Your website should be the "hub" of your practice development and marketing efforts. Properly designed, your website should be the single most powerful marketing strategy you can employ, next to a face-to-face meeting. In fact, visitng your website should be as close to meeting you face-to-face as possible.
However, the analogy does not stop there. Attorneys often comment that their "closing ratio" is nearly 100 percent, once they get someone into their office ... the job of marketing is to get more people into the office. So it is with a good website. Regardless how powerful your website may be, it does nothing unless or until people visit it.
So, once your website is published and optimized, the next marketing task is to drive traffic ... in other words, we have to get more people onto the site.
There are lots of strategies to build website traffic, but we have found two of the most consistently effective are blogging and e-newsletters -- when done properly.
In fact, these two indicators are so consistently linked with increased website traffic that I can quite easily tell when an attorney's e-newsletter was distributed, and how frequently he is blogging, simply by reviewing his website statistics.
This morning I was doing some quick stats checks for our Essentials clients. I saw a slight, but steady decline in average daily visits for one of our clients. From a high in January, website visits declined slightly in February, slightly more in March, and are down somewhat more in April (to date).
I knew from experience what was going on. A quick check of his blog shows his last post is dated February 24. My client may not realize it, but it has been almost two months since he last posted to his blog.
What happens next? Because the attorney in question is an Essentials client, with a marketing team working for him, he will be getting a call today. We provide a robust, daily content service, so we know that content is not the issue. Perhaps there has a staff change and the new person needs training? If so, we will schedule that person for a training session with Sheri, our social media guru, right away.
The main thing is, don't overestimate the power of a powerful website. It does not work in vacuum. Just as you need to see prospects in your office before you can turn them into clients, your website needs traffic before it can generate leads. No matter how powerful the website, it needs support. And search engine optimization is not enough -- especially in your niche market where targeted search volume is fairly low. In other words, now many people do you suppose go to Google every day searching for an estate planning attorney? If you captured every single one of those searches, your website traffic would still be pretty low!
Tomorrow we will look at how strategically deployed e-newsletters work, and how just a few mistakes could make your e-newsletter efforts little more than an expensive waste of time, money and reputation.