Website leads are a valuable way for lawyers and firms to create engagement with potential clients and grow their client base. In a recent webinar, “Law Firm Master Class: 5 Ways to Increase Your Website Leads in 2021,” our founder and CEO Jason Hennessey joined Mike Melis of text messaging and online review management platform Kenect to discuss 5 strategies for getting the most out of your website leads.
Below are highlights from that discussion.
Tip 1 – Investing in Brand Development, Thought Leadership and Public Relations
In the world of SEO, you have a website and the goal is to make your website more popular. You could do that artificially by paying link building companies to build volumes of links back to your website, or you could do it more naturally through thought leadership, public relations and brand development.
There are plenty of sites that you as the law firm owner, aka entrepreneur or thought leader in the space, can actually go out and start publishing on. I personally write for The National Law Review, Entrepreneur, Inc., and Fast Company. It’s not easy to get onto those sites, but once you get one, it’s easier to get the next, and so on. As you start to publish content on sites like that, not only do you get the value of the link equity that comes over from you publishing—your byline links back to your website—but you also are now representing as a thought leader.
The content that I publish on The National Law Review, because that site is so authoritative, by me just publishing a piece of content, that site will also rank on Google. So now I have my site that is ranking on Google, I have the National Law Review that is ranking on Google, and so they call that “barnacle SEO.” That’s a good strategy to get leads not only from your website, but from all these other websites that are probably even more trusted than your own website.
Doing podcasts is another great way to get your brand out there. That podcast links back to you, so there are many SEO benefits from that. If you think about it, most law firm names are known, but people also want to know who are the human beings behind the law firm. When you think of Tesla, you think Elon Musk; when you think of Facebook, you think Mark Zuckerberg; when you think of Apple, you think of Steve Jobs.
What you want to be is the human being behind the brand. For me personally, I don’t love to write, but I love getting on calls and I love speaking. I have an executive assistant and Wednesdays are my creative days where Kathryn (my assistant) interviews me for an hour and a half. From that interview, we get all kinds of great content. She gets our conversations transcribed and she’ll take that and come up with the articles that I can use and submit.
If you have a budget to go out and hire a PR company, that’s a great way to leverage the relationships they already have and get you more press quicker than you might be able to get it alone. But in the absence of that, just take the time to do it yourself. You’ll be amazed at the results you can get just by putting in the work.
There’s a site called HARO where journalists are looking for opportunities to connect with thought leaders about particular subjects. At the end of the day, it comes down to finding time to do it. A lot of mistakes I see lawyers make is just hiring anybody to write blog content using their name. Because now that is their legacy, their character, and their brand if you have someone writing content under your byline. If you stamp your name on something, you should review it and publish it. Because that is what will get you more speaking engagements.
Tip 2 – Inbound Text Messaging
If someone shoots me an email on Thursday at 9:00 in the morning, I’m probably not going to get back to that email and respond for at least 24 hours, just because of how many things are coming in and out of your inbox and your meetings. But even like right now, if I get a text message, it just pops into my phone and you’ve got my immediate attention. And it’s short.
Same thing with your prospects: they are engaging with you because text is the preferred way of communication these days, so it’s great. It’s also a good way to keep in touch and give quick updates. After you engage with a prospect and they turn into a client, it’s a good way to keep the communication long afterwards.
Tip 3 – Reading, Reviewing and Revamping Legacy Content
If we go back to the genesis of content strategy or content marketing in terms of SEO to generate leads, like 20 years ago, you’d write a piece of content and you’d optimize it for a robot first. You’d put in keywords and make sure the density was 7% and bold your keywords, and every page you read didn’t really make sense. It was just a bunch of gibberish, but that’s what it took to rank on Google. And over the years, you started to write less for the bots and more for the human, but you had to have that balance.
In most cases back then, people just wrote content and just kept it up there and Google would shift things around, but if you were ranking in the top 3 positions, why mess with it?
Nowadays, it’s a little different. Google relies heavily on user signals and user engagement signals. If you have a piece of content you write and publish, you want to see how it settles with Google after about 2 weeks. Is it on page 3, page 1, middle of page 1? As it settles, then go back in and revamp the content. If it’s in position 7, there’s a reason why it’s in position 7. Because once you get to the first page of Google, Google’s relying heavily on user signals, like how people are interacting with the website.
So if somebody does a Google search for some kind of term and they click on your page and they’re only there for 7 seconds, but then they click back to Google, that’s called “pogo sticking”.
The more that your page does not satisfy the intent of the person that is doing the search, the further you’re going to get pushed down to page 2 and page 3, etc. This is generally speaking, so that’s why I encourage people to always go back and review your content.
Read your content. If in the first paragraph of an Atlanta car accident lawyer page, you’re talking about statistics of all car accidents that take place in Atlanta, you’re not satisfying the intent of the person that is doing that search. The person that is doing that search was involved in a car accident, they think they might not be able to get to work, they’ve got medical bills, somebody was in the hospital and there’s so much stress. The last thing they want to see in that first paragraph is statistics on all car accidents that take place in Atlanta.
It’s important to read your content and ask, would you hire yourself if you read your own content? Constantly go back to your existing content and try to make the content a little bit better.
Tip 4 – Online Reviews
You have to do online reviews because if you don’t, it’s almost next to impossible to rank within the Google map. If you’re not getting reviews, and you’re not responding to reviews, Google is looking at the keywords that are used in those reviews. And if you think about it, reviews are so important: we’re almost conditioned to look at reviews now, even with leaving reviews.
A lot of times, you’ll get people that call you, and for whatever reason you might not be able to accept their case, or can’t help them, but maybe if you take an extra 3 minutes with that prospect and steer them in the right direction, tell them that there’s a free resource and this is the link, or tell them that they can call these people who would be able to help them.
And after that, say “By the way, I hope I was helpful. If I was, would you mind leaving a review for us?” Even if they’re not a customer, if you treat them with good customer service, you can ask for the review as payment because you went out of your way to help them.
Tip 5 – Conversion Rate Optimization
When you think about conversion rate optimization, it seems complicated; like you have to have a data science background. But it’s not as complicated if you simplify it, because you’re doing everything you can to build an audience and to get traffic to your website.
That’s half the equation.
The other half of the equation is getting people to trust you by making sure that you’re addressing their problem and getting them to convert. Where I see a lot of lawyers make mistakes on their website is in the vanity of branding yourself: there’s billboards all over the place of you, and that’s fine. If you built a personal brand and people recognize your face, it’s perfectly fine to put your face up there so that they recognize you from TV or from billboards, but don’t make it all about you.
People are visiting a website because they have a problem, and every single website I see has all the accolades listed. That’s fine and you should have that, but you really should be addressing their problems and issues first.
Most people that reach out to a personal injury lawyer—I’d say about 70%—don’t realize that it’s free; not “free”, but free on a contingency basis. If someone is in a car accident, say “Hey; you should get a lawyer,” and they say “Oh, I can’t afford a lawyer.”
You go to the page and they visit the website and it says “your call is free,” “you don’t pay us a dime unless we win,” “we can get you a cash advance in less than 24 hours,” “we can help pay your medical bills,” and what else can you do for them. That’s the language you want to be using above the fold, not so much all about us, us us.
It’s a balance, though; just as simple as changing the language or changing the text on the submit button. For example, instead of just saying “submit,” have the button say “submit for a free case review.” Just change the littlest things.
You don’t need to make drastic changes every two weeks to your site, because a 2% conversion rate which then goes to a 2.7% conversion rate which then goes to a 3% conversion rate is going to equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars by just making those slight little adjustments to your website to try and improve the conversion rate.
We recently had a client that reached out to us because they were concerned that their bounce rate was a little high. A bounce rate is where someone goes to your website, and then they don’t really click around.
The problem with that, for a site like a law firm, is in most cases, the first place that somebody will go to your website, they’ll do a Google search for something like “slip and fall lawyer.” They’ll land on your slip and fall page, and they might walk away to the bathroom and come back and then they’re still on the page and then they read your page and then they call you.
They didn’t go anywhere else, because the goal is to get them to convert or they filled out a chat. And because they didn’t go anywhere else on the site, even if they’re on the webpage for 15 minutes, Google deems that as a bounce.
For personal injury lawyers or law firms: don’t spend too much time concerned over your bounce rate, because the goal is to get people to convert from the page that they’re on. If you have an e-commerce site where the goal is to get them from a product page to checkout page, obviously bounce rate is a very important metric that you want to fix. But don’t stress over a bounce rate.
Note: The information above is a partial transcript from a webinar hosted by Kenect on March 11, 2021.