Are you looking for a resource to help you put together an effective digital marketing strategy for your local law firm? You’re in the right place.
It’s said that in 6 out of 10 firms, the attorneys handle marketing themselves. As you run the business, most of your time is spent on operations and handling client cases. And the truth is, law firm marketing can become an extremely daunting task. Keeping up with the latest trends, streamlining, optimizing, and supervising all of the other working parts of campaigns is a full-time job.
To succeed and stay profitable in this fast-moving online world full of opportunities, it’s essential to stay focused and have a clear, measurable law firm marketing plan. Otherwise, you might end up losing money on things that don’t work. Less than half of law firms of all sizes have a budget for marketing, so you want to be wise about where to spend your money.
To help busy attorneys like you navigate some of that digital marketing uncertainty, we wrote this blog on how you can grow your law practice in 2023 and beyond by having a laser-focused lawyer marketing strategy that addresses your needs.
Ready to start? Then let’s dive into it!
How to Market a Law Firm
Each law firm has individual needs and challenges, so there’s no definite answer to how to market a law firm online. Some popular marketing efforts include branding, search engine optimization, paying for advertising, hosting webinars, running social media, and publishing content.
But before you engage in any of these activities, first you’ll need to understand the purpose of each one of them and then decide if they’re going to help you achieve your goals. To understand your marketing goals and eliminate the guesswork in your digital marketing, you need to craft a clear strategy that maps out exactly what you need to do to succeed.
What’s the Difference Between Marketing Strategy vs Tactics?
Tactics and strategies are frequently used interchangeably in various everyday conversations. However, when it comes to digital marketing these two terms have very different intents and meanings.
A marketing strategy is a long-term plan that helps guide your law practice in the direction you want to go. It can be as simple as a list of objectives or as complicated as a full-blown business plan. It’s something you can use to manage your day-to-day activities and measure your success.
A marketing strategy will help you:
- Set specific and measurable goals
- Determine your target audience and understand their needs & pain points
- Align your digital marketing efforts with your business objectives
A marketing tactic is any action taken to promote your attorney services, generate interest in, or otherwise increase visibility for a product or service in search engines. Some of the most popular law firm marketing tactics these days are local SEO (search engine optimization), paid advertising such as Google Ads, Bing Ads or Facebook/Meta ads, content marketing, social media marketing, webinars, and more.
Simply put, strategy is a detailed blueprint to achieve your goals and tactics are the actionable steps you need to take in order to execute your strategy.
Be Aware of the Common Mistake
Many companies including most law firms start their marketing efforts right out of the gate with tactics. They start spending money on pay-per-click campaigns, increased social media marketing efforts, or blogging without any prior research or goal in mind, and most of the time the results look like this:
- A low-quality score of your paid ads with low-quality leads
- Law firm website pages that nobody visits and interacts with
- Incentives (e.g. ebooks) with no sign ups or downloads
- High unsubscribe rate and a low click-through rate of your email campaign
Starting marketing campaigns without addressing strategy first is like going into a courtroom to represent your client unprepared but hoping for the best. This is a huge mistake that results in a wasted budget.
How to Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand the importance of the strategy, let’s look into how to create one.
Having and following robust attorney marketing strategies is crucial for your efforts to go in the right direction. Without it, you won’t know who your ideal customers are, what their problems are, and where they spend time and you’ll end up wasting money promoting to the wrong crowd in the wrong places.
1 Define your Marketing Goals
Start by answering questions about what you want your marketing efforts to achieve for your law firm in a specific timeframe. Be as specific as possible.
Examples of good goals for law firms are “increase profits by $100,000 in 1 year” or “get more personal injury cases in the next 2 quarters”.
2 Define Your Ideal Clients
It’s essential that you know who your ideal legal clients are. This will help you define your message and offerings later on so that you can get in front of them and capture their attention.
Make sure your ideal client isn’t “everybody” or a persona between 30-40 years old living in downtown Manhattan. While the latter is much better than “everybody”, you want to be much more specific and original than that. Being highly specific in your targeting is key to success in online marketing.
- What are the demographics and psychographics of your ideal client?
- What legal issues do they have?
- Where do they spend time online?
3 Define Your Message and Offerings
Now that you know who your ideal client is, you need to craft a message with an offer to capture their attention. Your message should touch deeper into the demands and pain points of your ideal target persona than just letting them know you exist and what your services are.
4 Conduct Competitors’ Research
Your competitors aren’t who you think they are. The goal of competitor research is to learn more about the market and what other law firms are doing online.
A good way to start is by looking at your competitors’ websites and social media profiles. You should also talk with paying clients who switch to you from other local lawyers.
An important part of competitor research is understanding their strategy for marketing, their positioning, assets, and how much approximately they’re spending on their marketing.
5 Identify Your Budget
This is probably one of the most important parts of your marketing strategy planning as the ROI of your marketing budget will be based on what you put in.
It might be challenging for some attorneys to justify paying for law firm marketing services on an ongoing basis, however marketing budgets shouldn’t be viewed as a cost but rather as an investment for your law firm’s growth and success. After all, in today’s competitive world no company can thrive without marketing its services in some way.
There are a number of different factors that will impact your marketing budget size, including your location, the size of your target audience, chosen marketing tools and channels, and more. For example, a law firm based in downtown New York is going to need a much higher ad budget for its Google Ads than the one located in New Haven, CT.
You also need to account for additional expenses associated with promoting your legal services such as material production costs as well as salaries, and law firm marketing agency or consultancy fees if you’re going to outsource some of the work or look for guidance.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to working out your law firm marketing budget, it is essential that you first do your research to understand the average cost of marketing in your area and have clear goals to calculate the budget needed to reach them. If your firm’s marketing budget is tight, you’ll need to be extra cautious when prioritizing goals in your strategy.
As a first step towards optimizing your law firm marketing efforts, try our marketing budget calculator tool to help you get a clear idea of what your targets are.
6 Measure Performance and Adjust Goals
Marketing strategy is not setting it and forgetting it. You will need to assess and evaluate its performance and probably tweak it and set new goals every 3 to 6 months.
This involves analyzing performance metrics, revisiting your sales funnel, and measuring profitability. If you don’t see desired results you might need to look for the root cause – is the budget? Is it the messaging or the offering? The marketing channels? Or the wrong audience?
You might also consider evaluating the overall business strategy of your law firm, looking for areas where you can optimize operations or expand/remove services. Based on the analysis, you should develop detailed law firm marketing plans to help you meet your new targets.
Additionally, it is important to actively communicate these performance goals and action plans to employees at all levels within your law firm so that everyone is empowered to contribute towards achieving them.
Top 6 Proven Marketing Tactics to Include in Your Strategy
Now that you have put together your legal marketing strategy it’s time to think about the plan on how to execute it and achieve your set goals.
Today there are hundreds of ways to market your law practice online, but let’s take a look at 5 top successful marketing tools and tactics with tips on how to include them in your law firm marketing strategy.
Always keep your firm’s goals and objectives in mind while selecting marketing tools and tactics.
User-Friendly Law Firm Website
When looking for a law firm, today’s potential clients want to find more than just a traditional law firm’s website listing general information about the firm and its services. Instead, a modern law firm must have a site that is designed with the needs of its clients in mind.
These client-centered websites should be easy to navigate and make it simple to find relevant information quickly. They should also be sleek and professional, reflecting the high-quality standards of the law firm itself.
Also important to remember is to make sure your law firm’s website is suitable for mobile use. With over 60% of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s absolutely vital that you are a mobile-friendly law firm.
If you want to find out more about how to make user-friendly law firm websites, take a look at this blog we wrote about best web design practices for family lawyers.
Content Marketing for a Law Firm
Content marketing is an essential tool for any law firm looking to attract more clients. Through content, law firms can share and explain valuable information about legal issues that are relevant to their target audience, establishing themselves as experts in the field.
This content can take many different forms, including blogging, social media posts, and downloadables such as guides and e-books. Furthermore, content marketing allows firms to connect with potential law firm clients on a more personal level by highlighting their expertise and sharing success stories from satisfied clients. That can be done through in-depth case studies or testimonials.
Overall, content marketing is a powerful tool that law firms should utilize and include in their legal marketing strategies.
SEO for Lawyers
When it comes to marketing a law firm, SEO is essential.
To succeed in today’s competitive legal landscape, law firms must focus on SEO strategies that will increase their visibility and credibility online. At the core of any effective local SEO campaign is a strong web presence, one that consists of engaging content tailored to your firm’s specific practice areas and target clients.
Additionally, law firm SEO can involve techniques such as link building and keyword optimization, both of which help to improve your ranking in a search engine like Google and drive more traffic to your website.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a powerful marketing tool to grow your business and best of all it’s free. This platform allows you to create a free business listing, which will help to boost your online visibility and attract new clients.
By optimizing your listing with relevant keywords, photos, and information, you can reach exactly the right audience and improve your online presence across all platforms. So if you’re looking to stay ahead in today’s competitive legal landscape, be sure to sign up for Google My Business and start taking advantage of its many benefits.
With the right strategy in place, you can grow your law firm and hone your reputation as a trusted legal expert in your field.
Get Listed on Legal Directories
These online resources provide a great platform for legal firms to connect with prospective clients and showcase their expertise, increase visibility by appearing in search engine results and enhance their credibility through positive reviews from past clients.
Additionally, legal directories often allow many law firms to highlight specific areas of specialization, making them an ideal choice for legal professionals who want to focus their practices on a particular niche.
Google Ads, Local Ads
Google Ads are an excellent way for law firms to reach potential clients and grow their practices. With just a few simple clicks, law firms can create targeted ads that appear in front of a potential client at the exact moment that they are searching for legal services online.
Furthermore, Google Ads offers law firms the opportunity to carefully control how much they spend on advertising, allowing them to get the most ROI possible from their marketing efforts.
Whether you are looking to attract new cases or build your law firm’s brand online, Google Ads can help law firms achieve their goals quickly and easily.
Differentiating your law firm’s marketing strategy from your tactics is essential to set your company up for success. By having a clear understanding of your business goals and target audience, you can think innovatively to keep them engaged while executing your digital marketing plan effectively.
If your law practice is struggling with defining a marketing strategy or finding time to manage campaigns, it may be time to hire a marketing company.