Marketing forFamily Lawyers

Your step-by-step guide to the top 10 marketing strategies to grow your firm.

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Here’s how you can grow your family law firm with Internet marketing

Whether you’re a solo divorce attorney or a multi-location family law firm, winning new clients grows your business.

But it’s a highly competitive area and it’s hard to stand out. It’s made harder if you follow general law firm strategies that fail to get the right messages in front of the right people.

Potential leads looking for a divorce attorney require a different marketing approach to those looking for an employment lawyer.

This guide is designed to stop you from falling into the trap of being too general with your marketing strategy. It will help you get specific and market directly to your potential family law customers. It will also help you get more and better leads – and more conversions.

Let’s get started.

Step 1

Determine your ideal customers

Jumping in and attempting to market your practice without doing your homework first will prove expensive and ineffective.

The “spray and pray” approach should be dead. All good marketing is highly targeted

And, with digital marketing, you have all the right tools at your disposal to be highly targeted.


The Demographics

First, you need to establish exactly who your ideal customers are. Think about these five demographic elements:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Profession
  • Salary

Going Deeper

Go a little deeper by considering:

  • The main legal services they require – divorce, annulment, child support, domestic violence, wills and estate services?
  • The qualities they are looking for in their lawyer
  • The main questions they need answered
  • Their main problem(s), challenge (s), or issue(s)
  • The information they’re interested in finding out
  • What may confuse them or be perceived as threatening
  • What they want to achieve by engaging you
  • How much they are willing to pay to hire you
  • Any other factors that may be important to them

For most family law firms, it’s a simple case of examining your current database and picking out the characteristics of your best customers.

For start-up firms, it may take a few more assumptions and a few best guesses at first.


Where are they looking for information?

If you’re like most family law firms, your customers will largely come from the general public. 

The ABA Journal reported in 2015 that a third of all legal consumers begin their search for a law firm by using online resources. And that number’s growing year on year.

So you’ll find them looking for information where everybody seeks information these days:

Online – searching through websites, reviews, FAQs etc. 

NOTE: 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action (Google Legal Services Study Sept 2013)

Checking Google & the other search engines for websites where they can find answers:

NOTE: “96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine.” (Google Consumer Survey 2013)

On social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

NOTE: Only 56% of lawyers are using social media for client development (American Bar Association Survey 2017)


What Next?

Once you know what your potential customers are looking for and where they’re looking for it, it’s a case of meeting them on their terms and solving their problems…

Step 2

Build your brand with a clear value proposition

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Why would a customer choose to hire you rather than one of your competitors?

Answer this before investing any time or resources into any marketing campaigns. 

In step one you defined what the main problem(s) of your target audience is (are).

For instance:

  • An impending divorce or separation
  • Division of assets
  • Child custody concerns
  • Child support fears
  • Visitation rights worries
  • Family court process doubts
  • Probate, wills, trusts, or Power of Attorney concerns

Your unique value proposition should relate closely to at least one of the main problems of your target audience.

It should speak directly to them and demonstrate how you can help them solve their problem.

It’s likely to relate to your:

  • Expertise and strengths in family law
  • Years of experience in the field
  • Case results achieved 
  • Plaudits, testimonials and awards you’ve received
  • Your unique background story 
  • The passion and service levels you deliver

Talk directly to the needs, wants, and desires of your potential customers. Convince them that they’re in the right place and that they need to contact you.

Here are a couple of other great examples of clear and compelling value propositions from family law websites:

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Your Brand 

Building a family law firm brand is not just for multinational firms. And it’s not just about having the right letterheads and business cards.

It’s about shaping the right messaging to include:

  • Your USPs – what makes your law firm unique?
  • Your value proposition – why should anyone listen to you?
  • What you consistently do better than the rest? How do you differentiate yourself from the many competing family law firms?

Step 3

Build a website for user experience & lead-capture

Once you have your target audience and your key messaging worked out, it’s time to get serious about your website. 

It’s going to be the hub of all your marketing activity, so spend time to get it right.

You probably know most of the basics of law firm websites already. If you don’t, go here for some ideas or read our article on best-practice web design for law firms.

Here, let’s concentrate on doing the things that most other family law firms aren’t doing.

This is mainly in two areas:

  • Making the user experience more memorable
  • Capturing leads more effectively

There are five main things to address here:


Mobile-First Design

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In 2016, mobile and tablet Internet usage outstripped desktop usage for the first time. That trend is continuing and it means that you need to approach website design a little differently:

  • Make sure all pages display clearly on all screen sizes
  • Call-to-action buttons must be easily clickable (preferably using the thumb)
  • Forms should be easy to complete on a smartphone

If you’re not doing these things you’re harming both the user experience and SEO (Google will penalise you for a non-responsive website).

The Google Mobile-Friendly Test tells you how friendly your website is for mobile.

Most WordPress themes are inherently mobile-friendly. It’s the best platform for designing your website for many other reasons too.


Live Chat

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Live chat is not going away. 

Despite the fears of many lawyers about giving hours of free advice or contravening privacy laws, customers now expect their questions to be answered immediately. Patience is in short supply online.

The option of live chat is especially useful for law firms that largely deal with the general public. That includes family law firms.

It provides:

  • Immediacy – you can answer customer questions there and then before they hire you
  • Connectivity – you show customers that you’re progressive and prepared to meet them on their terms
  • Opportunity – to turn interest into genuine leads

Live chat effectively allows you to place a sign on the front of your firm 24/7 saying “we’re open for business”.

You also get the benefits of lead generation without it taking up your time. Live chat agents do all the work.

And it doesn’t need to pop up and be an annoyance for visitors. The live chat option window can sit in the corner unobtrusively like this:

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View our complete list of the best law firm live chat apps.


Speed

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Nothing destroys a user experience more than slow page load times.

Visitors form a very quick first impression of your website and, if they decide it’s slow, they may well hit the back button.

We don’t need to dwell too long on this but test your page load speeds, make sure that images are optimized, videos load without buffering, and that your website has an overall snappy feel.


Gated Content

Gated content is a great way for family law firms to provide valuable content for visitors in return for their contact details.

It allows users to find the information they want. And it helps you to build your database of prospects and enhance your reputation as leaders in your practice area. It will draw people to your website.

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Gated content needs to be of real value and should answer the key questions in your customers’ minds. 

Think along the lines of a ‘cheat sheet’ or brief guide to one aspect of family law or a fuller piece of content like an eBook.

You have a lot of legal IP in your head. Shape it into high-value content that people will willingly leave their email address and phone number to receive.


Newsletter Sign Ups

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Newsletters are powerful resources for family law firms, as you’ll see in step 10.

One of their main benefits is that they can help you grow your database. Capture the details of existing or potential customers and you can market to them later.

Step 4

Demonstrate legal capability and credibility to help customers get the results they want

Demonstrating to your web visitors that they’re in the right place means establishing credibility with them early on.

You need to show that you can help with their query and, if they’re looking to hire a lawyer, that you are capable of providing the results they’re looking for.

Gated content and newsletters (mentioned above) help with this. But an effective family law firm website needs to go beyond this.

Focus on the following:


Trust Badges

Prominently feature trust badges that provide instant credibility to your firm:

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Awards and Accolades

If you’ve received awards – show them:

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Client Reviews and Testimonials

Your potential customers want to know what other customers think of you:

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Statistics

Get specific by using statistics to back up your claims:

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Case Studies

Potential customers also want to know how you’ve helped people in similar situations to them:

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Breadth of Service You Provide

Illustrate the full range of family law services you provide:

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Size of Your Firm

Are you a single attorney firm or do you have the capability to look after multiple cases concurrently? If you have high capability, show it:

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Step 5

Become a content king: answer customer questions using multimedia

Family law is a very wide practice area. The number of questions that people want answered is immeasurable.

Do your best to build a go-to resource where potential customers can come to find answers. Become the content king in your field.

There are a number of ways to do this. Many family law firms create:

  • An FAQ page; and/or
  • A resources page with articles and downloads

That’s great. But to really standout, consider going a little more ‘multimedia’.


Video

The use of video marketing by law firms can increase organic traffic from search engines by 157 percent, according to hitsearch.

And you’re 53 times more likely to feature on the first page of Google if you include video, according to this infographic from Filmora.

In fact, by 2020, it’s estimated that video will make up 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic.

Video is increasingly how your customers like to gather information – especially millennials and the younger audience. It improves the user experience, builds trust, and increases leads.

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As well as introducing your attorneys, featuring reviews, and providing a general overview of your firm, you can use video to answer FAQs and provide how-to information.

Read our extensive guide on video marketing for lawyers.


Webinars

Running webinars is a way to reach out to multiple customers – without having to provide free, individual, one-on-one consultations.

This can save time and help you demonstrate your expertise, connecting with potential customers and answering their questions in real time – which builds trust and authority.

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Obviously, family law is a sensitive area so the content of webinars, the privacy of participants, and security all need to be carefully managed; but it is an effective way to set your firm apart from others.

GoToWebinar or Zoom are good places to start with webinar software. 


Infographics

Another powerful way to present family law information to your web visitors is through infographics.

They catch the eye and provide a break from text – important for the user experience.

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Blog Posts

The American Bar Association’s 2017 Legal Technology Report found that 43 percent of respondents had a client retain their services directly due to their blogging efforts.

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Writing blog posts and articles (especially long-form, in-depth posts that create topical authority) is effective marketing for family law firms for many reasons:

  • It demonstrates know-how and expertise
  • It lets potential customers know that you’re active and current
  • It raises your credibility
  • It helps you answer customer questions in detail
  • It can improve search rankings by updating your site with fresh content
  • Guest blogging can earn valuable backlinks that also aid SEO

Step 6

Get more visiblity with search engine marketing that drives traffic

93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. But 75 percent of people never go past the first page.

So search engine optimization (SEO) matters for every law firm. And in an especially competitive area like family law, it matters even more.

A beautiful website that nobody sees is no good to anyone.

If you’re not on the first page of Google, you’re passing up the chance to send a flow of traffic to your website. And more traffic to a well-designed website means more leads.

Search engine marketing is a vast topic – too vast to go into detail here. So let’s just focus on a few of the actionable steps that you and your SEO people can take to improve rankings.


Build content around the right keywords

Find the phrases that best describe your law firm to your target audience. 

Your customers will be searching for two types of phrases based on two types of intent:

  • Informational terms like ‘child custody laws in north carolina’ where the searcher is looking for answers to specific legal questions
  • Transactional terms like ‘child custody attorney charlotte’ where the searcher intends to hire a lawyer

Get specific, drill down into the niche areas of your practice and build your website around the keyword phrases that you come up with. 

With your practice areas, break them down and create a separate page targeting one specific keyword per sub-practice area, e.g. divorce, separation, pre-nup/cohabitation, child protection, property division, family businesses, spousal support, etc.

There are three main types of keywords:

  • Head keywords: single-word general terms with high competition, like ‘lawyers’
  • Body keywords: 2-3 word phrases attracting a good search volume but more specific than head keywords – like ‘family law firms’
  • Long tail keywords: 4+ word phrases that are very specific, such as ‘Chicago family law and divorce lawyer’

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In general, look for body and long tail keywords as these are usually less competitive and easier to rank for than head keywords.

A couple of tools to help you plan your keywords are Google Keyword Planner (for which you’ll need an AdWords account) and KeywordTool.io.


On-Page SEO 

This is the process of optimizing a web page’s content and code to improve results in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

It revolves around keyword usage: but a variety of factors, including keyword placement, readability, dwell time, usability, image usage, URL optimization, and other factors all come together. 

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It generally focuses on two main areas:

    • Content-related SEO: usually for copywriters to attend to: long format and in-depth content, optimized for universal search, and creating topical authority.
    • Technical on-page SEO: usually for web developers or SEO specialists to attend to: involving page load speeds, social media share-ability, location optimization, mobile responsiveness, image alt tags, meta titles and descriptions, indexation, sitemaps, Google My Business optimization, etc.

Off-Page SEO 

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This refers to all the ‘other’ techniques used to improve rankings in the search results and includes:

  • Link-building – Google still uses backlinks as a major indicator of authority
  • Citations – ‘mentions’ of your business name, address, and/or telephone number in quality directories will earn you valuable SEO ‘juice’
  • Reviews – used as a ranking indicator and they also help potential clients understand your services better

SEO methods to steer clear of:

  • Keyword stuffing – this produces low-quality, unreadable content
  • Link farms – this associates your website with low-quality links (which are worthless)
  • Content farms – this almost guarantees low-quality content

Why’s all this all so important?

According to a Google consumer survey in 2013, 96 percent of people seeking legal advice use a search engine

The bottom line: your target clients are looking for family lawyers through search. You need to rank near the top of the first page of Google for them to find and contact you – rather than the competition.

Around 60 percent of clicks are generated by the top three SERP results. Your long-term target should be to rank on page one for all your main keywords – nothing else matters!

(Warning: it can take several months to see stellar results, though.)

Step 7

Increase visibility in local search

Many family law firms target clients from the local area. This requires strong local SEO.

There is much more detail about this in our guide to law firm SEO but for now let’s briefly look at two key areas that can start to improve your rankings in local search and generate more leads.


Google My Business

Your Google My Business (Google Local) account must be fully optimized. 

It’s arguably your second most important web property after your website. And it’s more important than ever with listings showing prominently on Google’s SERPs:

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Make sure that you manage the information about your family law firm:

  • Keep it up to date
  • Fill out every field that Google allows
  • Choose the correct category e.g. child custody lawyer, family law attorney.
  • Include images of your law firm and add keywords to image descriptions
  • Seek plenty of Google reviews
  • Maintain consistent name, address and phone number (‘NAP’) details across all your web properties.

This will help people searching for a family lawyer in your local area find you first – rather than one of your competitors.


Law Firm Directories

The main law firm directories, such as Avvo, Yelp, FindLaw, and Justia etc. can help people in your local area find your family law firm.

Getting a free or paid listing in these main directories can generate traffic and new leads.

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*Note for multi-location family law firms

If you’re a multi-location family law firm, read this article for guidance on optimizing your website so that you rank for each location in the search engines.

Step 8

Super-power your lead-generation with PPC

If you had to choose only one of the 10 steps mentioned in this playbook, it should probably be this one, based on results we’ve seen it deliver. 

Yes, organic search does drive traffic to your website. But it takes time.

One of the main benefits of pay-per-click traffic is that, when you carefully budget, plan, and optimize AdWords campaigns, a flow of highly targeted and qualified leads starts coming your way almost immediately. And it continues for as long as you run the campaigns.

Just a quick reminder of the types of results that AdWords can deliver for family law firms:

Ads now cover as much as 85 percent of the space ‘above the fold’ on the SERPs.

When someone searches for “best family law lawyer in (insert location)”, their intent to hire is likely high; so it’s important to rank well like this:

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When people click your ad, you pay for it. But see how it stands out at the top of the page. 

Imagine the immediate flow of emails or calls from people ready to hire you.


What mistakes have you made in the past with AdWords?

Surprisingly perhaps, some family law firms question the return on investment provided by AdWords. 

This is generally because of a poor experience in the past – often due to:

  • “DIY” campaigns not being managed correctly
  • Not targeting the right keywords
  • Costly mistakes – like not stating negative keywords, which exclude irrelevant searches, e.g. family lawyer training
  • Campaigns not being run within pre-agreed spend guidelines
  • Not budgeting enough for effective campaigns
  • Not hiring AdWords specialists to optimize performance
  • Not sticking at campaigns for long enough – giving up after a month
  • Focusing on the ad only – and not the landing pages
  • Poor copy writing

What do you need to do for AdWords to work?

For your AdWords campaigns to deliver the types of results you’ve seen:

  • Hire experienced and professional AdWords specialists to set up, run, and test campaigns – mistakes are costly
  • Focus on targeting long tail (niche) keywords
  • Use dynamic keyword extension in your ad copy to match customer’s search terms
  • Use ad extensions – to help your ads stand out and increase click-through rates
  • Go local with your search ads – and attract more of your target audience from a defined geographical radius
  • Target zip codes and postal codes – not just cities
  • Request an agreement with your AdWords professional where no leads = no fees
  • Insist on regular reporting from the firm you hire
  • Budget for at least $1000 per month spend

Build High-Converting Landing Pages

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An effective AdWords campaign focuses not only on ad copy but also on landing pages that convert leads.

These pages are where people who click end up. It’s where you continue the process of converting them into paying clients.

So how do you convert more clicks into clients?

Every landing page should be unique, optimized, professionally written, and designed with the following in mind:

  • Focus on the visitor taking one action 
  • It’s the difference between simply getting more traffic and getting more paying clients.
  • When visitors land, give them what they expect – copy related directly to the ad they’ve clicked on
  • Provide visitors with an immediate and compelling value proposition – why should they click the call-to-action button?

You can check out these best law firm landing page for some ideas.

Step 9

Engage in legal PR work with media outreach

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Being in the news, getting people talking about you, and generally demonstrating that you’re active in the local community has not stopped being valuable now everyone’s online.

You just need to go about it slightly differently.

Legal PR remains a great way to enhance your firm’s profile, become more visible, and drive traffic and leads.


Media Outreach Campaigns

Developing relationships in the media may take time. But it’s worth it. Try the following strategies:

  • Network and cultivate closer relationships with key players in your local press – offer them your expert advice.
  • Customize all correspondence with the media outlet – tell them why their audience will benefit – make it about what they can get out of it rather than you.
  • Make sure they know how to contact you when a family law expert is required to add ‘meat’ or professional opinion to a story.
  • Engage in authority-building work (such as the type of content mentioned in step five), which can help draw attention to you and your firm.

How does this help your firm?

Media outreach helps your marketing efforts in several important ways…

Mentions in leading media outlets and legal publications can generate huge authority, credibility, and interest in your firm – like for Fred Silberberg here:

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Your firm or your attorneys may get mentions in legal news aggregation websites or backlinks from authoritative media sites, improving rankings.

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You can feature your press releases as fresh content on your website.

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Step 10

Stay top-of-mind with customers through newsletter marketing

Some potential customers will be ready to hire now. Others are looking for information and may come back when they’re sure they need you. 

And existing customers may be able to refer you to others.

How do you remain in the minds of those who have already hired you or may hire you in the future?

You make sure that you capture their details and then use newsletters and email marketing. This is a relatively simple, low-cost but effective way to stay in touch.

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Key Benefits of Newsletters

Regular newsletter content sent to people who’ve signed up to your list:

  • Keeps you top-of-mind with potential and existing customers
  • Helps you demonstrate expertise in family law  
  • Can pass on important legal news or information about community events
  • Allows you to showcase case studies and attorney profiles
  • Can help drive traffic to your website and improve SEO
  • Demonstrates that you are active and open for business
  • May help boost referrals

What content do you include in newsletters?

Newsletters can be as frequent as fortnightly, monthly, or quarterly.

Content can include:

  • Links to blog posts – with “teaser” snippets to promote a click-through to the blog
  • Articles that address topics in the news or offer your professional opinion
  • Posts that address specific questions of your target audience
  • Case studies that demonstrate how you help with typical scenarios your readers face
  • Community events that you have participated in recently
  • Educational and informative content – generally avoid being too ‘promotional’

family-lawyer-newsletter

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Other Newsletter Tips

The key to effective email marketing campaigns is to segment your database so that you can target the right messages at the right groups of people.

Email marketing apps can do much of the heavy-lifting for you with newsletters – providing templates and enabling you to automate the sending process.

 The following are among the most popular platforms for law firms:

Bonus Step

Create an effective system for lead conversion

All the leads in the world are no good to your firm unless you have an effective system to convert them into paying customers.

This is an area that some family law firms struggle with.  

When someone with a transactional enquiry contacts you, how do you respond to the call or email?

If an email sits in your inbox for weeks, it will go cold.

Do you have a process that you take the client through, to qualify them and let them know how you can help? 

Do you clearly communicate the benefits of hiring you? Or is the conversation arbitrary and ad lib?

Our most successful clients are those that actively measure – and attempt to improve – the time between a lead being submitted and respond to.

Learn more about developing a successful sales process.


What about social media?

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As social media seemingly takes a firmer hold over people’s lives everywhere, it may seem counter-intuitive to say “don’t bother with it.”

As a family law firm, shouldn’t you be reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to your target audience?

Well, yes – perhaps. If you have the time, the personnel, and the know-how to connect effectively with them.

But most law firms don’t. So it just ends up eating up valuable time.

You would probably need to hire a social media marketing specialist.  Then it takes considerable time and resources to build a strong enough presence to stand out and generate leads; and besides, most legal matters are essentially private and do not lend themselves well to sharing around social media.

Put simply – where time and money is limited, it’s best spent on proven lead generation technique like a well-designed website, SEO, AdWords, and landing pages.

What's Next?

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