Do you know the answer to the question, “what is law firm marketing?” You may think you do, but the answer is ever-changing and evolving. This guide will help you understand. Whether you have just established your law firm or have been practicing for decades, you need marketing.
You went to school to be a lawyer, but your law firm is a business whether you like it or not. You need to run it like one. That means that you need to include marketing in your business plan.
Read on and learn everything you need to know about marketing your law firm.
What Is Law Firm Marketing?
When a law firm uses marketing, it attracts potential clients. Marketing efforts should raise awareness of the firm, educate people about its practice areas, convince them to hire you, continue to be a client, and recommend the firm to other people.
A successful law firm will focus on local SEO to increase brand awareness. The ideal client may not need legal services when they see your online marketing. However, when they see your advertising enough, they’ll remember your firm when they do need a lawyer.
Types of Law Firm Marketing
The traditional form of marketing for a law firm is word of mouth. Your clients talk to other people, and you want them to say good things about your firm. This type of marketing is one that will never go away. The only way you can benefit from this is to provide a quality service.
Traditional Marketing Efforts
Print, television, and radio are traditional marketing tools that law firms use. These are still useful but shouldn’t be your only focus. Consider the brand and personality you want to create when deciding whether or not these marketing efforts are right for you.
Think about the type of client you want to attract. Your marketing efforts need to be in front of the potential clients you want to attract. Ensure that your ROI is worth the expense.
- Billboard- $750-$1,500 per month
- Radio- $200-$5,000 per week
- Newspaper- $50-$2,700
- Local TV- $1,000-$10,000 per viewer
The oldest of marketing tactics is to depend on referrals. Past clients that are happy with your legal know-how will recommend you to their friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else looking for an attorney. This type of marketing is completely free and should happen naturally as you provide high-quality legal services.
However, you can help this process along by simply asking past clients to write a testimonial. The modern version of referrals is to have your law firm listed on legal directories such as Avvo. You can also have your law practice listed on business rating websites, such as Yelp or even LinkedIn. Ask clients to write their testimonials on these websites.
Modern Marketing Efforts
Modern marketing efforts have turned to the digital world. With the takeover of the internet, it’s only smart to focus your marketing efforts in the same place where your prospective clients go. Nearly 90% of people use the internet to find a local business.
If you don’t have a website, then it’s time to get one. A website is your first step in creating an online presence and will be the first impression your law firm makes for many prospective clients. They’re incredibly affordable and something you can do yourself. If you’re a one-person show, you can use a template from one of the many website services out there to create a high-quality law firm website. It won’t take long, and you can fill out the information yourself.
For those who are savvier, you can sign up for a WordPress website. It’s slightly more expensive, but you have the ability to create a fully customized website design.
As you become more knowledgeable of law firm SEO you can start creating landing pages. These will have customized messaging to a specific target audience. This will help you with optimizing your website to make it more actionable for prospective clients to engage in your legal services. This testing can be useful when expanding your practice areas and engaging in business development.
Be careful if you decide to work with a law firm digital marketing agency. Many of these have a cookie-cutter approach to their services. They claim they’ll give you a custom website. As a marketing professional, I can tell you it’s not. You have a website that looks exactly like all of their other customers; it’s just a different color. Don’t do this. It looks cheap and lazy.
Choose the social media platform that your clients use most. You don’t have to be on all of them. One or two is plenty and will be demanding enough to keep up with. Whatever social media platform you decide to use, stick with it and stay active with regular posts. It’s worse to have dead profiles than not have any at all.
Make social media management easier on yourself by scheduling posts for the month. This puts the manual labor portion on autopilot. Try to post a variety of content to keep things interesting. Don’t be afraid to engage with your audience. Remember, the first word of social media is the word social, so interact with people.
It’s great that you have a website, but you need to do more than this. The website is the first step. The second is to have a content marketing plan. This creates new and interesting content. Do this by adding a blog to your website.
Blogging the easiest way to create the marketing funnel mentioned earlier. It’s also how you create a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan. By using relevant keywords in the content, you tell Google what your website and law firm are about. You’ll then start showing up organically in Google search results.
Your marketing team can use this original content to establish backlinks. This raises the authority of your website and helps you improve in search rank.
Do you regularly email your potential, current, and previous clients? If you aren’t, you should consider creating some form of an email campaign. Email marketing has the highest ROI of all digital marketing strategies.
This is something you could hire someone to do. You can also do it yourself. Write up a simple monthly newsletter-style email that has information about your firm, latest achievements, and developments in the legal world.
Not convinced? Check out these email campaign facts.
If you have a small marketing budget, this may not be the best option for you. While you can tailor your paid marketing efforts to your budget. The most desirable and competitive keywords can get quite expensive. Having a PPC campaign requires constant monitoring for it to be an effective law firm marketing strategy.
However, paid ads are the best way to get a quick jolt of traffic and business. With this strategy, you’ll choose keywords to bid on. Then if you have the winning bid, Google will display your ads above the organic search results when people do a search.
A smart strategy is to focus on location associated keywords or practice focused keywords. A personal injury, estate planning, and family law attorney will all target different people with their ads.
Create the Marketing Funnel
No matter what type of marketing you choose to do, stay focused on your high-level marketing goals. Think about the inbound marketing funnel and create marketing material that speaks to your audience in every phase of the process. This helps to guide people through the funnel and encourages them to reach out with their legal needs. It also filters out potential clients that aren’t a good fit for your firm, which allows you to focus your efforts better.
The legal industry has the unique challenge of conforming to a set rule of ethics. While other businesses have a lot more freedom, you need to conform to a higher set of standards. The specific ethics rules can vary from one bar association to the next. However, you can ask yourself these ten questions to ensure you’re producing quality and ethical marketing content.
1. Is This a Good Idea?
This is a basic question, but an important one. Is the marketing you’re planning to release a good idea? Does it do any of these things?
- Cross a line
- Is mean
- Takes advantage of people
- Is shallow
- Generally ill-conceived
The more doubt you have and the more you have to question it, the more likely it’s a bad idea. Follow your gut and listen to others. If there’s even a slight question, then you should probably refrain from using it.
2. Will I Upset People By Doing This?
You may have a fabulous marketing campaign, but is it worth it if it upsets people? Depending on who you upset, it might be well worth it. However, you’ll have to be prepared for those consequences. Keep in mind that controversial marketing that tries to be edgy by upsetting people is the lazy person’s solution to being creative. Consider the image and opinion you want people to have about you and your law firm.
3. Am I Passing Unoriginal Content as Mine?
It’s very easy to see an idea you like or an image that’s appealing and adopt it for your own marketing efforts. This is a slippery slope that can get you into trouble. You will get caught stealing someone else’s work. Don’t bring unnecessary hassle on you and your law firm by using another person’s original work. Don’t be lazy; create your own original content and marketing.
4. Is This Disturbing Content in Humane Package?
Due to the nature of your practice, some lawyers are faced with the challenge of marketing potentially disturbing or upsetting material. It’s your job to get creative with your marketing so that you can effectively convey your message without including material that may be upsetting. Soften the subject matter to ensure that you don’t upset those who you’re trying to attract as a client.
5. Is This an Exaggeration of My Services?
This area of your marketing is restricted by regulation. But aside from this, why would you want to start a new client relationship by overpromising? Set your client’s expectations by being honest about the process’s length and what you can achieve for them. By doing this, you’re more likely to have a satisfied client at the end of the relationship.
6. Are You Lying?
It’s common to see small lies or truth-stretching in legal marketing. But this can result in the death of a thousand cuts. Be honest with your audience because the truth will always eventually come out. An example of this is if you graduated from law school three years ago and state that you have years of experience. Sure, you technically have more than one year of experience, but you know that stating “years of experience” implies several more than just three.
7. Should Your Clients Know They’re Using a Chatbot?
Do not trick your clients into thinking they are communicating with a real person when in reality, they are interacting with a chatbot. It’s one thing to have a chatbot on your website that’s obviously automated and used for collecting leads. It’s another to have a chatbot designed to mimic a real person and create a conversational experience for current clients.
8. Is Your Use of Social Media Ethical?
Because of the casual nature of social media, people often let their guard down. Review your posts and audience engagements to ensure you’re posting ethical content. Where to draw the line can be a tough one to determine.
What’s acceptable in one industry may not be appropriate for another. The same goes for different areas of the law. The best course of action is to spend time on social media. Pay attention to what others are doing and how it’s received to learn what’s acceptable and what’s not.
9. Be Careful of False Comparisons
This is another issue that’s addressed by ethics regulations. You don’t want to be untruthful about the commonality of a particular type of legal case. You also need to be careful about how you represent yourself in comparison to other attorneys.
10. How Am I Using the Data I Gather?
This question doesn’t relate to your marketing content but more about what you do with the information you collect from your marketing efforts. There’s an ethical concern about what you do with the information that you gather. Be sure to stay up on the latest regulations so that you don’t violate any unintentionally.
What Is the Future of Law Firm Marketing?
Law firm marketing trends point to more interaction and content production. Video is becoming more important and influential. If you have the time to make your own or the budget to have them produced, this is a smart trend to get involved with. Try creating supplemental videos that coincide with your blog content. This gives people the choice of either reading or watching your content.
Don’t get too committed to a single social media account. History has taught us that your account could be valuable one day and worthless the next. (remember Myspace, Vine, or Friendster) Use your social media as a supplement to more permanent marketing efforts.
Take Your Law Firm’s Marketing Seriously
You should now have a solid understanding of what it takes to have a law firm marketing plan. The question, “what is law firm marketing?”, should no longer be one that you’re asking. It’s smart to sit down and determine a budget that you can reasonably afford. Remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have effective marketing.
Once you have a budget in place, you can look for a marketing professional who can help you achieve your goals. As an independent contractor with a background in law, I’m able to assist with the written content portions of your marketing needs. This includes writing website content, blog posts, print promotional materials, and social media posts.
Let’s chat and create a marketing plan for your law firm.