The Internet as a Research (I Mean Marketing) Tool

Gyi Tsakalakis
June 17, 2010

One of the most fundamental advantages of search marketing and, more generally, Internet marketing, is the ability to communicate to potential clients who are researching a particular topic related to your field of practice.

The Internet began as a research tool, and despite attempts to turn it into a "cesspool" where false information thrives, this remains its core function.

While this concept may seem extremely basic, unfortunately, when it comes to law firm Internet marketing, it is often overlooked.

The problem is really one of habit.  From the time of Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, many law firms have become advertising zombies.  Need evidence?  Simply switch on your television between noon and 6 pm.  Or take a look at your local yellow book.  Yeah, remember that thing?

The truth is, both TV and yellow book advertising produced results for many lawyers for many years.  In fact, there are at least some geographical locations and practice areas for which these advertising media can still produce a return on investment (if you're using them, you better be tracking your results).

And, admittedly, there are areas of the web that work a lot like the yellow book model (think Google Places).

However, when it comes to actually marketing your law firm on the Internet, traditional advertising rules don't hold.  And the reason stems from the fact that the Internet's core use remains as a research tool.

matthews.jpgThis is why, when properly executed, blogging, social media participation, and education-based marketing are so effective on the web.

Another great way to incorporate the research concept into your law firm web marketing strategy is through the use of FAQs.

Steve Matthews, of Stem Legal, provides some great tips on how to properly implement an FAQ section on your law firm website:

FAQ collections are a solid tactic to publish in a meaningful way.  When a collection stands alone, it can become a valuable addition to the lawyer’s group of web properties.  It also helps the lawyer become better aligned with the subject matter they most want to become associated with.  Especially for lawyers with a niche or boutique practice, content depth online can’t be underestimated. From an SEO point of view, this depth not only addresses the long-tail type searches, but over time, will help create the authority and trust qualities that are so important for competitive search terms.

Steve also points out a couple things to avoid:

We also encourage lawyers to stay away from the types of questions Gracey and Neilson dislike: questions lawyers wish their clients would ask. These include strictly self-serving questions like Why should I hire you as my lawyer? and What can your firm offer me that others can’t?

Using frequently asked questions aligns your content with the intent of the researcher.  Many searchers will enter their specific question into the search engine.  By including questions, and their answers, on your site, you are likely to achieve high search visibility for these less competitive, highly relevant, key phrases.

And, of course, by providing concrete information in response to the question, you have positioned yourself as the expert on the issue.  This will maximize the probability of a visitor to your website or blog, taking some action and converting into a potential client.

Photo By: EncMstr

Gyi Tsakalakis
Co-Founder of AttorneySync
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