Look, I get it – you’re a legal expert, not a marketing professional. Your job is to understand the law and help your clients benefit as much as possible from it. You’re not supposed to understand stuff like metrics, KPI, or SEO, right?

Yes and no.

Like every other industry, legal services has undergone a steep upturn in competition with the advent of the Internet. Billboard and bus ads aren’t the way to reach clients anymore – not on their own. Now that everyone’s online, even the smallest firm can gain an impressive amount of reach if they know how to tap into the web.

The first step in knowing how to do that is understanding what not to do.

Don’t Ignore Local Search

Try something for me – go to Google, and type “accident attorney” into the search bar. Look at how many results there are. Climbing to the top of that heap is an impossibility unless you’re a massive firm with an equally-large marketing budget.

And you shouldn’t be trying to get to the top of that results page, anyway – you should have a much narrower focus on your efforts.

Generally speaking, if your firm is based in Chicago, you won’t be serving clients in Austin. If someone from Texas does come across your site, it probably won’t be of much use to them. They’ll bounce and go to a law firm that’s actually based in their city.

In that same vein, if a client from your region cannot easily find your website, the chance that they’ll instead choose a competitor is all but certain. That’s precisely why local search is so important. By including location-based keywords and your practice area on your website’s pages and blogs, you’ll make yourself findable for the people who will actually work with you.

Don’t Forget To Create Profiles

Two of the most easily-accessible low-hanging fruits that I frequently see law firms forget is Google Places Business Pages and legal directory profiles. These are both easily-searchable databases, and both could be used by prospective clients to learn more about your firm. Yet many lawyers don’t bother with them – either because they aren’t aware they exist or because they don’t know why they’re important.

Be the exception to that rule. Create a well-written, professional-looking business page, complete with a photo of your venue, your address, contact information, and what services you provide. You might be surprised at how well it works to bring in new clients.

To that end, don’t ignore social media. Create a Facebook page and LinkedIn profile. Reach out to and interact with your clients,

Don’t Misunderstand Your Audience

I’ve noticed a lot of businesses – and not just law firms – seem to think that just because content marketing is highly-effective, they can bring in new clients simply by having enough content. It doesn’t work that way, though. Not even in the slightest.

As a lawyer, you know what your clients are looking for. An accident and injury lawyer, for example, wouldn’t be writing pieces on their site about divorce law. A real estate lawyer wouldn’t be droning about copyright law on their blog.

Stick to your area of expertise, especially when blogging. Because that’s what your clients are coming to you for.

Online marketing can be tough, especially for someone unfamiliar with it. By knowing the biggest pitfalls you can stumble into, you’ll be one step closer to mastering it. And if all else fails, you can always bring in a marketing agency – though I’d still advise that you endeavor to understand what they’re doing even so.