Working on your firm’s marketing can seem daunting - for many solicitors it’s not part of their day-to-day workload and, as such, it can get pushed aside.
One of the main reasons for this is that it can be overwhelming. There are many dimensions to a comprehensive marketing strategy. Some of them are technical, some are operational and some are purely psychological.
With any large-scale endeavour it helps to have a step-by-step plan. This article sets out a quarter-by-quarter and month-by-month plan to let you address each crucial element of your firm’s marketing in turn. We’ll also look at some practical tools and give actionable tips on how to improve each aspect of your website and digital marketing.
Q1 - Fix your Website
It all starts with your website. It’s the hub of your marketing activity in that most, if not all, clients will use it at some stage on their journey.
Jan - Perform a website audit
Even the best law firm websites can be improved. Let’s see how yours stacks up with SEOptimer.
This tool analyses a whole host of aspects of your site and grades them from A to E. This is a fairly technical report but it does provide the basis on which you can instruct an agency or other third party to make improvements. Following the recommendations in such a report will undoubtedly improve your website’s presence in Google.
If you’d like a more user-friendly report which also analyses how you stand with respect to your competitors, you can contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb - Analyse your design
So you’ve fixed the technical aspects, now what about the more emotional aspects? Does your website design (i.e. your brand) really represent who you are and who your clients are?
It’s more than just colour and logo - it’s your key messages and USP. At the outset of any project we take our clients through a discovery process to really get to the heart of their brand.
To get you started, you can find the Questionnaire we use as a basis for that workshop here.
March - Improve your reviews
Online reviews are crucial to any modern business. Most consumers will now, without fail, check out reviews before purchasing anything.
Below is our template email for acquiring more online reviews. We always recommend you send something like this to happy clients any time positive feedback is received:
Subject Line: Please Provide a Review on Google for Us
I hope you’re well. We would appreciate it if you could please write a short review of our services on our Google profile. This helps to explain to future clients the ways in which we have helped others and to show that we aim to provide an excellent level of service for all clients. This should only take a few minutes of your time. To provide a review of our services on Google, please search for our firm and then click ‘Write a review’ (located on the right hand side on desktop and near the top of search results on mobile). You’ll then be asked to sign in to your Google account and provide a rating out of 5 stars (5 being the best) and a short review. To complete the review, click 'publish'. If you have any queries about this please do not hesitate to contact us. Many thanks.’
Aim to acquire at least five 5-star reviews – if you can achieve this, the effects on your traffic and conversions will be significant (a recent study shows that having a 5-star rating boosts search click-through by 28% and that 56% of consumers will choose a firm with positive ratings/reviews, in addition to the ranking improvements that come with such reviews).
Reporting Google Reviews
The downside to eliciting reviews is, of course, eliciting vexatious ones. Most lawyers we speak to are worried about negative reviews but in our opinion this is misplaced. First of all, any genuine product or service does occasionally fail. So “negative” reviews can actually assist by giving the impression that the others are genuine.
If you receive a negative review, you can generally ask for these reviews to be removed if you believe they are vexatious. Here’s a guide to reporting the review from Google – (note you have to be logged in to your Google ‘My Business’ listing) to do so: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4596773?hl=en
Other review sites will have similar resources to allow you to do this. Also, when logged in, you can respond to the reviewer to state your case or, if it’s true, apologise. If it’s a vexatious review, we recommend going back with something along the lines of:
Hi (NAME), we keep precise records of all of our clients as per Law Society regulations and we have no record of ever having acted for you in any matter. We believe this review may therefore refer to another firm and we would ask that you please remove this review from our page - we consider this review to be defamatory, damaging and without foundation. If there is any matter that you would like to discuss further with us then we would be happy to do so if you contact our firm directly. Thank you.