Law firm marketing is becoming increasingly difficult as more and more lawyers are competing for the same clients. For some firms, the answer is just to increase the marketing budget and pour more money into ads, SEO, or content production. But this might not be an option if you’re a sole practitioner or you’re just getting your practice off the ground and don’t have a huge marketing budget. The good news is, not all types of marketing require you to spend money. So we put together this list of 7 free law firm marketing strategies to help you implement a low-budget (or “no budget”) marketing plan that will generate more clients.
1. Go to More Industry Events and Meetups
Legal representation is based heavily on trust, which is why most clients would prefer getting referred to an attorney by a friend over calling an attorney they saw on a billboard. For this reason, networking is, and probably always will be, one of the best free marketing strategies for lawyers.
Building relationships with referral partners is one of the best ways to get more clients, and you can do it without spending a dime. The most effective approach is to attend events, parties, or meetups with other professionals or even with people who may be potential clients.
You can find local meetups and events online by searching Facebook or by using Meetup.com. You can also check with your local bar association to find out about mixers and conferences for attorneys in your area. Get out there, meet people in your industry, and try to build relationships with them. You never know who might refer you a client down the road, so the more people you can connect with the better.
It’s also a good idea to track these relationships using a CRM to ensure that you are keeping in touch with all your professional relationships as time goes on. If you’re not keeping in touch, it’s easy for people to forget about you.
2. Claim and Update Your Avvo Profile
Many attorneys have historically had a negative attitude toward Avvo due to some of its questionable, yet effective marketing tactics. But whether you like it or not, Avvo is a force to be reckoned with in the legal marketing space. So you might as well go along with it and use it to your advantage.
You can claim your Avvo profile for free and update it with your profile picture, a biography, and other info about your law practice. There are additional steps you can take to increase your Avvo rating as well, such as answering legal questions and posting articles and other content.
Of course Avvo is more likely to highlight the attorneys who pay for their marketing services over those who have the free version, but it’s still worth having an updated profile in case a potential client finds it when searching Avvo or even Google. Avvo pages rank high in the search results, so if a client Googles your name, your Avvo profile is likely to appear on the first page. If your profile is unclaimed, you will look far less credible compared to the next attorney who has 5-star reviews and a 10-rating.
3. Be Active on Social Media
Facebook just reached 2 billion active users, and several other social networks are now closing in on 1 billion. It’s clear that social media is not just a passing fad, but a huge part of modern society. It’s where people get their news, it’s how they keep in touch, and it’s the place where they store photos and memories of their lives.
Given the widespread use of social media, and the fact that it’s completely free to use, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can be an effective channel for free law firm marketing. Yes, you can get even more out of social media if you pay to advertise and promote your content. But just sharing content and posting status updates regularly from your personal and/or business page is worth the few minutes of time it takes.
It can be easy to get discouraged when you don’t see results right away, but you shouldn’t. Social media is a volume game, and a longterm strategy. You never know which post you make will reach a prospective client at the right time, spark their interest, and lead them to eventually hire you. So stick with it, and make a daily effort to share on all your social networks, or you can even automate the process with a tool like Buffer.
4. Produce Video Guides and Upload Them to YouTube
YouTube has become the second largest search engine on the internet, behind only Google. Video content is taking over written content in social media feeds and on blogs. It’s time to consider making video a part of your marketing strategy, and best of all, you can get started without spending any money.
You don’t need expensive equipment or software to make a good video these days. Any modern smartphone camera should be decent enough to produce a video of suitable quality. Just make sure to stabilize it so that it doesn’t look shaky. You can use free apps on a smartphone or software like iMovie that is included on your computer for free to cut the video up into clips and edit it. If you’re camera-shy, you could use Powerpoint as an alternative, and then convert the slides into a video and dub in the audio.
Make simple guide videos covering common legal issues such as how to start a business, how to protect your estate, or what to do if you are pulled over and charged with a DUI. Keep them short and provide only basic guidelines. Then encourage viewers to visit your website or get in touch with any questions.
You should also upload these videos onto your website and share them on social media to increase their visibility. Check out or law firm video marketing guide for more information.
5. Answer Questions on Quora
Quora has become by far the best Q&A website online, and its user base is growing steadily. The great thing about answering questions on Quora is that your answer lives on forever, meaning people other than the original person who asked the question can discover your answer long after you posted it.
Quora questions rank very well in search engines, so if somebody types a legal question into Google, there’s a strong chance that someone has asked that same question on Quora in the past, and the Quora answer page will be one of the top links in the search results. If you provided a thorough answer and were voted as the best answer to that question, you will show up at the very top when the person visits the page.
You can also include links from your answer to your website or blog, as long as the links are relevant. Quora is completely free to use, and it’s a great way to be discovered organically online and to establish credibility for yourself, which is why it is one of our top free law firm marketing ideas.
6. Start An Email Newsletter
Email is one of the best mediums to keep in touch with the people in your network, especially those who aren’t quite as close to you. It’s not as invasive as a phone call or a text, but it is still direct and private, unlike social media.
Starting a monthly email newsletter is an excellent way to keep everyone in your network up to date with the latest happenings in your law practice. You might use the newsletter as an opportunity to highlight new cases you won, new employees you hired, new initiatives you are undertaking, etc. The idea is to stay top of mind with as many people as possible so that whenever they or someone they know needs legal help, you’ll be the first person they call.
Email marketing probably won’t be free forever unfortunately, because you will need to use email marketing software. But you can start a free account with Mailchimp with up to 2000 email contacts, so you can still do quite a lot with a limited budget. You can even automate the contact management aspect of email marketing by using a CRM like Lexicata, which integrates with Mailchimp.
Read our complete guide about how to start a law firm newsletter for more info.
7. Submit Guest Blog Posts to Relevant Publications Online
Effective online marketing is all about getting the right content in front of the right audience at the right time. It can be difficult to do, but it works so well that it has enabled Facebook and Google to become two of the wealthiest companies in the world. They both make all their money by serving highly targeted advertisements to people online.
Unlike Facebook and Google where you often have to pay to be seen, guest blogging gives you the ability to get your content in front of a highly targeted audience for free. For this reason, it’s one of the best free law firm marketing strategies out there.
The hard part about it is getting the right relationships with bloggers and editors of popular publications, but with a bit of persistence and some well-crafted email pitches, it can definitely be done. Just think of a few publications in your industry – perhaps the ones you read yourself – and pitch the editors on a guest post topic that will provide value for their audience.
For example, if you’re a business attorney, you might write about “common legal mistake made by startup founders” and submit it to blogs targeting entrepreneurs and business owners. If you’re an estate planning attorney, you could write about “6 things everyone should do to protect their wealth” and submit it to a finance blog. You already have solid credibility as an attorney, so as long as your content is useful and provides valuable information and actionable tips, you should be able to get them to publish it.
Guest blog posts will not only help produce awareness about legal issues among your target audience, but also position you as the expert that can help them navigate these complex situations. Not to mention that the backlinks from guest posts to your own blog or website are great for your SEO.
Many lawyers struggle to grow their practices because they are not effective at marketing.
They assume that all marketing costs money, and since they don’t have a marketing budget, they are stuck getting all their clients via referrals. As a result, their client volume is too low and they can’t drive enough new business to ever build up the marketing budget they need in order to reach the next level.
To break the cycle, you’ve got to think outside the box and find some effective marketing ideas that won’t cost you anything. A recap of our top 7 free marketing tactics are listed below:
- Networking/Attending Industry Events
- Getting Active on Avvo
- Using Social Media
- Uploading Videos to YouTube
- Answering Questions on Quora
- Starting An Email Newsletter
- Guest Blogging