, on average, only 33 seconds on a webpage(Alenty Study, 2010) and read only 20 to 25% of the content(Nielsen Norman Group, 2008). If your site doesn’t capture theirattention right away, there is little likelihood that they will contactyour firm. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words:Effective websites today frequently utilize a large image or setof images that immediately draw in the user. You might use acityscape image to communicate that your firm has been in thecommunity a long time, or a photo of children, if your specialtyis family law. Another option is to use a photo of members ofyour firm to give prospects a sense of the dedicated people whowould be helping them. After all, consumers are looking to hirenot an entity but a person – one they want to get to know and feelcomfortable with.Below is an example of great use of images from Minneapolis lawfirm Morbey & Olsen, PLLP:Eighty-five percent of consumers in theUnited States use the Internet to researchservices and products (Yelp Survey, 2012).Your website is frequently the first pointof contact potential clients have with you– and your competition – so it is criticalto make a good first impression. To beeffective and engaging, your websitedesign should stand out and reflect yourfirm’s image. Your content should speak toyour target audience and motivate readersto respond to a call to action – namely,contacting you.Here are some simple yet powerful tipsto make sure your website presents theimage you want, stands out from thecompetition, and draws in prospectiveclients:1
  7. 7. |  Content is king – and should speak to your target audienceWhile the design of your website is criticalfor making the right first impression, thecontent of your website, including text,image and video, is the primary driver foryour audience to contact you. It is what thesearch engines use to decide where to rankyour site in results for relevant searches.Again, focus on the problem your targetaudience is experiencing – and why you arethe best attorney or firm to help them – asthe basis for developing your content.First, create a list of issues and questionsyour clients typically face, in relation toyour practice area. By providing answers tothese frequently asked questions, you aremore likely to be found in searches whenprospective clients go online to researchthese topics and seek attorneys who canhelp them.Next, pair these questions with theoutcomes being sought, such as anamicable divorce, custody of children orthe dismissal of a traffic ticket or DUI.Lastly, outline how you are uniquelypositioned to help them with their legalproblem. This can include your experience,track record, fee structure, and uniqueapproach to working work with clients.Collectively, this information forms thebasis of your website, marketing, andsocial media content and programming.You might consider adding this information to your website in theform of a blog. A blog is a highly effective way to deliver articlesand news in a manner that gives prospects a sense of your firm’sleadership and philosophy. It is also an easy way to add freshcontent, something search engines value highly. Another usefuland simple method to draw in prospects and showcase yourexpertise is a FAQ page that addresses your audience’s mostcommon questions. Whichever format you choose, the tone shouldbe conversational and the content practical.Video is yet another valuable – and increasingly easy and cost-effective – way to deliver helpful information to prospective clients.Consumers frequently prefer video rather than text, particularlyon smartphones. As a result, Google tends to rank video contenthigher in search results, particularly if the video explains “how to”do something. Video testimonials from existing clients, especiallythose that reflect your target audience, are very effective. Whileyour video does not need to be professionally filmed, qualitydoes matter and will help your video stand out among the largevolume of online video. Use a high-definition (HD) camera; scriptand storyboard the content; and rehearse before filming. Researchlighting and set techniques and have a plan for editing.2
  8. 8. |  Make it easy for users to find what they’re looking forNow that you’ve mapped out website content that speaks toyour target audience, think about how to make it easy for themto find it. Many website visitors use the top navigation to getto information, while others use links within the site, so makesure your site works well for both types of users. Make the topnavigation straightforward and make sure the tabs get users tothe information they are most likely to be looking for, includingattorney bios, client reviews, resources such as FAQs and articles,and your blog, if you have one. Often, less is moreJust as going into every little detail during a conversion can beoverwhelming to the listener and obscure the point being made,the same is true with your website. Stick with the information thatis most helpful to your target audience. Avoid filling your site withunnecessary images, off-message videos or distracting animationsthat not only make your website difficult to comprehend, but slowthe load time as well, causing you to lose visitors before you havethe chance to turn them into clients.34
  9. 9. | Ensure Your Site is Mobile OptimizedAccording to Google, 30% of local Internet searches happen on mobile phones. In addition, 61% of mobile searchesresult in a phone call. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you are losing out on prospective new clients.Designing a website for a smaller screen can be challenging and requires eliminating many elements we take forgranted on desktop websites.This is why many websites today, including those offered by Avvo, utilize a technique called “responsive design.”This technique delivers an optimal user experience across a wide range of devices, from desktops to mobilephones to tablets. With a responsive design, the website’s elements such as navigation, images and textautomatically reformat for various devices in order to maximize usability for the visitor.GOOD: BAD:
  10. 10. | Whether or not your site utilizes responsive design, following are five must-havesfor an effective mobile website: Keep it simpleIn general, a good mobile website has a very simple layout andnavigation, few images, no Flash or other proprietary software, andcontent prioritized for users on the go. While the same principlesof a good desktop website apply to a mobile website, space isextremely limited on a mobile site, so you need to anticipate whatcontent users will most likely want to access. Choose the threemost important content items and make those items easy forusers to find and act upon. Typically, you want to include yourcontact information and an overview of the firm’s services. If youhave a blog, you might consider making that the third priority asit likely contains content relevant to both prospective and existingclients. Many mobile users consume and share content like thiswhile in transit. Optimize for phone calls and driving directionsMobile users are much more likely to contact by phone insteadof filling out a contact form. Prominently featuring your phonenumber as a “click-to-call” button will dramatically increase thenumber of calls your site generates from mobile users. In addition,mobile users in particular will access your website for drivingdirections. Make it easy for them by featuring a prominent buttonon the main page that links to directions or passes your address toa map application.121 2 3
  11. 11. |  Minimize horizontal scrolling; use vertical navigationMobile users, particularly those with iPhones or Android devicesthat have touch screens, are accustomed to scrolling from top tobottom. Eliminate left-to-right scrolling and keep the content inone column. Mobile users don’t mind scrolling a few times to readcontent, but keep it to a minimum – just enough to comfortablyaccess it. Content is still kingThere are plenty of ways to make your valuable content availableto mobile users while maintaining a simple, readable, error-freemobile site:• Make headers prominent and extremely concise• Text should be readable at arm’s length• Favor bulleted lists over paragraphs and use imagesstrategically• Be mindful of the spacing between links – if they are too closetogether, it may be difficult for touch screen users to accessthe link they want Size and speed really matterThe site load time – how fast a page or site renders in a browser– is even more important on mobile. It is a huge determiningfactor in whether a visitor stays on your site, and it plays a majorrole in how well your site ranks in mobile search engines. Theoptimal maximum mobile load time is 4 seconds. A typical websitedesigned for desktop browsers, by comparison, can take 45seconds to load on a mobile device.Mobile users are still content-motivated, but they are more time-sensitive and more often are on your site for a specific purpose. Inaddition to being selective about what images to feature on yourmobile site, be mindful about how you present videos. Ratherthan relying on proprietary software to stream your video as youmight do on your desktop site, consider using YouTube for mobilevideo to avoid increased load times and to provide a better videoexperience overall.345
  12. 12. | Optimize Your Site to Be Found in SearchWebsite design is not the field of dreams: If you build it, they will not necessarily come. You can have the bestwebsite design in the world, but if prospective clients can’t find it when searching, particularly on Google, then theinvestment you’ve made is largely wasted. Below are three initial steps to help your site get indexed by the searchengines for the searches that matter to your practice. Develop a list of keywords associated with your practiceThe first step to getting your site indexed is to include – in your site copy, content and code – the keywords thatpeople are likely to use when searching for your services. Google and other search engines use these keywordsto determine which websites are most relevant to the person’s query and therefore should be included in theresults. The keywords may include practice areas, legal issues or location – city, region or state – where your officeis located. Your name and the name of your firm are also keywords that some people will use to find you online.However, be mindful that people generally search by topic first, not by who can help them with it, unless they aresearching for a particular attorney or firm.1?How to develop a keyword list:Put yourself in a prospective client’s shoes. Make a list of words and phrases thatclosely describe your practice. Don’t forget that there are multiple phrases related tothe same term. Include:• Category: e.g., attorney, lawyer• Practice area: e.g., DUI, divorce, personal injury• Legal issues: e.g., motorcycle accident, child custody, QDRO• Location: e.g., city, state, county• You: e.g., your name, your firm’s nameCombine the keywords into phrases that people would use to narrow their searchDifferent people use different types of search queries to find the same information.Some use long phrases, others start with very broad terms and keep narrowing theirchoices, for example:• DUI attorney Phoenix• Child custody in Washington state• Traffic ticket AtlantaTest your keywordsUse Google’s Keyword Tool to get keyword ideas and a sense of how many people aresearching on particular terms. You can also enter your search terms into Google andsocial media sites like Facebook to see the results. Are you finding your competition? Ifso, that is an indication you are on the right track.
  13. 13. |  Incorporate these keywords into your site architecture, navigation and contentIncorporating your keywords into your site tells both visitors and the search engines that your content is relevantto the keywords you have identified. Following is a list of places on your site where you should incorporate thekeywords. Implementing these steps requires knowledge of site code and search engine optimization (SEO).If you are not planning to build your site yourself, make sure your consultant or site designer has an excellentunderstanding of both.2Title tags on each of your pagesTitle tags are the actual links displayed on the search engine results page and thereforeare one of the most important places to incorporate your high-priority keywords.META description tagThe META description tag is seen only by the search engines, not the public. It is the textdisplayed underneath the link on the search engine results page. Your META descriptiontag should be as concise as possible – ideally 160 characters or less, including spaces.Headlines and H1 tagsSite visitors typically read the page headlines, scan the navigation and start to readcontent near the top of the page. If they don’t see what they are searching for in amatter of seconds, chances are they will hit the back button and bounce from your site.Search engines also use headlines, in the form of a piece of code called an H1 tag, todetermine the content on the page. The H1 tag goes on the “header” of each web pageon your site. The headers and H1 tag should describe page content and include the topkeywords associated with content on that page.Page contentYour page content is why people are on your site in the first place, and is the primaryreason why they become leads. Incorporate keywords into your page copy, but bemindful of keyword density. While you want to incorporate your targeted keywords intoyour content as often as possible, keep it natural. Neither the search engines nor sitevisitors appreciate content that is unnaturally crammed with keywords.Alt textAlt text stands for alternative text or alt attribute. Alt text is code that describes animage, which search engines cannot “see.” It enables the search engines to determinethe meaning of the images. Make sure your site utilizes alt-text for all images.Link textYour site’s internal links enable users to navigate between pages and content. Searchengines use the text contained in these links to ascertain its relevance to a particularsearch query. Therefore, use keywords in your links rather than words like “click here.”Example:Good: 5 reasons to fight a speeding ticket.Bad: Click here for 5 reasons to fight a speeding ticket.
  14. 14. |  Make sure your site design is logicalAt a broad level, this means making sure your site is easy to use. If it is easy for consumers to get to theinformation they need on your site, chances are it will be easy for the search engines to navigate and understandas well, which has a significant impact on your site’s search rankings.3Use straightforward navigationThe KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle applies here. Steer clear of Flash animationon your site. Dramatic Flash animation was all the rage five or ten years ago, but thebest sites today instead focus on ease-of-use, featuring clean and clear text, strongimages and fast load times.Make site content accessible in three or less clicksStarting on the homepage, you should ideally be able to navigate to any piece ofcontent on your website within three clicks. This rule of thumb will improve your site’soverall usability. By making it easy to get to content, it is less likely that users will“bounce” from your site because they can’t readily see the content they want. Bouncerate is another factor that search engines take into account when determining whichsites to rank in search results.Pay attention to internal linking throughout your siteThe way that the individual pages on your site link to one another can also improvethe user experience and is another factor for search engine rankings.Internal links can improve the user experience on a website by providing readers witheasy access to related information as they consume content. As a result, both theaverage time on site and the average number of pages viewed per visit go up – whichthe search engines value – as do your contact conversion rates.A simple way to optimize your internal linking is to think about what other content orinformation readers might want to access when you add a new page, article, or blogpost to your site. Provide readers with an easy way to get to that information withinthe new content.
  15. 15. | Consider Having a Site for Each Practice AreaAs noted earlier in this guide, delivering content that is relevant to your target audience is one of the mostimportant aspects of a successful website – both for usability and search engine optimization. If your firm hasmultiple practice areas or offices, consider a multi-site strategy that enables you to provide the most relevantcontent to your different types of clients and maximize your reach online.With a multi-site strategy, your firm’s main website remains general in nature, with content that encompasses eachof your firm’s practice areas. You can then have additional websites, often referred to as “satellite” websites or“micro-sites,” focused solely on an individual practice area, or in some cases, geography. Your satellite sites can besmaller than your main website – four or five pages each is sufficient – and you do not necessarily need a satellitesite for every single practice area. Focus on those that drive the bulk of your revenue.For example, if your firm handles DUI as well as criminal defense cases, having a site dedicated to DUI will enableyou to more effectively market your DUI practice by speaking directly to the needs of that audience, including yourapproach to DUI cases and track record. Potential clients with a specific need tend to value an expert in the fieldrather than a jack of all trades.Below is an example of multiple sites from Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins, P.A. :Main Site:www.fightyourcase.comSatellite
  16. 16. | Another strategy for using multiple sites is to segment by specificgeographic market areas. While your main website would list all ofyour offices, it would focus on generating inquiries from the citywhere your main office is located. You can then have dedicatedwebsites for your other offices with content tailored to potentialclients in those cities. By using a local phone number for each siteand tying it to your Google Places profile, you would be optimizedfor Google local search results in each of the areas. Alternatively,you can create sub-domains for each of your offices within yourmain site. For example:www.sandiego.yourlawoffice.comwww.santacruz.yourlawoffice.comJust be sure to have unique content on each of the pages, to avoidbeing penalized by the search engines for duplicate content.No matter how many websites you ultimately own, it is imperativethat each site feature quality content that is updated on a regularbasis, such as with a blog – you cannot simply put up the site andforget about it. Updating the content signals to Google and theother search engines that the site is active. It also makes it moremeaningful to prospects and clients.You should track the results from all of your websites, includinghow well they are performing in search rankings, which can changefrequently.A multi-site or sub-domain strategy is a smart investment for firmsthat participate in multiple practice areas, and something that isquickly becoming a necessity in an increasingly competitive onlineand mobile world.No matter howmany websitesyou ultimatelyown, it isimperative thateach site featurequality contentthat is updated ona regular basis.
  17. 17. | Pick the Right Marketing ChannelsOnce you have a website or multiple sites,it’s time to promote your practice. Whileyou will hopefully generate traffic throughorganic search, there are several othersources, or channels, that consumers useto find legal help and that other attorneysleverage when considering referrals.These include free sources such as blogsand social media (or networks), and paidchannels such as pay-per-click, whichaugment your free efforts.Social MediaFirst, a few stats:• 92% of U.S. companies now use social media in theirmarketing efforts. (Source: Heidi Cohen)• 85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social mediaplatform reported an increase in their market exposure(Source: 2012 Social Media Marketing Report)• More than 80% of small to midsized businesses (SMBs) planto increase their use of social media in 2013. (Source: MarketingCharts)Given these figures, it is no surprise that lawyers and firms areincreasingly realizing the potential of social media to showcasetheir services and expertise, build connections with other lawyersand potential clients, establish their brand online and providecontent that engages prospective clients.The sheer number of social media outlets may seem overwhelming— there are literally thousands. However, with a bit of researchand planning, you can determine the right outlets, and the rightcontent, for marketing yourself and your firm.
  18. 18. | Here is a quick overview of some major players thatwarrant consideration as you build your marketing plan.• Social media juggernaut Facebook is the most popular socialnetwork, with more than 1 billion users worldwide.• Google+ claims to have more than 500 million users, butbecause Google includes Gmail accounts in the total, many havequestioned how many of those users are truly active. However,because Google increasingly leverages content and listinginformation from Google+ in its search results, participation onGoogle+ is a must for search, if not for social, reasons.• Micro-blogging platform Twitter has over 500 million users, all ofwhom communicate in 140 characters or less.• Professional network LinkedIn has over 170 million users wholeverage it to build professional contacts and share careerhighlights and accomplishments.• Video aggregator YouTube (owned by Google) has over 1 billionusers - technically making it the second-largest search engine.• Legal Q&A website is the largest legal-focusednetwork, with more than 1 million legal questions answered andhundreds of thousands of contacts delivered to attorneys everymonth.• Image-based network Pinterest has around 50 million users.• Blog network Tumblr brings together text, image, video andaudio content; has 170 million users.• Finally, there is blogging in general, using free, self-serviceplatforms like WordPress or BlogSpot, or full-service offeringslike LexBlog, which is specifically designed for lawyers.How do you determine which one is right for you?
  19. 19. | Remember your target audienceWho are they? Where do they spend time online? What tools arethey likely to use when looking for legal services?For example, if your clients are primarily businesses, or if yougenerate a meaningful amount of business from attorney referrals,then you need to be on LinkedIn.If your practice is divorce and the majority of your clients arewomen above the age of 25, then you should pay particularattention to your presence on Facebook. You might also considerPinterest – but only if sharing visual content that is not alwaysdirectly related to your prospective clients’ issue is something thatcomes naturally and that you enjoy.Considering where your target audience spends its time is criticalto making sure you are investing in the channels that matter.Focusing on reaching your target audience will also help you resistpressure to participate in every social network, including whicheverone might be making headlines today. It is far better to maximizeyour efforts on a few networks that are most relevant to yourtarget audience, rather than spreading yourself too thin across avariety of channels – which not only wastes time, but dilutes themessage to your core audience.Realistically assess your personality and willingness to engage innetworks in the manner necessary to resonate with your audience.How comfortable are you with sharing? Do you enjoy writing dailyor weekly articles, or do you stare in frustration at a blank screen?Do you like participating in on-the-fly conversations online, or doyou prefer to absorb information at a more deliberate pace? Andmost important, how much time can you realistically dedicate tosocial media on a daily or weekly basis?Answering these questions honestly will help you pick the channelthat you’ll stick with, and will help you maximize the return.Following is a high-level summary of the attributes and benefitsassociated with the largest social media networks.Consideringwhere your targetaudience spendsits time is criticalto making sureyou are investingin the channelsthat matter.
  20. 20. | Blogs are good for:• Showcasing topic expertise• Educating an audience• Building brand value and equity• Increasing search visibilityYouTube is good for:• Visually engaging content• Short “how to” segments• Showcasing your personality• Highlighting broadcast newsstoriesLinkedIn is good for:• Connections – particularly B2B• Showcasing resume• Engaging with peersTwitter is good for:• Lending your voice to an eventor discussion• Promoting blog or websitecontent• Sharing time-sensitiveinformation• Proposing ideasFacebook is good for:• Connecting• Sharing, polls, and conversations• Self-expressionBlogs are an active and compelling way to convey information,build authority and attract and engage both existing andprospective clients who are researching legal issues and lawyers.Blogs are also long-form in nature. Effective posts are typically 500words or more in length, and to be successful, you should postcontent at least two or three times per week. If you like writing andit comes naturally, then blogs are a good channel for you.YouTube influences Google search results, and videos generallyhave high search rankings. In many instances it may be easier toget a video ranked highly for a result on Google than it is to get awebsite ranked – particularly if the video is “how to” in nature. Thatsaid, just as there are steps needed to get a site to rank well, thereare steps to getting a video to perform well. This article provides agreat overview on how to optimize video for search results.LinkedIn is the most powerful way to create a professional referralnetwork, showcase your resume, and engage with other lawyersor professionals. It requires less time on a day-to-day basis thanmany other channels. An hour per week dedicated to adding andendorsing contacts and engaging in forums will likely yield results.Twitter is a great way to participate in discussions on specific topics– particularly timely topics such as a legal case in the news. It isalso a platform for sharing and promoting your own content andrelevant content from others in your field. It takes a fair amountof time to build a Twitter following – basically through trial anderror in following others and seeing who reciprocates, along withpurposefully engaging in relevant conversations.Facebook enables you to have a page for your practice that caninclude a form for potential client inquiries, as well as a page foryou, personally. (Facebook requires you to have a personal pagein order to have a business page.) One of the things you need todecide is how the two are related, if at all.
  21. 21. | Where to startBecause Avvo connects lawyers to other lawyers as well as consumers, it is a great starting point. Google valuesQ&A content, so answering questions on Avvo can help expand your reach on key search results in addition toshowcasing your expertise to Avvo users.After Avvo, if attorney referrals are a primary driver for your practice, then LinkedIn is your best bet. If, on theother hand, your target is consumers, then Facebook is a good starting point. With more than 1 billion users,chances are your typical client is among them. Also, Facebook doesn’t require the disciplined writing of a blog, norproactive, often pithy, engagement as on Twitter. Once your profile is set up and you’ve mapped out the type ofcontent you think is right for your audience, then three to five posts per week should be enough to establish yourpresence and keep your audience engaged. As with any online medium, quality of content trumps quantity ofcontent.To properly develop programming for your chosen social media outlets, refer to your target audience and keywordresearch and build topics and content relevant to them. Augment this list with content that is timely and related toevents trending online or in the news.
  22. 22. | Paid SearchAs you likely know, Google and other search engines offer paid advertising, often referred to as pay-per-clickor PPC. These ads appear above and to the right of organic search results. Google’s ad program is known asAdWords; Bing’s is called Bing Ads or adCenter.These ads can be targeted by:a) Keyword – either by exact match of a keyword or phrase, or by broad match, which includes similar searches;andb) Geo-location of the searcher or of the search query (e.g., Philadelphia divorce attorney). You pay when auser clicks on the ad. The price you pay is on based on the level of advertiser demand for the keyword bothnationally and in the specific geo-location. You can set a maximum budget to spend each day. Once thatbudget limit is reached, your ad will not be shown until the next day.Whether you are setting up the campaigns yourself or having someone else do it for you, following are a fewbasics that will help you understand the process and how PPC advertising works.
  23. 23. | Benefits of PPC advertisingPPC advertising enables you to drive additional search traffic toyour website beyond “organic” traffic, and to get your websitefound based on keywords for which it might not rank organically.PPC also gives you the opportunity to drive traffic to your websitequickly. Once you set up your account and create your campaigns,your ads will start showing within one to two days.In addition, you have total control: You can track every single centthat you spend and clearly see the results.How to set up your campaignsPPC campaigns, particularly on Google, are fairly easy to set up in afew steps:• Create an AdWords account by following these instructions.• Choose the keywords for which you want your ads to showup. (Select them from your original list of keywords.)• Use the Google Keyword Tool to get a sense of how popularyour keywords are and to see the estimated cost-per-click(CPC).• Decide how much you want to spend per click and per day.Account structureThere are four levels of a PPC account and campaign:Account > Campaigns > Ad Groups > Keywords.Keywords are part of a group of ads. This group of ads is part of acampaign. The campaign is part of your account.You can trackevery single centthat you spendand clearly seethe results.
  24. 24. | Ad copyAfter you have created your keyword list, the next step is writingad copy. There are five parts to an ad on Google:• Headline – 25 characters max.• Description Line 1 – 35 characters max.• Description Line 2 – 35 characters max.• Display URL – 35 characters max.• Landing Page URL – 1,024 characters max.The headline is where you should place as many relevantkeywords as possible while keeping it logical. In the next two linesyou can describe your practice to potential clients. You are allowedto start a description in Line 1 and finish it in Line 2. While youwant to include relevant keywords throughout the ad, make sureit sounds natural when read aloud. Note that there are regulationsaround ad copy. For example, you cannot use all caps (e.g., “DUIATTORNEY”) in your text.For more information, review Google’s Ad Guidelines.Ad rankings and “Quality Score”Instead of giving top ranking to the advertiser willing to pay themost money, Google and Bing use the bid price (the maximumprice an advertiser is willing to pay for an ad click) multiplied bysomething called “Quality Score,” which assesses how relevant thead and landing page are to a user’s search query. The higher theQuality Score, the lower the CPC and the higher the ranking. Alsoaffecting your Quality Score is the click-through-rate (CTR), whichis the percentage of people who click on your ad (impressions)after viewing it. Your Quality Score can change over time. Googledisplays this score in the AdWords dashboard, but does notdisplay the details that affect the score.Key factors influencing Quality Score include:• How relevant your landing page is to your targeted keyword– typically, the headline of the page should include thekeyword• How relevant your ad is to the keyword• Performance of your landing page – slow-loading websites geta lower Quality Score• Historical CTRBasically, the more relevant your campaign is to the keywordsearch, the higher your Quality Score.
  25. 25. | Display URL and landing page URLThe Display URL is the URL visible to the viewer. This URL is notclickable and most often is the root domain for the website orlanding page associated with the ad (e.g., landing page URL is the actual, full URL for the page linkedfrom the ad. For example, you may want to link the ad to a pagewithin your site that promotes a free consultation and contains areply form (e.g., Ad ExtensionsGoogle AdWords allows advertisers to use so-called “AdExtensions” to include additional information and links or calls toaction in the ad. Here are a few examples:• Location Extension: shows your office address• Call Extension: shows your phone number (static display ondesktops; clickable on mobile devices)• Social Extension: shows the number of people who have “+1′d”your page on Google+• Sitelink Extension: shows up to 6 links to sections of your siteFor more information, review Google’s AdWords Extensions guide.Additional targetingAdditional targeting options for your campaigns:• Device – choose the devices you want to target: desktop,tablet, mobile• Location – set the geographical location in which your ad willbe shown• Language – target specific languagesWhile it is easy to set up a PPC campaign, a number of factorsgo into optimizing a campaign for performance. It is best to startsmall with a set of core keywords and then expand and optimizeas you achieve results. A number of consultants specialize in PPCadvertising; they can handle campaigns on your behalf. Just besure to fully vet them: Talk to some of their clients to ensure theyare truly experts and assess whether they are the right fit for you.While it is easyto set up a PPCcampaign, anumber of factorsgo into optimizinga campaign forperformance.
  26. 26. | If you have done any searches on Google in the past few months, you have likely noticed that some of the organicsearch results feature a photo or other “enhanced” information, while others do not.These are what Google calls “Rich Snippets.” There are several types, but the one of primary importance forattorneys – particularly those with a blog – is the Author Rich Snippet.An Author Rich Snippet is a search result featuring a specific author’s picture, name and links to additional content.Here is an example of an Author Rich Snippet for a Dallas attorney:Results featuring Author Rich Snippets tend to have significantly higher click-through rates (up to 150% higher, bysome accounts) from search results. This is because:• Searchers are drawn to photos• Rich results stand out from others on the list• It gives searchers a better idea of the content behind the click• It connotes trust and credibility – particularly as searchers see your results on multiple searches and start torecognize and remember themSet up Google+ and Authorship
  27. 27. | How to Set Up Author Rich Snippets on Your Sitea) Set up a Google+ profileUpload a decent-looking profile picture. Google uses this when itpulls in your Author Rich Snippet. If you already have a presenceonline, it’s best to upload the same photo you use elsewhere (onTwitter, Facebook, Quora, etc.). Like Facebook, Google+ profiles aretied to an individual, while Google+ Brand Pages and Google Placesare associated with a business. Google has announced plans tomerge Google+ and Google Places, but for now, they are separate.b) Add some code to your website and blog templateYou can add code connecting your website and blog posts toyour Google+ profile so Google knows to display the Author RichSnippet for search results related to your website content. Add thelink below to the <head> of the URLs with content that you wantassociated with an Author Rich Snippet. (Important: the part of thelink in blue below is shown for illustrative purposes. Replace it withthe actual URL extension for your own Google+ profile.)<link rel=”author” href=””/>c) Connect your blog to your Google+ profileGo to the “Contributor To” section on your Google+ profile. Add thesite you write for and any others. Now, Google knows that you are,as an author, associated with that website.d) Test the setup with Google’s Rich Snippet Testing ToolType the URL of your website and one of your blog posts. If Googlereturns an example of your Author Rich Snippet, then you are setup correctly and should start seeing Rich Snippets associated withyour search results.e) Post something to your Google+ profile at least every 72 hoursThis signals to Google that you are an active user. You can posta summary of a blog post or news item with links to the actualcontent for more.
  28. 28. | Establish a Program for Lead Follow-upNow that you have a website and marketing plan in place, you need to develop a program for lead follow-up andlead conversion optimization. It does little good to spend time and money on marketing only to lose valuable leadswhen they come in the door. Studies show that the odds of converting a lead decrease by 10 times if the lead isnot responded to within five minutes. (Source: Potential legal clients – who may be in an elevatedemotional state about their situation – often have been referred to two or three different attorneys, and frequentlywill hire the first one that picks up the phone. Fortunately, tools exist to help you respond the minute a lead comesin – even if you are out of the office or unavailable – as well as keep track of those leads across your firm from firstcontact to close. These tools can even remind you when it is time for follow-up.1 Incoming lead alertsTo ensure rapid response to all incoming leads, you need to know the minute a lead comesin. Whether it is through an email, form submission or inbound call, a system must be inplace to ensure that the lead gets an immediate response. This way, prospective clientsknow that their inquiry has been received. They also have a sense of the next step. Youcan set up email alerts, often through your email platform, that notify you the instant anemail lead is received. You can also set up your website forms to generate an email auto-response when a form is submitted. If you do not have 24/7 phone coverage at your firm,you can set up a system to be notified of inbound calls through a call tracking provider orlead management platform, such as Avvo Ignite Suite.!
  29. 29. |  Email auto-responders and “drip campaigns”A drip campaign involves a series of templated and pre-established email messages thatare sent or “dripped” in a predetermined order and/or a predetermined timeframe. Eachmessage should stand on its own but also build on the message that preceded it. A dripcampaign is typically in response to a specific – and typical – behavior or status of therecipient, which in turn encourages a specific action.Drip campaigns are most commonly used to nurture leads (move them from theconsideration phase to the selection/hire phase) and typically use education, testimonialsor awards, or current news to move prospects through the early part of the sales cycle.Below is an example of an auto-response email using Avvo Ignite Suite:2
  30. 30. |  Determine your goals and objectivesExamples include:• Turning an inquiry into an initial consultation• Turning a prospect still considering whether or not to hire your firm into a client• Staying top of mind with an existing client who may have additional needs in the futureWhatever the goal, be sure to clearly define the action you want recipients to take upon receipt of thecampaign. For example, you could ask them to:• Contact you• Set up an appointment• Follow or “like” you on social media• Learn about or engage with your content Map out your contentWhile the frequency and timing of the communications in your campaign are important, the content is theprimary driver of the action you want the recipient to take. Once you have the content defined, it is easierto determine timing and frequency. Slot your content into specific emailsCertain content, such as your firm’s mission and contact information, should appear in every message, buteach email should convey unique information that stands on its own. Your campaign will not be effective ifyou send the same information over and over. Decide on your email formatsDrip campaigns can utilize any variety of formats, including personal letter, newsletter or article. Theformat should support the content and desired action. Use compelling, simple designJust as with your website, design matters in email drip campaigns. Use images that support but do notovershadow the copy, and use video when appropriate. Several studies have shown that including videolinks can increase email click-through rates by two to three times. Create different campaigns for various client segmentsSegmenting your recipients by prospect vs. existing client, prospect lead quality, or type and severity ofissue will increase the relevancy and performance of your campaigns overall. Measure the performanceTrack the standard metrics, including email opens, clicks, conversions to leads, and business generated byindividual email messages and cumulatively as a campaign.Here are the steps for setting up drip campaigns:
  31. 31. |  Lead tracking and managementTo ensure that you are staying on top of and converting inbound leads across your firm,as well as measuring how the different lead sources are performing, you need a leadmanagement system. Such a system makes it easier to track leads and follow up in a timelymanner. Without it, you could waste time on lead sources that seem to be performing atthe outset, but ultimately do not deliver quality prospects that turn into clients.Lead management solutions range from using Excel spreadsheets to log leads and notetheir status, to full-blown – and expensive – Client Relationship Management solutionssuch as There are also great tools positioned between the two. Forexample, Avvo’s marketing platform, Avvo Ignite Suite, enables you to track all inboundprospects – both offline and online – from first inquiry to close and by source. Theconsumer firm Shainfeld & Anvar, for example, got a much clearer picture of its marketingand lead conversion performance and saved eight hours per month in marketing reportingby using Avvo Ignite Suite.Download Shainfeld & Anvar study >>Avvo Ignite Suite enables you to track allinbound prospects – both offline and online– from first inquiry to close and by source.3
  32. 32. | Website Design:7 Best Practices for Improving Your Website’s Usability – Mashable.com Design Best Practices for Your Small Business Website – Search Engine Watch + and Local Search for Lawyers (webinar) – Jake Martin on Avvo University few intermediate-level articles on search engine optimization, keyword research and Google+ impact on SEO:40 Important Local Search Questions Answered – Mike Ramsey on SEOMoz Small Business Clients Need to Know About Keywords and SEO – SEOMoz MediaSocial Media 101 Series – Mashable.com 101 for Business – Social Media Examiner for Lawyers (video) – Megan Olendorf on Avvo University Search MarketingSearch Engine Marketing for Lawyers (webinar) – Mark Kelly on Avvo University Management & Follow UpThe Power of Systematized Follow Up Marketing (webinar) – Ben Glass on Avvo University
  33. 33. avvo.comAvvo Ignite Lead Management Solutionignite.avvo.comLegal Marketing