According to Finances Online’s summative report, 85 percent of attorneys use social media in their marketing strategy. At the same time, 70 percent of surveyed law firms didn’t have a call to action (CTA) on their website and 40 percent of small law firms didn’t have a website at all. This contradictory mishmash of statistics means that law firms have long recognized the importance of marketing online, but aren’t necessarily sure how to do it or how online marketing fits into their wider law firm marketing strategies.
Without a clear-cut plan for how to increase law firm business, you may be tempted to leave a marketing revamp by the wayside. However, according to the above survey, 70 percent of law firms get business through their website.
In other words, online marketing works!
Using both online and offline strategies will help you harness your traditional market and branch out into new ones.
How to Create a Law Firm Marketing Strategy
Developing a solid marketing strategy isn’t about jumping immediately into creating a website and doing A/B tests to see what works. Instead, it involves a foundation of research about your past clients, your present performance and your future business goals. Start by answering these two questions:
1. Who Is Your Audience?
You need to know precisely what demographics your business is targeting as a whole and in specific campaigns. The audience you reach over local news broadcasts is different from the audience you reach in Twitter ads, for example.
Determine these three factors as you gauge your audience:
- Target audience: Your target audience is made up of the people who fit your ideal customer persona type: the people who (i) need your services, (ii) can pay for them and (iii) are likely to choose you.
- Target market size: What’s the total number of people who match your preferred customer persona type in the geographic region you serve?
- Your competition: The legal industry is a competitive field. You need to measure your total market size and the strength of your competition so you can set reasonable goals.
2. What’s the Scope of Your Lawyer Marketing Strategy?
In other words, how much are you willing to invest, and what do you want the end result to be?
If you’re able to devote thousands of dollars a year to radio ads, then you have more room to experiment and can pay for primetime ad slots. But if that’s not in the budget, you might prefer online radio or podcast ads that have a smaller price tag.
Allocating money and time to your marketing strategy is crucial, especially for long-term marketing campaigns that require six or more months to start gaining traction. Determine your resources before you begin.
Establishing the goals of your marketing strategy, as well as goals for specific campaigns, is equally important. SMART goals will help you gauge in-progress success and help you determine if it’s worthwhile to tweak your budget or if you should abandon a campaign.
For example, a SMART goal for your marketing strategy could be increasing your number of leads by 18 percent and investing $15,000 and 10 hours per week to the strategy.
Map Out Your Sales Funnel
What’s a Sales Funnel?
You may have heard the term ‘sales funnel’ (or, more recently, a ‘sales flywheel’) in relation to e-commerce. But law firms are also in the business of generating leads, just like any sales organization. The sales funnel is the path your clients will take from being in your target market to being a lead to being a converted and paying client. (The flywheel model adds additional steps of excellent customer service to turn clients into repeat clients and even sources of referred business.)
The sales funnel is made up of these stages:
- Awareness: At this stage, your marketing strategy involves creating content for potential readers and running ads.
- Discovery: At this stage, your prospective clients are aware of you. They may ask you questions, set an initial meeting or start comparing your services with your competitors. Your goal here is to continue to establish authority with great marketing content and offer value.
- Evaluation: Here, you’ll make an initial offer or the lead will look into pricing and the scope of your services. They’ll zero-in on their preferred law firm.
- Intent: In this stage, you and the lead will negotiate. They clearly intend to hire your services.
- Purchase: At this stage, the deal is closed.
- Loyalty: This stage may seem like it’s not part of the sales funnel (it’s the stage when you provide legal support and services to your client). But failing at this stage could result in your firm gaining a bad reputation and having to return fees, or losing out on future business altogether.
Determine which marketing actions are the best choice to engage leads and customers at each stage. For example, blog posts answering specific legal questions can help potential clients discover your site. TV ads inviting viewers in for a free consultation can lead to the intent stage.
Pro Tip: Don’t just focus on pushing leads down the sales funnel. Create touchpoints.
Throughout your entire sales funnel, engaging with your leads is crucial. The marketing term for each interaction a lead has with your brand is ‘touchpoint.’ A touchpoint could be hearing a radio ad, seeing your firm’s ad on a bus or shopping cart, or even calling and asking questions. The more touchpoints, the better, and the sweet spot is approximately eight touchpoints.
Incorporate Law Firm Digital Marketing Into Your Marketing Strategy
The best way to increase the number of touchpoints you have with prospective clients is through effective digital marketing. Some specific examples of digital marketing efforts include:
- Pay-per-click ad campaigns that put your law firm’s name at the top of the screen when someone in your geographic region searches for ‘lawyer’ on their phone.
- Blogs and videos that explain general legal questions and processes your target market wants to understand.
- Robust Google My Business and local business directory profile pages, so interested leads can either find your firm specifically or learn about you when they’re doing a general search for lawyers.
These digital marketing efforts target digital natives—potential clients who do most of their research or activities online and who you might not be able to access through traditional marketing.
How To Increase Law Firm Revenue: Automate Your Sales And Marketing Processes
Well-planned digital marketing allows you to track leads and automatically add them to your lead management processes. Tools like chatbots, web contact forms and social media messages automatically can give you information about leads, such as:
- Their name
- Their geographic location
- The nature of their interest or problem
- Their preferred style of communication
With the proper lead management infrastructure, that data can automatically generate a new opportunity and be assigned to a salesperson or paralegal. This eliminates downtime where a lead might get frustrated and turn to a faster competitor.
That same data can help give you more insights into which of your specializations are generating the most interest, how many leads it takes to convert one paying client and how successful your individual employees are at converting their leads. All of this data is crucial for modifying your campaigns and, ultimately, growing your business.
Tracking digital leads can help you personalize your law firm internet marketing efforts and streamline your lead conversion process more than almost any other endeavor. Read our step-by-step guide for tracking legal leads.
5 Areas to Cover in Your Law Firm’s Digital Marketing Plan
Building your digital marketing from the ground-up can seem overwhelming. Start with these five essential elements.
- Website design: You need a domain that matches your business name, a clear ‘Contact Us’ page or form and an easy-to-navigate website to get started.
- Content marketing: Create a company blog that establishes your expertise and helps interested leads find you online. This is a crucial element for bringing in clients to your law firm.
- PPC campaigns: These campaigns target online traffic in your geographic area that are likely to need your services.
- SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the set of practices that makes you easier to find on search engines.
- Social media marketing: Whether you use paid social media ads or regularly post on your business pages, a strong social media presence gives leads another way to find you.
5 Offline and Traditional Marketing Tactics for Legal Marketing
It’s still important not to neglect traditional sources of leads in favor of a solely digital presence. Either maintain or increase your efforts in these five tactics:
- Billboards: Billboards can convey quick messages and your contact details to commuting leads in your area.
- Signs: Good signage at your place of business helps boost curb appeal and trust. It’s an important element in creating a good first in-person impression.
- Radio and TV ads: While digital natives may stream entertainment online, crucial target markets (such as older populations and commuters) can be reached through traditional media.
- Business cards: Lawyers, especially, can continue to create a lasting impression after a quick in-person meeting with business cards. This touchpoint can lead to opportunities and subsequent contacts.
- Referral bonuses: Happy clients are good for business. If you can encourage them to refer friends and family to your firm, that word-of-mouth is better than almost any type of ad.
How to Grow a Law Firm: Make a Plan for Responding to and Converting Leads
Despite all the money and energy that goes into generating leads, it’s actually the easy part. The harder (but also less costly) steps of your sales funnel are converting your leads into paying clients. Your marketing team can only get you halfway there—once they’ve generated the opportunities, your intake team and every client-facing person needs to start building trust with them. After all, if you let a lead languish, it’s like you never had it at all.
Perfect Your Law Firm’s Intake Process So You Can Instantly Respond to And Convert Leads
Whether most of your leads call in or come in through a web form or chatbot, you must have the support infrastructure to respond immediately to their queries. As a general rule, faster response times increase conversion rates. According to Clio, you need to both respond within 15 minutes and be the first one to respond. Alert Communications finds that answering the phone in under three rings and responding to web leads in 2 to 5 minutes results in the highest conversions.
By partnering with 24/7/365 a intake service, law firms are more efficient at:
- Answering questions
- Collecting contact details
- Scheduling appointments and sending confirmation notices
Alert Communication’s intake services can handle that initial intake and response so your law firm can get to work securing clients during peak hours or even when your office is closed for the evening. This way, you can remain available for clients or prospects while your legal team focuses on building relationships with clients, giving consultations and other billable tasks.
Final Thoughts on Digital Marketing for Your Law Firm
Statistics prove that law firms are finding clients through digital marketing endeavors. But they also show that many law firms have disorganized digital marketing efforts. By establishing a website, strengthening your online presence with ads and content, and (above all else) having a relationship-based intake system for converting those leads into clients, you’ll compete with the fastest growing law firms.
Don’t stop your marketing plan in the lead generation stage. Leads come in online and through advertising, but they’re converted over the phone and through relationships. So invest in expert intake services. Alert is here to help you capture new leads, better engage with them and convert them into happy clients. Our 24/7 services are just a fraction of what an in-house staff costs, and we can quickly respond to leads so they don’t disappear. Contact us today to learn more about our intake services.