Every law firm needs a strategic plan to get the word out about its services. Consistent marketing is critical for maintaining a pipeline of prospective clients. Choosing the right marketing channels can make a big difference in your overall brand awareness and the ROI of your marketing efforts.
What are Marketing Channels?
A marketing channel is a path you use to deliver your marketing messages to potential clients.
When it comes to reaching your ideal clients in the right places, there are a few essential aspects of this process:
- Creating a marketing plan laying out your long-term plan for accomplishing goals
- Deciding what marketing strategy will help achieve the goals in the marketing plan
- Leveraging the right marketing channels to reach those ideal clients during each stage of the customer journey
In many cases, people use these terms interchangeably, but it’s important to recognize how they are distinct and inform one another.
Selecting the right marketing channel and the tactics to pair with it are more nuanced.
Using the best data available at the time, law firms should select tactics and channels aligned with the firm’s long-term goals and strategy. As those campaigns play out, the tactics and channels can and should be adjusted as needed.
Marketing channels break down into online and offline options. There are several online marketing channels for lawyers to choose from. Many law firms try to tackle too many at once and end up failing to make any single one of them work.
Online marketing channels include:
- Your website
- Google Business Profile (aka Google My Business)
- Local Services Ads
- Paid Search Advertising (e.g. Google Ads)
- Social Media Marketing
- Legal Directories
- Email Marketing
As the home base and one of the only marketing channels that your law firm entirely controls, your website is the digital foundation for the firm.
As a channel, your website can serve different purposes.
First, think of it as a resource hub you can use to attract organic traffic (such as through search engine optimization).
You can use tools like Google Analytics to get powerful data about how visitors find and use the website.
Google My Business (Google Business Profile)
Your Google My Business profile includes important information like your physical address, phone number, and reviews from previous clients.
Google ranks queries with local intent based on where the searcher is physically located. The closer your business is to the searcher, the better chances you have at ranking higher. Don’t let an incomplete Google Business Profile keep you from generating a lead.
Local Services Ads
Google’s local services ads for lawyers hyper-target your immediate community and neighborhood.
Running quarterly or monthly campaigns helps to make local residents more aware of your firm’s name, branding, and service offerings whenever they search for things that are relevant to your business.
Paid Search Advertising (PPC)
Purchasing one of the top paid ad spots on Google or other search engines can drive calls from target clients to your law firm at their exact moment of need for legal services.
This is known as “pay per click” advertising. This channel requires bidding on specific search terms to capture one of the top few spots above the organic search results. Depending on the level of competition from other lawyers targeting the same keywords, this can work well.
Social Media Marketing and Advertising
Social media marketing refers to how a law firm uses its social media channels to reach its community members. This can include specific platforms most relevant to an ideal client.
For example, a personal injury firm might share graphics with common details about car accident cases, such as the lifetime cost of a brain injury, on Facebook.
A business law firm might focus primarily on developing a presence on LinkedIn.
A criminal lawyer might focus on YouTube or TikTok by creating informative videos answering important questions.
Social media advertising works better for some legal practices than others due to the way targeting works on these platforms. It can still be a viable way to reach people in specific zip codes and regions.
For example, you can’t necessarily target someone based on their Facebook interests as a divorce lawyer, but you can target people aged 40+ in a specific region.
A personal injury attorney might target people visiting an area for a big convention or sports event because of the increased possibility of vehicle accidents.
Many people check legal directories to confirm the practice areas and other details about a law firm. Being correctly listed in legal directories can make it easier for clients to reach out to the firm with ideal cases.
Having a listing on legal directories can also positively impact other channels, like your website. Backlinks from these sites help Google confirm details about your firm too.
Keeping your listing updated and targeted can reduce the number of incoming calls and requests from less than ideal cases.
Capturing someone’s attention on your other channels is often just the first step in converting leads.
Continuing to build that trust, especially if your law firm relies on referral partner efforts, can be done using an email marketing campaign.
Online and offline channels can work together to maximize your marketing efforts. Some of these offline channels are helpful and important for a law firm but have less impact than digital marketing channels.
These offline channels include:
- Traditional advertising
- Community engagement
- Networking and referrals
- Marketing collateral
- Boards and professional memberships
- News and publicity
Billboard, newspaper, radio, and TV ads are all tactics for this marketing channel.
Traditional marketing has its place in getting your name out to your local community but becomes more effective when combined with digital marketing efforts where it’s typically more effective and easier to track results.
Community engagement includes activities like speaking engagements, hosting charity events, or sponsoring a local scholarship competition. These activities can all be used to develop a great social media presence for law firms.
Networking and Referrals
Building a strong network of other lawyers and former clients that refer leads to you is important.
Make it easy for previous clients to refer you and make it clear to your network that your firm accepts and desires referrals.
The basics of any marketing campaign include business cards and brochures with law firm branding on them. Combined with your digital presence on your website and social media channels, this promotes consistency and brand familiarity.
Boards and Professional Memberships
Building up a profile and notoriety in a community is crucial for a law firm. Relevant board or professional memberships show a commitment to your community and can contribute to word-of-mouth referrals.
News and Publicity
Celebrating firm news puts your firm name back in front of potential clients. Celebrating awards, major case successes, new locations, and more are all appropriate for local publicity campaigns.
Keep in mind that getting coverage in the news is not the most consistent channel for many law firms and it shouldn’t be relied upon for lead generation.
What Are the Best Marketing Channels for Attorneys?
There is no single best channel for attorneys—it depends on your firm’s strategy, tactics, and goals. Attempting to map goals or strategies to a channel that does not support them will not work.
While there may not be one best channel for law firm marketing, use the following framework to choose the right channel for you:
- How competitive is your market?
- Where do your potential clients go to research the answers to the problems you can solve for them?
- What are your Resources?
Market competitiveness may restrict you from certain channels depending on your budget.
For example, if personal injury attorneys in your area heavily use PPC, be prepared to invest quite a bit each month to remain visible. The important thing here is to only target high intent keywords—the ones that people only search when they’re looking to hire an attorney now.
Choosing the right channel depends on where your clients spend their time. You can’t market your services in a channel your clients don’t use.
If your clients turn to organic search to research their problems then you’ll want to be there to answer their questions.
If they spend their time getting answers through YouTube, explainer videos can introduce your firm as a credible team of professionals.
Capturing someone’s attention through blog posts ranking in organic search can also bring them to your website where you share more information about the firm’s unique value proposition.
This applies to both financial and human resources. Some channels, like PPC, are too expensive for firms with low marketing budgets to make an impact. Others are too labor-intensive for one person or a small team.
Get Help Finding the Right Channel for You
Many online and offline marketing channels work for lawyers today, but choosing the right mix and setting goals for these campaigns is critical for success. Many attorneys prefer to spend their time focused on serving clients and growing the firm.
For this reason, they turn to marketing professionals to help them select the right channels, set goals, and report back on those goals over time.
The experts at Rankings.io have extensive experience in developing personal injury marketing channels for lawyers. If you need help finding the right channel and strategy, contact us today for a free consultation.