Generating Clients with your Legal Blog
By Jay Fleischman
So you’ve got a legal blog and are cruising along at warp speed. You’re spitting out content regularly, and your web stats show that you’re starting to get some hits.
But here’s the dirty little secret most legal bloggers won’t fess up to. They can’t figure out how to specifically bring in clients as a direct result of their blogging efforts.
Sure, they’re getting the word out and rising in the search engines. They’re hearing more people come to the office talking about the blog. So it’s clear that something is working. But the effect of blogging is ephemeral, not concrete. The real measure of success is dollars in pocket. And when it comes to that, not many legal blogs are cutting it.
Here are three ways:
1. Get readers to subscribe to your blog by email using Feedblitz – not Feedburner. Feedblitz was a free tool that lets you drop a signup box on your blog (just like the yellow box on the sidebar to your left), and people who sign up get updates from your blog automatically when you put up a new post.
That’s only half the battle, though. When you use Feedblitz you can go into their web system and create a custom email to be sent out to subscribers – over and above the blog updates. Jackpot email marketing for free, baby!
Every week or so, visit your Feedblitz account and send out an email to your subscribers letting them know your availability for the next week or two. Tell them how to set up an appointment with you, and what they’ll need to do to secure an appointment. Specifically ask them to take the time to make that appointment.
2. Create a page on your blog titled “Make Me Your Lawyer.” On that page, ask the reader to set up an appointment to meet with you. Tell them how to do it, and be clear. Give your contact information.
If you don’t ask for the action, readers won’t take the action. Period. Scout’s honor.
3. Offer something of value to your readers who make an appointment and hire you. It could be a free credit report (which you probably usually pay for if you’re a bankruptcy lawyer), foot the bill for their credit counseling certification (spending $25 in marketing dollars to snag a bankruptcy client who will pay you far more than that? Sounds worth it to me), or give an additional service at no cost (post-discharge credit report reviews come to mind).
The bottom line is that legal blogs – all blogs in fact – are seen by the public largely as information-gathering resources. To start making money directly attributable to your legal blog, you’ve got to take action and get creative. These aren’t the only three ways to get clients from your legal blog, but they’re fast and easy to implement.
Blog: Helping to Market your Legal Practice
One: A blog helps your site to rank higher in the search engines
In 2003, when Google bought Pyra Labs, the company which developed Blogger, the reaction was Huh? At the time, blogs were seen by most as online journals, primarily maintained by the demented and teenage girls.
How times change. In 2005, companies small and large are using blogs to promote their businesses. This is because Google and the other search engines love blogs because of their constantly updated content.
Blog often, and you’ll get more visitors and a good search engine ranking.
Two: A blog expands your customer base – you’ll reach people you could reach in no other way
A blog helps you to reach people you can reach in no other way because your frequent updates mean that you’ll automatically get niche visitors – those people who have no clue about you or the product that you’re selling, but who happened to type in a search engine query that mentioned words you used in a single post.
Those niche visitors can become buyers, and this means that you don’t need to struggle to get top listings in any search engine. Write (or link to) quality content, and your visitors will find you.
Three: A blog helps your site to differentiate itself
A blog is a form of stealth marketing. Therefore a blog doesn’t need to be about the products you’re selling. A blog can be about any topic that you’re passionate about. Blog about your passion, and mention – in passing – the products you’re selling. You can also link to them, but don’t bother selling heavily – that’s not what a blog is about.
Four: Like a diamond, a blog is forever
Although the most-visited blogs update often, some of them several times a day, that doesn’t mean that you have post more often than you can fit into your schedule. Your permalinks (see below) mean that since your blog items are standalone pages, they’re indexed by search engines in the same way that any HTML or other page is indexed – your blog items/ pages will continue to bring traffic even if you don’t update very often.
Five: A blog attracts new opportunities
A blog makes your business visible. Your stealth marketing efforts will attract the attention of people who may become joint venture partners, or who will have other opportunities for you.
The time and energy that you invest in your blog can bring results beyond your wildest expectations. Create a blog – it’s your hardest-working, and most cost-effective online marketing option.
* Blog = Web log.
* Permalink = permanent link, an URL for a single blog post.
* Comment = blogs have a comments section, where readers can interact with the blogger and others.
Source for this section is The Practice (jonathangstein.typepad).