Law firms, whether for profit or pro bono, essentially operate as a business. And just like any business, it requires effective marketing in order to ensure a steady flow of new clients. The main reason why law firms struggle with law firm marketing is that most law schools teach future lawyers about how to get selected and hired by law firms but barely provide any training on law firm marketing strategies.
Poor legal marketing can either lead to a waste of resources or could even negatively affect the law firm’s reputation. The three most common and notable mistakes that law firms make when marketing their law firm are:
This mindset can affect how law firms approach and allocate resources towards their legal marketing practices. By viewing this aspect of the business as an expense — a “cost of doing business” just like taxes or permits, law firms are less likely to allocate effort, time, and funds into marketing, and are more likely to “trim” their marketing budget when needed.
However, by looking at marketing as an investment that helps the firm make more money, law firms would be more partial towards allocating more thought, effort, and money into ensuring that their law firm marketing strategies pay off.
Most law firms specialize on certain fields (i.e. criminal law, tax law, consumer law, personal injury law), so it stands to reason that a law firm’s marketing approach should also be, in a way, specialized. That is to say that a law firm should have a target market in which their legal marketing strategies should focus upon. The practice of “casting a wide net hoping to catch more fish” not only shows a lack of precision in a firm’s marketing plan but prevents law firms to allocate their marketing efforts and budget towards strategies that allows them to get more clients from their target market.
In this day and age, focusing mostly on traditional marketing and neglecting digital marketing may be the biggest mistake a law firm can make. There are two main reasons why law firms should embrace digital marketing — #1 their potential clients are online, and #2 their competition is also online.
Traditional marketing (billboards, flyers, tv and radio commercials, networking, yellow pages) still works. A study presented by MarketingProfs shows that 92% of 18-23 year-olds find printed content easier to read than digital, and that direct-mail marketing had higher response rate than email. Moreover, word-of-mouth is still a very effective tool in building brand trust whether it’s in law firms or other types of businesses.
The fact that large corporations still go for print ads and billboards is proof that traditional marketing is far from dead or irrelevance. However, traditional marketing lacks the precision of digital and can potentially be more costly.
Digital marketing allows a more focused approach in gaining interest and trust from potential clients. Some forms of digital marketing (such as feedback pages, social media, legal forums, and lead generation platforms) allow clients to reach out to lawyers and law firms — something that isn’t easily done through traditional marketing.
The common drawbacks of digital marketing, however, are the lack of human-to-human connection and the fact that online ads can be easily forgotten. But these downsides are easily outweighed by the advantages as digital marketing provides a more interactive form of communication and a higher conversion ratio (from website visitor/potential client to actual paying client). Not to mention there’s a myriad of options and digital marketing strategies for law firms to employ.
There’s no single “best” law firm digital marketing strategy as there are so many effective ways to market one’s law firm to the point that it can feel overwhelming. We’ll be discussing the most basic and widely-used law firm digital marketing strategies that your firm can easily start off with:
A law firm’s website can be the starting point and foundation of its legal digital marketing, and serves as the “first impression” between the law firm and its potential clients online. As such, it’s important to put as much effort and resources into designing your website as it is to designing your law firm’s office façade. At its most minimal, a law firm’s website should have all the basics covered — the details of your law firm, what it specializes in, and its contact information and address.
However, it’s not enough to just have a website for your law firm. No matter how well-designed and informative your website is, if it doesn’t show up when your potential clients search certain keywords on Google, then you’ve failed to maximize your law firm website’s potential.
This is why SEO should be a vital aspect of your law firm’s website. SEO or search engine optimization, as the name implies, optimizes your website’s content and source code to increase your law firm website’s visibility and ‘ranking’ in search engine results pages. Website design and development and SEO integration may prove to be too technical for most firms, but luckily there are many digital marketing companies that specialize on these that offer competitive rates.
Social media can be a powerful digital marketing tool that allows your firm to reach a larger audience with very little (or even zero) financial investment. Most of your potential clients will have a social media profile, so it only makes sense for your law firm to have one as well. It also gives your potential clients an alternative way of finding your firm online apart from your website.
It’s important to note that using social media to market your law firm isn’t just about posting ad; you can use your firm’s social media to educate potential clients in terms of informational content or by engaging in thoughtful discussion.
BONUS: Claiming Your Online Presence in Online Directories and Review Sites. On a related note, it’s important for law firms to register their firms on online directories, and maps (such as Google and Bing Maps), or review sites like Yelp. This also ensures that people have access to your firm’s updated address and contact information online.
Email marketing is a low-cost, low-effort, yet highly effective online marketing strategy that lets you send out targeted, consistent emails to your network and potential clients. It’s also easy to measure its success as marketing platforms offer analytics to how many people actually open your mail.
Randomly buying adspace on other websites to market your law firm can be wasteful and ineffective — not to mention risky. A smarter and more efficient way of doing paid online advertising is by using PPC (Pay-per-click) platforms and networks.
PPC allows you to setup an online advertising campaign where you only pay for each time an online visitor clicks on your ad — making sure that you only pay for the times a potential client actually clicks on your ad and visits your website. Among the most popular PPC ad networks for law firms are Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and YouTube ads.
BONUS: Pay-Per-Lead. Somewhat related to the PPC is Pay-Per-Lead or PPL, which is an advertising and lead generation service where law firms pay for each “lead” instead of just ad clicks. Though effective, PPL models can be expensive, and some are non-exclusive (i.e., they also distribute their leads to more than one law firm or attorney).
Lastly, there are online platforms and services that lawyers and law firms can take advantage of that specializes on directly linking lawyers with potential clients, and vice-versa. Legal Marketing and Lead Generation can have various approaches: some platforms allow clients to look for lawyer profiles and their corresponding client reviews and ratings, while other services focus on driving more traffic into their website which contains lawyer profiles via SEO and PPC.
Then, there are attorney-client-matching platforms such as LegalMatch that allows potential clients to post their legal concerns online which member-lawyers can respond to, providing them the chance to directly contact the potential client and schedule a legal consultation which can lead to a contract.
LegalMatch’s legal marketing services provides member lawyers with excellent lead generation system to ensure a steady flow of local clients. With LegalMatch’s attorney-client matching platform, lawyers can obtain relevant information that’s normally acquired during initial consultation. This allows attorneys to assess whether the potential client’s legal concerns fall within their area of expertise even before any actual communication happens.
Unlike other lead generation services, LegalMatch doesn’t require nor encourage its member lawyers to create and maintain their own website as it allows its member lawyers create their own profiles within the platform.
LegalMatch offers a multitude of features geared towards ensuring a steady and stable stream of quality leads to lawyers and law firms. You can read the reviews and success stories from our member lawyers attesting to LegalMatch’s commitment in supporting lawyers and law firms that trust in our services.