Running your law firm isn't just about being the best advocate for your clients. Lawyer marketing is arguably almost as important as it drives new business and keeps your firm relevant to new clients.
Learning how to market a law firm can be daunting, especially as many lawyers studied law, not advertising. However, to position your practice as the best in your field, it’s essential to know how to differentiate yourself in an often-saturated market.
Law firm marketing strategies start with a plan, the right tools, and some business acumen. We’re here to help you learn how to get started.
3 Pillars of Lawyer Marketing: Strategy, Plan, and Tactics
Law firm marketing is a deliberate approach consisting of tactics, strategies, and plans. While these terms may look interchangeable from a marketing standpoint, they’re quite different. Understanding how each one plays a role in reaching your goals is the first step in learning how to market a law firm.
1. Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy is the broad approach to reaching your goals. For example, you may want to increase your online visibility by boosting your firm's website's ranking on a search engine, such as Google. A strategy is a long-term approach to your goals that may have many components.
2. Marketing Tactics
Tactics are short-term actions or steps that contribute to your overall strategy.
Keeping our example of increasing your website’s rankings on Google, some tactics could be using more specific and relevant keywords on your landing pages and beginning a content marketing campaign. Tactics contribute to the strategy, and one may build on the success of another.
3. Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan is a detailed outline of your goals, the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, and the tactics necessary for the success of each strategy. Marketing plans are flexible documents but can work as an outline for when to launch each campaign.
Most marketing plans also include the method you’ll use to quantify the success of your strategies. For example, if your goal is to increase your site visitors, the marketing plan will detail how you measure new visitors and a comparison table of visitors before and after deploying different strategies.
You use your marketing plan to evaluate the success of your strategies.
How to Create a Marketing Strategy for a Law Firm
Marketing for lawyers can become quite complex, but most often, it’s the simplest strategies that are the most successful. Taking small, solid steps and building on your success each time can help create momentum. We’ve created an easy, step-by-step plan for your law firm with helpful legal marketing tips.
Whether you opt to complete your marketing initiatives in-house or hire a law firm digital marketing agency, addressing these seven key areas of your practice can help you create a marketing plan for your business:
1. Set Your Business Goals
You can’t create a plan or strategy for attorney marketing without first knowing where you want to end up — your goals. Setting your business goals will help you shape your marketing plan. Not all goals are the best goals, however. You need SMART goals:
Define your goals, make sure they're something you can reasonably achieve, and add a deadline. Your goals need to be measurable or quantifiable, and you’ll need to set a benchmark to determine whether they were successful.
Some achievable marketing goals can include:
- Client acquisition
- Increasing brand awareness
- Generating more leads
- Improving your thought leadership authority
Each of these goals plays a role in growing your business, but to achieve them, you need to know who to address.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
For law firm marketing, your target audience is your ideal client, which will vary depending on your practice area. Identifying an ideal client means creating a “buyer persona,” a marketing term for a character that represents that ideal client. You may use your knowledge of your clients in general and identify their demographics, including:
- Marital status
- Education level
- Criminal history
Once you know “who” your buyer is, you can better understand their needs, wants, and motivation. This knowledge allows you to better understand how to reach them and make them identify with you.
3. Analyze Your Niche Market to Find Market Gap
Finding a market segment with little competition or representation can help you gain more clients by tapping into that vacuum. Part of your marketing plan may include a competitive assessment or an analysis of what your competition is doing.
This assessment doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out your competitors' websites and social media and see their respective strengths and weaknesses.
For example, if your competitors are also in personal injury, but aren’t focusing much of their marketing efforts on defective products, then this may be a niche that you can take advantage of. With targeted marketing, you can reach clients that might have defaulted to a competitor.
4. Define Your Services and Build a Strong Brand
Marketing for attorneys means establishing your brand, including your services, practice areas, and values as a lawyer. Your brand is who you are as an attorney and is reinforced by your social media presence, your firm’s website, your thought leadership articles, and your value proposition.
The value proposition or “unique selling proposition” differentiates you from similar attorneys and defines what your firm can provide your clients. In other words, it’s why your firm is the best choice to meet their needs.
5. Think About Marketing Budget
How much should a law firm spend on marketing? This is the proverbial $64,000 question. But instead of thinking about your marketing budget as an expense, look at it as an investment in your firm.
The best digital marketing agencies for law firms will be more expensive, but once you see the results of their targeted initiatives and personalized strategy, the services will essentially be free. So, your marketing goal should be for your marketing campaign to pay for itself and much more.
Every marketing budget should include professional headshots, business cards, a website designer, and reliable web hosting. You should also include dues for professional memberships and networking events.
If you have a tight budget, try to avoid general advertising, like a billboard, or a sponsorship, both of which are hard to quantify as successful or not and can get expensive. Focus more on one-on-one approaches and strategies that reach your target clients.
6. Opt for the Best Lawyer Marketing Tactics
You’ve identified your target client, marketing goals, and overall strategies. The next step is to dig deeper into how you’ll accomplish these goals, using the information you’ve gathered from the first five steps.
There are six key tactics for attorney marketing, and we’ll explore these below in more depth.
7. Measure Your Performance and Adjust Goals
Knowing whether your digital marketing campaign for your legal firm is successful is difficult if you aren't able to track the success of each initiative.
Working tactic-by-tactic, determine the metrics you’ll use to measure it and how you plan to measure it. For example, if one tactic is to generate leads with a bi-weekly blog, you should monitor your site's traffic and the blog’s landing page.
You may also wish to measure your keyword rankings for each blog entry and compare each month's entry to determine which topics get the most traction.
Best Law Firm Digital Marketing Tactics
Most of your clients will be looking for you online, and even if you’re getting referrals from happy clients, those people are probably searching for your name on Google. Focus your law firm marketing on digital efforts, such as:
1. Mobile-Friendly Law Firm Website that Generates Leads
Your firm’s website is typically the first impression potential clients have of your practice. Put your best foot forward by employing professional web design services for lawyers. These firms will create a site that looks professional and engaging yet serious. Your site should be visually appealing, from your logo to the font on each page.
You can have the prettiest website in your area, but if it doesn’t function properly, clients will move on to the next lawyer.
Ensure that your site runs smoothly, from short loading times on each page to user-intuitive navigation. Don’t forget to have the site optimized for mobile, as many of your clients will be searching on their phones when they need a lawyer.
2. Lawyer SEO
Lawyer Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the techniques and strategies that make your website more appealing to search engines.
Search engines like Google use bots and web crawlers that search sites to find matches most relevant to a user’s search query. The more appealing or optimized your site is, the higher it will be listed in search results.
SEO is important because more than 90% of users will select a website from the first page of results. If you're beyond page 4 in search results, you may as well not exist. The stronger your SEO marketing strategies are, the higher you’ll naturally rank and the greater your visibility.
Local SEO is critical for law firm marketing because clients need a lawyer near them. You can incorporate city names into your website. Many lawyers in larger metro areas also have location-specific landing pages to capture people looking for legal representation in different suburbs.
For example, a Dallas personal injury firm may have landing pages for Plano car accident lawyer, Addison car accident lawyer, Flower Mound accident lawyer, etc.
Off-page SEO involves strengthening your firm’s website outside of your own page. Some tactics include establishing backlinks from local businesses or having consistently high ratings on your Google Business Profile or other review sites.
Your ranking from search engine results is based on the relevance of your site but also on its strength and signal. The more ties you have to professional organizations and local businesses, and the more reviews you have, the better your site will rank. SEO services for law firms should include focusing on building quality external links.
3. Paid Lawyer Advertising
Paid ads are a great way for newer or smaller firms to gain high visibility for little cost. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are links to your site positioned above the top organic search results. Each time a user clicks that paid ad link to your site, you pay a small fee. If they don’t click, you don’t pay.
PPC ads are sold by the keyword or keyword string. You can bid on niche long-tail keywords if you have a niche area of practice or a small budget.
However, knowing which keywords are a good value can be complicated, and the relative value of keywords often changes. Choosing PPC management for law firms can help you get the highest ROI.
4. Social Media Marketing
Your social media presence builds familiarity with your practice. Relevant, insightful posts on social media platforms, from Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter, can help potential clients see you as a trusted source of information. When people choose a lawyer, they’ll often pick the first recognizable or reputable firm they find.
5. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategy that uses the content of your website to increase its relevance for search returns and build your brand. Content marketing can be blog entries or thought leadership pieces, which you can share on social media, drawing users to your site.
6. Email Marketing
Targeted email marketing is still a relevant part of your overall advertising strategy. Your emails can steer potential and former clients to your blog or announce a new service area. You may also use email marketing to invite people to review your practice (building your off-page SEO) or refer new clients to your practice.
Maximize Your Marketing
Marketing for law firms doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but it does that to be thoughtful and purposeful. If you don’t have the time or desire to do in-house marketing, hiring a reputable digital marketing agency for law firms can be an excellent investment in growing your firm.
The team at Grow Law Firm specializes in complete marketing for attorneys, from creating a workable marketing plan to giving you viable, actionable strategies to grow your practice. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.