The world of digital marketing presents many opportunities for law firms in the form of generating new leads and finding more clients. No matter the size of your firm, or the services you provide, digital marketing is crucial for any law firm that wants to attract more clients.
In this in-depth guide to digital marketing, we’ll cover the following to help you successfully market your firm, including:
- What is digital marketing?
- Why is marketing important for your law firm?
- How much should your law firm spend on marketing?
- How to create a marketing plan?
- What marketing tactics should I use?
- What metrics should you track and measure?
- Digital Marketing For Your Law Firm In a Nutshell
What is digital marketing?
Simply put, digital marketing includes all marketing efforts that rely on the Internet or mobile technology – such as your smartphone. It’s a fairly broad term that encompasses various techniques and digital channels, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media, content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), online reviews, and reputation management.
We’ll cover each of these important tactics in this guide and discuss how they can be used to bring more clients into your practice.
Why is marketing important for your law firm?
While you could try to rely solely on word-of-mouth referrals and potential repeat business to generate leads, this means that growing your firm is outside of your control. It is in the hands of your customers. A far more effective strategy is to not ignore word of mouth referrals but to also bring in new clients through digital marketing efforts.
For example, while a bankruptcy attorney might get some word of mouth referrals, they can’t expect someone they helped to come back to them again and again to keep filing more bankruptcies. Instead, the attorney would need to find new clients that needed their services. This means hanging out and advertising where your potential clients are.
Historically, most law firms have relied on traditional marketing tactics, such as print ads, billboards, and television commercials to reach their prospective clients. While these types of tactics can be effective in certain markets and demographics, it’s vital for law firms to have a digital marketing strategy in place designed to generate leads and drive brand awareness.
Now more than ever, consumers are researching companies online. If you don’t have a web and social media presence, your law office is unlikely to be found where potential clients are searching.
However, it’s not just visibility that’s the issue. If the only thing prospects can find out about your firm on Google is your address, you’ll come across as unprofessional and untrustworthy. Prospects might even doubt that you’re still in business.
You could have decades of experience in your area of practice, but if you don’t even have a simple website, the prospect will ignore your firm and contact the lawyer with a web presence.
How much should your law firm spend on marketing?
The amount you spend on marketing is unique to your firm. It can be difficult to gauge whether you’re spending too much or too little on marketing as a business.
Multiple factors can influence your firm’s ideal marketing budget, such as revenue, size, goals, and more. Legal Executive Institute recently published the average amount law firms spend on marketing and business development sits at 2% of revenue or approximately $19,000 per $1,000,000 in revenue.
This percentage seems to be the sweet spot for marketing spend, but it certainly isn’t a hard and fast number that every firm should shoot for.
The data also indicated that firms that spent more than the benchmark 2% on marketing and business development were the ones that had higher growth metrics such as productivity and demand. The data indicate that the growth was likely due to increased marketing efforts.
Spending 2% of your firm’s annual revenue may or may not be an ideal target for your needs. However, knowing this number can help you gauge whether your spending is close to the average.
Finding out how much your law firm should be spending on marketing is a game of trial and error. You’ll have to experiment with different types of marketing and budgets to find your own sweet spot that brings in a sufficient amount of new clients.
How to create a marketing plan, and what should be included?
The beauty of digital marketing is that there are many different channels and strategies you can use. We recommend starting out by experimenting with a variety of marketing tactics within your budget to find what works best for your firm.
The downside to this flexibility is the potential for all of the available options to become overwhelming. This is why it’s important to establish a plan before moving forward with tactics.
A key component to developing an effective digital marketing plan is to define your goals and the purpose of the strategy upfront. This means sitting down and asking yourself these crucial questions:
What are your goals?
When you answer this question, think beyond the obvious. It might seem like enough to say that your goal is to get new clients. However, you need to be more specific. When setting your goal, make sure it’s a “SMART” goal – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
For example, instead of the broad goal of getting new clients, you could set a goal of bringing in five new clients per month for a year. This goal is attainable, actionable, and can easily be measured.
Who is your ideal client?
Before you can determine what type of marketing tactics will be the most effective, you need to understand who you will be marketing to. Creating a buyer persona can help you with this.
A buyer persona is a fictional profile of your ideal client based on market research and the information you have on your existing customers. Be sure to include demographics, motivations, goals, and behavior patterns.
For example, how old are they? Where do they live? What is a problem they have that your firm could solve? Once you have a persona written down, you can gear your messaging and marketing efforts toward them.
What marketing tactics will you use?
This question is a bit more complex than determining your goals. As mentioned above, there are many marketing tactics you can choose from. Think about your budget, your in-house capabilities, or what you would be willing to hire out, and where your buyer persona could find your advertisements or digital presence.
What marketing tactics should I use?
Here are five of the most common digital marketing tactics that fit well into most law firm marketing strategies:
You’re going to need more than a pretty website to attract new clients. Your prospects also have to be able to find you when they’re searching. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the way to do it.
In its most basic terms, SEO is the process of increasing your site’s visibility for specific, relevant searches. The more visible your web pages are by search engines, the more likely they are to get search traffic.
For example, if you’ve determined that your ideal customer lives in Asheville, North Carolina and needs an attorney to help them obtain child custody, you would optimize your website for search terms like “Ashville family lawyer,” “Ashville NC child custody law firm,” or possibly “child custody help near me.”
These are all terms that your buyer persona would be typing into a search engine when they need your services. When the user searches for these terms, if your website is optimized for SEO, then it would appear in the first results.
SEO works when search engines like Google and Bing crawl web pages looking for information they can index. These would be the words on your web pages, as well as the text used to describe images on your website.
Complex algorithms analyze the indexed pages and apply additional ranking factors to determine the order that pages appear in for specific searches. Search engines want to give users the most valuable and relevant information possible.
When writing your web pages for SEO, make sure you’re giving your visitors valuable information and not just stuffing your page with as many keywords as possible.
SEO is a crucial component of any digital marketing strategy because of the high volume of searches conducted each day. Keep in mind that the primary source of digital traffic is often through search. This means you need to have a website written for SEO so clients can find you when they’re searching for a law firm.
Having a good social media presence is a crucial piece of digital marketing and PR for any law firm. Through social platforms, you can connect with your audience, improve your brand awareness, drive web traffic, and generate new leads. You can even run paid social advertisements on your chosen platform. Be sure to craft a compelling and informative bio for your profile.
Having a social media strategy doesn’t mean having a presence on every social platform. In fact, in some cases, you can even land new clients without even having a social media account. You risk spreading yourself too thin if you try to have an active account on every popular or trending social platform.
Just because you see a competitor in the area doing well on Twitter doesn’t mean it’s time to jump ship on Facebook and pour all of your social marketing efforts into Twitter. Add Twitter to your strategy if it makes sense to do so, but don’t just do it because you see someone else on there.
We recommend starting small. Pick one or two social platforms to begin with and focus on growing your audience there. You can always add an additional platform once you’ve mastered them.
- Produce quality, helpful content.
- Reply to any comments in a timely fashion
- Make sure your social account has your contact information or website link easily accessible.
- Ask your customers to leave a review or testimonial
For example, if you use Facebook, search for posts in relevant groups pertaining to your area of expertise. If you see someone asking for legal advice in your practice area, you can offer an informative response or let them know you’re happy to discuss their question in a free consultation or private message.
Remember, social media allows you to directly communicate with your prospects. Use this to your advantage and let your audience know that your firm has real people that are genuinely interested in helping.
Content marketing allows you to share your expertise and be seen as a thought leader in your niche. It can also drive new leads to your law firm and deepen relationships with your existing clients.
Adding frequent, fresh content to your site in the form of a quality blog is a surefire way to get the attention of search engines.
Pro Tip: Not sure how to get started? Check out our post on how to start a blog even if you aren’t a writer.
However, content marketing lets you implement even more creative options, such as white papers, podcasts, ebooks, webinars, quizzes, and guides, to add value to your audience. Experiment with different tactics, but be sure that the content you produce is timely, educational, and tailored to your buyer persona.
Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a digital advertising model where you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. There are multiple types of PPC, but the most common is a paid search ad that appears when users perform searches on Google.
For example, if someone were to search for “litigation lawyer in Chicago” and you are bidding competitively on that keyword, your website would show up at the top of the page with paid search results.
Display advertising is another type of PPC. This includes banner ads and remarketing. For example, say that the same person searching for a commercial law attorney stopped looking for a law firm and started looking for chili recipes to make for dinner. On a cooking blog, they could see an ad pop up for a commercial law firm. The ad essentially follows them, and the law firm would pay for the click if they were to follow it.
PPC can be customized to target specific search terms and keywords, set criteria, and can be capped. This means you set a budget so your ad stops being displayed if you’ve already paid the maximum amount you want for the clicks. Because of this, it’s easy to budget for PPC ads and work them into your marketing plan.
Pro Tip: If you are brand new to PPC ads, we recommend starting with retargeting ads.
Online reviews and reputation management
Clients are turning to the internet to share their experiences with companies. Whether the review is left on Google, your social channels, your website, Yelp, or other directories, you can expect your former or current clients to leave a review and detail their experience for the world to see.
It’s important that you stay on top of these reviews and comment regularly. It’s always nice to see a glowing review, and it can make your company look even better if you take the time to thank the person for writing it. Tell them it was a pleasure to work with them and personalize the response, if possible.
For example, a commercial law firm might reply to a positive review with something like this, “Thank you for your review! We were happy to work with you, and we’re excited for you to start your new business. Best of luck!”
It’s even more crucial that you promptly respond to negative reviews. Be professional. Never argue with clients over the internet. Even if what they’re saying is slanderous or inaccurate. Simply tell them you’re sorry they didn’t have a positive experience with your firm and offer to make it right. Ask them to contact you to discuss their experience.
By responding to negative reviews in this manner, you help protect your reputation by letting other people see that you’re only human and trying to make it right. Everyone makes mistakes.
Unfortunately, people are more likely to leave reviews when their experience is negative. To help ensure you get plenty of positive reviews, ask your clients to leave you a review or testimonial if they had a good experience.
You can do this in person or make it even easier by emailing past clients with a link that takes them directly to the place they can leave the review.
What metrics should you track and measure?
It’s difficult to gauge the success of your digital marketing efforts if you aren’t tracking the results. Here are three key metrics commonly used to track the performance of law firm marketing strategies.
Top referring sources
How are people hearing about you? Check where the initial point of contact came from. Did someone click on your PPC ad? Did they find your website from a Facebook post? It’s important to track exactly where leads come from so you can see which tactics are working best for your firm. This will help you determine if you need to adjust your strategy.
Average sales cycle
How long does it take for someone to go from first hearing about you to being a customer?
For example, when they sign up for a consultation or call your office for the first time. Look at the messaging that was used, all of the interactions they had up to that point, and where the lead first heard about you.
For instance, a lead could sign up for your newsletter and after a few emails, they respond to a specific email that discusses child support options. The email containing child support information would be what converted the lead, not the newsletter sign up form.
Return on Investment
What’s the ROI? Return on investment (ROI) is an important metric to determine not just if your marketing efforts are generating leads, but if they’re profitable. Analyze the cost of acquiring the lead with the resulting revenue. This will help you determine the effectiveness of specific tactics and whether any changes need to be made.
Digital Marketing For Your Law Firm In a Nutshell
There are many options when it comes to crafting a digital marketing strategy for your law firm. Be sure to take the time to establish a marketing plan before simply executing on a bunch of tactics. Putting consistent effort into your marketing strategy will go a long way in helping you stand out from your competitors online.
Want help from the experts? This is something our team specializes in. To learn more about how TitleTap can help your law firm get more clients and rank high in search engines like Google and Bing, schedule a call today.
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