The internet is the most powerful, most robust, most targeted advertising medium ever devised. The reason is that consumers are turning to "inbound marketing" - meaning they actively seek out products and services and research them online rather than rely on older "outbound marketing" messages to sway them. Thus, "inbound marketing" has tremendous potential and application for law firms and law practices looking to get the attention of prospective clients online.
Fewer and fewer Americans are turning to things like the hard copy phone book to find products and services. Instead they begin on Google with a keyword phrase, like "Boston injury lawyer" hence, they are "inbound" to your website.
As more and more law firms turn to the medium, it is time to ask yourself what is your law practice doing to advertise itself online? The great thing about online marketing is that start up costs are very low and the learning curve can easily be mastered. Just remember, utilzing search engine marketing it is possible within a very short amount of time to achieve practically full coverage for your targeted niches.
Thus, for example, if you are trying to achieve max visibility for the phrase "Boston injury lawyer" on Google, you'll need to gauge how well your current website is optimized for this phrase. Visit Google, MSN, and Yahoo and search for the targeted phrase. Is your website visible in the top 100 results for any of these search engines? If this phrase is critical to your business and your not turning up in the top 100, chances are you have yet to attempt any on-site optimization of your web assets.
Easy fixes like title tags, meta data, and internal link anchor text can help catapult your site higher in the rankings. Are they all optimized for your keywords? If the easy fixes fail to help you may need the help of a search engine optimization expert. They will be able to tell you about additional minor changes you can make to your website that will help make your site return higher in the search engine results.
In addition, you will need to actively begin building links to your website. Links are the "fuel" that drive search engine results - at the most simplistic level, the more links you have from relevant websites the higher your site will be returned in the search results for your targeted keywords. As on-page changes are introduced and links built, your site will begin rising in the search engine results garnering more and more traffic along the way.
Another main component of any law firms internet marketing strategy should be to buy pay per click (PPC) advertising from one of the major providers. Currently, these providers are Google, Yahoo and MSN. As an example, Google displays PPC ads under the "Sponsored Links" headline along the right hand margin (and sometimes the top) of the search results for any given search. Using the Google AdWords program, advertisers are able to bid for placement on a keyword by keyword basis amongst these sponsored links. Each time a browser clicks through to one of these links the advertiser pays for the click based largely upon the amount of their bid. The Google program gives any advertiser absolute control over daily budget and in which geographic region the ad will be displayed in. Thus, your law firm will have total control over the cost and scope of the PPC campaign.
Clearly, law firms, solo practice attorneys and other law practices can achieve maximum exposure using SEO and PPC. If implemented correctly these two methods will begin to drive a steady stream of potential client leads to your website.