When used strategically, online marketing is proving its effectiveness. Here are three quick tips for generating new business online.
1. Identify which channels have the most potential to attract new clients. In a recent MerchantCircle survey of the “Most Effective Marketing/Ad Channels Used by U.S. Local Small Businesses,” the four top channels cited were: search engine marketing (40.2%); creating a profile on social networks (36.7%); email marketing (35.8%), and “other online methods” (34.4%). All four were more than 10 percentage points higher than any other channels listed, including print options. Good online advertising is proving its effectiveness over other options for those who measure performance. Still, it’s important to do your due diligence to identify which channels have the best potential to attract the clients you seek.
2. Use short- and long-term tactics to improve your placement in search engine results. There are three different components to search engine marketing, with three timelines and strategies. Search engine ads, located at the top and on the sides of search results, can be set up and turned on today, so you can have some immediate presence. Local maps or Places listings can be set up and optimized to show better results within weeks. Organic results optimization can have a dramatic impact on your firm’s website traffic, but it will require months or years. Since most lawyers need new business today, a few weeks from now, and in months and years to come, all three can be valuable. It is rarely a sound plan to pursue just one one of the three strategies.
3. Measure, measure, measure. Not all channels are created equal. Some will be more or less relevant based on the type of law you practice, and performance of different channels varies widely. Whether you use search engine marketing, social media or display advertising, it is important to measure over time for the outcomes you desire—for example, how many article downloads or inbound calls you generate. By doing so, you will be able to advertise more wisely and more effectively convert prospects into actual clients for your firm.
Carey Ransom is an Internet marketer and software entrepreneur. He is currently CEO of RealPractice, a leading cloud-based client development and practice management software platform. Carey is a frequent speaker and author on legal technology topics and an active blogger and social media participant.