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Law Firm Marketing: How to Build a Strategy & Win Clients
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Law Firm Marketing: How to Build a Strategy & Win Clients

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Today, it’s painfully obvious the tried-and-true law firm marketing strategies aren’t working like they used to.

Marketing has changed, and if your firm’s strategy falls behind the trends, your client base will suffer.

But it doesn’t have to.

Adapting to the online marketing world is the best way to build your firm’s sustainable strategy that’ll stretch far into the future.

Why Your Law Firm Needs a Strong Marketing Strategy  

Many firms still implement traditional, offline marketing strategies as their primary source of marketing — but there’s a huge problem with this.

By 2021, global revenue from offline commerce channels will decrease by almost 20%.

Firms solely relying on offline channels will be in for a rude awakening.

It’s not just offline-focused firms at risk though, any firm that isn’t changing with the current tides will sink.

So how do you create a solid strategy that not only weathers the storm but thrives in it too?

How to Create a Sustainable Marketing Strategy for a Law Firm

In this article, we’ll discuss the action steps to take your firm’s marketing strategy to the next level.

Let’s start with the power of building your law firm’s brand with marketing.

Brand Yourself to Stand Out From The Crowd

Ever wonder why your favorite local coffee shop isn’t a worldwide chain like Starbucks?

Or why people choose Amazon and Audible over local bookstores?

It’s probably not due to the quality of their product.

In many cases, the local stores may have better products served with higher quality customer service than the global chains. 

So, what’s the reason?

Plain and simple —  Starbucks is more prominent is because of its brand.

Whether you’re a coffee shop, bookstore, restaurant, or a law firm, brand recognition makes the critical difference between you and your competition.

Strong brands are a direct result of well-planned, strategic marketing. 

Well-known brands have a significant following and more loyal clients. How do you go about building a brand that makes your firm stand out?

It starts with the presence you build for your firm, online and offline.

Here’s why building your law firm’s brand is crucial for its longevity:

  • According to a survey conducted by Edelmen, 81% of consumers buy based on trust in brands.
  • 66% of people believe transparency is one of the most important things that attract them to a brand (Accenture).
  • 77% of people buy from brands that have values they relate to (HavasGroup).

Create The Foundation of Your Law Firm Marketing Strategy with Branding

Creating and building your brand breaks into two categories that should compliment one another — online and offline presence.

While this guide primarily focuses on online marketing, we’ll also address a few offline marketing tips to help get you up to speed.

Revamp Your Social Media

Social media is a critical piece of your online presence.

Why is social media so crucial?

Consider this:

78% of people who search for a business online end up visiting a business within the day.

And 55% of buyers research social media before doing any business.

Creating consistent, relevant social media content helps you stand out in a crowded market.

It also aids in establishing your firm’s brand as a trusted authority.

How can you utilize social media to grow your brand?

  1. Interact With Prospects and Customers

One of the most straightforward (and effective) steps is regular interaction on your business’s social media pages.

Respond to comments and reply to questions promptly to show your followers that you’re a client-centric business.

  1. Promote Your Blog

When you publish a new blog post, make sure to promote it across your social media platforms.

Sharing your blog content provides value and builds brand awareness.

  1. Help Out in Relevant Communities

Another often-overlooked tactic is to join relevant communities, get involved in group discussions, and be helpful.

People are asking questions and seeking advice on social media — offering helpful tips will grow your audience as well as your brand.

An easy way to do this is to be active in things like Facebook Groups and other forums online.

Create Profiles on Law Firm Directories

Right now, there are serious prospects searching for a lawyer on dedicated law firm web directories like Justia and AVVO (just to name two).

These are serious prospects who are scouring the web directories because they need a lawyer now.

Make sure your firm has an up-to-date profile on each law firm web directory so these potential clients can find you.

Create & Optimize Your GMB 

One of the quickest ways to start showing up on Google searches is by creating (or revamping) your GMB.

Not familiar with the term GMB? It stands for Google My Business.

You’ve probably seen GMB listings when you search for a type of business; they look like this:

GMB listings give prospects a quick preview of your business and location, which will hopefully lead to them clicking through to your websiteor even better, picking up the phone and calling.

Ask for Online Reviews

Another crucial part of your brand’s image is online reviews from previous clients.

Social credit carries more weight than what you say about yourself.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that brands could expect a 5-9% increase in revenue for every one-star increase on a business’ rating.

That means the difference between a one-star and a five-star rating is potentially massive, ranging from a 20-36% difference.

So, which review platforms should you focus on?

Here’s our list:

  1. Google My Business

We already touched on the importance of GMB. The first thing a customer sees about you on Google is important — posting reviews on this platform deserves your focus.

It’s also a ranking factor that will help increase your leads from local search.

  1. AVVO & Friends

We touched on this earlier — law firm web directories bring you serious prospects. And those prospects want to know who to trust. Reviews here are a must.

  1. Facebook

While it’s not dedicated solely to finding businesses like GMB or AVVO, Facebook is still an essential review platform.

Over 2.74 billion of the entire global population uses Facebook.

For some prospects, this is the first place they’ll see your business, posting reviews makes an excellent initial impression.

Update Your NAP Citations

NAP means: Name, Address, and Phone Number.

Ensuring that the areas where your NAP appears are up-to-date means you’ll keep search engines happy and avoid frustrating prospects with out-of-date information when they’re ready to contact you.

Share Case Studies

Case studies are as valuable as online reviews and testimonials:

They let your actions speak for you.

Any law firm can claim they’re the “best of the best” or rave about their large number of satisfied clients, but do you know what speaks volumes over these claims?

Giving a detailed account of how you’ve helped previous clients with specific cases.

(Bonus points if you include testimonials within the case study. Source: The Levin Firm)

Improve Your Offline Presence

You shouldn’t ignore your offline presence when developing a marketing strategy.

Law firms usually operate within local communities. Those communities are critical factors in their marketing.

Get Involved with Community Events

An excellent way to gain a solid reputation and build your brand in your community is to participate in local events.

Join the board of commerce in your area, provide community services, and integrate yourself as a positive force in your community.

It may seem like these efforts don’t directly contribute to profit, but the indirect benefits are massive. 

Connect With Local Businesses

When you personally connect with the owners of local businesses, valuable partnerships and connections can and will arise.

Talk with business owners in the area, get to know them, and create relationships that are beneficial to both sides.

Try to connect with people that serve the same types of clients — but for different reasons.

Here’s an example:

If you’re a personal injury lawyer, try making local connections with other lawyers that see similar clients.

Join Online Local Communities & Offer Advice

Any local community has its own list of online counterparts — boards, groups, and websites specifically for people in a given geographical area.

Seek out those communities and become a valuable member. This is an excellent way to merge your online and offline marketing efforts.

Turn Your Firm Into a Well-Oiled Machine

An important step of a good marketing strategy is to identify and polish your brand.

Laying down your brand’s groundwork will give you a rough idea for other steps you need to take. Once you know what separates you from the competition, you can harness that information to use in your marketing tactics.

It’s time to talk about another crucial part of marketing: Creating systems and processes to take your business from the beginning stages to operating like a well-oiled machine.

Design Systems to Increase Your Efficiency (and Profit)

When it comes to business, systems are the definable, repeatable, and structured processes that form the “engine” that powers your business.

Systems are imperative for an efficient marketing process because they remove the deliberation step from your everyday actions. 

There’s no more pondering what has to be done — it’s planned and set into place so you can focus on getting the essential tasks done.

Systems are key in improving your bottom line while reducing the workload within your firm. Without them, scaling your marketing operations while staying profitable becomes a near-impossible task.

Streamline Any Over Complicated Operations

A large part of systemizing your marketing is stripping your processes of unnecessary flak.

Take a long look at each process and ask yourself: Is this step necessary?

Could it be combined with another step or simplified to speed up the process? 

Chances are, you’ll find steps throughout the marketing process that aren’t necessary.

For instance, your everyday workflow might include a variety of apps — from Excel and Google Docs to internal communications apps like Slack (or other law firm software).

How many of those apps are necessary for your workflow, and how many of them could be removed to make the process more streamlined?

A good example would be a firm using both Google Docs and Microsoft Office.

These two apps do the same job — it’s a waste of resources and time to keep data and files on both.

Remember: It’s an Ongoing Process — Leave Room for Error

In life and business, things won’t go perfectly on the first try.

None of your systems will be thoroughly polished right off the bat. Trial and error is all part of the process, so leave room for it.

A significant part of the beginning stages of implementing new systems is ironing out kinks. 

Keep Longevity & Future Scaling in Mind

Another factor to keep in mind — your systems should be scalable.

Designing a system that can’t handle the necessary workload a year from now isn’t going to be the best use of your time. 

Instead, you should focus on designing systems that can grow with your company and accommodate scaling smoothly.

One great way to do this is through automation.

Using Law Firm Marketing to Get Results While You Build Your Brand

We’ve discussed brand building and getting systems in place to promote efficiency.

But next, let’s talk about the specific tactics you can use during the brand-building process that can help you make a profit while you’re creating a loyal following.

SEO & Organic Traffic

Mobile search and video marketing are becoming two of the most popular channels out there — with nine out of ten marketers planning to invest more into them.

By 2023, mobile ad spend is set to hit $156.38 billion.

But spending money on ads isn’t the only way to get in front of mobile users, nor does it have the highest conversion rate.

Paid channels like PPC are excellent but one of the best ways to market your firm is content marketing.

It’s been proven that prospects brought in through content marketing channels are eight times more likely to convert into buying customers than those brought in through other channels.

And while SEO is a great way to get more new clients organically, local SEO is where lawyers really need to focus.

Remember the Importance of Local SEO

Local SEO (SEO targeted towards specific geographic areas) is critical for law firms since the vast majority of their clients don’t come from across the country.

In addition, global or national keywords means you’ll be competing against a much larger pool of competitors on the search engines.

It’s a far better use of your time (brings quicker results) to target long-tail, local keywords instead.

What are some ways you can start implementing an SEO strategy today to rake in more organic traffic?

Check out the list below.

  • SEO Tip #1: Create a Blog

Content marketing is important. 72% of online marketers describe content marketing as their most effective SEO tactic.

Creating a blog is the cornerstone for all of your other SEO efforts. 

A blog adds to your site’s content amount which makes it easier to get noticed by Google’s algorithm.

Your firm’s blog gives searchers a reason to click through to your law firm website.

Creating fresh, valuable content on your blog gives a mildly interested searcher a reason to dig deeper and spend more time on your site — which means a higher chance of them contacting you.

  • SEO Tip #2: Consistent Content is Key

A blog won’t do as much for your website if it doesn’t have new content posted consistently.

A regularly updated blog keeps your readers coming back consistently. It’s also a great way to tell Google that your website is constantly being updated.

Whether it’s once a day or once a week, make an effort to put out regular content for your website users.

  • SEO Tip #3: Determine How Much Value to Put on Pages

There is a reason that SEOs measure word count, but it’s not simply for word count’s sake — it’s to judge the amount of value packed within content.

The goal to win with SEO is to create pages that provide more value than the 10 current pages ranking for a keyword.

When you’re creating a page targeting a keyword, think about all of the types of search intent behind that keyword. Then break those different kinds of search intent into various sections (subheadings).

And since ranking is a competition, do a SERP analysis to make sure you’re topping anyone else that’s ranking. To do this, check out competitors’ pages on the first page to find ways to add more value than them.

  • SEO Tip #4: Remember the Golden Rule of Marketing

For every piece of content you put out, remember the golden rule:

Focus on providing value and giving to your audience. This is how you rank and build trust.

If a user genuinely finds your website helpful, they may convert into a client — or they’ll at least help send good user signals to Google to increase your ranking.

  • SEO Tip #5: Optimize the Rest of Your Website 

Don’t forget to keep the rest of your site in tip-top shape too.

For Google to consider your site as first-page worthy, it has to provide a good user experience and be optimized for Google.

Audit your website for things that could hurt its UX. Then make sure it’s following all of SEO’s best practices.

Paid Advertisements — Quicker Results Through Non-Organic Traffic

Paid advertising comes in multiple forms. While there are different types of paid channels like PPC to PPI, they’re similar enough that we’ll talk about all of them here.

74% of brands say PPC is a huge driver for their business. 

Impressive number, right?

However, you may be wondering: “If SEO can bring traffic for free, why would I invest in paid marketing?”

Great question. 

While SEO is effective, it’s a slower responding process than PPC

With paid advertising, you can test to see what works best and make changes on the fly — and see results quick.

How to Use Paid Advertising for Your Firm

As with any tool in a tool box, there’s a right way to use it but also a wrong way.

So how is paid advertising best used?

Channels like PPC work fast. This makes it highly effective for testing new ideas — such as a new landing page or changes to your law firm website.

The main edge to using PPC for lawyers is that you can start getting leads way faster.

The speed makes paid advertising an excellent way to supplement your SEO strategy, especially in the beginning, while you’re waiting to gain steam on Google.

Email Marketing — Still the King of ROI

Why is email marketing so good?

On average, email marketing has a 4400% ROI for marketers who invest in it.

That’s right, for every $1 you spend on email, you can expect about $42-$44 in return.

That’s huge.

One great thing about email is that it can be used in conjunction with your other channels.

Have a blog? 

Use email to promote the posts via a newsletter.

Running PPC ads? 

Instead of going straight for the sale, use your ad to grow your email list.

Email is massively versatile and about half of all consumers want to receive more promotional emails in their inboxes.

Tips to Become the #1 Law Firm in Your City

We’ve covered some of the broad strokes and tools that can take your marketing strategy to the next level. 

Now let’s talk about additional things you can do from here out to stay at the top.

Build Relationships With Current & Past Clients

What’s better marketing than a good sales pitch or a well-written blog?

A strong relationship with your prospects and clients.

Before anyone chooses to work with you, they’ll need to trust you.

A relationship built on trust has a strong foundation. Much of the reason the marketing tactics mentioned work so well is because they build trust.

And these relationships can provide much more value after the initial close. 

Client relationships can present opportunities for testimonials, referrals, and other free marketing if you foster them.

Remember: a client relationship must be nurtured.

Non-Competitors are Potential for Valuable Partnerships

Another type of valuable relationship for law firms is a strategic partnership.

Make an effort to search out non-competing businesses in similar fields and create partnerships.

For example, a criminal case firm and a personal injury firm could agree to send clients to each other when they don’t fit into their specialty. It’s a win-win for both sides.

Utilize Automation to Increase Profit

Tasks like call scheduling and data entry don’t necessarily have to get done by people working in your staff.

When you break it down, there are plenty of simple tasks that take up time and hinder scaling your business.

The fix to that wasted time is automation.

Automation should be one of the tools on any businesses’ toolbelt. 

Seek areas in your systems and processes that don’t require human touch, then find ways to automate or delegate them to save valuable time, money, and energy.

Learn Valuable Lessons from the Competition

It’s possible that you don’t do everything as well as your competition — not yet at least.

When you analyze the firms you’re competing against, you’ll probably find things they do better and you could improve on. 

That’s a good thing.

Make a point to regularly study your competition. Find things they do well and the things they don’t, and use that information to improve your own firm.

No-Value Means No-Business

In business, value is everything.

A business that doesn’t provide value is one without customers.

If someone isn’t providing value, would you invest your hard-earned cash in them?

Odds are, you wouldn’t.

It’s the same for everyone.

In order to get people to want to work with you, you must provide significant value that makes your business head and shoulders above the rest.

This value needs to shine through in every area of your business — from your marketing to the services you provide. 

The more value, the better. 

Time for Action

You now know the exact steps and tips you should use to create a marketing strategy that will help your firm rise to the top.

From SEO to community service, all these things go a long way in building your firm’s brand and bringing in more clients.

Do you have any questions about law firm marketing? Please drop your comments and questions down below.

Chris Dreyer on EmailChris Dreyer on GoogleChris Dreyer on LinkedinChris Dreyer on Twitter
Chris Dreyer
Chris Dreyer
Chris Dreyer is the CEO and Founder of Rankings.io, an SEO agency for lawyers. Chris has been featured in numerous legal and search marketing publications such as Legal Ink Magazine, Law Marketing, Attorney At Work, Moz, and more. With over 12 years of experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Chris has helped hundreds of law firms get first page positions in search engines using innovative campaigns that are difficult for competitors to recreate. He is dedicated to helping lawyers get more leads and win more clients.

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