Law firm marketing strategies – How to grow your practice
Injury victims, businesses, and others seeking legal services have more options than ever to choose from. This means that the client pool has spread to become relatively shallow, as well as fiercely competitive.
Recent research cited by Bloomberg Law reveals that demand for legal services increased in both 2018 and 2019. This is the first time the industry has seen two consecutive years of growth since the Great Recession of 2009. However, the report notes that the majority of the revenue growth came from increased billing rates. Meanwhile, firm headcounts grew by just two percent while productivity shrank by one percent.
Reports like these paint a clear picture: law firms are going to need to do more with less if they want to earn clients and grow profits without increasing overhead costs. To accomplish their goals, law firms need a targeted marketing strategy aimed at not only acquiring new clients but keeping them happy. After all, happy clients are much more likely to refer more clients to you.
The marketing practices below all help you grow your practice while helping develop a unique brand image. By utilizing digital tools and laser-targeting prospective clients with high-quality, highly relevant content, your firm reaches audiences in need and consistently convinces them that your firm can provide the services they need.
1. Set S-M-A-R-T goals
Execute every marketing plan with purpose and intent. Many law firms go through the motions, using marketing and advertising tactics that feel familiar. Purposefully setting goals instead of resting on the familiar allows firms to choose marketing tactics with better ROI. It also reveals which strategies work and which need targeted improvements.
Begin by setting S-M-A-R-T goals. These are goals that are:
- Relevant, and
Common marketing goals for law firms include improving monthly new client acquisitions, improving quarterly revenues year-over-year, and boosting profits for the given fiscal year compared to the last.
Remember that goal setting is all about data-gathering, not motivation. You may set unrealistic goals at first, but this process gives you benchmarks to work from and tells you what performance levels are feasible. Over time, you can set more specific goals and use them to strategically direct which marketing activities you invest in.
“Having set goals in mind helps create a more targeted legal marketing plan so you can attract the right client for your practice and stay savvy on your marketing analytics, KPIs, and ROIs to see if you’re within budget and timelines for your goals,” reveals Lawyerist. “Once you’ve defined your goals, you need to tie each goal to a specific metric. For example, if your goal is to increase traffic to your website, you will want to measure how many visitors go to your website and how they got there.”
You can track marketing performance using a platform like Google Analytics and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, like SalesForce. Google Analytics is free, and there are free versions of CRM platforms out there, including HubSpot.
2. Ensure you have a working website
As far as your online audience is concerned, your website is the digital version of your law firm’s office building. Never take the importance of a functional website for granted.
Despite this need, a full 14% of law firms don’t have a website, according to a recent survey by the American Bar Association. This encompasses 43% of solo firms and 10% of firms with more than one lawyer.
A law firm website does not need to be flashy in order to be functional. But what it should do is offer a clear description of what areas of practice the firm covers as well as why the firm can provide excellent service to any prospect that finds its way to the site.
Consider how someone would navigate your site and encourage them to take specific actions once they arrive. Fine-tune the process of converting website visitors to clients using a landing page format, which serves to direct the visitor to take a specific action. Most often, this action will be to schedule a consultation. However, it can also be sharing their email address to access long-form content or sign up for a newsletter.
Be specific about the services you provide and the advantages you offer. Make sure to be very deliberate when structuring your website’s layout so that this information is readily accessible. Google’s own Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guide emphasizes that a well-laid-out site is even more important for attracting visitors than targeting keywords.
In Google’s words:
“The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important. Although Google’s search results are provided at a page level, Google also likes to have a sense of what role a page plays in the bigger picture of the site.”
Other important criteria to meet includes having a site that loads fast and displays properly on a variety of mobile devices. This matters to Google and your audience.
“If prospects can’t easily use the website,” writes Search Engine Journal, then, “they can’t quickly determine if [your firm] is able to help them with their specific problem, and then they won’t call for that first consultation.”
Once you have a draft design or a template in place, you can audit it for page speed and mobile-friendliness using Google’s handy page scanning tools, which also offer valuable suggestions for improvements.
3. Offer valuable, high-quality content leads want to read
The central tenet of SEO is that if you provide good content for search engines to serve their users, you can enjoy a higher volume of traffic, traffic that is converted into a revenue-generating lead. Good content refers to both permanent content that makes up the structure of your site as well as continually updated content, like blog posts, news, and announcements.
When you can offer your audience good, high-quality, relevant content that gives them the legal information they’re searching for, Google and other search engines are more likely to display your content higher in search results. This gives you a better chance of attracting a larger audience, fueling your client pipeline.
According to one recent study, the average website obtains 53% of its visitors through organic search results. The term organic means
“A normal listing served up by the search engine, as opposed to an ad that paid for its placement.”
Law firms in particular tend to benefit from content marketing and the leads it can bring them.
When aiming to use content to earn leads, target the intent of search users. Provide the information they intend to find out or give responses to questions they intend to answer. Often, this means educating your audience, not making a sales pitch.
For example, if your audience wants to know if they can sue an at-fault driver when they might be partially at fault also, be sure to provide a specific, succinct response to it. Make describing your service part of the education; you’re telling them what a lawyer can do for them, not necessarily hard-selling your services.
Keys to writing conversion-ready content: sources, variety, and keyword research
Utilize good, authoritative sources when writing content. This can be tricky for law firms because you don’t want to direct people to competitors or lead generation sites. Instead, you can rely upon your own knowledge supplemented with statistics, laws, and prior case rulings.
Blogs that discuss a particular area of law or answer a specific question always supply excellent content possibilities. However, sometimes your audience wants something a little more packaged. This includes frequently asked questions (FAQ), an infographic that compiles information and statistics, or a video that condenses a longer blog topic into a bite-sized morsel of information. Press releases, both on your website and syndicated to lawyer-specific publications, can also help you generate content while earning links outside of your site.
The information in your content sends signals to Google and other search engines that it is relevant to specific searches. You can also refine your approach to targeting particular users by researching which keywords or key phrases tend to bring in the audiences that are likely to become clients.
“If you’re strategic about blogging and invest just a little time in keyword research, you can also use your blog to significantly increase the number of keywords you’re targeting,” notes the National Law Review. “A blog post is a great way to hone in on a phrase or question that may not have high search volume, but will bring very targeted traffic because it’s important to your prospects.”
Promote once you’ve published
Regardless of whether or not you write your content, you are going to invest time, energy, and money into its creation. You want to ensure these resources are well-spent, so don’t just hit “publish” and then rest on your laurels.
Share the content via your social media channels. Add premium assets to it like graphics, videos, or executive summaries. See if you can earn shares or even syndicated publishing from media outlets in your niche.
4. Keep up the good work
Having goals, a functioning website, and a steady pipeline of content is a good start. But there is always more a law firm can do to elicit more client leads out of the local woodwork.
Our recommended marketing strategies for law firms include:
- Completing your Google My Business profile with accurate, detailed information
- Consistent listings for your name, address, and phone number across all online publications
- Seek out guest blogging spots in industry media, helping you earn authoritative backlinks that help boost your ranking
- Add Schema markup to tell Google and other search engines what type of content is in each page section, increasing the chances you’ll earn a top-positioned “knowledge box”
- Encourage every client to leave a review, and read your reviews to strategically address any consistent negatives
- List your credentials proudly, including your education, work experience, recent case results, and any awards granted by local or national organizations
- Develop a brand aesthetic that helps your law firm stand out
- Consider sub-websites for different specialty areas, such as if your financial law firm has a specialized estate planning department
Each of these topics warrants its own guide to digital marketing for law firms, and we intend to flesh them out in the near future. In the meantime, work off of the information above to begin forming a strategy and building out content for your audience and search engines.
If you have any questions or want to outsource marketing, planning, content writing, or any other tasks to an experienced SEO marketing agency for law firms, reach out to EverSpark Interactive today. We can provide a free audit of your current assets, letting you know where you stand in rankings compared to your competitors – and where you can improve.
Call (877) 323-4661 or contact us online to schedule your free SEO audit and consultation today.