Getting Started with Law Firm Marketing Without Breaking a Sweat
Law firm marketing may seem like a daunting undertaking.
There’s the time you spend trying to figure out how you’re going to best reach your target audience. And wondering if any of it will work. If I’m being honest, law firm marketing isn’t something that most attorneys look forward to doing. Even if they enjoy being creative, it can be difficult to stay on top of marketing every month, every week and every day (and when it comes to law firm marketing:Be consistent, or don’t bother.)
Do Or Do Not. There is No Try.
Like anything else in life, you get what you put into it. Don’t half-try anything related to your marketing plan.
Now, for some lawyers, this could mean that you make sure that you stay on top of every aspect you’ve listed in your firm’s marketing plan. It could mean that you partner with an expert who knows what it takes to get you in front of your target market.
But it also means that you need to make sure that you create a killer marketing plan. Yet, before you write your law firm marketing plan, you need to understand its purpose. Of course, you can have more than one purpose behind your marketing plan. Let’s look at some of the questions you should ask yourself:
- Why do you need the marketing plan?
- What is the goal of your marketing? It’s important to have clearly defined goals so that you know whether your law firm marketing plan is effective.
- Do you want to more clients?
- Are you looking to generate more leads?
- Do you just want people to know you exist?
- Are you simply looking to nurture/support referrals?
- Are you looking to establish yourself as the go-to thought leader in your area practice area?
The answers to those questions are important. They help you set the tone for your marketing plan.
- Related: Law Firm Marketing Plan Template
For example, let’s say you want to create a blog or author articles within your practice areas. That’s great! Content marketing is a big deal, and does wonders for marketing your law firm.
What you write depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to attract more clients or leads, you’re going to answer the burning questions of your target market related to your practice area. You’re still trying to establish yourself as an expert, but you want them to call you because you can help them.
Next, we’re going to look at the components that make up lawyer marketing best practices, but there’s something you should know. You can have the best plan in the world, but it does you absolutely no good if you don’t follow through on it. Consistent follow through is how you’ll meet the goals you set.
Networking. Lunches, seminars, dinners, or whatever strikes your fancy. Many lawyers get new business from referrals. And networking is a great way to get referrals. So, go to those networking events hosted by your favorite bar associations. Go out to lunch or dinner with clients or other lawyers. Get active in your community. Get yourself out there. You can’t expect to hit a home run if you decide to sit on the bench.
PR opportunities. Find ways to get your name out there. Look for opportunities to write for industry magazines or blogs. Talk to local talk radio hosts and offer to provide insight on local stories. Do some good deeds. Create a good reason for your community (and your target market) to hear from you or about you.
Website and content. What do most people do now when they need to find a lawyer? They grab their smartphone or open their laptop and look online. Your website and its content is one of the most important components of your law firm marketing plan. Your website (including blog posts) should be SEO optimized, easy to read, and mobile friendly.
Online advertising. Online advertising is more than just your website. It includes, but isn’t limited to, PPC ads on search engines, and paid ads or sponsorship opportunities. PPC means pay-per-click. Think about the last time you used Google. The first few results probably had the word “AD” next to them. PPC requires extensive research to get the most bang for your buck.
Social media. Consider where your target market can be found on social media. Make sure that your law firm has an active presence there. Ideally you’ll want a profile on more than one social media site. You may also need to consider sponsored posts and other advertising methods. And don’t forget YouTube. YouTube (and even Facebook Live) present valuable opportunities for you to get yourself in front of the literal eyeballs of your target market.
Offline advertising. You’ll want to be selective with your offline advertising methods. TV and radio ads aren’t cheap. There are also billboards, bus stop ads, sponsorship of local recreational sports leagues, and other ways that you can get your message out to the local masses. These methods can work, but they’re a shotgun-effect approach, which means you have limited control over who sees your advertising, and limited (if any) data that you can use to measure and analyze results.
Email marketing. Email marketing is critical part of marketing a law firm, and ultimately enhances all of your other marketing initiatives.There is a right way and a wrong way to use email marketing. The wrong way is to spam useless information. You want to inform. You want to provide great information. You want to create and maintain a relationship with others who’ve benefited from your services or who may benefit from them. Email can also be used in a way that is simple, nice, and keeps you at the top of your clients’ minds. Tell them happy birthday or happy anniversary. Drop a quick line to just check in and see how they’re doing.
We know…it’s a lot. You’re probably wondering how you’re
supposed to create and implement a law firm marketing plan while you’re
actually running your practice…especially after we told you to go big or go
home. That brings us to our next tip.
Hire a Professional… But Do Your Research First
It’s a really bad idea for a lawyer to just hire a professional and wash their hands of the whole thing. In fact, doing so could lead to a bar investigation for violating ethical rules of lawyers providing proper supervision to non-lawyers. And, it’s important that you look for a professional who treats you as a partner as well as someone who has a lot of experience in legal marketing. You do not want to be (nor should you be) someone’s guinea pig.
And just because a web designer or marketing agency has a few law firms in their portfolio does not mean they’re truly experts in legal marketing.
Do your research on lawyer marketing best practices. Things like SEO best practices change on a fairly regular basis. There are also some standard, long-standing rules. For example, don’t keyword stuff and don’t hide keywords you want to rank for in a text color that matches your background. That’s a big no-no and can get you penalized by the search engines.
Understand the basics of what makes for a good click-thru rate and a standard conversion rate. Know the basics of how PPC works. Review the best practices of email marketing, social media marketing, and the rules in your jurisdiction for those subjects.
If nothing else, doing this research will help you have an educated conversation about your law firm marketing needs and find a partner who can provide you with the proper support and guidance while helping you get results.
Get and Track Data
Data is a buzz word in every industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re advertising online, offline, or both, you need to track and analyze your data. This will help you know what’s working and what needs to be changed. What marketing initiatives you should double-down on, and what you should cut.
You should track:
- Website analytics
- Social media engagement
- How many phone calls, emails, leads, or clients from your offline efforts
- Click-thru from emails, ads, and social media posts
- How many subscribers you’re getting
- The number of requests to unsubscribe
- The number of likes, followers, decrease in likes, and unfollowers for social media
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it…but if it’s not working, the sooner you change it, the less it will cost you in potential or actual business (and money).
Closing the Loop
Remember, your law firm marketing plan is ultimately your
responsibility. Now go out there, find the right partner, and make good things