The legal industry is extremely competitive, with lawyers and other legal professionals relying on their internet presence to help attract new clients who truly need their services. Of course, this calls for a diverse law firm marketing strategy that encompasses several critical practices such as blogging, print, strategically placed digital ads, and industry-best SEO practices. We’ve put together a brief guide to give you the basics of understanding what type of marketing investment and resources involved in overtaking a market share away from competition. It’s likely your competition is already participating in these practices, especially if they dominate the top of the search results page.
Below are some basic marketing terms that we’ll be discussing. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list.
Important Marketing Terms
If you are preparing to dive headfirst into the lucrative realm of law firm marketing, then it helps to first familiarize yourself with some key terms that will help you develop a customized, strategic marketing plan for your clients.
This is the process of understanding what people’s intent is when they go on google to search for an answer to something, then ensuring our website and related properties are optimized with all the right signals to provide those best answers to people in that geographic or demographic area.
A marketing lead is essentially an account manager who focuses on the client. Legal professionals are accustomed to providing their clients with personal focus and often expect the same from the companies they choose to do business with.
A conversion rate is the ratio of users who visit a specific webpage or who click on a digital ad, who then “Convert” to a valid lead. This can also play a factor in the intake process and to people who eventually “convert” to a lead. You can track the conversion rate of just one page or your entire website. You can also look at how well your intake process is converting leads into paying clients.
Also known as a “Call-To-Action” this is a direct request for the user to engage in contacting the law firm. This might be a button that sends them to a “Contact Us” page or a link to ask for a free consultation or a phone call that can be tracked with various 3rd party solutions.
Return on investment is a critical performance metric that most businesses use to measure how effective their marketing efforts are in specific areas. If one aspect of a law firm’s marketing plan has a higher conversion rate or engages potential clients with higher frequency, then they are more likely to increase their future marketing dollar investment in those areas. At the same time, they are just as likely to decrease their investment in another area that might be demonstrating a lower return on investment.
Pay-per-click, or cost-per-click is another metric used in assessing the effectiveness of a law firm’s digital ad placement. In these instances, the advertiser is paying a set amount each time a site visitor clicks on their ad. This can also be a factor in determining the return on investment as it relates to a strategically placed call to action.
Top 10 Tips For Maximizing A Law Firm’s Online Presence
Now that you are familiar with some of the key terms that go into developing an effective law firm marketing strategy, it is time to take a deeper dive into the important techniques for maximizing their online presence.
Create A Marketing Budget With Goals
When it comes to effective law firm marketing, a budget needs to be built with some type of metrics to measure effectiveness. This involves identifying your goals as well as determining how much capital it will realistically take to accomplish those goals. You also need to factor in the law firm’s area of specialty, as certain law practices receive their revenue stream differently. For example, a “Family Law” practice is more likely to have a consistent revenue stream compared to a firm that specializes in class action law, which tends to have significant gaps in between financial windfalls.
After assessing the law firm’s online marketing budget, you will need to stay within the defined limits. This might include setting up milestones to monitor and report the return on investment on a monthly or quarterly basis. There is no magic bullet, and often takes 4-6 months with a moderate budget to analyze what is working or not so that we can continue to pivot and make changes so over time our ROI spend becomes as low as possible with maximum return.
Website Design That Provides A Robust Experience
A law firm’s website will inevitably have a higher conversion rate and more calls to action that lead to new clients if it offers visitors a robust interface. After all, a law firm’s website is often a potential client’s first impression of the kind of representation they will receive.
This typically includes things like:
- Stating the services they offer
- Areas of specialty
- Using vibrant, professional graphics
- An overall professional appearance
- State-of-the-art navigation tools
- Mobile optimization
- ADA compliance
- Call to action features
- Easy to find contact information
- Reviews or Testimonials
- Speed of site load
- Great easy-to-read content that speaks to potential clients
- Compliance or Trust seals
Use Effective SEO Practices
Search Engine Optimization weighs heavily in how popular search engines like Google rank a site. A law firm with a website that lands in the top ten, or top three is more likely to draw more visitors. This increases the potential for a higher conversion rate while decreasing the cost per click, which demonstrates a more vigorous return on investment. Having a properly optimized site with well-written targeted content pages will be your lowest cost per acquisition, historically speaking from many clients we’ve assisted over the years.
Strategic SEO practices involve several factors such as:
- Producing quality content
- Fresh new content to demonstrate activity
- Use of long-tail keywords
- Noting geographical area
- Blogs with evergreen content
- Description of services
- Internal and External Backlinks
- Contact information
- Using proper schema
- Website speed
- Maintaining an active Google Business Listing
Review sites are another potential way for new clients to find a law firm’s website. Though for this to truly boost the conversion rate in a meaningful way, the site needs to be claimed on popular review sites like Yelp, and Google Business Listing so that way you can be sure to be found locally in your geographic area. Claiming your GBP and fleshing it out properly is perhaps one of the best and most effective ways to quickly get in front of new clients, essentially for free.
Social media has evolved into a highly effective marketing tool for all businesses. It can play an important role in a law firm’s marketing strategy. Though to do so, means curating content, posting it to social media platforms with modest regularity, and responding professionally to any comments in a timely manner.
This includes using multiple social media platforms including
Manage Comments & Reviews
A vigorous presence in social media and a website that ranks well, thanks to effective SEO practices, as well as claiming your profile on review sites, is likely going to draw a fair amount of attention. When a previous client or a potential new client posts a review or a comment, make sure to respond to it promptly, professionally, and politely. Many potential new clients who are weighing whether to convert to a new lead will often read comments and reviews long before they click on a law firm’s “Contact Us” button.
Blogging, posting fresh quality content, and informative articles all play a critical role in an effective content marketing strategy. Not only is it a good way to demonstrate the activity to popular search engines to help improve your overall ranking, but it is also a great way to build the law firm’s brand and authority. Strategically written content can also be used to demonstrate expertise in a given area or specialty focus.
Just keep in mind that when you post an article or a blog, you want the content to be “Evergreen.” Posting about a time-sensitive topic might get you a few hot clicks in the here and now, but it will quickly fade into the background and have little relevance in how the law firm’s site ranks in the long term.
Network & Invest Time In Professional Development
Referrals still play an important role in attracting new clients and affirming relationships with existing or past clients. Attending local networking, public speaking, and doing things like attending special events, helps build a law firm’s presence, develop relationships and lead to meaningful referrals. Servicing referred clients with the highest levels of satisfaction will also go a long way toward affirming relationships with the referring client, should they need the law firm’s services in the future.
Use Traditional Marketing Strategically
While online marketing, digital ads, and social media are highly effective ways to draw in new clients to a law firm, traditional marketing practices still play a role. Which traditional marketing methods work best can also depend on the law firm’s area of expertise and the demographics of their potential clients. For instance, a law firm that specializes in elder law might invest more heavily in print advertising, whereas a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases might invest more heavily in billboards, TV, and radio.
Measure Effectiveness Based On Stated Goals
Remember that marketing budget we discussed in Tip #1. It’s important to touch base with the pre-established goals that were originally drawn up in the law firm’s marketing budget. This might include monthly or quarterly audits on things like conversion rates, the cost per clicks and which calls to action are garnering the highest response rate.
On the one hand, it’s understandable to adjust one or two of the goals or the underlying parameters if an early audit is showing greater effectiveness of one element over another. Just don’t abandon those metrics, as they will play a critical role in defining budget goals and financial investment in the law firm’s marketing strategy in the future.