Law Firm Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide

Law Firm MarketingAs more law firms recognize the potential for generating leads online, law firm marketing becomes even more competitive.

So, how will you stay ahead of competing law firms who are gunning for your business?

You need:

  • A marketing plan and law firm marketing budget
  • Strategies designed for your specific practice area
  • A commitment to follow these strategies
  • The right tools and services to make life easier

The 2021 ABA Survey on websites and marketing noted “the lack of a strategic approach to marketing taken by many law firms.” Furthermore, only 35 percent of respondents from firms with 2-9 lawyers and 7 percent of solo attorneys reported having a marketing budget.

So, assuming you would like a steady flow of leads to your firm, what areas of marketing should you focus on?

This post covers everything you need to get started with law firm marketing, including:

  • An overview of the key marketing terms
  • Actionable steps to market your firm successfully — with an overview of the key strategies (with examples)
  • Best practices with law firm marketing
  • Essential tools for executing your marketing plan

What is law firm marketing?

It’s essential for law firms to establish a strong online presence and effectively market their services to attract and retain clients.

That’s where law firm marketing comes in.

Law firm marketing refers to the strategies and tactics that law firms use to attract clients and increase their revenue. These strategies can include online and offline (digital and traditional) marketing techniques that promote a law firm’s services to potential clients.

A comprehensive law firm marketing strategy combines various marketing techniques, both digital and traditional, including:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media management
  • Content creation
  • Pay-per-click ads
  • Direct mail
  • Email marketing

The goal, then, is:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Generate new leads and capture their information
  • Persuade them to sign up for a consultation
  • Nurture client relationships
  • Encourage repeat clients and word-of-mouth referrals

Given the competitive nature of the legal industry, effective marketing is essential for law firms of all sizes, from solo practitioners to large, international firms.

It’s no longer sufficient to rely solely on word-of-mouth and referrals to attract new clients.

By differentiating themselves through strategic marketing efforts, law firms can showcase their expertise, demonstrate their commitment to client success, and stay ahead of the competition.

Why is law firm marketing important?

Effective law firm marketing helps your firm generate a consistent supply of new clients. A marketing strategy that combines both online and offline tactics will increase your brand visibility and get your firm in front of more people. And the more visible you are, the more likely potential clients will find and contact you.

One key component is getting your law firm’s website to appear at the top of Google and other search engines. And this is vitally important.

SEO for Lawyers Google SERP

According to a recent study by the National Law Review, 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine in their decision-making process. That’s a lot of potential clients you would miss out on if you only relied on referrals.

This abundance of new traffic inevitably leads to a significant return on investment (ROI). And most larger law firms have caught on to this fact.

A study by the American Bar Association found that 57% of law firms with 10-49 lawyers have a dedicated marketing budget. On the other hand, 29% of firms with 2-9 partners had a marketing budget.

Another important effect of legal marketing is the way it helps you establish trust and credibility with clients.

When people are searching for legal services, they turn to online reviews and testimonials. And a thorough marketing campaign involves building up your portfolio of client reviews, testimonials, and successful cases to showcase your law firm’s competence and credibility.

Who’s in charge of law firm marketing at a firm?

The person or team responsible for law firm marketing varies from firm to firm.

In some cases, the responsibility may fall on the managing partner or a designated marketing partner. In larger firms, there may be a dedicated marketing department.

Regardless of the size of the firm, it’s essential to have someone or a team responsible for law firm marketing.

The majority of law firms have begun to outsource their marketing. It allows them to dedicate their time and energy to running their practice while guaranteeing they have a dedicated and professional marketing team bringing in new clients behind the scenes.

It’s often more efficient than hiring a dedicated in-house marketer, as law firm marketing is a vast topic with its own specializations. Hiring a law firm marketing agency gets you the best people for each task versus one in-house generalist who does everything just “ok.”

How much should law firms spend on marketing?

Law firms with marketing budgets can spend between 2 and 20 percent of gross revenue on marketing.

That’s a huge variation, and you’ll get more concrete answers depending on who you ask. The Legal Marketing Association and Bloomberg Law reported in 2018 that the average marketing spend is 6.7 percent of revenue.

Smaller firms tend to spend closer to 2 percent of their revenue on marketing.

Ultimately, the amount a firm should allocate to marketing depends on various factors, such as the firm’s size, its practice areas, target audience, and competition.

law firm marketing budget

Newly established law firms may want to allocate more of their budget to marketing to build brand awareness and a client base quickly. As the firm becomes more established, it can adjust its marketing budget according to its needs and the effectiveness of its marketing strategies.

As long as you continuously monitor your ROI, you can ensure you’re always making a profit and continuously reinvest in successful marketing tactics appropriately.

Benefits of law firm marketing

Effective law firm marketing plays a vital role in the growth and success of modern law firms.

Investing in law firm marketing brings with it a host of benefits, including:

  • Increased visibility: Marketing helps law firms establish a strong presence in the industry, making them more visible to potential clients both online and offline.
  • Enhanced reputation: Legal marketing can help shape and maintain a positive image for the firm. By showcasing your attorney’s expertise, highlighting successful cases and reviews, and sharing content, firms can build credibility and trust with clients and peers.
  • Client acquisition: Effective marketing strategies help attract new clients and generate leads. By targeting specific practice areas and using personalized messaging, law firms can connect with their ideal clients and increase their chances of securing new business.
  • Client retention: Marketing efforts, such as client newsletters, email campaigns, and social media engagement, can help maintain relationships with existing clients. This ongoing communication strengthens the bond with clients, increasing the likelihood of repeat business and referrals.
  • Competitive advantage: A well-executed marketing plan can set a law firm apart from its competitors. By staying current with the latest marketing trends and adopting innovative strategies, firms can gain a competitive edge and attract more clients.
  • Increased revenue: Ultimately, effective marketing can lead to increased revenue. By attracting new clients and retaining existing ones, law firms can grow their business and boost profitability.
  • Analytics and insights: Marketing efforts provide valuable data and insights that help law firms make informed decisions about their strategies. By analyzing marketing metrics, firms can identify what works, what doesn’t, and where to allocate resources for maximum ROI.

Key terms for lawyer marketing

Before we start looking at actionable steps to market your firm successfully, let me explain some key marketing terminology.

jjj A lead is a potential paying client. Marketing campaigns are often designed for lead generation purposes, i.e., to bring potential paying clients into your law firm.

If your marketing campaign is well-targeted, many leads should turn into clients. However, success depends partly on the client intake process, which starts as soon as a potential client picks up the phone, emails you, fills in a contact form, or opens a live chat session.

To be clear, marketing leads are generated by marketing campaigns. But unless you have a strong client intake process, you’ll struggle to turn those leads into paying clients.

Conversion rate

The conversion rate is an important metric, tracking how many people visit your website, read your ad, arrive on your landing page, and turn into paying clients.

If you’re generating plenty of leads but they’re not converting, your client intake process may need to be revisited.

Landing pages

The best law firm landing pages convince visitors to take a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading an eBook, or scheduling a case evaluation.

They’re a web page usually based around a specific topic prompting users to take a particular action.

Here’s an example from Spectrum Family Law in Calgary, which aims to convince visitors to “book a consultation.”

spectrum family law landing page
(Image Source)

Call to action

You should use a call to action (CTA) on your website to prompt the specific action you want the visitor to take. They directly affect the conversion rate.

These CTAs should be prominent, clickable buttons used on every page of your website and contact forms, like on this page from Dennis and King.

law firm ctas
(Image Source)


SEO stands for search engine optimization, a key lawyer marketing strategy. SEO for lawyers is the practice of optimizing web pages to rank highly in search engines for your targeted search terms.

We can confidently say that one of our clients, Oykhman Criminal Defence, has optimized its website to a high standard because it ranks so well for the keyword phrase criminal defence lawyer Edmonton.

It’s highest in the local search results.

Law Firm Marketing Local SEO

Pay-per-click (PPC)

You may hear the term “pay-per-click” in reference to a form of online advertising.

You don’t pay for your ad to be displayed, but every click on it is chargeable at an agreed rate, regardless of whether it turns into a paying customer.

These rates are determined based on the keyboards you bid for.

Google Ads for lawyers is the most popular form of PPC advertising, but beware. Clicks for legal keywords can be expensive, so your campaign must be managed properly.

How to market your firm

Before implementing any marketing strategies for your law firm, some groundwork is needed: a marketing budget and plan.

The fact that larger law firms are more likely to set aside a budget for marketing shouldn’t deter you as a solo attorney or small firm from following suit. It makes sense to know what you can spend on marketing before you start spending it.

Every firm has an idea of what it’s prepared to spend on attracting new leads. How valuable is a single lead to you — and what can you realistically spend on attracting it?

Here is a convenient budgeting tool to calculate how many new leads you can generate per month and at what cost.

Law Firm Marketing Budget Estimation Tool

Investing VALUE/mon will yield between.

0 - 0 Sales leads per month.
$0 - $0 Costs per lead.

Please contact us to discuss your budget to see how we can best serve you.

The minimum monthly budget is $1,000.

You can then work through our law firm marketing strategy template to document your budget and strategies.

Create a

Successful Law Firm Marketing Strategy

In 10 minutes or less!

Our template will help you to:

  • Define your SMART goals
  • Craft your brand story
  • Create your customer personas
  • …and more!
Download Now

The contents of your marketing plan will depend on various things, including:

  • The available budget
  • Your main marketing goals (must be measurable)
  • Your target clients
  • The level of competition in your practice area and location
  • Your capacity to handle new clients
  • Your preferred strategies for attracting new clients
  • The technologies and tools you’ll use to help you
  • Whether you’ll outsource to marketing professionals or manage marketing in-house

Before you start writing your marketing plan, try breaking it down into these three simple sections to make life easier:

  • Why: The strategic and definable goals of your plan
  • What: The steps required to execute the marketing plan
  • How: The specific actions you will take, who will take them, and how often?

You can read more about designing a comprehensive marketing plan in our complete guide to law firm marketing strategy.

Now let’s get into the main tactics you will use.

Start by building a top-class website

You likely have a website, but is it doing what you need it to do and portraying the image you want?

A law firm’s website is the hub of its marketing activity. It needs to look and act the part. Does yours?

As you run your marketing campaigns, leads will filter back to landing pages on your website.

From there, you either need to provide informative content to answer questions and raise awareness of your firm or convince interested parties who need to hire a lawyer to contact you for a consultation.

So, your website is not only a “first impression,” but an important conversion tool.

Here are a few pointers to get it right.

Include Home, About, Services (Practice Areas), Contact, and FAQ pages

This menu from Wyoming Legal Group’s website provides a few more ideas.

Law Firm Website Pages

Break down practice areas as much as possible.

Check out how “granular” the practice area pages are for The Maine Criminal Defense Group website.

Law Firm Website Practice Areas
(Image Source)

Add informative, in-depth content to your website

High-quality content that answers the questions of your target audience is great for SEO and for keeping visitors on your website. Here’s an example from the website of criminal defense lawyer Adam D. Brown in Georgia.

Law Firm Website Blog Content

Include reviews/testimonials

They add credibility and help to build trust with prospective clients who have never heard of your firm. Either include them within pages or create a separate testimonials page like this one from The Maine Divorce Group.

Law Firm Website Testimonials
(Image Source)

Add case studies

Case studies demonstrate the positive results you have achieved and build trust with potential clients. Auger Hollingsworth, a personal injury firm in Alberta, has a separate “Successful Results” page on its website.

Law Firm Website Case Studies
(Image Source)

Include calls to action

A call to action directs visitors to contact you and makes it obvious how they can reach your firm. The Nebraska Legal Group does that well throughout its website.

Law Firm Website Call To Action
(Image Source)

Your job of developing a website that genuinely reflects your firm’s brand becomes much easier if you work with a marketing agency that specializes in creating high-quality law firm websites and can offer informed advice.

Optimize your website for search

SEO is a technical and complex topic that can’t be covered in a few paragraphs. But you need to be aware of its importance to your overall law firm marketing.

How well you optimize your website for search will directly affect how many online leads you get. It’s that simple. It is a long-term tactic that won’t bring instant benefits, so you need a strategy and an SEO professional working on it constantly.

Suppose you get it right by following SEO best practices for lawyers. In that case, you can expect to feature at or near the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), just like Taylor Janis Workplace Law for employment lawyer Alberta searches.

SEO for Lawyers Google SERP

There are many steps to getting SEO right. If you’ve built a quality website that provides a great user experience, that’s a good start.

Also, pay attention to the following:

  • Targeting the correct long-tail keywords/keyword phrases in the copy
  • Gathering high-quality backlinks
  • Creating high-quality content that keeps readers engaged
  • Building citations and mentions of your law firm online
  • A logical structure/architecture for your website
  • Quick-loading pages

SEO is an extended play, but getting it right is the difference between a steady flow of high-quality leads every month and your website rarely being seen.

Master local search

Google places great importance on local search results, which means your law firm should too.

In all likeliness, most lawyers reading this will rely heavily on local business, so it makes good business sense to master local SEO.

Whenever a searcher adds a location (city, state, province, etc.) to a search for a law firm, you will see something like this in the Google SERP.

Local Search Law Firm Marketing

This high traffic-generating panel is right at the top of the results page. To have any chance of featuring there, you need to optimize your Google Business Profile listing. If you click on the Mullen & Mullen Law Firm link in the panel, it will take you to this page.

Google My Business for Lawyers

You can see that this firm has optimized its Google Business Profile listing with all the information completed and plenty of Google reviews.

To optimize your Google Business Profile listing for local search, focus on the following:

  • Enter your business location accurately on the map
  • List your official business website
  • Add relevant information, like your hours
  • Ensure that your business name, address, and phone number (“NAP”) are consistent across the web
  • Choose the most appropriate primary category for your firm
  • Add photographs
  • Gather reviews

Build your marketing strategy around great content

The legal IP in your head is incredibly valuable, so content marketing should be at the heart of your overall strategy.

How do you use that knowledge to answer the questions of your target audience in a digestible format and build enough trust to contact your firm for a consultation when they need it?

Here are a few ideas.

Practice area power pages

Each practice area should be broken down and a page created to provide long-form content on the topic.

DeHoyos Law in Houston doesn’t simply write a service page on personal injury. Instead, they create multiple detailed pages like this one for dog bite injuries (note that it even has a table of contents).

Law Firm Marketing Practice Area Pages
(Image Source)


Running a blog is an increasingly popular way for law firms to demonstrate expertise in their practice area, like Californian criminal defense firm Barhoma Law does.

Law Firm Marketing Lawyer Blog
(Image Source)


Answering the most commonly asked questions of your target audience is a simple way to produce valuable content. This is how Legal Solutions of New Mexico addresses the main spousal support questions asked by clients.

Law Firm Marketing FAQs
(Image Source)

Build a dominant online presence

These days, a law firm’s online presence should not only involve a website. There are many channels with which to quickly build a strong presence — and all it costs in most cases is a little time.

You should claim your profiles on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Social media marketing is here and not going away. At the minimum, start with a LinkedIn profile for each of your lawyers and your firm, like this company page by Chadi & Company.

Lawyer Marketing LinkedIn Profile
(Image Source)

Lawyer directories like Avvo, FindLaw, and Justia are necessary for every lawyer. These sites are well-optimized for search and receive a lot of traffic, so creating an optimized profile like this one from estate planning attorney Peggy R. Hoyt on Avvo can earn you a share of that traffic.

Lawyer Marketing Avvo Profile
(Image Source)

Claim and optimize your free profile on state and local bar websites as well. At a minimum, it’s more backlinks to your website.

Run and manage PPC campaigns

Law firm pay-per-click advertising should be part of your marketing armory, but it’s not to be “dabbled in.” If you run a PPC campaign, it needs to be managed carefully and professionally because it can turn into an expensive mistake.

Legal keywords are among the most expensive to bid for, so in the wrong hands, PPC can be costly. Optimizing your campaign and controlling spend is essential but the potential for a large volume of high-quality leads is impressive.

Most likely, you will run Google Ads or Facebook ads campaigns.

Facebook is more suitable for some practice areas than others — typically it’s best for public-facing law firms such as:

  • Personal injury firms
  • Criminal defense firms
  • Family law firms
  • Employment law firms
  • Estate planning firms

With Facebook ads, it’s becoming more difficult to stand out from the crowd in busy newsfeeds. This example from the Colorado Legal Group “breaks the mold:”


Email marketing

Newsletters and email “drip” campaigns that nurture and educate leads can be lucrative lawyer marketing strategies.

First, you need to build a list of potential clients to target. You can do this simply by requesting visitors sign up for your newsletter or by creating a “lead magnet,” such as an eBook, how-to guide, report, or white paper that provides valuable information for prospective clients in return for their email addresses.

Here’s an example of an eBook lead magnet (also called “gated content”) from Braverman Law Group in Colorado.

Law Firm Marketing Lead Magnet

Once you have your list, you need an email marketing program like MailChimp (which even offers a free plan) to manage your campaigns. Then create a series of educational emails or a regular newsletter to send out, like this monthly one from attorney Scott R. Marshall.

Law Firm Marketing Newsletter

Balance digital marketing with traditional marketing methods

If you decide to ramp up digital marketing for your law firm, it doesn’t mean you must abandon the traditional offline marketing methods that have worked in the past.

You might trade a little offline networking for LinkedIn networking or gather reviews and testimonials online to display on your website rather than framing them and hanging them on the office walls.

However, you can still generate leads by getting out into the local community, spreading the word, sponsoring events, and contributing to the betterment of people’s lives. This can help to generate referrals — word-of-mouth business is important even as the focus changes to digital marketing.

Here’s a good example of community involvement from The Law Office of Bill L. Thompson in Minnesota.

Lawyer Marketing Community Work
(Image Source)

Other offline marketing activities that can pay dividends for law firms are:

  • Engaging the local media to offer your legal opinion (though this may also be done largely online these days)
  • Running town hall events or in-person seminars (great for some firms like estate planning or family law firms)
  • Networking at local bar associations and small business events — especially with other business professionals who complement your firm’s work, e.g., a bankruptcy law firm may partner with an accounting firm or an estate planning firm may exchange referrals with a family law firm
  • Public speaking on your practice area specialty — at conventions, professional gatherings, etc

5 attorney marketing best practices

Many of the above marketing strategies apply to any small or medium-sized business.

However, we all know that law firms face some unique challenges with digital marketing. Let’s take a quick look at some best practices to follow before you start.

1. Follow the lawyer advertising rules

Lawyers are understandably held to high ethical standards as their work changes people’s lives profoundly. Law firms must follow a series of advertising and marketing rules, which were updated in 2018.

For instance, lawyers cannot make a “false or misleading” statement about their services or refer to themselves as “specialists” or “experts” unless formally certified as such.

2. Outsource to marketing professionals

Busy law firms generally have a team of lawyers busy with casework. It’s unrealistic and counter-productive for them (or their assistants) to attempt to look after the marketing, even if they’re qualified to do so (most aren’t).

Websites, SEO, and PPC are specialist areas that require professional management by an agency that understands the unique requirements of law firm marketing.

3. Build credibility and trust with reviews, testimonials, awards, and success stories

We’ve touched on this already. Many people looking for a law firm are doing so for the first time. They don’t know where to start. Others may have had a bad experience with a lawyer in the past.

You can help set their minds at ease by collecting reviews and testimonials, promoting success stories, and displaying any awards that you’ve won.

Here’s the homepage from Oykhman Criminal Defence, which immediately establishes credibility and trust.

Lawyer Marketing Credibility & Trust
(Image Source)

Bear in mind that Clio’s 2021 Legal Trends Report found that 82 percent of legal clients looked for client reviews when seeking legal counsel. So, you need an active review management system that follows the ethical guidelines for lawyers.

If you don’t manage your online reputation, someone else will.

4. Focus on user experience

If your website, landing pages, content marketing, and so on are focused on providing a great user experience, your marketing strategies should start to fall into place and generate quality leads.

If it’s over-focused on promoting your firm rather than looking after what your target clients are looking for, you may struggle.

Being client-centered is the name of the game: a frictionless, easy-to-use website with all the necessary information to answer your clients’ main questions is the starting point for generating leads and converting them into paying clients.

5. Track and measure

All marketing efforts need tracking so that you can measure the return on investment (ROI). That’s why it’s important to start with measurable goals in your marketing plan.

The most important metric is generally the number of qualified leads generated. Based on the results, you may need to tweak strategies to improve performance, change tactics completely, or go full steam ahead.

Google Analytics Law Firm Marketing
(Image Source)

Website tracking with Google Analytics is the best place to start. It provides in-depth data about your website traffic, such as referring domains, the number of visitors, how long they stayed, which pages promoted the most engagement, etc.


What are some examples of law firm marketing?

Examples of law firm marketing include both digital marketing and traditional marketing tactics. This includes content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), public relations, and billboard advertising.

How can law firms use content marketing for marketing purposes?

Law firms can use content marketing by creating high-quality and informative content, such as blog posts, attorney bio pages, and case studies that showcase their expertise and helps them connect with their client persona.

What is search engine optimization (SEO), and how can it benefit law firms?

SEO is the process of optimizing a website to improve its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). By using SEO strategies, law firms can increase their online visibility and attract more potential clients to their website.

Can social media be used for law firm marketing?

Yes, social media can be an effective marketing tool for law firms. You can create and share valuable content on social media to humanize your firm’s lawyers and build brand awareness.

How can law firms measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts?

Law firms can measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts by analyzing metrics such as website traffic, leads generated, social media engagement, and conversion rates. This data can help them identify what works, what doesn’t, and where to allocate budget for maximum ROI.

What are some common mistakes law firms make in their marketing efforts?

Common mistakes include not defining their target audience, not having a clear marketing strategy, not tracking metrics to measure effectiveness, and stretching themselves too thin.

How can law firms stay up to date with the latest marketing trends?

Law firms can stay current with the latest marketing trends by following industry publications, attending marketing conferences and events, and working with a marketing agency specializing in the legal industry.

Can law firms handle their marketing in-house, or should they work with a marketing agency?

Law firms can handle their marketing in-house, but working with a law firm marketing agency can provide valuable expertise and resources to help them achieve their marketing goals more effectively.

Ready to step up your law firm marketing strategy?

You now have the information you need to design and execute a winning marketing strategy for your law firm.

Although we could go into a lot more detail about the main strategies — and we do in our Law Firm Marketing Strategy guide.

Ultimately, it’s great to know and understand why you should be running the campaigns you run and making the changes to your website/online presence — and how to do it — but few law firms have the desire, resources, or capability to do this in-house.

Or, to put it another way, most lawyers just aren’t marketers.

So, if you would like guidance on implementing proven strategies for generating a steady flow of high-quality leads for your firm, schedule a free consultation with us today.

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