Law Firm Marketing: A 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


Key terms for lawyer marketing

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


Leads

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

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
(Image Source)

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
(Image Source)

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)

Blogging

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)

FAQs

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:”

divorce-facebook-ad-example


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.


These marketing and client intake tools can make life easier

Marketing and client intake for law firms has been made easier in recent years by a slew of different tools that can automate processes, save time, and generally look after many sales and marketing tasks.

Using the technology available makes sense. Keep an eye out for the following tools in addition to the ones already mentioned (like Googe Analytics and MailChimp). Some are even free to use.


Hootsuite for social media management

Most lawyers have little time available for managing social media. Hootsuite makes it much easier by automating the scheduling of posts, allowing you to write a bunch of posts at one time, and send them out over a specified period — among other features, like monitoring comments/responses.

Marketing For Lawyers Hootsuite
(Image Source)

Google Trends for keyword and content research

Google Trends can save you time when developing content by researching topics that people are actively searching for. It helps you answer the question, what should I write about?

Which is great if you’re starting a law firm blog, for instance. You can use the tool to explore legal topics and get suggestions for related topics.

Lawyer Marketing Google Trends
(Image Source)

Moz and SEMrush are also useful research tools for checking keyword search volumes.


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 2022 post.

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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