Attracting new clients to your law firm can be daunting, and the competition among firms (especially in high-traffic cities) can be brutal. You need to market your firm to help stand out from the pack, but that does not come with risks. In a recent CallRail study, 95% of attorneys agreed that because marketing is a non-billable expense, the spending risk is greater, making it even more important to use marketing dollars effectively.
Use the following 7 tips to demystify law firm marketing and stay on track with your efforts.
1. Establish a Marketing Budget
Marketing your firm takes money, and you have to be realistic about 1) what you can spend and 2) what you can achieve with that spend. According to Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor, the average law firm spent about 2% of their revenue on marketing and business development in 2018.
Start by identifying your law firm’s marketing goals to determine where to allocate funds. You’ll spend differently if your goal is lead generation than you will if your goal is to build a high-profile reputation.
For example, if your objective is lead generation, your marketing efforts should be geared toward bringing in volume. Your marketing budget should be spent on advertising, social media reach, and promoting your services to a wide array of your potential customer base.
If you’re looking to market your firm to gain high-profile clientele, your marketing budget should be spent on gaining positive testimonials, reviews, and relevant case studies.
Make sure your budget is completely evaluated. There are dozens of “hidden” factors that go into any marketing budget. Be sure to allocate funds for technology (e.g., who’s going to serve and host your website?). You’ll also want to earmark funds for content marketing — hiring an agency can be less costly than hiring full-time writers, but you may want a full-time writing crew to keep the direction, tone, and voice of content controlled by your firm. Keep in mind the cost of advertising as well — the cost of OOH (out of home), print, and digital ads should be factored in.
After you determine the budget and where to spend it, now you have to pay for it. This is usually done by examining your caseload and billable hours and calculating how much you would need to take on to cover the marketing budget. So if you’re spending $50,000 on marketing, how many more cases do you need to take on to cover that?
2. Build a Well-Designed Law Firm Website
Your website will be the first touch in the relationship with a potential client. It needs to be impressive from the first visit, or potential clients will look elsewhere. A poorly constructed or managed website is a red flag to most. According to Google Research, customers will make a decision within 17 milliseconds of viewing your site about whether or not to continue looking through it.
Be sure to use quality visuals (both images and video). 60% of consumers pay more attention to search results that have images.
Also, make sure your service offerings are clearly stated, well defined, and prominent. 94% of consumers say that easy website navigation is the most useful website feature. Don’t make clients search everywhere for the information they want upfront. If the client gets frustrated finding out whether you practice family law, for instance, they will move on to another firm. Similarly, build social proof from the outset by displaying major awards, achievements and recognition from bar associations or trusted legal groups where prospects are sure to see them.
3. Use All Free Positive Online Reviews
Make sure to accumulate all your positive Yelp, Facebook, and Google reviews to use on your site. In the 18-34 demographic, 91% trust most online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and overall, customers want to see at least 10 online reviews before they move forward with a brand or business.
Google My Business is a great free resource — it can help list your business in Google Maps when people search for local law firms. Good reviews, positive mentions, and SEO can help you rank in Google My Business. Google explains that “Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply”.
Also, check your state and local bar websites and make sure your information is updated. This seems like a simple enough task, but many law firms don’t make time for it. Maybe that’s because 21% of legal websites are managed by a single attorney within the practice.
4. Make Sure Your Law Firm Has a Social Media Presence — and Maintain It
Social media is the most immediate advertising available today. Having an effective social media strategy will increase your exposure, and is considerably less expensive than traditional advertising media ($2.50 CPM or cost per thousand impressions vs. $57 CPM for direct mail). Today, the majority of law firms and individual lawyers have some sort of presence on social media, with the largest showing on LinkedIn, followed by Facebook.
Social media tips for lawyers by platform
- LinkedIn — Make sure you have a current LinkedIn presence and participate in discussions and user groups as much as possible. This helps build your reputation with peers as well as potential clients.
- Facebook — Hire a social media manager to read reviews, compile positive ones, and respond to negative ones ASAP. Show prospects that your firm handles disputes in a professional, reassuring manner, even when there’s public backlash.
- Twitter — Don’t leave tweeting to just anyone. Make sure your official account is monitored and maintained. Businesses and reputations have been destroyed by just one bad tweet.
- TikTok — Some law firms are using TikTok to advertise their services. Showing a clip and asking “Who’s responsible for this damage?” is one example, with a CTA to contact the firm for more information.
5. Build a Content Marketing Plan
Use blog posts, articles, and podcasts to show authority in your field. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates over 3X as many leads. To generate an effective content marketing strategy you need to utilize different types of content at every stage of the funnel.
The easiest way to jump-start your content marketing plans is to hire an outside agency to provide you with the content you need. If your budget allows, you can also hire in-house writers to provide blog posts and create video and podcast content.
Another potentially free resource to build authority is to use guest bloggers on your site. Search your local and regional law forums, or ask an ambitious law student looking for traction in the legal field to blog on your site. Clearly identify who they are, why they’re qualified to speak on their subject matter, and then distribute that link through their college website and other law forums. It’s a win/win for both parties.
6. Other Paid Advertising (with Traditional and Digital Media)
Why do you see so many bus stop benches with advertisements for law firms? Because many firms (mainly local firms in your area) know that bus stops, buses, and billboards are high-traffic areas. Outdoor ads with clear and bold website URLs bring in customers and deliver ROI. For every $1 spent on OOH (Out Of Home), $2.80 in sales is generated–higher than TV and print.
Digital ads are overtaking traditional ads and should be considered in your marketing strategy. Think of Facebook ads as a digital billboard on a well-traveled highway or a digital bench where millions of people sit and see every day.
Pay-per-click (PPC or Paid Search) advertising is a great way to find clients who are lower in the marketing funnel. When a potential client searches online for a firm or specific type of legal service, the chances are high that they are already in-market and evaluating different options. To make the most of your PPC budget you need to be constantly evaluating the cost-per-click of your best and worst performing keywords so you are only getting clicks on search ads that are converting to leads.
7. Track Firm Marketing Efforts
You have to monitor the ROI of your marketing efforts, or it could be a waste of your resources. When the firm asks, “What did this spend bring us?”, you want to have a clear answer.
One way is to check the progress of your marketing efforts at the 30-, 60-, and 90-day mark. Was your goal to bring in a high volume of new clients? Compare what new business was brought in at those three periods and find out if qualified leads were generated.
If the goal was to build authority and reputation, review your social media efforts, check reviews on other sites, and cross-reference them against the 30/60/90-day marks. Look for changes like increased numbers of testimonials or positive reviews that can be tied back to your efforts.
Law Firm Marketing is Easier Than You Think
With so much competition in the legal field, getting your name out there is tough but not impossible. The best way to achieve what you want for your firm‘s business and reputation is to market your practice using the tools above.
CallRail helps thousands of law firms track their leads through inbound phone calls and online form fills, providing insight into which marketing channels are performing the best for your practice and helping you determine your marketing ROI. Try CallRail today, free for 14 days.