List of Marketing Mistakes Law Firms Should Avoid
Over the last decade I’ve seen a growing number of law firms embracing digital marketing. However, there are still many law firms that still are behind the times when it comes to marketing their firm online. It’s not just the small law firms or the solo practitioners that make these mistakes. I’ve seen many of these issues in large and even global law firms.
I’ve compiled a list of the most common issues I’ve seen in 2017 and explain why you should avoid them in 2018. If you want to give your firm the best chance at growth in the new year read through this entire list. Avoiding many of the mistakes could save you a lot of time and even more money.
Hiring a web designer or development company that doesn’t have an SEO person in staff
This is one of the biggest mistakes law firms make when hiring a company to redesign your site. It’s not something many law firms think about. They either assume the development company knows what they are doing or the firm isn’t concerned with SEO.
One global law firm I worked with had some serious issues that impacted the site’s ability to rank within Google. Issues an SEO expert would of made sure didn’t happen.
Unfortunately, this can be costly for the development company and the law firm. In most cases the development firm is on the hook for making sure the site is SEO friendly. They will need to correct the issues. The law firm will foot the bill for the SEO expert that will need to conduct a lengthy audit. All of this creates unnecessary costs on both sides.
Avoid using proprietary content management systems
I’ve seen more and more lawyer clients regret using a development agency’s CMS. It seems counterintuitive to pay for a custom platform when many free and robust platforms such as WordPress exists. WordPress has a ton of plugins and has loads of flexibility already built within it. I’s regularly improved with updates and can be customized to do just about anything a law firm would need it to do.
Businesses owners eventually realize that the custom CMS has many limitations and that new features come at a hefty development cost – in many cases would be a simple plugin for WordPress.When your CMS is built by another company platform, you’re stuck. If you want to switch companies it usually means you need to have another site built. More common platforms can be updated easily without needing to be tied to any one agency.
I personally feel this is a cheap ploy to keep you as a customer. The alternative will cost you more time and money. These companies hope that the fear of redesigning with another company will keep you with them.
Improper https integration
Since Google started pushing site owners to incorporate https many law firms have decided to go that route. It usually the firm’s developer or design company that suggests the change from non-secure to secure. Unfortunately, 3 out of every five site’s I evaluated this year were implemented incorrectly.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t implement https, it just means that you need to be made aware of the common problems that happen with setting it up.
The most common issues were…
- 302 redirects were implemented instead of 301 redirects. 301 is still the best redirect to use for redirecting non-secure pages to a secure page.
- In some cases there were no redirects in place. A user could visit a secure or a non secure version of a page. This causes issues within Google as both versions of the site will be seen as two individual sites instead of one, causing duplicate content issues.
- The most common issue a see is not changing all the urls in the site’s code. Once the site is switched from http to https it’s important that the code on your pages is updated as well. All the internal links on your webpages should point to the https version of your site including images, links to internal pages and scripts.
Not having a page for each practice area
This is more common then I would like to see. When speaking with law firms and asking them which practice areas they are most interested in many list practice areas they don’t even have pages for on their website. In instances when they do have practice areas on the site it’s grouped together on one page with other practice areas. This makes it hard to rank pages organically.
It’s also important for visitors to land on a page that speaks to just one practice are so that you can sell your firm’s experience, results from past clients and address concerns visitors may have that you can solve.
Many firms also spend time writing about the law they practice rather than talking about how they can help the reader. Remember people are looking for a lawyer to help with their current situation. You should understand their pain points and address them as it pertains to that specific practice area.
Not tracking all goals on all channels
How many leads on average turn into a case? What’s the quality of the leads you’re? Which channels produce the best leads at the lowest cost? Answers to these questions and others can only be answered if you’re tracking conversions. How do you do that?
It’s important to track form completions and calls using call tracking. If you’re site uses a chat feature track those as well. Avoid using email address on the site as those can’t be tracked. Plus, spambots would love to get their hands on your email address.
The more you understand your traffic the easier it is to grow. As you gather data on which marketing channels produce more leads at a lower cost you can focus more effort on that channel and less on channels that don’t convert as well or at too high of a cost.
Trying to manage your Adwords campaign by yourself
Let’s say you’re a law firm that handles “police brutality” cases. If you aren’t careful with your Adwords management your ads can show up for “police brutality videos”, “causes of police brutality”, “history of police brutality” and so on. This can drive up costs dramatically and give you the impression that paid search is not a valid resource for leads. Which it is for many law firms both large and small. You need to hire someone who has the time and knowledge to manage your account to improve the ROI.
If you’ve run into some of these issues above or others not mentioned here and need help. Please contact me. I’d be happy to discuss your concerns.
Not working on your local map listings
More than 60% of the law firms I’ve worked with had never claimed the local listings. The number jumps to 75% on firms that had more than 2 locations. Out of those firms that claimed their Google map listing, more that 89% of law firms never updated their information after the initial setup.
None of the firms I worked with ever asked clients to leave reviews and the majority of the firms never used a service to claim or change incorrect information on their firm’s citations. Including their NAP (Name, Address & Phone).
It’s important that you…
- Claim all your firm’s locations in Google map listing. Create them if they don’t exist.
- Update your map listing at least once a month.
- Use a service such as yext to help correct and claim new citations
- Mark up your locations on your site with schema
- Ask clients to review your business on Google maps (72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review)
All of the above are factors in ranking your firm in Google’s map listings. Many times individual lawyers at a practice ranks above the firm. If the partner or lawyer leaves the firm will lose its presence.
If you like to learn more about me you can here in my bio and why I am qualified to help your law firm.