Online Marketing for Law Firms: Strategies for Success

As a lawyer, your time is one of your most valuable resources. If you are seeking more clients for your practice or firm but do not have dozens of hours a week to devote to online marketing, LegalMatch can help. Marketing can be overwhelming, as there are so many options, and you may not know where to begin. So read on to find out the basics of online legal marketing. 

What Is Legal Marketing?

Legal marketing, in the basic sense, refers to all of the tasks that are related to attracting clients to your practice or law firm. You may be used to traditional types of marketing, such as billboards and word-of-mouth referrals. But marketing includes many different activities, from networking to advertising and public relations.

Legal marketing, sometimes called  lawyer marketing, includes both traditional forms of marketing as well as digital marketing, or law firm online marketing. In recent years, more and more lawyers and law firms are focusing their resources on internet marketing for law firms.

Online marketing, however, is not something that is taught in law schools, even though it is one of the most important aspects of a modern law practice. Law firm marketing, especially law firm internet marketing, is essential to ensuring that your law firm’s name is found by potential clients.

What Are the Best Law Firm Marketing Strategies: Traditional or Digital?

Before the advent of the internet, which, surprisingly, was not that many years ago, law firms relied on traditional forms of marketing, including:

  • Printed ads;
  • Direct mail;
  • Flyers;
  • Television and radio ads; and
  • Billboards.

Although these traditional marketing methods are still used today, many law firms have started to invest in online marketing. Online marketing for law firms includes using online platforms, such as:

  • Websites;
  • Social media;
  • Online ads;
  • Email marketing; and
  • Content marketing.

The main focus of these online sources is to help potential clients who are looking for a lawyer find your law firm. Because digital marketing has become such an important part of a law firm’s marketing strategy, marketing experts and firms have begun to specialize in providing online law firm marketing services.

What Are the Digital Marketing Resources Every Lawyer and Law Firm Should Know About?

One of the many challenges that modern lawyers may face is deciding what type of marketing will be most effective for their practice. Because the internet has only been around for a few decades, many lawyers may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable with using digital marketing as opposed to traditional methods.

There are many ways for lawyers to combine the more traditional methods they already know with more modern digital marketing strategies. As noted above, there are now many marketing specialists and companies who are more than willing to help you out with your online marketing if you are new to the process or are unfamiliar with the methods that are available.

Online marketing approaches are often significantly more cost-effective than traditional methods such as billboard and phone book ads. It is also important to remember that you are in control of the level of marketing that is done online for your law firm.

In many cases, if a potential client is simply able to find your contact information, practice areas, and location online, they will be more likely to consider your firm than if your firm has no online presence. Online marketing does not mean that you will have to join every available social media platform or even interact with potential clients online.

However, if you are more comfortable with online marketing and platforms, the more of an online presence your law firm has, the more potential clients you will be able to reach. The following is a list of available digital marketing techniques that may be beneficial to your law firm:

  • A law firm website;
  • SEO, or search engine optimization; 
  • Content marketing;
  • Online directories and review sites;
  • Email marketing;
  • Search advertising;
  • Pay-per-lead (PPL) services;
  • Social media;
  • Legal digital marketing firms and lead generation services.

It is important to note that you do not have to engage in every single available digital marketing technique to grow your client base. In addition, there are many firms and services available who can take care of these marketing options for you, allowing you to continue your important legal work knowing your presence is also online for potential clients:

A law firm website

A responsive and well-designed, professional website is a great place to begin to establish your law firm’s digital presence. Your firm website serves as the foundation for your legal digital marketing.

Your law firm website also provides potential clients with a first impression of your law firm and practice areas. At a minimum, your firm website should cover basic information, including:

  • Details and accomplishments of your firm;
  • What practice areas your firm specializes in; and
  • The firm’s contact information and address.

If you decide to create a law firm website, it is important to give as much thought and effort to this website as you do to the physical office of your law firm. Essentially, this is your digital “face” where potential clients gain an impression regarding your firm and the work you do.

You can create your own website if you have the knowledge. If you do now, however, you can hire an expert who can create and maintain the website for your law firm.

There are numerous different website builders available, including Wix and Squarespace, that you can use to create your website. It is important to be aware, however, that it is not enough just to create a website for your firm.

If your website does not show up when potential clients search online, its maximum potential will not be reached. This is where SEO, or search engine optimization, is used to maximize the potential of your website.

SEO, or search engine optimization 

Search engine optimization is the practice of ensuring that your law firm website comes up when your potential client searches online for a law firm on Google or another search engine of their choice. Many law firms build excellent websites but fail to ensure that they are search engine optimized.

It is important for a law firm website to start with the basics, such as a Google listing and a basic SEO tool on the WordPress site. Even if your firm does not have a website, you can still create a listing for your firm in Google My Business.

SEO optimizes the content and source code on your firm’s website to increase its visibility and ranking in search engine results pages. Search engine optimization is inexpensive, but it may be time consuming. 

It may be helpful for your law firm to use an SEO tool that identifies website errors, or issues that may prevent your website from showing up in search results. Once these errors are identified, your administration or IT team can help to remedy them.

It may also be tricky for a law firm to successfully handle this issue on their own. Because of this, it may be helpful to use a website building platform or a website development expert or company that offers SEO services. 

Content marketing

Content marketing is a way you can build your law firm’s brand as well as establish your firm’s image as an expert in the legal industry. You can start this process by writing a blog on legal topics that potential clients may find helpful.

The concept of a blog may sound intimidating if you have not written one before or you are not familiar with the concept. A blog is basically a contemporary way to provide information that you write on a public forum.

For example, if your law firm specializes in personal injury law, you may consider adding a blog section on your firm website that outlines the types of personal injury cases your firm handles and the legal issues related to them. This allows potential clients to gain more insight regarding your firm as well as demonstrates your legal expertise on the topic.

To be most effective, blog content should be search engine optimized based on appropriate keyword research and effective use of metadata.

Online directories and review sites

Your law firm can claim your firm and your lawyers’ online profiles in online directories and review sites, including:

  • Yelp;
  • Justia; and
  • Avvo.

This will ensure that your website is not the only place potential clients are able to find you. These sites can also help improve your firm’s digital presence and reach.

It should be a priority for your firm to register with your local state bar directory and online maps, including:

  • Google maps;
  • Apple maps; and
  • Bing places.

It is always important to ensure that your firm’s contact information and address are always up to date on these websites.

Email marketing

Email marketing is a low-cost but highly effective online marketing tool that lets your firm send out targeted and specific emails to your network and potential clients. It is also more simple to measure the success of email strategies for your firm, as marketing platforms offer analytics showing how many individuals actually open your emails.

Email marketing, however, does take significant amounts of time and planning to be effective. There are many things to consider for an email marketing campaign, including:

  • Who is the target audience?;
  • What is the reason for sending emails?;
  • What types of emails will be sent?;
  • What will the emails contain?; and
  • How often will they be sent?.

It is also important to determine the goals of the email marketing campaign, for example, gaining 25 new clients each year. Planning an email marketing campaign and generating the emails that are sent out regularly is a time-consuming process.

On average, it can take a brand around two weeks to generate one marketing email. Of course, this can vary from a couple of days to longer than a week, depending on the experience level of the creator and the content. It can be challenging for a law firm to find this amount of extra time in its employees’ schedules to generate marketing emails on a regular basis.

Also, to be most effective, email marketers use a variety of testing strategies to optimize engagement and response rates. There are many elements that can be adjusted, such as:

  • Subject line
  • From name
  • Headline/sub-headline
  • Content
  • Promotion/offer
  • Post click experience (landing page A versus B)

The kinds of responses you can track include:

  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates (CTR)
  • Forwards
  • Unsubscribes
  • Conversion rate

With so many elements to consider, it should be no surprise that email marketing has grown into a distinct specialty among professional marketers.

Search advertising

When done correctly, a paid search is more cost effective than phonebook or billboard ads. 

However, it can quickly become expensive because it requires testing to get it right. There are many different types of tests that can be used to determine the success of search advertising, including three-round testing and A/B split testing.

These types of tests provide information regarding the advertisements that potential clients click on more often. It can be costly to run numerous different types of ads to determine which type potential clients respond to best.

One of the more efficient ways to engage in paid online advertising is to use pay-per-click (PPC) platforms and networks. PPC allows your firm to set up an online advertising campaign where you pay only when a visitor clicks on your advertisement. 

This ensures that you are only paying for the times a potential client actually clicks on your ad and visits your website. PPC works by paying a fee to have your law firm’s website on the search engine result page (SERP) when an individual types specific keywords or phrases into their search engine.

The results page, or SERP, will display the ads your firm created to direct potential clients to your website. The fee you pay is based upon whether potential clients click on your ad.

A PPC campaign is most effective when you want your potential clients to take immediate action, for example, signing up for your mailing list or hiring an attorney at your firm. If your firm is running a PPC campaign, it will need to be managed and monitored constantly to ensure that it is providing optimal results, which can be time-consuming.

Popular PPC ad networks for law firms include:

  • Google Ads;
  • Microsoft Advertising;
  • Facebook Ads;
  • LinkedIn Ads; and
  • YouTube Ads.

Pay-per-click services are somewhat related to pay-per-lead (PPL) services.

Pay-per-lead (PPL) services

Pay-per-lead services are advertising and lead generation services where a law firm pays for every lead instead of every advertisement click. One benefit to PPL is that it can increase the number of leads while reducing the financial risk.

In general, PPL campaigns generate more revenue than PPC or SEO and ad campaigns. It is important, however, to determine the cost your firm is willing to pay per lead.

It is common for acquisition costs to be 10%. This means that, if a service costs $200, your firm should be willing to pay $20 to acquire one potential client.

It is important to note that some PPL services provide exclusive leads and others do not.

Social media

These days, most, if not all, of your potential clients will use some type of social media. Social media can be a powerful marketing tool that allows your firm to reach a much larger audience with little to no financial investment.

Because social media provides potential clients an alternative manner to find your firm separate from your website, it is essential for your law firm to have a social media presence on at least one platform. It’s also important to note that each platform functions as a distinct search engine, with different rules that govern how content is distributed to users by that platform’s algorithm. 

Social media algorithms change frequently, and there are new platforms emerging all the time. To get the most out of social media marketing, it’s important to follow the trends. It’s also important to allocate plenty of time for reading and responding to comments. Social media works best when it is…social.

There are many social media platforms to choose from. The most popular include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok. Determining which fit your firm and practice area can be challenging, but it helps to know that they each have different audiences and serve different functions. For example, Facebook is especially useful for building community groups whereas Twitter is designed to share breaking news.

If you already use a social media platform that you enjoy, that is a great place to start. Potential clients expect to find your page online as well as reviews on Facebook, Google, Indeed, and other online platforms, and these review sites function as a type of social media as well – with comments from users that you will need to monitor.

It can be very informative to search for your firm’s name online and see what’s showing up in the search results. You may need to engage in some reputation management on sites where your firm appears, and you will definitely need to manage your online reputation should you decide to grow your social media footprint.

Legal digital marketing firms and lead generation services

Marketing your law firm requires a large amount of tools, resources, and the technical knowledge to do so effectively. Because of this, it is worth considering outsourcing this important aspect of your law practice to the experts.

Although it may seem costly at first glance, having experts handling your law firm’s digital marketing can allow you to focus on the main activities at your firm and eliminate the guesswork that comes with doing your own online marketing. The majority of online legal marketing firms have their own in-house SEO specialists, website developers, and content specialists.

When your firm puts out information online, it is called branding. Branding, in this context, is not just a logo.

Rather, branding is about consistent messaging and presenting your law firm the way you want the public to view it. Brand positioning is the space your law firm holds in the market and in the minds of your potential clients.

Your firm should consider what it wants potential clients to think of when they hear the firm name or see the firm logo, such as, reliability, honesty, and a winning record. Branding requires:

  • Identification and research of the competition;
  • Sharing what makes your firm unique;
  • Having a brand positioning statement; and
  • Determining what brand elements make your firm unique.

There are many law firms that do not consider their local market and, therefore, fail to make their services easy to obtain. For example, your law firm may want to consider offering online payments, payment plans, or describe other services that are offered that go beyond the typical hourly fees and monthly retainers.

Some platforms will allow clients to search for lawyer profiles and their corresponding reviews and ratings. Other services will focus more on sending online traffic to the website containing lawyer profiles using SEO and PPC, discussed above.

LegalMatch is a service that combines many of these marketing strategies in one, easy-to-use platform. Potential clients can submit their legal issue and member-lawyers can respond directly. 

This provides member attorneys with the chance to directly contact a potential client as well as schedule a legal consultation. This easy-to-use system can lead to a contract for representation.

As mentioned above, it is important to share with potential clients those things your law firm does the most and does the best. It is also important to collect reviews from regular or repeat clients.

Online reviews are an effective tool for online marketing. Research shows that over 90% of individuals consider online reviews before making a purchase.

In addition, over 70% of consumers indicate that they would be willing to leave a review if a business requested they do so. This shows that what your past clients and other individuals say about your law firm may be much more important than what you say about your firm online.

LegalMatch provides the opportunity for you to easily obtain reviews and share them with potential clients.

Why Do Law Firms Often Struggle with Marketing?

One of the main reasons why law firms, including yours, may be struggling with marketing is that the majority of law schools teach future attorneys about how to be selected and hired by law firms but rarely provide any training on how to market a law firm or practice. Poor legal marketing may lead to wasted resources and even have a negative effect on your reputation as a lawyer or law firm.

There are three main common mistakes that law firms make when marketing, including:

  • Viewing marketing as an expense rather than as an investment;
  • Using a shotgun or one-size-fits-all approach; and
  • Not going digital.

Your law firm’s mindset can affect how you approach marketing and how you allocate resources to your legal marketing practices. By viewing marketing as a business expense, or the cost of doing business, similar to taxes or permits, you will be less likely to allocate time, effort, and funds to marketing.

In addition, you will be more likely to trim your marketing budget when you need to make cuts. If, instead, you view marketing as an investment that helps your law firm make more money, you will be more willing to allocate additional effort, though, and money into ensuring that your law firm marketing strategies pay off.

There are many law firms that specialize in certain legal fields, such as criminal law or personal injury law. If your law firm specializes, your market approach should also, in a way, be specialized. 

In other words, your law firm should have a target market where you focus your legal marketing strategies. Although it may be common practice to “cast a wide net hoping to catch more fish,” this approach demonstrates the lack of a marketing plan and hinders the best use of your budget for strategies that will attract more clients in your target market.

A law firm, whether it is for profit or pro bono, operates as a business. Similar to any other type of business, it requires effective marketing to ensure a steady flow of new clients.

In current times, putting most of your marketing focus on traditional methods and neglecting digital marketing may be one of the biggest mistakes your firm could make. There are two main reasons why your firm should embrace digital marketing, including:

  • Your potential clients are online; and
  • Your competition is also online.

Potential clients are very likely to search online for legal assistance and recommendations for the best lawyer or law firm in their area. 

Why Are More Firms Expanding to Digital Legal Marketing?

Digital marketing can provide your firm with a more focused approach in gaining interest and trust from potential clients. There are some forms of digital marketing that allow clients to reach out to law firms or lawyers, including:

  • Feedback pages;
  • Social media;
  • Legal forums; and
  • Lead generation platforms.

This type of communication is not easily conducted through traditional marketing. Although one common drawback of digital marketing is the lack of human-to-human connection and the fact that online ads can be easily forgotten, these downsides are easily outweighed by the advantages as digital marketing provides.

These advantages include a more interactive form of communication as well as a higher conversion ratio from the website visitor or potential client to an actual paying client. There are many different options and digital marketing strategies available for your law firm to employ, including those provided by LegalMatch.

What Is LegalMatch?

LegalMatch is a lead-generating service platform that helps licensed lawyers find and connect with potential clients. Unlike other websites that offer similar online lead generation services, LegalMatch does not use the traditional directory search model.

Instead, LegalMatch matches potential clients with attorneys who are located in their selected zip code. Any potential clients seeking legal services on LegalMatch are requested to fill out an intake form that gathers details of their legal issues. 

Once a potential client submits their issue, a case is created in the LegalMatch system and is instantly sent out to LegalMatch lawyers in the area selected. Attorneys can then review the details of the case intake and determine whether they would like to reach out to the potential client.

Using this process, LegalMatch provides attorneys with a steady stream of potential cases. It also saves time and effort for potential clients who can conveniently receive responses to their online inquiry.

LegalMatch has been in operation for over 20 years. In May 2013, it was accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). 

The BBB is known as a leader in marketplace trust nationwide. The BBB: 

  • Sets standards;
  • Encourages documentation and replication of best practices;
  • Recognizes role models; and
  • Creates a community of trustworthy businesses.

The two core values that are promoted by the BBB are integrity and performance. It recognizes individual ethics and track records of delivery of industry-standard services.

Currently, LegalMatch holds a rating of A under the BBB. LegalMatch actively responds to concerns and complaints that are posted on the BBB website by consumers as well as lawyers.

Is LegalMatch a Referral Service?

One common perception of LegalMatch is that it is an attorney referral service. An attorney referral service receives calls and requests from potential clients who are seeking legal assistance and then refers them to attorneys who may be able to help.

This, however, is not how the LegalMatch system functions. LegalMatch uses a double-blind matching system where a potential client can submit their legal concern via the platform and LegalMatch Member Attorneys can directly interact with them without the need for an intermediary to refer the client to the attorney. 

This process reduces both time and costs for attorneys and clients. It is important to note, however, that LegalMatch California, a subsidiary of LegalMatch, is a Certified Lawyer Referral Service by the California State Bar which operates in all California counties.

How Can LegalMatch Help with My Law Firm Online Marketing?

As discussed above, there are numerous different ways to engage in online legal marketing. It is important to be aware that all of those options listed above work best when coordinated, which can be quite a lot of work.

It can be expensive and time-consuming to create and maintain websites, hire marketing firms, and use PPL services. LegalMatch provides an effective lead-generating alternative with a lower overhead cost through the attorney-client matching service platform.

In order for your firm to take best advantage of available digital marketing strategies, you may have to publish a blog on your website, promote that blog through email marketing or social media, or run ads on other websites to the page. LegalMatch, in contrast, provides you with a one-stop online legal marketing shop through its self-contained system that includes built-in communication with clients and an online presence. 

If you have already established an online legal marketing presence for your firm, adding LegalMatch to your marketing plan can provide even more excellent client leads. It is a simple process that combines many different aspects of digital marketing done for you, so you can focus on your clients.

LegalMatch provides you, as a member lawyer, with legal marketing services that include an excellent lead-generation system that ensures you a steady flow of local clients. By using the attorney-client matching platform on LegalMatch, you can obtain relevant information which is usually acquired during the case intake when clients answer questions about their case.

This will allow you to assess whether a potential client’s legal concerns fall within your area of expertise even before you communicate with them. One major benefit to using LegalMatch is that, unlike other legal digital marketing or lead generation services, LegalMatch does not require or encourage member lawyers to create or maintain their own websites.

This is because the LegalMatch system allows you to create your own profile within the LegalMatch platform. LegalMatch offers you many features that are geared towards ensuring that you have continuous access to quality client leads.

It may be helpful to review other reviews and success stories from member lawyers that attest to LegalMatch’s commitment in supporting lawyers and law firms that trust in our services. If you are looking to expand your client base in a way that is cost-effective and convenient for your firm, LegalMatch attorney services may be your path to success.