10 Internet Tips to Grow your Practice

By: Margaret Grisdela is President of Legal Expert Connections, specializing in marketing and business development in the legal market and litigation support markets.  You can reach her at mg@legalexpertconnections.com

How can I get more clients? It’s a question frequently asked by experts, attorneys and business owners. The solution is literally at your fingertips. Every day, Americans rely on the Internet to find the answer to more than 200 million queries, according to The Wall Street Journal. Generating more business can be as easy as tuning up your Internet marketing so that attorneys, paralegals and prospective clients can find you online. Here are 10 tips to help you open up your pipeline to new engagements.

Tip # 1: Use online directories to promote your service
Tip # 2: Register your site with leading search engines
Tip # 3: Talk the search engine language
Tip # 4: Launch an ad campaign on Google or Yahoo!
Tip # 5: Make it easy to contact you
Tip # 6: Introduce yourself online
Tip # 7: Clearly explain your services
Tip # 8: Compare your site to competitors
Tip # 9: Refresh your online appearance
Tip # 10: Build links to other websites

Tip # 1: Use online directories to promote your service

Registering with an expert directory like HG Experts.com is an excellent way to increase your online visibility and drive qualified prospects to your website.  Many State Bar Associations also maintain an online service directory.

Tip # 2: Register your site with leading search engines

Google is the world’s largest search engine, with an index of over 8 billion web pages.  Over 380 million unique users worldwide turn to Google every month for answers.  You can register your site on Google for free.  Just go to the URL below and follow the instructions.

DMOZ, also known as “The Open Directory,” is a free, volunteer-built index relied on by Google and many other search engines.  Getting your site registered at www.dmoz.com is a sure path to higher page rankings in free search results.  Just find the DMOZ category where you would like to be listed, then click on the “Suggest URL” option in the top menu bar to fill out a submission form.  Check back periodically to see if your listing was accepted and resubmit your site if necessary.

Yahoo! also offers a free site suggestion tool as well as a guaranteed placement option for a one-time payment of $299.

Tip #  3: Talk the search engine language

Search engines evaluate your site with the use of a “web crawler” that reads the “meta tags” in the header of your HTML pages.  Make sure your site includes a title and description tag, as well as appropriate keywords.  Inspect your meta tags by selecting “View” from the browser menu while on your website, then “Source” from the list of options.

“Keyword density” is another important concept for high search engine ranking.  This simply means that your web pages should include key terms that drive searches.  Important buzz words include “expert witness,” “litigation support” and key industry terms.

By the way, “Flash” and “frames” are not search engine friendly.  If your website uses either of these techniques, speak with your webmaster about updating your site (or get a new webmaster!). 

Tip # 4:  Launch an ad campaign on Google or Yahoo!

Imagine hiring a sales person who works 24/7, 365 days a year on a commission-only basis.  That is exactly what you get with a cost-effective online ad campaign.  You will reach prospects exactly when they are searching for your service.  Simply place your bid on key terms like “expert witness” or “accident reconstruction” and establish a daily budget.  You are only charged when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website.  Visit http://www.google.com/ads/ or http://www.overture.com to learn more.

While simple to start, there are many advanced techniques you can use to maximize your online ad investment.  Watch for future articles on this topic.

Convert Site Visitors to Clients

Now that you know how to drive more visitors to your website, the next step is to make it easy for your new prospects to learn about your services and get in touch with you.

Tip # 5:  Make it easy to contact you

Start by putting your phone number prominently on your home page.  Yes, this is a basic step but one that is actually overlooked by many website owners.  Just like a newspaper, important information should appear “above the fold” on your home page.  Make your phone number a part of your masthead if possible.

Your email address should also be accessible.  Many visitors want to make a first contact via email, either because it is easier for them or it is after hours and they don’t want to disturb you by phone.  Monitor your incoming email regularly and respond quickly.  Your email signature should provide complete contact information and an active link to your website.

The “Contact Us” page and/or the footer of each web page are good choices when listing your corporate mailing address.

Tip # 6:  Introduce yourself online

A busy attorney or paralegal in search of an expert witness should be able to quickly find your photo and CV on your website.  If you don’t want to list your full CV, provide an informative list of career highlights. 

Your website is a great way to offer “self-service” to prospective clients who need quick access to your background information when they may retain you.

Tip # 7:  Clearly explain your services

Organize your website so prospects can easily identify your areas of expertise.  It is a good idea to include a list of bullet points on your home page with your top 3-4 services.  Each bullet could link to a new page that describes your capabilities in more detail.

Keep your Website Up-to-Date

Don’t think that just because you have some online marketing in place and are generating good website traffic that you can take it easy.  There’s always room for improvement!  Here are a few closing suggestions.

Tip # 8:  Compare your site to competitors

Look at what your competitors are doing online.  Adapt “best practices” to your own website.  Do a Google search on your competitors periodically to see how they are marketing themselves online.

Tip # 9:  Refresh your online appearance

The beauty of the Internet is that it is constantly changing.  If your site is more than 2 years old, you should be planning your next round of enhancements.  Older than 2 years, you say?  You should be in active discussions with a web designer!

Add new content regularly also.  It’s a great way to get more visibility in the search engines, and will give your customers a reason to come back to your site.  Blogs are an interesting tool to maintain current industry news.

Tip # 10:  Build links to other websites

Get in the habit of exchanging links with complementary websites.  Search engines favor those websites that have a high number of incoming links, since it signifies popularity and valuable content.  See how many links you (or a competitor) have by visiting LinkPopularity.com.

In closing, the Internet is an excellent way to generate high qualified new business opportunities.  It’s fast, affordable and always working for you.  Whether you are a novice or an experienced Internet marketer, there’s always more you can do to put the power of the Internet to work for you.  Start today!

Tip # 11: Tip from the Internet experts at Hieros Gamos: Hire a professional agency to market your expertise on the Internet and optimize your website and devote your time to your clients and business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Margaret Grisdela is President of Legal Expert Connections, specializing in marketing and business development in the legal and litigation support markets. She served as the 2005 President of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. You can reach her at mg@legalexpertconnections.com.

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