Even the most successful firms and attorneys need well-thought-out marketing plans that are constantly updated and adjusted to meet the changing demands and needs of their present and future law firm clients. An effective law firm marketing strategy is essential to the success and sustainable growth of every legal practice.
The numbers don't lie. According to various studies and reports:
- Over 95% of people in need of legal advice and services start their search online
- At least one-third of clients find their attorney on the internet
- Top-ranked pages of organic searches enjoy a mean click-through rate of over 27%
Despite these impressive numbers, too many law firms of all sizes fail to allocate any money whatsoever to their marketing budgets — approximately 86% of solo practices, 68% of midsize firms, and 37% of large firms, to be exact.
Law firms and solo operators who embrace marketing by allocating the proper resources and working with marketing professionals have a distinct advantage over those firms that stick to traditional and outmoded methods of generating business.
What Is a Law Firm Marketing Strategy?
A law firm marketing strategy is a connection between your goals for your law firm with your ongoing law firm marketing efforts. Legal marketing strategies define overall marketing objectives, messaging, target audiences, and the services you intend to promote.
Developing such a strategy is not the same as creating a marketing plan for lawyers. However, your law firm's marketing strategy should inform your law firm's marketing plan. Your plan will define the types of marketing you will use and the steps you will take to execute the actions required to achieve the goals defined in your strategy.
To maintain a profitable legal practice, you need to earn the business of new clients and keep your current clients engaged. The purpose of law firm marketing strategies is to boost brand recognition and ensure your firm is visible to people who may be interested in your services.
This focus will increase the number of leads you receive and eventually allow you to generate more income.
Difference Between Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan for Lawyers
Law firms need a well-designed marketing plan and marketing strategy. However, these are not the same thing. Think of the marketing plan as the road map that directs your firm's efforts and progress. It will include your firm's goals and milestones to hit on the way to those goals.
Your marketing strategy or strategies, on the other hand, will encapsulate the reasons for and methods of successfully realizing your marketing plan. In other words, your marketing strategies add color and illuminate the purposes of your marketing plan. Without a plan and corresponding strategies, your marketing efforts will be incomplete and potentially harmful to your firm's long-term goals.
How to Create Law Firm Marketing Strategies?
There are several steps involved in building and executing law firm marketing strategies. You must identify your law firm goals, analyze any marketing efforts you are currently using, develop a lawyer marketing plan, and then put that plan into action.
Next, you must monitor the results and optimize your attorney marketing strategies as needed.
This work is an intimidating process at first, and it demands time and effort. Fortunately, this article has several legal marketing strategies to help ensure you get an excellent return on the time and resources you invest in law firm marketing.
Set SMART Business Goals for Law Firms
Effective law firm marketing strategies clearly define attainable goals for your law firm. Legal marketing strategies that apply the principles of SMART goals are even more likely to succeed.
A SMART goal is defined as specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
Let's look at an example of this principle in action.
Without using SMART, you may define your goal as "earning more leads from advertising on Google." That's a worthy goal to include in your law firm's marketing strategy. The problem is that it's not clearly defined, and there's no clear way to determine whether you ever achieve that goal.
Now, that same goal defined using SMART might look like this: "I want to increase the number of leads received from Google pay-per-click ads by 10% within 90 days, and will track them using the Ads manager tool. My ads will need to receive 200 ad clicks per week to accomplish this goal. If I am successful, I will increase my client acquisition rate by 10%."
Ask yourself the following questions as you set goals for your lawyer marketing strategy:
- Why is this goal important to my law practice?
- What amount or percentage will define success or failure?
- How will I measure this?
- How long should this take?
If you struggle to identify goals for your law firm's marketing strategy, think about thought leadership, law firm lead generation, website traffic, brand awareness, and client intake to get started.
Identify Your Target Audience
Identifying your target audience is the first step in successfully acquiring and attaining the type of clientele you desire for your firm. One excellent way to do this is by exploring customer personas. Since you are likely interested in more than one type of client, it's best to create several customer personas and direct your marketing efforts toward that type of client.
What is a customer persona? It describes a person who represents a potential client for your law firm. The persona will include a prospective client's demographic information, interests, needs, values, and concerns. This construct will help you refine your digital marketing messages so they are relevant to customers who fit your persona's profile.
Analyze Your Niche to Find a Market Gap
It's important to learn where your law firm has a place in the market. Once you know where you fit, you can find your law firm's best possible competitive position. You need to analyze your competitors to uncover their strong and weak points. Then, you can use this information to determine what you need to do to make your law firm stand out.
Let's say you have a criminal defense practice. You notice that your biggest local competitor hasn't done anything to build an audience on TikTok. You take advantage of that by making plans to boost your law firm marketing strategy by including your lawyer TikTok as one of your marketing channels.
Competitive research for law firm marketing strategies doesn't need to be difficult or expensive. Find other local law firms that practice the same type of law you do. Then look into each firm's website and social media presence.
Once you identify where you stand out, you need to communicate what it is that makes your legal services worth pursuing.
Your law firm's marketing strategy should include an outline of the services you offer and a list of benefits for prospects who hire your practice instead of a competitor.
Build a Strong Brand
You must focus on brand building for your law firm as much as you would for any other business. The brand you create and communicate allows you to connect with your clients, ensures that people recognize your practice, and makes your law firm more memorable.
Law firm marketing strategies that include a powerful brand definition are going to be much more effective. Start building your brand with a vision statement. This statement is one or two sentences that communicate your key values. For example, your values may include:
- Building a culture of ethics, professionalism, communication, and expertise
- Always prioritizing the needs of the clients
- Embracing diversity in all we do
- Holding our team to the highest standards and rewarding them accordingly
These points could then be condensed into a vision statement like this:
"Our firm takes pride in using our team's extensive knowledge to offer our clients unmatched legal services, all while prioritizing diversity, ethics, and inclusion."
At this point, you can create a value proposition to add to your law firm's marketing strategy. This proposition is a sentence that summarizes what you offer to clients that your competitors don't.
You will continue to build your brand as you work on your law firm marketing plan.
Think About a Marketing Budget
Your law firm's marketing strategy must also focus on your budget. Digital marketing for lawyers is more expensive than marketing in other industries. You'll need to create a law firm marketing budget to control costs and ensure you can meet your marketing goals.
To create your law firm marketing budget, you have to do more than determine how much money you can spend. You will need to determine a percentage of revenue to spend on your digital marketing efforts.
Then, you can divide that amount into a monthly budget. Finally, you will need to predict the return you will get from your law firm marketing budget. You will do this by forecasting the number of additional leads and clients you will acquire.
Measure Your Performance and Adjust Goals
Law firm marketing strategies are never static. You must continually optimize them as you track the performance of your law firm's marketing efforts.
As your strategy evolves into a law firm marketing plan, you'll want to determine a metric that you will use to determine whether each marketing activity is successful. For example, if you decide to invest in search ads, you can measure the traffic to your lawyer landing pages for each keyword you bid on.
If you aren't reaching your goals, you may need to adjust your law firm marketing plan or go back further to adjust your law firm growth strategy.
How to Create a Law Firm Marketing Plan
Well-designed marketing plans include no generalizations. Instead, they are detailed instructions that cover every aspect of your law firm's operation and growth. Every role and responsibility within your law firm's operation should be explicitly covered in your marketing plan. It should detail hierarchies, policies, and operating procedures, leaving no room for doubt as to the appropriate actions to take in specific situations.
Accomplishing this requires a deep dive into your goals and current operation to identify and prioritize the steps needed to increase your client stream at a healthy and sustainable rate. Without this structure to guide your efforts, you risk wasting time, effort, and money.
Grow Law Firm is a premier law firm marketing agency that can handle your marketing needs while you take care of your clients. Give us a call for a free consultation, and let's explore the possibilities.
For law firms and practitioners who want to be somewhat involved in their marketing efforts, outsourcing marketing duties to a law firm marketing company is a great way to stay hands-on without assuming too much responsibility. A firm could decide just how much of the marketing work it wants to take on and farm out the rest.
Regardless of how your marketing plan is created, you need the most effective, proven tactics for developing a clear law firm marketing plan and law firm marketing strategy. Law firm marketing agencies are specialists in employing these tactics to produce desired results for any size law firm.
Best Digital Marketing Tactics for Law Firms
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. Create a Mobile-Friendly Law Firm Website to 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 law firm 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. To get some inspiration for your law firm website design, check our guide!
2. SEO as a Part of Law Firm Digital Marketing Tactics
Virtually all law firm marketing strategies will include search engine optimization (SEO) because almost all internet experiences involve search engines. Additionally, people rarely look beyond page one of Google search results. Your law firm marketing plan should provide some clear action items for improving search engine rankings.
Certain types of SEO are usually included in most law firm SEO services. For example, your law firm website needs an SEO-friendly structure, its images must be optimized, and the content formatting must create a good user experience. Keyword research is also vital.
— Local SEO
Most customers use the internet to connect with local businesses. Some perform local searches on a daily basis. When someone is looking for an attorney, they usually want to find a nearby practice. If your law firm marketing plan doesn't include optimizing for local search, those people may not find you.
Let's look at two lawyer marketing tips for local SEO for attorneys that you may not have considered.
The first is to use reputable legal directories for citation building. Ensure you have a completed profile that you have claimed on Yelp, Avvo, YP.com, and other directory sites. It also helps to earn unstructured citations on media sites, lawyer blogs, and other websites.
Next, share your law firm information with main data aggregators. These businesses collect pertinent data about your practice, including address, contact number, and operating name. Then, they send that information to thousands of other websites.
— On-Page SEO
On-page SEO involves optimizing your law firm's website, so Google can better index it for search. There are three aspects of this process. You have to improve your website's performance, structure, and legal website content. You can accomplish some on-page SEO by updating your content. However, much of this work requires someone with technical SEO expertise.
— Inbound Links
There are very few law firm marketing strategies that improve search engine rankings more than inbound links. Google uses inbound links as a key ranking factor. Links to your law firm's website from other reputable pages are seen as an endorsement of your content's relevance.
The best marketing plan for lawyers who want more inbound links is simply creating content that people will share on their own websites.
You can also earn awards, and those listings will usually include your practice name and links to your website.
There are several reasons to include blogging and writing guest posts for other websites in your legal marketing strategies. Earning links from other sites is one of the best ways to build your reputation. These links also increase traffic to your law firm's website, which is another proven technique for improving SEO.
Finally, long-form content such as ebooks and whitepapers can be created and made available to anyone interested in them. If other websites link to these resources, you receive SEO credit for the backlink and increase your reputation for thought leadership.
3. Paid Lawyer Advertising
Law firm PPC marketing is a great way for newer or smaller law 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. Facebook Paid Advertising for Lawyers
Facebook advertising has become extraordinarily popular, but there's no denying that the size of Facebook's audience is a major factor. Law firm marketing strategies that aim to reach more prospective clients should include attorney Facebook advertising.
Law firms that use Facebook advertising have a learning curve to overcome when mastering the ins and outs of law firm social media marketing on this platform. The results make the efforts worthwhile.
Advertising on Facebook starts with creating a Facebook business page. This setup is necessary for paid advertising and other lawyer marketing efforts on Facebook. Once you have a Facebook business page, you can begin engaging in marketing and advertising for your law firm.
The platform allows you to create ad campaigns that include ad sets. Those ad sets can be made up of several individual ads. Each Facebook ad campaign for your law firm is designed around a specific objective.
One of the best reasons to add Facebook to your law firm marketing plan is its targeting feature.
You can show your ads to people who live in a specific location, have certain interests, or have demographic characteristics that you define. You can also target based on past behavior, so you can market your law firm to people who have already visited your website.
Law firms that advertise on Facebook should be prepared to test their ads extensively. Also, these ads should have a strong call to action that relates to the ad campaign objective.
5. Lawyer Content Marketing Strategy
Law firm marketing plans will almost always include lawyer content marketing. Strong content marketing is necessary to make your law firm stand out and let people know about your legal services. Content creation also aligns with many other marketing objectives that law firms have.
One of these objectives is building authority. The content you write can help establish you as a thought leader or trusted resource for information regarding your legal specialty. Additionally, if you write content that answers questions your potential clients have, you will increase traffic to your website.
Good content earns backlinks and can help increase conversions. Your law firm marketing plan will further define the kind of content you will create and where you will publish it.
6. Video Marketing for Lawyers
If content is part of your law firm's marketing plan, consider adding law firm video marketing to engage even more potential clients.
Yes, video can be a complex content format, but it's something law firms must master to succeed in digital marketing. When you use video in your legal marketing strategies, you will experience increases in traffic, engagement, trust, leads, and conversions. Content with video is also much more likely to appear on page one of Google search results.
— Promotional Video
One popular video type for law firms is the promotional video. These are videos that you use to introduce your law firm and legal services. Promotional videos are often scripted and serious, with high production values.
A promotional video might have a top attorney from your practice discussing how you help clients, cases you have won, and the area of laws that you practice. Another option is to make client testimonial videos. These have a lot of credibility with audiences.
— Educational Videos
The purpose of promotional videos is to encourage people in need of a lawyer to contact your law practice. However, your law firm's marketing plan should also include ways to engage prospects who are higher up in the marketing funnel.
Educational videos allow you to share information with people and show off your expertise. This exposure helps increase law firm brand recognition, trust, and authority. These videos are also likely to earn links from other websites. You can begin making educational videos by simply answering some of the legal questions you commonly encounter.
If you look at videos from other law firms, you will see a range of quality. Some are carefully filmed and edited. Others may be shot using the attorney's own smartphone. As a general rule, promotional videos should be more polished, while educational videos can have a more casual feel. However, the most important thing is that your content is engaging.
7. Email Marketing for Law Firms
Email marketing is one of the most important forms of outbound marketing that law firms can access. While other channels, particularly emerging social media platforms like TikTok, may get more attention, email is still one of the best ways to reach an audience.
Are you interested in adding something to your law firm's marketing plan that offers a great return on investment? Start using email marketing to promote your law practice.
The most effective emails that law firms use are those sent to specific audience segments. This approach ensures that the marketing emails you send are most likely to be relevant to your recipients. When people receive emails that answer their questions and give them the information they need, that increases trust and credibility.
It becomes easier for law firms to segment their email lists as these lists grow. Here are some suggestions for segmentation criteria:
- Sales funnel stage
- Area of legal interest
- Behavioral criteria (e.g., clicked on a Facebook ad or called your office)
- Demographics (age/gender/profession)
Once they have segmented lists, many law firms reach out to prospects and past clients with relevant content.
— Email Drip Campaigns
An email drip campaign is a series of personalized marketing emails you send prospective clients because they meet some targeting criteria. These emails provide helpful information about your law practice and encourage recipients to move to the next stage in the buyer's journey.
— Email Marketing Newsletters for Law Firms
Email newsletters are a great tool for sharing information about the legal services you offer. They allow you to keep people engaged with your law practice who may not currently require an attorney. This tactic can help you increase your referral business and stay in the minds of high-funnel prospects.
Email newsletters don't need to be long. In fact, a lawyer marketing newsletter should contain snippets of information and then link to content on your website. You can also share case studies, lawyer profiles, infographics, news about your law practice, and information about the community service work you do.
Legal Marketing Strategy Tips for Law Firms with Smaller Budgets
Some lawyers may not have a budget that allows them to hire a law firm marketing agency. If this is your situation, the tips below will allow you to benefit from digital marketing with a small budget.
8. Social Media Marketing for Lawyers
Social media marketing is an excellent tool for attorneys to use. It's a great way to reach a wide audience because chances are that most of your audience is using social media in some way.
The first thing you'll want to do is select the right social media platforms.
There are many options to choose from. However, not every platform is a good fit for your branding or marketing strategy. Still, you should probably establish a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn at a minimum.
Facebook is always a good option for your digital marketing strategy. It's popular and allows you to reach a wide audience. Also, it provides leads with another way to communicate with your firm.
Your content can help you increase your credibility and even boost your search engine optimization. You will have to experiment with your Facebook content to achieve your goals in the areas of followers and engagement.
LinkedIn is another powerful platform for your marketing strategy. There are millions of professionals on the platform. Many are influencers or key decision-makers. By connecting with the right people, you can make important business contacts, acquire clients, and establish yourself as a thought leader.
Each lawyer in a practice can choose to create their own attorney profile on LinkedIn. This flexibility allows them to create their own attorney branding and build professional networks for themselves.
You can also create a company profile on LinkedIn. Doing so is a great idea if your target clients include other businesses. It's best to also make a separate company profile, especially if you're trying to attract other businesses and professionals.
Both Facebook and LinkedIn are helpful if you want to increase brand recognition, perceived thought leadership, and follower engagement. They also allow you to introduce your law practice to new audiences.
9. Blogging as a Law Firm Marketing Tool
Lawyers can share various types of legal content and other information on their law firm websites. They can also publish blog posts or articles on other platforms. There are considerable benefits to maintaining a blog on your law firm's website or writing for other sites as a guest blogger. Many attorneys also write articles for online publications.
Writing content is a great way to showcase your knowledge and expertise, especially in your main practice area. To do this, try to focus on a very specific niche or passion. This focus will truly allow you to share your depth of knowledge in your area of legal expertise.
As you build up a repository of blog posts and articles, your reputation for expertise will grow. People will begin to seek you out for your knowledge.
When you publish relevant blogs to your website, you give Google additional pages to index, which can improve your SEO for important keyword phrases. You can earn backlinks when you write guest blogs or articles for other websites.
10. Attorney Case Studies and Client Testimonials
Your digital marketing efforts will include a combination of passive and active steps you take to achieve your goals.
Passive marketing includes law firm website design and copy. This copy is the information that visitors to your website see when they land on your website. Once that information is published, it can contribute to your credibility.
For example, you can place a graphic depicting positive client ratings or your years of experience on your home page. Every visitor who comes to your home page will see that and any other information you have included about your legal practice.
People who visit your webs ite are looking for reasons to trust you and view you as a credible source of legal advice and services. Some items that build that trust include:
- Testimonials and reviews from satisfied clients
- Images of awards you have received
- Case studies
Testimonials build trust by showcasing how your practice has helped previous clients obtain judgments or win cases against them. You can share a snippet of a positive client review. Your testimonials page is also a great place to post video testimonials. These are largely seen as being more credible and impactful than a written review.
Case studies allow you to show off your successes and expertise. When you are able to show positive outcomes that you have achieved for your clients, it builds confidence in prospects who might do business with you in the future.
Finally, make sure to list all of your practice areas, so visitors know whether you offer the services they need. Including profiles of yourself and the other attorneys from your practice also helps establish trust.
11. Remarketing and Retargeting for Social Media and Blogs
While remarketing is usually a tactic that marketers use for eCommerce, it also has a place in online marketing for law offices. Fortunately, you can use technology to engage with prospects who have interacted with your practice online.
Lawyer Remarketing Strategy
Remarketing can help you to increase the number of leads you earn. It's a way to keep your potential clients inside the sales funnel and increase your chances of converting them.
Potential clients may visit your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or website. They may also click on a search or social media ad. However, they may not take any sort of action to contact you.
At this point, they may have become distracted or were simply not ready to hire a lawyer.
For example, you may have posted an ad on social media offering special rates for certain types of traffic tickets. Not everybody who clicks on that ad is going to contact you. They may not believe they qualify for your offer. However, they may be interested in that offer in the future.
This long game is where remarketing is exceptionally valuable. It ensures that your ad is displayed to that person again, providing them with a second chance to respond to the ad by contacting you.
Remarketing campaigns work because they are very well-targeted at prospects who have already engaged with your law firm. Because of this, remarketing campaigns have excellent conversion rates.
Law Firm Retargeting strategy
Sequential retargeting is a specific form of remarketing that keeps potential clients engaged without boring or frustrating them. In this process, instead of showing the same ad again, you create a sequential set of ads to engage the user.
This setup creates an engaging ad experience. Additionally, you can use the ads you run to address barriers or roadblocks to conversion that prospects might encounter.
12. GMB and Google Ads for Law Firms
Many law firms spend a significant amount of money advertising on Google but never see a good return on their investment — despite the fact that ads dominate page one of Google search results.
What makes lawyers struggle so much? They try to optimize their advertising for competitive and expensive keywords. This approach rarely works well and results from failing to do proper keyword research or manage your campaigns effectively.
An effective pay-per-click ad campaign that moves people from search engine results pages to your landing pages includes these steps:
- Researching and identifying long tail keywords to target
- Developing compelling ads for those keywords
- Building targeted landing pages
- Modifying and testing landing page elements to nurture more conversions
Remember that paid advertising is very expensive for attorneys. Each ad click costs your firm money. It's important that those clicks get results.
Fortunately, it's very possible to acquire clients through Google while maintaining your budgets. When used correctly, pay-per-click advertising can be even more lucrative than SEO simply because the turnaround is so much faster.
Google My Business
When you create a law firm's Google My Business profile, you make it easier for people to find you when they want to hire a local attorney. This profile contains information about your practice, the services you offer, your contact information, your hours, and more.
You need a Google My Business account to appear in local search results and Google Maps searches. Additionally, Google My Business allows you to post updates about your business and interact with customers who have reviewed your business or asked questions.
You can even post pictures of your legal team and business. An account is also required to run local service ads.
There is so much to cover on the topic of Google Ads for lawyers that it warrants its own article. However, these pointers will help lawyers who are trying to bootstrap their own marketing campaigns:
- Move away from head terms to focus on longer keyword phrases
- Add zip codes to location targeting efforts
- Use keywords in your ad copy
- Learn about keyword bidding and create a strategy that works
- Test different variations of ad copy
Keep in mind that most people hire locally and advertise accordingly.
Google Local Service Ads
Local service ads are not the same as pay-per-click ads. They work to help you gain local leads by getting people to contact you by phone and are billed by lead, not click. Ranking factors for these ads are also different. They are based on distance, your bid, reviews, and other considerations.
13. Legal Directories
The companies that sponsor popular legal directories like FindLaw and Avvo spend quite a bit of money on search engine optimization. Even if you don't care for them otherwise, it is a good idea to create a profile for your law firm in these directories. If you do, you will see your search engine rankings improve.
When your profile is included in one of the key legal directories, you will receive more traffic from potential clients who find and view your profile. Additionally, your profile includes a backlink to your website.
Be certain to maintain these profiles as needed. If your location or hours change, update your profiles (and your Google My Business). This work will make it easier for people to find you in search results and improve your page rankings.
Maximize Your Growth
The advice and insights provided here create a powerful marketing tool that allows you to grow your law firm's brand and acquire more clients. These tips allow you to diversify your marketing activities and are designed to work with a range of marketing budgets.
You aren't alone if you review these tips and still find legal marketing intimidating. It's easy to achieve your goals while focusing on serving your clients — just connect with a digital marketing service for law firms that will help you create and execute your strategy.