Did you know there are lots of places online where you can advertise your law practice for free?
Like Avvo, for example. Once you’ve claimed your Avvo profile, you can add photos, endorsements and details about your practice. And you can reach a national audience without paying a cent.
“Love ‘em or hate ‘em (and I’ve heard plenty of opinions on both sides at the bar meetings and on listservs), 97 percent of U.S. lawyers are rated on Avvo,” says lawyer and marketing consultant Willie Peacock in this post on the Clio blog. “If you haven’t already done it, go ahead and claim your Avvo profile. Fill it with pictures and endorsements from fellow attorneys and enjoy the free listing that will almost certainly be one of the top search results when you search for your name. For better or worse, Avvo’s search engine optimization (SEO) game is impressive.”
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“As more people turn to the internet to find lawyers, it’s vital that potential clients can easily find you online,” says Peacock, who practices family law in Southern California. “Just having a website or social presence isn’t enough.”
Here are 10 free online advertising sites for lawyers, courtesy of Clio and Peacock.
- Avvo. If you’re not already among the 97 percent, it’s time to take the plunge.
- Yelp. “A lot of lawyers are scared of Yelp and other review sites, as they are a forum for all of those crazy, unreasonable clients to vent,” writes Peacock. “Personally, I don’t fear bad reviews at all. They’re either a blip or an opportunity for constructive criticism. To get the most out of Yelp, claim your page through Yelp for Business owners so that you can control the message. Do this by adding logos and photos, encouraging happy clients to leave positive reviews, and responding to negative reviews ethically.”
- Google My Places/Google+. “Lawyers can get their businesses listed in Google Maps and on Google+ by visiting Google My Business and entering the requisite info. Doing so will ensure that your clients can easily find directions to your office, but it will also help potential local clients find you on Google. When you do a generic lawyer/geographic search (divorce lawyers in Chicago, Illinois), the first results are always the local listings, so make sure that you are in their directory and your details are correct.”
- Bing Places. “Just like Google, Bing has local listings as the top search results. Your search results can vary greatly between the two major search engines. Adding yourself to Bing Places means you’ll (hopefully) be easy to find in either. While less popular overall, Bing is the default search engine for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge, which is baked into Windows 10. It’s more important than you think to appear in every search engine.”
- Apple Maps. “Again, for all your lost clients, you’ll want to appear in Apple Maps.”
- Facebook. “I’m not a huge fan of creating a free Facebook page for one’s firm to advertise online for free, unless, of course, you want to pay to play—the social network reduced “organic” (unpaid) appearances for businesses in consumers’ News Feeds to nearly nothing in 2014. But it still might be helpful to have a presence on Facebook. Facebook rolled out its recommendation tool late last year, which makes it easier for users to ask friends which lawyer can help them through their divorce. If you have a Facebook page, when someone types your name in to recommend your services, they will be prompted to choose your page from a dropdown menu. You’ll be notified that you’ve been tagged in a post, and you can follow up with this new potential client.”
- YP.com. “The Yellow Pages, seeking to stay relevant in today’s world, made a belated move to the Internet. And while I can’t recall ever seeing a YP.com entry appear in Google’s search results, I have seen them pop up repeatedly in Bing’s search results. It only takes a few minutes to add your listing. Expect an ad sales phone call from them, just like you might from several of the services on this list.”
- Justia. “The legal information portal has lawyer profiles! And not only do they appear on Justia, but they also appear on the Legal Information Institute (Cornell)’s website as well.”
- State and Local Bars. “This one may be a bit obvious, but most state bars have a directory of their lawyers and contact information. Make sure yours is up to date. Also check with any local bar associations that you’ve joined to see if they maintain a directory.”
- Guest Blogging. “It’s not just about your physical address and phone number—you also want people to be able to find your website. One of the best ways to do this, if you write well, is to write articles for popular websites that accept user-generated content. Each post that you write will be another place where you can be found online and is another link pointing back to your website (which is typically great for ranking higher in Google’s search results).”
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