in Business, SEO, Web

Connecting The Dots

I spend a lot of time picking at stuff lawyers are doing online. And one trend that becomes clear pretty quickly is that many lawyers who have begun dabbling in “the web for their law firm” have either hired consultants to help them that don’t have experience marketing law firms, or they’re doing it themselves, and it’s obvious.

Which leads to the common problem of “not connecting the dots.” Here are a couple of examples of how the story goes:

Pure DIY Law Firm Web Marketing

This lawyer usually considers herself fairly “tech-savvy.” She might not be a code warrior, but she’s spent some time reading the major business web marketing blogs. She spend a couple hours here and there “doing stuff” online. She probably has a website with a blog and a couple social networking profiles that she pops on and off of from time to time.

While she is likely proud of the hard work she’s put into developing her web presence, she likely feels she could be doing better. She may or may not have web analytics installed on her site but probably doesn’t really understand what to make of all the data there. If she’s an exceptional case, she may be doing some basic link building which probably includes a lot of directory submissions and perhaps some gust blog posting.

In the end, she doesn’t really have a lot of time to learn, design, and execute a comprehensive web strategy. She knows she should be online, but she doesn’t really know how to connect all the dots to realize whether it’s actually working.

I Bought Web Marketing

Some law firms have marketing and advertising budgets. These firms are probably very familiar with advertising on television, the radio, and in yellow books. They figure, this whole web thing seems to be catching on, so I should probably allocate some of my budget to the web.

They don’t probably don’t know much about how the web works, and frankly, they don’t really care. They want to pay someone to take care of the web stuff, so they can feel like they’re not missing out.

Maybe they talk to a someone they know to get a referral, or maybe they see a web marketing vendor’s presentation or sponsored bar association or other professional association event. They sign-up, not really knowing what these search engine guys actually do. And again, they really don’t care.

While they feel good that they’re not missing out on the web channel, there’s an elephant that born that continues to grow month over month. The name of the elephant is “Is This Working?”

Sure, the web guys may provide traffic and/or ranking reports. Perhaps they even provide lists of places they “built new links” (although that’s not likely). But there’s that elephant again. Is all this web stuff really helping to develop a professional web presence that is encouraging more people to interact with the firm, inquire about hiring, and actually becoming a new client?

In the end, it’s likely that the web consultants aren’t connecting all the dots.

How Does One Connect the Dots?

How you connect the dots will vary from firm to firm and lawyer to lawyer. However, there are some things you can start thinking about to work toward connecting all the dots.

First, brainstorm how people find your firm. Do they ask people they know? Do they go online?

Second, brainstorm about what you want them to see when they find you. Ask what they are currently seeing?

Third, brainstorm why they should hire you over your competitors. What do you do better than others? Are you communicating that well?

Finally, track everything. Track visitors. Track rankings. Track phone calls. Track emails. Track new client lists. That way, you can analyze all of the different marketing and advertising you’re doing.