Far too often, lawyers will develop a marketing plan based on what they read online, but fail to tailor these broader marketing strategies to their specific situation:
- They fail to realize that law firms are outliers in almost every element of online marketing, and instead rely on misleading data from other industries.
- They plan out broad online strategies instead of focusing on their current client base as a core source of revenue.
- They miss the forest for the trees by focusing too many resources on side-projects instead of on a small subset of core marketing goals.
Put simply, lawyers are often bad at marketing.
However, with a few small changes to their workflow and habits, they don’t have to be.
By following a few basics tips, any lawyer can both improve their demand generation and promote a better workplace culture for their firm.
Tip 1: PPC is essential, but you’re using it wrong.
Almost every modern business plan should include a detailed and targeted PPC strategy.
However, many attorneys fail to recognize that PPC marketing is inherently different for law firms, thus wasting thousands of dollars on ineffective ads and irrelevant keywords.
These attorneys will pay $10, $20, or even $100 per keyword for months in order to hold on to that ever-important first position without ever realizing that PPC should be, for law firms, a temporary solution.
To be more specific, PPC may be an essential part of your marketing strategy, but it shouldn’t be the essential part of your marketing strategy.
In practice, attorneys will often find success by using PPC for three specific purposes:
- To accelerate their growth when first starting out.
- To gauge which keywords are effective for a particular local target demographic (“is this new service viable in my local area?”).
- To attract only the most qualified leads to their firm.
For most law firms, establishing a single, high-ranking, locally-optimized page for a small one-time cost is a better idea than spending thousands of dollars per month on a full PPC strategy.
Further, it allows you to focus your PPC budget on hotter keywords which have a higher chance of attracting only the most qualified leads to your firm, thus saving you time and money in the real world as well.
Tip 2: Optimize your local business profiles to attract the hottest leads.
Speaking of hot leads, you should always take advantage of the various local business profiles available to attorneys in order to further boost your organic search results.
Especially for searches which involve consideration-level legal keywords, directories such as Justia, Avvo, and Google Maps listings are increasingly dominating the rankings for local keyword searches.
You need to claim and optimize these spaces to avoid bleeding potential leads.
Attorneys who fail to claim these spaces lose out on hundreds of potential clients by only having a sparse Google Maps listing with a single photo of their office and a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since 2017.
Don’t be like these attorneys. Optimize your local business profiles.
Tip 3: Recognize the importance of ALL conversion metrics, including your own.
When discussing your firm’s goals, marketers will often talk about conversion metrics, click through rates, and other measurable steps in the onboarding process.
However, as an attorney, you need to recognize that your onboarding process (or marketing funnel, whichever term you prefer) is inherently different from the general one you’ll read about on most marketing blogs.
A conventional funnel will include steps such as “awareness,” “interest,” “evaluation,” and “commitment/sale” in order to show how potential leads drop off as they move through your marketing and sales process.
However, law firms suffer from two large hurdles which disrupt these steps:
- The lead has an immediate problem that requires quick and decisive action.
- The solution is expensive.
Put yourself in the head of your ideal lead.
They have a legal issue that has to be solved immediately, and they want to hire the most affordable attorney who can adequately solve their problem.
Only by tailoring your inbound strategy to these problems will you be successful in converting these leads to clients.
Put another way, you need to recognize that, just like how a landing page or PPC campaign has a specific conversion rate, you, as an individual, also have a specific rate at which you convert consultations into clients.
As a very basic example, it is almost always better to devote more resources to two high-quality consultations than it is to stretch yourself thin over five or more low-quality online leads.
To repeat a sentiment from earlier, if you’re not first in the client’s mind, you’re all but invisible.
Make them want to choose your firm.
Call them to follow up a day or two after the initial consultation, give them a packet which includes a basic pricing sheet and a flyer that shows them your firm’s workflow, direct them to guides and case studies on your website that prove you know what you’re talking about.
Your marketing strategy should not only focus on improving the conversion rates of your landing pages and PPC campaigns, but also list changes to your own personal workflow that can raise your individual conversion rate as well.
Nurture a culture and workflow at your firm that makes every lead want to hire you.
Only then should you devote more time to increasing the number of leads at your door.
Tip 4: A strong firm begins with excellent service: audit your client journey to ensure client satisfaction.
As a continuation of the point above, you should expand your net to include other steps in your client acquisition strategy:
- Are your receptionists picking up the phone?
- Can your paralegals answer basic informational questions?
- Is your billing structure effective and transparent?
Our firm has devoted a great deal of time and effort on improving what we believe to be the three key elements to providing excellent service:
- Nurture a consistently positive client experience.
- Promote a culture where the client feels safe and well taken care of.
- Work with the idea of the referral in mind. If given the same service, would you tell your family to hire us as well?
When developing your marketing plan for the rest of the year, you should take the time to think about the actual service you’re providing to your client.
Think about how you’d like to be treated on every step of your journey as a client, and take steps to implement these improvements into both your workflow and marketing materials:
- “We’ll call you back within one business day.”
- “We offer affordable payment plans to help ease the burden.”
- “We’re available to talk after your case is over if you’re unsure about how to proceed.”
Remember, your firm should focus on promoting a relationship with your client, and this relationship goes both ways.
By building and nurturing a solid relationship with your client, you make it more likely for them to rehire you or send referrals to you in the future.
Further, by planning your strategy out beforehand, you make it that much more likely for clients to enjoy their experience at your firm.