Before developing a marketing strategy for your law firm, you need to be perfectly clear on what you’re delivering. Consistency and integrity underpin a strong brand, which comes about based on extensive market research and an authentic understanding of what your company stands for.
In this first chapter, you’ll discover how to define your litigation service’s brand identity. In turn, this dictates how it’s perceived by clients, partners, fellow attorneys and anyone else you do business with.
It’s important to remember that the element people are most likely to remember about any contact with a law firm is human connection. Your company is just an entity; you and your team are the true selling points, and the reason people will choose you over another firm. How you make them feel and establishing an emotional rapport are primary deciding factors for whether you stick in potential clients’ minds.
Before conducting research into your target market, you need to define what you stand for.
What are your most relevant and unique attributes? Think about your professional qualifications and certifications in addition to why you got into law in the first place. Consider the key traits you look for when hiring employees. Build a story around who you are and the way you envision your company changing the world.
By clearly understanding the characteristics that define your company, you can communicate them consistently to the audience you’re most likely to resonate with.
Once you’ve decided what your story is, you’re ready to start researching who your law firm is best placed to help. Many law firms attempt to cast a wide net in view of attracting as many people as possible, but this strategy is a recipe for disaster.
For optimal results, you should narrow your target audience as much as possible so you can spend your marketing budget wisely and laser-focus your efforts on those most likely to respond.
What’s more, to resonate with your audience on a personal level, you need to understand them — especially as a litigator. The more you narrow it down, the easier it is to learn about your audience in detail and tailor your marketing campaign to show how you can meet their needs.
Armed with a clear brand identity and target market, your law firm can begin crafting its brand messaging. Not only is this essential for attracting clients, but it also helps you align your team and hire the right people in future. A unified, coherent team is best-positioned to deliver results.
You’ll need mission, vision and core value statements to bring your brand messaging together. These should be short, catchy sentences that sum up what your brand stands for and why you’re able to meet clients’ needs. Let’s take a close look at the purpose of each statement:
The most successful law firms understand their clients at the deepest level, which is crucial for such an emotionally-driven service. They’re also experts at using verbal and nonverbal cues to let people know that they’re deeply human and out for more than money.
People seek out legal services when they’re genuinely in need and require looking after. You need to be able to convince potential clients that you’re capable of helping them through a potentially fraught situation that can be emotionally and financially demanding.
Weaving empathy through your law firm’s branding and marketing means making sure everything client-facing communicates that your company cares. From color scheme to logo and typography, don’t leave any detail behind.
Consistency lies at the heart of every branding strategy, and it’s just as important that your visuals are as compelling as your verbal messaging. Keeping aesthetics consistent helps people remember you, but it’s also crucial in the overall impression they get of your litigation company.
Vision is our primary sense, and getting your law firm’s logo, website, typography and color palette right is as important as keeping a clean, tidy and well-designed office.
Designing a website for your law firm is one thing, developing one that converts leads to conversions is another. As of 2019, there were 436,508 legal firms operating in the United States. With so much competition out there, it’s clear to see why differentiation is a strict priority for attorneys.
In today’s digital-led world, your website is the first impression most customers get of your law practice. It should be slick, speedy and easy to navigate. Let’s explore the most important elements of a law firm site that attract customers and convince them to pick up the phone or fill out an online form.
When designing your lawyer website — or briefing a web designer — remember that branding is paramount. The content, imagery and voice should be perfectly aligned with your brand personality. And just like your law firm’s office, your website should be immaculate.
People are highly visual, and perceive a website as a reflection of what to expect from your service. The following design elements are crucial for consumers as well as search engine optimization:
One of the best ways to attract people seeking legal advice to your attorney website is to fill it with actionable content. Conduct market research to find out the questions your target audience is asking and answer those questions in your law firm’s blog. Ensure the tone is friendly, is helpful and reflects your brand’s voice to give potential legal clients the best possible experience.
When creating or commissioning content for your firm’s website, also keep in mind most of your target audience aren’t legal experts. Content should be easy to understand and make sense to someone with little or no understanding of the legal system.
What’s more, the emotional state of your audience is a vital consideration. Be empathetic and think about how someone in that state of mind is likely to use your website. If they’re angry, frustrated and hurt and need help urgently, they want to know that you’ve successfully dealt with situations similar to theirs in the past.
Customer experience is front and center of all business operations in the modern marketplace. Customers have more choice than ever, in addition to having more public places to leave negative feedback. As such, you should take a person-centered approach to designing your website.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone seeking legal advice in your field of law. Navigate through your law firm’s website yourself on a mobile and desktop device, making sure it’s intuitive, logical and easy to get in touch. Use attractive buttons and well-positioned CTAs to encourage web users to make contact.
Every page and post on your law firm’s website should end with a strong call to action. This is a brief sentence summing up how you can help solve the user’s problem, plus a contact number or a web form so they can request more details or book an appointment.
CTAs for law firms come in many forms, including banners, graphics, buttons and links. Make sure your audience understands the value of responding to the CTA by letting them know what to expect if they take action.
Be strategic about where you place them in the customer journey. Trying to urge contact too early or too frequently can be off-putting and come across as spam. Make sure there are multiple channels for contact; some people prefer a phone call, while others prefer emails.
The beauty of the digital age when it comes to marketing is measurability. Instead of playing guessing games to assess the effectiveness of law firm marketing campaigns, analytics measure exactly what works and what doesn’t.
Take CTAs: Use slightly different language across various web pages and track which ones lead to the most conversions. When you find out what your audience responds best to, refine your attorney site’s content.
Let’s take a look at more important metrics to track to see how well your law firm’s website performs:
No matter how well-designed your website is, making sure clients can find it is paramount. Thankfully, there’s one place most consumers conduct research these days: Google. Its algorithm contains more than 200 markers that determine how high your lawyer website ranks.
By refining your law firm’s site to meet the expectations of the algorithm, you can send it hurtling to the top of the search engine results pages.
Despite widespread digital transformation, refining your website for SEO is a well-kept secret among marketing experts. Learn what it means to optimize your law firm’s website for search engines and implement best practices to get ahead of the competition.
Have you ever performed a Google search and looked beyond the first page? Not many times at all, is the answer for most people. Getting onto the first page of Google’s SERPs is the holy grail for lawyers. SEO is an umbrella term for an array of actions that help get your law firm’s website to the coveted first page.
Websites that deploy SEO tactics generate more organic traffic, which equals more inquiries and bookings for your practice. Put simply, it stops your site from getting lost in the sea of search engine results so your target audience can find your legal practice.
Search engine algorithms trawl every site on the web to decide which ones are most useful to consumers. Some of the factors that determine where sites like Google index your law firm site include:
As you can probably tell, SEO is crucial for lawyers looking to get ahead of the competition and increase their market share. It’s one of the most effective ways to reach new clients and it’s highly cost-effective. Since COVID-19, people are online more than ever, and more law firms are discovering the strategy.
Now is the time to start building SEO best practices into your law firm marketing strategy.
Below are the key benefits of optimizing your online content for search engines.
Organic website traffic is the site traffic that doesn’t come from paid advertisements. When someone types in a search such as “best divorce lawyer near me” or “best legal firm in Los Angeles,” Google determines the best results using its algorithm. To capture the search intent of your users, you need to convince Google’s algorithm that your legal service can add value to consumers’ lives.
Organic search is the primary source of traffic for most websites, and impressing Google is one of the best ways to increase your law firm brand’s visibility.
Google chooses the specific metrics that its algorithm measures based on search engine users’ preferences. As such, a website that adheres to these metrics is likely to be more attractive and useful to web users.
Think of all the data Google has gathered over the years about people who use the web. It makes sense that it’s built an algorithm that accurately determines usability and preferences when it comes to search intent.
What’s more, as you’ve probably realized yourself, the higher the page appears on the SERPs, the more people are likely to trust it.
One of the main focuses of the Google algorithm is customer experience. The search engine’s aim is to provide information to the public that’s useful enough to keep them coming back and using the tool. And considering its enormous market share, it’s safe to say the company has a good understanding of UX.
Optimizing your attorney firm’s site for SEO benefits your ranking and user experience. Elements of your website that combine user experience and SEO include:
By conducting topical and keyword research, you learn what your law firm’s target audience is actively searching for online. This information about intention is indispensable because it helps you understand your potential clients’ behavior, needs and preferences.
By observing data that helps you build SEO best practices into your online content, you get to know your legal clients better. This can help you refine future marketing campaigns for your attorney practice and communicate more effectively with customers.
Now you have a clearer understanding of what SEO is, let’s look at how to put it into action.
The first place to start when optimizing your law firm’s site for search engines is topical keyword research. It’s important to focus on long-tail keywords instead of simple ones, as Google can identify keyword spam. This means that littering keywords throughout your content isn’t enough. Context and relevance are very important, and keyword strings should closely match web users’ search intent.
You can use online tools to discover the keywords your target audience use to find what they’re looking for online. These tools also offer semantic keywords to sprinkle throughout your content. These are phrases and keyword strings that indirectly relate to your field of expertise.
Landing pages, service pages and location pages are explored in-depth in the next section on local SEO. However, it’s vital that you evenly distribute a range of keywords throughout your online content.
Search engine optimization is a long-term marketing strategy for law firms. You should gradually develop an encyclopedia of content on your website that signals how useful your website is to Google. Keep in mind that the time users spend on a page is a vital metric to search engine algorithms. As such, long-form content that’s more than 1,000 words long is more effective.
Another important metric for a law firm website’s search engine rankings is the number of backlinks. Backlinks are links that lead internet users to your website. The higher authority the website leading people to your site, the better. Quality backlinks for lawyers include:
It’s not just links to your website that matter. The links you send users to are of the utmost importance, too. All external links should be authoritative: government sites, recognized educational institutions and globally recognized studies.
Lastly, you need to include links within your own website. Internal links help your law firm website’s users find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
SEO involves trial, error and ongoing analytics. In today’s legal marketplace, data-driven companies do best. A search engine optimization strategy has the benefit of driving organic traffic to your site, but it also has a bonus benefit: data.
You can use analytics to measure the performance of your strategy and continually refine your output. The result is highly targeted content that attracts the legal clients most likely to spend money with your firm.
For most law firms, appealing to the local market is the most effective way to generate growth. In recent years, Google has increased its efforts to help businesses attract local customers by making it easier to target them directly.
More than ever, consumers use their smartphones to conduct local searches. When looking for legal services, they might type “divorce lawyer near me” or “personal injury attorney in Chicago.” Google treats these searches differently to those that don’t include local intent. Namely, it displays a map at the top of the SERP with three relevant results underneath, known as the “local pack.”
As you can imagine, it’s a lot easier to get into the first page of local search results or local pack than SERP results spanning the entire country.
Below are the top four elements to optimize for your legal firm’s website for local SEO.
Previously known as Google My Business, your Google Business Profile is the key to getting into the local pack. Your GBP listing includes your contact details, business description, images, videos and other key business information to help web users decide if your website can help them.
Google uses this information to display your law firm on Maps and in local search queries. To make it into the local pack, you must be:
Reviews play a vital role in where Google places you in the local SERPs. This is because website users place a high value on user reviews due to a phenomenon known as social proof.
Customer experience drives positive reviews, which means your law firm should take a client-centered approach to doing business. Provide opportunities for feedback as the first line of defense against bad reviews and don’t be shy of sending out follow-up correspondence asking for positive reviews.
Most people use search engines such as Google to conduct research. However, some people, especially older users, still use directories. Adding your website to Yelp, Apple Maps, Yellow Pages, and legal directories in your state signals to Google that your law firm is open for business and relevant to all web users.
Your attorney website is just as relevant to local SEO as it is to general SEO. Populate your website with landing pages specific to every area you operate from, including neighborhoods, cities and states. This increases the likelihood someone conducting a local search will find information specifically relevant to legal services in their area. It also lets Google know exactly where your law firm operates so it can recommend you to nearby users.
Including service pages is another key factor when chasing the first page. A single webpage including all the services you offer won’t get you in the local pack. For example, if you’re an employment attorney, you might include the following service pages:
This guide to marketing for law firms has covered website content you should include and touched on the importance of blog posts. But the impact of content marketing can’t be emphasized enough. And there’s a lot more to it than what’s included on your website.
Content marketing has an array of benefits for attorneys, including higher status on the SERPs, brand authority and increased chance of backlinks. However, you must also keep in mind the importance of focusing on human experience.
Content marketing adds value to customers’ lives for free. Before they’ve spent any money with you, you’ve helped them. What’s more, a well-written blog or smart email campaign can serve the function of helping retain legal clients.
Let’s look at content marketing in more depth.
The best marketing strategies for attorneys take a multipronged approach. It’s crucial that you conduct market research to determine which forms of content your law firm’s audience will respond to best, and try to implement as many as possible.
Effective forms include:
A social media presence is a must in our digital-led marketplace. If a customer can’t find a profile online, they might question whether your law firm exists at all. But there’s more to social media than trustworthiness.
Injecting your brand personality into Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn attracts your target audience to your brand. It’s also a space to share your content and reinforce brand authority around the web.
It’s not enough to create content on a one-off basis anymore. After around a year, posts become stale and lose relevance. It’s important to continually update your content around the web to ensure it remains relevant to your target audience. Updating studies and other links is also vital to how high Google places your law firm website on the SERPs.
Law firms have traditionally been skeptical of the benefits of social media. This is largely due to the fear of being overtly promotional or putting potential clients off due to the sensitivity of legal practice. Of course, your firm should avoid breaking the law by sharing case-sensitive information, but that doesn’t mean you should shun social media altogether.
Social media has the ability to drive website traffic and offer an excellent ROI. It helps you humanize your legal brand, build relationships with clients and potential clients and maintain a strong online presence. It’s also a great way to network with fellow lawyers, law firms and other partners.
The advantages of social media for law firms are numerous, and include:
Following guidelines and remaining compliant when using social media is crucial for law firms. Below is an outline of the best practices to use when promoting your legal website using social media.
People who are searching for help with legal issues are looking for reassurance and guidance. You can use social media to help potential clients understand their rights with regard to your field of legal expertise. You can educate your audience and help them solve minor issues, thus inspiring them to choose your firm to represent them in more complicated situations.
Social media is excellent for educating your target audience while building trust in and promoting awareness of your brand.
You can search for your law firm on social media to see what people are saying about it. Social media mentions help you see your firm through the eyes of your target audience, allowing you to address gaps in your output.
And if no one is talking about your law firm? It’s a sign that you need to invest more into your marketing strategy so you can make an impact. This practice is called social listening. While actively searching for feedback might feel difficult at first, facing up to weaknesses is the best way to address them and improve your law firm’s standing.
Blog posts are a law firm’s secret weapon when it comes to marketing. It provides an opportunity to connect with potential clients and promote your attorney services without being pushy or overtly salesy.
Sharing your blog posts is the best way to expand your reach and target new clients in addition to providing an opportunity for backlinking. If you manage to write a post that goes viral by getting a lot of shares, you can inspire growth rapidly. Some ways to maximize engagement with social blog posts include:
Social media users come to your profile to read educational content about your legal field. It’s crucial that the majority of your output focuses on this type of content, with promotion only sprinkled in occasionally. Some sources suggest 80:20%, while others recommend 70:30%, but you can decide which ratio is best for your law firm.
One of the best things about social media for law firms is the potential to learn about your direct competitors. Paying attention to what your contemporaries are doing can help you get inspiration and discover opportunities for differentiation.
Find the law firms that are most popular in your area and identify desirable elements of their online presence. You can even start building relationships with them by engaging, potentially benefiting from an overspill of their clients or simply learning from experts within their team.
Pay-per-click marketing is a strategy whereby you promote your attorney website prominently and pay when someone clicks on an ad. The traffic it generates is the opposite of organic search engine results. All marketing experts recommend blending an organic strategy with paid search advertising to maximize growth.
There are a number of ways to engage users via PPC; search engine PPC, local PPC and social media advertising.
With search engine PPC for attorneys, you place bids for ad placement in the sponsored links section, which is right at the top of the SERPs. Ads appear to users when they search for the keywords you’ve bidden upon, with more frequently searched terms costing more.
You can drill down PPC so it targets local potential clients using local PPC. This type of paid search advertising is similar to search engine PPC, except it targets customers in a pre-specified geographic location. It deploys geotargetting and local keywords to increase website traffic.
Last but by no means least, is social media advertising for lawyers. Also known as social media targeting, it’s an excellent method of using paid ads to directly engage the people most likely to use your law firm. With this type of ad, social networks use data about their users to deliver highly-targeted ads when they’re poised to respond.
You can buy ad space via a range of platforms, but Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the best for law firms. Keep in mind that due to the nature of social media users, ads need to be snappy and attention-grabbing.
Instead of the traditional narrative arc you might use in a less time-sensitive campaign, urgency is paramount. For social media ads, don’t fear embracing the emergency story arc and cutting straight to the climax to hook clients and create a sense of urgency around clicking the CTA.
Think of social media as a place for an online magazine or billboard ad. Let’s take a look at some of the social ads that are most likely to garner results for your law firm:
All of the above contributes to your law firm’s online reputation, but it’s important to approach the concept holistically. In short, the better your practice’s online reputation, the more prominent you’ll be online and the more leads you’ll attract.
Let’s explore the three most important factors when it comes to law firm reputation management.
To gauge how well your legal practice is perceived in the eyes of the public, conduct market research. Start by searching for the law firms operating in your area on search engines. Read reviews, explore social media profiles and observe the various channels and directories they use.
Next, type the name of your legal practice into Google. Be honest about how you stack up compared to your competitors and take note of any channels they use that you currently aren’t. Go further by checking up on the names of any attorneys working for your firm and take stock.
Remember to see negative reviews or red flags as opportunities for improvement. It’s possible to turn your reputation around using reputation management strategies for law firms:
Reviews are a great way to let potential clients know about your legal practice’s strengths and mitigate the effects of any negative feedback.
Short or generic reviews tend not to carry the same weight as detailed or highly specific ones. When asking for a review in a feedback email, provide some examples of the type of reviews you’re looking for. Try to make sure they include:
On the flip side, it’s important to know how to respond to negative reviews. Legal practices should follow these guidelines:
Whether your law firm is just starting out or you’re ramping up reputation management efforts, be sure to engage in positive PR practices. This involves associating your legal practice’s name with places that have already established a large audience who trust in them. This might include:
Of course, digital marketing isn’t the be-all and end-all of promoting your law firm. Traditional marketing still has its place and should be used alongside digital marketing to maximize the effectiveness of your campaign.
Let’s explore the differences between digital and traditional marketing
We’ve explored digital marketing practices, now let’s take a look at more traditional methods to incorporate into your overall strategy:
The best traditional methods depend on your target audience. For example, if your law firm’s main demographic is older adults, direct mail can be highly effective. Giving away branded pens to clients is always a great tool for keeping your practice’s name fresh in their minds and potentially ending up in one of their friends’ hands.
As technology rapidly evolves, so do the number of ways for your law firm to reach new clients. Every year, new lead generation tools enter the market and offer innovative avenues to capture the attention of web users and drive traffic to your website. Keep your finger on the pulse of digital marketing advancements to ensure you stay ahead of your competitors.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular lead generation tools.
Law firms can use ever-improving CRM software to help generate and manage leads, as well as convert them into paying clients. There are a number of ways CRMs do this, such as:
A lead magnet is a way of offering your law firm’s website or social media users something free in return for data. It’s usually a form of relevant downloadable content such as a free eBook, survey, quiz or whitepaper.
By capturing an email address, you can follow up leads and nurture them to convert in the future. When it comes to web forms, make them as simple as possible. Avoid asking for reams of information and instead focus on an email address or phone number. Use social media to promote your lead magnets or direct web users to landing pages that offer them.
While remarketing isn’t allowed in all states, it’s a great method of nurturing leads for those that can. You can use dynamic remarketing to target visitors to your law firm’s website who didn’t convert on their first visit. With remarketing, ads are strategically displayed to the potential clients who are most likely to convert in future, ensuring your legal practice remains fresh in their minds.
Chatbots are an excellent tool to ensure your attorney website is open 24 hours a day without the requirement of a human presence. They help potential clients find what they need and answer simple questions. Additionally, they provide an opportunity for website visitors to leave their details so you can get back to them.
These bots fulfill the modern consumers’ need for immediacy, giving you a competitive advantage. Adding a chatbot to your law firm’s site is an excellent move towards a more client-centered marketing strategy.