When is the last time you analyzed the effectiveness of your law firm marketing strategies? You may feel like you have cracked the code and are leveraging marketing techniques to bring in high-quality cases and clients. Or perhaps you see law firm marketing as a necessary evil for running a successful firm. Maybe you even find the mere notion of “lawyer SEO” confusing.
The truth is, marketing can be a little difficult to navigate for lawyers. Every strategy may not be relevant for you or help your firm present itself in the most professional way. But there are some things that will never change when it comes to marketing, and it’s more about how you present your firm than what tactics you use.
11 Law Firm Marketing Strategies You Need in 2019
Marketing is all about sharing your story in a way that resonates with the people you’re trying to reach. While all of these law firm marketing strategies may not be necessary for every practice, we recommend working to address them as you continue growing your client base.
1. Develop an online presence
Twenty years ago, if lawyers simply did great work and treated people fairly, clients were relatively easy to come by. This is because, generally speaking, the pre-recession legal market was strong. Today, however, things have changed. For over a decade, law firms have been experiencing nearly zero percent growth. To respond to this stagnation, switching up law firm marketing strategies is critical.
Perhaps that is why over 60% of law firms report that they will increase their focus on marketing in 2019 and beyond. If your firm wants to compete, it must get smarter about its law firm marketing strategies. These days, that means investing in your online presence, starting with your website.
Indeed, industry research shows that a solid one-third of clients looking for legal representation start their search online.
Consequently, it’s time to embrace things like SEO (Search Engine Optimization). When done correctly, what some people call “lawyer SEO” can put your firm at the top of the list when these potential clients begin their online search. Developing a strong online presence starting with your website is a long-term investment that will help increase your visibility over time. For this reason, it is one of the top law firm marketing strategies that we recommend to clients.
2. Remember the importance of first impressions
As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”
With the legal market as tight as it is, first impressions with potential clients matter more than ever before. Much like the experience of stepping into a well-appointed law office for the first time, landing on a well-developed home page with high-quality imagery delivers a memorable welcome to potential clients. Making a positive first impression both online and in person can mean the difference between a prospective client scheduling a phone call with you or continuing their search.
Professionalism is key to making a strong first impression and building trust with potential clients. Your firm’s image and narrative should be consistent in all areas. It should convey a professional tone and appearance. This means cultivating a professional image in all of your client-facing efforts—from your website, social media profiles, and business listings to your law office, attire, and speech.
Since people’s first impressions with businesses occur online with increasing frequency, maintaining a professional, reputable profile on all digital channels should be prioritized as one of your law firm’s marketing strategies.
3. Use multiple formats to tell your firm’s story
As with any industry, law firm marketing strategies must evolve to satisfy changing consumer behaviors. While lengthy text may have been the way to reach potential clients in decades past, today people are looking for and responding to different, diverse formats.
Written word will always play a role in an organization’s messaging, but images and videos are increasingly in demand—and they are proving effective for law firms. Blog and social posts with images receive 650% higher engagement levels than text-only posts, and 73% of people are more inclined to purchase a service after watching an online video.
Effective law firm marketing focuses on storytelling: weaving a unique and compelling story that sets your firm apart.
Visuals like video, photos, infographics, and illustrations allow you to connect with potential clients on an emotional level, communicating your authenticity and the unique qualities that your firm brings to the table. Being omnipresent and using different formats in your marketing also helps your firm demonstrate thought leadership.
High-quality photos and videos enable people to understand and react to information more quickly, making them an important format to incorporate into your marketing approach. With lawyers already seeing 41% more website visitors and 127% more email inquiries from video, incorporating more visuals into your marketing mix may be a worthy investment. We like to make our customer’s videos even more engaging by mixing attorney biographies, client testimonials, and personal anecdotes into our cinematic video production process.
But his doesn’t mean that you should throw out tried-and-true formats like print or television. Each one has a place and purpose; your focus should be to evaluate which formats fit best into your law firm marketing strategies and content needs.
4. Build trust through content marketing & lawyer SEO
Choosing legal representation is probably one of the most consequential decisions a person can make. With potential clients increasingly engaging with organizations online versus over the phone, content marketing (blog posts, video content, e-books, etc.) can be a powerful way to communicate who you are, demonstrate your expertise, and show how you can help prospective clients. This enables your firm to build trust with people seeking your services.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to establish a strong foundation for your content marketing strategy.
In the case of law firms, lawyer SEO involves incorporating highly-searched phrases and words related to your legal specialty into your written content. Optimizing your content helps search engines like Google increase your website’s rankings when people search for related keywords. There are many additional lawyer SEO techniques that can be implemented as part of your law firm marketing strategies for best results, but keyword research is the foundation.
Content marketing is increasingly popular among lawyers, with the number of law firm blogs increasing by four times over the last five years.
An easy way to add content marketing as one of your law firm marketing strategies is to begin publishing blog articles that incorporate legal keywords on a monthly basis. This will allow your firm to slowly build a repository of optimized content related to your legal niche.
Make your content stand out even more by incorporating video and keeping it focused on specific problems in which your firm specializes. This will demonstrate your expertise to prospective clients and make them feel more comfortable contacting you.
5. Make client communication a priority
Responding quickly to client communications, whether before or after they have retained your services, is one of the hallmarks of today’s top firms. Engaging and retaining clients may depend on how quickly you can respond to emails and phone calls.
The problem is that many law firms are slow to respond to client inquiries. In fact, 42% of law firms take over three days to respond to messages from potential clients. In today’s instant-gratification world, potential clients will have moved on long before you respond.
Consider investing in live chat or other engagement platforms offered by companies like Ruby to promptly field and qualify potential leads. Such valuable tools enable you to prioritize (and automate) client communication as one of your key law firm marketing strategies.
6. Give a little value, get a little value
When people come to your site, they want you to provide value, not marketing fluff.
As we just mentioned, developing content specific to your legal specialties will help educate your current and potential clients. But, once you provide this valuable information, people will be more likely to share some of their information in return. This is the law of reciprocity in the digital age: it’s all about demonstrating value to prospective clients before asking for something in return.
The simplest way to begin collecting contact information from your website visitors is to set up an email popup window on your site.
After people have engaged with your informative content, they can choose to sign up for your email list in the popup. Maybe you have an initial offer you can give them for free – like a guide to setting up a will (or another topic relevant to your firm’s practice area). This will allow your firm to start connecting with prospective clients by delivering value right to their inbox through regular email updates.
This way, your potential customer gets useful information and your law firm gets a new lead.
7. Bring your customers in with inbound marketing
Almost half of law firms cite buying web leads as the most effective of their law firm marketing strategies. This type of outbound marketing—where the company reaches out to the client first—can certainly be effective.
But it will be more effective when you have a strong inbound marketing strategy with high-quality content to support it. That way, when potential clients explore your site, they find valuable content with which to engage.
Inbound marketing—attracting clients instead of searching for them—is the backbone of many successful businesses across all industries today. For law firms, inbound marketing relies on a combination of good lawyer SEO practices and a solid content marketing strategy.
Organizations targeting individuals (versus other businesses) are able to marry these two efforts to generate many more leads than those who don’t. In fact, client-facing businesses that commit to blogging more than eleven times per month generate up to four times as many leads as those that blog only four or five times each month. However, even publishing blog posts a few times a month will help increase your online visibility and maximize the impact of your law firm marketing strategies.
8. Get set up on legal directories
Managing your law firm’s search engine presence may seem like a tall task, but there are other sites out there that can help easily raise your firm’s profile. In fact, there are dozens of free and paid legal directories that enable clients to discover your firm. The top directories attract millions of visitors every year. The key is building out your firm’s profile in each directory with robust, quality content that leverages optimal lawyer SEO keywords.
Using legal directories is one of the supplementary law firm marketing strategies that works well to support all of your other marketing efforts. These directories send traffic to your firm’s website that it might have otherwise missed.
However, once potential clients land on your site you still need to ensure that you’re making a memorable first impression (point number one of our law firm marketing strategies list!).
9. Make smart social media moves
Given that legal clients spend 16 minutes out of every hour on social media, it is not surprising that over 50% of law firms are finding success on social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
For law firms, however, social media should be used carefully. Think of it as a platform to generate leads by developing quality relationships with people interested in your legal specialty.
There is no single path for a law firm’s social media marketing strategy. Depending on your firm’s expertise and values, you may choose to develop a presence on different platforms. One helpful rule of thumb is the 80/20 approach to social media. This means that 80% of your social media postings should be client-oriented content designed to educate and inform, while 20% can be promotional content. In short, the majority of your social media activity should be value-driven and engaging.
If your firm is also creating content like blog posts and videos, these marketing pieces can be effectively leveraged to make up your 80%.
10. Manage your review site presence
As with any other type of business, your potential clients will be looking for third-party validation of your law firm. A staggering 90% of consumers say that online reviews from sites like Yelp will impact their purchasing decision, and this is no different for law firms.
In a recent California case, a law firm sought recourse after Yelp refused to remove defamatory content. The courts ruled that Yelp had no responsibility to remove the review. Regardless of the outcome, this case highlights the importance of managing your presence on sites like Yelp. By owning your business profile on review sites and proactively responding to comments, especially negative ones, your firm is able to better manage its online reputation.
Ultimately, review sites are an important way for current clients to provide feedback and feel heard by your law firm. They also offer a simple avenue for prospective clients to discover important information about your firm and to gauge how you interact with clients.
Make a point to prioritize review sites as part of your law firm marketing strategies and you’ll see it pay off in the end!
11. Develop a signature video
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is an even more powerful marketing tool.
We know that 74% of people coming to your website are ready to take action. Consider capitalizing on this captive audience by investing in a high-quality signature video that leaves a lasting impression. As one of today’s most effective law firm marketing strategies, video is delivering results for many firms.
People are not only drawn to video, but they also respond to it: 84% of people have made a purchase after watching a video. And law practices that feature a video on their social profiles increase email inquiries by 127% and website click-throughs by 138%.
A high-quality, professional legal brand video should tell your firm’s authentic story, who you are as a person and a professional, why you entered the practice of law, how you help your clients, and how you make an impact on your community. A well-produced video on your website instills confidence in a client’s choice to work with you, eventually resulting in more quality cases for your firm.
The effectiveness of video marketing and other law firm marketing strategies rests on how well you monitor your efforts. Start by developing goals for each strategy and determining how you will measure your progress towards those goals. Tracking your efforts using data will help you determine which of your law firm marketing strategies work and which are not as effective.
Building a Robust Law Firm Marketing Mix
A multi-pronged marketing mix that combines various law firm marketing strategies will help establish a consistent, professional image for your firm.
Telling your authentic story to connect with clients is an essential part of this mix. Professional-quality video is one way to achieve this type of compelling, memorable storytelling. If you’re ready to incorporate video marketing into your firm’s efforts, a specialized law firm marketing agency like Hereby is well positioned to provide guidance. Schedule a call today for a free discovery call to see how we may help your firm master some of these marketing strategies this year.