In my opinion, legal marketing experts have placed too much emphasis on securing a spot on the first page of Google search results. Although this is important, it shouldn’t be the ultimate goal of your advertising program. A successful advertising program should have different marketing channels designed to reach “active” and “passive” prospects. The demand for legal services is similar to the demand for healthcare. We usually see our doctor when we need to. Likewise, when a potential client calls our office, a triggering event has taken place in the client’s life, and that event has created a compelling need to call an attorney. As owners of law practices, it is important for us to be mindful of the client’s sense of urgency when he or she calls our office to inquire about our services.
Advertising to reach ‘passive’ prospects
Your advertising program should include a branding component that creates awareness of your firm when the need arises within your market area. An effective advertising program should include a significant frequency of the ad campaign and reach to your target audience. Examples of branding campaigns include advertising in your community’s local newspaper, sponsoring the local high school football team, or booking television and radio ads. I suggest that you narrowly define your target market and find cost-effective and creative sources to reach your audience. When you find your sources, commit to the campaign over time; do not just plan for the short term.
Reaching ‘active’ prospects
Reaching potential clients who are actively seeking an attorney is how we spend most of our time and resources, especially with online marketing. When you invest in branding your firm, your online marketing efforts to capture active seekers will become more effective. The goal of your online marketing campaign should be not only to have your website appear on the first page of Google and other search engine results pages, but also to have your listing in various directories appear on the same page in your practice area. The probability of your firm being selected for the call increases significantly when the prospective client has previously seen your brand through different marketing channels. If repetition was not an integral part of advertising programs, why would advertisers spend millions of dollars on television and radio ads, running the same commercials over and over again? It works.
Selecting the ‘best’ source
In my opinion, there is no advertising source that works 100% of the time. However, when you diversify your ad program through various channels with a consistent message and have an effective intake process, you will dramatically increase your client conversion rate and retain more clients.