You already know that marketing your law firm online is a vital part of surviving in the technologically advanced world that we live in, and you probably already have an online presence of some sort. The traditional ways of optimizing your site for search engines are still important- you need to build a keyword rich site that includes lots of content and you need to reach out to customers using social media. But are you taking advantage of the search tools for local law firms that will help you reach out to clients right in your own backyard?
For most firms, the vast majority of their business comes from people nearby. In most cases, the geographic area served by a particular practice is no more than just one or two cities or a handful of small towns. So while marketing your firm to the greater online world is important, marketing to the customers right in your own area is even more important. The most important innovation for law firms and other businesses with a small geographic reach is local search. If you haven’t spent some time making yourself known to local search providers, you need to start now.
Think about the last time you or a loved one searched for a restaurant or shop. Chances are, rather than turning to the yellow pages, you used the internet to find out what was in your area, where it was located, and what was provided. The same is true of people looking for local law firms or a local attorney in their area.
Local search tools are highly effective because they are a combination of social media and search engines, and they often include mobile applications that can be accessed from a smart phone or another mobile device. And most customers who are looking for a lawyer in a certain area will perform a search that includes who they are looking for and where they are looking- for example, “divorce lawyer Colorado springs”. Local search tools help your firm reach out to those customers and bring them into your firm.
When it comes to local search tools, there are a few that you need to know about:
Google Places is one of the most important since a large number of mobile apps and customers everywhere use Google to find out nearly anything they need. Using the site is free, and there is a good chance you are already listed on the site, but to get the most out of Google Places, you will need to optimize your listing to ensure that it turns up first when customers are looking for someone like you.
Yelp is another tool that is becoming increasingly popular in big cities. You can register for free, and create a profile for your business. Many attorneys find that a Yelp profile is particularly effective because you can include a large amount of information that is also beneficial for boosting the rankings of your regular site.
You may have heard of Angie’s List before, but many lawyers don’t know that it is used to list attorneys as well as contractors and other companies that provide a service of some type. The site is rapidly gaining popularity, as people see it as a highly reputable provider of reviews and listings.
A final tool that you should consider is local classifieds providers (craigslist.com being the best known). You will need to be careful to ensure that you are creating well-written ads that attract customers, nothing that sounds spammy or unprofessional.
Most local search tools are free, easy to use, and take only a little time to work with. But for law firms who are actively seeking new clients, these tools can be invaluable, reaching customers that you may not have reached with any other form of advertising. More importantly, you will improve your reputation within the community by having a professional presence on the sites that your customers are viewing.
With all the benefits of local search engine marketing for law firms, why haven’t you started yet?