Increasing a firm's business from online marketing, this is a really big topic. To try and catch some of the main points, I would say that it's got to start from thinking about your audience; what kind of audience are you aiming for and where are you likely to find them?
Are they going to be on certain kinds of social media, or perhaps more likely to be searching using a leading search engine? When we've answered those questions, we've got a starting point. Let's assume for the purpose of this that they are using Google. To get effectiveness here, we have to think about what differentiates the firm from others, as this will enable us to begin targeting key phrases that really will count for you.
There's really no point being found for a wide, general term - it's got to be specific, which is where research really comes into its own. We do a lot of upfront research to try and find what we call 'key phrases with intent', which allows us to get you highly ranked and deliver traffic. As I say, it's traffic with intent, it's worthwhile traffic, and that's really the only kind of traffic that counts.
Promoting practice areas and personnel is obviously a very relevant question for the legal sector. Promoting a firm's Personnel is probably the more important area, I would say, although, I recognize that this is somewhat debatable.
In terms of personnel, it's crucial that the site's search is good and it's easy to find them, which can be achieved by having the correct filters in place. In terms of content, the fundamental thing is to ensure that the copy is not too long or too convoluted - that it's only relevant information on the right page.
In this regard, it's important that a firm is able to get the most out of their content management system. One of the techniques that we tend to use is to utilize taxonomies, which enable us to correctly tag each profile, ensuring that users are only ever finding the right people profiles on the right pages.
In terms of practice areas, it really comes down to making sure that the law firm is seeing the world - as much as they can - from the outside looking in, rather than the other way around, which is a common mistake. By thinking in those terms, you can ensure that each practice areas is clear and easy to find.
When it comes to creating an engaging user experience, the clue is in the operative word, 'user'. Unfortunately, this is often much easier to say than it is to achieve, but it's absolutely essential that it really is all about the user. At Moore-Wilson, we strongly believe that the only way to achieve true success here is to act upon real user input. Fortunately, this can be done in a number of ways, such as through online surveys and telephone interviews.
However, to achieve real, actionable insight here, I find that the best approach is to get real users in a room and conduct workshop sessions. We tend to run a lot of these and have found that structuring the right kind of questions at the right kind of audience is by far the most effective way of developing a user-friendly information architecture.
The next step is really about thinking about the structure of the website, which is where we introduce the process of wireframing; a great technique that can be used to rapidly prototype up different approaches to how a site could be structured. From here, we then look to test these in situations such as focus groups.
We have also found that e-groups can also produce similarly effective results. These groups will often be an audience made up of users that can be regularly contacted during the build process to test the interactive wireframes and how they're working. During these sessions, we have the opportunity to ask participants very specific questions, which often results in excellent feedback.
Information from these sessions will then filter down into the creative design process, resulting in sites that have a really great user experience.
I really hope this article has helped you to think more about what you can do to improve your marketing efforts. If you'd like some tailored feedback on how your site is currently performing, my Search Marketing team are currently offering a free audit, specifically for law firms, which will help you to identify weaknesses in areas such as SEO, security, performance and overall user experience. Simply fill out the form on our site, and a member of the team will get back to you within the next few days with your results.
Additionally, if you're struggling with website support, or would simply like some insight into the processes involved within this, the head of Support at Moore-Wilson, Asa Gustavsson, has put together a guide titled 'Top 10 Principles for Successful Website Support in the Legal Sector', which can be downloaded here.
Of course, if you'd like to get in touch with me or Moore-Wilson directly in order to discuss any aspect of web development or online marketing, we'd be happy to assist you that way. All of our contact details can be found here.
By Steve Wilson, Managing Director, Moore-Wilson
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