There was a time when billboards, bus benches, and TV ads were the primary ways to market legal services. But over the years, legal marketing has changed. More avenues are now available for reaching potential clients, and more lawyers are gravitating towards digital marketing.
Over 33% of legal clients start their search for a lawyer online. Also, 96% of those seeking legal advice turn to the internet. For that reason, it is important for law firms to maintain visibility online. It helps build brand awareness and can also enhance the thought leadership reputation of the firm.
Are you looking to market your law firm online but don’t know where to start or what works best? Below are some methods law firms across the United States have found useful as part of their online legal marketing efforts.
Popular online marketing methods
In a recent survey of U.S. law firms conducted by Good2bSocial and the Legal Marketing Association, respondents were asked about their usage of various digital marketing strategies and the effectiveness of each platform in reaching their marketing goals. To measure success, legal marketers looked for increased engagement and traffic as well as number of leads generated and new clients gained. Here’s the breakdown:
When asked to rank the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, content marketing came out on top, followed by specifically blogging, email marketing and organic social media. As these tactics can be grouped under the content marketing umbrella, it’s safe to say that sharing helpful content with your audience is a popular way to build brand, engender trust and provide value!
Unlike other forms of legal marketing, content marketing does not explicitly promote legal services. Instead, it provides useful information that addresses general legal issues. Content marketing is effective because it provides answers to your audience’s questions while simultaneously familiarizing them with your services and offering.
It’s not surprising so many firms find producing content worth the effort. Legal websites with a blog that was not recently updated generated 2.37 times more visits than sites without a blog. Websites with an active legal blog received 15.9 times more visits than websites without a blog. Blogging can also play a key role in supporting search engine optimization efforts which looks at the amount of relevant content on your pages as one way of deciding the ranking of your website.
Social Media Marketing
A significant 97% of the lawyers surveyed reported using social media platforms to share and promote content with their audience. This type of marketing can be easy to adopt, quick to implement and a low cost way of communicating your brand to potential clients.
Out of those utilizing organic social media (page posts, sharing content, commenting), Linkedin was over and above the most helpful for their marketing efforts. Particularly valuable for B2B practices, Linkedin can allow for targeted outreach, a good forum for sharing relevant content and personal connections with other businesses.
The number of firms using paid social media (boosted posts and ads) was lower, with many citing the additional investment required and firm buy-in as barriers. Paid social media marketing requires a level of technical optimization to get the best results, with special attention paid to creative and audiences to make sure you’re reaching the right people, with the right message. Both Facebook and Linkedin advertising are the most popular advertising channels on social being used to reach firms’ marketing goals.
Email marketing is an effective channel for maintaining relationships with those already in your network. It can help drive repeat business and lead to referrals, at a lesser cost than that of acquiring a new client. 85% of respondents said they used email marketing to communicate with clients and prospects and it was one of the highest tactics in terms of effectiveness for reaching the firm’s marketing goals.
Email can be a great way to share the content you’ve produced for blogs to a wider audience, for informing your network about significant industry changes, and for keeping your firm as top of mind and positioned as subject matter experts and thought leaders in your area of practice.
Search Engine Marketing
A majority of the firms surveyed were optimizing their websites for organic search (SEO) to some level but only a quarter had a comprehensive SEO strategy in place. Firms can enhance the effectiveness of this channel by investing the time in solid keyword research to understand their audiences behavior, and developing a solid plan for optimizing their site, content and off-site strategies. Like any reputation, the value of your firms’ website in the eyes of Google takes time to build. SEO is a longer-term strategy that is about steadily curating your site into a highly valuable resource.
Pay-per-click advertising on search was a less-utilized online marketing method. This is most likely due to additional budget required and the relative technical complexity of these campaigns. This raises an opportunity for firms who are willing to invest in a program that will raise their profile on the search engine results page. With the right plan in place, PPC ads can see success in lead generation much quicker than organic strategies, can reach potential clients at a pivotal time in their decision making process, and allows firms to finely hone the audience they are targeting.
Implementing online marketing initiatives
If you are planning to implement online legal marketing initiatives, you could choose to hire marketing staff, but that can be expensive. You could also train your lawyers to run campaigns, but that requires time that would be better spent catering to the needs of your clients. Unsurprisingly, 55% of the legal marketers surveyed said that a lack of time was one of the challenges they faced when trying to implement digital marketing strategies.
Fortunately, there is the option of hiring a marketing agency that specializes in legal marketing. When you hire a legal marketing agency, you get access to experts with experience in all forms of digital marketing at a fraction of the cost of hiring an entire marketing team. With the help of an agency, you can create a customized online legal marketing plan that will achieve maximum growth for your firm.
Need help with legal marketing?
At Soulpepper Legal Marketing, we have helped law firms of varying sizes grow their business online, and we would love to help you too.