Word of mouth advertising – for years, this phrase constituted the beginning and the end of marketing “strategy” for many law firms. Sure, there were TV ads, radio ads, and The Yellow Pages but for many firms referrals generated the most business. This strategy continues to pay off for older large firms as their numbers of past clients reaches far into the thousands thereby extending their referral network almost endlessly. But what about smaller firms with less extensive histories? How do boutique firms and solo practitioners plan to compete on the same playing field as 100 year old firms?
Recently, during a networking event I met an attorney fresh out of law school that started his own family law practice. We exchanged business cards and I noticed that he didn’t have his website listed on his card. I asked if I could have his site address and he informed me that he didn’t have a site nor did he plan on creating one. He informed me that he worked solely on word of mouth and that he didn’t want to “cheapen” himself with a website. Needless to say, I didn’t press the issue any further. I did take note of his nice suit, watch, shoes, and BMW as I saw him walk to the parking lot though.
How many people who are referred to his office will ever see any of those things? After being referred to his office what is the first thing most people will do? They’ll Google him to learn about his education, past victories, and also their legal situation. If they can’t find any information about him how confident will they feel about that referral? Will they ever see that nice suit, car, or watch? If they find another lawyer’s site that has quality information related to their situation how likely is it that they would go through with the original referral? What do we know about first impressions? Your website, in many instances, is your chance to make that first impression. Without one people will make plenty of assumptions. How many will be positive?
SEO and Word-of-Mouth work Hand-in-Hand
In the past, referrals were taken at face value and almost guaranteed business. Today, referrals are still one of best ways to gain new business leading some to the opinion that “good lawyers” and “good firms” that get most of their work from relationships and word of mouth shouldn’t worry about SEO. However, in the same breath they will acknowledge the benefits of good content for their sites. This is where a good SEO plan for your firm will make your site shine. Providing high quality content for your prospects, current clients, and past clients will not “cheapen” you. Quite the contrary, this kind of web presence spreads your authority, boosts your Google rankings, and attracts high quality clients. This is the new SEO.
SEO is not a magical formula that makes the phone ring. Paying more for SEO doesn’t guarantee high rankings either; if it did then all of the top spots would be taken by the companies with the largest budgets which would make search engines irrelevant. Taking an authentic approach to your SEO plan is the only true way to find success on the web. Google’s algorithm is not going to be outfoxed with link farming, keyword spamming, or other “black-hat” SEO methods. authenticWEB is an award winning SEO agency for attorneys that knows how to convey value, spread authority, and get more “wins” from the web. Call us today for a free consultation and start spreading your web presence in an authentic way!