The Online Marketing Guide for Lawyers

Clara Jones

This is a guest post by Clara Jones, an editor in the business process and communications field.

Online marketing offers lawyers the opportunity to garner newfound awareness of their firms and practice groups. Plus, it gives them the chance to generate new business leads, both from potential prospects and their existing clients.

Marketing has experienced a remarkable shift in power in the age of technology, and it’s never been more important to have an online presence than right now. 

Digital marketing spend in the US surpassed traditional marketing spend for the first time in 2019. Clearly, if you want to maintain your law firm’s competitive streak and attract a consistent flow of clients and high-value legal cases, online marketing should be a top priority.

This online marketing guide covers all the essential elements of a successful digital marketing strategy. By using this information and putting it into practice, you can help your law firm reach new clients and expand as a result. 

In this post, I'll focus on three core principles: 

  1. Raising your firm’s profile
  2. Building credibility in your areas of specialization
  3. Reaching the right clients with the right messages.

You can combine these three approaches to unify the many facets of your online marketing objectives and achieve a solid return on investment. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on the best ways to use digital marketing for your law firm:

1. Focus on your clients

Image source: Unsplash

Your past and current clients as well as your future prospects are the lifeblood of your legal firm. You need to tailor every aspect of your firm’s online marketing approach to your clients. To successfully attract and engage them, you need to understand what they want and need, and which challenges they need assistance solving. 

I recommend that you create a buyer persona for your law firm to achieve this. A buyer persona is a personalized representation of your ideal customer. They're often based on extensive market research and real data about your existing client base.

But if you're a true solo or a small firm, it should be fairly straightforward for you to create a buyer persona for your ideal clients based on your experience working with them every day. Start by jotting down some notes and keep them on hand as you go through the process of building your marketing framework and content.

2. Construct a solid marketing framework

Evaluate your marketing strategy at a completely holistic level. Instead of thinking strictly about campaigns, think in terms of growth frameworks and long-term operational objectives. 

Draw up your marketing framework in the form of a written marketing plan. This plan strategically guides your firm’s goals, campaigns, and long-term growth.

To start, continue through this guide and make a note of the marketing processes that will work with your budget, buyer persona, interests, and time constraints. Then map out at least the next 3 - 6 months of what you think you can achieve.

3. Harness the power of search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is the key to reaching the right target market with your services and messages. You can have a fantastically informative, helpful blog or website, but it will not be able to drive customer acquisition unless it's are being seen by your ideal target group. SEO is a crucial part of any effective online marketing strategy, and this is particularly true for lawyers.

Image source: Unsplash

Search engine optimization can be an intimidating concept if you're just getting started. And there is tons of conflicting advice out there. But there are two main keys to getting it right to start: A simple, well-built website and the right content to "rank" in search results for your client's queries.

You can hire a marketing agency or designer to help with your site, or go for a Wix or Squarespace site if you want to build one yourself. Just keep in mind, the more "cool" scripts and add-ons you attach to your site, the worse it is for SEO.

4. Generate leads with conversion rate optimization strategies

You can do all the marketing in the world, but it's pointless unless you're capturing every lead who hits your website. So how do you do that? Luckily, Smith.ai is on your side on this one! Take these three steps and watch as your lead conversion rate soars.

  1. Add a chat widget to your site to engage with new leads and capture contact information for follow-up.
  2. Add your phone number to the header of your site and sign up for an answering service to immediately respond to any lead who calls your business.
  3. Add text and Facebook message answering to your live chat plan so you can capture leads who prefer to text or find you on Facebook.

This is actually the easiest part of marketing, but it can be one of the most important. Don't spend countless hours and thousands of dollars on digital marketing efforts before optimizing your conversion rate tactics.

5. Develop a smart social media strategy

Creating a trustworthy and authentic image on social media is a crucial part of online marketing and PR for law firms. You can use social media platforms to connect with your audience, build your brand, drive traffic to your website, and increase your leads. 

The keys here are:

  • Post excellent quality content across all your social media profiles
  • Engage meaningfully with your followers 
  • Analyze results
  • Run paid advertisements on your platforms.

It’s also important to write a professional bio for your social media profiles. Your followers will usually view this before they see any of the other content you post.

6. Foster connections through content marketing

Quality, engaging content allows you to build connections with your target clients. Content marketing enables you to foster and strengthen lasting relationships, and attract more business too.

Image source: Unsplash

Your content marketing approach should extend beyond your law firm’s online blog. Quality content includes: 

  • Informative articles
  • Webinars
  • Guides
  • eBooks
  • Podcasts
  • Videos

Surveys fall under content marketing too, and provide valuable insight into the demands, needs, and wants of your target market. Additionally, they highlight the fact that you want to hear from your audience, and give you the opportunity to improve in areas where you may be lacking.

All of these content forms can drive significant growth for your operation if provided in a strategic way. Focus on developing timely, helpful, and educational content that’s geared specifically towards your audience.

7. Use search engine marketing to find clients

Image source: Unsplash

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a highly effective way to deliver targeted traffic and leads to your firm’s website. SEM is also well-known as paid search, online advertising, or pay per click (PPC) advertising. 

Essentially, all these terms pertain to traffic that you purchase through online adverts, typically on Google. SEM gives you the opportunity to bid for ad placements in search engines’ sponsored links when potential clients search for keywords related to your services.

8. Make the most of your connections with email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective communication tools in any lawyer’s online marketing toolkit. Email is a fantastic way for your firm to keep itself fresh in past and present clients’ minds, and to attract new businesses. 

Consider sending your subscribers a weekly or monthly newsletter to stay in touch. Some of the most successful firms are those who send valuable, relevant, and personalized mails to their clients at the right times. 

It’s a good idea to use email segmentation tools to personalize your email marketing campaigns. This allows you to send targeted content to those it’s most relevant to.

9. Regularly analyze your performance

The legal landscape is constantly changing and evolving. Bearing this in mind, it’s extremely important for you to measure and critically analyze the success of your online marketing campaigns and adjust them accordingly. 

Measuring and assessing your metrics will enable you to better gauge the impact of your online activities, and improve and tweak them as you learn. 

Conclusion 

Online marketing is an essential part of every lawyer’s marketing arsenal. It takes consistency, persistence, and flexibility to create an effective digital marketing approach, but the benefits of doing so are endless. 

Having a strong online presence will allow your firm to better capture and attract new leads, engage past and present clients, and build a lasting, positive reputation among your key target markets.

Clara Jones

Clara Jones is a Dutch-American editor in the field of business processes, business communication and project management.

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