To build a successful legal practice, you must proactively ensure that your law firm’s name is seen and heard by potential clients. You can’t expect clients to come searching for your firm just because you made the local news or have a good track record with your clients. In this day and age, all businesses – even law firms – need marketing.
Legal marketing refers to all tasks related to attracting clients to your law firm. This includes a wide range of activities from networking to advertising and maintaining public relations. Legal marketing can cover both traditional and digital marketing, and in recent years more firms have devoted focus and resources to the latter.
Unfortunately, legal marketing isn’t something that they teach you in law school, despite it being one of the most important aspects in running a law firm. In fact, U.S. lawyers were historically prohibited from advertising their legal services due to ethical concerns about solicitation. This changed with the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977), in which attorney advertising was deemed a form of commercial speech protected by the First Amendment. Nearly 50 years later, though, many attorneys still resist advertising and marketing.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t let lack of knowledge, misconceptions, time constraints, or fear of failure stop you from promoting your legal practice. In this article, we’re going to explain all about law firm marketing and why it’s the most important strategy if you want to grow your legal practice.
Many lawyers have negative perceptions about marketing. Some believe marketing is a tactic used to trick clients into making a decision and that engaging in promotional practices is therefore unethical. Some lawyers even perceive marketing as being similar to the often-joked-about “ambulance chasing.”
A lot of lawyers believe that if they produce quality work and provide excellent service, that will be much more valuable than advertising their results. The assumption is that if you focus on being the best professional you can be, more clients will come through your door. But this approach will not bring you the steady flow of clients only marketing can provide.</span?
Of course, if you are doing a great job, you will likely get referrals. But, if a potential client is seeking legal services and has no idea where to begin, marketing your law firm can provide you the opportunity to be first in line for their business. For example, General Practice Attorney Alyssa C. says that marketing with “LegalMatch has been able to increase my clients that reach out for possible representation. It has provided me the ability to gain the additional clientele that is needed for my practice…[and] the ability to obtain my own clientele outside of just local referrals.”
You might view marketing as something that could cause competitiveness, client-stealing, or any other behavior that is deemed “too businesslike” and therefore unprofessional. Or you may have tried different forms of legal marketing and fallen short of reaching your potential. Maybe becoming complacent with traditional marketing platforms that are not performing well for you simply because you don’t know what else to do or believe you don’t have time to worry about it.
You might even believe marketing tools are only available for large firms who make the big bucks. It’s a common misconception to believe the only effective legal marketing strategy is to spend more money.
Another major reservation you might have about marketing your law firm is the feeling that as a professional you want to make sure that anything you do, you do it right. You’ve been trained to anticipate negative outcomes if things are not done correctly, and this may leave you feeling overwhelmed by the idea of marketing your legal practice.
The truth is this. Your law firm can benefit from an organized and well-thought-out marketing strategy. To understand how, it helps to consider the wider context in which you are practicing law.
If your law firm does not have effective marketing, even if you are the most highly-skilled attorney in your area, this may go unnoticed and clients may go elsewhere. There is such a large number of lawyers in any given area of the country, it is often difficult for clients to find the lawyer they need simply based on the sheer volume of information available. Potential clients want information on how you can help them and why you are better than your competition.
Your law firm cannot exist without clients. Finding and retaining those clients is one of the most important aspects of practicing law. Client acquisition can be accomplished in many ways, such as networking, blogging, and advertising. If you are overwhelmed by the prospect of having to blog or advertise on a regular basis, there are services available that can help you do both, often at competitive prices.
One of the easiest ways to engage clients is to make it simple for them to locate and contact your firm. This can be done in many ways, including building a website and investing in SEO content, claiming your Google My Business profile and attaching photos, and providing a place for clients to post reviews of your firm.
Social media can also be an effective tool for increasing visibility for your law firm. Many potential clients may want more information on you and what you do beyond your name and your practice area. Creating a relatable online presence may help potential clients relate to you as a person and trust that you can handle their often serious and private legal issues.
Increasing your trust and credibility in the legal market can be one of the most important things you can do to support your firm and help it grow. Most lawyer’s livelihood is built on their reputation, both as a person and as a professional. Some of the most important steps you can take include being available for your clients to contact you, keeping your word, and acting like the professional that you are.
Potential clients will appreciate consistent and honest contact regarding their legal issues. If you say you will do something or promise a client you will take certain action, you need to do it or you will soon be viewed as someone who cannot be trusted. Although appearance is not everything, looking and acting the part of a professional, trusted lawyer can put clients at ease and help them feel like you have the capacity and experience to handle their issues.
LegalMatch is an excellent resource for any lawyer, especially those who are not as familiar with marketing strategies and how to implement them. LegalMatch provides you with on-demand attorney-client matching services with a centralized, multi-dimensional marketing service that works.
Many lawyers use LegalMatch as their main source of leads and do not even use other forms of advertising. LegalMatch makes it easier and faster for clients to find attorneys who practice in the area of law they need. No matter your schedule or demands outside of the profession, LegalMatch gives you the opportunity to obtain client leads anytime, anywhere.
Lawyers who use LegalMatch have reported excellent results, growth in their firms, and the ability to reach clients they previously could not. Lawyers had the following to say about the services LegalMatch provides:
“About 80% of my business has come from LegalMatch at this point in time. It provides a consistent stream of clients, potential clients, and clients who have anywhere from very small matters of simply a few thousand dollars to matters that are dealing with resources in the millions.” – Business Law Attorney, Timothy C.
“With LegalMatch, I generate about 10 times the amount of fees that I pay.” – Estate Law Attorney, Frank O.
“LegalMatch has brought to me a clientele that I would not have otherwise seen. The market’s very competitive for lawyers. There are a lot of lawyers who advertise and it’s very easy for someone to Google or otherwise search for a lawyer and find a name and call, but I like the exposure that LegalMatch gives me.” – Business and Family Law Attorney, Keith N.
LegalMatch is a great tool whether you are just starting your firm or looking to build on an existing legal practice:
“One of the hardest points to overcoming the learning curve was new client acquisition, and LegalMatch was a very good help with that. You read reviews about different referral services and they’re really hit or miss. I feel like a lot of times, you get out of it what you put into it. I was able to build my practice up to a level of sustainability, whereas it may have taken me much longer otherwise.” – General Practice Attorney, John H.
“LegalMatch has been an invaluable asset to our firm. Because when you own a practice or when you’re a partner at a practice and you’re required to bring clients in the door, that’s very separate and apart from practicing law. With LegalMatch, what they’re able to do is they’re able to take a big task that we are faced with and help us do that for us. So instead of worrying about how to advertise, how to market, how best to do that, we have LegalMatch and LegalMatch does it for you.” – Family Law Attorney, Greg P.
Legal marketing is about understanding your potential clients’ needs and coming up with creative strategies to meet those needs while promoting your law firm at the same time. This can include creating a marketing plan, identifying your target audience (preferred clientele), identifying your area of legal specialization, developing printable and digital content to share your message, networking, giving presentations or workshops, and designing an online strategy.
But it can start very simply. Here is a step-by-step overview to help you get started marketing your law firm:
When starting the process of legal marketing for your law firm, it is important to keep the end goal in mind at the beginning. Decide what aspects are most important to you and focus on those. Examples of marketing goals for your law firm may include:
Once you have determined your goals for your law firm, it is important to focus on how to meet them by identifying the target market of individuals and clients that you want to attract. This may begin by focusing on the area of law you practice or want to practice and developing your marketing plan to target clients with those needs in your area. It is important to remember that you do not have to market to every type of client out there but focusing your marketing will help you reach clients who may benefit most.
If you are new to marketing and you graduated with a law degree and not a marketing degree, this step will likely be intimidating. There are numerous different types of resources you can review online that will give you tips and tricks for developing your plan on your own. There are also large numbers of marketing firms that are available to help you develop the best plan possible for your law firm, most at a reasonable price.
If you do not have a plan, you may not get the results you are looking for because you are not tracking your goals and making decisions based on results. This may cause you to become frustrated and not be able to focus on a single strategy. Once you have a marketing plan in place for your firm, you will be able to tell if your efforts are producing results and make adjustments as needed.
An online presence is one of the most important steps for marketing your law firm. Whether you like it or not, we now live in a world where everything is available online nearly in an instant. If you want to compete in the legal world and attract more clients, you need to establish an online foundation using a website where potential clients can find information about you and your practice.
Your law firm website should showcase your firm’s approach to your client’s cases and the law. It should be fast-loading, well-designed, and look good on any type of device. There are plenty of resources available for lawyers who want to build their own websites but, if possible, it is best to have a professional handle this. Unless you are familiar with website building, you will not likely be able to take advantage of everything websites can provide for your law firm and you will end up wasting your valuable time and resources.
Networking can be one of the easiest and low cost ways to market your law firm. There are many ways you can market your law firm, including:
It is just as important to network with other lawyers as it is to network with potential clients, as they can be an invaluable resource or even provide referrals in the future.
Content marketing is a way for your law firm to reach more potential clients through online content. This type of marketing can go beyond social media likes and allow you to provide information on many different platforms, which will increase your likelihood of reaching potential clients. For example, your law firm can create:
It is important to be aware that you do not have to engage in all of these ways to provide information but you can focus on those that suit your strengths and your law firm.
The complexity of legal marketing often challenges many lawyers and law firms today. With advances in technology and related changes in marketing strategies, there is a need to constantly adapt to new and effective strategies that expand opportunities for business growth.
In past years, legal marketing and advertising was a much simpler task, as lawyers could use billboards, phone books, and television commercials. Today, however, the marketing game has changed considerably and new playbooks are being written that cause previously used successful tactics to become obsolete and produce diminishing terms.
Before the digital era, most products and services were promoted via print-based and broadcast mediums such as newspapers, magazines, brochures, billboards, direct mail, radio, television, telemarketing, and in-person networking. Many traditional techniques, such as direct mail and word-of-mouth, are still highly effective. So be sure to include them in your marketing mix.
There are steps you can take now to engage in traditional marketing that can have a positive impact on your firm. Referrals are still one of the simplest, most effective, and least expensive marketing tools you can use. Request your clients share their great experiences with your firm with their family and friends. If you notice you are getting referrals from certain areas or groups of people, take note of this. Make sure you share how you are uniquely qualified to help these individuals or groups.
Another great way you can engage in marketing outside of the digital world is to engage with the local community and network. This can be done by hosting an event, volunteering to speak at a function, and attending local chamber of commerce meetings. Before attending, consider practicing a 90 second speech that introduces your firm, who you help, how you help, and how it can benefit your current audience.
To go beyond the limitations of traditional marketing when it comes to geographical reach, targeted personalization, two-way engagement, data analysis, cost effectiveness, and discoverability you’ll also want to add digital marketing strategies. Digital marketing refers to all the tools and methods made possible since the rise of internet technology.
Digital marketing techniques are a powerful addition to traditional marketing strategies. While traditional methods remain relevant, digital marketing offers new ways to reach a larger and more diverse audience. As you add digital marketing strategies to the mix, be sure to include:
Your law firm’s website can serve as the starting point and the foundation of your legal digital marketing. This provides a first impression of your law firm to the public and your potential clients online.
Because your website is so important, you should use as much effort and as many resources designing the website as you did designing your physical offices. At the very least, your law firm’s website should include all of the basics, such as:
Although this is an excellent starting point, no matter how informative and well-designed your website is, it will not show up online when potential clients search if you have not maximized the potential of your website. This is where SEO, or search engine optimization comes into play.
SEO optimizes your law firm’s website content and source code to increase its visibility and ranking on search engine result pages. If you are not familiar with these types of tools, such as website design and development and SEO integration, there are many digital marketing companies that specialize in these areas.
Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of online materials that focus on your clients and what they need. This may include social media posts, blogs, and videos that are not intended to promote your firm but are intended to stimulate interest in your firm’s services. For example, you may share a video demonstrating how to create a will, post a divorce process flow chart on your firm website, or write a blog post about what clients should ask you during their initial consultation.
Online directories and review sites can also provide your law firm with an online presence potential clients can access. Your law firm can register with online directories, maps (such as Google Maps), and review sites (such as Yelp). This ensures that both potential and active clients have accurate and up-to-date contact information. This also provides them with a way to share about their positive experiences with your firm.
Social media marketing can be a powerful tool that helps your firm reach a larger audience with possibly very little, or even no, financial investment. Most individuals these days have social media profiles. If your firm has a social media profile, it can provide an alternative way to find your practice apart from your website.
Using social media marketing is not just about posting ads for your firm. It can be used to educate potential clients regarding your experience and what your firm does by providing informational content or engaging in thoughtful discussions. Although it may feel like you are providing free information and advice, it will serve to demonstrate that you have knowledge and experience in your field and are a great candidate to represent someone with a legal problem.
Email marketing is another excellent tool that is low-effort and low-cost but very effective. Email marketing allows your firm to send out consistent, targeted emails to your potential clients and network. It also provides an easy way to measure its success because it offers analytics regarding how many people actually open your emails.
PPC advertising, or pay-per-click, advertising provides a smart and efficient way of engaging in paid online advertising. PPC advertising allows you to create an online advertising campaign where you pay only when a visitor clicks on your advertisement, which ensures that you are only paying for the times when a client actually clicks on your ad and visits your website.
Popular PPC ad networks for law firms include:
Another tool available for law firms online are legal marketing platforms and lead generation services. These services specialize in linking lawyers directly with clients, and vice-versa. There are several approaches, for example, a platform may allow clients to search for lawyer profiles and corresponding ratings and reviews and another platform may use SEO and PPC to send traffic to the law firm website that contains lawyer profiles.
LegalMatch is a convenient attorney-client matching platform that allows potential clients to pose their legal issue online and member-lawyers can respond. This allows you to directly contact potential clients and schedule legal consultations that may lead to contracts.
Considering how much is involved, there’s no shame in hiring a marketing expert to handle this crucial and complicated aspect of growing your law firm. That’s where LegalMatch can help.
LegalMatch’s legal marketing services provide member lawyers with an excellent lead-generation system to ensure a steady flow of local clients. With LegalMatch’s attorney-client matching platform, you can obtain relevant information that’s normally acquired during your initial case intake when clients answer a few questions about their case in the LegalMatch platform. This allows you to assess whether the potential client’s legal concerns fall within your area of expertise even before any actual communication happens.
Additionally, unlike other legal digital marketing or lead generation services, LegalMatch doesn’t require its member lawyers to create and maintain their own website as it allows its member lawyers to create their own profiles within the platform.
LegalMatch offers a multitude of features geared towards ensuring lawyers and law firms have continuous access to quality leads. You can read the reviews and success stories from our member lawyers attesting to LegalMatch’s commitment in supporting lawyers and law firms that trust in our services.