Online marketing is valuable to law firms because it reaches out to a large audience of potential new clients. Unlike the world we entered almost nine years ago, today's online landscape is much bigger than keywords. It goes beyond rankings and trying to impress Google.
People are on social networks. They're reading news. They're reading opinions. They're reading news about others' opinions. They have emails, they run mobile apps, and they are not going to a single source for anything. Even the most loyal Google Search users may go directly to Yelp when their car breaks down. Rather than searching for a place to eat in a search engine, diners go directly to Opentable.com or Zagat.com.
Earlier this year, we published a report titled, “Social may be trendy but search brings home the leads.” In that report, we showed how Google was delivering the majority of web leads (leads that come in via a contact form on a law firm's website).
At that time, social networks and other non-search engine sources were delivering 5 percent of leads. That number has gone up in recent months. In September, we published another report titled, “More Clients Call Than Click,” showing how the increase in mobile Internet usage is causing more leads to call in rather than use an online contact form. Sometimes, that ratio is a high as 15 calls for every one online contact.
Search engine rankings are not enough by themselves. Yes, search engine rankings are important because they are a valuable part of your online lead generation strategy, but they are just one part of the plan. You need listings in every local directory. You need an email marketing plan. You need content marketing, including blogs on your site, whitepapers and reports, infographics, social outreach, news releases, some natural placement, videos, some paid listings in business directories, some free and paid listings in legal directories and some positive word-of-mouth references.
When you focus exclusively on search engine rankings, you are putting on blinders that ignore a whole world of prospective clients. Search engine placement is one piece of the online pie and by no means the entire meal.
The whole online marketing process is about one objective: new clients.