Back in my college days at the University of Michigan, I was in a fraternity. At the start of each semester, we would have a rush period where prospective students would stop by the house and talk with the brothers. We would take everyone’s picture, write a short description about them, and then after the rush period we would have an Animal House style Hash. During Hash, pictures of the prospective pledges were projected on a wall and all the brothers in the house would debate whether or not to grant a bid to the individual. Since there were limited bids to give out each period, we had to “Nuke” anyone we didn’t think would be a good fit for the house.
Things aren’t much different for the “fraternity” of law firm internet marketing strategies. With limited time and fierce competition, messing around with ineffective online marketing strategies is unacceptable. With experience and trial and error on my side, I present to you 5 online marketing strategies for law firms that I’m officially nuking.
1. Flash Only Websites – I know, I know. Flash websites look so cool. They move and animate, the buttons light up, music plays when I get to the home page, etc. The problem is that flash is a killer when it comes to search engines. Search engines don’t read flash well. This means your beautiful, flash website will not come up in search results when people are looking for your services. That’s just too big a market to cut yourself out of. Incorporating some flash elements on certain parts of your website can be ok (I’d advise having a professional SEO look over the flash implementation to make sure), but don’t build the entire site in flash.
2. Comment Spamming – If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s good because this isn’t something you should do. Comment spamming involves building links back to your website by leaving worthless comments on other websites, blogs, and articles. From a technical perspective, this is a waste of your time. Most comments will be moderated by the author and never posted. Those spam comments that do make it through will most likely be “nofollowed” meaning the search engines won’t give you credit for the links. If you leave a worthless, general comment, it isn’t likely people will bother to head back to your site rendering your efforts a waste of time. Worst of all, your reputation is at stake if you, or a marketer you hire, is leaving comment spam that leads back to your website. If you comment, make sure it’s relevant and done for the purposes of adding the conversation, not to spam links back to your site.
3. Not Monitoring Your Firm’s Name – With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, and real-time information sharing, failing to monitor your firm’s name online is a big mistake. I don’t have to tell you that your reputation is one of, if not the most, important assets you have as an attorney. It’s critical that you setup alerts so that you know when you are mentioned and can respond appropriately. Using a free service such as Google Alerts allows you to setup automated emails that are delivered whenever something is published online about you or your firm.
4. Failing To Review Your State Bar Advertising Rules – I don’t need to tell you that lawyers are held to a different standard with regards to ethical advertising. Since every state bar establishes it’s own ethics rules, it’s important that you take the time to learn what is permissible and what isn’t. Don’t leave this critical task in the hands of a marketing company, it isn’t their bar license at stake if something goes wrong.
5. Not Using Analytics – If you aren’t measuring the performance of your website with a free, robust analytics program such as Google Analytics, than you aren’t going to be able to play with the big boys. In order to evolve, grow, and make necessary changes to your strategy you will need to understand what has happened, what has worked, and what hasn’t. You can’t do this without an analytics program. There is no excuse not to use one since one of the best ones out there, Google Analytics, is free. Get this setup today and take 20 minutes to learn how to use it.
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