It’s hard to think of yourself as someone who is in the marketing business if you run a law firm. Every business needs marketing tactics, and yours is no different.
As a law firm, you certainly won’t want to run the typical marketing campaign. Law firm marketing strategies will need to be highly targeted and carefully run, because you serve a special kind of client.
So while law firm marketing ideas may bear some similarities to ones you will see across the business world, there are a few specific strategies that are very important to marketing your law firm.
Top 6 law firm marketing strategies
- Find your niche
- Master SEO
- Put live chat on your site
- Tap into social media
- Get referrals
- Use data to come up with a process
What to consider when marketing your law firm
A law firm is a business to be sure — you’re going to have to worry about finding customers and making sure your revenue exceeds your expenses.
But a law firm is not your typical business, so you have a few special considerations that should factor into any digital marketing tips. But you will see some similarities to small business marketing, because that’s what a law firm is.
A law firm is generally restricted by location, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, you need to deal with customers who are nearby because your service is one that requires face-to-face contact, not to mention your need to be present at court hearings.
Also, laws vary greatly by state and locality, so you should specialize in the law in the area in which you reside. As a result, local marketing is key, and you should narrowly target people who are within a reasonable commuting distance from your office.
Your customers have a different mindset
Unlike someone who’s buying a soft drink or making an impulse purchase for a funny shirt online, your customers are going to have an entirely different mood and mindset.
Often, they’re either furious about being wronged, or they’ve been sued and are scared and wondering what to do. You therefore have to approach the customer with sensitivity to the often extreme emotional states at play. Your customers probably want a firm that is serious and professional, and you should strike that tone in your ads.
There’s a sense of urgency
A legal matter can have a huge impact on someone’s life, which is why, when suddenly faced with one, individuals immediately want answers on how this legal matter is going to affect them. By stepping in and making yourself available to provide those answers, you give yourself a leg up on the competition.
Law firm marketing strategies you can use
With those considerations in mind, it’s time to come up with a law firm marketing plan that will be effective. There are a host of different strategies you can derive from the principles of marketing, but these six are the most likely to have a real impact on your firm in the shortest amount of time.
1. Find your niche
The reality is that there are a million law firms out there, many of them better funded and with a more well-established brand than you. The key is to come up with a positioning strategy and find a specific niche that you can fill and target specific marketing channels.
This will take some soul-searching on your part. What makes your firm different from everyone else?
For example, if you frequently represent clients who are being sued by debt collectors, you might position yourself as a uniquely friendly law firm who will be welcoming and put your clients' minds at ease during a very stressful time for them.
Tips for finding your niche:
Targeting a very specific client base involves really sitting down and thinking about what kind of clientele you serve.
- Describe your niche on your site: The landing page that your customers see right away should have a clear positioning statement that describes how your business is different.
- Create a customer profile: Chances are, your customers have a few unifying attributes. Perhaps they’re all recently divorced parents in their 30s and 40s seeking custody of their children. Maybe they’re low-income families being harassed by debt collectors. Either way, you need to understand who your client is by creating a customer profile that breaks down everything you know about them.
- Identify where to find your clients: Once you have a customer profile in place, it’s time to use that to figure out where your clients are. Are most of your customers victims of accidents who are suing insurance companies? Consider an ad campaign in Google that targets people in your area who are searching for related keywords.
2. Master SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is key in law firm web marketing, and it’s the best way to get free traffic to your site, bar none.
A Google consumer survey found that a staggering 96 percent of people seeking legal advice use a search engine, and a FindLaw survey found that 38 percent of people use the Internet to find an attorney.
You have a wealth of expertise in your field of law, and Google highly values that.
Start producing quality content addressing legal questions your clients are likely to have and posting it on your website. Focus that content on your niche to ensure the traffic you get is highly targeted and includes people who are likely to need your services.
Tips for mastering SEO:
SEO is a skill that must be mastered like any other, and there’s a good chance you don’t know a whole lot about it. Here’s what you can do right now to make SEO work for you.
- Get some basic SEO training: At the end of the day, Google simply values great, targeted content, so simply providing that should be enough to get you some love from the search engine. But it helps to understand some of the basics of finding and targeting keywords, so get some online SEO training first.
- Create a content strategy: Use that SEO training to come up with a content strategy where you build off “hubs and spokes.” For example, if your specialty is in family law, start by producing a piece of content that gives a broad overview of the subject and then write more narrowly targeted articles about specific facets of family law, such as what people need to know about the adoption process.
- Use a CMS platform: Content management systems can help you organize your content strategy.
3. Put live chat on your site
All the cool companies are putting live chat on their website these stays, and you should too. Why? Because it's easy, and it's a great website marketing tactic to connect with potential clients.
People with legal questions want answers right now, so if you're able to provide live chat support right away on your website, you've immediately got an inroad with a client and can seek to secure an initial consultation right then and there.
That's not the case if that individual simply logs into your site, browses around, and then bolts back to the search engine to find an answer to his or her question.
Tips for live chat:
Live chat is new territory for most law firms, so you can be forgiven for not knowing where to start. However, this is a very simple thing to put into action.
- Find live chat software: There’s plenty of live chat software options out there that require basically zero effort from you to set up, so find one that works for you and put it on your site ASAP.
- Have someone tethered to it at all times: Time is of the essence when someone uses your live chat function, so have someone who is charged with always monitoring it. If you’re an army of one, just have it open at all times while you’re working, and if you’re a larger firm consider having an assistant handle it so you can focus on other things.
4. Tap into social media
Yes, everyone says businesses should use social media to market themselves. It's almost a cliche in the business world at some point. So let's explore the specific ways you can make social media work for your law firm.
LinkedIn offers ProFinder, which helps users find the professional services they're looking for. You can use Facebook to upload a client list, and then create "lookalike" audiences that you can target with advertising. Twitter is a bit more difficult to make work for you, but you could use the platform to find people asking legal questions that you could interact with, building your brand in the process.
Tips for social media:
Social media is a tricky thing for any business, because everyone uses it, and it’s hard to quantify what success looks like. However, there are a couple things you can do to make it work for you.
- Engage, engage, engage: A good social media strategy is all about engagement. The key is not to get as many followers or likes as possible, but to build relationships. By interacting with clients and answering the questions they pose, you boost your brand and increase your potential client base.
- Come up with specific goals: A lot of businesses fail when it comes to social media because they have vague goals, like "get more clients." You need to come up with a realistic and actionable goal, like "engage with 10 individuals per day." It's best to choose goals you have control over, rather than "get one new client from engagements each week." If you find the strategy isn't getting you the results you want, you can adjust it. But it's always better to be able to say, "we hit our goal" or "we didn't because of xyz."
5. Get referrals
There is no more tried-and-true method for getting leads in the business world than referrals, and it's still just as essential today. This shouldn't be a replacement to a multi-faceted marketing campaign, but it certainly should be a big part of it.
Referrals are excellent because they are "warm" leads, and they are highly targeted to people who are likely to need your representation. As a result, these leads are gold and should be secured as much as possible.
Tips for referrals:
Yes, referrals are great, but how do you get more of them? Sometimes, the simplest route to referrals is the best.
- Just ask: Everyone's shy about asking for things, but the reality is most clients are happy to share referrals if they can think of someone. Be sure to send a thank-you note after getting a referral to show your appreciation.
- Be a service superstar: If you’re having trouble getting referrals, maybe you need to blow away your clients with service. If you’re helping your client through the adoption process, maybe send them a framed certificate of adoption once it’s finalized. Things like that will impress them and make them more likely to refer someone to you.
- Use email marketing: Email marketing software can help you reach out and touch previous clients on your email list, and lay the groundwork for asking for referrals in the future. You should make an email newsletter that incorporates email marketing best practices to maximize your chances of success.
6. Use data to come up with a process
If you're not gathering data, you need to start. Use CRM software with reporting functions to track each client from lead generation to closing so you can have data on hand on critical information such as how long it takes to make a close, what the demographics of your clientele looks like, and anything else that might be relevant.
After a few months of collecting marketing metrics, take a deep dive into the data to come up with some conclusions, and use that to create a sales process that is predictable and maximizes your chances at landing new clients. For example, if your data tells you that 80 percent of your clients are secured through the live chat function on your site after they find you through a search engine thanks to your content, adjust your efforts to include more content generation and more time spent on live chat, and less on activities that aren't as productive.
Tips for leveraging data:
Data can be intimidating because it’s hard to know what data to collect and what to do with it once you have it. However, once you have a strategy, it’s an incredibly powerful tool for a law firm.
- Try a few CRM platforms: Lots of CRM platforms do lots of different things, so you should try a few CRM options first before settling one to see what works for your firm. You’re going to want one with some strong reporting and analysis tools, such as Insightly, that can help you learn as much about your clients as possible.
- Create a sales manual: Once you’ve figured out what the process looks like, write it down so you can follow it every time, which saves time and makes your firm more efficient at finding clients. For example, a sales process might start with asking 10 previous clients for referrals, getting three referrals, conducting two meetings, and getting one new client. You can also have separate ones for Google ads and other lead sources.
It’s time to create a new marketing strategy
Chances are, you already have all the information you need to create a winning marketing strategy — it’s probably just all in your head and needs to get down on paper (or in a CRM platform).
You need to set aside some time to figure out your niche, create a customer profile, spruce up your landing page with a target message and live chat, come up with a social media strategy, and create a new sales process you can follow every time.
With all that in place, you’re likely to have a serious boost in revenue in the coming months.