The Internet is now the most popular way for people to find a lawyer.
According to a new survey from FindLaw, this is a big change from just a few years ago. In 2005, only 7% of people would have used the Internet, while 65% would have asked a friend or relative. Nowadays, only 29% would ask a friend or relative, while 38% would use the Internet. Ten percent would consult a local bar association, and just 4% would consult the Yellow Pages. (However, 15% already have a relationship with a lawyer and wouldn't need to research one. The survey has a margin of error of 3%.)
Looking at those numbers, I'm almost starting to think that this new-fangled Internet fad is here to stay. So, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Are you using the Internet to market your firm effectively? Here are three ways to create or polish your net presence.
Have a Website
Obviously. But not just any website, a good one. If you don't have a website, you look like you're in the Stone Age. If your website isn't first rate, well ... if you don't do an excellent job on something that represents you to the entire world, how can potential clients think you'll do an excellent job representing them?
So make a website and make it good. Don't just use it as an advertizing vehicle, provide with real content that helps people. And make sure it works on an iPhone, an Android, a Mac, a PC, a tablet, etc.
If you can't do it yourself, get help. And it just so happens that we here at FindLaw know someone who can help you ...
Do Some Blogging
This is a great way to let the public get to know you and for you to establish yourself as an expert. You can start your own blog on your own firm's site or write a guest post on somebody else's. What blog in your field is particularly useful to the public? Now think up a post that would make it even better and pitch it. And, obviously, get a link back to your own website. Make sure that readers who click from your guest post to your website land on a page that lets them get in contact with you.
There's a reason why there are so many ads out there: they work. Or they can work. Be sure to weigh the cost of advertizing against the revenue it brings in. Also, know and follow the ethical rules in your jurisdiction. One low-key way to advertize is to get listed in a lawyer directory. If the directory is also connected to content providing lots of great information, amusing bloggers(!) and a place for people to find a lawyer in their area, then it's providing yet another service to the public and you can be proud to be listed there.
What a coincidence, I know an online directory like that.
Use the Internet to Help People
People want to hire a lawyer who is excellent, who cares about providing good value and who knows his or her area of law. You can use the Internet to prove you are that person.
Create a good-looking, useful website. Write some posts and share your knowledge with the people who need it. Sign up with a directory that supports good content. Whether your choose FindLaw to help you with your law firm marketing, or someone else, that is the way to use the Internet effectively.
- Law Firm Websites 101: The Basics of Name, Design and Content (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Blogger Beware: Ethical Considerations for Legal Blogs (Richmond Journal of Law & Technology)
- State Ethics Rules Governing Lawyer Advertising, Solicitation and Marketing (ABA)