In 2009, the legal market reached over-saturation, and law firms continue to feel the repercussions 11 years later. As a result, the competition for elite legal talent is more fierce, and finding best-fit clients is more difficult. This is an across-the-board trend that the majority of firms experience in one way or another. The savviest firms, however, are getting busy doing something about it by employing Law Firm Marketing Strategies that are fine-tuned to suit them.
Marketing Your Law Firm Online
Digital marketing is fundamentally the same as traditional marketing, except it moves at a faster clip. A professional law firm marketing company can help move your firm to the front of the line when it comes to finding the right clients for you and to cultivating new talent. The right marketing allows you to separate the wheat from the chaff and funnel in those clients and that legal talent that you need to grow your firm. Firms everywhere have recognized the value and growth of digital marketing, which makes staying relevant key. If your question is how do I attract the right clients and bring in the biggest talent?, top-of-the-line digital marketing is your answer.
Law Firm Marketing Evolves
Gone are the days that firms simply plied their wares in the Yellow Pages, with a print ad or two, with a shocky commercial, and/or with a billboard that screamed “Obtain the Compensation to Which You’re Entitled!” With the dawning of the digital age, clients have become savvier, and they’re far more likely to turn to their smartphones to find a lawyer than they are to peruse ads. Further, most are looking for more in-depth information in the form of a short article – rather than from the come-on of an ad.
The Big 5
As the legal market evolves, it pays to keep up, and there are five essential legal marketing strategies that will help you do just that, including:
- Your website is your firm’s 24/7 sales rep – give it the careful consideration it deserves.
- Invest in the professional marketing services you need to find your niche market.
- Broaden your electronic reach beyond your firm’s website by mining additional resources, including social media, local SEO, and video marketing.
- Curate your online presence to heighten your reputation and to recruit new talent.
- Crunch the numbers – track and analyze your law firms marketing data to ensure your marketing strategies are consistently moving you forward. Tweak accordingly.
The market moves quickly – master these strategies and move forward right along with it.
But First a Note about Buying Leads
For lawyers, buying leads can be a slippery slope, because as your mother likely told you, you don’t know where those leads have been. Leads come with some basic problems attached, including:
- There is no guarantee that the leads you receive will be quality leads
- Leads are often a numbers game (the luck of the draw)
- You have no control over what kind of advertising is behind the leads, and you could find your name attached to less than savory practices.
- Ethics issues can apply. As legal professionals, we know that paying to have a lawyer’s services recommended, splitting fees with non-lawyers, and misleading the public are categorically off-limits. While pay-per-lead ads haven’t been characterized as inherently unethical, conforming to professional standards is critical. Gambling your credibility and reputation on a random lead generation company is probably not a great path forward.
If you want to learn more about lead-generation that works, read this article on 5 Proven Lead Generation Strategies For Law Firms »
ONE: Your Law Firm Website Is Your Around-the-Clock Sales Rep
Your website never sleeps, and that makes it your 24/7 sales representative. The vast majority of consumers do their searching for local services online – and that includes legal services. This makes your website your marketing HQ; give it the attention it deserves.
If nothing else, your takeaway should be that your firm needs a professional website that hits all its marks. Consumers are becoming more and more technologically savvy, and they expect a streamlined design that wows and expert functionality at their fingertips. It’s a tall order, but mediocrity won’t get you where you want to go.
In order to rank your website among the best out there, it must have:
- Fast load times
- visual appeal
- the ability to be easily located
- seamless mobile interfacing
The Need for Speed
Consumers have come to expect lightning speed, and if your website doesn’t load within a few short seconds and answer their questions, consumers will move on. It’s an I want it now market, and when it comes to legal services, clients naturally have a pressing need for sooner rather than later. Your website needs to keep up.
Try this: Navigate to Google’s PageSpeed Insights and check out your website’s speed. If it isn’t hitting its marks, give us a call.
If You Interface, Make it Seamless
Your potential clients are on their phones, and that’s a fact. To be there for them when they come knocking, your website needs to be optimized for smartphones and other mobile devices. Smartphones and tablet searches are quickly outpacing computer searches, and if your website isn’t optimized, it’s awkward. Woo potential clients with an inviting mobile-friendly website that entices rather than frustrates.
We’ve all clicked on a site or two – that was such a painful experience – we hightailed it out of there and moved on to something better. Modern consumers are sophisticated phone jockeys, and they’re looking for seamless. The best websites aren’t party tricks; they’re created through nuanced layering that builds upon itself. Get serious about migrating to a seamless mobile experience.
Try this: Take a whirl around your website on your own phone. You know how these things are done; if your site doesn’t give you that boost of confidence you’re looking for, keep working.
Visual Appeal Drives Business
People like to judge. Your potential clients do it. In fact, most people judge a firm’s credibility by its website. This is organic – rather than intentional. Your website tells a story, and potential clients connect with that story. You’re going for visuals that engender a sense of trustworthiness, authoritative guidance, and compassion. Purpose-driven visuals and colors invite potential clients in and allow them a deeper connection.
Further, user experience (UX) shouldn’t be an afterthought. User experience is all about the microworld that is your website. When visitors light upon your site, is it an intuitive, enjoyable experience that affirms their trust in your firm – or something else? UX incorporates the whole kit and kaboodle, including stylistic elements, ease of use, quality of writing, and more. In fact, the whole of your ideal website is greater than the sum of its parts. When all the important components are in perfect harmony, the UX is maximized.
Try this: Ask two or three people of various backgrounds and whose opinions you trust to tour your website on their smartphones in your presence and to provide you with feedback. Pay careful attention to their reactions. If they quickly become bored or frustrated, you’ll recognize it in their demeanor. Additionally, take each one’s feedback into careful consideration as you continue to reimagine your website.
TWO: Invest in Professional SEO Services For Lawyers to Help Cultivate Your Ideal Client
When potential clients are Googling their needs, you want them to land on you. The thing is, however, that every firm shares this intention. This is where our old friend SEO comes in. Search engine optimization for law firms addresses the fact that most searches are local and are seeking services that are need-based. When people turn to their phones for legal services, most click on one of the first three hits. If you don’t show up on that first page of results, you’re fighting a losing battle.
SEO for attorneys improves your site’s bottom line regarding organic visits. There are, however, additional factors to consider, including:
- Schema for attorneys (schema is additional code that allows search engines to better understand what your site is about)
- Landing pages that are optimized for keywords that reflect action in your area of expertise – “Fight a Texas DWI,” for example.
- The addition of relevant tag words in titles, images, and headings
- The optimization of images and the addition of descriptions that are rich in keywords
Try this: Open up an incognito tab on your phone’s browser, and search as if you were a potential client. Use the key phrases that best reflect your firm (including the type of legal services you provide and your city). If you don’t hit your firm on your first page of results, it’s time to consult with a professional law firm marketing service like Gorilla Webtactics.
Content is King
Yes, you need potential clients to locate you, but you want the content they encounter to have merit. Invest in your content. Having a website isn’t the end of the story; you want your site to be all that it can be. Carefully read your site and think about the takeaway. People who are looking for legal services are looking for legal professionals who are authorities in their field and who are also trustworthy, informative, and approachable. Is your content channeling this for you? If not – or if there’s room for improvement – work with a content specialist.
You want your content to flow through the phases of drawing your readers’ interest; informing them; and finally, guiding them to action. While it may seem like a daunting task, it’s completely doable. If you haven’t yet included a blog on your website, it’s time to do so. A blog bridges the divide between an overview of your firm and your real-world experience and expertise. Well written blogs encourage potential clients to interact more meaningfully with your site and can help them to transition from interest to action.
Try this: Considering a major overhaul of your firm’s website can seem like a lot, but you can take it one step at a time. Begin at the very beginning by jazzing up your main pages before you move toward adding a blog. For blog topics, simply think about those questions that new clients ask you most often. These are the topics that are also on your potential clients’ minds, and finding informed responses to their questions on your site can help strengthen their connection to and interest in your firm’s services.
THREE: Branch Out with Social Media, Lawyer SEO and More
Your website is critical, but things can’t end there. It’s important to stake your online claim. This includes maximizing your Facebook page, your Google business listing, your other social media accounts, and more. Don’t forget to make the most of pay-per-click marketing (PPC), and get busy generating positive reviews.
Local SEO For Attorneys
Local SEO is a bit different than typical SEO because it is the practice of obtaining a top search result for a local service area. These local listings are known as the local pack, and they show up right below the paid ads and right above the organic search results. The information found here is culled from your Google My Business (GMB) account, which is exactly why you need to make sure you’ve claimed that account and that you keep it current.
Your GMB account isn’t the only account going, so you should research pertinent online directories and stake your claim. There are a variety of online legal citation sources, and the leaders include:
- FindLaw websites
- Best Lawyers
- Law Guru
- Law Info
- Lawyers US Legal
(Get the full list of the best local SEO citations for lawyers here)
Try this: Locate your GMB account – claim it if you haven’t done so already – and ensure all information therein is updated.
Paid Search Ads (PPC) For Attorneys Works
Paid search ads or pay-per-click marketing is just that – when someone clicks on your ad – you pay for the advertisement. PPC has pride of place in search results – it generally shows up in the first three or four listings. While paid search ads are effective tools, it’s important to balance this with the cost involved. PPC is not cheap, but budgeting these ads into your overall marketing strategy can be cost-effective with careful planning.
Try this: Do a search for the legal service you provide in combination with your city. Do you see your competitors instead of your firm? Now, search for your firm, if a competitor’s ad shows up, another firm may be bidding on your name and grabbing traffic that’s looking directly for you. Do some research.
Social Media – Does My Law Firm Need It?
Yes, you do. Your firm needs a social media presence. It can serve the critical role of getting your firm’s story out there. Use your Facebook page to highlight the things happening at your firm – including your good deeds. Social media makes your message more immediate. While your website presents your firm’s work face to the world, your social media accounts allow you to let your hair down a bit and to find your unique voice. You’re a law firm, sure, but your team is comprised of people – people who help other people, achieve important accomplishments, volunteer, have interesting stories to share, and more.
There are plenty of social media platforms out there, and some are probably more appropriate for your firm than others are. If your firm serves small businesses, you might want to focus the majority of your social media efforts on LinkedIn. If, on the other hand, you’re a personal injury firm, Facebook might be where you invest the most time and effort.
Social networking is humanizing, but there’s more to it than that. Although the signals from social media don’t directly affect search rankings, they can, nevertheless, affect your SEO efforts in these important ways:
- Improve local SEO
- Increase your online presence and your website traffic
- Raise brand recognition
- Lend credibility to your authority
- Provide a broader distribution of content and extend its lifespan
For your social media to work for you, you need to invest in paid social media ads.
You Were Always on My Mind
Eventually, we all need legal services of one kind or another. When one of your client’s sisters needs an attorney, you want to that client’s referral. Referrals drive business – it’s as simple as that. When you’re looking for an attorney, a referral from someone whose opinion you trust is very likely to seal the deal. Email marketing campaigns are the easiest, most cost-effective means of obtaining referrals and of generating and closing leads. Email marketing for lawyers averages an immense return on investment (ROI). The vast majority of adults in America use email, and a high percentage of them respond to opt-in emails that promote coupons and discounts. Ultimately, email campaigns provide a lot of bang for your marketing buck.
Video Marketing For Law Firms Has Our Attention
You’ve been following along diligently and doing your homework, but WAIT, there’s more. Video marketing brings the razzle-dazzle. People are spending more and more time watching videos on their phones, and if you’re looking for a way to distinguish yourself, video marketing is here for you. If a picture says a 1,000 words, a video puts those words into context. There is simply no better way to really share what your firm is all about.
Life is distracting, and a short video can be far more attention-grabbing and engaging than the written word and photos alone.
Besides video marketing and PPC, there are paid social media ads that target those masses who spend a considerable amount of time watching videos on YouTube and Facebook every week. If potential clients aren’t finding your firm on their social media scroll, they’re sure to be finding your competitors’.
FOUR: Reputation Handling and Talent Recruitment
Your online presence can go a long way toward managing and enhancing your firm’s reputation. Legal services have a strong interpersonal component, and clients are looking for firms with reputations that help them feel comfortable. A client who’s facing a contentious divorce, for example, may be looking for a firm that has a reputation of being compassionate.
Law Firm Reviews
Whether you’re buying a new car or a new facewash, you probably read a few reviews before you make your decision. And you aren’t the only one. But don’t just take our word for it; according to Forbes, online reviews carry immense weight, including that:
- 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business that’s new to them.
- Online reviews impact nearly 68 percent of purchasing decisions.
- 84 percent of consumers consider online reviews as trustworthy as personal recommendations.
- Positive online reviews lead 74 percent of consumers to instill more trust in the local business reviewed.
- Every new star you earn on Yelp equates with a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue.
Reviews not only drive your business, but they also provide you with valuable information about what you’re doing right and about where you can make improvements. Finally, online reviews enhance your visibility. Notice in the photo below how Kain & Scott became #1 in google maps by blowing their competition out of the water with reviews.
Try this: This one’s easy – check out your firm’s reviews. If you don’t see many, it’s time to spark a review-gathering campaign. Try creating and sending out a customized review link or personally ask former clients if they’d like to share their experiences.
Learn more about Why Your Law Firm Should Be Pushing For Reviews Here>>
Recruit Top Talent
You’re online to generate business, but it’s also an excellent way to help recruit top talent. Younger attorneys want to grow their personal brand, and they’re looking for a firm that wows them. The fact that the legal field is saturated makes it an employers’ market, but you’re not looking for volume, you’re looking for attorneys with extraordinary talent who are also a good fit. The thing is, though, you’re competing with every other firm out there.
Your firm’s online persona is your calling card. The vast majority of attorneys who are job hunting are getting the job done online, and they’re paying careful attention to how prospective firms present themselves. In other words, the best talent out there is checking you out, and if your online marketing is on point, it ups your cachet.
The fact is that you’re going to be hiring young attorneys and you’re going to need to speak their language, which is to say you need to connect online. If your online presence pops, you improve your chances of recruiting the best and the brightest.
Mine Recruits through Social Media
It’s established that being active on social media can help generate business, but it’s also true that social media is an excellent recruitment tool. Consider the relative advantages of several different platforms, including:
- Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company, and they share their ad platform. Both Facebook and Instagram are pay-to-play advertisement sources, and they offer a stellar opportunity to share your firm’s zeitgeist, including your company culture, your landmark cases, your causes, the conferences you attend, and your legal hotshots. Let the world know why your firm is a great place to work.
- LinkedIn is where many professionals get their social media feed. While LinkedIn isn’t ultra-stuffy, it does lend gravitas to social media. A solid LinkedIn presence can help keep your online footprint balanced. LinkedIn is excellent for networking, recruiting, brand building, and sharing your firm’s published work.
- Employment platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed are important for business owners. Job-seeking attorneys are online, and they don’t want to take a position that they’re going to end up regretting. As a review platform, Glassdoor has become extremely popular for job seekers because it offers a bird’s eye view into what actually working for the firm looks like. These sources offer job hunters the opportunity to vet companies before moving forward, and that helps you bolster their confidence in your firm.
Try this: Take a tour of your social media with the eyes of a prospective recruit. Are you representing yourself accurately? If you see room for improvement, make the necessary changes.
FIVE: Without Data Analytics, Online Law Firm Marketing Can Only Help So Much
Your firm can’t afford to waste time with marketing campaigns and strategies that are ineffective. Some campaigns are going to work for you, some are not going to work for you, and some are going to work better than others. If you don’t track your data and analyze it, however, you’ll only have the haziest notions about what’s working and what isn’t. The fact is that some elements of a specific campaign may be highly effective, while others may be duds. If you don’t track effectively, this important distinction can get lost in the shuffle. Moving forward with blinders on isn’t likely to get you where you want to go.
Key Performance Indicators
When it comes to your online marketing strategies, key performance indicators (KPI) matter. Some of the most important include:
- The number of your total new clients
- Your cost-per-lead (CPL) rate
- The leads you accrue
- The lead-to-sale conversion rate
- The booking rate you generate from calls made by potential customers
- The revenue you generate
- The return you see on your marketing investment (ROMI)
Try this: After digesting all of this information, make an appointment with a savvy marketing research analysis agency and learn about your digital competitive analysis. This important tool provides you with a reading on exactly where your online presence stands in relation to your competitors.
Interested in Growing Your Firm the Right Way? Call Us Today to Speak with a Legal Marketing Expert
Gorilla Webtactics understands that finding the right balance between investing in online marketing and growing your business is critical. We have the tools, the techniques, the know-how, and the vision to help you find your way in the digital market. You’ve built your firm’s reputation case by case, and digital marketing allows you to share your brand with the world at large.