Your Go-To Handbook for Digital Marketing for Law Firms
By Nichole Naoum and Adrian Aguilera
Legal marketing is not something most lawyers like to think about. Still, it’s an essential part of running a successful law firm. After all, you can’t possibly practice law without clients.
Word of mouth is no longer enough to bring in new business. Law firms must continually update their marketing strategies to stay productive and profitable in today’s competitive landscape.
To help ensure your business is on the right track, we’ve put together a comprehensive law firm marketing guide with all the tips and best practices you need to grow your client base in 2022 and beyond.
Why You Need to Market Your Law Firm
The importance of effectively marketing your law firm cannot be overstated. As with any industry nowadays, lawyers need to market their firm to attract more business. After all, being a highly-skilled attorney is one thing, and being found by potential clients is another. You’ll need to shine a light on your firm to stand out and get noticed.
With strategic marketing efforts, your clients will not only recognize your firm by its name and for the services you offer but also help you rise above the competition. Law firm marketing allows you to reach your target audience long before they need help, so your firm is top of mind when facing a legal challenge.
Types of Law Firm Marketing
Since your marketing channels will determine your firm’s exposure and lead flow; you must choose wisely. Every law firm should have a good mix of channels, but that “mix” will vary significantly based on your firm’s goals and target audience. Here are a few of the most popular marketing types:
Your potential clients can likely smell a slimy sales pitch from a mile. Content marketing can help you convince clients that your firm is the right choice for the job by showcasing how you can provide solutions to their pain points.
It’s also significantly cheaper than many other forms of marketing. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing methods and generates over three times the leads.
Providing relevant, educational content that positions your firm as an authority in your practice area will inevitably lead to increased conversions, extended site visits, better search engine rankings, etc.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing for law firms offers a valuable opportunity to engage with clients more personally.
But with so many platforms to choose from (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and live video streaming services like Meerkat), it can be challenging to know which ones will work best for your firm’s specific needs.
According to a recent ABA survey, LinkedIn was the social network of choice for lawyers, given its focus on professional networking. Facebook was the second most popular, with 54% of lawyers citing that their firms maintained an active presence on Facebook.
If your firm isn’t focused on reaching mobile users, you lose out on valuable traffic. With mobile usage accounting for roughly half of an average person’s daily internet time, the rising popularity of these devices has transformed the way attorneys attract new clients.
Prospective clients no longer wait until they get home to begin their searches for legal help. Whether they need assistance with an injury claim, DUI, or divorce, they want answers right away. And fortunately, whether it’s guides, event agendas, or client training tools, many of the law firm marketing materials you’ve already created can be repurposed and delivered via mobile.
There’s a reason why email marketing still rakes in the highest ROI compared to any other form of marketing. It’s infinitely customizable and provides an easy way to market to those already in your network.
As a law firm, you’re privy to information that your clients are eager to learn. Think company updates, regulation changes, educational materials, and everything in between. Sharing this information via emails and newsletters can help you better engage leads and existing clients.
Did you know that 54% of consumers would like to see more video content from a brand or business they support? With over five billion videos being watched on YouTube daily, it’s a good idea to step up video marketing for your firm and get in front of the masses.
Not only is it a great way to communicate complex legal concepts, but video marketing will give your firm a unique personality, a necessary differentiator needed to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
While online networking is essential, good old-fashioned face-to-face networking matters too. Jared Correia explains how to make offline networking work for your law practice in today’s connected environment in this chapter from our ebook, “Offline Networking: Using Referrals To Grow Your Practice.”
He discusses the different types of legal marketing and referral sources, the benefits of referral networking, how to improve your elevator pitch, and more.
Law Firm Marketing Best Practices
Throughout your marketing campaign, implement and maintain three key best practices listed below. This will ensure that your marketing campaign is effectively maintained and strategic.
Slowly Progress Your Marketing Strategy
Don’t immediately invest in the entire marketing universe during your campaigns. Start lightly with a couple of marketing channels and evaluate if you have the capacity for expansion. For example, when marketing your website, start by managing a light content plan and one social media channel. This will help you determine the amount of time it takes to execute your marketing efforts.
Pro tip: It’s better to successfully hit smaller targets than to end up with half-baked results from spreading yourself too thin.
After investing in a couple of marketing areas, you can determine if you can expand into additional marketing areas. If further help is required, invest in an agency or consultant who can advise and manage your marketing campaign consistently. When considering hiring help from marketing pros, carefully research your options by asking for specific case studies and proven results. All material should stem from their work that’s specific to law firms. If the agency or consultant has never worked with a law firm before, err on the side of caution and consider a different professional. Once you hire an agency or marketing expert, they can manage your entire marketing operation while you place complete focus on your client cases.
Always Focus on Your Clients
Keep your clients the main focus during the execution of your content and services. For example, when crafting blog content and/or social media posts, consider how your services solve specific problems. Don’t just talk about how you’ve been in practice for over 50+ years and that you’re a bulldog in court. Let’s face it; every law firm says that. Your potential clients want to know specifics. For example, a blog post on the “five elements when planning a divorce” would serve as a valuable piece if your firm focuses on divorce. This article offers value to the client on a specific pain point rather than a post on how you’re the best law office in the city.
Also, consider easy pay options such as installment plans and the acceptance of credit/debit card payments. Law firm billing software is a great way to implement this process quickly. Your clients will value the convenience, while your firm instantly receives payments—increasing cash flow.
Evaluate Your Marketing Efforts
Your strategic marketing plan is a bust if you can’t evaluate each channel’s traffic and conversion performance. Data never lies and will serve as your roadmap to shape and mold your campaign. For example, if long-form guides on your website perform better than short blogs, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI) by planning your following month with more guides. Never waste your efforts by shooting at hip. Stay strategic with a weekly and monthly evaluation.
Best Law Firm Marketing Tools for Success
Investment in marketing management platforms is highly recommended, so you (or your hired help) can successfully execute campaigns as quickly and efficiently as possible. Most platforms also provide free trials to test drive the service. Below are a few recommendations that will enhance your firm’s marketing strategy.
Email Marketing Tools
Managing an email campaign takes time as it involves multiple components from design conception to dissemination. Email marketing tools like Constant Contact and Mailchimp provide user-friendly tools from email design to email automation. You can automate for new subscribers, segmentation, and follow-up. You can also A/B test emails and subject lines to evaluate the themes and messaging that drive the highest clicks, traffic, and conversions.
Content/Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools
Craft all content (blog posts, guides, e-books, etc.) with an SEO-first approach using tools such as SEMRush, Moz Pro, or Ahrefs. You or your marketing team can research and perform a competitive analysis of relevant keywords that will help your firm rank high in search engines. This means that when prospective clients search (for example), “best personal injury attorney in my area,” a proper SEO strategy will help your site (and its relevant content) appear on the first page of search engines (ideally as the number one spot). These tools can also help you or your marketing team analyze relevant keyword patterns that can help build your content campaign.
Social Media Management Tools
Save time and resources by investing in a tool for scheduling, posting, and evaluating your campaign across multiple social channels. Sprout Social, Hootsuite, or Buffer are solid choices that allow you to schedule posts for every social account you (or your marketing pro) manage. They also alert you when you receive new comments so that you can respond promptly. Furthermore, these tools provide data-analysis features for evaluating the success of your law firm’s marketing campaign.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
Once you secure your leads, don’t lose them by letting them fall between the cracks. With a CRM tool like MyCase Law Firm CRM, you can manage every stage of the client lead process. The user-friendly interface will keep track of lead statuses from fresh leads to new client eSignature forms and agreements. And at every stage of the lead pipeline, you can delegate tasks to team members, set reminders, and/or create client appointments. Most CRM platforms also integrate with other marketing software systems like Mailchimp.
Creating a Law Firm Marketing Plan
There are six foundational elements for building and consistently polishing your marketing campaign. Consistently implementing each area will help your law firm yield the most remarkable results.
1. Set Your Marketing Budget
Whether you pursue an online or offline marketing campaign–or a combination of the two–to plan for the future, it’s crucial to create and work within a budget.
The reality is that the amount of money you spend to market your law firm online will vary greatly, depending on where you’re located, what your practice areas are, and the types of cases you generally tackle. You’ll also want to look at your average customer spend and customer value before committing to a budget.
2. Maintain a Well-Designed Website
Your law firm website is the hub and soul of your marketing efforts. Since most of your online traffic and leads funnel into your website, it must remain polished. Sloppy-looking websites with tricky navigation and 404 error pages translate into a waste of marketing efforts as most of your visitors will immediately leave.
When building out (or updating) your law firm website, ensure that all images are high-quality and that your firm’s services are clear and concise. Your website’s visitors should also easily navigate through every tab and area of your website without experiencing error pages. Finally, immediately issue any new changes to your firm’s services, such as expanded practice areas or new hours of operation. For more information on building your website, check out our overview on the Best Law Firm Websites in 2022.
3. Build a Social Media Presence
With the ongoing growth of the digital era; social networks are necessary for building your business and generating new leads. Start by determining which social channel(s) are the best for your law firm’s practice area. When posting on social media, establish yourself as an expert in your practice area by publishing studies on trends and sharing articles on how your services solve practical pain points. Social is also a great place to connect with other leaders in your space for potential cross-promotional opportunities or guest posts.
However, don’t be all business all the time. Also, share insight into your brand’s culture and people. This can include short profiles on staff or company awards. These posts humanize your law firm, making it more appealing to client leads.
4. Form a Content Marketing Plan
Organize your content marketing plan by creating a monthly calendar for planning, writing, and publishing your blogs. Start by planning out one to two content pieces per week to determine your capacity. When crafting your content, take an SEO-first approach to maximize the highest amount of traffic. Once an article is published, share it on all relevant social channels and client prospect emails. As your content marketing expands into more content and paid ads, it may be worth considering an agency or consultant to lighten the load and maintain consistency.
5. Keep Track of Online Reviews
Enter your business into all popular review sites like Yelp and Google My Business. This will help your law firm’s address, phone number, and reviews appear online so people can find and engage with your business. Once these profiles are established, manage your reviews by responding to neutral/negative comments and issuing thanks for the positive feedback. Reviews are an essential deciding factor when a client lead considers your law firm’s services. And remember, all reviews, especially negative, are great for determining how your law firm can improve.
6. Measure Marketing Performance
Your efforts are useless if you don’t evaluate your return on investment with data—and the numbers don’t lie. Google Analytics and built-in measurement tools from marketing software services provide insight into which campaigns generate the most leads and client conversions. This evaluation serves as your roadmap toward the marketing tactics that are most and least effective. From there, you can easily invest more into campaigns and tactics that yield the most outstanding results and re-evaluate strategies that aren’t performing as expected.
In a Nutshell
We understand that being a full-time attorney is challenging. But it’s crucial to carve out some time to build an effective law firm marketing plan to continue acquiring new business.
Creating a strategy tailored to the needs of your firm is the only way to achieve lasting success both online and offline. If you’re ready to take your law firm marketing to the next level, follow the above-outlined tips and read our ultimate marketing checklist article.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best law firm marketing strategy?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a law firm marketing plan. However, you can take a few basic steps to ensure your business is on the right track.
- Research your competitors: Look at the firms that cater to the same target audience as you. How are they speaking to client needs? What do you like and dislike about their strategy?
- Focus on branding: To set your firm apart, you need to establish a compelling brand that aligns with your business’s overall marketing strategy. Everything should be distinctly you, including your logos, social media posts, website copy, and the images you use.
- Create educational content: Before seeking a lawyer, your prospective clients are likely looking for answers. By providing high-quality content that answers their questions, you build trust and establish credibility.
- Share customer reviews: Testimonials from current clients can help those still on the fence feel confident about your services. Be sure to collect reviews by asking satisfied clients to share their feedback.
Who should law firms market themselves to?
Knowing your target market is a critical piece of the law firm marketing puzzle. If you want to get your message in front of the right people, you must identify your primary audience(s) early on. Examples of audiences include:
- Past clients
- Current clients
- Industry contacts
- Other attorneys
- Media professionals
What are the benefits of marketing your law firm?
As a whole, a well-crafted law firm marketing strategy can lead to the following benefits for your business:
- Strengthen your online presence
- Reach a broader customer base
- Increase brand awareness
- Improve customer retention
- Lead to higher profits
When should a law firm hire marketing professionals, and when should it outsource marketing services to an agency?
Your decision should be based on what your firm’s long-term goals are. Before committing to either option, you’ll want to consider time to production, cash flow, scalability, and expected return.