Marketing can look different based on the size of the law firm. The unfortunate truth is that big law firms have much more time, resources, and experience to market in significant ways. That doesn’t mean that small firms can’t compete, though. In fact, small firms can capitalize on specific tactics to create a successful, sustainable marketing plan. Here’s what you need to know about marketing for small law firms.
What are the Challenges of Marketing for Small Firms?
Marketing is often more difficult for firms that are not as established. This makes sense – small companies simply can’t do what large organizations can do. Specifically, small law firms tend to experience:
- A lack of resources – Small firms may not have an in-house marketer or a full-time employee. Effective marketing requires time, technology, and close attention to budgets and campaign performance. Without these resources, newer firms are at a disadvantage.
- Lower budgets – Traditionally, small businesses have a tighter budget to adhere to. When it comes to digital marketing, many attorneys are not as familiar with the tactics and don’t want to experiment using their limited dollars.
- Competition from larger firms – Chances are, your small firm is up against larger companies that have more brand recognition and a more authoritative digital presence. This can make it difficult to be discoverable on digital channels.
Steps for Small Law Firm Marketing
Since budgets are limited, and your small firm needs to be particular about resources, it’s important to be thoughtful and intentional with your marketing. Here are the must-do’s before you begin launching campaigns:
1. Understand Your Audience
Don’t pay money to reach an audience that you haven’t researched. You need to think about who your ideal clients are, and what drives them. Create client personas that will become the foundation for your marketing strategy.
Find out how to create an Ideal Client Profile with this guide.
2. Develop Your Messaging
You need refined, impactful messaging that clearly explains to your target audience how your service meets their needs. Think about how to educate future clients, show value, and display expertise.
3. Calculate Your Budget
Marketing will become expensive quickly if you don’t strategize and prioritize from early on. Think about what you are willing to spend and what you want to spend money on before you begin.
4. Determine Analytics
Before you begin leveraging actual tactics, you need to know what success looks like. Figure out how you’re going to monitor and measure your activity and its effectiveness. In particular, make sure Google Analytics and Google Search Console are properly set up and utilized.
Effective Marketing Channels for Small Firms
The most important part of your marketing strategy is determining which channels can be most impactful for your firm. These are the ones that most often make sense when starting out.
1. Content Marketing
Without great content, any additional tactics will not be as effective. Content includes everything from your web copy to blogs, social media posts, or anything that potential clients may engage with.
Check out this free Content Marketing eBook for more guidance.
2. Search Engine Optimization
The process of optimizing your website to appear in organic searches is absolutely crucial. Good SEO is multidisciplinary and focuses on both on-page and off-page SEO, but well-researched keywords are the foundation. Local SEO is particularly important for smaller firms.
Check out this on-demand webinar: SEO Basics in an Hour for a full breakdown of how to build an SEO strategy.
3. Online Reputation Management
Like SEO, managing your online reputation is critical. Building and monitoring your reputation on popular review sites, as well as encouraging client reviews, testimonials, and case studies, is essentially free. Make obtaining positive reviews at the end of an engagement part of your client service model, and incentivize them if needed.
PPC is the process of advertising on another publisher or search engine’s platform and paying a fee each time someone clicks on your ad. Since you only pay when someone engages with your ad, you can work within a budget and make the most of your resources. It’s important to research keywords and put together compelling ads before launching a campaign.
Here’s a blog breaking down how to use PPC effectively.
5. Email Marketing
It takes time to build up a list of leads, contacts, subscribers, and past clients. Once you have done so, email marketing is a great way to reach your database. Again, the costs are low, so it’s possible to obtain a powerful ROI. Segmentation and automation can take things a step further and enable you to better reach clients and prospects.
Tips for Your Most Effective Marketing
Finally, let’s cover some of the conventional wisdom that can benefit small firms the most.
- Always balance your paid channels with organic SEO. Remember, paid channels work when campaigns are running. SEO and other reputation management tactics work all the time.
- Use retargeting on PPC platforms. Options like Google Ads and Facebook allow you to retarget audiences that have already engaged with your firm, resulting in a stronger ROI.
- Use blog content to target long-tail keywords. Adding a blog to your web content is a game-changer. You can expand the reach of your firm by researching keywords and including them in blog content that you can promote through other channels.
- Analyze and optimize. Most things will take a few tries to get right. This is why it’s important that you have analytics set up properly – so you can see how things are performing, test options, and try again.
Marketing for small law firms is a complex and ever-changing landscape, and it can be intimidating to venture into new channels as a small firm. However, there are plenty of things you can do to maximize the results of a small team or a low budget. If you’re not sure where to start, it’s always a good idea to ask for support.