There are many ways to advertise your business. With social media marketing, you can reach more prospects on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. With email, you can engage new subscribers and send updates to past clients. And with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can generate organic traffic from Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Local Search Marketing is another method for getting your business in front of more potential clients. Specifically, Local Search Marketing allows you to attract prospects who are searching for legal services in your area.
If you’ve yet to try your hand at local search marketing or Search Engine Marketing (SEM), you’ll be happy to discover these effective strategies for growing your practice.
What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to a category of digital marketing that involves increasing your brand’s visibility in search engines (namely, Google).
SEM encompasses two main approaches:
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, which involves running paid ads in the search results
- SEO, which focuses on improving your website's visibility in the organic (non-paid) search results
For law firms, both of these approaches typically involve targeting or attracting users in a specific geographic area. This might be done by using geo-specific keywords in your Google Ads campaigns or creating geo-specific landing pages on your website.
SEM can be an effective type of marketing for lawyers given that people typically search for legal services in their proximity. Google searches like “Lawyer near me” or “NY personal injury attorney” indicate a user’s intention to find a lawyer in their specific area.
Examples of Local Search Marketing
Even under these two approaches to SEM are many other individual strategies. Each of these strategies come together to increase your business’s relevance, visibility, and traffic potential in local search.
Perhaps you have heard of (or have tried) a few of these strategies already. Here are some examples of local search marketing:
- Google Business Profile (GBP) optimization
- Local citations/directory marketing
- Local search ads (Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.)
- Online reviews and reputation management
- Event marketing
We’ll dive into these (and other strategies) below. In short, there are many ways to help your business get found in local search and drive more leads for your law firm.
Local Search Marketing Strategies for Lawyers
Recent reports show that organic Search is one of the leading platforms people use to find information online. People use Google to shop for clothing, read the news, find local restaurants, and yes, even hire attorneys. Local Search Marketing is one of the best ways for lawyers to attract potential clients.
Try out these effective strategies for increasing your Search visibility, traffic, and leads in 2024.
1. Optimize your website for local Search
Your website is your business’s greatest asset. It has the power to attract (or deter) potential clients, generate traffic, and close new business. Optimizing your website for local search is a smart way to draw in more local clients.
Use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to find keywords related to your location and practice areas(s). Some examples of geo-specific keywords include, “Seattle DUI lawyer”, “family law firm Denver”, “NY PI attorney”, “corporate lawyer NJ”, and the like.
Next, optimize your website content with location-specific keywords. Create location-based landing pages if your business serves multiple areas. Include keywords in your respective landing pages, using them in the title tag, meta description, and body copy of the web page.
2. Claim and/or update your Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (previously called “Google My Business”) is a free listing platform that Google provides to all businesses. This is one of the first listings people see when they search for local businesses, services, or information.
If you haven’t done so already, claim and verify your Google Business Profile. This profile may already exist and just needs to be claimed by you, or you can create your listing from scratch.
Once your listing is claimed and verified, you will be able to manage it under your Google account. This will allow you to update your information, such as your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, website URL, business Category, and photos. Be sure to fill out all of these areas for your best chance of ranking.
We recommend that you add high-quality photos of your business and services (these can be graphics that represent your business as well). Prompt past clients to leave positive reviews on your Google page, as this can influence your organic rankings.
3. Build trust with user reviews
Gain reviews from past clients to boost your visibility in Search. Not only do positive reviews build trust with potential clients, but they can also influence your search engine rankings.
Your first priority should be to generate reviews for your Google Business Profile, as this will help you show up more in Google. But there are other directories that allow you to collect reviews and get noticed by potential clients.
The best places to collect client reviews are:
- Google Business Profile
- Bing Places
- Better Business Bureau
- Yellow pages
It’s best practice to respond to both positive and negative reviews. Thank happy reviewers for their kind words, and respond to negative reviews in a professional manner. Do not fight it out in the reviews section, as this will only make your business look bad.
4. Create location-specific content
Beyond geo-specific landing pages, you can also create other types of location-focused content. Blog posts, articles, and videos can be used to engage your audience and drive more traffic.
This location-focused content should either be content that targets a specific geo-keyword that’s relevant to your business, or some other topic that might engage a local audience. For the latter, this might include coverage or local events, news, stories, or community involvement. You can find some other local content ideas here.
Once published, share your content on social media. You can use local hashtags and/or post content in local Facebook or LinkedIn groups to garner engagement.
5. Claim and optimization your local citations
In strategy #3, we mentioned generating reviews on popular directory platforms. But these platforms are good for more than just reviews. They can also rank in organic search!
Wherever your business is present online, make sure your information is consistent. Your business name, hours, website URL, phone number, etc. should be the same across all listings, including Google Business Profile, Facebook, online directories, local websites, LinkedIn, etc.
Listings in local directories like Yellow Pages, Bing Places, and Yelp can improve your local search visibility and support your reputation as a reliable business. Giving potential clients more places to find you online is never a bad idea!
6. Gain a competitive edge with PPC ads
Until this step, we’ve talked mostly about organic strategies. That is, marketing you don’t have to (directly) pay for. But you can also drive traffic and leads with paid marketing; specifically, PPC.
The most common PPC platform is Google Ads, but LinkedIn Ads, Meta Ads, and Bing Ads are also common. All of these platforms involve targeting a specific audience based on demographics, keywords, location, or all of the above.
With Google Ads, you can set up location-based ad campaigns to reach users in specific geographic areas. For example, if you are an estate lawyer in Boston, you can target a wide range of terms that include “Boston”, “MA”, “Massachusetts”, etc., plus any combination of “estate law”, “estate attorney”, etc.
These are “pay per click” ads in that you technically pay whenever someone clicks on your ad. A click results in a visit to your website or a landing page, though you can also prompt users to call you on the phone. PPC is a great way to gain a competitive edge over other law firms that are only using organic strategies.
There is a great article about PPC for Law Firms published by Ghulam Nabi.
7. Grow your community with social media
There are other ways to engage your local community than running marketing campaigns, of course. Taking a “grassroots” approach to making connections and growing a community can also bring new clients your way.
For one, you can use social media to engage with your local community. You can do this via your business Facebook page, your personal Facebook page, social media groups, and more.
You can also advertise local events, meetups, scholarships, and the like to introduce your business to your community. This may result in new friends, new hires, new peers, or even new clients.
Don’t underestimate the long-game of building genuine relationships with people. Though these people may not become clients, there’s always the potential that they send friends or family members your way!
8. Optimize for mobile and voice search
When it comes to SEO, the technical foundation of your site is just as important as your content. Not only should your website look great, but it should be fast, secure, and functional.
That’s why User Experience (US) and mobile optimization are so important. UX ensures that your website is easy to navigate. Mobile optimization ensures that your website is fast and functional on all types of devices.
Many local searches occur on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. You don’t want to miss out on potential clients because your site is slow, hard to read, or isn’t mobile accessible. Follow Google’s best practices for mobile optimization and consider using a cache plugin to ensure a fast and mobile-friendly website.
Another area of SEO is Voice Search. This is when people use things like Suri or Alexa to conduct searches. You can optimize for local voice searches by including natural, conversational language in your content.
9. Earn high-quality backlinks
A “backlink” refers to an instance in which another website or blog links to your website. This may be a link within an article, a link in an online directory, a link in a news story, etc. Links from reputable, high-authority publications can indicate to search engines that your business is legitimate and trustworthy, thus improving your SEO.
But earning links from websites is often easier said than done. While some sites might link to you of their own accord, most often, it will take some intentional effort to earn backlinks.
One way is to submit your business information to local directories and community organizations. You might ask to get featured by a legal industry-related non-profit organization, add your business to your local Chamber of Commerce website, submit your business to the Better Business Bureau, etc.
Another way to earn links is to build relationships with local businesses and organizations, including other law firms. If these partners often refer customers or clients out to law firms, they could add a profile (and link) for you on their website.
You can also publish content that garners local recognition. For example, hosting events or issuing scholarships is a good way to get featured in local online magazines, newspapers, etc. You can even reach out to community-specific blogs asking them to promote your service, event, or scholarship.
10. Run targeted email campaigns
Another effective search marketing strategy is to run targeted email campaigns.
You can segment your existing email list based on locations (assuming this data is available) and run geo-specific email campaigns promoting your firm. Just note that law firms are not allowed to solicit new clients by using email collection/lead generation services.
Here’s an example of what a target email message might look like:
“Dear [Recipient's Name],
We hope this email finds you well. At [Law Firm Name], we are committed to providing top-notch legal services that cater to the unique needs of our clients. As part of our ongoing efforts to offer specialized assistance, we are excited to announce an exclusive promotion for residents of [City/Region].
We understand that legal matters can be complex and often require personalized attention. To better serve you, we are introducing our [City/Region] Legal Concierge Services, designed to address the specific legal challenges faced by residents in our community.
- Complimentary Consultation: Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to discuss your legal concerns and explore potential solutions.
- Local Expertise: Benefit from our in-depth knowledge of [City/Region]'s legal landscape and regulations.
- Discounted Rates: As a token of appreciation for our local clients, we are offering discounted rates on select legal services during this promotion.
This limited-time offer is our way of expressing gratitude to the [City/Region] community for their continued trust and support!
Don't miss out on this opportunity to access high-quality legal services tailored to [City/Region] residents. If you have any questions or require further assistance, feel free to contact us at [Phone Number] or reply to this email.
[Law Firm Name]”
Feel free to adapt this template to suit your unique services and audience. Running geo-specific campaigns is a great way to increase the relevance of your offer to your target audience. This can result in more interest and a better conversion rate.
When in Doubt, Go Local
Local search marketing allows you to narrow your focus to reach a more specific target market. This greatly decreases the level of competition and can lead to better results (i.e. conversions) on your marketing efforts. If you’re struggling to stand out against major players, it may be time to invest in more geo-specific campaigns.
SEO and SEM are two of the most effective ways to reach a local audience and attract new clients. Try some (or all) of the recommended strategies above to drive more traffic and leads for your law firm.