Ever since the Supreme Court case, Bates v. State Bar of Arizona in the 1970s, lawyers have had the right to advertise their services like any other commercial enterprise. Gone were the days of Tombstone ads, playing golf and going out to lunch several times a week just to woo new clients. While the full range of ethical marketing tools has been available to law firms for some time, the recent growth of the internet has been a game changer.
The old marketing paradigm was based on outbound campaigns that bombarded consumers with sales information hoping it would lead to a sale, or in the legal setting, getting retained. However, the internet has completely changed the consumer’s shopping habits. When the prospect is interested in retaining legal counsel today, the odds are that he is going online to a search engine, like Google to find out about his options. Surprisingly, more than 91% never leave the first page of Google in their pursuit of information. That’s why being visible or highly ranked on the search engines is essential if your law firm is going to harness this new marketing platform.
Studies show that consumers look on average at 4.8 attorney websites online BEFORE they contact a firm. 89% of people who use the internet go online to find an attorney and 65% begin their search for an attorney on the internet. When you combine those statistics with the research out of the University of Southern California showing that consumers trust the information on the internet more than referrals or recommendations from friends and family, you know that this internet thing is here to stay.
Failing to optimize your website and make it search engine friendly is a huge mistake most law firms make. The purpose of your online presence must be to be visible, drive traffic to your site and capture contact information from interested prospects. Dominating your market online should be at the top of every law firm’s marketing efforts. Otherwise, you stand the very real chance of extinction in this new digital age.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555