Law firm marketing: a fast guide for lawyers
If you represent a growth-focused law firm, this post is for you.
Competition in legal practice is fierce regardless of the size of the firm. However, with a robust law firm marketing plan, it’s possible to stay far ahead of the competition from other lawyers.
Professional standards (rightly) make marketing your law firm a bit more complicated than marketing another kind of business. The good news is that there are many effective law firm marketing strategies that will bring in great clients. In this blog post, we will explore some of the marketing tactics that lawyers can use to great effect.
What is law firm marketing?
Law firm marketing is an umbrella term referring to everything a law firm does to promote and grow its revenue.
What is the goal of marketing for law firms?
The goals of law firm marketing are to:
- Make potential clients aware of the law firm and its areas of practice
- Introduce potential clients to the firm’s lawyers and their expertise
- Persuade potential clients to choose the firm and its lawyers over the competition
Law firms have always needed marketing, but the internet continues to change the playing field. Lawyers must have a strong online presence if they want to attract new business.
Why is law firm marketing important?
In a word – competition. There are more lawyers than ever before.
With so many law firms vying for clients, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Law firm marketing can help lawyers promote their practice, attract new clients and grow their business.
Law firm marketing can also be used to build relationships. It can help law firms develop a positive reputation in the legal industry and generate word-of-mouth referrals.
Many people are intimidated by the thought of marketing, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. When done correctly, law firm marketing can be a powerful tool to help law firms achieve success.
By taking the time to develop and implement a law firm marketing plan, a lawyer can ensure that his or her practice is well-positioned for growth.
Why is having an online presence important for your law firm?
Even after the internet went mainstream, there was a time when law firms could get away without a website or a social media presence. Today, even clients who ask for referrals will follow that referral up with online research. And the potential clients get to choose where they do that research. Some will look at your website, others will start their research on YouTube or elsewhere in social media.
If you’re applying the 80:20 principle, your law firm site is often the first impression potential clients have of you. So it’s important to make sure it looks professional and credible.
Additionally, a strong online presence can help you reach new clients outside of your local area. With a well-optimised law firm site, you can attract potential clients from all over the country.
How do I market my law firm?
That’s a question that any law firm worth their weight in billable hours needs to be able to answer. How do you get the word out there about your legal practice? How do you communicate to potential clients that you’re the best law firm for the case?
As with most things in life, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But that there are some universal considerations…
1. Establish your law firm brand
When it comes to planning your law firm’s marketing strategy, where do you even begin? The answer is simple: it’s branding.
Your brand is your reputation; it’s what people say about you when you’re not there. These days, there’s a good chance that first taste of your brand for a prospective client is what they see when they look you up on Google, Facebook or Twitter.
Like trying to build a house on weak soil, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into your law firm marketing plan if you don’t have the brand foundation right. Without strong, consistent and memorable messaging from top-to-bottom, everything else will fall flat on its face.
When you’re one lawyer in a thousand (or more likely, hundreds of thousands), your battle is against obscurity. You win that battle by showing you have something unique to offer prospective clients. (Showing is the operative word here. In marketing, it’s meaningless to have unique qualities if no one knows you have them.) But it’s hard to communicate your value proposition in a way that sets you apart from every other law practice in the area.
That’s why branding is key. You need to create a memorable (and accurate) image of your law firm that prospective clients will keep in mind when they need legal assistance. (If you don’t know what makes your firm unique — or how to articulate it — check out this online course on finding and expressing your USP, your unique selling proposition.)
Your law firm website and digital marketing materials are all part of your branding strategy, so…
- Make sure that the look and feel of your site is professional and polished
- Ensure your social media posts and other content are engaging, clear and concise
Social proof like client testimonials can also help to strengthen your law firm’s brand (see below).
Make sure that everything you produce speaks to who you are as a law firm and what you can do for clients.
How do law firms increase brand awareness?
Your law firm is a business, and like any other business, it needs to have a strong branding strategy in place if you want to be successful. A good law firm brand can help you attract new clients, make your firm more visible online, and set you apart from the competition.
Branding your law firm can seem like a daunting task, but with a little creativity and planning, it can be an effective way to boost client intake. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Create a clear and concise message for your law firm. This should be communicated throughout your law firm marketing strategy, from your website to your business cards.
- Make sure your brand is consistent across all platforms. Your website design and logo should all be aligned for a cohesive look.
- Choose a tagline that encapsulates your law firm’s mission and values.
- Be sure to target your audience. Know who you are trying to reach and create a law firm marketing plan that appeals to them.
Great examples of law firm websites that articulate the firm’s USP
2. Optimise your pages for search (SEO)
One of the best ways to reach new clients is to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs). But achieving this can be difficult, especially if you’re up against well-established competitors. That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in.
SEO is the art and science of using targeted keywords and tactics to get your law firm ranked higher in Google (and other search engines).
What is SEO for law firms?
Law firm SEO comes into play when potential clients run a web search for lawyers or information about an area of law.
Your law firm should appear within the first few hits, and anything less than the first page of Google is pretty much invisible.
Ranking for the name of your firm should be pretty easy. But people searching for your firm by name already know who you are. You should be focussing most of your SEO budget on reaching:
- Potential clients who have legal problems but aren’t yet looking specifically for a laywer. They’re typing into Google phrases like “How to set up a trust” or “Should I have a will?
- Potential clients who know they need a lawyer but who don’t know the name of a good law firm yet. They’re typing search phrases like “Real estate lawyer near me” or “Best ligitation lawyer”
SEO is a critical component of any law firm’s marketing plan because there will always be more good clients than good clients who also know your firm’s name. By improving the visibility of your law firm website in search, you can attract more potential clients.
Do law firms need SEO?
Why some people think law firms do NOT need SEO
Whether or not law firms need to optimise their websites to appear in Google searches is a hotly debated topic. On one side of the argument, some say that law firms are so unique and so specialised that they do not need SEO. They argue that if people need legal services, they will find the right law firm through referrals or by searching for a specific practice area.
According to this argument, all a law firm needs:
- Is a reputation (to garner word-of-mouth referrals)
- A website that lists its practice areas and somehow Google will rank them on page one
Why the rest of the world thinks law firms MUST do SEO
Others believe that all businesses, including law firms, should take advantage of SEO to increase their visibility online. After all, as the internet has become ubiquitous, everyone is searching for information, products, and services online. If your law firm is not visible in the search engines, you could be losing out on potential clients to lawyers who are making an effort with their SEO.
To SEO or not to SEO, the answer for lawyers
If you’re a small law firm serving your local community, then you may find that investing in SEO is a waste of time and money. That’s especially true if you have all the clients you need.
However, if you’re looking to grow your law practice and reach a wider audience, then SEO is definitely something worth exploring.
How can SEO help a law firm?
Law firms are no different from any other business when it comes to the need for SEO. Law firm websites must be optimised in order to rank high in search engines for relevant keywords and phrases. As more and more people turn to the internet for legal services, it’s essential that your law firm’s website appears as close to the top of the results as possible.
SEO can help a law firm by increasing its website’s visibility and driving more qualified traffic to its site. By optimizing law firm websites with relevant keywords and phrases, it can attract potential clients who are already looking for legal services.
What’s more, SEO can help a law firm to rank higher for long-tail keywords specific to the legal industry This can result in more website visitors who are actually interested in the services that a law firm offers.
Have you read our case study of how SEO copywriting to a law firm to page one on Google?
Immediate fixes to improve a law firm’s SEO
There are a number of things you can do quickly to improve your law firm’s SEO, including:
- Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions on your web pages
- Include links to your website from other authoritative websites
- Make sure your law firm site is easy to navigate
- Provide valuable content that will interest readers and boost client intake
By following these tips, you can ensure that more people find your law firm’s website when they’re looking for legal services.
How long will it take for SEO to work for a law firm?
If you decide to invest in SEO, make sure you work with a qualified and experienced SEO agency. We can develop law firm marketing tactics that will improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages.
Even working with experts, SEO is a long-term investment, so be prepared to commit to it for the long haul if you want to see results. Also,
While SEO can be part of your law firm marketing strategy, it’s not the only thing you should be focusing on. You’ll also need to invest in other forms of digital marketing, such as social media and content marketing. With the right mix of tools in your law firm marketing plan, you can improve your web traffic and increase your chances of success.
3. Use social media
LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have given law firms new ways to reach their clients. And while social media might not be your natural choice, many of your potential clients are starting their search for information in social media. If you’re not there, you could miss them because a rival firm has caught their attention at that stage.
Depending on the area of law in question, a law firm with zero presence on social media will be missing out on countless opportunities to network, attract new clients and increase revenue.
But social media marketing is more than just setting up a profile and posting the occasional update. You need to create a strategy that aligns with your overall law firm marketing goals. Identify the channels that will be most effective for your law firm and come up with content ideas that will interest potential clients.
Actively engage with your legal clients by responding to comments and questions. Share social media posts about your firm, events and other relevant information. You can also use your platforms to build relationships with potential clients and referral sources.
Make sure you allocate enough time and resources to your social media marketing efforts if you want to see results.
Can social media really bring in new business for law firms?
Most law firms have traditionally relied upon their interpersonal skills and face-to-face meetings to build client relationships and win new business. However, in an age where more and more people are turning to social media, the legal industry is having to adapt its law firm marketing strategies.
Many law firms might be hesitant to incorporate social media into their law firm marketing plan because they perceive social media as just for the young or for “social” time, not business time. Others may be concerned about the image they project online or the potential for negative comments.
Despite these concerns, there are many ways social media can be used to win new clients for lawyers. For starters, these platforms can be used to build quicker and more effective relationships with potential client. Lawyers can create profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter and connect with people in their industry or geographic area. They can also share articles and blog posts that are relevant to their practice area.
In addition, social media can be used for lead generation. Law firms can post announcements about new services, or run contests or giveaways. Law firms can also use social media to drive traffic to their websites or blogs.
Finally, social media can be used to strengthen relationships with current clients. Law firms can post updates about recent cases or news in their industry. They can also provide tips and advice related to their practice area.
Where lawyers can learn to win business on LinkedIn
Because it’s a business social network, LinkedIn is an obvious place for lawyers to find clients. However, many lawyers struggle to write LinkedIn profiles that differentiate them or to write LinkedIn posts that lead to new business.
We have an online course on winning at LinkedIn. We’ve also run live sessions (in-person and via Zoom) for national and global law firms. If your firm wants to generate leads on LinkedIn, contact us. We can show you how or do it for you.
4. Have a content marketing strategy
Whether you’re a specialist in family law, litigation, criminal defence or something else, you know you’ll be approached by people who are inches away from having everything in their lives fall apart. Or maybe it’s not their lives that will fall apart, but they could lose a major deal if they don’t get the terms right.
Whatever the specifics, your ideal clients will often have plenty riding on getting the best legal advice they can find. So it’s no surprise they’ll take as much time as necessary before settling with one law firm or lawyer to represent them.
It’s not good enough to cross your fingers and hope your law firm website will float to the top of a sea of online law firm marketing. If you want to show potential clients you’re the best option available, you need quality content tailored specifically towards answering questions they might have about your services. Show – don’t tell – your client why you’re worth instructing.
We have the ultimate guide to content marketing for law firms, but in summary…
What is content marketing in the context of the legal industry
You’re engaged in “content marketing” when you’re giving away useful information for free. This blog post, for example, is content marketing.
Content marketing might be a 4,000-word blog post or a three-sentence tweet. It might be totally free or you might ask for an email address in exchange. Your content marketing could be online or it could be an in-person seminar, a webinar or a boardroom session.
The common denominators are:
- The information is useful (therefore valuable) to the target audience
- The information is free (because once you charge money for information, you’re not content marketing, you’re selling a product that will itself need marketing)
For a law firm, content marketing isn’t about giving free advice (and entangling yourself in liability because of it). Content marketing for lawyers is generally about helping clients situate themselves — get an overview of their problems and some of the potential solution.
The goals of content marketing for a law firm are:
- Move the client from not knowing (or being doubtful) that they need a lawyer
- Convince the client that you have the skills to deliver the results you’re talking about
Why content marketing is important for law firms
When you provide useful information, prospects are more likely to trust you as an expert who knows what they’re talking about. The more they trust you, the more likely prospects are to hire you. It also establishes you as a thought leader in the legal industry, which can lead to more opportunities down the road. But how do you create content that’s both valuable and engaging?
Where can lawyers get started with content marketing
Start by taking a look at the most common questions legal clients ask about the law. Address these topics on your law firm site, in blog posts, and in other content. Don’t forget to add fresh content on a regular basis – at least once a week if not more.
(If you’re thinking about webinars as content marketing for your law firm, you might be interested in our blog post Why webinars work for (some) lawyers.)
Also, keep in mind that SEO is important when it comes to publishing content. Make sure all of your keywords are included in your titles and throughout the text. This way, your content will rank higher in Google’s results pages.
Our SEO content marketing online course brings all this together. Alternatively, we can help you put together a content marketing plan for your law firm. All you have to do is contact us about content marketing.
5. Reach your target clients with email marketing
Social media gets all the hype these days, but email marketing is a powerful tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. Email marketing allows you to personalise your messages, which can make them more appealing to a potential client. Additionally, email lists tend to be more engaged than social media followers, so your message has a better chance of being seen and acted on.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing boasts an average ROI of $38 for every dollar spent, making it one of the most effective forms of digital marketing out there. So if you’re not already using email marketing as part of your law firm marketing plan, now is the time to start.
To get started with email marketing, you first need to compile a list of potential contacts. This can be done by:
- Looking through your CRM at your existing clients, ideally segmenting them by interest
- Compiling a list of leads from your law firm website (where your content marketing, for example, has led to potential clients giving you their email address in return for a download)
- Buyinga list from a data provider.
Once you have your list, you can begin crafting your email marketing. The guiding principle of email marketing for law firms is that it has to be useful to the reader.
If you need help, we specialise in email marketing for law firms.
6. Positive reviews — a gold mine for a law firm’s website
When it comes to law firm marketing strategies, positive reviews can be your best friend. A strong testimonial is a seal of approval from past clients. It can help boost the online image of your law practice and encourage new clients to give you a try. (We have a list of 39 types of proof you can use in marketing, and social proof is pretty much Number One on that list, which is why we have an online course on social proof specifically.)
So if you’ve been lucky enough to get some positive reviews from past clients, make sure you shout about it from the rooftops. Feature your best reviews prominently on your law firm website and social media profiles. This will help potential clients see that you’re an established, reputable practice with a history of satisfied clients.
When it comes to positive reviews, authenticity is key. Make sure you only use genuine client reviews on your law firm website — potential clients can see through fake reviews easily.
Of course, you also need to make sure that any negative client reviews are handled swiftly and professionally. Don’t try to cover them up – instead, address the issue head-on and show that you take client feedback seriously. This will help to build trust with potential clients and show that you’re committed to providing the best possible service.
What are some common mistakes made in law firm marketing?
When it comes to marketing a law firm, there are a few common mistakes that often occur. Here are a few of the most common…
1. Not having a clear law firm marketing strategy
This is by far the most common mistake that law firms make. Without a solid law firm marketing plan in place, it’s difficult to know what you should be doing and where you should be allocating your resources.
2. Focusing on quantity over quality
It’s tempting to try to cast as wide a net as possible when marketing your law firm. But this can often have negative consequences. Instead, focus on targeting high-quality leads that are more likely to convert into clients.
3. Not differentiating your law firm enough
In a competitive market, it’s important to set yourself apart from the competition. This can be done through clever branding and marketing campaigns that highlight what makes your law firm unique.
4. Not measuring the results of your marketing efforts
It’s pointless to invest in marketing without measuring its effectiveness. Make sure you have systems in place to track key metrics so you can determine whether your law firm marketing efforts are paying off.
How much should lawyers spend on marketing?
There’s a rule of thumb derived from long experience in business development for lawyers. The rule of thumb is that ambitious law firms are happy to invest up to 10% of their annual revenue in growing their future revenues.
The skill of a good legal marketer is knowing where that 10 per cent should be spent.
Regarding the specifics of marketing spend, many factors go into calculating the cost of a law firm’s marketing tactics. Among the most important are the size of your firm, your target market, and your desired marketing mix. Nevertheless, a few general considerations can give you a ballpark estimate.
First, consider what kind of law firm marketing strategy you will pursue. Traditional marketing through newspapers, magazines, and radio can be expensive, with rates varying by market size and audience demographics. Online law firm marketing strategies are generally less expensive and tend to fetch a higher ROI, if done effectively. And finally, consider how much you’ll need to spend on additional activities such as web design, content marketing or events.
No matter what you do, always track the results of your law firm marketing efforts so you can see what’s working and what isn’t. This information will help you make better decisions about where to allocate your resources in the future.
The law firm marketing edge you need to grow
Law firm marketing can be a challenge. You’re often competing against better-known and larger law firms in your area. Law firms with huge budgets to spend on law firm marketing. However, with a well-executed law firm marketing plan, you can still set yourself apart from the competition and attract new business.
Here at Taleist, we’ve helped law firms of all sizes — from the Magic Circle to sole practitioners — create comprehensive marketing strategies that work for their unique needs and goals.
We understand what it takes to make a splash in today’s legal market, and we’re excited to put our expertise to work for you. If you’re ready to take your law firm marketing strategy we’re ready to hear from you today.