Online marketing presents many opportunities for lawyers to raise awareness of their firm and its practice groups, as well as to generate new business opportunities from prospects or existing clients. The growing importance of online marketing is evident as we’ve witnessed the balance of power shift from traditional marketing to online marketing.
The following online marketing guide includes the critical elements of a successful digital strategy to help you make sure your law firm is on the right track to reach new clients and grow your practice. Our beginner’s guide to online marketing for lawyers focuses on three things: raising your profile, building credibility in your areas of expertise, and reaching the right people with the right message. By the end of the guide, you should be able to connect the many moving parts of online marketing to your big-picture goal, which is return on investment (ROI).
Step 1: Raising Your Profile
The first step to starting an effective Internet marketing campaign is to create your company profile. Your company profile consists of all of the information you must disclose on all legal marketing channels. It’s your name, logo, and address. You’ll also need to include your practice areas to provide potential clients with valuable context while browsing your firm’s website.
Step 2: Building Your Expertise
Next, you need to showcase the breadth and depth of your knowledge in your law firm’s practice areas. Whether you’re strategizing about your areas of expertise, or simply including them on your firm’s website, you need to show potential clients that you’re the best option for their legal needs, and you need to make sure you’re able to provide credible information. The most important part about building your expertise is getting a lawyer to confirm the information you share on any online marketing channels.
Because you don’t want to create inaccurate information online, you’ll want to include the names of any business lawyers in your law firm that have specific knowledge about a specific legal issue from your legal practice areas. If you’re still in school, you’ll also want to include their personal contact information. For example, if you’re a sole practitioner focused on family & personal injury law, you’ll want to ask an attorney with personal experience in these areas to review your content.
Step 3: Selecting a Legal Marketing Channel
Not all marketing channels will capture the attention of the right audience at the right time, so you need to consider who will be most likely to read your content, how often they’ll need it, and how they’re likely to find it.
Depending on what type of business you’re starting out, you might have multiple legal marketing channels to choose from.
You’ll want to have a blog to serve as your homepage on your website, and this is also where you’ll want to serve as the project manager for your law firm’s digital marketing strategy. You should be actively monitoring your website analytics reports on a regular basis. Your company website can serve as more than a place to get backlinks. There can be a place for information updates, as well as useful content which helps you generate quality leads.
Social media is another proven way to connect with potential clients, but it’s a fast-moving channel. The best practices of social media include posting regularly, engaging, and actively seeking feedback regarding your content. You want to think of social media as a very long conversation. Make sure you’re including links to your content, so readers know where they can find your information in eBook format.
Not all law firms have a social media presence, but it’s critical for you to consider what channels might be most appropriate for your practice area. You can also hire a third-party company to create your social media accounts for you.
Regardless of the social media channel you choose, make sure to stay fresh and informative, and no one should ever feel like they’re receiving the same information from your firm again. You’ll also want to use hashtags because followers on social media can find your content much easier.
There are two types of modern marketing technology: online advertising and rich media. The two can work together to make your marketing even more effective. Here’s an example of a common online advertising campaign:
Your law firm will need to conduct a thorough investigation to uncover what Internet marketing channel works best for your practice area, your target audience, and the number of clicks and conversions you can expect to see.
Online advertising. Online advertising can work for many legal marketing channels. It’s the most widely accepted method for marketing a new company to its clients. This is also the easiest channel for businesses to implement themselves. But be warned: the costs for online advertising can become extremely high if you’re not careful.
Rich media. For more control over the media that reaches your potential client, we recommend implementing rich media campaigns for your law firm. Examples include:
Your law firm can also optimize your law firm website for known keywords on Google, Yahoo, and other search engines for the targeted audience. Google pays you every time someone clicks on your search ad. As you can imagine, this is a great way to generate traffic to your site.
Step 4: Automating Your Marketing Efforts
We’re all busier than ever. It’s easy to feel lost in a sea of information with so many choices before us. When you’re trying to be strategic in your legal marketing, it can be difficult to align your efforts with the goals of your business. You’ll want to utilize automated marketing systems to make sure your firm’s efforts are aligned with the goals of your company.
You can automate your marketing efforts in many ways, from online advertising to sending email newsletters to your professional network with automated reminders. Automation can work perfectly well when your staff is in-house. For example, a small law firm might want to have a legal assistant send a legal marketing newsletter to their professional network every quarter.
You can also select your company’s legal marketing campaigns and manage them under your marketing automation software. Another great feature is that it will notify you right away if a campaign search fails. This is a great feature if you need to scale up your marketing efforts or change a campaign.
Step 5: Controlling Your Marketing Efforts
If you’re not careful about the way you market your law firm, there are a few potential pitfalls that you can encounter. Here are some common mistakes you can avoid.
Summarizing What You Learned
As the legal marketing landscape continues to shift and change, it’s key for you as a sole practitioner to stay on top of your game. We hope this guide helped you gain a better understanding of online marketing terminology and what you need to be doing to transparently market your law firm. You’re setting yourself up for success when you implement these eight legal marketing principles. You’ll become a more valuable asset to your firm and your clients. Master these principles and your legal marketing efforts will be strong.
Talk to Strangers with Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is often championed as the most powerful marketing channel. It’s supposed to be fast, efficient, and focused on the needs of your audience.
For a lot of marketing professionals, digital marketing is the logical choice.
But does this mean you should break any of the golden rules of marketing outlined in the previous chapter? Absolutely not! None of these rules will hurt you. In fact, your clients really do need legal professionals who embrace change and progress. But that doesn’t mean that they should discount the things you’ve learned about effective marketing.
Simply taking the most efficient route to market isn’t always the best for your practice. These days, clients expect a more responsive and personalized experience from their legal professional.
Preparation is key.
Sometimes digital marketing is important, but sometimes it’s not. We at Fotolia believe that digital marketing is never a replacement for personal service.
Digital marketing is extremely effective in reaching your target audience. If you’re a new lawyer, you might be more likely to have a long-term relationship with your client, and generating leads is the number one way to acquire clients.
But how do you know when digital marketing is appropriate? The answer is simple: when it’s appropriate, it isn’t necessary. It’s all about being smart.
We’ve been active in the digital marketing space for over three years. We’ve worked with many different law firms, and they all have different goals. Our favorite clients also have different goals.
You should always ask yourself, “What questions can I answer with digital marketing?” If the answer is “Maybe” or “I’m not sure,” you shouldn’t invest any time or money. If the answer is “Yes,” then you should spend as much time and money as you can to make sure your law firm does a great job.
The Golden Rules of Marketing to Law Firms
Read through the following chapters to learn the rules of marketing to law firms. As you read through this guide, think about your law firm’s specific way of doing business. It’s okay if you don’t know your firm very well. That doesn’t matter until you’re an active marketer. Think of this as an introduction to marketing to law firms. There’s no use pretending you know everything about the speciality you choose to be in, just yet.
Niche marketing is an essential aspect of generating leads. Marketers know this. Undoubtedly, most marketers are searching on Google, Bing, or Yahoo for information about marketing to law firms. They read about how to advertise on billboards, publish legal articles, or hire a public relations firm. The problem is, marketing to law firms isn’t the same as other niches.
I’m a great example of this. I decided to be a lawyer in 2006, and I graduated in 2009. When I graduated, I felt like there was a space in the market for a lawyer who could work in the fashion industry on a part-time basis. I had zero marketing skills and no clue about what the legal market was like. I had no idea where to start, but here’s what I found out.
Thankfully, I found this website at the top of Google. I spent a couple of hours reading material, links, and articles that answered my questions, and eventually, I started my own law firm.
In many cases, you’re reading this guide because you want to start your law firm, but you don’t actually have a business plan yet.
Now’s the time to consider your marketing strategy.
First, you only have a couple of free moments to get this information down. So, there are no more distractions. You’re focused right now. Once you’re done with this guide, you’ll have an opportunity to review your marketing strategy in more detail and consider whether it’s time to start looking for a business partner.
In actuality, there are infinite ways to start a new law firm. Some are easier than others. You can do most of the work on your own, but you’re most likely going to want to consider hiring some help. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful law firm on your own.
If you’re inventive and try lots of different things, you will eventually find the right formula. Be creative and use your imagination.
Let’s talk about the most important part.
Use your head. You’re not a mind reader. You can neither produce the perfect pitch, nor can you absorb everything you read.
Instead of trying to memorize everything, look at each and every piece of legal marketing information you find.
Take in what information you get from the content. Make note of whether or not it aligns with your marketing strategy. If you’re not sure, you can read more or ask a live expert, if you have the time.
As a new lawyer, you may have the ideas and the motivation to start a law firm. But you have no idea how to accomplish everything.
It isn’t important whether or not this information is accurate or accurate. What matters is that it’s accurate enough for you to consider it. So, take in these ideas, learn as much as you can from this guide, and try to visualize the way to go about starting your law firm.
Make sure to get these three things in order before you start any marketing activity.
A Professional Appearance
Your mission as a new lawyer is to build a formidable reputation. Your clients get to know the name of your law firm.