Online marketing for lawyers presents many opportunities for lawyers to raise awareness of their firm and its practice groups, as well as to generate new business opportunities from prospects or existing clients.
The growing importance of online marketing is evident as we’ve witnessed the balance of power shift from traditional marketing to digital. According to eMarketer, U.S. digital marketing spending surpassed traditional spending in 2019 for the first time and is only up from there. It is clear that in today’s digitally connected world if you want your law firm to remain competitive and drum up a steady flow of new clients and high-value cases, you must be marketing online.
Our beginner’s guide to online marketing for lawyers includes the essential strategies and components of a successful online marketing strategy. It focuses on three things: raising your profile, building credibility in your areas of expertise, and reaching the right people with the right message.
Keep reading to learn how you can get on the right track to reach new clients and grow your law practice. By the end, you’ll also know how to connect the many moving parts of online marketing to your big-picture goal, which is return on investment (ROI).
1. Be Laser-focused on Your Clients
Your past, current, and prospective clients are the lifeblood of your firm. All aspects of your firm’s online marketing strategy need to be built around them. In order to successfully engage clients and prospects with your online marketing, you must first understand what they truly want and what challenges they need help solving.
We recommend creating a buyer persona for your firm, which according to HubSpot is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” Then use those personas as a guide to craft customized content your prospective clients will want and need at each stage of your marketing funnel.
You can create an ideal client profile with this free guide.
2. Build Your Marketing Framework and Set SMART Goals
A core idea that we want to reinforce is that marketing should be evaluated holistically. Rather than thinking in terms of campaigns, you should think in terms of growth frameworks and long-term business objectives. Your framework should be a written marketing plan that guides the direction of your firm’s campaigns, goals, and growth.
Your efforts will be much more fruitful, and a whole lot easier to get off the ground, if you start with a framework for successful goal setting known as SMART goals:
- Specific: Setting specific marketing goals for each campaign and for your firm overall will facilitate prioritization and ensure accountability.
- Measurable: What criteria, or KPIs, will you use to measure success?
- Attainable: While your goals shouldn’t be so steep that you’ll fail to attain them, it’s important that they not be too easy. Make sure they’re worth the time, effort, and resources you expend to achieve them.
- Realistic: Ask yourself if what you’re proposing is practical. Do you have the time, the team, and the resources to implement the campaigns needed to achieve your goals?
- Timely: How much time will you need to achieve your goals? Set timelines for both short and long-term goals.
3. Getting Found Online: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You can have the most amazing website or blog but ensuring that your website can be found by your target audience is what really matters. This is where SEO comes into play, which is an essential part of any effective online marketing strategy for lawyers.
At its core, SEO generates traffic to your website by allowing visitors to find your firm easily when searching online. When your site is optimized for SEO, the search engine bots can better understand what your pages are about. The easier it is for a search bot to understand your pages, the more connections it will draw between each page and related search queries, thus leading to higher search rankings. Great search rankings ultimately translate into:
- Increased visibility for your website
- More clicks on your website
- More potential clients who know about your products and services
For more information on SEO, visit our post: An SEO Checklist for Law Firms.
4. Drive Leads With Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies
Law firms that are focused on generating new qualified leads and acquiring new clients through online marketing need to ensure that their website is optimized for conversions.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of converting website visitors into qualified leads. CRO works by capturing the contact information of potential leads who are visiting your website (i.e. with calls-to-action such as “download” or “subscribe”). While search engine optimization can help law firms boost online presence, conversion rate optimization can help firms turn casual browsers into leads.
To implement CRO, you must first calculate your conversion rate by taking the total number of conversions and dividing it by the number of visitors, then multiplying it by 100. The result is a percentage, and this number is your conversion rate. For example, if your law firm’s website had 53 conversions and 2500 visitors, your conversion rate is 2.1%, the standard rate for law firms.
Related: A Law Firm Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization
5. Build Audience Connections With Content Marketing
Quality content that builds a dialogue with your target clients will ultimately strengthen and deepen your relationships and lead to more business.
Content marketing is more than just your law firm’s blog, however. When executed properly, content includes articles, eBooks, webinars, guides, quizzes, videos, podcasts, etc. These content formats can all be powerful growth drivers for your firm.
Whatever tactics you decide to leverage, always keep your focus on your prospective client’s needs and endeavor to provide content that fulfills their needs, answers their questions, and helps solve their problems. At the same time, your content should be capable of positioning your attorneys as thought leaders in their practice areas and your firm as a trusted source of useful information.
Download our complimentary eBook, The Law Firm Guide to Content Marketing and learn how to develop an effective content marketing strategy.
6. Launch a Social Media Strategy
Cultivating an appealing image through social media is an integral part of online marketing and public relations for any law firm today.
Social media platforms should be used to connect with your audience, build your law firm’s brand, drive website traffic, and increase leads. This involves publishing quality content (that can be repurposed from your website) on your social media profiles, listening to and engaging your followers, analyzing your results, and running paid social media advertisements. Also, don’t forget to craft a professional social media bio as it is often viewed more than any content you share.
For a deeper dive into how to build a winning social media strategy, check out this free eBook: Advanced Social Media Strategies for Law Firms.
7. Find Clients Through Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is an effective method of delivering quality traffic and leads right to your law firm’s website. SEM is also referred to as online advertising, paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. These terms are often used interchangeably to describe the same concept — traffic purchased through online ads, often on Google. SEM allows you to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when a prospect searches for a keyword that is related to your legal services.
While SEO takes some time to deliver improved rankings and increased traffic, SEM can quickly increase visibility and draw more qualified visitors to your site as you wait for your optimization efforts to bear fruit. And because SEO and SEM each have their strengths and weaknesses, the most effective strategies often incorporate both. By taking advantage of retargeting and other advanced SEM tactics, you can improve the effectiveness of your paid campaigns even more.
8. Amplify Connections With Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most important communication tools in online marketing for lawyers. Email is an excellent way for your law firm to capture new business, or keep your firm front-of-mind among past and present clients. Law firms that come out on top focus on sending relevant, valuable, and personalized emails. An effective way to personalize your email campaigns is through email segmentation.
A weekly or monthly newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with subscribers. A well-written series of emails providing informative, educational, and engaging content can also be an incredibly effective means of connecting with existing and prospective clients in a way that piques their interest and inspires interaction with your firm. To ensure your email content consistently delivers value to subscribers, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do my subscribers want to know?
- What questions are they asking?
- What are they searching for?
- How can my firm help them with a problem?
9. Measure and Analyze Performance Constantly
In a constantly and rapidly changing business landscape, the need to measure online marketing success as efficiently as possible has increased in importance more than ever before. By measuring and paying close attention to your online marketing metrics, you’ll be able to better understand the impact and effectiveness of your online activity.
To get started, be sure to install Google Analytics on your website. This free tool is one of the most powerful reporting platforms available to digital marketers. Google Analytics will tell you how many users came to your law firm’s website and what pages they visited. You can also customize the platform to record lead activity to better gauge the performance of your various marketing campaigns and channels.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand all of the fundamental digital marketing tactics that are essential when it comes to online marketing for lawyers. It takes a consistent, persistent presence to stay top of mind as a law firm but there is no one-size-fits-all online marketing strategy for law firms.
This post has been edited and republished from Jul. 27, 2021.