In 2019, marketing is not just nice to have. In fact, it’s a necessity for almost any business that wants to thrive in a market filled with competitors. That counts for law practices as well, from small to large, especially since in the last ten years the field has gradually become overcrowded. As this Bloomberg Law and the Legal Marketing Association study concluded, 62% of law practices are ramping up their marketing efforts.
Law firm branding and marketing for attorneys is essential for establishing your position within a certain niche, and for the steady flow of preferred clients. In today’s world, when competitors are all vying for the attention of similar clients, staying ahead of the latest trends in attorney marketing is key, so that you can stay on top of the game.
Naturally, digital marketing is the most effective way to reach your audiences. This means improving and optimizing your website, embracing social media, SEO and other online tools, and betting on new ways to build your reputation online.
But of course, there’s more to it than that.
Here are the most relevant law firm marketing strategies to apply in 2019 and beyond, so that you’re staying a step ahead of the rest.
One more thing before we get started. Make sure you and your team are using a robust time tracking tool for law firms that allows you to see the impact of your marketing time investment and effort, broken down by specific task. This will allow you to check against the results of your strategies, giving you a better grasp on ROI.
1. Bet on a distinct type of law and niche
You’ve likely found your niche or specialty, but if not, now is the time to nail down your positioning and figure out who is your ideal client.
Knowing this and getting the whole firm on board will have everyone working toward the same goal. As an added bonus, it’s easy to say no to clients, freeing up time to focus on the ones you know you can best serve.
According to the American Bar Association, focusing your time and efforts in a single field is the key to building a winning legal practice in an oversaturated market.
There are various criteria you can use for your specialization:
- Your niche can be a specific practice area – personal injury, immigration law, and similar.
- You can also specialize in serving certain demographic groups based on age, gender, and the like.
- It’s possible also to combine both a practice area and a demographic target, thus leading to a highly specialized approach to clients.
Distinguishing yourself by practicing a certain specialty is a signal to clients that you’re an expert in that field. The best clients are more likely to trust a lawyer who specializes in, say, copyright law, rather than choose a generalist.
By going a step further and carving a niche for yourself, you can target your potential clients more effectively. Narrowing your audience for digital and traditional marketing such as advertising, social media, SEO and content will bring you better results for your efforts. It allows you to better execute your law firm marketing plan and thus reach out to that community using the best possible channels.
2. Transform your website into a sales machine
The website of your law practice is the first place where many of your clients will meet with you, and thus it’s one of your most important marketing assets.
That’s why it should represent your work and brand in the best light. In terms of content, it should be informative and helpful to your target audience. It’s a good idea to include practical content such as guides and in-depth resources, as well as clear descriptions of your services.
The look and functionality of your site matters, too.
In 2019, internet users are more tech-savvy than ever and are less likely to trust brands that have a poor online appearance within seconds of visiting their pages.
Source: Goodfirms research
Thus, your website should be well-designed and employ best practices for user experience, so that clients can easily interact with it.
Some law firm website tips to follow:
- Don’t underestimate the power of visuals, as they are the fastest to perceive by users.
- It’s a good idea to include images, infographics, and videos to make your website more appealing and user-friendly.
- Also, make sure to include alt tags for your images by following these web image tips
- Research is important. Find out what your prospects want from your site and tailor the content to suit them.
- Highlight leadership and accolades to establish credibility.
- Make your “Contact” page easy to get to and clear.
- A small but important tip: Make sure your phone number is clickable so people can call right after they find you on their mobile device
With 63% of online traffic coming from mobile devices, you also need to ensure that your website is fully optimized for mobile. Yes, it needs to be fast. Since most people expect that a page should load within three seconds, you want to make sure you don’t lose clients within the first minute.
Finally, your website needs to offer an easy way for potential clients to reach you. A custom form, a contact page, or a signup for an email list can all bring in leads at varying stages of inquiry. Remember that clickable phone number? Consider how you want someone to contact you and make that as visible and easy to follow as possible.
Looking for more? You can peruse these top law firm site designs of 2019 to inspire new ideas.
3. Put effort in your law firm’s SEO
An essential part of online marketing for lawyers is optimizing your website to appear in search engine results (SEO). As many people today find the services they need by typing into search engines such as Google, your ranking in the results is crucial when it comes to how likely your business is to be found.
Once people get to your website, and if it meets the criteria listed in the previous section, they can use your contact form to get more information.
There is widely known saying among digital marketers: The best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google.
For this reason, you will want to try to rank on the first page of Google.
SEO optimization involves ensuring that your pages refer to certain keywords that your clients are looking for, such as “legal advice for intellectual property” or “bankruptcy legal services.”
Best practices for law firm SEO:
- The keywords that you target should also appear in titles, meta descriptions, and heading tags.
- Visuals should be optimized with descriptions that include relevant keywords.
- In this way, search engines would be able to discern the topics of your pages and display them when a user searches with certain words.
- Optimize your site for the location of your business, as many clients would directly type their city or use the “Near me” option in Google.
Source: Gstatic research
4. Embrace content marketing
The use of content marketing has grown exponentially in the last decade, proving it holds great potential for educating your audience and converting leads to clients.
In essence, it consists of creating useful text that provides people with rich information.
The first step is to take care of the content that appears in the main sections of your website. It’s best to use a professional content creator who can formulate your services in the most user-friendly and adequate way, taking into consideration SEO principles, as well.
Once you’ve crafted or improved the main pages, it’s time to consider launching a blog or place you can share articles. This is where real content marketing for your law firm begins. It involves creating content that answers your clients’ questions, including blog posts, ebooks, email courses, whitepapers, and more.
The value of content marketing for law firms
These efforts work on a number of levels. First of all, producing relevant and high-quality content for your prospective customers is useful for them. By finding these pages in search engines, people would consider using your services due to their satisfaction with the content and confidence in your expertise.
Furthermore, content itself can dramatically boost your rankings in search results. Google, for example, gives priority to websites producing rich and useful content. Last but not least, content marketing is your key to brand-building. If done well, it gives a signal to people that you know what you’re talking about, so you’d be a good professional whose services are worth it.
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5. Boost your law firm’s online reputation with social media
The online presence of your legal practice would be incomplete without social media. These channels are the place where you can build your brand reputation, reach out to clients, and establish your position in the market.
According to Social Media Examiner, 51% of customers reported that the brand’s response gave them a “somewhat more” or “much more” favorable view of the brand.
That’s why social media for law firms is a highly effective tactic for growing your audience and thus reaching more potential clients. And it’s not only about sharing your latest content. You should also embrace communication with your prospects, so that you can develop better relationships with them over time.
Social selling is also a useful tactic to consider in 2019. More than half of lawyers report that social media helps them develop new business opportunities. In essence, social selling means using interactions and sharing on social media to promote your services. It involves not only direct marketing activities, but also simply building relationships with prospects and customers via conversations online. There are a number of useful tools that can come in handy in the process.
6. Paid advertising and traditional marketing
No matter where your law firm is located, there’s likely local publications and press that you can contact for paid advertising opportunities. For publications you’re interested in, call or email and ask for a media kit, which should provide audience, circulation, and pricing for varying ad sizes.
You can also start a digital marketing campaign using Google or social media channels that allow you to target your ideal clients. Google offers a helpful guide to creating paid campaigns. Pay-per-clicks (PPC) campaigns, for example, are an effective way to track your marketing efforts with minimal investment.
Finally, consider sponsorship as a way to get your firm’s name out in the public. If there are certain causes that aligns with your law firm’s focus, or a local event or nonprofit that could use your support, inquire about sponsorship opportunities that could better connect you with the community and future clients.
Don’t forget about earned media
If you’ve recently shifted focus to a new niche, or added more staff to your team, you might want to draft a press release. Your local publications — especially business sections — are often seeking growth stories or news to share.
You can hire a freelance writer or PR specialist to help draft the release and come up with a distribution plan.
Tips for writing law firm press releases:
- Include contact info for someone at the firm who could respond to interview requests.
- Include a boilerplate at the end that summarizes your firm and includes your website.
- Who you are, how long you’ve been around, any specialties or accolades, and a place to learn more.
- Lead with the biggest news in the headline and first paragraph, and then fill in details after.
- Is there a local angle that makes this story especially crucial to report on?
- For example, is your law firm engaging in an all-day volunteer project for a local nonprofit?
- Seasonality is also important. You’re not going to want to talk about opening a new office next year in the middle of spring.
Establishing a relationship with your local press can take time, so don’t get discouraged if your first press release doesn’t get picked up. For even more tips, check out this article on scoring press coverage for your law firm.
7. Track progress with analytics and intelligence tools
There’s no doubt that marketing activities can cost a lot of time and resources. As for all other businesses, it’s important that you know where you’re standing with your efforts.
A number of tools exist that can help you with analytics of marketing campaigns. They can provide you with data about:
- The ranking of pages
- The performance of blog posts
- The success of your social media efforts
- The impact of an email campaign
By analyzing this information, you can determine which activities bring sufficient results, where you should focus more, and what to leave aside. You can also make better decisions about which online channels to use most for distributing your content.
Start exploring 2019 law firm marketing ideas today
Whether you’re running your own law practice or taking care of marketing activities at a larger firm, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date with the trends in law firm marketing. This is how you can ensure that you can reach your clients and prospects in the most effective ways, given the technological world that we live in.
From optimizing your website to using social selling, the tactics listed here will give you a fresh start in your client base and brand building in 2019.