When you start your own law firm, you’re not just responsible for knowing and practicing law. Instead, you also must create marketing and business development plans that consistently put you in front of new clients. While this can feel like a whole other job in and of itself, you need a plan to effectively get your law firm name out there.
There is some good news: while you have some important decisions to make about how you’ll market and reach your target audience, you don’t need to be the one creating and implementing everything that’s required to execute that plan.
In fact, it’s far better to hand that off to someone else, like an expert marketing agency. Even if you intend to delegate implementation to a trusted marketing team for lawyers like Rankings.io, you need to know some basics so that your input can be used to develop these strategies. Utilize the best marketing tips to grow quickly and effectively.
1. Master One Channel at a Time
Too many lawyers get tempted by the idea of trying to do it all, getting mediocre results across the board when it would have been better to focus instead on just one law firm marketing channel at a time.
Focusing on a single channel allows you to focus your efforts and get the most out of it instead of diluting them across several channels. To get the most out of your marketing, you need to know where your audience spends time to reach them effectively.
There are only five ways an attorney can get new clients. These are paid media, owned media, earned media, partnerships and professional referrals, and word of mouth. Once you build your personal brand by selecting the best ways for you to get new clients, you can speed up your learning curve with other marketing channels and get more consistent results across the board.
To start, pick the channel most likely to convert for you and stick with it before expanding into the next. This way, you’ll have a solid base to grow and can snowball your marketing efforts over time.
2. Have a Clear Marketing Plan
One of the biggest challenges in law firm marketing is attempting to run a campaign without a plan.
Without a clear marketing plan, you will not have a direction for marketing yourself. Your marketing plan explains your goals, budget, key performance indicators, and other important details about how you’ll execute your strategy. An attorney marketing plan is a place to help track your bigger law firm revenue goals so that you can continue to scale.
A few pieces of information belong in your law firm marketing plan:
- An analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your law firm
- Data on your local law firm market, including where they spend time and how they make decisions (which helps you select your marketing channels and tactics)
- Marketing/financial goals for the law firm
- A monthly legal marketing budget
Your marketing plan should not change in terms of the big-picture strategy. But, as you master marketing channels and add in others, as well as receive data about the performance of your initiatives, you can update your marketing tactics or channels used.
3. Understand Ethics Restrictions on Attorney Marketing
This is one of the most crucial elements of getting traction in your marketing without raising any red flags. With marketing, you want to be as compelling as possible in what you say to prospective clients without crossing the line on any ethics rules or best practices in your state.
Review your local, regional, and state bar association’s rules to confirm what you can and cannot say regarding your marketing messages.
With so much content created these days for email newsletters, social media platforms, and your website, it’s essential to develop a clear system for review of content to verify that nothing is published that could cause problems.
4. Always Keep Your Clients First
Your clients want to hire someone with the right education, experience, and track record. But your clients care primarily about themselves and the legal issue they’re facing, so your marketing needs to meet them where they are.
No matter how you choose to market yourself, obsess over how to create an outstanding client experience. This will pay off in spades when your potential client feels trust and credibility with you early in the process.
Word of mouth is one of the most potent marketing engines for a law firm of any size. In fact, 37% of legal services clients said that word of mouth and recommendations were the most critical factor they considered in selecting an attorney. When you get a new client, provide them with an outstanding experience and solicit their feedback in reviews and testimonials. This social proof continues to help convert other potential clients.
Here are some of the best ways to improve client experience:
- Be upfront and honest about how to work with you and what that looks like
- Create clear timelines around communication and response
- Use the words of your clients in your marketing messages (instead of using legal jargon)
- Get your whole team invested in getting positive feedback from your clients
- Listen to client comments about working with you and use that to improve your processes
5. Invest in Content Marketing and SEO
When thinking through the best ways to reach your clients, don’t neglect one of the strongest methods of drawing in new business: content marketing and SEO. One report found that search engine optimization was the most effective channel for 79% of marketers across all industries.
Many other marketing methods rely on what’s known as digital sharecropping, where you’re building your business on some other platform, such as social media or digital ads offered by Google. These methods can really work and drive law firm growth, but you’re also reliant on changes in their algorithms and rules.
With your law firm’s website, you own both the content and the domain. Building this as a resource hub that establishes you as an industry authority and simultaneously brings traffic from search engines is valuable for long-term success.
In the short term, using paid ads or social media marketing can get you some easy and early wins, but investing in content marketing for a long-term legal marketing strategy to grow your client base is far better.
With all content you create and publish on your website, ensure it’s client-focused. Consider the following questions as you draft that content or hand it off to an expert SEO content team:
- What is the legal problem my client is most likely facing when landing on this article?
- What questions will they want answered before placing a phone call to a law firm?
- What other resources can I include that make this piece a big value-add for the reader?
6. Invest in Digital Advertising
If you’re just starting your law firm, putting more money into digital advertising can work to get your foot in the door with marketing. Over time, however, you’ll want to move some of that money and time investment into something like content marketing and SEO.
Becoming too reliant on digital ad platforms leaves you without much control over how those ads perform, and a big change or more competition/less attention can tank your results. Without broadening your reach, you could spend a lot of money on digital ads, so diversify as soon as you can.
When deciding on digital ads, think through these factors:
- Focus on placing ads where you have the best chance of them being seen by target clients
- Don’t assume that a one-time ad will reap the same rewards as multiple placements since people often need to see the same ad or firm a few times over before it sticks in their mind
- Make sure any visual ads and copywriting match the tone and style of your law firm so that your marketing is consistent across all channels
7. Leverage Social Media
Social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and others are used by 4.62 billion people worldwide. In the U.S. 82% of Internet users have a social media presence, which gives you a chance to get directly in front of your target audience.
While social media may not convert as immediately as something like a PPC ad, pay-per-lead placement, or a visit to a website landing page, it’s still wise for lawyers to use social media for brand visibility.
If you use social media, evaluate where your prospective clients spend time. Breaking the mold somewhere like TikTok can work well if your target clients skew younger, whereas a business or tax lawyer might get more traction on LinkedIn.
8. Look for PR Opportunities in Your Community
Public relations is a form of earned media. There are multiple benefits of getting positive press in your region, including:
- Smaller press opportunities can open the door to bigger ones since you’ll now have quote credits and bylines in other places
- You grow your authority as a thought leader in your practice area
- Other lawyers see you as a potential referral source because of your expertise in your area
PR opportunities run the gamut from having an article written about you or by you in a trade publication, law journal, newspaper, or online to simply being quoted in a story.
Make sure that once you receive these credits, you repurpose them on your social media, in your email newsletter, or on your website and blog. This helps you get the most traction out of every feature.
9. Consider Traditional Direct Marketing
Using TV, billboards, and radio ads can also help amplify your presence in your local area, especially if you’re trying to build trust within your community.
Introducing yourself in your region by including pictures of your lawyers can help to humanize the firm. You want to come across as professional, an advocate for your clients, and approachable all at the same time.
Key Takeaways to Get More Clients Now
Growing your law firm is an exciting venture, but it requires clear strategy and execution to get the best results. To recap, here are the key aspects of marketing yourself as a lawyer:
- Choose one channel to master first, then expand to others once you’ve developed winning tactics and have gotten consistent results
- Use a marketing plan to reflect on how your day-to-day and weekly activities all contribute to your bigger marketing goals
- Develop rules and plans around how you’ll comply with attorney ethics requirements
- Put your clients first on every channel and in every marketing message created
- Invest in content marketing, digital advertising, social media, and direct marketing over time
- Get visibility through PR opportunities in your local region or practice area
Whether you’re a personal injury lawyer, a family law attorney, or in some other area of law, it’s hard to handle all the tasks of running and tweaking a marketing campaign on your own with the daily responsibilities of most legal professionals.
If you’re ready to launch your SEO and content marketing strategy now to show up at the top of Google search results, contact Rankings.io to discuss in-depth research, implementation, and reporting handled by our team of experts.