Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : October 2013

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The key to your success and the success of your firm is the ability to find new clients. This is especially true in a solo or small law firm. The most effective and affordable way to find new clients is to take advantage of all the opportunities the Internet has to offer. For a solo lawyer, the Internet can level the marketing playing field and allow him or her to compete with seasoned law firms.

The way potential clients look for attorneys has changed in today’s digital age. A recent survey by Pew Research suggests that three out of four people use the Internet when looking for an attorney. The popularity of search engines, social media, and smart phones have become the primary tools for finding lawyers. This new type of communication is more efficient and affordable compared to traditional media such as television and print. The fact is when people are looking for legal help, the Internet plays a huge part in their final decision.

Think about it: would you ask your coworker to recommend a lawyer if you were charged with a crime? Would you ask your relatives to help you look for a DWI lawyer? Most people would rather research these issues in private by searching online. So for a lawyer who wants to get leads and find new clients, he or she must have a robust online presence that includes a client-friendly website, search engine optimization, social media, video, and mobile marketing.

Every day, thousands of potential clients are looking online for lawyers to help them.

Make sure you do not miss out on this huge opportunity to grow your firm. Every savvy 21st century lawyer must be where potential clients are, and that place is online.

Client-Friendly Website

Having a Website is no longer an option, it’s a must have for any lawyer that is looking to stay relevant. Surprisingly, the American Bar Association’s 2012 Legal Technology Survey reports that nearly 40 percent of solo practitioners don’t have a website. You need a website that is designed to sell, one that is easy to use, and has a strong call to action. The key to this is to provide enough information to establish trust so that potential clients see you as an expert. Then they will seek you out. People react to good sites. If your site is designed well, people will contact your firm for help.

Local Search Engine Optimization

Your potential clients look for lawyers close to where they work and live. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a great way to target potential clients that are looking for legal help. Be sure to set up profiles on local listing sites such as Google Places and to include your city/state throughout your website content.

Mobile Marketing

It’s no longer enough just to have a website for your firm; now it must be mobile friendly to attract the millions of mobile phone users. As a Small Firm Practitioner, you have to be where your customers are, and nowadays they are on their iPhones and iPads looking for your law firm. Use mobile websites and apps to allow clients to interact with you on their mobile phones.

Video

People don’t read websites – they scan them and look for information that sticks out. More than any other medium, video engages viewers. It can quickly introduce your firm’s personality and communicate your knowledge so that you can make a faster connection with potential clients. I recommend creating a YouTube channel to host your videos, and then sharing them on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click is a great way to jump ahead of your competition in search engine listings and be more visible to your potential clients. With Pay Per Click advertising via Google AdWords, your website can show up at the top of search engines and you’ll pay only when a client clicks on the ad to visit your website.

Create a Blog

Even if you’re not a professional writer, you are likely an expert on a topic that appeals to your website’s niche audience. When you create a blog within your website, you gain a new way to communicate with visitors and a new way to appeal to search engines. Fill your blog with keyword saturated content and update it often and boost your search engine rankings.

How to Get Started

Getting a website and establishing your online presence will never cause you to lose anything, but doing nothing and just staying in your comfort zone can cause you to lose more than you can imagine.

Establishing an online presence can be challenging and time consuming. It’s best to seek the help of a qualified Internet Marketing professional to help navigate you through the process.

Sterling McKinley is the President and Founder of Law Marketing Pros, a full service Internet Marketing firm.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin : October 2013

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