By the end of 2020, there are roughly 1.33 million lawyers in the United States and 130,000 lawyers in Canada. As traditional offline marketing approaches such as direct mail, print advertising, and newspaper steadily decline, this created room for the steady evolution of legal marketing for lawyers and law firms.
In this essential guide to legal marketing, you will be able to better understand the avenues and strategies for marketing legal services which will aim to get you up and running with a solid marketing plan to strengthen and grow your firm.
Table of Content:
What is Legal Marketing?
Law Firm Marketing Terms
Your Law Firm Brand
Legal Marketing Strategies
Build your Legal Marketing Plan
Steps to Market your Law Firm
Converting your Leads into Paying Clients
Hiring a Legal Marketing Agency
What is Legal Marketing?
Legal marketing is a method by which a lawyer or a law firm implements in order to make their brand more recognizable and trustworthy, leading to people who might potentially hire them for your area of practice.
Legal Marketing has typically been tailored towards a specific target market within the area of practice that the law firm is working with. For instance, an employment law firm will use marketing strategies to reach people who are in need of employment issues and requesting legal advice and action.
With the millions of licensed attorneys across North America, legal marketers have been implementing various marketing techniques in order to reach new clients. By using legal marketing strategies in a highly competitive industry, it can ensure that those seeking legal services will be able to find the lawyer they need.
Law Firm Marketing Terminology
Legal Marketing may not be your forte, but it is important to understand the basic terminology that circulates around in digital marketing. Here are a few Legal Marketing Terminology that you may want to add your vocabulary:
- A/B Testing: is a process for comparing two different variations of a single variable in order to figure out which performs the best.
- Call-To-Action: Also referred to as CTA, the call to action is a clear step that your site visitors take in order to contact you which regards to getting more information or a step towards them becoming a payment client. This could be in a form submission, sharing social contact, clicking ‘’contact us’’ on your website, etc.
- Conversion Rate: is the number of conversions you received divided by the number of visitors. For example, if your website gets 100 visitors per month and 10 of them become paying clients, your conversion rate is 10%. Ultimately, a conversion refers to a desired action that you want someone to take.
- Landing Page: is a standalone web page that is created for a specific purpose; specifically for marketing or advertising campaigns. This is the page where your visitors will ‘land’ on after clicking a link on an ad that they saw either through email, or search engine platforms.
- Marketing Lead: is a potential prospect for your law firm. Someone becomes a marketing lead when they complete an action and to show that they are interested in engaging with the firm further. This could include calling your firm for a legal consultation, completing a form submission or sending you their contact information so that you can reach out to them.
- Pay-per-click (PPC): is an online paid advertising model where lawyers and law firms set a certain amount each time a site visitor clicks on their ad.
- Return on Investment (ROI): is a performance metric used to compare the cost of acquisition to ensure that lawyers are getting a good return on investing in legal marketing.
Building Your Law Firm Brand
Establishing a successful brand isn’t something that you can achieve in one day.
People will pay more for a brand that they trust. The majority of prospective clients look for law firms online and your website is the greatest and first impression of who you are. over 90% of prospective clients search online to seek legal assistance.
Your brand, including the voice, colour, imagery and testimonials that you pick for your firm and your website should represent your firm as well as your area of practice. Similarly, your website’s aesthetics need to be aligned with who you are targeting and the ultimate goal is to convert your visitors to leads and eventually, your clients.
It’s also very important to include a CTA (call to action) with your contact information on every page within your site. A potential client that found you on Google might not land on your home page but rather a contact page, or about us page; which is why you need to make it easy for your visitors to find the information they need in order to contact you.
As a lawyer, you likely already know your clients well based on your experience. Organize this knowledge into client personas. Create a few hypothetical profiles that represent the different types of clients you deal with. Write down their characteristics – focus on their needs, expectations, backstories, etc.
If you haven’t updated your website for a long time, building a new website is also a great time to review and assess your branding. Has it been consistent across the board? Maybe it needs a refresh? People connect with people. And your clients will have to trust you with their problems. No one feels comfortable establishing that kind of personal relationship with a stranger.
Client testimonials and positive reviews are also a form of social proof that reflects and represents your brand and image. When displayed on your website, they show new visitors that your law firm is legitimate and effective.
If you’re considering revamping your brand and looking for a cost-efficient way to develop a new site, check out these tips for website development on a budget.
Building Your Legal Marketing Plan
As a lawyer or attorney running your own law firm, You will need to track many aspects of your business on a monthly basis and build a cadence that works for your firm.
Let’s discuss 6 proven result-driven steps that have helped our clientele grow their law firm:
Step 1: Develop a Team of experts
Not all legal marketing strategies are built the same. Best practices and strategies change constantly, and law firms need support from professionals and experts that have extensive knowledge of legal marketing in order to grow their business. It’s often difficult to determine whether you should do your law firm’s marketing in-house, or whether you should hire a digital marketing agency. Although the best case scenario is to have both – it may not always be financially viable.
In our experience, legal marketing agencies are able to show better results because their team is made up of professionals that specialize in different areas of digital marketing: SEO Specialists, content writers, web developers, online marketing specialists, just to name a few. By having a team dedicated to supporting your professional digital marketing needs, agencies can tailor a strategy and assign specialists to your firm to fulfill and meet your goals.
Step 2: Develop a File Acquisition Plan
Time is money, and we only have so much time to invest in new clients. Therefore, it’s vital to create a File Acquisition Plan to determine who your ideal clients are. Establishing an acquisition strategy helps your law firm grow and the plan helps your firm acquire the right customers in a cost-effective way.
In order to create a basic File Acquisition Plan, you will need to identify who your quality potential clients are. This also plays an important role in determining your digital marketing strategy – since marketing specialists can tailor your marketing plan in order to seek out these clients. As your marketing plan begins to show results, your firm will then need to qualify the lead using various industry methods to determine whether you will be representing the prospective client or not.
Finally, it’s important to track how much you’re spending to acquire these clients. You can determine the cost of customer acquisition (CAC) by dividing the total costs of acquisition by the total number of new clients within a certain time period – we recommend monthly. This is a vital piece of information that every law firm should know, alongside another piece of important information: the total value of your customers.
Step 3: Drive Traffic
There are many different sources to attract potential clients. Some well-known online traffic sources are Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Google My Business
By creating a Google My Business Profile, you are able to connect with potential clients across Google Search and Maps, in addition to managing a business listing on Google. Google My Business is a free tool that gives you the opportunity to promote your Business Profile and website on Google. You can add your business address, hours, phone number and quality pictures to make your business unique, and give another way for your visitors to find you. Your marketing agency can also run search ads on Google to promote your business based on user search queries.
Facebook for Business
By building your presence on Facebook Pages (or other social platforms – Instagram Business Profiles or WhatsApp business profiles), you are able to add your address, business hours and contact information for your visitors. Even though all these features are free, you can also run ads and boost your posts to reach even more people
LinkedIn for Business
LinkedIn for Business allows you to build credibility, connect with your potential clients and gain insider expertise from other experts in your area of practice. There are more than 30 million companies that use LinkedIn for Business, and you shouldn’t be an exception. LinkedIn offers a variety of marketing tools available for every business type and size. Start by creating a LinkedIn Page, create your profile and add your company logo as a profile picture. Make sure you add your address, and description telling people your vision, mission, and values.
After all these platforms have been created, make sure you connect them to your website to promote more organic engagement.
STEP 4: Capture Leads
Leads are people looking for more information but are not ready to commit. They may call for more information or subscribe to an email list for one-way communication. In order to determine where your leads are coming from and to target your ideal audience, it’s important to create dedicated sales landing pages and implement lead capture technology.
Dedicated Sales Landing Pages
Statistics show that by using landing pages, your campaign traffic can increase in conversion rate by roughly 25%. Having headlines, or one unique selling proposition, captures the attention of the viewer that’s looking specifically for your area of practice. Landing pages can directly cater to the business goal you are trying to achieve. When you use a landing page for a specific campaign, you will often see what channels are bringing in the most leads. Tracking these trends provide valuable insight and can help you redefine your campaign strategies and improve its effectiveness over time.
Lead Capture Technology
Lead capture is a system in which your lead’s information is recorded and stored in order to convert the lead to a paying client. This can be done in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or for smaller businesses; as simple as a Google spreadsheet. Either way, it’s important to track your clientele and make sure no valuable lead is lost or ignored.
STEP 5: Nurture Prospects
Sales prospects are ready for two-way communication with a brand, either through emails, phone calls or in-person meetings. This is the time to build trust and engagement.
A resource center can be stored on your website and a content writer can create articles with valuable information about your law firm and area of practice. By consistently outputting resources on your website, you are encouraging engagement with your site’s content and this will also help to improve your organic ranking on search engines. These resources can also be sent to your prospects in a carefully tailored email campaign, or sent to a particular prospect that is interested in the information you have to provide. By doing so, you are setting yourself up for success, and letting your prospects know that you are the experts in your area of practice.
We’ll discuss this in more detail shortly.
STEP 6: Know your Numbers
Now that you know where your leads and prospects are coming from, it is time to create a simple reporting framework. This reporting framework is an overview of all the digital marketing efforts. Tracked on a weekly or monthly basis, the report should have the following information:
- Your marketing investments amount
- The number of website visitors
- The number of leads captured
- Your cost per lead
- The conversion rate (the number of visitors that turns into leads)
- The number of consultations booked with your law firm
- The cost per consultation
- The number of new clients that you will be representing
- The consultation to close rate percentage
- The number of revenue generated
- The return on investment
These key performance indicators (KPIs) provide your law firm with measurable values that demonstrate how effective your strategy is in achieving new business. By maintaining this reporting framework, you will be able to evaluate your progress towards reaching your targets for growing your law firm.
Legal Marketing Strategies
Legal marketing is constantly evolving and law firms need to stay innovative and utilize new techniques to establish brand recognition. Here are a few techniques that you can use to improve your online presence:
Paid Advertising + Search Advertising
Nowadays, a majority of people start their search for legal advice and services on search engines. Paid Advertising means that you are paying to have your brand and message shown on websites that are related to legal services or your area of practice. This is a powerful and effective way for many law firms. Search Advertising is a marketing technique where online advertisements in search engine results. One major channel being Google. Each month, firms that place ads in the search results will pay a small fee each time a visitor clicks on their ads (this is known as ‘pay-per-click’ advertising).
However, this strategy isn’t for everyone. Due to the competitive nature of legal services, law-related keywords can be expensive. In addition, unless you have a firm understanding of paid search specifically, targeting the wrong keywords could lead to costs and you may not receive the quality leads that you were looking for. Because of this, it is important to understand your audience, do your keyword research and establish a realistic budget.
Here are marketing tips that will help you get the most return out of your paid advertising:
- Conduct Competitive Research and Differentiate Yourself
- Ensure that your geo-targeting is set up correctly
- Ensure that your ads are relevant to your area of practice and your target clientele
- Establish a way to funnel your leads so potential prospects are missed
- Use creatives, such as videos and images on your Landing Pages
- Without jeopardizing your site speed, have an Online Chat in place on your website
- Invest in your brand and use Display Advertising
- Track your progress, key metrics and performance
- Invest not only in Google but also on other search engines such as Bing
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (also known as SEO) is a practice of driving more potential clients to your firm’s website and increasing your website’s position on search engine results pages. The goal is to get your website on the top of search results, more specifically on the first page. Unlike Search Advertising, SEO doesn’t take into consideration the ads that show up in the results pages.
Once a visitor clicks on the link within the organic search results, they’ll be redirected to your website where they are able to get more information about your area of practice and law firm, with the ultimate goal of reaching out to learn more about your legal services.
One of the challenges that come with SEO for law firms is to figure out how they are able to get their firm to the first page of the search engine results. Fortunately, there are several solutions that can help improve your ranking and cut be broken down into three main categories:
- Content: Content includes any images, articles and videos that are on the pages of your website. By ensuring that you have high-quality content, it will essentially improve your user’s experience and will improve your website’s ranking; especially if the content is able to fulfill your user’s intent.
- Backlinks and Off-Page Citations: These include the impressions, credibility and expertise that your firm has online compared to your competitors. This is generally influenced by the number of external website domains and pages that are referring to your content.
- Technical SEO: Finally, the user experience is a major factor when Search Engines (such as Google and Bing). Technical SEO can incorporate anything from your page load speed, title tags and site structure
SEO is a long-term strategy. It’s like running a marathon as opposed to spring. Your online presence won’t improve instantly, but rather over a long period of time by focusing on creating new content to bring in more potential clients, building backlinks, and generating positive client reviews.
For more information on how you can use search engine optimization to grow your law firm, read our Complete SEO Essentials Guide
Social Media Marketing
In the digital age where almost everything is only a click away, by embracing social media, you’re able to reach a larger audience through platforms such as Facebook, Linked In, Instagram and Twitter.
Social media can help drive potential prospects to your law firm’s website. On your social channels, you’re able to promote your values, articles, expertise and by doing so – you slowly improve your credibility and show people that you know what you’re doing. It is also a great way to promote your profile through social networking and joining groups that are relevant to your area of practice.
Best part? Unless you want to dabble in paid and sponsored ads on social platforms, posting on your social channels is free!
While your individual plan should be unique to you, here are a few best practices that you can use to establish a structured online social presence:
- Make sure you know the rules and responsibilities that you have as a lawyer before posting social media
- Identify your goal and establish a posting schedule. Be consistent.
- Identify what works for you and what you believe will grow your law firm
- Dedicate the proper time and attention to each of the social channels you manage and create
- Engage with your people through comments and messages
- Track your results and performances
You can also check out other Tips to Grow your Firm Using Social Media
How to Market your Law Firm
With the right approach and the right resources, you can implement a marketing plan for your firm – regardless of the size of your law firm. Here are several ways to market your law firm:
- Set a Marketing Goal: You need to have a SMART goal and establish your key performance indicators. For example, before creating a marketing campaign, what is it that you would like to achieve through this campaign? Is it to generate more leads? Do you want x amount of new clients per month? Would you like more followers on your social media platforms? Etc
- Establish a Marketing Budget: The general rule of thumb is to reinvest 10% of your overall revenue back into your own legal marketing budget. This marketing budget can be used towards updates to your website, digital marketing campaigns and ad spend, or hiring a digital marketing agency to help manage your campaigns.
- Develop or improve your website: A well-structured website can help your visitors easily find the information they need. It can also help you rank higher in search results and organically generate more exposure for your content, effectively creating more opportunities for prospects to find out about your law firm – and convert into clients.
- Optimize your Website for Search Engines: When selecting pages to display in the SERP (search engine result page), Google uses a number of ranking factors to determine what the user should see. If you want Google to categorize your content as relevant to searches pertaining to the area of law that you practice, make sure you’re using the right keywords across the board. Prominence is a ranking factor that ranks your website against your competitors and tells Google how reliable your business is. proximity can affect the order in which they appear. A well-optimized GMB listing gives Google all the information the search engine needs to identify your business as local.
- Measure and Track all your Marketing Campaign KPIs: Key performance indicators can let you know how your campaigns are performing, and what adjustments and revisions need to be made, in order to improve the strategy. Without them, even though the emails and calls might come in, they may not be the quality leads that you’re looking for. Read more about the Most Important Law Firm Marketing KPI Metrics
- Take Advantage of Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a powerful marketing tool that allows you to keep track of all the content that’s been viewed or shared. Using this information, you can gather stats for your search engine optimization and marketing purposes, and also to see how your marketing campaigns are performing.
Converting your Leads into Paying Clients
We talk a lot about generating more leads for your firm – and the time and money investment required to do so. But we don’t often talk about what happens to those potential clients once you have them. In order to convert more potential leads into paying clients and to increase your overall return on investment (ROI), you need a full-proof system that prevents your leads from falling through the cracks. Now, we’ll talk about some tips in creating a systematic lead management process, which converts lead into clients at the highest possible rate.
Create a management tool to track all your leads
As we mentioned before, a CRM system is important in tracking and managing all the potential prospects that come in so that no one is missed in the marketing funnel. Many larger law firms will opt for a CRM system, whereas small to medium-sized firms may opt for a Google or Excel spreadsheet or a database stored with information of your leads will also work.
Choosing the right system for you depends on several factors:
- The size of your practice
- The volume of leads that you intend to generate or are currently generating
- Your overall marketing and operating budget
- The resources that you have available to manage the system
The intention is to create a database of information so that you and the rest of your team are aware of the sales process and how to deal with leads. You can also keep track of where your leads are coming from (eg.: referrals, email marketing, organic web traffic, or paid search traffic) and tailor your marketing efforts to the highest performing strategy.
Make an effort to contact a potential client within 15 minutes
It’s crucial that you make every effort possible to respond to your leads within 15 minutes. According to Maclean, there are roughly one lawyer for every 420 people in Canada and one lawyer for every 250 people in the United States. Since most clients nowadays start their search for legal support through some sort of search engine (ex: Google), it’s likely that they will call another lawyer and ‘shop around for more information.
A study by Clio shows that on average, 35% of calls from potential leads go unanswered. When they aren’t able to reach you, they will probably move on to the next firm. Being responsive is the first step in building trust and will maximize the likelihood of a lead converting to a client.
Make three to five attempts to contact each prospect
Think of sales like a funnel, where prospects enter at the top of the funnel and exit at the bottom as customers.
We understand that client matters take up most of your time, in addition to the operational efforts that a firm needs to manage in order for the practice to run. However, if you don’t take time to nurture the leads that come in, your business will run dry.
Unfortunately, many lawyers give up on their leads too soon. Studies have shown that persistence pays when it comes to sales. You should make a conscious effort to contact every prospect at least three to five times, or until you hear back from them. The more follow-up attempts you make, the more likely you will be able to get through.
Follow up with leads in the future if you don’t receive a response
You want to ensure that you stay engaged even if you didn’t hear a response back from your lead. In general, only around ten percent of prospective clients are ready to hire a lawyer now. By continuing to engage with those potential clients, your firm will stay top of their minds so that they won’t go looking for another attorney when the timing is right. By committing to improving the speed and persistence of your follow-up, you’re more likely to have a higher ROI.
One way to continue to nurture these types of leads and maintain a strong level of engagement is through email marketing. Providing information and insight through general updates, newsletters, articles and FAQs could be valuable to those leads that were looking for your services and area of practice. You can add more value through outreach if you tailor and target the types of communication you’re providing.
Pre-Qualify a Lead by Using an Online Intake Form
Having a clear call-to-action (CTA) on your website is important, but having a form that your potential clients can fill out will give them the opportunity to share information with you. However, even when you receive the form, you should still call every lead. The information that you receive may not contain information that would qualify them, but it’ll give them the chance to share their reason for reaching out to your firm.
Many law firms have adopted a case management solution for inputting all of their client information, but very few have some sort of process of collecting this information. By using an online intake form, you are able to benefit from the following:
- They can reduce the time it takes to record all the information you need
- It eliminates the possibility for a message being miscommunicated and reduces human error
- You’re able to structure information into a usable format that’s compatible with your CRM or database
- You make it easy for clients to submit the information you need to do your job
Hiring a Legal Marketing Agency
Legal marketing has become an affordable medium – it’s more cost-effective than traditional marketing. Our team is working with law firms of all sizes and budgets, and we can create a tailored, optimized digital marketing strategy that will work, no matter the size of your business.
Digital marketing offers a wide array of strategies that allow law firms to accomplish their goals. If you’re considering investing in it but you’re not sure what types of digital marketing services can help your firm in particular.
Here are a few specific ways that digital marketing agencies can help with your law firm.
Reaching new clients at cost with SEM
Pay-per-click advertising (also known as PPC) generally refers to paid online advertising. This tactic helps you generate leads through advertising on Google or Bing (search engine marketing or SEM), on other websites (display advertising), and on social media.
Google, Bing, Facebook, and LinkedIn are becoming popular advertising platforms for law firms to leverage their businesses. Advertising agencies can determine who your ideal target audience are, and tailor the ads, keywords and landing pages to increase conversions, so you’re not spending your resources on paid ads that have the potential to fail.
Converting website visitors to clients with CRO
So you’ve spent money to drive traffic and bring visitors to your website. But now that they’re on your web pages, they’re leaving without converting or interacting.
That’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in. CRO strategies may include removing unnecessary form fields, adding testimonials, adding live chat to your site and testing several headlines and landing pages. For us, it starts with running a site-wide audit that identifies gaps and roadblocks that can affect your conversions. Our digital marketing agency is able to extract this information using our advanced analytics software specifically created for legal websites. Marketing specialists then take this information and redesign the existing platform to improve the quality of your leads.
Generating leads through effective website design
Having a good website can help you capture leads and grow your law firm. An optimized website can also help your firm succeed with better visibility in organic search results and consistent image and branding. However, developing a website is often a costly and laborious process.
If you were to build the website yourself, you would need to consider the purpose, the type, the design, the speed, the functionality, all while managing your firm and handling cases. Outsourcing your web design and development takes away the strenuous process and doesn’t have to break the bank.
Digital marketing agencies can help with that. Agency web designers and brand strategists can help you plan and implement cost-effective solutions that will strengthen your online presence and attract new clients to your firm. Working with an agency can also help you optimize your new site for SEO purposes so that you don’t lose your online ranking in the process of moving websites.
Building a strong online presence with SEO
Search Engine Optimization (also known as SEO) allows law firms to improve their site’s visibility in Google search results.
Getting on the first page of Google is no simple feat and it can take months or even years of constant optimization, monitoring, analytics and strategizing in order to improve your firm’s search ranking. A survey of 100 top websites shows that only 10 percent of consumers who search for a service online will make it to page 2 of Google Search Traffic. Keyword research, publishing relevant articles and optimizing your page speed and site navigation are just a few ways to improve your site’s ranking.
Digital marketing agencies have a systematic process that can consistently produce results for their clients within their specific specialties. Our team of experts knows legal marketing inside and out. At Soulpepper, our goal is to get your business on the first page of Google.
Building trust with content marketing
Content marketing involves creating online blogs, articles or videos that may not directly promote your law firm, but instead offer great information and insight to those that are looking for your services. Having relevant articles on your website leads to a better online ranking and will improve your SEO. It also makes you a more credible and authoritative resource in your specialized area of practice.
Statistics show 77% of marketers plan to increase content production in the next year and 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading their content. You could write an article about child or spousal support if your area of expertise is family law, or slip and falls for personal injury lawyers.
However, this is easier said than done. Oftentimes, creating content can be a full-time job in itself, and small/medium-sized businesses may not have the resources, the time or the marketing knowledge to incorporate this into their digital marketing portfolio – even though it can be beneficial for lawyers.
Digital marketing agencies have content creators who spend extensive hours researching and gathering supporting data in order to create impactful and masterful articles for their clients to generate more traffic, more leads and improve your site’s ranking on Google.
Are You Looking for a full-service digital marketing agency?
At Soulpepper Legal Marketing, we offer a wide array of digital marketing services catered and tailored towards lawyers and law firms. If you’d like to see how we can help your law firm grow online, give us a call or get in touch via our contact form.
As Premier Google Partners, we are boosted by our access to a wealth of resources, tools and insights from our legal firm network. Our digital agency offers everything from web design to analytics and reporting services to everything discussed in this article. We are all that your brand needs to stand out online and increase your triple bottom line.