In this seminar, marketing experts Dan Couvrette and McKay Allen explain how to use Google tools in combination with texting technologies and online review management to generate more leads and cases for your family law practice.
This seminar will cover:
- 3 free Google tools
- 2 Google features that will require a budget and expertise for you to take advantage of them
- the texting and online review management technology that ties in with some of Google’s tools and features to make them even more effective
Using Google & Texting to Generate Leads for Your Family Law Practice
McKay Allen: My name is McKay Allen, and I’m on the marketing team at Kenect. We’re so excited to have Dan Couvrette from Family Lawyer Magazine and Divorce Marketing Group join us today. Today, we’re going to talk about using Google and texting to generate leads for your family law practice.
Dan Couvrette: I’m the CEO of Divorce Marketing Group, and as McKay mentioned, we publish Family Lawyer Magazine, but we’re also a full-service marketing agency. We’ve been working with family lawyers for the past 25 years to help them attract and secure high-quality divorce cases. We do everything from building websites, optimizing websites for search engines like Google, Google pay-per-click advertising, divorce guides, e-newsletters, videos, podcasts, social media, marketing, strategic planning, branding, and more. In other words, we’re a one-stop agency for marketing all things divorce and family law.
McKay: Let’s talk a little bit about Kenect just to give you a sense of who we are as well. We do four things that help law firms. First, when it comes to texting a firm, you don’t need to give out your cell phone number. You can generate leads straight from your website and begin texting people immediately. You can collect payments via text and generate reviews via text, which we’re going to talk about a little bit later. All those text messages come directly into your texting inbox, which looks and functions a lot like an email inbox. Some firms have paralegals manage this while others will have actual attorneys manage it and have unique routing that goes to them directly based on the topic. It’s a great way to ensure that you’re capturing leads.
People don’t want to fill out a ‘contact us’ form anymore. They don’t want a phone call. They want to immediately get information, and they want to text. We’re finding that across the law firms that we work with that their clients want to text them regardless of their age or location. Texting is the way we communicate now. You want to make sure you’re capturing the leads the way that they want to be captured via texting. These leads go directly into the texting inbox.
Today we will be talking about using Google and texting to generate leads. We are also going to talk about some Google tools that are free and Google features that require a budget. Then we’re going to talk about the basics of texting and online review generation that can increase your leads and enhance your lead intake. Dan, should we dive right in here?
Dan: This is a huge subject. Google has so many offerings and we’re going to touch on some of them. We could do two or three seminars about each of these, but we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction and give you some idea as to what each of these Google features are and how they can benefit you. Some of them are free, as McKay already mentioned, while some of them you have to pay for. When you combine the technology of texting and online review management, you can generate a lot more leads and cases for your family law practice.
We’re going to cover free Google features as well as Google features that require a budget and expertise for you to take advantage of. We are also going to cover texting and online review management technology that ties in with some of the tools and features to make them even more effective.
Some people who use Google may only know how to search for things on Google, while others may be using tools like Google AdWords. People who use AdWords may have been doing campaigns for their firm for years. Then there may be some people asking about how texting works with Google, so we know there’s a range. We’re going to try and give enough information to each of the places you might be at in terms of your understanding.
If you feel you’re getting lost, just stick with it. If it’s getting a little bit too technical, remember that I’m not a tech person. I’m a marketing guy, and I rely on the tech people within my firm to keep me up to speed. But I’m always behind, just like you may always feel like you’re behind. Get used to it, because Google has 100,000 employees, and those employees are constantly thinking of new ways to make their services better and to create new services that are going to make Google even more powerful and create value for you. We hope to point you in the right direction.
You’ll see here for reputation management that we searched one of our clients, Joy Feinberg. We searched for Joy on Google. You’ll see the first four items that come up about Joy on a Google search are exactly the sort of things you would want to appear. The first thing that comes up is her website, www.FSfamlaw.com. You’ll see that Joy is a fierce and focused advocate for individuals of wealth who are contemplating or going through a divorce. This is part of her branding message. You’ll see that in her DivorceMag listing, you’ll see it in her Family Lawyer Magazine listing, you’ll see it in her best lawyer listing, etc. You want to do everything you can so that you can control what shows up on page one when people go searching for your name. In other words, you are your Google results. People will choose between whether they’re going to hire you or not hire you based on what comes up. If you show up on a legal directory you will want to claim and update your listing. You will want to update your picture and make sure the branding on your Google listing is the same in all your listings. So at a minimum, out of this webinar, everybody should Google themselves. It’s not a vanity thing. It’s something that you should do to see what comes up about you because when people go looking for a lawyer, they’re either going to find you through a referral, an advertisement, a listing, or through an article. You need to claim and update your listings and ensure that you are consistent with the branding message that you’re putting through.
Some of the questions that you should be asking include if your firm’s website shows up on page one or page two of Google search results. If your firm website is not showing up on page one or page two of Google, there’s something wrong. You need to make sure that it shows up. You will likely need to hire an outside professional firm like Divorce Marketing Group or another search engine optimization firm to make sure that you show up on page one.
How much did somebody have to sift through on the internet to find information about you? Don’t make it a challenge. You need to be on top of it and get the best information out there. If your name is similar to other people’s names, or famous people’s names, that makes it more difficult, but professionals can help you make sure that you get the results you need. My wife’s name is Martha Chan. If you search for Martha Chan, 19 million search results will show up. Martha has five of those search results on page one and four of those search results on page two. She has those results because she knows what she’s doing in the SEO game.
As I mentioned, if you’re a lawyer with a similar name, you’ve got to make sure that your website is optimized for your name and for the areas you focus your practice on. If you have bad reviews, you need to do one of probably three different things, and we’ll touch on those a little bit later. Bad reviews are a killer. People are going to the internet to find out about your reputation, and if what they find out is bad, you have got to do something about it. Do not put your head in the sand.
Here’s a Google review for Divorce Marketing Group. When you search for Divorce Marketing Group, you’ll see that reviews show up on the right-hand side. This is our Google My Business Page, which we’re going to talk a little bit about later.
Once you Google your name, have a look at the growth show up. If what is described is not what you want, either take care of it yourself or get a professional to take care of it for you.
McKay: How would you recommend dealing with negative reviews? What’s the best way to do that?
Dan: You have three choices. One is that you should always reply to negative reviews. Many lawyers do not want to reply. If they do reply, some say something negative in return. You have to reply in a very professional way: tell them you understand their issues and invite them to contact you. Tell your side of story, but never make the other person wrong.
Another way to deal with reviews is to make sure that more powerful websites show up ahead of those reviews. You need to create some websites for yourself to push down bad reviews. The third thing is to get lots of great reviews. I know, McKay, you can talk to this point about how to get more reviews, but getting more reviews waters down bad reviews. We all look at reviews. If you’re going to go to a restaurant, you’ll see 100 good reviews and two bad reviews, you’ll say ‘well, I guess those two bad reviews were just a bad day for the people at the restaurant or for the people who went to the restaurant.’ You’ll downplay the value of bad reviews if there are lots of good ones.
McKay: Get more reviews added using texting to help you get those reviews. I’ll talk about that exact process and how to do that later. The thing I want to add here is that there are a lot of ways you can get reviews. Many family law firms send an email out after a case resolution that says ‘leave us a review.’ Others will simply just mention leaving a review as the person leaves the office or gets off the last phone call. Some firms, though, will not even mention anything and forget that they need reviews. One of the things that we feel strongly about – and our data indicates this – is if you have a process to generate reviews via texting, which I’ll dig into later, you’re about 35 times more likely to get a review than if you send an email. It’s infinitely more effective to get reviews if you’re texting than if you’re not.
Dan: I’m recommending to clients that they use Kenect to get reviews because when you just make one request of a client to get a review – as McKay says – the chances of getting the review are slim. People are well-intentioned, but they just do not get around to giving reviews.
This slide that we’re showing goes back to what I mentioned a little bit earlier. This is from Yelp. You need to make sure that you follow up on negative reviews, but remember that you have to be positive when you’re responding to them. The other thing you should do is make sure that you’re getting alerts from Google. That’s another tool that Google offers: Google Alerts. You can put your or your firm’s name into Google Alerts. Then you simply go to www.Google.com/alerts. You’ll be warned if there are any new reviews or if there is any new information about you. That’s how you can stay on top of it.
If you don’t know what a Google My Business Page is, you should probably Google your firm. What will likely show up is your Google My Business Page, which will be on the right-hand side. If you go to Google and you’re not there, then you need to go and claim your Google My Business Page. It’s free and it gives you a listing on Google. The listing will also show reviews. If you have reviews, they will show up on the right-hand side. This is another way to dominate the page. You should also ensure that you cover page one with everything important about your firm. What do you want people to know about your firm?
A Google My Business Page is something you can actively work on. You can make it better, you can add information about your business, and more. There are about 4,000 business categories, so you can put in family law, child custody, or any other category that is appropriate for your firm. You can also add your contact phone number, your website, and more. Detailed information can be put in about the members of your firm and things that your firm does. You can also add areas that you specialize in, as well as photos and videos. If you do add videos and photos, you can put your badges up there along with your firm logo. You can show shots of your staff, the interior of your office, the exterior of your building, you can show where there is available parking, etc.
You might think that these things don’t matter too much. They matter enough in your business that it’s worthwhile doing it. It’s worth it to put a little bit of work on your Google My Business Page, or your Google listings. They’re adding new features all the time. To help with COVID, you can put in things like whether masks need to be worn or not, or if you are only offering video appointments, etc. There’s lots of information you can add in there.
It doesn’t hurt to get noticed by Google. You can also use Google Insights, which will provide you with information about how customers find you on the internet, the search queries that they use, where customers find you on Google, the actions that they take, photos viewed, etc. This is how Google knows how powerful photos or videos are on your Google My Business Page. It’s constantly adding and updating features. I learned a lot just by doing this presentation because I had to dig deeper than my current knowledge to do a good job.
Here’s something with Google, though. It’s going to cost you money. Things like Google pay-per-click advertising require a budget. More and more companies are using it in the third quarter of 2020. Google ad revenue was $37.1 billion – a 36% increase from the year before. Our motto with Divorce Marketing Group is always time, plus money, plus expertise equals qualified leads.
Here’s an example: if you search for ‘Chicago divorce lawyer’ on Google, you will see Google ads at the top of the page as well as ads at the bottom of the page. This is the way that Google makes money. When somebody clicks on one of those ads, it costs whoever that advertiser is X amount of dollars. If you want to get advertising on Google, you have to bid for it. The higher the position on the page that the person has, the more paying money they are paying for that position. I’ve spoken with many family lawyers, and I’ve been at this for 25 years. Lawyers have been doing Google ads for many years. Many of them have not been successful, particularly because they do it themselves and it takes so much time, energy, and effort to understand how best to do Google advertising. We do it for many of our clients and we’re constantly learning every day how to do a better job at it. So I assure you, you should work with professionals.
We happen to know the divorce market better than anybody else, so of course, I recommend us, but at a minimum work with professionals. You also need to do your homework and get referrals from them. We’ve found that many firms who appear to know what they’re doing are costing their clients crazy amounts of money, like $300 for a lead when we can do it for between $30 and $60. Some firms are paying $50 per click when we can do click campaigns for $2 to $3. So if you don’t know what I’m talking about, give me a call or send me a text or email. I’m glad to tell you a lot more about Google pay-per-click advertising. It’s one of those things you have to be good at. You just have to know how to do it. Like other things in marketing, you have to be a professional to do Google AdWords or else it’s not going to work. It’s so complex and so technical that you’ve got to hire somebody to do it or get somebody who knows what they’re doing in-house, depending on your size. It is complex and difficult to scale if you don’t know how to do it.
Let’s talk a little bit about Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a subject we could talk about for about a week. When you first start with SEO, you have to start with your website. Your goal is to get your website on page one of Google search results. The closer to the top of the page you show up, the better. I’ll use the term ‘Chicago divorce lawyer’ again. If somebody searches for ‘Chicago divorce lawyer’ or ‘Chicago family lawyer,’ you want to show up at the top of the page for that search. If you only deal with high-net-worth divorcing individuals, you probably won’t care to show up at the top of the page for ‘Chicago divorce lawyer’ because you’ll get every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Sally who perhaps can’t afford your services. It’s the wrong client for you. You probably want to show up for the term ‘business owner going through a divorce.’ That would be a term that would be more important to you.
There are three basic types of search engine optimization – three basic things you can do to your website to help it rank better on Google. I’ve put them into three categories: the technical SEO, the on-page SEO, and the off-page SEO.
These are some questions that you should be asking yourself: are you the person looking after your website? Is your website using the latest technology? Is your website older than four years, or more than four years old? If it is, I guarantee you are not using the latest technology. Ask yourself: Is your website showing up well on desktops and all mobile devices? If it doesn’t look good on a smartphone, then it is not going to show up on the first page of Google, because Google is now giving priority to how websites show up on smartphones. Does your website have a proper sitemap? Is it easily crawled by Google and other search engine spiders so they can index the pages? The older the site, the less likely it is to be easily crawled by the Google spiders and other search engines. Remember: Google is not the only search engine, there are lots of other ones. Google just dominates the landscape. Does your website load fast and meet Google’s loading targets? How fast do the pages of your website load? Are they better or worse than the average? Have you checked the load time on different devices? Load time can be different on a smartphone and a laptop. You can use tools that Google provides to find the answers to these questions, such as Google PageSpeed Insights, which allows you to see how fast your website is. It also tells you how it compares to other websites.
Have you set up Google Search Console? There’s just so much that we can only touch on the service surface for on-site SEO. Things that you would look for should also include the keywords you are ranking for. Do you have sufficient keywords like ‘Chicago divorce lawyer?’ Do you have sufficient, unique, and relevant content on your website to attract attention from Google? Ideally, you should have a minimum of 500 to 600, even 700 words per page on your website with a focus on a specific keyword or combination of keywords like child custody, for instance. Is your content educational and informative, or is it all self-promotion? Many websites I see for family lawyers focus mainly on themselves. There’s no additional information that’s provided for divorcing people to answer the questions that they will have, and the truth is that if they don’t find it on your website, they’ll find it somewhere else. So it makes sense from a client-centric point of view to have content and information resources on your site to help you. It also makes sense from an approval point of view because Google is looking for that sort of information to help rank your website.
Does Google view your website as an authority? Do you have media interviews and content that satisfies Google’s EAT? EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. This means that when people come to your website, they eat the information they’re looking for. This should be information that proves your expertise, proves your authority, and proves your trustworthiness. Again, the only way that Google makes money is if people come to Google, make searches, and click on ads. This is why Google has to make sure that the information they’re providing is helpful to you and me as a consumer.
Lastly, has the content been properly optimized for search engines with proper internal links, image sizes, meta tags, h1 and h2 tags, etc.? It gets very technical. Call me if you want a bit more information about what we can do to help you with SEO, or reach out to a firm. Be sure to get testimonials from any SEO firm that you use.
Off-page SEO is the last topic I’ll touch on. Do you have strong backlinks from authoritative websites coming to your websites? Do you have reviews on other websites such as Yelp, Google, etc.? If you have a social media marketing strategy, you should have a firm Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Do you appear on podcasts and video platforms like iTunes and YouTube? These are all places where people who are going through a divorce are looking for information. Google also acknowledges if you’ve got podcasts and iTunes and videos on YouTube. This also builds up your authority. Backlinks from websites are very important for search engine optimization.
We invite people to write for our websites www.DivorceMag.com, www.FamilyLawyerMagazine.com, and www.DivorcedMoms.com. You’ll find all of our writer’s guidelines on those sites. I have to stop talking about search engine optimization because in most cases, the answers to the questions that I’ve asked you are likely either you don’t know, or your website is older than four years. If that’s the case, something needs to be done, so contact me or contact another SEO expert.
McKay Allen: I’m going to dive in a little bit on how to get reviews. It’s a three-step process. I’m using texting to get reviews. Step number one, the text should be customized with your logo. Once you send the text, they select the review site. 89% of phones in North America are logged into Google or Facebook all the time, so one of these is likely going to be logged in on the recipient’s phone. They simply click on it, leave the number of stars or thumbs, and they’re done. This has 35 times more of an effectiveness rate than email in collecting reviews. The biggest thing I want to stress here, though, is to take control and build a repeatable process.
If you build a process and have someone at your firm who’s in charge of getting reviews and running the process, you’re going to be well ahead of most of your competitors. You will also be well ahead of where you are now because most firms don’t have a standardized process. It’s pretty haphazard. Or maybe they’ll do a review drive for three or four months, get 100 reviews and then never think about it again. Just having a process every time you have a positive case resolution can make all the difference.
I’ve got a question from Michelle. She asks: ‘can clients leave a review without revealing their names? Due to the confidentiality of divorce mediation, our clients generally do not want to use identifying information about themselves.’ Thoughts on that, Dan?
Dan: If you’re putting a review on Google, you have to have the person’s name, but if the client sends you a review, you can just use their initials and put that review up on your website. If nowhere else, at least put it on your website, your Facebook page, or your LinkedIn page. Just put the person’s initials. That’s going to be almost as good as the person’s name. People understand the sensitivity of the subject of divorce, so they accept the fact that they may not get the person’s name attached to the end of the referral that they’re getting.
McKay: The other thing I wanted to stress here is how firms are using texting. We showed you an example earlier of a firm who put this little ‘text us’ button up here. This is different from a webchat. When they send this, they are texting on their cell phone. When people add these widgets, their lead volume grows, and as I said earlier, those texts just come into what functions like an inbox.
The other thing that I would stress here is the ability to have auto-responses. If you’re after hours or if you want to set up some sort of automation for scheduling an appointment or a review, you can do that automatically. The other thing that I wanted to mention is our new feature called Kenect video chat. Within the texting conversation, you can immediately start a video chat. You click on the Kenect mobile app, you click on the little video, and it sends them a link. Once you go to the link, you’re immediately chatting on video. It doesn’t require any software or anything. It’s just a link. Law firms love this tool. It’s a great way to generate leads and is available for both mobile and desktop. You can also easily share your screen to review documents.
We’ve got a couple of questions coming in, but any final thoughts from you, Dan, before we dive into questions?
Dan: You just can’t get reviews and testimonials unless you’ve got an active program in place to develop, nurture, and grow your testimonials. This is why your tool is a great tool to use. I’m recommending the tool that McKay is talking about to get testimonials. It will get you a lot more than you’ll ever get on your own.
The other thing I want to mention is something I heard at a Clio seminar. (Clio offers legal practice management software.) One of the most important things for a law firm, especially during COVID times, is connectivity. Your clients and prospective clients want to feel connected to you, and I don’t think there’s any more immediate way that they can feel connected than through texting. With the addition of video, you’ve knocked it out of the park. People want to see who they’re talking to as well. It’s just so much better than chatting with some anonymous person. You guys are right on top of where the market is and where the market is going.
McKay: talk a little bit more about your services, Dan. Divorce Marketing Group offers the SEO and PPC expertise, but what else do you offer to family law firms?
Dan: When we are building websites, doing on-site optimization, or even taking over a website, we will review the optimization of the website and update it if necessary. Sometimes clients come to us with an older website. When that happens, there’s not much choice other than to start from scratch and rebuild the entire website. Sometimes if it’s a WordPress website, we can just update the look of the website. If the technology is fine, then we can work with what you have, make it work better, and make it more effective for SEO purposes. But if you want to be on page one of Google, the only way that we can guarantee is with Google pay-per-click advertising.
You’re going to hold me 100% responsible for the results, not Google. If you want to be on page one, we can guarantee it with pay-per-click advertising. SEO is a good thing to do, but it’s going to be tough to get on page one for the hardest search terms like ‘Chicago divorce lawyer,’ so you have to target search terms that are not as competitive but maybe more aligned with the type of clients you want anyway, such as ‘business owners in Chicago.’ SEO is slower and PPC is the quick way to go if you want to get on page one.
McKay: We’ve got a couple of people asking about how texting works. You keep your number, and people can text it. I mean, it’s that simple. Some firms are also taking advantage of our text to pay solution. This is the ability to immediately send a link and get paid via texting. It’s probably the fastest-growing feature within the platform.
Terry asked a good question to you, Dan. Do you guys manage content creation? Do you have people who can help them write blogs or other things that would be helpful for them as they try to build out their SEO strategy?
Dan: Absolutely. If you’re going to have an SEO strategy, it involves having more content added to your website regularly that is optimized for search engines. We’ve found the best way to create content, and we’ve been at this for 25 years. Our conclusion is to interview clients over the phone. When we interview them, we can create podcasts that we can then put up on iTunes. They can have the podcast on their website, and we put it on www.DivorceMag.com. Then we transcribe and edit the podcast and add that text to their website. Podcasts can be used in multiple other ways. If they have a newsletter, they can include it in that. If they have a Facebook page, they can put it on there. If we’re going to help a client create text, it’s going to be text and content that they can use in multiple ways. So the answer is yes, we do it mainly through creating podcasts.
McKay: Any final thoughts before we end today, Dan?
Dan: I just hope that everybody’s well and that their business is doing well. I invite you to reach out to me if you need help in any way. I’m glad to point you in the right direction, whatever might be going on with your family law practice. We serve clients all across the country and I’ve been doing this for 25 years. We are glad to help you in any way we can. You can reach me at www.DivorceMag.com or www.DivorceMarketingGroup.com, or by email at DanC@DivorceMarketingGroup.com. You can also contact me by phone at 866-803-6667, extension 124.