Family Law Marketing

Step-by-Step Guide to the Top 10 Digital Marketing Strategies for Family Lawyers.

Regardless if you’re a solo divorce lawyer or a multi-location family law firm, gaining new clients is crucial to the success of growing your business. As you know, the legal industry is a highly competitive segment. It is consistently difficult to stand out amongst the competition. This difficulty is exacerbated when firms follow general law firm strategies to reach prospective clients instead of honing in and using their expertise in family law as a cornerstone of the marketing strategy.

Potential customers looking for a divorce attorney will require a different marketing approach than those looking for a personal injury lawyer or an employment lawyer.

We designed this guide to stop attorneys from falling into the trap of being too general with your online family law marketing strategy. This will help you get specific and market directly to your potential family law clients. It will also help you get more leads, as well as better leads-which leads to more conversions.

More leads and better leads-leads to more conversions!

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Get More Qualified Divorce and Family Law Leads

Marketing your divorce or family law practice without researching first will prove to be costly and ineffective. With digital marketing at the forefront of legal advertising, you have all of the necessary tools at your disposal to create a highly targeted legal marketing strategy for your family law firm. You just need to understand how to use them.

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Demographics for Potential Divorce and Family Law Clients

In order to gain more qualified leads for your divorce or family law firm, you’ll want to establish exactly who your ideal customer base is: your target client. Start by considering the five basic demographic elements:

From here, you’ll want to hone in on characteristics that mesh well with your specific niche:

  • Legal services required-divorce, child custody, child support, annulment, domestic violence, wills and estates
  • Questions they need answered
  • Their main problems, issues, or challenges
  • What they want to achieve by engaging with or hiring you as his or her lawyer
  • Cost
  • Specific qualities they’re looking for in a lawyer

For family law firms that generate a good amount of leads, this will be a simple case of examining the client database and selecting the characteristics of your best customers. For family law firms that are just getting started, it may take a few more assumptions at first.

However, the more guess-work that occurs, the more money you’ll have to waste in order to find out the information organically. This is why it’s crucial for new firms to hire a professional digital marketing agency that has experience with family law marketing. Although we can’t cut all guessing, our assumptions will be closer to what’s needed for your legal marketing strategy, based on experience.

Where are Family Law Leads Looking for Information?

Of all of the primary consumer-based practice areas, family law has the fewest keywords you can target.

For example, personal injury attorneys can choose from car accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall, premises liability, pedestrian accidents, wrongful death, etc. For divorce attorneys, you’ve got separation, annulment, and divorce.

Also, unlike other practice areas, the decision for divorce clients is much, much longer. Many statistics suggest that men think about a divorce for a year and women for two years before finally moving forward with the decision. This creates a totally different online legal marketing strategy for family law services.

Why is this important?

Because when marketing your firm, you need to take this into account. Your family law marketing strategy should be crafted around your target audience and how they are trying to find your firm.

Most people don’t wake up one day and suddenly decide they want a divorce. And for some, divorces can be an embarrassing affair. Both of these very common scenarios would result in potential customers searching the internet for answers.

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Designing a Family Law or Divorce Website

Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience, you’ll want to focus on your website. This will be the hub of all of your interactions and marketing activities, so you’ll want to really get this part right!

Many people make immediate judgments about a company based on it’s website. One of the biggest mistakes family lawyers can make is investing time or money into a poorly designed legal website. As a family law or divorce firm, it’s important to position yourself as a single attorney or firm who can and will get them the best possible outcome for their case. This holds especially true to child custody cases, as we’re sure you’re aware.

Here’s the problem with hiring a big-box family law marketing agency: they don’t know you.

 

Why is this a problem?

Your online persona, or your family law firm’s overall feel, needs to match what a client will see during his or her face to face or over the phone meeting with you or your  team. The transition from online to in-person needs to be seamless. Otherwise, for the potential customer, the whole process will feel forced or fake.

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Important Information for Family Lawyer Websites

Every family law attorney website should have a few components immediately visible. This is what online marketers call ‘above the fold’ which means the information is visible before the user begins to scroll:

  • Your primary practice areas
  • Convince them why you’re the best in your field-either with quick testimonials, past successes, amount of time your firm has been established, etc.
  • Who you are
  • Contact information-name, address phone number and email address
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Professional Family Law Web Design

If you’re a start up family law firm and don’t have the budget to design a legal website for your firm, do what you must to have an online presence, as this is crucial to your firm’s success. But, what you don’t want to do is blow your marketing dollars on a subpar family law or divorce website. You’ll eventually need a website that is on-par or better than the competition in your area, and obviously sooner is better than later. So, save your marketing efforts (and money) until you can afford to have a professional website built. Then, start funneling your budget into marketing that website.

Does your law firm’s website appear to be outdated and in desperate need of a cleaner, more professional look?

Our web design team will build your website with with your conversion goals in mind.

Family Law and Divorce Attorney SEO

A certain percentage of your audience will not trust ads and will proceed to what we call organic search listing. These are simply the listing either in the maps section (if the firm has a Google Business account set up) or the non-paid listing just below this.

You can achieve more organic traffic by:

  • Having a professional, easy to navigate website that is optimized for search engines
  • Writing content that your readers want to read and find valuable
  • Promoting your website on other platforms, such as social media channels so that Google will view your site as an authoritative source on the content
  • Consistently getting good reviews online
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User Experience

We previously touched on the importance of having a professional quality family law website. Design, in so many words, will affect your rankings indirectly. If your potential clients don’t like your site or if they cannot easily navigate through, they will quickly leave. We call this the bounce rate. And, having a high bounce rate is something that Google does monitor.

The longer your audience stays on your family law firm website, the more this indicates to Google that the user found what they were looking for.

Family Law Firm Content Marketing

When it comes to legal websites, two types of content exist: practice areas and supportive.

Practice Area Pages

Practice area content are the pages that you undoubtedly want to rank for. Think: money phrases. These are the phrases or keywords we mentioned earlier, like divorce attorney or child custody lawyer.

And, fortunately for you, family lawyers don’t need as many “money pages” as personal injury lawyers or criminal defense attorneys, because there aren’t as many subsets.

So, it’s imperative that you make these primary practice area pages as competitive as humanly possible. Then, focus on writing good, supportive content.

A key aspect of getting these “money pages” to rank is ensuring that your page is more comprehensive and more helpful than your competitor’s. Google must view you as the authority.

But, how do you know if your practice area pages are helpful? Conduct searches to see what pages are ranking for the phrases you wish to rank for and make sure yours is better. If you know how to check for code, see what schema and headings your competitors are using. (This is equally as important as the content itself, in certain situations.) Get down to the nitty gritty:

  • What subtopics are your competitors writing about?
  • Are other attorney’s practice area pages easy to understand and follow, or is there room for improvement?
  • What sources are your competitors using? Are they outdated or current?
  • Are there information gaps?

Now, all of these concepts should also be applied to your support pages.

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Support Pages and Blog Posts

Support pages and blogs fulfill two important roles in the SEO strategy. First, your potential customers may search for answers to questions before they decide to look for an attorney. These will be questions such as “How do I find hidden assets?” “How to get 50/50 custody without a lawyer?” Questions we know you care nothing about answering.

You could choose to look at this from two angles:

  1. That’s really not your problem, nor is it your responsibility, or
  2. This is an opportunity to help someone who is probably in that market to get familiar with you or your family law firm.

The second, and probably more important purpose of support pages and blogs is making your firm appear to be the authority on the topic of divorce, custody, etc.

We’ll admit: convincing lawyers in any niche that they need to blog or outsource blogging is an uphill battle for even the most transparent marketing agencies. Most attorneys are fine-as long as the keywords are phrases they believe will churn profit. And, bluntly, in a market as competitive as the legal one, that’s not going to fly. Period. Gone are the days that you can slap up an advertisement and get leads automatically online. After all, that’s why you’re here. Right? (steps off soapbox)

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If your law firm’s website ranks for a variety of family law topics, then your website is more likely to rank, across the board. The key, here, is that you need your supportive pages to rank for the phrases they are targeting. And, these keywords are often those that lawyer’s don’t care about ranking for, and that’s ok. It’s not about you. It’s about your potential clients.

Another hurdle for lawyers trying to blog, themselves, is the inability to take their knowledge about the subject out of the equation.

What do we mean?

We have a phrase here at Digital Logic: how you search for you is not how your customers will search for you.

For example, in Colorado, the correct term is “spousal maintenance”. Colorado divorce attorneys wouldn’t typically use the phrase “alimony in Colorado”, because it’s technically incorrect. Same goes for “financial affidavit” when the correct term is “sworn financial statement”. But, guess what? In both cases, there was more traffic for the wrong keyword, even when paired with the word, Colorado.

We aren’t saying write using the wrong keywords just to get ranked. There are ways to incorporate both the correct and incorrect verbiage in order to answer the questions that most of your competitors will not.

Grab the low hanging fruit that your competitors walked right past.

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On-Site Optimization

On-site search engine optimization is an ever changing task. Codes that help a legal site rank one month may be penalized the next by Google. However, there are a few key parameters that you’ll want to make sure are always correct. These include:

Page title

This is the title that the search engine results page shows in bold when that page on your legal website ranks. You will want your main keyword to be in this title. If your family law practice has strong branding or enough presence that local searchers will recognize, you can put your brand at the end of the title page, after a separator. However, if you’re just starting out or if you don’t have solid brand recognition, you may want to consider including a call to action or a synonym of the keyword(s) you’re trying to rank for.

H1 title

The keyword or phrase you’re trying to rank for should be your H1 title as well. Many people confuse the page title with the H1. Just because the phrase is bold or bigger doesn’t necessarily mean it is the H1. You’ll have to know how to do some basic coding or have a html checker to determine if your H1 is correct most of the time.

Alt tags

This is the coding on images that help the visually impared know what a picture is about.This will help your page rank, as well.

Fast loading speed

You can use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to check the speed of your family law website and on the individual pages. Most of the time, you’ll see a decent amount of recommendations that you don’t understand. And, this is why you really need to hire a professional law firm marketing team. Google only wants to rank fast websites because your readers will quickly leave if your site doesn’t load quickly (quickly as in 3 seconds or less).

Meta description

This is the description that’s shown under the page title on the search engine results page, if your page ranks. You’ll want to use the space wisely, as this is often what leads searchers to click on one link vs another.

H2, H3, and H4 titles

These are the subtopic titles. You will want these to describe what your audience will read below. If possible, it’s better to mix in variations of the keywords you want to rank for. However, you don’t want these keywords to get spammy. For example, on this page, each title explains what you’ll learn below, but you will see we’ve included the words, “family law leads”, “divorce website” and things of that nature because they’re relevant to our title, “family law marketing” and our audience may also search for these terms when looking for this very same information.

Calls to action

There’s a time and place for everything, including turning up the sales pitch. You will want to include subtle calls to action on pages that are more for education and more salesy calls to action on your practice area pages.

HTTPS

Google wants to rank websites that are safe and secure for its users. Using HTTPS is a must.

Appropriate anchor text and interlinking plan

You will want to link to pages that will help your reader. Furthermore, you will want to link to the text that describes what page you’re sending them to, so that Google will understand the link structure. “Click here” is never an appropriate anchor text, no matter how often you’ve seen it used elsewhere.

There are other components of on-site search engine optimization that are equally as important but beyond the skillset of the average do-it-yourself firm. We recommend that you consult with a family law marketing agency to ensure that the website is set up correctly.

Off-site link building

Link Building

Google’s algorithm considers thousands of factors when choosing how to rank a website. One of the most important factors we’ve found is backlinks.

When a third-party website links to your page, they are essentially telling Google, “Hey, we trust this site. You can, too!” Think of it as a popularity contest but for websites. The more sites that link to yours, the more popular Google believes that your website is. And, the more popular those sites are that link to your site, the more “online street-cred” you’ll get for having that specific link. Think of it as having a letter of recommendation from the dean of the college you attended versus one from your mother.

Another key component of this is topical relevance. So, for divorce websites, if the outside website is also law-related, the link will be more impactful. Family-oriented websites and psychology websites also help.

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Online Reviews

This topic shouldn’t surprise you. But, you’d be shocked at how many lawyers spend boatloads of money on marketing when their intake department seems to be garbage, based on their online reviews. As marketers, we cannot fake this for you. So, these reviews not only hold weight with potential customers but also with Google.

These can actually hinder your ability to rank. This especially holds true if your family law firm is in a competitive metro market.

We understand that a lot of lawyers believe that Avvo is the holy grail of legal marketing, and it does certainly help. But, when it comes to reviews, Avvo should be the last place on the list to send your clients to review your firm. You’ll want to get reviews on these sites, in this order: Google, Facebook, then Avvo.

TIP: Don’t stop pointing your clients to Google until you have more positive reviews than your competitors.

The best defense is a good offense. So, you’ll want to proactively get your good reviews in so that the bad ones won’t hurt your chances of ranking as severely. In any competitive industry, once your site begins to do well, be prepared for the following:

  • Bad reviews left by competitors
  • Confused people leaving bad reviews for the wrong family law firm
  • The opposition, such as the person your client is divorcing
92% of consumers read online reviews

Search engines have the end user in mind. By offering your audience quality content in a well functioning site, you improve the overall quality of the search engine as a whole. In return, you should get a boost in ranking.

SEO vs PPC: Which Works Better to Get Family Law or Divorce Clients?

Which is better to get divorce clients? To get child custody clients? Longterm, family law SEO will produce better leads than PPC. However, just like some people are more inclined to skip the Google Ads, some are more inclined to click on them. Here are just a few reasons for both sides:

  • They’re in a hurry.
  • They want immediate answers.
  • They don’t want to read.
  • They want to talk to an attorney.
  • They trust ads and find useful information from ads in the past.
  • The ad copy was well written enough to spark their interest.

The first three factors will more than likely result in low-quality inquiries. Sometimes people are in a hurry because they are emotional or upset. They aren’t in the right state of mind to do research, just yet. However, if you have a great intake department, this can encourage the lead to reach back out to your firm when the time is right.

One huge benefit that PPC has over SEO is that it works instantly. Organic family law marketing can take 6 months to a year to become consistently effective and bring in the quality leads that your firm needs.

With PPC for family law firms, once you start paying, you should start to see results. This is if you’ve invested in a quality law firm marketing agency with experience in family law marketing.

When all is said and done, the most successful family law firms will invest in both SEO and PPC. Together, they both produce leads consistently and will produce more leads together than either of them would alone.

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PPC for Divorce Attorneys and Family Law Firms

Running a successful PPC campaign for divorce attorneys and family law firms comes down to a few metrics: quality score, on-site conversions, and keyword management.

Quality Score

Quality score is a metric that Google Ads associates with the quality of the page that the keyword is sending people to. If you have a low quality score, Google will charge your firm more to show for that specific keyword. This score is on an individual keyword or phrase basis.

To improve your quality score, you must adjust the landing page associated with your keyword. Another alternative is to create a new entirely different landing page that is unique to the keyword in that ad.

For some firms, the quality score can be the difference between making and losing money with PPC marketing.

On-Site Conversions

Getting your target audience to your legal website from Google Ads is only half of the battle. Just because you get someone to go to your website, does not mean they will contact you. Conversion rates show just how well your PPC campaign is run. For the most on-site conversions, apart from professional keyword management, you will want to focus on having a professional looking design, quality content, and calls to action on the landing page.

Similarly to the advice we gave with family law SEO, you’ll want to check your competitor’s landing page. Does yours look better or does theirs? The better the overall quality of your landing pages, the better your conversion rates will be.

Keyword Management

Keyword management is the most important part of running a successful search ad campaign for your family law practice.

For starters, your firm must actively add negative keywords to the targeting parameters to make sure that the firm isn’t spending money on keywords that simply don’t convert or keywords that you don’t want to pay for. Some of these keywords will be obvious, such as free, cheap, or pro bono. You clearly don’t want to pay for a lead that isn’t going to pay for your services.

Some keywords are too broad, such as “lawyer” or “attorney”. If you want divorce cases, your keywords should be about divorce paired with a legal term-divorce lawyer. You also don’t want to pay for keywords that are only your practice area without a legal term, such as “divorce”. Someone could be looking up divorce statistics or want general information about child custody laws and not necessarily looking for legal advice. Yes, these keywords alone will be cheaper, but they’re not going to convert very well.

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Social Media for Divorce Lawyers and Family Law Firms

There are a couple of ways to leverage your social media profiles to gain new leads for your firm. However, most of these are moderately effective, at best. How many times have you heard of someone looking up child custody or divorce attorney information on social media sites? In almost every instance, you are better spending your family law marketing budget on other forms of marketing. However, if you’re looking for a DIY option, social media may be helpful. Here are a few methods to look into:

Organic Reach

This is simply posting information on your law firm’s social media page. However, the problem with this tactic is that social media companies don’t make money. So, the algorithms will inhibit your ability to reach your audience. There are paid options available, and they want you to use those. The other issue here is that most people don’t care about legal issues until they have a problem, themself. In this case, like we mentioned earlier, they will Google to find their answer. Last, those looking for a divorce attorney or child custody lawyer usually don’t want others to know they’re in “the market” for a lawyer. So, actual interactions on social media are going to be rare for family law practices.

Paid Reach

Paid reach or traffic falls into the awareness category. This is most similar to TV, radio ads or billboards, than it is to legal SEO or PPC advertising. For social media paid ads, you’ll be investing in mass advertising. This can be an effective tactic in some cases, but for the most part, you’re better off investing your marketing budget elsewhere.

Social Media Groups

Joining social media groups is perhaps the most effective way to market your family law practice on social media platforms. You can join local groups and become an active member. The second part is key, though. Over time, you can let people know what you have to offer when the need arises. But, until the need shows up, you should be active in the group in order to gain trust. Most law firms don’t want to put in that much effort. And, hiring a marketing agency to “small talk the locals” can be costly, as well.

Family Law Firm Marketing With Digital Logic

We’ve mentioned several online marketing tools that are available at your disposal. At Digital Logic, we determine which tools will best serve the needs of your family law practice. From here, we implement a completely customized strategy based on your budget, location and overall goals. We assess your needs and put your marketing strategy into action. All you need to worry about is practicing the law.