Marketers love the New Year. It is a time for fresh beginnings and goal setting, and a time when most attorneys refocus their marketing goals and are driven to implement strategies for success. Before you begin setting your goals, however, it’s absolutely essential that you take time to understand the current state of your online marketing efforts. Only upon close inspection of your online presence, can you identify deficiencies and set reasonable business development objectives for 2014. To help fully assess your visibility and reputation on the web, consider the following:
Your website is your virtual storefront – often making a first impression with colleagues, prospective clients and individuals who have learned about your firm from a friend of loved one. In determining whether you should focus your energy and 2014 marketing budget on your practice’s site, take some time to answer the following questions:
– How many leads have I gotten from my site in the past year?
Take some time to comb through contact inquiries submitted through your site and also calls from individuals who found you online. How many of these leads turned into paying clients? If possible, use this data and the cost of your site to determine the ROI of this online marketing tool.
– How is your site ranking?
To answer this question, don’t use one of those automated tools that allow you to measure your site’s search engine optimization. Instead, identify what kind of cases you want to attract through your site, and head to Google and search for attorneys in your area who can provide this type of legal assistance. When doing these searches, make certain that you use words that laypeople are likely to use in their search for legal counsel. Take note of how your site ranks for the various search queries. If you’re not on the first or second page, you’re likely missing out on a lot of business.
– When was the last addition to your website?
Far too often, attorneys take a “set it and forget it” approach to online marketing. With websites, this kind of strategy can be seriously detrimental to SEO success and also in making a great first impression with visitors. As you take stock of your website, make a note as to when the content was last updated. This is particularly important if you have a blog or articles page where dates of additions are prominently displayed.
– Do you have problem pages?
As you peruse your site, do you find that you have pages that are missing content or have become outdated? Make a list of these trouble spots and add them to your New Year’s marketing resolution.
In a perfect world, you would have complete control over your online reputation and what contacts, and prospective clients, see when they search for your name or your practice on the web. Of course, we know that this is far from the case. As you outline your marketing initiatives for the New Year, you may need to devote some resources to strengthening your online reputation. To determine if this is necessary, take a few minutes to Google yourself and the name of your law firm. If you find that your website isn’t one of the first few results (ideally, the first), or that you have less than favorable reviews, add this to your 2014 to-do list because your online reputation needs some help.
As a web user, you can’t escape social media. It’s everywhere and slowly but surely it has infiltrated the legal industry. Many attorneys set up Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts because they are told they should, and then they never use them. In some cases, abandoned accounts can actually be a negative aspect of your web presence; this may be true if your accounts haven’t been updated in years or you have just a handful of followers.
If you find yourself guilty of neglecting your social media accounts, take time to evaluate your presence on these sites and whether you think these tools can be valuable to your practice. If you do decide to keep them, make a plan for the year ahead that will allow you to update them on a regular basis.
While reviewing your online presence, refer back to your goals for 2013. You may find that there are some that remain on your list and should be part of your marketing resolution for the New Year. If you find yourself struggling to understand how you’re currently doing online, and to identify reasonable goals for the future, you might consider contacting a legal marketing firm who can help you from start to finish.