Small law firm owners who want to market themselves effectively need to focus on their ideal customers and narrow down their marketing channels.
Balancing your budget and deciding on the highest-value activities to start with can be challenging, but marketing your small law firm can be broken down into seven basic steps.
Here are the best tips for setting up your marketing to bring in new clients.
1. Understand Your Target Audience
Effective law firm marketing begins by understanding your audience’s wants and needs.
Where possible, use research to determine this. Think about demographic factors your target clients have in common, their fears and questions about their legal issues or hiring a lawyer, and where they spend time.
If you think your potential client is "everyone," "all business owners in Chicago," or something equally broad, you need to consider niching.
Narrowing down your target audience and offer helps you stand out from other law firms and clarifies your value proposition when those clients find you. You'll also be ready to scale more easily with a focused service offering and client type.
This is the first part of developing an law firm marketing plan, and steps two and three below are also components of your bigger law firm marketing strategy. Your plan is your roadmap to success and the foundation of your online marketing efforts, so you should always start with these first three steps.
2. Select the Channel that Will Work Best for You
Small law firms often have smaller budgets, meaning they need to narrow their efforts down to one channel that will provide them the best results.
Starting with one channel allows you to optimize for the best success there. Once you have a system down, you can expand to other options.
To choose the best channel, you must have clarity on what qualifies as a channel. A marketing channel is a way that you deliver your law firm marketing messages to prospective clients. Since there are many channels to choose from, look for these three things when choosing the one you'll focus on first.
These are spaces where:
- Your target clients spend time and consume content
- You can afford to create and publish material
- You have time to consistently create and publish high-quality content
There are three major channels to explore for solo and small firm lawyers looking to take their first steps into marketing. These are social media, paid search advertising, and search engine optimization through blogging. Each has its own pros and cons.
Social media marketing for lawyers includes tools like TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
To succeed in these channels, your target audience should be regular users of these platforms. Social media is usually the best channel to start with for new law firm owners because of the ease of creating content. In fact, most law firms think that social media marketing is the best choice for their firm.
If you don't have the budget to invest in ads or play the long game with blogging, you probably do have the time to create a video for TikTok every day or a few times a week. In order to succeed with social media, follow these guidelines with each platform in mind:
- Create the type of content your audience will most likely see (Reels on Instagram, etc.)
- Create engaging and entertaining content
- Publish content that captures their attention within just a few seconds
Paid search advertising is another option for law firms. While this can deliver results, it's a money-in and money-out scenario.
Most new law firm owners don't have extra cash for ad spend or the time and skills needed to create custom landing pages for each of the ads. If you are interested in paid advertising, small law firms have a few options:
Finally, law firms may consider using law firm SEO to build their blog posts and website content.
This requires SEO skills and time to write them yourself or budget to pay a team to handle it. Law firm blogging is a good channel to pursue as it gives you a great opportunity to expand your reach over time. It's the most sustainable and has high return on investment since you're driving quality traffic to your site with content you only have to pay for once.
Most law firms start with social media and then build their blog shortly after to start capitalizing on SEO.
3. Determine Your Marketing Budget
Determining how much you can or will spend on your marketing has an influence on your channel and tactics.
Once you know what channel to use first, you need to decide what you'll allocate in your budget to thrive on that channel. Your law firm marketing budget may help you decide which channels to use, too.
For example, your budget may preclude you from working on paid ads first. You might realize the substantial time investment you'd need to handle SEO on your own and choose to work with a qualified law firm marketing partner for that aspect instead.
Some law firms use a scaling marketing budget when they first start out, investing a smaller amount at first to master one channel and then growing that over time.
For example, once your law firm blog content is gaining steam, you might decide to allocate some spend to paid ads, too.
4. Build a Modern Law Firm Website
Having a law firm website is an important part of marketing your legal services because it gives your potential clients a way to find and contact you.
Your website should tell potential clients who you are and what you can do for them in a quick and compelling way.
Even if your primary marketing channel is social media, you still need a website. Just because you aren’t focused on SEO content or on paid ads does not mean people will not try to find your website to schedule a consultation.
Your website is the home base for your business.
It's the only place where you control the entirety of the content since you own the domain, design, and copy on the pages. Your website is the place you'll drive traffic to from SEO, paid ads, or social media, so it's a vital component of your law firm marketing.
A good law firm website for a solo or small firm should:
- Have an excellent user experience
- Have a clear and consistent marketing message
- Showcase your practice areas with SEO-optimized content
Here's an example from solo personal injury lawyer David Bryant Law. Here's why it works:
- The colors are crisp, clear, and work well together
- His offering (Louisville Personal Injury Lawyer) is obvious and easy to read
- He offers contact options in multiple formats right on the homepage
- It's simple for potential clients to click on what they need
- The value proposition (communication, guidance, support throughout the case) is strong
- A happy, upbeat photo of attorney David Bryant paints him as personable and friendly
Besides creating a great website, you also need to consider some other aspects of SEO that support your online presence and your website. These include:
Together, these all help share key information about your firm, especially your location and contact details.
5. Create Content that People Care About in That Channel
It would be easy to just create one piece of content and blast it across numerous channels, but that's not how social media works in 2023.
There's no point in creating content your audience doesn't care about, so test different kinds of content and tones to see what your audience likes. At the end of the day, only invest in content that you want your audience to see.
Edutainment is king among social media content options. This is content that both explains something while also presenting it in an engaging way.
Keep self-promotion to a minimum and think instead about what's most interesting to your followers and ideal clients on social media. Giving people the content they want in that channel is essential for connecting with your audience.
Big and small law firms may approach this process differently.
Here's an example of Greenberg Traurig LLP putting excellent content on their LinkedIn. As a large law firm, positioning themselves as industry experts who speak at global events highlights their firm with content most likely to resonate with LinkedIn followers.
On the other hand, this engaging video on TikTok discussing copyright issues by Legal Eagle is short, sweet, and entertaining. It's perfect for that platform. Adjust your message, tone, and delivery to the channel you choose.
6. Put Your Clients First in Both Marketing and Service
Putting your clients first in marketing and in your services attracts more new leads and can bring in more referrals.
In your marketing, this means giving people interesting content that they care about, which provides you a chance to:
- Repeat your message
- Expose them to your brand
- Build trust and confidence with potential clients
- Increase the likelihood they will come to you when they need help
When you talk about your legal services, make your client the hero. You're guiding them through a difficult legal situation but ultimately positioning them as the hero of the whole story.
The client-first mentality doesn't just apply to your marketing, either. It's equally important for you to match what you promised in your messaging to the delivery of client service.
Client-first law firms are more likely to get positive feedback from current and former clients. Feedback from satisfied clients paves the way for referrals from word of mouth and positive reviews that reinforce your online presence.
7. Measure Your Results and Optimize Your Marketing
It's not enough to decide on what you want to publish and put it out there. You need to track that information over time to see how it performs.
Measuring your results helps you track what is and is not working so that you can ditch the bad and continuously improve. You can take data from performance and decide what to do more of and what to tweak to hit your marketing goals.
This ensures that you're spending your time, energy, and marketing budget on the right things.
Master Your Marketing with an Outside Partner
Marketing your legal practice is crucial if you want to bring in new clients, but it's so easy for solo and small firm lawyers to feel overwhelmed.
Trying to market on a budget requires strategic expertise. Turn to Rankings.io for customized help with leading strategies that work in the legal space. Start getting leads today with marketing services designed to grow your law firm.