Law Firm and Legal Industry Marketing and Business Development – The National Law Review

September 11, 2022
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Whether you’re a well-established firm or just breaking into the industry, you’ve got a lot on your plate. So much goes into running a law firm that adding on more to-dos just seems overwhelming. And yet, you can’t grow if you don’t market yourself, and businesses that don’t grow risk falling behind
Competition in the legal industry can be fierce. If your firm lacks a cohesive marketing strategy, you risk losing visibility and market share. If you’re ready to reclaim your target demographic, it’s time to invest in modern resources that will help you establish a successful digital marketing strategy. The good news? It’s probably not as hard as you think.
This guide will share 5 things you can do to create an effective strategy along with some resources to lessen your workload. 
A marketing strategy is a business’s long-term “game plan” for attracting leads and guiding them through the conversion funnel. Every marketing strategy has a goal. For some law firms, it’s to increase brand awareness through their legal brand marketing. For others, it’s to generate qualified leads. 
When considering a new marketing strategy, here are some terms to know: 
Search engine optimization (SEO). Using keywords, search trends, and other methods allows some companies to get the top spot in Google search results. 
Return on investment (ROI). ROI takes the amount of money a firm invests in a marketing strategy and then divides that number by its net profit. Everyone wants a high ROI. High ROIs mean high profits. 
Pay per click (PPC). This is when businesses pay for ads rather than relying on organic visits. Every time a user clicks on an ad, the business pays the search engine. 
Call to action (CTA). CTAs prompt a user to connect with the business. It can be something as simple as “Call today to learn more.” 
Leads. A lead is a person or business that could eventually become a client. This could be someone who visits your website or calls for a free consultation.  
Conversions. Conversions are leads who follow through with purchasing a service. Conversion allows firms to gauge what marketing channels work and which do not

 

There are limitless reasons why a law firm may not market itself. Two of the main reasons include: 
Concerns about cost. Some lawyers fear that partnering with a marketing agency could end up costing more money than it’s worth. Yet, these hesitations can ultimately prevent a firm from getting its name out there and generating leads. 
Fears about time. Running a law firm is very time-consuming. Many lawyers fear creating and implementing a marketing plan can cut into their busy daily schedules. They may not realize the potential ROI they’re losing out on by not taking the time.
Partnering with a marketing agency can take extra work off of your plate, so you can focus on what matters most to you: your clients.
Consider this scenario. There are two personal injury firms, both of which target the same demographic. One law firm sticks to a “tried and true” form of advertising by putting up billboards, ads in the newspaper, and flyers in mailboxes. The other law firm utilizes digital marketing; when a user punches their name into Google, it’s the first thing that comes up. 
Which one will succeed? In this day and age, it’s not even a competition. Here’s why the law firm using digital marketing will come out on top: 
Digital marketing has become the number one method of helping users find products and services. Most experts agree with Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia: “If you’re not on Google, your company doesn’t exist.” 
It’s a competitive marketplace. Many law firms find themselves fighting for conversions from the same demographic. By utilizing popular digital channels, you can give your law firm an edge over the competition by meeting potential clients where they’re at. Being active on social media or even experimenting with business text messaging are great avenues to personalize your firm’s marketing approach. 
Law firm marketing is conducive to growth. You want your law firm to become a household name. Once you’ve reached your initial goals, it can be hard to see where to go next. An effective marketing strategy for your law firm will help you analyze weaknesses and employ strategies that allow you to expand your reach and scale for growth. 
How much your law firm should spend on marketing ultimately depends on its size. Smaller law firms (or solo lawyers) typically spend less than established, nationwide firms because they’re fighting for different shares of the digital marketplace. 
Some law firms are tempted to immediately invest thousands in a marketing plan that promises high ROI and more leads. A successful marketing plan isn’t something a lawyer can just pay for. It requires evaluating and establishing metrics that measure:
How many leads are calling the firm 
Where clients found your firm
What channels are turning cold leads into hot leads 
Profit margins 
Brand awareness 
Once you’ve zeroed in on a marketing strategy that achieves results, you can determine how much you’re willing to spend.
We’ve shared some insights that go into determining your law firm’s marketing budget. However, other budget considerations include: 
You likely have a marketing plan already in place. As you analyze your current plan, you have three potential avenues: 
You can expand on your existing marketing plan. Ask yourself: what works about this strategy? What doesn’t? Does it utilize the power of digital marketing for law firms? 
You can get an all-new marketing plan. As intimidating as it sounds, you may want to leave your old marketing plan behind in search of a new one. This means creating a new strategy from the ground up. 
You can scale down your marketing plan. If you’re a firm with an established client base, you may have no interest in maintaining a marketing strategy. However, your established client bases don’t last forever. Eventually, you’ll need to branch out and reach new leads or risk moving backward as your existing client base naturally depletes. 
Here’s a scenario that further explains ROI: 
You invest $15,000 into a law firm’s digital marketing plan. 
With this strategy, you attract a client and make $100,000. 
By subtracting the $15,000 investment, you’ve made $85,000 in profit. 
Now, you would use this formula to determine your ROI: 
Divide $85,000 (how much you made) by $15,000 (how much you invested) 
Multiply that number (5.6) by 100. 
Your ROI would be around 556 percent. 
You want the highest ROI possible. For some, that means spending little money and hoping for a big outcome. Yet, generally, there is a direct correlation between how much you put in and how much comes out. 
However, extending your reach too far may bring diminishing returns as you expand into a market that is too saturated to give you any leads.
These factors should serve as a starting point when you’re determining how much money to spend on a digital marketing strategy. 
Now that you’ve learned about law firm marketing, budgeting, and what to evaluate, here are some strategies that could take your firm to the next level: 
SEO is truly a game-changer when it comes to the digital marketing sphere. Search Engine Journal reports that SEO focuses on these two factors: 
Creating content for people––not search engines. Content is king. Users want answers to their queries, and a high-ranked page on Google will provide users with what they’re looking for, whether it’s information on a service or how to contact your firm. 
Using keywords in the content. Google ranks pages based on their keywords, including how frequently they’re used. An SEO strategist can determine what people are Googling when searching for services like yours. Then, they can generate content that contains those words and draws leads. 
SEO isn’t a fix-it-and-forget-it deal. It requires you and your marketing team to keep a pulse on what and how people are searching. It also requires you to continually create content that connects to users’ queries. 
We said it once, and we’ll say it again: Content is king. To generate leads, you must create content that doesn’t necessarily boost your law firm’s brand, but rather, draws people to your service. Content marketing encompasses: 
Multimedia content, such as podcasts and videos 
Blog posts and FAQs 
Practice area pages
eBooks and how-to guides 
Using Google’s analytics tools, you can generate content that answers users’ questions and measure the success of your content in metrics like clickthrough rates (CTR).
Forbes reports that the average person spends nearly one hour on social media each day. Facebook was in the lead when it came to how long users stayed on the site. As you can imagine, with users spending so much time on social media, it only seems natural that you would extend your marketing strategy into that field. 
Having a social media presence: 
Gives potential leads another way to contact your firm 
Allows you to display client testimonials and reviews 
Presents another avenue where you can share content and host events 
More importantly, having a social media presence allows you to connect with users in ways that your standard website cannot. Just like SEO, having a social media page isn’t a one-time deal. It requires you to continuously upload content, interact with users, and gauge emerging digital trends. 
You’ve seen paid ads before. It’s becoming more common that when you type something into Google, the first few results are paid ads. Data shows that users are more likely to click on the first search result that comes up. With paid advertising, getting your firm’s name out is guaranteed. You also increase the likelihood of generating qualified leads. 
While paid advertising is a good place to start, you should never underestimate the benefits of organic marketing, when users stumble on your website as they search for answers to their questions. A consistent and creative organic marketing strategy is key to long-term success. 
Email marketing is more than sending messages using an email list; it’s more of a “soft sell” that focuses on promotional messages, discounts, and events. Email marketing isn’t just limited to messaging former clients. You can also use it to connect with others in your field. This can build connections and increase the resources you have to help people. 
When considering an email marketing approach, you should consider: 
How often you should send messages
Who these emails are reaching
The emails’ intended outcome 
Different types of emails (e.g., discounts versus new services) 
Email is an important low-pressure way to connect with clients who are far up in the funnel.
Creating the right digital marketing strategy for your firm requires adequate resources. You can use one or more of the following to reach your firm’s marketing goals: 
If you want your law firm’s website to rank high on Google, then Google Analytics is the way to go. It gives you an up-close-and-personal look at data that shows how your law firm’s website ranks. It also gives you tools to measure: 
Your ROI 
Trending Google searches 
Your conversion rate 
The efficiency of pay-per-click ads 
How much traffic your website generates 
How your target demographic interacts with sites like yours 
Many of Google’s Analytics services are free when you sign up. More advanced features may require a subscription fee. 
Mailchimp has been in the digital marketing game for over a decade. It focuses on bettering your conversion funnel through email marketing. It allows your marketing team to: 
Create customized email templates 
Make your emails more engaging 
Rely on artificial intelligence to send follow-up emails to potential leads 
Analyze the efficiency of email campaigns 
Sign-up is free, as are some of its more basic features. 
Hootsuite helps law firms establish and manage their social media presence. Whether you’re looking to reach a wider audience using Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, Hootsuite can help. You can begin a 30-day free trial that gives you a “sneak peek” into the services Hootsuite offers. 
Between consultations, court appearances, and other matters, your law firm has enough on its plate right now. You don’t want to add legal marketing to your ever-growing list of obligations. Instead, you may consider delegating some of your marketing strategies to a third party. 
You may consider outsourcing if: 
You don’t have the bandwidth for an in-house marketing team. If your team is stretched thin, it can be difficult to focus on growing your business when you’re underwater with casework. Outsourcing your marketing can offset the need for additional staff or overworking another. 
You’re not sure how to improve your firm’s marketing. Third-party marketing specialists are “in the know” when it comes to emerging trends and new technologies. Legal marketing consultants can use their insight and skills to your advantage. 
Hootsuite and Mailchimp are third-party marketing agencies that can help manage your firm’s outsourcing. Of course, there are countless others out there––some stationed locally. 
Each law firm measures success differently. For some, success means more leads moving through the conversion funnel. For others, it means more visitors to their website. Yet, across the board, a great way to measure success is by relying on data. 
Certain reporting features will share insight into: 
How many visitors per month your website garnered 
What marketing strategies work best 
What marketing strategies need overhauls or improvements 
An increase in your firm’s brand awareness 
Information on your ROI 
Your marketing plan should come with built-in features that analyze how your law firm is performing. You should never feel “in the dark” when evaluating the effectiveness of one strategy over another. 
A digital law firm marketing strategy is non-negotiable in today’s fast-paced digital climate. While you may feel like you don’t have time, the consequence of staying out of the digital marketing game is that you may fall behind your competitors.
If you’re looking for an innovative way to advance your law firm’s goals while putting your time and energy into your clients, it’s time to consider partnering with a professional who can streamline your existing process and offer tools for growth. 
About this Author
Nina Lee is the Senior Marketing Manager at PracticePanther, an all-in-one law practice management software company. She leads the marketing department to create engaging campaigns that help legal professionals understand the power of legal technology.
 
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