The Florida Bar strictly regulates lawyer advertising and business solicitation. On their website, the Florida Bar provides an array of helpful information for law firms to comply with the complex web of rules and restrictions. Failure to reply can result in professional discipline. The rules are spelled out in painful detail, including what lawyers can post to social media on pages that promote the firm, how they can reach out to prospective clients through social media, how they can represent their qualifications and experience, and how videos can be shared on YouTube. These rules are often challenged and are constantly evolving.
Many law firms believe that if they don’t have an endless reservoir of funds to devote to a marketing budget, that they just can’t make that first page of Google search results. This is not true. Search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is all about staying one step ahead of your competition, and exhaustively studying the latest trends (or hiring someone who does). Many marketing firms rest on their laurels. But SEO strategy is a science that is constantly evolving. Your marketing team needs to chase these developments relentlessly.
Geographic targeting (a.k.a. “geotargeting”) is a marketing strategy designed to help law firms reach a local prospective client base. If a marketing firm tries to sell you on the success of its geo-targeting program, and you are solely a mass torts practice, you should probably think twice. Geo-targeting tends to work much better for practice areas like personal injury—practice areas that draw on one-off, single event incidents, like a car accident or a slip-and-fall.
It has become common for law firms to think of SEO marketers as selling snake oil—so many marketing companies have sprung up making false promises, taking millions of dollars and failing to deliver on their word. But there is still a place for SEO—search engines are quickly learning how to spot quality content and drive those pages that offer it to the top. This way, the users of the search engine remain satisfied. If your search engine pulls up pages and pages of useless, keyword infused garbage, you are going to switch search engines. That is not what the search engines want. They want to put the page users are actually looking for right up top.
There are some definite advantages to billboard advertising, but also, a lot of risks. Firms are advised to weigh the pros and cons carefully, because this definitely is not a strategy that will benefit most law firms. Some of the pitfalls of billboard advertising are explored in the popular television program, “Better Call Saul.” Lawyers (like Saul Goodman) run the risk of getting a reputation as a “billboard lawyer” who tries to settle every case, whether it is to his client’s advantage or not. In short, a gimmicky billboard can reflect adversely on one’s lawyering abilities.