How to Get Clients As a Lawyer (A 3-Step Marketing Framework)
Getting new clients for your law firm is tough.
Doing quality work in the courtroom will help you get some referrals, but to really scale your practice, what you need is an end-to-end law firm marketing engine.
That’s where many attorneys struggle. According to the American Bar Association, only 46% of law firms of all sizes have a marketing budget, which also means that 46% of law firms aren’t doing their marketing properly.
If you’re wondering how to get clients as a lawyer, keep reading. In this guide, we’ll take you through a three-part legal marketing approach that can help your law practice with getting clients, including:
Part One: Digital Marketing
First things first: If you don’t have a robust plan for digital marketing, you’ll struggle to get new clients.
An increasing number of attorneys understand the business development potential of digital platforms.
In fact, 65% of law firms spend most of their marketing budget on online channels.
Considering that, if you’re not focusing on digital marketing, you’re already losing potential clients to your competitors.
Below, we’ve shared actionable tips on how to get started with the main components of digital marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the strategies and tactics that help your law firm’s website rank higher for relevant terms that users search for on search engines (like Google, Bing, and Yahoo).
Today, most people look for information, products, and services on search engines.
The same is true for your leads — according to The National Law Review, 96% of people look for legal services through online search.
Consequently, creating and executing a law firm SEO strategy is vital for both building brand awareness and getting new clients.
Here’s how you can go about it.
Search engines provide relevant results based on the terms (called keywords) that users type in.
Discovering keywords that your target audience actively searches for (with the end goal of ranking on the first page for those keywords) is known as keyword research.
Broadly speaking, as far as legal SEO goes, keywords can be split into the following two types, based on the reason why a user searched for the term (commonly called search intent):
- Informational: The user hopes to gain information or knowledge about something that’s relevant to your practice area. For example, “what do I do after a car accident?”.
- Commercial/Sales: The user is seeking legal assistance. For example, they could search for something such as, “hire a personal injury attorney.”
Make sure that the keywords you find fall into at least one of those categories. There are different (both law-specific and general) tools that you can use to discover promising keywords, such as:
- Lawyers.com (“Ask a Lawyer” section)
- Google Trends
- Google Keyword Planner
- Ahrefs (Keywords Explorer and Top Pages)
Furthermore, make sure that a significant number of people are searching for a keyword before you shortlist it.
You can find that out by looking at the monthly search volume metric using a reliable SEO-focused keyword research tool.
Here’s an example of how the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool displays keyword data:
As we can see, the search volume for the keyword “car accident lawyer” in the US is 45K. This means that this phrase is searched for 45,000 times on a monthly basis in the US.
To learn more about keyword research, check out our detailed guide.
With your keywords ready to go, it’s time to publish content on your law firm’s website that satisfies the “intents” mentioned above.
You can break your website’s content into the following two archetypes:
- Practice Area Pages: Also known as “sales pages,” these pages essentially sell the legal services you offer and help convert leads. The content or copy on these pages should be optimized for keywords that have commercial intent. We advise creating a separate page for each practice area, like so:
- Blog Posts: They offer informational content that helps educate your audience on various legal issues, acquire “links” (more on this shortly), position yourself as a thought leader in your practice area, and get new clients. Map the content of your blog posts around the informational keywords you find.
Some quick tips for creating content include:
- Based on the keywords you find, come up with topics your audience would be interested in.
- Strive for long-form blog posts (3,000+ words), as our study revealed that they tend to rank higher.
- Add various calls to action (CTAs) throughout your content to invite people to check out other pages on your website.
- Include author bylines on all pages that highlight you and/or your team’s expertise, which, in turn, can help build trust.
Check out our guide on content marketing for lawyers to learn more.
In addition to the quality, relevancy, and depth of the keyword-focused content, search engines also consider the overall structure, health, and other technical aspects of your website when ranking.
As a result, it’s best to optimize your website by following certain best practices known as “on-page” (or “on-site”) SEO.
Here is some quick advice on how to optimize your website:
- Link to other pages on your website (known as “internal linking”).
- Link to credible external sources (known as “external linking”).
- Use a flat URL structure — one that doesn’t use sub-directory folders. For example, use “https://site.com/car-accident-lawyers” instead of “https://site.com/services/car-accident-lawyers.” This structure is easier to implement.
- Optimize your title tags to let search engines know what your content is about. Make sure your title has less than 60 characters, includes the target keyword, and is engaging.
- Make sure that your website isn’t slow. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to see how fast it loads.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
However, that barely scratches the surface.
To get started, run a quick technical site audit in any reliable SEO tool to reveal hidden issues and see where your website currently stands.
As the name suggests, local SEO refers to all the strategies and tactics you use to rank higher for local search terms, like “personal injury attorneys near me.”
Local SEO for lawyers mainly involves:
- Creating, claiming, and optimizing a Google My Business (GMB) listing for your law firm
- Being open to receiving online reviews and responding to every review you receive on GMB, as well as Yelp, Avvo, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, and Yellow Pages
- Distributing your business information to aggregators like Neustar Localeze, Factual, Acxiom, and Infogroup
Finally, you should also fight local spam to make sure you get the position you rightfully deserve in local search rankings.
Links remain the most important Google ranking factor.
By building links that point from external sources to your law firm’s website, Google begins seeing your website as credible and trustworthy. This, in turn, improves your chances of ranking higher.
You can place these links on other websites, directories, social platforms, and forums.
Here are some quick tips you can implement today to start building links:
- Create a listing of your law firm in lawyer-specific directories. The top-rated directories include:
- Publish content on other reputable websites, with a link or two pointing back to your own website. This is known as “blogger outreach” or “digital PR”.
- Offer scholarships and contact law schools to list them on their websites.
- Make infographics and viral videos that get shared and help you organically and passively acquire links.
There’s a lot more that goes into link building. See our guide to learn more.
Paid search is a digital marketing tactic that involves using search engine ads to attract prospective clients.
It’s based on the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model, in which you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad.
As of now, the most popular and effective platform for paid search is Google Ads.
Here’s what these ads look like:
About 58% of traffic seeking legal services originates from paid search. If done right, it can bring in a steady stream of new clients.
Below, we’ve shared a quick breakdown of how to get started with paid search advertising:
- Find Competitive Keywords: First and foremost, discover lucrative keywords to target with your ads. For this, we recommend using Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool.
- Optimize Your Pages: The content of the page you want leads to land on after clicking on your ad should be highly relevant to the keyword. Furthermore, it should load fast, be mobile-friendly, and have a compelling design.
- Make Remarketing Lists: Remarketing (or “retargeting”) refers to going after people who have already visited your website and shown interest in your service. This may allow you to recapture their interest with separate campaigns and convert them into paying clients.
- Set Up Your Campaign: The next step is to set up a PPC ads campaign on Google Ads. Our guide on law firm PPC covers that in great depth.
Finally, measure the results of your campaigns and make sure you’re getting returns on your ad spend.
Social Media Marketing
The average attorney had always felt a bit skeptical about using social media to promote their legal practice.
However, lawyers have now started to realize the hidden potential of this channel.
According to Attorney at Work, 70% of law firms use social media as part of their marketing strategy.
Furthermore, data by ABA shows that 35% of lawyers who use social media professionally are able to get new clients.
All things considered, it’s safe to say that this expansive and lucrative channel is here to stay.
Below, we’ve listed three social media platforms most commonly used by law firms and attorneys and how you can make the most of them to get new clients.
Out of all social platforms, LinkedIn is the most popular in the legal landscape.
Here are some quick tips to get started:
- First and foremost, create an optimized LinkedIn profile for yourself. Include a professional snapshot, headline, and cover photo. Add your professional summary, achievements, experience, skills, academic background, and anything else that helps your profile stand out.
- Connect with your colleagues and clients, then ask them to write you recommendations.
- Create a company page for your law firm/practice. Write a compelling overview summarizing the legal services you offer and providing other necessary details, then ask your staff to update their profiles.
- Make a LinkedIn content plan. Share daily insights on current trends, along with legal advice. Experiment with different content formats, including text posts, polls, slide decks, images, videos, and articles.
In addition to the aforementioned organic efforts, give LinkedIn advertising a shot to reach more people.
Facebook is generally regarded as the second-most effective social platform to get legal clients.
To get started, here’s what you need to do:
- Create a Facebook page for your law firm/practice, with an eye-catching cover photo and your logo as the display. Share complete business details, such as your business hours, address, frequently asked questions, and phone number.
- Facebook limits organic reach, so you should consider Facebook ads to reach more people from your law firm’s page, increase brand awareness, and get leads.
- Join relevant public and private Facebook groups from your personal Facebook profile. Expand your network by engaging with members of those groups by sharing your expert knowledge. You can also create your own Facebook group and build an online community.
Additionally, consistently engage with the people who interact with your page and comment on other relevant pages from your own page.
The third-most-popular social network for attorneys is Twitter.
However, unlike Facebook, you’re likely to get better results from organic efforts than advertising.
- Create a Twitter profile for yourself, add a compelling bio (including your website’s link), and follow other relevant accounts.
- Use the “#explore” tab to see current affairs and trending topics you can publish engaging tweets on. Use hashtags to increase the visibility of your tweets.
- Retweet other people and engage with them in conversations to increase your followers.
Finally, share your Twitter handle through other platforms, channels, and tools, such as your email signature, website, and business card.
Other Social Platforms
Apart from LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, you should also build a presence on the following platforms:
Our guide on social media for lawyers explores the ins and outs of all of those platforms.
Part Two: Traditional Marketing
While they may be going out of fashion in other industries, traditional marketing mediums — including TV, radio, and outdoor ads — should still be a part of your legal marketing strategy.
Though it can be expensive, it can help you reach the masses, build better brand awareness, and attract qualified leads.
However, you can’t execute traditional marketing without help. Therefore, the first step is to look for an ad agency that has experience creating and running campaigns for law firms and attorneys.
With that out of the way, here are some tips you should remember when investing in traditional marketing.
Television ads, although more expensive than online ads, can help you land some big clients if done right.
It costs at least $10,000 (on average) to produce a 30-second TV commercial.
If you have the budget for it, we recommend investing in TV ads to draw in more leads.
Here are some tips on how to advertise a law firm on television:
- Deliver stories that your audience can relate to. For instance, consider your commercial depicts someone getting into a car accident. If someone (who recently saw that ad) finds themselves in a similar situation, it’s likely that your ad will start replaying in their heads.
- The story you deliver should invoke an emotion (or range of emotions) in your audience to make it popular.
- Consider using catchy jingles or a tagline to make your ad more memorable.
- Run your commercials on local TV if you’re targeting a localized audience.
Finally, make sure that your ad includes a call-to-action that results in more phone calls, website hits, or both.
Radio is still seen as a powerful medium to reach the masses.
The cost of radio ads depends on the total number of listeners, location, and the time you pick. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $5,000 per week on radio ads, making them less expensive than television ads.
Here are some tips when it comes to creating radio ads:
- Since radio ads are purely auditory, it’s crucial that your ad starts with an attention-grabbing hook. A good practice is to start off with a question that your audience can relate to.
- Like TV ads, make sure that your radio ad tells a story that’s memorable and relatable.
- Include jingles and sound effects to improve the production value of your ad.
Make sure that you hire someone with the appropriate voice (i.e., memorable, soothing, compelling, etc., depending on the tone of your ad) to do the voiceover. The agency you hire can help with that.
As the name suggests, outdoor marketing/advertising refers to all the advertising efforts you make outside — on roads, subways, bus stations, etc.
Traditionally, it’s executed through stationary and mobile billboards, which involve using vehicles to market your law firm, like so:
The cost of outdoor advertising (design, print, rent, etc.) varies from agency to agency but is almost always cheaper than TV advertising.
Since you don’t have much room to work with, the copy of your outdoor ad should be extremely concise and to the point. Ideally, it should include one short question (or two at max) that your audience can relate to and prominently display a special number and your website’s URL.
Furthermore, it’s common practice for attorneys to include professional-looking snapshots (like in the example above) in outdoor ads.
Part Three: Grassroots Marketing
The last component of your law firm marketing strategy is grassroots marketing.
Grassroots marketing builds your presence from the ground up, helping you become well known in your territory. Essentially, you cultivate a strong relationship with a community, whether the one you live in or a group of people that share the same interest(s).
With effective grassroots marketing, you turn your leads and clients into brand ambassadors, who then promote your law practice for you.
It mainly entails the following:
One way to get yourself noticed, expand your network, and establish a relationship with your local community is to attend local events.
Just make sure that those events are highly relevant to what you do. For instance, if you’re a personal injury attorney that specializes in motorcycle accidents, keep an eye out for events meant specifically for bikers.
After networking and handing out your business cards, the next time any of those people get into a motorcycle accident, you’d probably be the first person they’d call.
PR and Sponsorships
You can also participate and/or host local fundraisers, community support and outreach, and other relevant events — such as a road safety training program if you’re a personal injury attorney.
You can also sponsor events you care about, get press coverage, and build brand awareness.
In fact, 48% of law firms use event sponsorship, making it the biggest marketing channel.
Set Yourself Up to Get More Clients Today
All things considered, marketing for law firms involves more extensive efforts compared to most service-based businesses.
Instead of worrying about one specific marketing approach (whether it’s digital, traditional, or grassroots), consider investing in all three to consistently get new clients.
From that baseline, you can analyze your efforts and prioritize a certain approach based on your goals, budget, and the results each generated.