Table of Contents of this Article:
- 1 Online Legal Marketing Tips
- 1.1 Online Legal Marketing – 6 Ways To Reduce Your Bounce Rate
- 1.2 Bounce Rate for Law Firm Websites
- 1.3 Online Legal Marketing Tip – Check Your Site For Broken Links
- 1.4 Online Legal Marketing Tip: Speed Up Your Site
- 1.5 Online Legal Marketing Tip: Traffic Sources Matter
- 1.6 5 Online Legal Marketing Hacks To Get More Traffic Fast
Online Legal Marketing Tips
Online Legal Marketing – 6 Ways To Reduce Your Bounce Rate
You’ve committed to marketing your law firm online. Your bankruptcy website is getting 10, 20, 50, 100 or more unique visitors each day, which is pretty good. After all, the site hasn’t been touched in months (if not years) and it doesn’t cost much to keep it online. Even if you’re a regular legal blogger, it still doesn’t take anything but elbow grease and some time to maintain your site.
Any clients who come to you from your online legal marketing efforts are freebies, so you’re not paying much attention to the disparity between visitors and clients.
Let’s step back for a moment and say you’re getting 25 unique visitors per day. Not a ton, but still 750 people each month.
Out of those visitors, you’re getting 20 new clients from your online marketing efforts. If you’re charging $1,000 for an average case, that’s $20,000 a month. Cool, right?
Not so much. How about all those people to surf to your website and leave, vanishing into the ether?
They’re gone, off to another lawyer. Worse yet, they’re off to no other lawyer.
Maybe people are getting to your website and realizing that there’s no compelling reason to stick around. Maybe they read a bunch of pages and then go elsewhere. How do you know?
The key is to studying your website’s bounce rate. To my mind, it’s a critical aspect of the data you should be looking at closely.
Avinash Kaushik, the Google employee who lives website analytics, defines bounce rate as, “I came, I puked, I left.” More technically, he defines bounce rate as, “single page view visits divided by entry pages.” Avinash goes into a bit more detail on the Official Google Blog.
In other words, the percent of people who land on your site, do absolutely nothing whatsoever, and then close the window and head for somewhere else.
I call it the failure rate. Someone came to my website, took one look at what I was talking about, and decided that is had absolutely ZERO value.
Bounce Rate for Law Firm Websites
When you’re marketing your law practice online, you are looking to create a connection with your audience. Whether it’s a blog or a static website, you understand (at some level) that it’s tough to make any lasting positive impression on someone if they stick around for only a few seconds. therefore, one of your goals is to give people a reason to stick around as long as possible.
The short answer is, “I have no clue.” Do you want people to come to your site and surf for a bunch of information? Do you want them to land on the site, get your phone number and call you? Do you want them to get lost in your site, delving deeper and deeper? Or do you want them to log on, find your Facebook page, and then go there to become a fan?
Your ideal bounce rate will depend based on your motives. But suffice to say, if you’ve got a 60% bounce rate then you’re definitely not engaging your visitors. It probably explains why you’re getting 20 visits per day and only 1 phone call from a new client.
- Know What You’re Dealing With. Figure out the bounce rate per referring site and keyword search term. You will find that some sites give you good traffic (i.e., traffic with a low bounce rate) and others not so much. In addition, you’ll find that some search terms result in a high bounce rate. This means that your content may be optimized for the search engines (i.e., people see your site when they search for a specific term) but not for visitors (i.e., once they get to your site they realize they’ve been short-changed).
- Next, concentrate on getting more referrals from the good sources. Maybe people who come to your site from Facebook stick around whereas people who visit from Twitter bounce out a lot. Send more of your links to Facebook and take the time to test what other types of tweets might encourage more people to visit and stick around happily.
- Spruce Up Your Site’s Navigation. If people can’t figure out how to navigate around your site, they’re going to leave fast.
- Update Your Website Content. If I come to your site today and see the same stuff I saw yesterday, I’m not going to have a reason to stick around.
- Create More Internal Links. Internal links are hotlinks on a page that go to other pages on your site. When you create internal links it encourages visitors to move from one page to another more easily. A good thing to do is create a link from legal terms to pages with definitions (in other words, link the word “discharge” to another page that has a definition for that term). It’s good for users to get clarification when they don’t understand something.
- Use Visual Cues To Draw In Visitors. Eye-catching pictures and video content encourages people to stick around for awhile longer.
Your law firm website’s bounce rate is important, and tells a lot about what appeals to your website visitors. Work on reducing your bounce rate and you’ll find that your site’s effectiveness rises exponentially.
Online Legal Marketing Tip – Check Your Site For Broken Links
Your website or blog is critical to your online legal marketing efforts. It’s got to be clean, well-organized and accessible. Take the time to do some housekeeping to maximize your search engine results.
In order to engage in online legal marketing you need to understand search engine optimization, that nebulous field that deals with maximizing your search engine placement and visibility. Without at least a minimal grasp of search engine optimization, your online legal marketing will never be as effective as it can be. Period. After all, how can you do something really well unless you know how to do it?
Remember that online legal marketing means attracting people to your content, keeping them involved, and educating them about how you can help. As a result, you become a trusted resource and more likely to get a particular client as opposed to another lawyer.
One of the important search engine optimization factors you need to know about is the use of links on your website. Links between pages on your site as well as links that go to other sites are useful not only to the search engines, but to your readers as well.
When someone visits your law firm website or blog and sees a link, they’re going to click it. If that link takes them somewhere else on your site, you’ve kept them interested and engaged. More interest and engagement leads to a greater likelihood that your online legal marketing efforts will lead to a paying client. Paydirt, baby!
That greater level of engagement also serves to reduce your site’s bounce rate (see above), one of the visitor engagement metrics that’s so important to search engines when determining how and where to rank you. I’ve already talked above about how to lower your bounce rate, and why doing so is an important facet of your online legal marketing strategy. Lower bounce rate means better rankings in the long-term.
Though external links don’t do much for your rankings, broken ones tend to annoy visitors. Ever go to a website, click a link and find out that it’s busted? That sucks, and you’re less likely to visit that website again. As the owner of the site, your online legal marketing efforts have been wasted if you lose a visitor because of something as simple as that.
On the pure search engine optimization front, you need to realize that the spiders are constantly looking at your site and making sure all those links work. If they do, everyone’s happy. But if they don’t, the spiders are decidedly unhappy. It looks like you’re falling down on the job, delivering a less-than-optimal user experience to visitors.
And if the search engines think you’re doing a bad job then your rankings are going to suffer. Bad rankings mean bad rate of online legal marketing return.
These are the reasons why you need to check your site for broken links, and do so often. The tool I use is a free web-based on called the W3C Link Checker. The tool will go through your entire website or blog and report back on any broken links. If there’s a problem, you know where to look for it – and fix it immediately.
Online Legal Marketing Tip: Speed Up Your Site
Speeding up shows how quickly your site loads. Beyond the user experience, there’s a solid reason to ensure your site loads as fast as possible – Google may penalize sites that load slowly.
Google recently released some information about SPDY, a new web protocol that compresses site load times to make them faster. Geeky and totally outside the realm of a legal marketing blog, but it tips Google’s hat a bit to show that they’re interested in maximizing user experience on this front.
In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts told people at a recent trade event that slow page load times won’t negatively impact how well your site ranks, but fast load times may have a positive effect. This all makes sense on a certain level. After all, Google wants people to get what they want as quickly as they want to get it. Fast sites are better than those that leave us drumming our fingers impatiently on the desktop.
Let’s be clear. Even if it doesn’t hurt your site, if it does help everyone else then you lose by default.
If you’re using Google Webmaster Tools you can download a Firefox add-on to check your site’s load time on the fly review performance in the browser. You can also head over to a tool provided by Pingdom, to see how well things are working.
Online Legal Marketing Tip: Traffic Sources Matter
When lawyers start a campaign of marketing their practice online, we often want to get to the top of the Google search engine results page. After all, Google is the brass ring when it comes to search engines. Get to number one and you’re guaranteed a flood of visitors to your site.
The problem is that Google isn’t going to give you the best bang for your buck. See more in the article about this issue.
5 Online Legal Marketing Hacks To Get More Traffic Fast
When you’re marketing your law firm online, you need to always look at maximizing the traffic to your website or blog. The more people who visit, the better your raw conversion numbers will be. I don’t take issue with those who say that it’s the quality of the visitor as opposed to the quantity, but if you’re optimizing your content to maximize search engine coverage then the quality thing tends to sort itself out over time.
The beauty of online legal marketing with a blog or website is that you can create valuable content once and let it act as your mouthpiece for months – if not years – to come without any additional investment of time.
So again, the question becomes one of quantity. Especially when your blog is so young it’s wet behind the ears, you need to generate as much traffic as possible.
Why? Because writing great content is useless if you’re not getting anyone to read it. The more people who read your pearls of wisdom, the more likely it is to get passed around. And even if it isn’t getting passed from person to person, more readers yields a greater number of blog subscribers or opt-ins to your email list.
We’re not talking about long-term online legal marketing tactics, these are hacks – quick hits to get a little leverage. Some cost a few bucks, and others are free. But they’re all effective.
- Tell your clients. Yes, your clients are already sold on your expertise – but how about their friends and family members who aren’t quite ready to talk with a lawyer? Send a letter to your clients asking them to let people know you’ve got a great online resource for legal information and to tell them to visit it. Totally old school offline referral marketing, but absolutely effective.
- Ask a question and post to your social networks. You’re probably on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn – perhaps all of them. Post a link to your blog post with a question, asking people to comment directly on the blog. This social media traffic registers with the search engines – in fact, Google uses social media traffic as one of over 200 “signals” in ranking sites. More social traffic translates into better long-term rankings for your site. Better rankings translates into online legal marketing success.
- Give away an ebook or special report. There’s value to putting an ebook behind an opt-in form and requiring people to give up their email address in exchange for your item of value. But if you’re looking to create awareness of your website or blog, you’re looking to garner as much traffic as possible in the short run. Consider removing the barriers by ditching the opt-in form and giving away the ebook or special report to all visitors. Not only will more people come to your site, but that giveaway will get passed around and turn into a long-term client generation magnet.
- Hitch your wagon to a star. Something going on locally that you can somehow tie into your practice area? Sports hero busted for DWI? Local business going belly-up? If so, there’s a good chance people in your area are going to the search engines to read the news – and typing in the name of that sports hero or local business. Creating content around that person or business and fitting it into your practice area will yield huge traffic spikes, which is exactly what this online legal marketing hack is all about.
- Coffee shop postcards work – really, they do. If you’re a lawyer, you’re a local business. So you’ve got an edge over the multi-national companies marketing online – you can go grassroots without breaking a sweat. Go to your local printer or click over to VistaPrint and get a bunch of postcards printed up with a headline like, “Where Can You Find Answers To All Your Questions About Getting Out Of Debt?” (if you’re a bankruptcy lawyer, that is – if you do divorce work, this headline probably won’t work for you) and the URL for your website or blog. Grab a stack and start putting them in every coffee shop in town. Tack them up on community bulletin boards. Anywhere you can go guerilla, go for it.
- As you can see, online legal marketing need not start online – that’s just the platform. Your information is online, so the goal is to drive traffic there. But you need to take off the blinders and realize that people still live offline – they eat, sleep, meet, and communicate in the real world before going online for their information.
Your online legal marketing efforts will get a shot in the arm by looking to the technological edge as well as going old school (just not in the Will Ferrell way).
But remember – this is not a long-term fix for your efforts. It will not serve as a substitute for creating valuable content that keeps people coming back again and again. It won’t fix poorly-converting copy, a bad user experience, or lack of optimization.
What it will do is provide a jolt of energy to your blog or website, exposing more people to the intelligence and information you provide.