At SLS, we sometimes get calls from lawyers who are in a market where we already have an existing client. Because we offer our clients exclusivity, we can’t always take on every client who reaches out to us. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t help point them in the right direction!
We recently sat down with our management team and asked to answer the following question:
What’s the best advice you would give to a solo practitioner trying to compete on the Internet these days?
Here’s what they had to say…
Susan Ziegler – President, CEO
This depends on a lot of factors, budget, geographic location, type of law they practice, etc.
If they have a budget for marketing – hire someone within their budget. Whatever they do, going out of their budget and spending more than they can afford is the worst idea. If they are just starting out, they need to know that they won’t rank organically for at least a year with a new site, so cheap and simple is best. Write all your own content and get listed on all the free directories. Blog and share socially as much as possible to drive interest. Facebook ads are cheap and useful for branding in the first year. This is also something they can do on their own. If they already have a website and want to compete, they just need to make sure they stay within Google guidelines and don’t do anything sketchy. Make sure your GMB profile is complete. Don’t buy links. Don’t trade blogs for links. Don’t hire a marketing company like FindLaw or Martindale that will suck up all your money and not do much in return. If you hire a marketing company, make sure you talk to current clients and do your research. Also, make sure you get exclusivity in your geographic and practice areas.
Andrew Castaneda – Head of SEO
When it comes to SEO, you can make progress right now with a simple website and basic directory links (Avvo, etc.). Just having a website, however small, enables your domain to start building authority and grants you a chance to show up in the maps in your neighborhood. If you have an office (read: a unique, staffed space) or operate as a service area business, you can do a lot of the basic legwork yourself: get a Google My Business listing, add your business to Yelp and directories such as Avvo and Justia, and start acquiring reviews. You can even self-publish a basic website through Google My Business! Remember that organic SEO takes a long time to develop. Instead of trying to model your first efforts after the big players or mills, just focus on the actionable items that can get you started and build momentum. And no matter how tempting it sounds, don’t fall for black-hat SEO or linking schemes.
Ronnie Gee – Head of Design
Determine your marketing budget and what will bring you the highest ROI. Sounds obvious, but many attorneys starting out can get distracted by thinking they have to have everything other established firms have worked years to achieve. In starting out, your goal is to bring in revenue to the firm. Start out cheap and work your way up:
- Purchase a domain on GoDaddy. There are other registrars, but GoDaddy seems to be one of the largest players that is relatively cheap and seems to constantly improve their systems. I am not a fan of Network Solutions for various reasons.
- Get a website up. In the beginning, you just want to establish any presence on the web so you can use services like Squarespace or Weebly. Wix has had SERP issues with Google in the past and does not have many responsive template choices so I am wary in recommending that service.
- List your address on free directories. BrightLocal is a great cheap option if you don’t have time to list yourself but also have a list if you are a DIYer: https://www.brightlocal.com/citation-builder/local-citation-sites-for-attorneys/
- Try Google AdWords. In starting out, Google AdWords will probably give you the best ROI as you can’t always afford to wait until Google decides to start ranking your content. In my opinion, it is worth it to hire out for this, as experience plays a large role in not wasting your AdWords spend. Most companies charge 10-20% of your spend.
Since 1999, the team at SLS Consulting, Inc., has been assisting law firms of all sizes achieve better rankings and a greater ROI on their marketing campaigns. For more information about how SLS can help you, call us today at (323) 254-1510.
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