Marketing can almost seem like a foreign language to many attorneys. There are countless different strategies, both online and offline. It’s difficult to even know where to begin. Sure, you can always hope to get referrals, but organic word of mouth can only take you so far. If you are really looking to grow your practice, you will need to implement a more comprehensive strategy to attract clients. This is why it’s so important to understand which marketing methods will work best for your firm, and why. Here’s our breakdown of the most effective law firm marketing strategy for the most common, consumer facing practice areas.
Best Marketing Strategy for Estate Planning Lawyers
Estate planning tends to be one of the most relationship driven practice areas. Most estate planning firms get a lot of referrals from other professionals, as well as from past or current clients.
Drafting an estate plan is also one of the least urgent legal issues from a client’s perspective. This means it can be a gradual sales process, and you should be marketing for the long term.
Given the nature of the practice area, the most effective marketing strategy for estate planning lawyers is probably a combination of professional networking along with educational seminars.
Professional networking isn’t always the most enjoyable activity, but it’s well worth the effort if you are looking to build an estate planning practice. You should attend industry events, or even host them yourself, and meet with other professionals who are strategic advisors to your target clientele in other aspects of their lives.
People like insurance agents, bankers, realtors, and accountants are ideal. These people advise your clientele on important financial transactions and decisions, and chances are, their clients could also benefit from your legal services. Try to form mutually beneficial referral partnerships with one or two people in each of those industries, and then send each other clients.
The general public severely lacks knowledge when it comes to the benefits of having a proper estate plan. Most people know they should have a will, but that’s about it. And even then, many people still haven’t drafted one.
One of the most effective marketing strategies for estate planning is to host free, educational seminars targeting the general public. You can cover interesting topics such as “wealth preservation” and demonstrate to these people some of the risks associated with having an improper or poorly planned estate.
Have the attendees sign up for your email list, and send them periodic email newsletters with relevant content. Include a call to action in every email and encourage people to contact your law firm if they’re interested in a consultation.
Best Marketing Strategy for Family Law Firms
Family law is one of the more marketable practice areas, although that also means it is competitive. Referrals are still important, particularly from previous clients, but family lawyers should look to add in additional marketing channels as well.
Family legal issues can be complex and tensions run high, which means there is often increased urgency on the client’s side compared to estate planning. People will be seeking out information or help, and the first place they turn to is often the internet. This makes online strategies a more appealing option.
For the reasons above, our recommended marketing strategies for family lawyers are primarily online methods such as SEO and lawyer directory websites.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization is the process of updating your website to make it more discoverable in search results. For law firms, using a local SEO strategy is often most effective. For example, if someone types “divorce lawyer Miami” into Google and you are located in Miami, you want to be the law firm that pops up at the top of the results page.
The beauty of SEO is that once your site starts ranking high, the leads will continually flow in with very little additional cost. You just have to keep your site updated, and add enough new content to maintain your ranking. It’s a fairly defensible position to be in.
However, the process of getting ranked in the first place is not easy and requires a lot of effort. It’s best left to professionals, but just be cautious because there are many companies out there who claim to be SEO experts and will charge you a lot of money, but ultimately fail to provide the results to back it up.
Lawyer Directory Websites
Lawyer directory sites such as Avvo can also be a good marketing option for family lawyers. Typically, family law clients will like to do some comparison shopping and make sure they hire someone with the right experience who they can trust. Having an active presence on networks like Avvo, is a good way to be discovered as well as boost your credibility.
Just be sure to keep your profile updated, and take steps to increase your Avvo ranking from time to time. It may be completely arbitrary when it comes to your ability to practice law, but to clients, the rating is a measure of trust.
Best Marketing Strategy for Personal Injury and Employment Lawyers
Marketing a personal injury or employment law firm is much more of a volume game compared to other areas of law. You’ll have to sift through a large quantity of potential cases in order to find the real gems which are worth pursuing.
Of course, you will have your fair share of bad cases, which should be screened out as early as possible. But you will want to attract the maximum number of leads possible in order to increase the chances of finding a good one.
Since a single case can potentially be worth many thousands, or even millions of dollars, you can justify spending large sums of money in order to attract a high volume of leads and hopefully land one big case. For these reasons, the best personal injury or employment law marketing strategy is probably online PPC advertising, as well as potentially radio, TV, or physical ads.
PPC stands for “pay per click,” and it is exactly what it sounds like. You pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad to visit your website, or to call your office directly when the ad is displayed on a mobile phone.
PPC advertising is how Google earns its billions. Every time someone searches a relevant keyword, such as “car accident lawyer,” Google will display your ad to them. If they click it, you pay a fee. The amount you pay depends on various factors, primarily related to the competitiveness of the keyword and how many other advertisers are bidding for it.
Personal injury related keywords happen to be the very most expensive keywords on Google, but as long as you have a good website that can convert clicks into leads, you can usually still justify the cost. You also need to focus on optimizing your operations so that you can screen out cases as efficiently as possible, and when you do find a viable one, have a streamlined process to sign the client up and seal the deal.
A good website and streamlined processes are key parts of your overall marketing strategy because that’s what enables you to pay top dollar for PPC leads. If you have not optimized in these areas, you’ll end up wasting a lot of money in a hurry.
You may also consider advertising on the radio, on television, or in other physical locations such as billboards or bus stops. Depending what types of clientele you prefer to work with, this can be a good strategy and you can receive a large number of impressions on your ads without spending a ton of money.
The biggest downside to offline advertising is that it’s much more difficult to measure your results and attribute these ads as being the source where a client discovered your firm.
Best Marketing Strategy for Business, Intellectual Property & Real Estate Transactional Firms
Marketing for transactional law firms that handle business and real estate deals is very much a relationship business, similar to estate planning. The goal should be to establish long term clients who will utilize your services on a recurring basis.
Referrals from existing clients or other professionals are likely to be the most effective marketing method. The other thing that can work well is producing high quality, educational content and distributing it online.
There are countless legal issues that can arise in any kind of business transaction. It’s inevitable that people will have a ton of questions and be seeking advice during the process.
So, producing highly targeted and quality content to answer some commonly occurring questions is an excellent way for your firm to be discovered. You should create a blog and publish articles on these topics regularly. This will be great for your SEO and web traffic, and it is also a good way of establishing credibility with prospective clients.
One strategy is to use the question itself as the title of the blog post, e.g. “How do I convert a California LLC into a C-corporation?” Then you can write a few paragraphs covering the basic steps in the process along with some of the risks or concerns that may arise. Encourage people to contact your firm with further questions.
You might also consider publishing downloadable whitepapers, creating YouTube videos, publishing articles on LinkedIn, or answering questions on websites like Avvo or Quora. The more ways of distributing your content, the more likely it will be discovered.
Best Marketing Strategy for Criminal Defense Firms
Criminal defense is probably the most urgent type of legal need from a client’s standpoint. If someone was arrested and is in jail or has an upcoming court date, they have very few options but to seek legal help.
This is great for the lawyer from a sales standpoint because there’s no easier lead to close than one who is desperate. But, you’ve got to be quick to respond and able to easily build trust, or the client won’t hesitate to look elsewhere.
There is very little loyalty from these types of clients, and while you may get some referrals from past clients, the best marketing strategies are probably online and built around a high quality website. A combination of PPC advertising, SEO, and content are all highly effective.
People facing criminal charges are likely to be looking for help online. They may be doing research to learn more about the penalties they could face, or they might be searching directly for lawyer related keywords.
For these reasons, you should implement a multi-faceted strategy. PPC ads and local SEO optimization are great for certain search terms, such as “DUI lawyer New York” or “criminal lawyers near me.” These searches demonstrate strong intent and an immediate need for legal help in a particular location. Your goal is to be the lawyer they find first, which is why showing up at the top of the search results page, either with a PPC ad or as the top organic result is ideal.
However, you would be wise to also develop informative content targeting keywords with less immediate intent. For example, if someone types in “can you go to jail for a second DUI?” that probably indicates that they received a DUI, but it’s not as obvious as “DUI lawyer near me.” They could just be doing research out of curiosity, which is why having articles on these kinds of topics is a good idea. It will bring you targeted web traffic, but without having to pay for every click like an ad would.
Another suggestion for criminal defense marketing is to implement a live chat service on your website. Remember, it’s critical to be available to respond to a lead immediately and establish their trust. Having a live chat option on your website is a great way to engage with website visitors, and it’s generally a bit less intimidating for the person than calling on the phone.
Best Marketing Strategy for Bankruptcy and Immigration Lawyers
Bankruptcy and immigration, although not really related, are somewhat similar from a marketing standpoint. Both tend to be higher volume, the sales process can be long, and they both involve certain federal issues which can create a much wider base of potential clients.
Word of mouth marketing is an important strategy, particularly for immigration, but somewhat for bankruptcy as well. People in the same ethnic and socioeconomic circles will be likely to refer others for similar services.
But most of all, there is a huge knowledge gap to fill in these areas because most clients have very little information about the types of services they may benefit from, and why. So any form of educational marketing is a viable strategy.
Publishing informative content, both online and offline, is a good marketing strategy to pursue for bankruptcy and immigration firms. These clients are likely to be generally aware of a legal problem, but will have very little idea about how to resolve it.
You can engage them by providing basic answers to their questions via blog posts, YouTube videos, live webinars, newspaper or magazine articles, or any other content channel. Also, hosting in person seminars about relevant topics like debt relief or gaining US citizenship is also a good option to consider.
Another potential channel to explore for distributing your educational content is social media, and particularly Facebook. Pretty much everyone spends time on Facebook these days. You can create a Facebook page around a major topic such as debt relief, and then start to build up an audience. You can share content directly with this audience, or use Facebook retargeting to advertise to them.
As you can see, which marketing strategy will work best for your law practice is largely dependent on the area of law you focus on. The needs of clients, the urgency of their problems, the length of the sales process, and the amount of knowledge they have varies from one area of law to the next.
You need to keep this in mind and develop your law firm marketing strategy accordingly in order to maximize your chances of success.