Law Firm Internet Marketing
Law firms get approached with pitches for advertising every day. Salespeople stop by their offices in hopes of selling them a spot in the yellow pages of the next edition of the printed phonebook. Local newspapers call them to ask if they would like to run a large print ad. Their email boxes are inundated with offers for online marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) work, social network marketing, Google Places development, pay per click (PPC) campaigns, banner ad opportunities, reputation marketing, and other online strategies. Other salespeople offer to place them in a directory for a fee, promising direct traffic as well as increased link juice, an indirect way to increase their search engine rankings.
Salespeople can be persistent, if not downright pushy. It can become overwhelming, not to mention confusing. Every advertising offer claims to be the best option for bringing in new customers.
So, who is right?
How do people with a legal problem find a lawyer to help them?
Facing an onslaught of advertising offers and a bloated spam folder, the Moses & Rooth Law Firm decided to find out once and for all which advertising method actually attracts more customers. To this end, they commissioned Mike Blumenthal to create a short survey using Google Consumer Surveys. This was a random sampling geographically and by age.
The survey asked three questions and had 1183 respondents, all from the United States, who agreed to take the survey in exchange for access to premium content. Here were the three questions:
1. When you need to find a specialty lawyer how would you start your search?
2. If you search for a specialty lawyer on the internet what is most important to you?
3. If you searched for a specialty lawyer on Google, what would do you first?
The questions were multiple choice and gave five choices each. Here is the URL for the actual survey along with the results:
It is interesting to note that you can actually use the fields on the left of the survey page linked above to break down the results by gender, age bracket, geography (the four quadrants of the United States), urban density, and inferred income. While there have been other surveys that attempted to answer similar questions, none of them provided as much practical and immediately applicable information as this Moses & Rooth survey.
While it would be highly beneficial for you to study the entire survey in detail, here are some of the most pertinent results:
1. 21.9 percent of respondents indicated they first searched for a specialty lawyer by doing a search at Google, Bing, or Yahoo. This was almost double the number of respondents that said they first searched for a specialty lawyer by looking in the yellow pages! It was almost ten times the number of respondents that said they first searched for a specialty lawyer by asking for referrals on their favorite social network. Thus, ranking well in the major search engines trumps the yellow pages and social networking by a lot!
2. Looking ahead to future trends, respondents in the age bracket of 25-34 years old, used a search engine much more often to find a lawyer to help them than older generations. Furthermore, compared to the older generations, far fewer of them used the printed yellow pages to first find a specialty lawyer. Thus, the yellow pages may not be a totally useless place to advertise, especially to attract older clients, but its usefulness is likely to fade fast in the near future.
It is worth mentioning here that Nielsen Research has dubbed Americans aged 18-34 as “Generation C,” where “C” stands for “connected.” People this age were born after the world wide web had blossomed so they grew up using the internet to search for answers about everything. Smartphones and tablets feel like a natural extension of their body. Much of their social contact takes place through the internet in one form or another. To them, the printed yellow pages are as retro as horse and buggies are to older generations. With this in mind, it would behoove law firms to develop a solid online presence now to prepare for the rapidly changing landscape with older methods of being found and noticed, such as the yellow pages, becoming completely obsolete. Keep in mind too that 23 percent of the United States population falls in this age bracket and they will have more need for the help of lawyers in the next decade than they currently do as younger adults.
3. After a respondent searched for a lawyer on Google, 29.5 percent of them visited the lawyer’s website, 27.6 percent of them read their Google reviews, and 18.4 percent of them read other reviews. Thus, it is imperative for a law firm to have a well-designed website. Furthermore, those that study statistics for law firm websites have noted that people tend to read the profiles of the lawyers more than anything else on the website so it is imperative that law firm websites include detailed professional profiles for each lawyer in the firm.
Google is now showing a direct link to Google reviews and other-other reviews, like Avvo and Yelp reviews, directly in their search results. This includes an average score with the total number of the reviews and a link to the reviews. This survey clearly shows that a total of 27.6 percent + 18.4 percent = 64 percent of all respondents that searched for a specialty law firm read immediately the reviews about that law firm! This is a very significant percentage and proves that reputation marketing is more important than ever, especially for law firms.
In conclusion, the detailed results of the Moses & Rooth survey clearly show that all law firms need to be online with a solid website and good reviews in sites like Google Pages, Avvo, and Yelp. Furthermore, the importance of this will become increasingly greater over the next few years/decades. Thus, this answers why your law firm needs to be online, and yes, the yellow pages still work (some) but not for long.
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