Marketing can take up a significant portion of your law firm’s operating budget. From website maintenance to advertising costs, it’s a necessary task that can potentially turn into a huge financial burden. That’s why it’s important to recognize and utilize the various free marketing tools available to attorneys online. Whether it’s a resource that celebrates your professional accomplishments or showcases your expertise, free marketing is a smart way of getting new clients through the door.
The following are eight resources for marketing your legal services online for free:
Avvo.com is an online marketplace for legal services. It provides consumers with lawyer referrals, along with a database of legal information compiled through attorney-answered questions. Each lawyer profile typically includes client reviews, disciplinary actions, and peer endorsements. You can also add additional information to your profile once you have claimed it.
Avvo also maintains an attorney rating system, based on the info in your profile and data collected from state and local bars. When using Avvo for marketing, remember that the highest ranking attorney profiles generally include a significant amount of information. For example, you can voluntarily answer questions from the public or submit informative legal guides, demonstrating your expertise and knowledge.
Yelp is an extremely useful tool for online marketing, particularly because Yelp reviews are likely to rank high among search results for your name. This means that, if a potential client decides to look you up online, they will likely see your Yelp review among their search results. In some instances, your Yelp review may even rank higher than your firm’s website.
Leveraging Yelp starts with claiming your business page. If your firm is not yet listed with Yelp, you can add it here. Then use your business dashboard to monitor your firm’s activity. It provides you with information like user views and customer leads. While there are also enhanced paid options for using Yelp, simply utilizing its free services can be extremely useful, even if you do nothing more than monitor client reviews. Positive reviews can go a long way towards bringing in new clients.
Facebook is not just for family pics and political arguments. It is also a valuable marketing tool for those law firms that leverage it correctly. If your firm doesn’t have a Facebook page, you should definitely get one. Use interesting visuals and videos to make your page stand out. Also, post regularly and frequently. Provide valuable content on your Facebook page. If you already have a firm blog or news page on your website, you can simply repurpose that content into Facebook posts.
You can also use Facebook to better target your ideal clients. The platform provides analytical information about the location, age, and gender of visitors to your page. Use this information to tailor your content and attract more potential clients to your firm.
Your Law Firm Blog
So, it may not be technically free since you pay to keep your website up and running. But if you’re already paying for your site, why not take advantage of this potentially valuable opportunity. Your blog is an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert in your practice areas. For a potential client who finds you through your website, the right blog post can serve as an excellent first impression. In addition, consistently good content will keep readers – potential clients – returning to your blog on a regular basis.
Guest blogging is the development of content for a website other than your own. While this may seem counterintuitive to building your practice, it can actually be an extremely valuable marketing technique. Guest blogging provides an opportunity for you to share your legal expertise with a wider audience. It may even be an audience that you do not generally reach with your own legal blog. Make sure to include information about yourself at the end of the blog post and you just may see an increase in traffic to your website.
When looking for guest blogging opportunities, think strategically about ways to establish yourself as a figure of expertise and authority. For example, if you specialize in motorcycle accident injuries, why not guest blog on a motorcycle enthusiast post? If child custody is one of your practice areas, a resource blog for divorcing parents could lead to increased work. Think outside of the box to identify where your valuable knowledge could be of most service.
If you haven’t already done so, make sure you visit Google My Business and add your law firm data. This tool allows you to be listed on Google maps and on Google+. That way, when potential clients google you, they can easily access directions to your office and your contact information. Google+ is also useful in getting in front of potential new clients. For example, if someone googles “bankruptcy lawyers in Minneapolis,” the first results that Google provides are local listings. So, it’s important for your firm to maintain its Google presence with accurate, up-to-date information.
Don’t forget about Bing. While not as widely used as Google, it is still an extremely popular search engine utilized by millions of people. Just like Google, it includes local businesses at the top of its search results. So, adding your firm to its database will likely only increase the likelihood of your being found through an internet search.
Justia provides the public with free legal information on various common topics, but it also creates lawyer profiles that appear on their site, as well as the Legal Information Institute website. You can tailor your profile with pictures and links to your social media accounts, providing your firm with another free avenue for effective marketing.
As with any legal advertising you pursue, don’t forget to consider your ethical obligations. Be careful about undertaking any advertising that may lead to a breach of confidential client information, false information about your services, or violations of your state rules on attorney advertising.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.