We want to help you reach your law firm marketing goals, so we created this guide that will give you a broad overview of valuable marketing channels and consumer touch points, offer some attorney marketing tips, and help you figure out which of your efforts has the most significant impact on your organizational goals and your bottom line.
If you have any questions about the material in this guide or would like to offer up your own law firm marketing ideas, please feel free to do so in the comments section or reach out to us directly.
Ways to reach potential clients (Marketing Channels)
Traditional Marketing for Lawyers
Generally, traditional marketing can be separated into four categories:
- Print: Printed mass media materials such as newspaper or magazine advertisements.
- Broadcast: Radio and television broadcast advertisements.
- Direct Mail: Contacting potential business directly through email or print mail with sales pitch type materials.
- Telephone: Cold calling on behalf of your law firm.
Traditional marketing channels worked well for attorneys in the past, but are beginning to fall flat as today’s consumers spend more and more time online.
Online Marketing for Attorneys
Writing For The Web
The goal of most professional copywriters (the brave men and women who are usually behind the marketing material you see out in the world) is to write conversational copy.
Conversational copy is written text that mimics a normal speaking pattern. It does not talk down to readers or use complicated language.
Remember, to keep your audience in mind when you are creating content. Unless you are marketing to attorneys, try not to use a lot of legal jargon or overly complicated lengthy sentences. Instead, imagine you are explaining something to a friend who has not gone to law school.
If your writing is difficult to understand, people won’t read it, simple as that.
Before a potential client visits your office, they will visit your website. Your site should be a digital representation of your firm. It’s equally important for your website to show up near the top of the page on a Google search (more on how to do this later).
Your website is the one place where leads, clients, and referral sources can learn about you and the value you bring to the industry 24 hours a day. It doesn’t take lunch breaks or need eight hours of sleep a day. It is your evergreen digital billboard, business card, and CV. Your website needs to be modern, informative, and easy to find and navigate.
For more information on how to build the right website for your brand, you can check out our Websites for Lawyers Guide.
A blog is a platform to provide useful information to your audience. To appease Google’s latest algorithm, we recommend publishing long-form, thorough blog content (pieces over 1500 words). It helps to think of your blog as an extension of your website; it’s a place to publish content that is relevant to your field.
When done correctly, your blog will help you establish thought leadership in your industry and serve as an extra landing page to help potential clients find your business online. E.g., if you are a divorce attorney, chances are the potential clients will be searching for terms online like “how to protect assets in a divorce?” If you have created a well written and SEO optimized blog post on the topic, then it’s likely that your potential client will end up in front of your content and possibly be looking to contact you.
If you are interested in publishing medium form opinion pieces as opposed to long-form informative pieces, try utilizing LinkedIn’s blogging feature. That way you will not continually be publishing competing pieces of content.
We recommend that all firms have a blog. if you need help starting one check out these blog writing tips
Email Marketing for Law Firms
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways of driving sales both from new clients as well as existing ones. Popular email services Mailchimp has published some data that supports email works well in the legal industry. You can find a list of open and click-through rates here: Email Marketing Benchmarks.
While some prospects may retain a law firm after the initial consultation, many clients take longer to sign on. If you capture email as part of your intake process you can help nudge those that are on the fence about hiring you. Most importantly, if someone doesn’t retain right away, you can, and should, send them a follow-up email the same day you’ve met with them. The email should contain a summary of how you can help, and the unique advantages your law firm brings to the prospect’s legal issue.
With more than a billion active users, Facebook is the world’s most popular social network.
If you decided to use Facebook as part of your marketing mix we recommend creating a business account so your firm can take advantage of the benefits of a Facebook Business Page.
One of the most effective ways to utilize Facebook for your firm is to employ Retargeted Facebook Ads. Retargeted ads appear on a potential client’s Facebook feed after they have visited your website. Retargeted ads keep your firm top of mind, and helps push a potential client to contact you, especially if they are comparing your firm against one of your competitors.
The social network for professionals.
We recommend using LinkedIn to establish thought leadership in your practice area. You can take advantage of LinkedIn’s blogging feature to offer up expertise and opinion pieces on issues taking place in your field. Facilitating conversations on LinkedIn about your area of expertise is an excellent way to attract attention to your brand and (possibly) drum up some speaking engagements.
Microblogging for the masses, the good stuff rises to the top.
Twitter is a great way to generate brand awareness, but heavy users of this medium tend to be younger and lower on the decision-making chain than a professional network like LinkedIn. It is, however, a great place to establish thought leadership and build your personal brand.
We recommend using Twitter ads to create buzz about your law firm, but not to try an make a sale directly. Use Twitter ads to amplify the reach of a blog post you wrote. Users will share and comment on your post which will, in turn, drive traffic to your website. When your campaign is finished, you can write a follow-up post addressing some opinions you saw and tag featured Twitter users. Be sure to tactfully include many call-to-action prompts on your blog to encourage users to give you their information.
The place the world goes to leave reviews.
Your firm’s Yelp rating can play a significant role in its ability to acquire new business. We recommend actively monitoring your Yelp reviews and asking your existing clients to rate your business.
You should reach out to reviewers who’ve had a negative experience with your firm and (when appropriate) offer an apology, and if possible offer a resolution. Acknowledging problems on Yelp and providing solutions is an effective way to turn detractors into advocates. Reaching out to people who’ve left you a positive review is equally as important. Talking to consumers who’ve given you a good rating, can help you determine what parts of their experience with your firm made the biggest impression on them. Once you figure out the positive touch points, you can make an effort to do them more often, which can lead to higher ratings on Yelp and more referrals in the real world.
Innovative Ways to Reach New Clients
Guerilla marketing leverages creativity instead of capital to get a piece of content in front of potential leads. Unlike a sustained high budget traditional campaign, guerrilla marketing campaigns aim to have a very immediate impact. The campaign goal is to create “buzz” or word of mouth distribution, because of the audience’s surprise at the creativity used by the marketer. For some guerilla marketing ideas check out our blog post, Guerrilla Marketing for Law Firms.
Viral marketing is any marketing technique that induces websites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect. There isn’t a guaranteed formula for making a piece of content go viral (it’s more of an art than a science).
Network in the real world
Alright, maybe shaking hands isn’t the most innovative marketing strategy, but it gets results, so get out there and meet people. Seek out local meetups or associations. Trade associations are a great way to meet potential clients and colleagues directly, and their meetings usually have cocktails – it’s a win, win.
Networking comes more naturally to some than to others. If you have trouble meeting new people we suggest setting a goal like “go to an event and hand out at least three business cards.”
Types of content to consider
Images increase engagement across all channels and help your content rank higher on Google. Don’t make the mistake of writing a great piece of content and not including some images. If you don’t have the time to shoot photos yourself, you can purchase stock photos from Adobe stock or Shutterstock or look for free (public domain photos) on sites like Unsplash.com.
Infographics are visual representations of information that, when done correctly, convey complex ideas or data. Most people prefer them to dense blocks of text. It can be tricky turning information into a visual concept, but when it’s done right, it works beautifully. You can use a site like Canva to make your own infographics or feel free to reach out to us if you want a hand.
Video is the fastest growing form of communication on the web. Cisco predicts that, by 2020, 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video. If you haven’t already been thinking about ways to integrate video into your marketing mix, then consider this your wake up call.
Building a podcasts library on your area of area of expertise is a great way to show potential clients and other industry professionals that you quite literally know what you are talking about.
Attorney Marketing Tips
Write great titles
David Ogilvy, the forefather of modern advertising, said “On the average, five times as many people read the headline (title) as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Headlines are important. Take time to craft awesome ones.
Check out this article how to write engaging headlines.
A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution. In our experience, nothing shouts “industry expertise” like a high-quality well-researched whitepaper. Producing a quality white paper can take up a lot of time and resources, but ultimately it’s worth the effort if you want to increase your credibility in your field.
Turn your current clients into your marketing team.
Many firms still rely on word of mouth advertising to grow their business, it makes sense, your firm did an excellent job for someone, and they want to tell their friends. You can encourage this behavior by offering incentives for referrals or by simply asking.
Optimize your content for SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO is how you increase the likelihood that potential clients can find you on the internet. We listed a few ways to improve your search ranking here, but if you would like a deeper dive into the do’s and don’ts of SEO, check out our full guide: SEO for Lawyers.
A keyword is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a Web page. Keywords are intended to act as shortcuts that sum up an entire page. Using the right keywords and using them early is a sure-fire way of upping your SEO clout.
Google prioritizes the way your copy is laid out. The spacing between sentences, the readability of fonts, if you use subheads to break up your content — all these things matter to Google’s sorting algorithm because all of these things make your content easier to read. Cluttered pages filled with dense text will scare your prospective readers and likely cause them to bounce from pages quickly, hurting your SEO ranking.
Google is prioritizing longer web pages (with the right formatting, of course), so feel free to flush out your ideas and expand on your explanations. Time spent on page is a big deal for Google’s algorithm, so loading your pages with lots of relevant content is a great way to add value to it.
Have a Compelling Answer to the “What Do You Do?” Question
We speak to attorneys all day about their businesses, and a surprising number of these attorneys don’t have an answer to that question. “I do personal injury” or “I run an estate planning practice” isn’t going to compel someone to sign a retainer agreement. If you don’t know what separates you from your competitors, chances are prospective clients won’t either. You can’t market if you don’t know what you’re selling.
You don’t have to come up with a catchy tagline, but you should be able to effectively and efficiently describe what you do and what makes you different from a guy who works down the hall or the block. You need a one sentence answer to “what do you do?” For example, here is ONE400’s answer:
We help law firms and legal technology companies build brands, create sustainable marketing funnels, acquire clients, and grow.
As you can see, we don’t just say: “we’re a marketing agency for the legal industry.” We start by listing who we serve and then immediately describe the value we bring them. This is a compelling sell that can be the foundation for our marketing campaigns. This is also something that everyone in our company can remember and say to their friends, family, and people they bump into at a coffee shop.
Here are three quick and easy things you DO need to have in order to be accessible to your clients and provide great customer service:
- A working phone number and someone to answer it
- A working and actively monitored email address
- A modern and informative website
Consider employing a public relations firm
Public relations is more than just landing TV spots. It can also be used to obtain guest blogging opportunities on popular online magazines such as Huffington Post. Those high-value guest blogging opportunities are a great way to show your authority on a given subject while driving traffic back to your website. Additionally, there is plenty of newsworthy work that attorneys do on a regular basis. Being featured in a local news outlet or a trade journal can have a fantastic impact on your SEO strategy, and highlight your law firm’s brand. We had our PR specialist work with us and shortly after Forbes.com covered us. The additional site traffic that has resulted from our PR efforts have provided a substantial return on investment.
How to Deal with Regulatory Hurdles When Looking for New Business
How can you advertise your services without breaking any rules?
Know the ins and outs of your state’s ethics rules governing attorney advertising, solicitation, and marketing. If you are unsure if something violates a regulation, don’t do it. Spending a little extra time researching now, could save you a big headache later.
Speak to a professional marketing company that understands attorney advertising rules.
Think about what companies you respect and why. People don’t develop brand loyalty by being told to buy something; they build it over time based on expertise and trust. Let your work speak for itself. You can do this by sharing case studies on your site, and leave visible links to your Yelp and social profiles on your website – this way clients can leave you positive reviews and feedback.
How to Minimize Poor Leads
You’re receiving emails, but they don’t seem to go anywhere. You feel like the leads you get aren’t quality and end up being a waste.
Clearly identify your target audience
Consult (or create) your marketing personas to determine if your website copy is clear, concise, and targeting the right users. Unclear or confusing copy may lead the wrong people to you. Make sure you are thinking about who your ideal customer is and what their legal needs will be when creating content.
Look at where your conversions are coming from
Cold leads can also come from an inability to direct a client who has a legal problem to the specific service they need. Examine the conversations you are having and determine if you are asking the right questions.
Reconnect at a later decision-making stage
Potential clients who reach out to you and don’t seem to go anywhere at that time could be great clients in the future. Create an email list of people who contact you and follow up with them in a month to see where they are. A reminder might be precisely what your leads need to convert.
Establishing and Tracking Marketing Goals
If you aren’t measuring you aren’t improving.
When you think about ways to market your law firm, establishing tracking and measuring tools should be near the top of your list. A flashy website or remarketing add is great, but you need to be able to monitor how your content is helping you move the needle or else you are just playing an expensive guessing game.
Align Revenue and Marketing Goals
Revenue and marketing are tightly intertwined. You need one so that you can grow the other, and that is why it’s important that you set goals for each. This might be as simple as adding 5% to last year’s revenue or increasing your marketing budget by $500/month*. Either way, these are goals that all healthy businesses should have. In fact, before ONE400 work’s with law firms, we require an answer to one of the two questions below:
1.) What is your marketing budget?
2.) What are your revenue goals for the year?
*Industry standards suggest you should spend about 7.5-10% of your gross revenue on marketing per year
Set Clear Marketing Goals
Figure out exactly what you need to improve – do you need more clients? More online exposure? Setting clear marketing goals will give you clear results to monitor. Your business can have multiple desired outcomes, but select the single most important goal and run with it – you can always change your mind later! Don’t make the mistake of setting too many goals; you will spread yourself too thin.
Setting goals also means figuring out who your target market is, and how to reach them.
After you identify your goals, you need to figure out what performance indicators are linked to them. Doing this will make it easier for you to track your progress.
What is a Marketing KPI?
Identifying key performance indicators or KPIs is essential in assessing and improving your marketing campaigns. Most of that data you collect during a marketing campaign is important for one reason or another or plays a role in understanding the big picture. However, not every piece of information you’ve gathered is critical. KPIs are the handful of indicators by which you measure success. Unfortunately, many law firms get distracted by the wrong data.
The Right KPIs for Your Law Firm Marketing System
Your key performance indicators (KPIs) tell you directly whether or not you are achieving your goals and, if not, where the process is breaking down. Because your key indicators are individual to your firm’s specific goals, you won’t find a standard checklist of law firm marketing KPIs. Generally, critical KPIs will inform whether you are effectively:
- Bringing in more high-value clients
- Minimizing the cost of connecting with and retaining clients
To determine how to improve your marketing performance, look at:
- Cost per acquisition of a paying client
- Lifetime value of a client
Analyzing each KPI usually involves combining several data points. For example, to determine the cost per acquisition of a paying client, you’ll have to consider:
- Direct advertising costs through a channel
- The number of paying clients acquired through a channel during a particular time and expense block
- The amount of staff time required to convert each client
- The amount of staff time consumed by non-converting leads through a channel
Non-essential data or false KPIs
Often vanity metrics often do not impact your firm’s profitability. Digital marketing, in particular, offers many apparent measures of success that may have little or no effect on the success of your law firm. Some of the most common distraction data include:
- Website traffic
While it’s encouraging to see a lot of traffic coming to your website, you aren’t in the news or entertainment business. Your website’s ultimate goal is to build business, which means converting visitors to leads or attracting the attention of influencers who will share your content with your target market.
- Leads generated
A telephone call or a form submitted maybe a step in the right direction. Bad leads, however, can be worse than no leads. Poor leads may eat up staff time and take advantage of free consultations with little or no chance of becoming paying clients. Generating profitable leads is a quality game over a numbers game.
- Cost per click
Of course, cost is a concern for any marketer. However, the most easily identified cost measures, such as the cost-per-click on an AdWords campaign, don’t provide valuable information standing alone. Your most meaningful metric is the percentage of ad clicks that lead to a paying client and the resulting lifetime value of that client.
How to calculate ROI
Measuring your Return on Investment (ROI) is a critical part of any law firm marketing campaign. It is important to know how much you are getting back from your various spending. Here are the steps you must take to determine what your ROI is for various marketing channels.
Determine All Marketing Channels
You would be surprised how many marketing channels you are using. Maybe you work with an SEO company like ONE400, or perhaps you run small ads in the local newspaper. Any channel that you devote time and money to counts as a marketing avenue and should be considered when calculating your ROI. Once you have an inventory of everything you are doing to bring in business, you can start determining the return from each marketing channel.
Decide Which Channel you Would Like to Consider the “Converter”
With a master list of channels, you may notice some overlap. Perhaps you went to a legal conference and met a potential client who didn’t convert. Later, you sent out an email campaign, and they ended up retaining you. Since this is technically two marketing messages, you should decide if you want to count the first or last touch as the converter. We consider the last touch as the conversion at ONE400.
Calculate the Average Value of A Client
This one can get tricky if you have multiple practice areas with varying case values. You should always try and stick to one specific case type per marketing channel to help with messaging and ROI calculation. If you are not currently segmenting your efforts by category, you can do a general average. To calculate your average case value, add up the total revenue from closed cases and divide that number by the number of clients you retained.
For example, if you wanted to find the average of your last ten clients you’d do this:
(sum of 10 client case outcomes) / 10 = average case value
The more data you can allocate for this, the more accurate your average will be – so consider looking back at your total firm revenue for the past year or more.
Calculate Monthly Marketing Spend By Channel
Once you have your average case value, the next step in calculating ROI is to determine how much money you are spending on marketing. Marketing can include anything from pay-per-click advertising to hiring an outside marketing team. Measure the amount of retained clients per month per channel and subtract your monthly spend, this will give you the over monthly return on your spending. If you find you have multiple channels producing negative results, it might be time to reconsider what exactly you are spending money on.
Factor in Leads and Potential Revenue
Many advertising and marketing channels have a “ramp up” time. Items like SEO or content marketing may take months to see a full ROI. To curb frustrations on this end, we recommend calculating the value of one lead. This type of lead is any potential client that contacted you outside of a referral. To calculate the value of a lead, take you original average closed client value and divide it by your close-rate.
Let’s say ten people contact you from your website; five of them are just looking for information, two don’t respond, and the remaining three are warm leads. Out of those three, you are able to retain two, and the third ends up working with another firm. This would make your close-rate 2/10 or 0.2. You would then multiply your average client value by 0.2: this is the value of one lead. You should include your lead value when determining overall ROI. This number can help you identify opportunities to increase your marketing as well as improve your sales cycle.
Once you have spent the time to measure your ROI, you should continuously keep track of these numbers to make smart marketing decisions. You should keep a master spreadsheet with month over month changes and designate one person to be in charge of closed clients and marketing channels.
We know it seems like a lot of work to measure out all of this data, but if you do your marketing will be infinitely more successful. You will be able to make informed decisions and trim unneeded marketing channels to invest in channels that are bringing your firm revenue.
After you measure the effectiveness of marketing tactics, you need to conduct an upper-level analysis of what tactics were successful so that you can devote more money to what worked. Success is based on whether or not the marketing tactics helped further your revenue and growth goals. Although this process is time-consuming, it is the only way to hone your marketing plan and get to the crux of what works.
How you market your law firm can be the difference between success and failure. If you need a hand with your marketing efforts, consult a well-qualified marketing company, they will have all of the tools to help you reach your goals. Get in touch with our lawyer marketing agency today to get started. e