Most law firms operate within a specific area, such as a city or county. This means that local marketing strategies will usually yield the best results for growing a law practice.
You have countless different ways to market your firm, but many of them are very expensive. The question is: Which local marketing strategies work best without breaking the bank?
To help get you started, here is our guide on the top three free local marketing strategies that work for lawyers.
Why Marketing in Your Local Area Works Best
Effective marketing is all about relevancy.
In other words, your marketing messages must reach the right people at the right time. If you are marketing to the wrong people, or at the wrong time, your message won’t resonate or generate a response.
People tend to feel most comfortable working with an attorney who practices near to them so that they have the option to meet in person and develop a stronger relationship. Plus, legal services are often dependent on jurisdiction, meaning certain clients will only be able to work with a local attorney.
Perhaps the biggest reason why local marketing works best for a law firm is that people searching locally have high buyer intent—they are conducting a serious search for an attorney, as opposed to just “window shopping.” In fact, one study showed that 78% of local searches performed on a mobile device lead to an offline purchase from a local business.
For these reasons, the right types of people (i.e. those who may be interested in working with you and qualified for your services) are most likely to be located in your area. So, by marketing your firm locally instead of more broadly, you’ll significantly improve your chances of reaching them.
But that still doesn’t answer the question of which strategies will work best for local marketing.
The Three Best Local Marketing Strategies for Law Firms
Below are our top three tactics for reaching prospects in your local area.
1. Marketing a Law Firm with Local SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
For example, if a prospective client types “car accident lawyer near me” in Google and you practice personal injury law, your goal would be to appear near the top of the search results page.
When you show up near the top of the results, prospective clients will be more likely to click through to your website and contact you.
SEO is one of the most powerful (and competitive) forms of digital marketing because once you’ve established a high ranking, you can expect to see a stream of highly targeted web traffic for free.
Website optimization is an in-depth topic with too many nuances to cover in this post, but generally, there are a few key things you can focus on to improve your ranking.
Local SEO tips for a law firm website:
- Optimize your website’s page titles and subheadings to include your target location (or create multiple pages for each location if you have more than one).
- Be sure to add your law firm’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) in the exact same format on every page; usually, the best way is to do this is to put it in the footer.
- Quality content is key, so publish posts regularly with common keywords related to your practice—think about what your clients are searching for on Google, and use similar phrases in your content.
- Try to get high-ranking sites to link to your website—the number of incoming links is one of the most important factors in Google’s algorithm.
Check out our Quick Guide to Law Firm SEO for more information.
2. Marketing a Law Firm with Google My Business
If you have ever searched on Google for any business in your local area, such as a restaurant or a mechanic, chances are you are familiar with the results that appear on a map at the very top of the page.
The business listings that show up in this area are managed through Google My Business.
Google developed the My Business product specifically to help local businesses get discovered online. It’s an easy way to get exposure for your law firm when a prospective client enters a relevant, location-based search. Best of all, it’s completely free to use.
If you already have a Google account, you can sign in and start updating your My Business profile immediately. If you don’t have a Google account, you can sign up for free to create your profile.
Tips for using Google My Business:
- Reviews are a key part of your My Business profile because they will help instill confidence and trust—try to build up positive reviews to boost your profile’s performance.
- Ensure your NAP (name, address, and phone number) appear with the identical formatting as on your website—this helps Google track all your contact info across the web and can boost your SEO.
Check out our this guide on Google My Business for more.
3. Marketing a Law Firm on Yelp
Yelp has become one of the most widely used digital platforms for discovering local businesses, particularly in major cities. One of the biggest draws for consumers are the customer reviews that Yelp collects. Reviews are paramount to establishing trust for local businesses in today’s online world.
Yelp’s website and mobile app are very user-friendly, and it has a wealth of data about all types of local businesses, from plumbers to restaurants to law firms. It’s free to claim your business profile and collect reviews, although you might consider paying to unlock some of the more powerful features.
The reason Yelp works so well for local marketing is because Yelp is a heavily location-based app. When you search, you’re required to input a location, whether it’s a city, zip code or even just your “current location.”
Not only that, but Yelp is also one of the highest-ranking websites on Google. So when people search for a lawyer on Google, there is a good chance they might end up landing on Yelp afterward.
Yelp’s hyperlocal focus allows you to connect with clients who are in the same neighborhood or even on the same block, which means those people will have a higher likelihood of contacting your firm.
Tips for using Yelp:
- Build up as many positive reviews as possible.
- Update your profile with a lot of information to add credibility—use high-quality photos, add your logo, link to your website, and add all of your contact information in the same format you use everywhere else online.
- Add keywords in your business profile—just like SEO on your website, you want to add content to your Yelp page targeting the search queries that people searching for your firm may type into Yelp.
What to Do After You’ve Been Contacted by a Potential New Client
The client intake process begins as soon as—and arguably even before—a potential new client (a.k.a. a “lead”) first reaches out to you. Many law firms are slow to respond promptly to potential clients or to organize their leads effectively. As such, potentially valuable clients often fall through the cracks.
You can solve this problem by implementing client intake and legal client relationship management (CRM) software at your firm. Clio Grow is the leading software of this kind because of its feature set, industry-leading security and 24/5 customer support.
By implementing software like Clio Grow at your law firm, you can ensure that your local marketing efforts don’t go to waste. And, with the time and resources you save using the client intake and legal CRM software, you’ll be able to market more effectively. (Of course, you’ll be able to serve your clients better as well.)
Local marketing tactics are key for small businesses in today’s digital, mobile world. More and more people are using location-based searches to find local businesses nearby, and those searches have proven to have high buyer intent.
By optimizing your website for local searches, and utilizing Google My Business and Yelp, you can establish a strong web presence in your local area. As a result, when prospective clients search for a lawyer in your city, you’ll have a good chance at showing up.
Best of all, these three local marketing strategies are completely free, and they can yield very powerful results. Combined with client intake and legal CRM software such as Clio Grow, these marketing strategies can make a significant impact on your firm’s business development progress.
For more law firm marketing advice, read our post Law Firm Marketing 101.
About the Author
Aaron George is the director of product management for Clio Grow, Clio’s new client intake and legal CRM software. Previously, he was the co-founder of Lexicata, which was acquired by Clio in 2018. Aaron has written extensively about legal technology, law firm marketing and the future of legal practice.
Clio’s industry-leading cloud-based legal practice management, client intake and legal CRM software simplifies law firm operations, improves productivity, and increases revenues. Clio’s product suite is trusted by 150,000 legal professionals and approved by over 66 bar associations and law societies, globally. Learn more at www.clio.com.