What is Law Firm Marketing?
Law firm marketing is the act of promoting your firm’s legal services to the public. The legal profession is one of the most saturated and competitive industries out there, so it is imperative that your law firm marketing plan be grounded in solid marketing strategy, and that it incorporates all appropriate digital marketing tactics and channels to help your firm achieve its goals.
Your law firm marketing plan should begin by thinking about your ideal client. What do they look like? What are their questions and concerns? What are they hoping you (or a competing law firm) can help them with? Focusing on your ideal clients and then building your marketing content accordingly is important because it ensures that your messaging is developed with their needs and goals in mind.
Once upon a time, people turned to their local yellow pages to find a law firm or attorney to help them. But no more. Today, people who don’t already know a lawyer or have a referral at the ready go online to conduct research. This means that a key component, perhaps the key component, of your law firm marketing plan is your firm’s website. Your website needs to be professionally built and maintained to ensure that it presents the proper image of professionalism, expertise and trust that will entice users to contact your law firm to help them with their legal situation. If your website does not present this image better than competing law firms, you will lose that client to someone else. Make sure that the text, images, colors, fonts, and overall layout are well thought out and designed. You also need to make sure that your site functions properly, including all links and buttons, contact forms, online chat features, and any other functionality that your firm’s site includes. There are several companies that claim to specialize in law firm websites, and it can be tempting to choose one of these marketing companies to work with. But it is important to note that these companies typically use canned website templates which are being used by literally thousands of other law firms. Which means that when potential clients visit your website, they struggle to differentiate your firm from so many others out there claiming to offer the same legal services. A far better option is to work with a marketing agency partner to build a fully custom law firm website that incorporates everything you want into your new website, and nothing that you don’t.
Another reason to build a custom website is that it will help your law firm with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Ranking your law firm highly on search engine results pages is important for any type of business, but especially so for law firms. People usually conduct an online search when they need an attorney, not far in advance because they might need an attorney some day. So it is crucial that your law firm appear high in the results so that when a user conducts an appropriate search, they find you not your competition. The law firm template websites are not designed with SEO in mind, another reason they are a poor choice for your law firm marketing efforts.
Demonstrating your law firm’s expertise and experience is another important consideration for law firm marketing. Remember that the potential new clients who are going online to find a law firm or attorney are often confused, worried, or even scared. This, coupled with the previously mentioned fact that they are in need of legal help right now, means that your online law firm marketing efforts need to quickly and effectively put the user at ease, making them feel confident that your law firm is the best choice to help them with their legal issue. Content marketing is a great way to accomplish this. Your content marketing might include regular blog posts that touch on common and issues related to the type of law your firm practices, articles and white papers explaining recent important cases, and webinars or podcasts that go into more detail about specific legal issues. Your law firm might also wish to incorporate some content into your marketing efforts that showcases your team’s volunteer and pro bono work or that celebrates your law firm’s culture. This helps humanize your firm which aids not only with client acquisition but also with new attorney recruitment efforts.
Why is Law Firm Marketing Important?
Law firm marketing is important to your firm’s success for many reasons. We’ve already touched on your potential new clients’ need for help right away, and the importance of your law firm demonstrating thought leadership to build credibility and trust. Therefore, making sure that your website and all other digital marketing assets are professionally crafted and designed for SEO purposes is paramount. Additionally, law firm marketing is important because these days consumers have much more control over the decision-making process. They are likely to conduct multiple online searches and to visit several law firm websites before making contact, so they will be comparing your firm’s online presence to those of your competitors before you ever know they’re in the market for legal help. Even if your law firm truly offers better representation than competing firms, if your marketing does not reflect this you’ll never have the opportunity.
Another important, though too often overlooked, component of a successful law firm marketing plan is social proof. Social proof includes things like client reviews and testimonials, case studies, and other methods of showcasing your firm’s previous successes. Consumers increasingly look for reviews and testimonials before contacting a law firm. Make sure that your firm’s attorneys are asking clients for reviews, and don’t be afraid to contact previous clients to ask them as well. This also gives you a great reason to touch base with older clients to see if they have any new legal issues that your law firm can help them with.
Attorney recruitment and hiring is another reason why law firm marketing is so important. Today’s law school graduates have lived their entire lives online. Websites, online searches and especially social media platforms all play a large role in their lives. In order for your law firm to attract the best and brightest young talent, you must have a robust digital marketing presence.
The ability to track and measure the performance of your efforts is yet another reason why law firm marketing is important. Make sure that your digital marketing agency partner helps you identify goals and key performance indicators that will be used to measure success, and then tracks the salient data points and transforms them into actionable marketing insights. These insights can then be discussed and leveraged to make informed marketing decisions going forward to help ensure that every dollar your firm invests into law firm marketing is productive.