For lawyers, the client acquisition funnel is a balancing act. Legal firms that seek to foster continued growth must focus on retaining existing clients while also generating a steady stream of new, high-quality leads.
In a digital age, the best way lawyers can do this is through a calculated, digital marketing strategy.
This digital marketing for lawyers guide will map out the steps you can take to supercharge your online client acquisition efforts.
A Look at the Numbers—Law Firm Marketing Statistics
To say that the realm of client acquisition has moved digital is an understatement. Currently, if you don’t follow any digital marketing strategy or follow a lawyer marketing plan template, your firm will inevitably lag behind.
Why is that?
Because Google has changed the way consumers behave. It’s shifted the process a normal person follows to search for and then acquire a lawyer.
In the pre-internet days, word-of-mouth was paramount. When searching for a lawyer, an individual sought advice from friends, family, or colleagues. While referrals are still a major factor in decision making, with each passing year, a greater share of potential clients begins their lawyer-hunt with an online search.
A 2017 Clio Report found that a strong referral network is still the most effective “channel” to invest time and energy into. In fact, 62% of lawyers receive referrals from friends and family.1
But what about traditional advertising methods—billboards, yellow pages, TV ads? Per the Clio Report:
- 37% of people use an online search engine to find a lawyer
- 31% of people get a referral from another lawyer
- 28% of people look in an online lawyer directory or listing
- 16% of people check the yellow pages
- 13% of people contact a lawyer in a TV ad
- 7% of people contact a lawyer heard in a radio ad
- 6% of people contact a lawyer seen on a billboard
Put simply, your marketing efforts should meet people where they are—and where they are is online.
However, despite this online advertising shift, many lawyers fail to fully utilize or understand digital marketing for lawyers. Per Above the Law:2 “Survey results showed that 54% of law firms actively advertise to acquire new clients, yet 91% of firms can’t calculate a return on their advertising investments, and 94% don’t know how much it costs them to acquire a new client.”
A significant percentage of legal firms are simply throwing money at the wall and hoping it sticks. That’s a recipe for disaster.
For your firm, however, those numbers represent an opportunity to create a competitive advantage—to drill down with a strategic, analytical approach to digital marketing that not only converts but also creates significant ROI.
So, what does that look like?
4 Digital Marketing Strategies for Lawyers
There are dozens of digital marketing tactics a legal firm can employ. But the path you take largely depends on your legal expertise and typical client. What works for a family lawyer may not be as effective for a malpractice lawyer.
That said, here are four broad strategies to consider:
#1 Conduct In-Depth Research on Your Target Client
Do you know your average client profile? What are their demographics? Socioeconomic status? Age? Location?
How you market to a mid-20-somethings looking for a DUI lawyer will differ greatly from, say, a middle-aged inventor that needs help obtaining a product patent. Therefore, before you ever invest a dime in digital ad revenue, you must first know:
- Who your target client is
- Where they’re most likely to search online
- What types of messaging do they respond to
Don’t know where to start?
Look at your internal marketing data. Interview previous clients. Read industry research on your market demographics. As National Law Review notes:3
“Having a marketing plan means taking the time to consider what your target audience is searching for, how they interact with content online, and what’s going to compel them to work with you. It involves examining which platforms are best for your particular business model and which strategies will give your firm the greatest competitive advantage.”
#2 Invest in PPC Marketing
When it comes to legal digital marketing, your focus should be on reaching the pinnacle of the search engine results pages (SERPS). In doing so, you ensure that your target audience—people searching for specific and related keywords or queries—will see you as the first and best legal option.
With paid ads, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you can guarantee that you rank at the top for your desired keywords.
How do paid ads work?
As the name implies, with paid advertising or a PPC campaign, you bid on keywords and pay that set amount every time a person clicks on your ad. While this gives you visibility, it doesn’t guarantee conversions or ROI. And certain keywords may cost more than they’re worth.
Herein lies the nuances of paid ad. Far too many lawyers attempt to run a PPC campaign on their own without understanding the optimal strategies. The American Bar Association 2019 Tech Report shows that 59% of respondents have reported that the legal firm they worked for did not use any consultant for their PPC efforts, which resulted in wasted ad spend and less-than-desirable conversion rates.4
By hiring digital media experts to properly manage your PPC campaign, you can ensure that every part of the push is built to optimize your budget and geared to convert. The right team can help you employ smart PPC strategies, such as:
- Bidding on long-tail keywords
- Using keyword planners
- Writing ad copy that converts
- Geo-targeting customers
- Focusing on mobile search
- Reviewing your analytics and modifying strategies accordingly
#3 Modernize Your Website
Your website should be the cornerstone of your digital marketing efforts, seeing as it’s likely the first place a new client will go when seeking legal help. More importantly, it’s the portal through which all of your other marketing efforts will be channeled.
If the law firm website fails to do its job, all efforts will follow its lead.
Knowing this, what steps can you take to ensure that your website is built for success?
- Make it fast and easy for a new visitor to navigate – The site should be intuitive and easy to navigate, with every page loading quickly.
- Visual appeal matters deeply – The law firm’s website is your virtual storefront. So, it should create a positive first impression that’s aligned with your legal mission, clientele base, and firm ethos.
- Make it mobile – More than half of global search queries are the result of mobile organic traffic. And now, Google’s algorithm prioritizes mobile-responsive web design. Knowing this, if the site doesn’t look and feel just as good on mobile as it does on desktop, you prevent a significant portion of potential clients from discovering more.
#4 Engage in Content Marketing
Content marketing not only helps optimize your website but also plays an integral role in driving any potential client down the acquisition funnel. And this latter point is an area where many legal firms, especially smaller practices, are lacking. According to the American Bar Association:5
“The 2020 Survey reveals that websites, particularly solo and small firm websites, contain little significant content that demonstrates the firm’s expertise rather than simply asserting it, and few are providing information of significant value to clients and potential clients. Few solo and small firm sites include articles or consumer guides written by the lawyers themselves.”
Your content represents an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, educate your audience, and lead with authority.
So, what types of content should legal professionals focus on for their digital marketing efforts?
There are three main channels worth investing in:
- Blog content – Blog pages aren’t simply useful for search engine optimization (SEO). They also give you a chance to establish yourself as an expert and thought leader. You can offer that by regularly posting client-focused posts that answer likely queries relating to your field or discuss trends that impact the industry.
- Long-form, gated content – White papers and eBooks are longer-form content that go into even greater depths on important legal issues. Additionally, these are valuable resources that you offer as a form of incentivization for potential clients to sign up, join a newsletter, or request a referral.
- Email – Email marketing allows you to keep in touch with existing clients through newsletters and industry updates while nurturing new client leads. When creating automated email sequences, always focus on how you can provide value. Remember, people signed up for your email newsletter to learn more about their current legal situation; be sure to educate!
Convert It—Legal Digital Marketing Experts
Your marketing strategy must be built to engage your target demographic where they are. And in today’s digital age, “they” are online. To get the most from your legal marketing budget, be sure to employ the following strategies:
- Research your target audience
- Utilize paid ad (PPC)
- Update your website
- Engage in content marketing
Are you looking for experts who can take this digital journey alongside you?
At Convert It, we’re PPC specialists that focus exclusively on helping legal experts make their mark. Our services include anything from paid ad strategies, to CRM, to drip campaigns, to call answering. We can also ensure your website is built to capture new user’s attention and draw them into your client acquisition funnel.
Whatever your digital marketing needs, our team has the skills and experience to help you build a marketing campaign that converts.
- Clio. Legal Trends Report 2017. https://www.legalevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/262/2020/03/2017-Legal-Trends-Report.pdf
- Above the Law. Referrals Remain Leading Way Lawyers Get Clients, Per Legal Trends Report. https://abovethelaw.com/2017/10/referrals-remain-leading-way-lawyers-get-clients-per-legal-trends-report/
- National law Review. Law Firm Digital Marketing Strategies. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/law-firm-digital-marketing-strategies
- ABA. 2019 Websites and Marketing Tech Report. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice/publications/techreport/abatechreport2019/websitesmarketing2019/
- ABA. American Bar Association 2020 Websites and Marketing Tech Report.https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice/publications/techreport/2020/webmarketing/