Promoting a law firm or solo practice is a unique proposition. It’s different than promoting almost any other business. There are specific variations on the basic marketing tactics and strategies you need to consider when developing your marketing plan.
It goes without saying that your law firm must be online today… but not just online. A recent survey by Market My Market showed…
- 64% of people said they would use Google when asked how they find an attorney
- 30% said they’d ask a friend or family member
- The rest were split between Facebook (Groups), LinkedIn, Bing, Yahoo, and Yellow Book
Here are 10 relatively basic marketing tactics you should be using to make sure you’re visible to anyone searching for the specific legal services you provide – online and offline – and to ensure you position your firm ahead of your competition.
1) Create a Recognizable Brand
As an attorney, your prevailing positioning must focus on TRUST, EXPERIENCE and EXPERTISE. The brand you build for your law firm or practice, yourself and your partners must project professionalism. Your brand needs to introduce you to an uncertain, searching prospect, most often in need if not desperation – your brand must immediately assure them that you have the knowledge and ability to take care of them and their needs.
One thing to remember… many businesses focus only on the visual aspects of their brand – logo, colors, images – and they forget the importance of developing a strong, reassuring voice (backed by plenty of evidence – see #4 below!)
2) Clear, Concise, Client-Friendly Website
The brand we described above must be instantly projected to a visitor to your site. According to some studies, you have as little as three seconds to show a site visitor what they’re looking for… or they’re likely to click away (to a competitor’s website). You need to instantly communicate…
- Who you are
- Your areas of expertise
- Your depth of experience
- Client reviews and recommendations
- Certifications (to develop trust)
- How they can contact you
And all of that must be presented within the strong, professional branding you’ve established.
3) Utilize Social Media as Social Marketing
Law firms are slowly seeing the benefits of using social media. The ABA’s 2018 Survey reports that 35% of larger law firms use social for business purposes and have gained clients through it – 42% of smaller firms have gained new clients through social media. As we’ve discussed, promoting a law firm is very much about presenting the people, the attorneys, in the firm. Social media is an excellent place to promote the human side of business, firm or practice. Post about achievements and events – professional (like association meetings) or personal (like birthdays or anniversaries at the firm). Use Facebook to put a human face (or faces) to your law firm. Use Twitter to keep clients informed. Use LinkedIn as you would a professional journal – post articles that highlight your expertise. Plus, active social media profiles give you other places to be found online.
4) Request and Publish Client Reviews and Recommendations to Maximize Word of Mouth
There is still no greater way to gain new clients than with positive reviews and recommendations from existing and former clients. Digital marketing has made it easier than ever to utilize word of mouth to promote your firm.
- Client reviews need to be prominently featured on your website – on your home page and on a page devoted entirely to reviews and testimonials
- Post testimonials / quotes / reviews on social media
- Feature client stories (with client approval, of course) on LinkedIn
The hardest part of utilizing client reviews… is asking for them. You need to develop a system or process to automatically request a review when services have been completed. Then, create a checklist of all the places those reviews, ratings and testimonials will be shared online.
5) Create Videos to Speak to Clients and Prospects
Ok, admittedly, video is not for everyone. But many attorneys are accustomed to speaking to a room and presenting a case – it’s no different speaking to a camera… and today, we all have a pretty great camera right in our pocket. As long as your video looks professional (and that’s often the biggest challenge) video is a great way to speak directly to clients and prospects.
Your law firm should post videos on your website and social media (including YouTube) that…
- Introduce yourself and your law firm
- Address a change to a law or regulation that will impact your client base
- Speak to your clients about changes in process (e.g. COVID-19’s impact on office procedures)
- Wish clients well on holidays or special occasions
6) Don’t Skimp on Your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The first step to effective digital marketing is visibility. The most professional, compelling website in the world will be entirely ineffective if no one ever sees it. If you don’t appear in search results, for the most part, nothing else matters. The legal profession is one of the most competitive when it comes to visibility online. Google “Law Firm” with your zip code and see how many firms appear in the search results. Your website needs to be optimized to appear high in the search results – and remember, there’s On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
Talk to the people who created and/or manage your website. Don’t just assume that they’re giving SEO the importance it deserves and the time it requires. Of course, optimizing your site is just one way you can increase your visibility. You also need to publish content – which brings us to…
7) Publish and Promote an Ongoing Blog
A big part of digital marketing isn’t just how you get seen but also what someone sees when they search for you. Just as ratings and reviews can go a long way to instilling trust, articles you publish online can help convince a prospect that you’re the right law firm for them. There are plenty of places you can publish articles online, but the easiest is simply adding and maintaining a blog on your website. Blog posts can have a tremendous impact on your site’s SEO, dramatically increasing the search topics you’ll appear under – plus, someone coming to your site will be presented with an array of information highlighting your expertise.
8) Create Original, Long-Form Content to Position Yourself as an Expert
Blog posts are the quickest and easiest content to publish online. When you’re ready to step up your game, it’s time to consider a “whitepaper.” As “content marketing” has become more prevalent, you’ve probably seen these digital guides offered online. Whitepapers are an excellent way to position yourself as a specialist in a particular area – and speak to a specific audience. For example, if you specialize in Family Law, choose a topic that many of your clients ask about – be sure to target the topic and the audience, like: “Establishing a Trust for Your Children in Texas.” Offer your whitepaper on your site, on social, and even in ads around the web.
9) Be Part of Your Local Community and Your Professional Community
In many ways, supporting and sponsoring local community events takes place offline, but almost every municipality has an online presence today. Be aware of it, keep up to date on the goings-on, and appear on the site whenever and however you can – either responding to articles or contributing your own.
The same goes for professional associations. All the networking you do in person can be enhanced by participating with those associations online. Sign up for emails, texts, updates – and remember, the great thing about digital communication is how easy it is to make it a two-way street. Most digital communication gives you an opportunity to “Comment” – take advantage of that opportunity, it will get your name seen and further increase your overall visibility online.
10) Don’t Let Your Marketing Become “Set-It-And-Forget-It”
For better or worse, there’s not a single tactic on this list that is one-and-done. Establishing and promoting your law firm online is an ongoing process. Constant updates to your website, social media and digital content are crucial to developing and maintaining your visibility online — and attracting new clients. If your website hasn’t been updated in months or years, it’s time for a refresh. If it doesn’t have a blog, add one now. If your social media hasn’t had new posts in over a month, post something today!
These are just basic digital marketing tactics your law firm needs to be doing to stay relevant online. To stay competitive in a crowded digital market, you must have a clear, ongoing strategy to maintain and increase your online visibility… and that starts with the 10 tactics listed above.