Rankings don’t necessarily translate to traffic, which doesn’t necessarily translate to inquiries, which don’t necessarily translate into new clients.
And this may seem obvious to you.
However, when lawyers begin to “investigate” internet marketing for their law firms, it often goes something like this:
- Perform a search for some combination of practice area, location and legal modifier (i.e. chicago injury lawyer).
- See “who comes up” on the search results page.
- Click on a few of the websites that “rank” highly for a couple search phrases.
- Try to figure out “who they’re using” for their SEO.
- Call a couple of the prominent law firm search marketing shops.
- Get sold on getting “rankings”, “traffic” or “inquiries” from the web.
Of course, there are a lot of issues here that might prevent the lawyer from realizing success in developing business from the internet.
First, we need to talk about rankings. Rankings are one of the easiest things for us to wrap our heads around. The reasoning goes, if you rank highly, people using search engines will see your listings, call you and hire you.
But for what searches are you ranking? Is there volume for the search queries for which you rank? Where are the people that are searching on the keywords for which you rank located in the legal services hiring cycle?
Rankings are definitely a piece of the puzzle, but rankings alone don’t translate into return on investment from internet marketing.
Second, we need to talk about traffic. Traffic is also a pretty easy concept for us to understand. The reasoning goes, if you drive traffic to your website, some of those visitors will call and hire you.
But how did those visitors get to your website? Did they come from search? Were they looking for information and answers that you provide? Where are they in the legal services hiring cycle? Did they land on your page by accident only to click the back button to take another look at the search engine results? Perhaps they didn’t even come from search at all. Where did they come from?
Like rankings, there is no doubt that website traffic is a piece of the larger law firm internet marketing puzzle. However, traffic alone doesn’t necessarily translate into new clients for your practice.
Whether you call them inquiries, prospective clients or even just leads, getting the right people to contact your firm about your services is the third most important component to new client development (third only to providing excellent service to your clients and getting more people to actually hire you).
But inquiries from potential clients often don’t translate into new clients. And the reasons that this happen are many. And on the internet, they ultimately tie back to how they found you online, and what they saw after they found you.
As you may be learning, actually realizing new clients from the web, in a way that is actually profitable for your law firm, can be quite challenging. It requires an understanding of a variety of concepts from several different disciplines.
You might have looked at the image at the top of this post and thought to yourself that the traffic numbers listed seemed fairly dismal. And I can tell you, that none of the visits generate by the keywords listed are tracked as “ranking #1” in Google.
But how many inquiries did these visitors translate into? And how many turned into new clients? Are these new clients profitable for the firm?
These are just some of the types of internet marketing questions that lawyers should be thinking about and asking both of themselves and their legal internet marketers.