7 Resolutions for 2017 To Grow Your Caseload From The Web
I wanna give a real quick introduction to myself. My name is Tanner Jones. As I mentioned, I’ve been doing web marketing for nearly a decade, and I’ve spoken throughout the world as well as throughout the country in terms of helping law firms grow their web presence, and attract cases, all with a focus on providing good helpful information that you can take back and implement in your own office. And I’m hopeful that the information that we’re gonna cover today is beneficial in those terms as well.
So with all that said let’s hop right in. I wanna reiterate that if you have any questions as we go through this, if you’re having any kind of technical difficulties, please absolutely shoot some questions here in the live webinar, and we will be able to address those, either during the discussion or towards the end once we’ve wrapped up.
The biggest most powerful piece to online reviews is the social proof that it provides. Social proof is basically when someone comes across an online review of your firm, it gives them confidence in being able to pick up the phone, and call your office. Now, it’s said that over 90% of people who come across an online review will trust it just as much as they do a personal recommendation of a family member or a friend. And so you absolutely wanna be able to ensure that you’re getting those reviews on a consistent basis, and believing the fact that even strangers will read those reviews, and trust them as much as they do a cousin or a brother or sister.
The next piece that you want to consider is the power of local ranking, local results when it comes to getting online reviews. Local rankings are extremely valuable in search today because the thing is, people when they come across these map sections, they’re not only seeing these reviews, but Google factors that into the algorithm. And so that’s a piece that’s often misunderstood when it comes to reviews is that it’s not just a matter of click-through-rate, which we’ll discuss, it’s a matter of actually Google seeing these reviews and seeing that you’re well established in the market area, you’re well entrenched, you’re providing good experiences to users, and they’re taking that in consideration as part of how they rank local businesses in the market.
When it comes to click-through-rate in particular, that basically means that it’s a visitor who sees your search results in the map section as you can see from this screenshot, and they are encouraged to click in your website from that local map visibility. Simply stated, let’s say you got 100 visitors that search on this case “Milwaukee car accident lawyer,” they see these three local results, you want to be able to maximize the number of those or the percentage of those 100 visitors into clicking the website. Naturally the more clicks you get, the more opportunity you have of converting those into leads once they land on the site. In this case, this shows you the power of online reviews. Not only is Google taking the reviews into consideration from a ranking standpoint, the user, they are going to be reviewing those reviews and evaluating how you have provided experiences to other users in the market area.
In this example, the first result having 162 reviews with a 4.7 rating, the next one with 54 reviews, and then the third result with one review. I wanna point your attention to the orange stars showing up beside those reviews. Naturally, eyes are drawn to that color, so people are naturally drawn to those listings with having reviews, and you need a minimum of five reviews for those to show up. Regardless of whether this third result, when it comes to representation and the value of representation, the third result very well could be the better law firm of all three options. But to that user who has never experienced your firm before, likely if they’re making this type of search they don’t already have a recommendation that’s been provided to them, all they can base their decision off of is what Google is providing them.
So this to them is the most objective way to evaluate these three firms, and based on that, who do you think that the listing that they’re going to choose? It’s pretty clear. It’s the one with the most results or at least one of the two with the most local reviews. And that’s why that click-through-rate is so powerful when it comes to getting those online reviews.
I’m gonna ask Kristina to drop in a poll question in terms of reviews. If you could go ahead, and do that Kristina. And this poll question is specific to, “What statement best describes your firm’s results with online reviews?” And I’ll give you just a couple of minutes to go ahead, and answer this because what I’ve experienced in working with law firms is that it’s fairly inconsistent. Some firms have just had the biggest struggle in terms of getting reviews to stick on Google My Business.
Google has a very sophisticated filtering process where they’ll filter out reviews, and I’m sure some of you have experience that. Other firms have really built phenomenal cultures within their office in encouraging reviews, and every staff member, every attorney in the office knows the value of those reviews, and they have taken full advantage of encouraging every client that walks in and out of their door to leave an online are review, whether it’s Google, whether it’s Yelp, whether it’s Facebook. But they certainly are encouraging them. And it looks like at this point the biggest majority of the attendees today are saying on occasion their clients will leave reviews. So it looks like across the board, those attendees who are here are seeing a pretty wide range of experiences in terms with getting online reviews, it’s very interesting.
There’s a good question asked, “How often should we post a post on Google Plus?” Which is more of a social-related question. Google Plus as a social entity is actually dissolving. So from a social media marketing standpoint, the effort that you would have ever put into Google Plus as a social platform, my recommendation would be to apply that effort toward other social platforms that are much more popular today, Facebook being the number one, and then Twitter, Instagram, even SnapChat as a law firm there’s some great opportunities there to really get involved in the community. Good question.
Moving on to the next piece, we want to provide a great resource to you when it comes to encouraging online reviews, and especially seeing these poll results where a lot of these firms have seen a wide range of experiences from having success in getting reviews all the way to struggling with getting reviews, and even never even mentioning to clients that reviews are important. This is a phenomenal resource that you can look through, disperse it throughout your staff, and allow them to utilize the tools that are included in this to help encourage more reviews for your firm over this upcoming year, 2017. There’s also some nice template forms in here that you can implement during the exit interview process, which will give you a better sense of how to encourage those reviews beyond that exit interview, before they walk out of your office.
The next thing we wanna cover is the power of design of your website. Now, when you wanna consider updating a site, there are a few things that you wanna think through. Design is a powerful element in terms of being able to build enough confidence in a user’s mind that they say, “Yes, this is the firm I want to hire.” It starts with the user experience, and that’s exactly what UX, stands for. User experience. Being able to provide the best user experience possible, which ultimately means that you are guiding that visitor, once they land on that home page, or if they land into your inner practice area page, you guide them to the right information at the right time, addressing the questions, building confidence, whether that utilizing relevant testimonials alongside the content including relevant case verdicts or settlements or case results alongside that content. Those are the elements that build confidence in that user while also providing good content in that experience. That’s what’s alternately gonna lead to more conversions to the site, and naturally more case sign-ups for you.
So there are certainly some important elements as part of a mobile design. A tap the call feature, making sure that you have a prominently displayed telephone number that allows the visitor to tap, and call it, whether it’s a nice big button like what you see here or whether it’s just simply the telephone number. Most users know that they can tap a telephone number on mobile, and it should pull up the phone application to dial you. And so that’s a great first thing that check with your mobile site. Go to your site from your mobile device, and see if you have the ability to tap a telephone number or tap a button like this to call. Directions are also extremely valuable in providing a great user experience, but also you see that we have dramatically cleaned up this home page design offering much less in terms of options to a user. If you see their desktop version, you can see that we’ve included a top navigation menu, a strong message, the results you need, the service you deserve. That strong message pulls that user in, encourages them to stay on the page, and start working their way down the page.
And so a mobile first design, to get back to that, it allows you to really focus on what’s going to lead this visitor toward converting. That’s the only reason you have a website as a business, is to encourage more business, is to encourage case sign-ups as a law firm. And so that mobile first design concept and thinking through will ultimately allow you to provide a more pleasant user experience to those users, and again, naturally lead to more client sign-ups.
There’s a great resource here through our Always, Sometimes, Never series, and you can go to www.consultwebs.com/resources, which is linked in the Go to webinar on our dashboard there, and access the web design Always, Sometimes, Never resource. There’s gonna be a lot of good questions, lots of good information in here that you can work through and compare to your site, and determine whether 2017 is the year to refresh your design and provide a better user experience. So make this an important solution for your firm. Make your website professional in 2017, make it cater to those mobile users, and encourage more conversions.
As I mentioned earlier, design and content go hand in hand. Content certainly makes a design. Frankly, people are going to the Web to get information, they’re going to the Web because they have questions and they’re looking for answers, or they’re going to the Web because they have a need, and they need professional services. So that is where the content on your site will come into play and help build trust, and confidence.
We have spoken about the importance of content for years and years. You may have heard the phrase, “Content is king.” Content is still certainly King, but by no means are we suggesting that all content is created equal. What you want to do is ensure that the content on your site is substantive, it provides good value to the users, and is not just advertising content, not just a strong call to action whenever somebody gets there. So good substance focusing on the user, and that’s what it means when you write for the audience. I mentioned earlier that you don’t wanna write for the attorneys in your office, you don’t wanna write for other referring attorneys.
Think about who your prospective clients are, what’s the average reading level? We often write on or around a fifth to eighth grade reading level for the majority of our clients sites because that’s what’s easy to consume online. And you also wanna break that content to nice headers, incorporate nice graphics or visuals into that content just to break up the monotony of the words, and make it a pleasant experience.
The next thing we wanna touch on are creative assets. Now, that’s a phrase coined by Consultwebs, but ultimately it means that it’s something unique on your site that’s of value to the public as related to your practice areas. A creative asset is still a form of content, but typically it’s much more of a visually enhanced piece of content. And that can mean a number of things. This is one good example of a creative asset, and this is for a workers’ compensation firm in North Carolina basically offering the community an asset where they can go and access and find out if they’re covered by their employer for workers’ compensation. It goes through a wealth of resources on that page, tons of good statistics related to workers-comp in the state, types of jobs that are more prone to accidents, work out benefits, etc., and then it ends with the ability for the user to find out if their employer has workers’ compensation coverage. So it’s a nice tool to be able to attract engagement on the page, extremely useful for everyone in the state of North Carolina, and it’s also a great way to attract back links, which we’ll talk about a little bit further in terms of the value of Search Engine Optimization. So this is a powerful way to leverage content more visually, but also ensure it’s engaging.
We have a great lawyer’s guide to writing online content. If you’re producing content in house or you’re directing content through your vendor or through a third party service, this is a phenomenal resource for you. So certainly take advantage of that, and ensure that you are writing for your real audience in 2017.
Social media, a big, big topic, and really just over the last couple of years have firms really started seeing clients being acquired from social media. In the past. It was much more of a branding tool. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus. In the past there have been a number of social networks out there. Facebook by far is the king when it comes to social media for law firms. But in terms of targeting, you wanna be able to take advantage of Facebook advertising right now, the costs are low in comparison to other advertising platforms, and you can be very, very specific on the demographics that you’re targeting.
And so I would encourage you if you haven’t done so already test Facebook advertising, identify who it is that you are wanting to target for your prospective clients, and utilize Facebook’s ad platform to target those users. There’s a whole lot of details behind that and we don’t have a whole lot of time to cover it today. But certainly I’d be more than happy to talk with you away from this webinar and discuss some of those options specific to your firm, your practice areas, and your ideal demographic that you wanna target.
Going beyond advertising on social media, engagement is a big piece. Engagement is just meaning that people are responding to posts that you’re making on your Facebook page for example, and getting involved, and commenting, and sharing showing that they actually like your firm and wanna engage with your firm. Going back to the commonality of online reviews, if a visitor gets on your Facebook page, and see you’re engaging, or other people are engaging with your firm, it shows you’re popular, it shows you’re trusted, you’re well liked, and that will only encourage more leads over time. It’ll also encourage traffic back to your site.
And then, right along with that, growing a following on social media. That is another great way to showcase social proof. Being able to offer for example charitable givings with every like that you get on Facebook, that’s a phenomenal way to give back to the community while also growing your social network. So there’s a lot of creative ways that you can grow a following on your social platforms, build up your brand awareness in the market, but also give back to the community along the way.
Just like the others, we have an Always, Sometimes, Never resource related to social media, and this will provide you with a ton of things to consider when it comes to developing the right strategy for your firm. Every farm is different, and that means every social strategy is gonna be different. Some things you’re going to be comfortable with that another firm would not dare to attempt on social, and vice versa. And so I wanna encourage you to take advantage of the resource there, learn more about social, and what’s gonna be right for your firm. And you can find that on consultwebs.com/resources.
Search Engine Optimization. Now, the biggest purpose in SEO today is to gain more visibility in search, first and foremost, and visibility ideally for highly-relevant, highly-targeted search terms that are applicable to your market area, that’s the geographic market area, as well as practice areas. There are a number of ways to evaluate your technical site health of your site, a number of tools, and I would certainly be happy to provide some tools to you away from this webinar if you wanna reach out. There’s tons of free tools out there to evaluate your back link profile, the traffic that you’re getting to your website, and the quality of that traffic that’s coming to the site. A big factor with SEO are back links. Back links are where another website links back to your site, and that’s a sign of approval. And the higher the quality of web sites that are pointing to you and sending their traffic to your site, the more authoritative your site appears to search engines. And so back links, assuming that they’re trusted links coming from trusted websites, are extremely beneficial in terms of growing and improving your rankings as well as driving traffic back to your site.
And we talked about content. Content is always going to support Search Engine Optimization again, because it’s providing good valuable resources to people who are needing either answers to their legal questions, or specifically looking for legal help or a law firm.
And then again mobile experience, and desktop user experience on design, plays a huge role in terms of SEO. There are a number of elements that go back to showing that you’re providing good user experience to your clients, and with people who are visiting your website. If people are staying on your site a long time in comparison to your competitor sites, then Google naturally sees your site as being a better resource, and providing a better user experience, and that will certainly help with your SEO, and your visibility online.
We have an Always, Sometimes, Never resource for Search Engine Optimization as well, and I would encourage you to really commit to taking advantage of people going to the Web today to find professional services. There’s tons of opportunity of signing new clients from the Web, and the beautiful thing with that is that there’s no referral fee payouts on the end when you get a client from the Internet.
Pay-per-click management. We’ll cover two more areas, one with pay-per-click, and what I would encourage you to do with pay per click, if you’re currently investing in pay-per-click, make sure that it’s being properly managed. All too often people set up a PPC campaign just let it run, and just kind of a set-it-and-forget-it approach, and that is one of the quickest ways to burn a significant amount of ad dollars.
There’s not an endless amount of ad dollars for any law firm, and so you wanna make sure that you’re getting the best bank for your buck in every endeavor you’re making online, and PPC is certainly a quick way to lose money if not managed properly. Effective PPC management can be proper ad copy that’s in the ad itself, proper descriptions, proper targeting in terms of geographic areas and key words being targeted, but there’s also a ton of creative ways to find what we would consider holes in the competitive space. So areas that are much less competitive, areas that are not directly tied to commercial intent search terms, we can go around the corner keep a low cost per click, and attract clients still through pay-per-click advertising.
Effective landing pages fall right and just as important as proper management. An effective landing page can be designed in a number of ways, but here’s a great example of a highly-targeted landing page specific to a practice area. When you’re paying me to get traffic to your website, you wanna make sure that you convert it. Otherwise you’re blowing money, you’re burning up ad dollars. So making sure that your landing page is highly targeted based on the ad that someone clicks, making sure that the content is easy to read, nice bullets, nice images, big contact forms, prominently displayed telephone numbers, ideally you have some custom photography in there, and then also make sure that it’s mobile-friendly, make sure it looks great on mobile devices.
Also including any kind of testimonials on this page will help build trust and confidence, and encourage more conversions. You also wanna make sure you’re tracking everything. Historical data is your friend when it comes to Google AdWords. Make sure you know what’s working and what’s not, and that the one managing that ad campaign is making adjustments based on performance.
And then lastly re-marketing. When it comes to pay-per-click advertising, re-marketing is a way that when a visitor comes to your site, you can place re-marketing script on your site which tracks that visitor, and instead it follows them around with banner advertisements after they leave your site. Re-marketing is an exceptional way to be able to stay in front of past visitors to your site and ensure that you’re not gonna lose someone even if maybe they have the decision or have had the idea in their mind they wanted to hire you, something came up they left your website re-marketing is a great way to stay in front of them for the next couple of weeks. So I would encourage you to surely take advantage of that, if you’re not doing so, in 2017.
We have a really good resource on our website consultswebs.com/ppcresources. Christina if you can paste that in… Looks like she pasted that resource in the dashboard here. Take a look at that if you’re investing in pay-per-click or considering it this year, that’s gonna be a great asset for you to go through as you consider pay-per-click for your firm.
Lastly, let’s run through analytics. Google Analytics is often overlooked. If you’re investing in search marketing or pay per click advertising or frankly anything online, you wanna know how people are responding to you once they get to your website All too often firms that are investing in a web campaign will just allow their vendor to review the analytics and never really share the good data that’s coming from analytics, and more importantly what decisions are being made based on that data.
Some of the big things that you wanna look at is bounce rate. Bounce rate is when a visitor lands on your site, and does not visit a deeper page on your site before they click the back button or close out. So it essentially means it’s a visitor who doesn’t click in a second page on your site. If your bounce rate is high, meaning that it’s typically over 70%, I would start to want to dig a little bit deeper, and find out why so many visitors are leaving my side upon the first entry page of the site. That’s going to tell you a lot of valuable information.
Also how long are they staying on the site once they get there? How long are they staying on the individual pages? What are your bread and butter practice areas? Look at those pages and find out how long visitors are staying on those important pages. That’s going to tell you a ton of good helpful information in terms of how well your site is being responded to by your prospective clients.
There’s another area with Google Analytics…and by the way analytics will provide you with a wealth of information, often overwhelming. So it’s helpful to get in there with somebody who knows how to navigate through it, and to provide you with a quick overview of how to make heads or tails of what that data is telling you. But specifically when it comes to how visitors are finding the site. If they’re coming from your Facebook page, if they’re coming from Ad Words, if they’re coming from the search results, you wanna know that, and you wanna know the percentage breakdown of that so that you can make better decisions in the future about what’s working and what’s not working.
And then lastly with Google Analytics, we encourage you this year if you don’t already, have goals set up on your pages. Make sure you know, what are the good actions that you want visitors to take once they get to the site, and set up goals to tag those actions so that you know what visitors are doing, and if they’re hitting key pages. For example a “Thank You” page, once someone fills out a contact form, it could be a goal. And you know how many forms are being submitted on a monthly basis, and what’s working through the website.
You can download Five Key Insights from Analytics to Boost Your Firm’s Caseload from our resources page. This is another really stellar asset in terms of getting to understand Google Analytics a little better and being able to make good quality decisions in terms of next steps, and improvements for your web campaign.
I hope this information has been helpful. I wanna be able to open it up for a few questions if anybody has any. Before we do that, I encourage you to take advantage of our blog. We update the blog regularly each month with good valuable tips, good resources, heads-up on what’s coming in terms of search, and paid advertising, all specific to law firms. To subscribe go to consultwebs.com/blog, and make sure that you’re getting those valuable updates for your firm.
I also want to be able to offer a free analysis. You have taken time on your schedules to attend this and I certainly hope that the information shared is helpful to you, but we also wanna make it even more valuable to you. And if you want a review of your site, we are happy to do that at no cost to you. What we can guarantee are three actionable items of reviewing the site that you can go back and implement. Either take back to your vendor or implement in house before you can start attracting more business from the web. Certainly take advantage of that at consultwebs.com/analysis. Fill up that, and we’ll be able to get back to you very soon with three actionable items that’ll help you attract more cases from the Web.
I wanna open it up to some questions here. Looks like we had a question about, “How many blogs should we post to our website each week?” That’s a stellar question, and it’s one that we actually get quite often.
The blogging landscape has changed pretty dramatically over the years. As I mentioned about content earlier, content is something that most web marketers have preached for years to keep your site updated with new fresh content. That Google loves content, Google loves blogs. Keep pushing out new content. But the problem is that you have a lot of outdated legacy content that’s rarely been visited over the last six plus months, and so by no means do I want to suggest that you should stop blogging, but I also want to encourage you that there’s no perfect number in terms of weekly blogs or monthly blogs. What it comes down to is knowing how visitors are using those blogs. If you’re gonna take time to produce a blog, make sure it’s good and substantive, make sure it offers tons of value to the community, and then rather than just posting it to the site and walking away, ensure you have a process or your web vendor has a process to push that blog out and get as much exposure as possible.
Syndicate it for your Facebook profile, push it out on your LinkedIn profile, be able to look for opportunities to post blog content away from your site on other websites, and get your name, your brand in front of new visitors, new communities. Those are all great ways to utilize blogs while not getting too happy on the on the blog train, and just producing tons of blogs each week that rarely gets visited, and rarely gets used.
Okay. I appreciate everyone’s time. Again, I hope this has been useful to you. Please do feel welcome to reach out to us if you have any questions. You can reach us at email@example.com. Wanna thank everyone again for their attendance, and look forward to having at our next webinar. Thank you.