Online marketing is a great way for lawyers to reach potential clients. Even if you have offline marketing plans in place, an online presence for your law firm is key to capturing new clients.
But failing to have a clear online marketing strategy blocks you from being able to scale your law firm. For most lawyers, it's best done with the help of an experienced marketing partner.
Does Online Marketing Work for Lawyers?
Online marketing is a great option for lawyers. Nearly 85% of people searching for a lawyer use online research to help inform their decision. You're leaving money on the table if you're not active with digital marketing.
Traditional marketing still has its place. It may still be an important component of your marketing strategy. That doesn't mean online marketing isn't right for you.
Online marketing allows you to better target prospective clients and reach a wider audience. Additionally, having no online presence makes clients question your credibility.
To get the most out of your digital marketing, you need to know where to reach people online. This requires you to look at online channels. Knowing which ones are right for you is the first step in starting to market your firm online.
Understanding Online Marketing Channels
There are plenty of different ways lawyers can market themselves online. The avenues you use to reach your target audience are referred to as your "marketing channels."
A marketing channel is distinct from your law firm marketing strategy. It's also different from the tactics you use to reach your audience.
A channel is a platform through which you share your message. Common examples include your law firm website or a social media platform.
The actions you take in these channels comprise your tactics for that channel. There are many tactics to reach new clients through different channels. These include search engine optimization, law firm social media marketing, pay-per-click ads, and pay-per-lead ads.
Organic Search and Search Engine Optimization
When someone types a key phrase into Google, its algorithm returns a list of results. These results are based on what the search engine thinks the searcher is looking for at that time.
Search engine optimization for lawyers involves getting your website ranking for relevant key search terms. It takes a comprehensive law firm SEO plan to ensure you rank for important keywords.
Your website is the basis of all your SEO efforts. The primary goal is to get qualified traffic from the search engine to your website. Once they visit your site, you may educate or even convert that reader into a client, depending on where they fall in the marketing funnel.
SEO plays out in three ways for law firm marketing. First, by creating content designed to capture traffic. Second, by developing a presence on legal directories and Google Business. And Third, through optimizations to your website.
It's essential that your law firm show up for relevant local keywords. Think of terms like Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer or Chicago collaborative divorce.
But local keywords aren't the only things you can target with SEO.
You gain search engine rankings by choosing keywords for other types of content. For example, website service pages and blog posts.
When you perform keyword research, you'll be able to discover topics you want to rank for. Then you can begin to execute your legal content marketing plan. When done right, you should see your website gain more traction from search engine traffic.
SEO also comes into play through legal directory citations and your Google Business Profile. Together, all of these factors help tell Google who you are, who you help, and where you're located.
The biggest benefit of SEO is that you can build on your efforts over time. You drive compounding traffic to your website by accumulating quality content.
On the downside, SEO takes time to generate results. It can be harder for newer lawyers in the SEO game to get clients at the beginning.
Hiring an expert to help with your SEO implementation is one of the best ways to get results faster. But if you want a down-and-dirty DIY guide, we recommend checking out our free checklist for SEO.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is another channel through which you might find your ideal clients.
Choosing the right mix of social media platforms is critical. And there are a lot of them to choose from. Lawyers find success on everything from Facebook to Twitter to TikTok.
You need to be on platforms where you know your audience is most likely to see it. This means you do not need to be active on every platform with a customized social media plan in the beginning.
Instead, it's easier to start with one. You can scale out to other options once you've mastered the best place to find your target clients.
The other important factor with social media is having a clear plan. Lawyers are more successful when they know what they'll post, how often, and when.
One harsh reality of social media marketing is that many people are unlikely to hire you from one social media share. That doesn't mean it's not a good channel, though.
Instead, you can use social media to create demand and improve brand awareness for future conversions. This involves educating people about you, your firm, and your services.
While social media is an excellent way to connect with your ideal clients, it can be overwhelming for attorneys who already have a full plate. Staying consistent with social media is a must. It's the only way to increase the chances of potential clients seeing your content.
If you struggle to keep up with something like social media, you may choose to outsource it for the best results.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Another way to get quick results for new business in your law firm is to use ads such as pay per click.
Google's organic search results display what the search engine believes to be the best content on the web for someone's query. Above the organic search results, however, are Google ads.
This makes Google PPC an attractive proposition for lawyers. Your ad will appear at the top of the page on the most used search engine in the world.
For the best results on Google PPC, you'll want to bid on high-intent search terms. These are terms that indicate a prospective customer is very close to hiring an attorney.
The problem with Google PPC is that it can be expensive for some lawyers. For instance, personal injury PPC has some of the highest advertising prices of any industry.
You can also leverage pay-per-click options on social media. This involves running ads on places like Facebook and LinkedIn.
With pay-per-click, you set a bid for what you are willing to spend for certain terms or per day. Then you use text ads (on Google) or text and image or video ads (on social media) to get attention from an audience.
On Google, you can target using local demographic keywords. On social media, you can narrow your audience down a little further. You can run ads to people who have specific interests or fall into particular age categories.
Pay Per Lead Advertising
Pay per lead ads for lawyers function in a similar way to pay per click. The difference with PPL is that you pay to receive a lead from a Google local service ad or some other company.
Google local service ads can work well if your primary focus is on local clients. You only pay Google for people who contact your firm, and you can dispute erroneous leads.
The same is not always true of other lead services. Other pay-per-lead services may not offer exclusive leads. This means you still pay to get that lead's detail but may be sharing those details with other lawyers.
It's important to determine if PPL costs are viable for you in your marketing plan. It might be a way to generate some business when you start out, but it can get costly if this is your only way to bring in new clients.
Tips for Successful Online Marketing as a Lawyer
One of the best ways to increase your chances of success with online marketing is by avoiding the most common pitfalls. Many lawyers see limited results by not understanding how online marketing works.
Using our tips, you’ll be on the way to a successful campaign.
1. Don’t Start Without a Plan
You need a strategy, goals, and a plan to get results with your law firm marketing efforts.
Too many lawyers have no plan at all, simply jumping from one activity to the next. This leads to habitually trying the newest thing and giving up on it before getting traction. You'll end up spreading yourself too thin.
By looking at what you want to achieve, it's much easier to narrow down what you need to do to make your vision happen. Defining a law firm marketing strategy and an attorney marketing plan sets you up for success.
2. Know Who Your Target Audience is and Where to Find Them
To reach potential clients, you need to know who they are. "All adults" or "anyone thinking about getting a divorce" is not a target client identifier.
Narrowing down and clearly defining your audience helps with two important factors.
It tells you who they really are. You'll come to understand what they care about and what kind of messaging resonates with them.
And it tells you where they spend time online. This determines where you will distribute your messages to them.
Understanding these factors helps you avoid a common pitfall. You won't end up spending time in channels where your audience isn't active or are unlikely to connect with a lawyer.
3. Keep Your Clients First in Your Marketing
Too many attorneys put the focus on themselves in marketing and not enough on the client and their needs.
One of the most impactful things you can do is place your client's needs first in all of your messaging.
You can do this by creating marketing content that speaks to your client's needs first. That doesn't preclude you from sharing what you do. It just means you put the focus on how you help others.
Taking a client-first approach won't just help you bring in new clients through online channels. If you can fulfill your promise of an excellent client experience, you can cash in on word of mouth, too.
4. Build a Great Law Firm Website
Regardless of the channels you choose, your website is the central hub for your marketing. This is also the place where you have the most control over how your law firm looks. You get to decide the branding, style, and content across your entire website.
One common pitfall for lawyers is hosting an outdated, inaccessible, or unattractive website. It's easily avoidable, and it just turns potential clients away to go look for someone else.
Instead, focus on a website that:
- Was built by a professional
- Loads quickly
- Is easy to navigate
- Helps solve client problems
To expand upon the last tip, your website exists primarily to help your clients. You can make sure it meets this goal by putting informative content across your whole site.
5. Choose the Channels that Work For You
The good news is that you don't need to spend all of your efforts working on multiple channels at once.
Instead, you can choose the marketing channels that mesh with your goals and are places where your clients spend time.
As you grow, you may choose to alter these channels over time.
For example, you might lean heavily on pay per click at the beginning. Later, you might swap PPC out for SEO efforts once you've built up your online presence.
A mistake made by many is to give up too soon. Give each marketing channel and tactic enough time for you to really get a sense of whether it will work for you.
Look back at your goals and key performance indicators to stay on track, only deciding to eliminate a channel when it's clear it's not working.
6. Work with a Marketing Partner Who Understands You
There are a lot of moving pieces in online legal marketing. It's no surprise that many successful attorneys rely on the help of a law firm marketing expert.
Trying to manage marketing all on your own can set you up for failure. You might get overwhelmed or in the weeds. As a lawyer, your time is best spent in your zone of genius, not dealing with the details of marketing.
Finding the right expert is the best way to leverage someone else's experience. You will benefit from saving time and gaining the confidence that you'll be getting things right.
Find the Right Marketing Partner Now
Now that you know what pitfalls to avoid, you can cut out a lot of the trial and error in online marketing as a lawyer.
Whether you’re looking for help with social media or SEO services for lawyers, finding the right legal marketing partner helps you get things right from the get-go.
An expert can help you create and customize your plans that fit your law firm perfectly. They can help you build your practice without the extra stress of taking it all on yourself.
Rankings.io is well-known for executing winning law firm marketing strategies. We've helped some of the most successful law firms bring in new clients consistently. If that sounds like the perfect plan for you, contact us today to get started.