The goal of any marketing strategy is not to build website traffic or rank in the top spot on Google. Really, it isn't.
The goal of marketing is to get clients.
When considering any marketing tactic, you have to ask yourself how it will work and what it will cost to get the results you want. Search engine optimization (SEO) can fit into your marketing strategy as long you know the answers to those questions and choose the right vendor.
Proceed cautiously. Many vendors will tell you that SEO is the holy grail, an absolute must if attorneys want to be found.
It’s not. But it can be helpful. Just ask these five questions before you sign on with an SEO vendor.
1. Are people with problems I can solve likely to use search engines to look for an attorney?
For many practice areas, the answer is “no” and SEO is a pointless waste of time and money. There may be clients out there on the Internet, but they're not using search engines to look for attorneys.
If for your practice the answer is “yes, clients with problems I can solve are looking for an attorney using search engines” the next threshold question is…
2. Will SEO bring me Ideal clients?
The word Ideal is important. Because lots of strategies can bring you crummy clients. So ask whether for your practice, SEO will bring you great ones.
For most practices, the answer is "some clients do look for attorneys using search engines, but not ideal clients." In which case SEO can be a strategy you use ... but after you've taken advantage of others which get you ideal clients. In other words, it's a strategy, but shouldn't be your first one.
Assuming you can confidently answer the first two questions in the affirmative, the third and most interesting threshold question about SEO is…
3. Is SEO the best use of my time and money?
If you’re working with a reputable vendor, they should be able to answer questions about what you can expect.
They should be able to describe, in detail, the kinds of people you should expect to visit your website. They should also be able to tell you how many of them will likely visit your website. It's legitimate that they can't tell you how many clients you'll get. But if they don't understand how much the potential is, even in a range, stay away.
Because without knowing these two things, it’s impossible to know if the investment in SEO is worth it.
Why pay for SEO if it’s just going to send you bad fit clients who don’t pay? Why pay for SEO if you don’t know if you’ll get enough clients to see a return on your investment?
Lead quantity and lead quality make a huge difference, especially when you’re using a marketing tactic that takes a while to work.
4. Is the SEO vendor guaranteeing results?
This one cuts both ways. A vendor should be able to set clear expectations, but they can’t guarantee results.
If an SEO vendor guarantees results, run away. Quickly.
There are no guarantees in the world of SEO. I know attorneys who have done well with SEO, while others have spent tens of thousands of dollars and have nothing to show for it.
5. What problem is SEO ignoring?
Even when it works, SEO, like many other kinds of marketing, ignores one big problem.
What happens after the person visits your website?
A lot of people will visit your website and bounce off to the next online nugget that grabs their attention. You’ll never even know they were there.
Suppose an SEO vendor says, “You had 10,000 visitors this month, but I don’t know if any of them became clients.”
That 10,000 number might sound impressive, but if you’re not getting appointments, a high number of visits doesn’t make a bit of difference. That's like a retail store having a marketing campaign that gets people to come to the store ... and walk out without buying anything.
Focus on converting leads into clients.
At Practice Alchemy, we focus on getting actual appointments, whether you’re generating leads from people you already know, SEO, or pay-per-click. The important thing is to build relationships with those people so if they’re still looking for an attorney three weeks from now, they’ll remember you exist.
That’s nurture marketing.
Regardless of the tactic you choose, you want to do more than get them to your door. Think about how you can get them to walk through your door.