There was a time when attorneys only needed a listing in the Yellowpages and maybe some billboards and the cases would come. Referrals by clients and reputation in their community were a large driving force as well. Times have most definitely changed and attorneys today have to stand out in a very crowded marketplace to get noticed. While word-of-mouth continues to be a highly effective way for lawyers to get new business, there is still a tremendous need to pull in new clients using other marketing strategies. The question lawyers repeatedly ask me is: “What is the most effective way to bring in new clients while maintaining a budget that makes sense for my firm?”

When looking at a monthly marketing budget, it isn’t uncommon for a law firm to spend tens of thousands of dollars each month. Wordstream recently released a study revealing that the keywords “lawyer” and “attorney” are two of the most expensive keywords on AdWords and Bing. Searches like “personal injury lawyer” and “criminal DUI attorney” exceed $100 per click! It’s unrealistic to think more cost-effective solutions have not presented themselves for finding and securing clients.

Legal Directory Listings

Online directory listings for legal professionals are currently having a moment. Sites like Avvo, Justia, Lawyers of Distinction, and FindLaw are all a pipeline to connect attorneys with people looking for attorneys. Instead of blindly throwing darts into the abyss, directory sites like these are more specialized for hiring a lawyer and have increasing numbers of organic traffic.

Defining The Value

Some sites are obviously better than others. The best use of time and financial resources is to make your listing on any specific directory site stand out to those searching.

It’s important to list information such as your professional headshot, areas of practice, favorable testimonials, a short original bio, and links to your website and social networks.

These legal directories consistently show up in Google and other search engine searches. So, if someone is searching for a personal injury attorney in your particular area, you have a greater likelihood of having your listing in one of these directories appear high in the search. Many directories will let you create a listing at no cost. Of course, there are options to pay for extras and improved placement in their directory.

The question is: How much do you want to spend to look more professional and stand out from the rest of your competition? Don’t keep spending money without a strategy. Consulting someone on your team who understands legal internet marketing is a wise decision.

Should You Use a Legal Directory?

While it sounds as if the answer to whether you should use a legal directory is a resounding “yes,” there are a few things you should be doing to make sure you are spending your marketing budget efficiently.

Before investing in any type of marketing make sure you are able to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. This includes setting up UTM tracking in Google Analytics and having specific phone numbers set up for each of your campaigns.

Doing What’s Best for Your Law Firm

Once you have decided what the best strategy is for you and your practice, set up some systems to determine how well the strategy is working. If you are not getting new clients from these efforts, you need to try something else or a different method of using the directories. Find out where new clients heard about you by asking “where did you hear about us?”

All of this effort and emphasis on marketing is part of what attorneys have to do to establish a strong practice in today’s modern world.

It is essential to at least sign up for legal directories that offer “free” profiles”.  There is a helpful list here that contains hundreds of different options for your firm.  There are many different providers are services that will assist in helping you claim your profile.  One of the most cost effective ways to get these profiles live is to either hire a virtual assistant or have an intern or internal support staff take care of this for you.