Law firm marketing these days is extremely competitive, especially in larger metropolitan areas. Prior to the Internet, attorneys, and law firms spent a ton of money on Yellow Page ads and TV after the 1977 ruling that allowed lawyers to advertise. The laws prior to this ruling really served to protect and advance the practices of established law firms that got their business from repeats and referrals. The new ruling allowed new law practices to advertise their services to build clientele and paved the way for modern Internet Marketing.
While the invention of the internet created a phenomenal new platform for lawyers to advertise on it also drastically increased competition. In the old days, all you had to do was hire a graphics person to design a Yellow Page ad or hire a TV production company to create a commercial. Now the playing field is more even, a single lawyer or small firm can compete with larger firms through online marketing.
In order to take full advantage of all that the digital marketing world has to offer it is imperative that you hire an experienced lawyer marketing agency that is qualified to handle every aspect. Think about it, you didn’t spend years in law school learning marketing, you learned to practice law. Every component of marketing a law firm online requires the attention of experienced professionals in their field.
Forward Lawyer Marketing has put together this post of Law Firm Marketing Essential Components as a comprehensive lawyer marketing guide that leaves no stone unturned. Read on to learn more about the components that must be included in any successful law firm marketing strategy.
It is proven that law firms including online marketing with traditional marketing see increases in qualified prospects, reputation, and brand awareness. Before beginning your law firm marketing campaign you need to plan a strategy and set a budget so you know what you want and what it will cost. This post is meant to help you with this. You want to have an overall marketing budget and segment it between SEO/organic and paid advertising such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Your budget can be scaled up as you achieve success.
Your law firm marketing strategy should include all of the following which we will go into detail below.
I am covering the law firm intake process first because it can make or break your marketing efforts. If you have a marketing agency that is getting the phone ringing and contacts sending in web forms but nobody is answering them you’re burning money. If you don’t have a dedicated person to answer phone calls and emails or you don’t trust them to do the job you should outsource. At Forward Lawyer Marketing we have a 24-hour answering service with professionals that are well-trained in answering legal phone calls.
Whether you are just now launching your new law firm or have been operating for years, optimizing your client intake process is critical to make the best impression on clients. A smooth client intake department also keeps leads coming in that turn into clients.
Client intake is the process of attracting and landing new legal customers. This includes their initial interaction with your law firm when they sign to represent them. The law firm intake process consists of these aspects:
Consumers today are well-educated when it comes to researching online. An outdated website will turn people off and a site that isn’t responsive or mobile-friendly will cause people to leave it immediately. Did you know that more than 50% of web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets? Unfortunately, for most visitors, websites not optimized for mobile devices are hard to read and slow to navigate. In addition, viewing a non-optimized website is frustrating enough for many visitors to leave and go to a competitor.
If more motivation is needed to do web design for mobile devices, remember that it makes it easier for prospects to read about you. This is because Google and other major search engines use mobile-friendliness as a page ranking factor.
Successful law firm websites must have some basics that are non-negotiable, here they are:
We’ve already talked enough about responsiveness, page load speed is another ranking factor. Optimized titles and META descriptions can help your pages and posts rank better for the keyword phrases you are focusing on.
Your About Us page should be comprehensive and tell the story of your firm, how long you’ve been in business, etc. You should have individual “about” pages for each attorney with complete bios that feature their education, awards, interests, and more. These pages can help potential clients learn more and feel more comfortable about doing business with your law firm.
Some law firms try to get by with just one page that covers all of the areas of practice that their firm focuses on. This is a huge mistake. Every page stands on its own and you will never rank against other law firms that are publishing individual practice pages of 1,000 words or more.
Another area we often see neglected is geotargeting. The vast majority of law firms around the country focus their efforts on specific geographic areas. In order to get the best ranking possible you want each page to target a specific area. It’s okay for your home page to talk about nearby towns, villages, and counties but for the best ranking, you want to focus on specific locales.
Like it or not, any business marketing online today is a publisher. The internet is all about content and search engines expect you to provide relevant informative content on the subject matter being written about. It is also crucial to update the content on a regular basis. WordPress blogs are great for this and it’s one of the reasons we recommend WordPress to our attorney clients.
It should be obvious that a contact page is necessary but you would be surprised at how many people don’t think about it. It is even more critical if you have more than one location.
All websites should have a sitemap. A sitemap helps search engine spiders crawl your website easier and will help you get more pages indexed faster.
SEO or search engine optimization is the field of expertise that covers professionals focused on improving search engine rankings and traffic. SEO includes both on-page and off-page optimization for keyword density, internal and external linking, and more. Writing titles and META descriptions is an SEO task.
Local SEO consists of several components including the following:
Local SEO is the area of search engine optimization that focuses on specific geographic locations. As mentioned previously, most law firms are seeking clients in a specific area or region. Local SEO helps to increase ranking for specific areas by writing content that speaks about the area and titling the pages to feature a certain area. Local marketing includes linking to other local non-competitive businesses and scholarship offers as well as being involved in local offline events.
Local search has been around for a long time but was limited because people were only using their desktop computers. As mobile internet access has exploded in growth in recent years, however, mobile search has surpassed desktop, so local SEO has become hugely important for the success of any business offering local products or services and local marketers. Any law firm not focused on local SEO will be buried by its competitors.
Data analytics are crucial to the success of ANY online business. Marketing professionals utilize the data from analytics to help decide on website optimization as well as writing paid ads. Analytics also helps us know how often people are clicking a certain page or taking an action like submitting a contact form. Without this data, you are flying blind and likely costing yourself money.
Data analytics in PPC advertising can help you decide which ads are the most effective and which ones you should pause or stop. Experienced PPC professionals will create numerous ads and then utilize the data to tell them which ones to keep and which ones to toss.
I have listed analytics near the top because it is so crucial. You absolutely must have it set up properly before you begin marketing your website. Lost data is lost money.
Formerly known as Google My Business, your Google Business Profile is a part of your law firm marketing strategy that cannot be ignored. Some of our law firm clients get hundreds of calls per month solely from their Google Business Page. All businesses receive a Google Business page free from Google, all you have to do is claim the page and verify ownership of the business, usually via a postcard with a code sent by Google.
Some of the basics that need to be done on your Google Business Profile:
Your Google Business Page is interactive and someone from the firm should engage with the potential clients visiting the page. You should post photos, videos, and other content such as links to your blog posts regularly. For more detailed information see our Google Business Profile Best Practices.
Social Media is an indispensable tool for helping to promote your law firm’s brand, blog posts, special events, and more. Search engines even consider some social media links as important in ranking. This is called “social proof” and indicates there is a level of trust or authority.
The demographics for each social media platform vary. Some are used by a fairly broad audience such as Facebook. Others such as Pinterest are predominantly female. This is the reason for having multiple social media platforms. When speaking with new law firm clients we tell them that when setting up social media Facebook is primary. Not only is it the largest social media platform by far but the paid advertising platform on Facebook is extremely effective for law firm advertising.
Many of our law firm clients are taking our advice and implementing video marketing for their firms so we also suggest YouTube. We will take Facebook Live videos and post them on YouTube, take the embed code and transcript, and create a blog post from them to maximize content usage.
Other platforms to consider are Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Some are using TikTok but at this time we recommend holding off until the U.S. government decides whether or not they are going to ban the platform.
Paid advertising online is available via several platforms including Google Ads, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others. At Forward Lawyer Marketing, we primarily focus on Google Ads and Facebook. In addition to Google’s regular ads that most are familiar with, Google also released Local Service Ads. Local Service Ads are specifically for service-oriented businesses such as plumbers, handymen, and yes, lawyers. These ads appear above the SERPS and also are vetted by Google meaning they basically are guaranteeing these businesses are reputable.
Regular Google Ads are very good for lead generation and where we invest the lion’s share of the ad budget. We also utilize Facebook quite a bit because it has some unique targeting opportunities not found in other advertising platforms including being able to target to age, sex, and zipcode radius.
Another lead option that we offer is pay-per-call, instead of paying for each click you only pay for actual calls to your practice. These leads are extremely responsive and have been very popular with our clients.
Lawyers have been publishing offline in legal trade publications for decades so the concept of content marketing isn’t really new, it is simply in a new format. Another point to be made is that the writing attorneys are used to doing is intended more for other lawyers than for the consumer.
When beginning content marketing one should first list the goals that need to be accomplished such as:
Most law firms that we work with across the country specialize in specific areas of law such as personal injury, wrongful death, criminal defense, etc. The best strategy for content marketing is to focus on specific practice areas or specific legal issues that the law firm handles such as DWI or drug possession.
For firms that specialize in multiple practice areas, we write content for different subjects each month, sometimes multiple posts. For example, if we have a client that wishes to rank well in their area for terms like DWI or drunk driving, we will write content that will perform well for those terms.
For ranking well in local geographic areas it is necessary to show relevance to the area so in addition to using keyword phrases such as “Cook County divorce lawyers”, we also link to local towns and landmarks.
It isn’t enough just to write content, the content must be high quality and relevant. Google ranks sites using a system they call E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. In order to rank highly, you must cover the subjects thoroughly. If there are 10 pages covering the same topic Google is going to show the results that cover the topic the best.
Although there is some disagreement on word count among SEO experts, research shows that the highest-ranking pages also have higher word counts. We like to stay over 1,500 words when possible and like to set 1,000 words as a minimum.
Backlinks are like the neuropathways of the internet. Within your own website, internal linking links to other pages on your site that are relevant to the content being written about. For example, if you are writing a blog titled “10 Signs Your Marriage Is Headed For Divorce,” you would want to link to your law firm’s practice area page on Divorce. External backlinks link to websites outside of yours.
The proper use of these is for references in the content you are writing, local points of interest, and authority sites. Google also specifies that the anchor text being designated in the links is highly descriptive.
Content creation covers a wide variety of mediums and the best practice is to utilize as many as possible. This excerpt from Gary Vaynerchuck explains the process simply.
It starts with a piece of “pillar content.” With my personal brand, it takes the form of a daily vlog, keynote, Q&A show, or another video that I do.
Since I start from video, my team is able to repurpose that one piece of content into dozens of smaller pieces of content, contextual to the platforms that we distribute them to.
This could take many different forms — for example, if you’re not comfortable on video, you could record a podcast. You might even film yourself recording the podcast so you could have a video out of it as well. And from that video or audio clip, you can create content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media, and communications holding company has espoused content marketing for years.
Vaynerchuck creates his own content daily as the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients across the company’s 5 locations.
Data analysis is one of the most important components of content marketing that actually occurs after the content is published and should be an ongoing process. When we write content we do the best we can to create it in a way that it will rank well in the search engines. After publishing, we are able to track a number of data points including:
At FORWARD Lawyer Marketing, our SEO Director goes through this data and uses it to tweak the content, update it, and edit information such as title and META data. It is a huge mistake and a waste of resources to simply write content and then never go back to it. Using data analysis enables us to adjust content and make it better with visitor input as well as the data from algorithms.
Video is one of the most exciting areas of law firm marketing. It is considerably less expensive to do video online as opposed to cable TV and also more easily trackable.
Here are the most common types of law firm videos:
Many of our law firm clients are a bit apprehensive at first when we talk about videos but after doing a couple they become more at ease and it becomes almost second nature. You can see an overview of our photography and video services for lawyers here.
This case study shows how a single-attorney family law practice started attracting more high-asset, financially complex divorce cases.
Click here to read about a family law firm that increased caseload five-fold in a few months.
As you can see just from this post, law firm marketing is complicated and requires dedicated professional expertise to execute a comprehensive marketing strategy. Forward Lawyer Marketing has a team with decades of collective experience in law firm marketing. We have dedicated professionals to handle every aspect of your law firm’s growth plan and help ensure success.
Our SEO Director has been marketing online for well over two decades and oversees all SEO tasks including editing content and performing on-page optimization as well as internal and external linking. Our specialty is law firm marketing and SEO for lawyers at FORWARD Lawyer Marketing, call us at (888) 590-9687 to discuss how we can increase the revenue of your law firm.