This impressive multi-office marketer receives 2/3s of its new clients through online marketing.
Having the right niche can really help a law firm’s presence online, as demonstrated by this interview with Michael Sacks, the director of communications and client services for the multi-office law firm of Kimmel & Silverman.
“We are the oldest and largest lemon law and automotive consumer advocacy firm in the northeast. Since our inception 23 years ago we have helped over 75,000 consumers recover more than $160 million. Under the laws that we work with, the state lemon laws and the federal warranty laws, we offer consumers completely free legal representation with the automobile manufacturers paying our fees on top of what our clients receive after they prevail.”
“The largest challenge that we have is educating consumers about their rights. A lot of people know about the term lemon law and what it is but they don’t know how the law works or what you need to do to implement your rights. Many people think that they need to go to the dealership. That’s incorrect. The claims are against the manufacturer. Many people feel that they need to go through the state attorney general’s office. That’s also incorrect.”
Here’s how Kimmel & Silverman handled these challenges.
Use their website as a destination portal for prospects who need information on “Lemon Laws
“We’ve used our website for several things. Number one – we have used it specifically to educate consumers about their rights and to educate them about our services. We share with them not only the laws themselves but also our history. We have a very large news presence. We have been featured in well over 1,000 consumer news stories including Nightline, Good Morning America, and Extra. Many of the stories we work on are directly on our website so visitors can view these media stories.
The most popular feature on our site is our blog. The blog was established a few years ago and we’ve used the blog to educate and create dialogue between drivers both nationally and even internationally about specific manufacturer defects and specific manufacturer problems that are out there. Jeep water leak, Audi oil consumption problems, Ford think systems defects, General Motor “stabilitrack” problems. These are the types of things we know many consumers are dealing with. And what we’ve seen is that these consumers have used our blog as a dialogue. They share their stories see if we can help, and see if other consumers out there have feedback for them.
“The blog was particularly popular during the Ford Focus transmission problems. (Author’s note: the post has 358 comments as of this publication). Ford changed their transmission basically using stabilizers and computer modifications to create a new type of transmission where they took a manual transmission and turned it into an automatic transmission. The goal of this was to save fuel economy, which it did; however most Ford Focus drivers are now having transmission issues where their cars are lunging, they’re jerking, they’re jumping. And when they’re going back and forth to Ford dealerships they’re getting software updates and there’s technical service updates but there’s probably nothing that can fix the problem.
So we use this blog to educate and create the dialogue and it actually spun off into an ABC investigation with ABC television in Pittsburgh where they did a whole story about this.
Driving Traffic to Their Website Through Google and Bing Ads
“There are two ways to drive traffic. First there’s Google Adwords and pay per click advertising. Google and Bing both have pay-per-click platforms. You have to be very conscientious and do your research, investigate the terms and look at competitive terms and competitive fees because you’re competing with other people for those terms and if you’re not careful the fees can build up. So you want to make sure that you are really targeting those terms properly. We’ve been using Google Adwords since I took over the position 13 years ago.
“Bing’s adword platform is pretty popular. It enables us to make sure that we have a presence under our targeted terms. But of course on top of that you have to invest a significant amount into organic SEO.
“Finding the right SEO firm for your law firm is a timely process. We’ve been through probably 10 SEO firms since I’ve taken over and the reason for that is that at different times there are different SEO tactics and different tactics that are used. So tactics that were popular years ago aren’t popular anymore. Algorithms change constantly; recently there’s Panda updates with Google. We have to make sure that the information that we are providing on our pages, the content that we’re providing is what the search engines want us to provide under these terms so we work hand in hand with our SEO firm to ensure the copy is succinct, to ensure that the coding is correct so that hopefully we can be on page 1 of all the search engines organically under all of our targeted terms.”
Driving SEO Traffic
While Kimmel & Silverman still drive significant traffic through Google search, they will be the first to admit that SEO is more challenging now than in years past.
“It’s equally frustrating with the algorithms. You might have a really great website, you might have worked really hard on it and had a lot of traction but for some reason the algorithm doesn’t like your website as much as they used to. When your ranking drops you have to make sure that you still have a presence for that targeted term, so you do have to work with the pay per click platform as a backup.
“On the plus side, Google provided many useful tools that enable you to take a look at how these terms are converting into leads. They help you understand how much you’re paying per conversion.
“The only exception to that of course is that you have to take into account telephone traffic. In our case we brand 1-800-LEMON-LAW. We use 1-800-LEMON-LAW in all of our marketing even though our URL is lemonlaw.com which is a very strong branding. 1-800-LEMON-LAW is our number one branding tool. We use it in every bit of advertising, every platform possible.
“So one thing anyone who uses pay per click must do is track the people who come in, not only to find out how they’re using the platform. Try to figure out if they’re came in through pay per click or organic search. This is often difficult, because the lead doesn’t necessarily know what they’re using. But you want to find out what platform they’re using, what term they used to search because that’s also very useful information for strategizing and budgeting for your pay per click initiative.”
How Do You Convert This Traffic?
“Who handles intake calls? Intake calls for our lemon law division are handled by our in-house client services department. They discuss the situation with the client and go over their rights under the laws. The case is then reviewed and approved by an attorney. The attorney will make 4-5 calls over the course of several days. People often are difficult to reach so you have to be patient. We will follow up bi-weekly the first month, and then every two-three months to update the file. Consumers appreciate that. We also have many folks who reach out to us once they are ready to open.”
Kimmel & Silverman state that 65% of their business now comes from online marketing. Of this, over 70% of their traffic comes from organic search through their blog, home page, Lemon law FAQ state pages. The traffic varies based on the search terms used.
“It’s difficult to answer because a lot of times you don’t know. You can say to a consumer – How did you hear about us? They’ll say – I heard about you on Google. You’ll say – ok, do you know what term? Most of the time they know what term they used, but sometimes they don’t.
And then you have to figure out if they’re looking at your organic listing or your pay per click ad. Take the term ‘lemon law’ for instance. We maintain a presence on page 1 for pay per click and organically. You have to use the data you’re given.”
They track their calls to 1-800-LEMON-LAW through AVVO Pro to help track when and where calls originate.
3 Steps for Kimmel & Silverman Success
1. Great branding in a niche market
The first thing when you think of Kimmel & Silverman is not, “Oh no! Not another law firm.” Instead, you think about the lemon laws for cars in this country. Due to some great positioning, the firm secured not only the Lemon Law website, but also the Lemon Law phone number.
Furthermore, they work exclusively with car owners who had manufacturing defects. While a lot of personal injury attorneys might work on various cases in different fields, Kimmel & Silverman exclusively focuses on this niche. They are the authority on lemon laws.
2. Destination website to answer your questions
Continuing the idea of being an authority, they use LemonLaw.com to act as an education tool for consumers looking to find out more about the various laws that could affect their car. By using blogging and a constant stream of content about lemon laws around the United States, they establish their authority on the subject and pique prospects’ interest in the subject.
They also use social media to keep in touch with these prospects. With over 1,600 fans on Facebook, 250 on Twitter, and an active YouTube following, Kimmel & Silverman uses social media to spread the word to current and prospective clients about how the various laws affect their ride.
3. Targeted website traffic to find the right clients
Finally, Kimmel & Silverman has a wide online marketing and PR strategy, but the budget is targeted over a few specific areas that deliver the highest amount of traffic and conversions for their investments.
Since, 70% of their traffic comes from search, they are constantly working on creating relevant content for their website traffic to consume and use. This search traffic is the main engine for their lead generation pipeline, and a crucial part of how they drive conversions through online marketing.
“The first thing that you need to do is take a good hard look at your website. You need to identify the goals and objectives that you are trying to achieve through your online marketing. Then you need to create solid content. Then you need to take a look and possibly employ an SEO firm. Do your research on SEO firms.
“It’s not just about the ranking. It’s about creating the online footprint. Find a partner, who will help you create an online footprint within your budget, so your website can become a destination for people who are looking for information in your marketplace.”
By using the Lemon Law brand as the crux of their branding, Kimmel & Silverman created an online presence around this concept that is used in everything from content marketing for search traffic to the phone numbers customer’s call to learn more about Kimmel & Silverman’s services. With over 75,000 past clients, this approach is clearly working.