For small to medium size law firms, marketing is not the first thought when building the budget for the year. The way most law firms generate clients is through referrals from previous clients and reviews from this same group. Because reviews and referral traffic are their largest marketing resources for client generation, 68% of law firms do not consider marketing a concern at all until the referral traffic starts to dwindle and there is an internal push to generate more revenue. 

There are a few other reasons why lawyers start trying on their marketing hats. 43% may have noticed marketing efforts from competing firms or 35% have realized that there is an increased need for their specialized law niche. Whatever the reason they have taken in realizing the value in marketing. Your legal services are no different from selling physical goods: there will always be a need for customer outreach.

Getting Started

To market your law firm, your legal marketing team will need a plan, marketing technology, and some insight into what works for your firm. 

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Tip 1. Design A Great Marketing Plan

Building a marketing plan can be simple. When you are beginning, complex and complicated strategies are not required, especially if there is no budget. Design a basic marketing strategy using simple tools like Excel or Google Sheets, Word or Google Docs, and all of your defined marketing goals, plans of action to achieve them, and timelines to be maintained.

Lately, we have started to see a transition from the traditional, gorilla approach to law firm marketing to the inbound method. With inbound marketing, a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them: legal practices can form the connections they are looking for with clients that will continue to contribute to their network of referrals and grow their reach and visibility on and off the web.

Using content that speaks to the ideal customer for your business is important. If your current content speaks to the general public and not to a specific type of audience, it is time to update your content. For example, you are a Pennsylvania injury lawyer and your content speaks to all residents seeking a lawyer for help claiming compensation from the responsible party for their injury; however, all your successful cases have been worker’s compensation and medical malpractice cases. Here is your niche demonstrated by your successful history. Now target 80% of your content to speak to those who have been denied worker’s compensation, and who have had difficulties after surgery, and the other 20% to growing in your other areas of expertise with less traffic.

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Tip 2. Develop Your Online Presence.

 A well-designed law firm website and professionally executed social media can be a large help for potential clients to find your practice and choose to hire you. You can’t be in the office all the time to answer every call, but with a website and valuable content, you don’t need to be. They can be your 24/7 sales representative to generate value and leads, even after office hours.

Let’s say, a potential client is in the market for a personal injury lawyer. Where are they going to go to find the help they need? Most likely, they will pick up their phone and search on Google. If your law firm doesn’t have a website at all, that potential client will turn to one that does. For a potential client, a website will assure a more complete user experience with information on the practice, legal education, contact information, and payment capabilities. 

  • “68% of respondents said that their website is mobile-friendly. (ABA, 2020)
  • 70% of law firms have landed new cases through their website (Law Technology Today, 2019).
  • 40% of small law firms do not have websites (ABA, 2019).
  • 35% of small firms that have websites have not updated them in the last three years (Atastic). “- FinanceOnline

Your website is the way for you to impart valuable information to all prospective clients that find your page. Sharing knowledge with your audience is not only an effective tactic that shows you are an expert in your field; it’s also useful for building your brand. If your law firm focuses more on some types of law than others, a website is a perfect place to establish your brand’s expertise within the industry.

Social media platforms are free to access, yet as a digital marketing agency, we continue to hear that there are law firms that tend to stay clear of social media. Gearing social media towards education and law firm marketing initiatives as a part of your marketing strategy is a no-brainer. It’s not only cost-effective, but it meets your clients where they are! This is where everyone gets to show their expertise, the firm as a whole, as well as every contributor to the firm's success. A large portion of the content that you share should be about the successes you have achieved for your clients; answering frequently asked questions, increasing engagement with the firm, and sharing articles that they will find valuable. The rest should be tailored towards gaining leads and an occasional personal touch to give the page a more human feel.

  • "The most preferred social media site of lawyers is LinkedIn (76%). It is followed by Facebook (60%), Twitter (37%), Martindale (35%), and Avvo (22%). (ABA, 2020)
  • 70% of law firms said that social media is part of their overall marketing strategy (SproutSocial, 2019)."-Finance Online

Without social media as a part of the overall marketing strategy, there is an enormous missed opportunity in connecting with the community you are based in, past clients, and prospective clients of the firm.

Tip 3. Invest in SEO. 

Making your website discoverable in a search such as on Google will always be challenging. Maintaining visibility and increasing relevant traffic is a shared struggle for all types and sizes of businesses. The amount of law firms investing in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been growing steadily year over year. Firms of all sizes have realized the value that SEO carries when it comes to helping people find them.

Optimizing your website for better ranking on search engines is important. There are three very important factors to this -- Content, Content, and, Content. Strong, exceptional, authoritative content is the top contributor to search engine ranking. There is no substitute for great content. In addition to starting with great content, there is blogging, which allows you to update and improve the content on your page regularly. Writing blogs rich with keywords and phrases, about the specific topics you are targeting can push you to the top of query results in no time while also showcasing your expertise on the topic. The fact that you are reading this blog right now is proof of how effective blog content can be. Did you find my blog via a search engine?  If you searched keywords like "Law Firm Marketing Trends", "How To Market My Law Firm", or "Marketing Tips For Lawyers", that is exactly how that is supposed to work. Lastly, use descriptive links in your site navigation and call to action by linking keywords. Descriptive site navigation helps search engines understand which pages are most important to grow page authority. For example “Call Now!“ doesn't have much value for Google or other search engines, however, “Speak With Berks County’s #1 Lawyer Today” not only improves search engine optimization but also adds value and localization to your readers, including those with disabilities, by telling them exactly what to expect.

 As mentioned before, If a client is looking for a firm, they are more likely to go with one of the top 5 results that show up on Google. If the searcher is local, the top results in the search won’t be based only on authority, backlinks, and keywords: the results will also be geographically catered. With this in mind, you should also invest in Local SEO.

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Local SEO is the practice of search engine optimization for better local search results. It can start with something as simple as the Google My Business or GMB Profile your law group maintains. Take another look at the business description, and see if you can fine-tune those 750 characters you’ve been allotted. Go into detail with categories and subcategories. Afterward, add some good quality images complete with geo-tracking (location of picture) and alt text (text describing the image). Finally, post on the profile to start building a presence on Google. Now you are ready to begin working outward.

Citations are mentions of your business's name, address, and phone number (commonly referred to as NAP) on a website that isn't your own. The most common resources businesses gain citations are directory listings or a local business listing that includes NAP, along with other information relevant to that business. With each directory entry, your visibility is amplified. Think of a directory listing as a client’s first look at your business. The client is online, searching for your niche, and your listing pops up to let them know you can help. By optimizing your directory listings regularly, you can immediately win over clients with organic search results.

Some of the most common directory listings with domain authority for law practices and legal services include: 

  • Martindale
  • Avvo

Appearing in these directories will help you get the most out of your listing to direct relevant traffic to your business. Some Directory listings are review sites such as:

  • Yelp
  • BBB
  • GlassDoor

Many review directory sites have high domain authority and trust levels, affording brand reviews the same high rankings. Honing in on referral traffic boosts your SEO tactics by giving you access to a new funnel of visitors as part of your organic search traffic.

  • “85% of respondents prefer using Google as a primary source for research when looking for a lawyer,
  • And 98% would read online reviews of the attorney before hiring them. “- iLawyer Marketing

Don’t let those reviews go to waste. Client reviews double as content sources for your website SEO and social media platforms when done correctly. Displaying client reviews diversifies your content while adding relevant text to your pages, both contributing to improved organic page rankings. Take advantage of those reviews and post them to your website as soon as possible.

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Tip 4. Build your referral network.

Building relationships with your referral sources, and being active in your community aren’t new ideas. In 2017 Clio released a Legal Trends Report stating that when it comes to looking for a lawyer, consumers indicated they sought referrals from friends/family (62%) and from other lawyers (31%). This is standard practice, but when focusing on your new strategies, don’t forget about what is already working. With social media, you have the opportunity to nurture those relationships. Focus on how you can provide value to potential referrers, before asking for referrals. Public thank-yous to show appreciation, relevant promotional items based on social listening (stylus pens, branded USB drives, logoed stress balls), or a simple message on their social platform of choice are all rewarding ways to connect with new people and positively use social media to grow and nurture referral relationships.

Another marketing practice common among the law and legal service industry is event sponsorship. Becoming involved in your community is a fulfilling and high-profile way to market your firm. When you sponsor an event, you are not just marketing the firm to its attendees. Event organizers use various platforms to promote their events, which can include social media, their website, podcasts, and tv. You will grab the attention of the audience they maintain as well. Your firm’s name will likely be mentioned in all situations corresponding to the event, which will be beneficial to your credibility. If you echo the same on your marketing channels as well it can only amplify your reach and visibility, and the key to effective marketing is maintaining visibility at all times.

Putting It All Together

Having only a physical office is not enough anymore. You need to create a brand around your legal practice. There is no doubt that adding any of these tips if they are currently not part of your strategy, will result in increased awareness, traffic, and revenue. Included with every tip are cost-effective solutions to stay in line with the budget. If you have all these components and it is not working for you, update and optimize annually at minimum for the best results.

  • “Less than half (46%) of law firms across all sizes have a marketing budget (ABA, 2020).
  • Among the 46% who said their firm has a budget, 11% said it decreased, 26% said it increased from the previous year, and 27% said it remained the same (ABA, 2020). 
  • Among solo practices, only 14% reported having a marketing budget (ABA, 2020).” - FinanceOnline

If you fall into one of the above statistics, investing in a strategy to understand how to move forward, combined with the KPIs for measuring success should be the first step. Once the strategy is developed, all that is necessary is to follow it. The keyword “follow” means you stick to your plan no matter what. Law firms usually throw marketing plans out the window when business starts to pick up. Don’t let this happen to you. Just follow your marketing plan, stay consistent, and watch your firm succeed in achieving the goals, dreams, and aspirations of the business.

If you need help with your law firm marketing efforts don’t hesitate to reach out, let us know in the comments below, or contact us for a free 30-minute consultation today! 

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