By Jennifer Campbell Goddard, CEO
Integrity Marketing Solutions
I am writing today from the Local Search Association conference in Boca Raton. This year the conference theme is "Search Starts Here." As a marketer, I have been thinking a lot about where local search actually does start ... Where do prospective clients start their search to hire an estate planning or elder law attorney?
It's not an easy question to answer. And as much as I hate the ambiguity, the real answer is "it depends." Are our hypothetical clients in some sort of crisis -- perhaps a recent death (probate) or an elderly loved one with an imminent need for long term care? Those types of local searches are handled differently than life cycle (or stage of life) needs, such as approaching retirement age, birth of a child, or intent to marry (or re-marry). In all of our marketing efforts, we want to be sure your firm is properly positioned at the many and varied potential entry points for local search.
Since most initial searches are the beginning of a process, we want also to be sure that we keep your firm well positioned at the many additional contact points of search. Because, at the end of the day, it may be less important to know where search starts as where it ends!
Local search today starts with an optimized website, positioned to capture initial searches conducted by prospective clients in your market area. It continues through the many relationship marketing strategies we employ -- through your blog, enewsletters, direct mail, social media, and your personal marketing. But never forget that we must also be present at the moment "search" ends ... Which is increasingly back at your engaging, inviting website. Your website must not only be optimized to capture initial searches, but also to convert searches into inquiries and appointments.
Contrary to popular belief, "contact us" forms are not your strongest tools for conversion. No, research consistently shows that VIDEO is your strongest conversion strategy. And it just makes sense. Good video is the next best thing to a face-to-face meeting, it helps establish rapport, build trust, and relieve anxiety.
So remember, it is important to know where search starts .. But that is not enough. You must remain ever present throughout the search process, and be ready with your most powerful marketing to convert at the moment search ends!