There are many companies who sell Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) packages to lawyers who want their firm name to pop up as many times and as close to the top of the search engine list whenever a potential client searches for a similar service.

There is a trend among law firms to concentrate large percentages of their law firm marketing budget on developing organic search engine results as an internet marketing strategy. The higher your SEO ranking, the more potential clients who are searching for answers or representation will be directed to your firm’s website.

That’s the theory, and it’s a good theory.

The Limitations of SEO in Law Firm Marketing

The downfall of SEO based investment, however, is the dynamic nature of the algorithms used by the search engines themselves. The internet has a constant ebb and flow of information, other firms’ websites are built and taken down, current events change consumer focus and anchoring your firm’s SEO at the crest of the information wave becomes something that requires constant attention and money. Most law firms don’t have the internal expertise or the time to manage this themselves.

In order to successfully run any business it is absolutely crucial to attract new clientele – to replace non-active clients, to grow the client base and to ensure profit growth. A high SEO ranking means that people looking for a practitioner in you location and field of expertise will at least be offered your name as an option if they search using google or another engine.

What a high SEO spend does not do is retain your client!

The Ideal Relationship

The most fruitful audience of a successful law firm is its clients and referrers. Your best marketing focus should therefore be to communicate with all the firm’s former and current clients along with its referrers. These clients and referrers already know your name and can put a face to it. On the other hand you have their contact details and email addresses in your accounting system or in Microsoft Outlook. Accessing this information and turning it into a marketing asset is not as hard as you might think and we have assisted law firms all over the country to do just that.

A client who wants a Will is more likely to go to the firm who helped him with his divorce, put him at ease and got a positive outcome as long as the firm is clearly in his mind. If the client and the firm are having contact on a regular basis then the relationship strengthens. There is no need for the client to be browsing through firms on the internet.

A positive relationship that is built between client and lawyer is based on the client’s trust of the lawyer and the brand (firm) that he represents. The ideal relationship sees the client not only go to his lawyer’s firm as the first point of contact should he need advice or representation for a matter in the firm’s practice area, but also to his lawyer for recommendations for any legal needs he may have that may be outside the firms practice area.

Thus, the ideal client-practitioner relationship has little need for search engines and SEO rankings, it bypasses the need to take matters into its own hands and search

Dividing the Pie for Your Law Firm Marketing Budget

There is nothing inherently wrong or impractical about investing in SEO strategies.  The need to attract new clients at a steady rate is imperative to the survival of your law firm.

However, the most practical use of your budget is to retain existing clients as well as to attract new ones. Here are a few simple suggestions that will help you to enhance your relationship with your clients:

  • Know your clients business – understand their needs, their industries and current issues that might affect them
  • Regularly update website content – add new and relevant content to your website on a regular basis and make sure your clients know its there
  • Ask for feedback – conduct exit surveys to get real feedback from your clients about what they think of the service you have provided
  • Seminar programs – invite clients to seminars on topical legal issues or areas of law they will find helpful
  • Provide current information – set up a program so you can provide topical, relevant and helpful information on a regular basis

A combination of marketing tactics that enable regular communication with your clients will provide the best retention results. Regular contact keeps your firm fresh in your client’s mind and reading your firm’s name with regularity will enhance the familiarity of your client with the firm, which is the number one reason we recommend implementing a newsletter program.

Sending your client a professional, attractive newsletter is beneficial to the firm for keeping the client informed of the services that your firm has to offer, as well as up-to-date with the latest in legal developments that may impact your client. Unlike reaching for a good SEO ranking, it’s a ‘set and forget’ marketing tool that does its own work without any further effort or spending required.

A good quality, accurate and interesting newsletter can prompt a client to get that thing done that they have been meaning to do for ages, to ring and ask a question, to pass on to people on their email list who may have similar interests and may be potential clients themselves.

A good newsletter is a testament to a good firm, and has a personal touch that rankings on internet searches just can’t provide.

Want to see samples and think beyond the juggernaut?

If you want to think beyond the SEO juggernaut and see samples of newsletters for firms all over the country, with articles tailored for the respective firms and all written and sent out for them, click here.

About the author
Brian Hicks

Brian Hicks

Brian has more than twenty years’ experience in marketing and management across diverse industries including legal, real estate, tourism and technology. Brian lives in Sydney with his wife and two daughters.
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