There is no one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy for law firms. Many variables will impact a firm’s tactics, such as practice area, location, budget, and support staff. What works for one team and firm may not work for another. Law firm marketing is about generating leads and converting those leads to cases. Don’t lose sight of that. Your digital marketing strategy in 2022 should satisfy the needs of your prospective client, not yourself, your partners, or colleagues. Many firms and even courts are moving away from “old school” operational and organizational methods by use e-filing, using Zoom for hearings and depositions, remote work, and online case management. It’s time to reassess your traditional marketing channels and move toward technology that can help you measure and understand data and analytics, and toward marketing tactics that are actually going to help your law firm generate leads and new work.
Here are the digital marketing channels your firm should focus on and why.
Don’t cut yourself short with short content. If you’re going to invest in your content, do it right. Your content should add value to the prospective client that has landed on your site. The content will also help search engines index your site and in turn rank higher in search engines. Pages should be around 2,000 words, which can seem quite daunting and time-consuming, because it is! Do you want to differentiate yourself from your competition? Then invest time into your page content.
You also want to make sure your page navigation is user-friendly, your site passes standard speed and usability tests, you limit redirects within your site, and you have zero “page 404—not found” errors. Your site should pass many technical checks, and sometimes that might be over your head, so if you have an agency that handles your website, make sure you are spot-checking them and asking about these metrics. Additionally, if you have a blog, be sure that you are posting one to three times per week about issues that relate to your firm’s practice. Blogs will often show in search results and act as a great way for users to enter your site and explore other content. In your blog, you should be highlighting popular topics related to your practice area, and be sure to write as if you are the one searching or trying to learn about the topics. Make sure your blog posts are at least 1,000 words and that you’re internally linking to your practice areas within the blog post.
Social Media Core 4: Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn/Twitter
Do you have a strong social media presence? Are your social pages up to date? If they aren’t, there’s a good chance your competitors’ pages are, and you are losing potential clients or even referrals. Making sure your Facebook page has all the right business information doesn’t take long and provides valuable information should a lead land on your social page. However, just having social media pages isn’t enough. You must be active and intentional with your social media strategy by posting original, valuable, authentic, on-brand posts organically, and should you choose, through ads.
Organic Posts: Your firm should be posting across social channels organically three to five times per week. The content should include current events and how they relate to your practice area, recent case outcomes, info about your firm/lawyers, office/staff updates, holiday messages/closings, firm/attorney achievements/awards, law or regulations that pertain to your practice area, client reviews, links to blogs/pages on your site, and any other topics you think will help prospective and current clients.
Stay away from one-sided political posts or controversial pop culture takes, as this will alienate some of your audience. Additionally, the frequency in which you post on your social pages says a lot to your audience/potential clients. If you haven’t made a single simple organic post since the summer of 2021, what does that say about you as a firm? Not engaged? “They don’t post here; will they even answer my call? Is this law firm even open anymore?” Also, be sure to respond to comments and engage with other pages. The more engagement on your posts (comments/likes/reactions) the more prevalent your post will be on people’s timelines.
Paid Ads: Running targeted ads for your firm on Facebook and Instagram can pay dividends and provide an incredible ROI if set up correctly, and continuously optimized. Facebook makes literally hundreds of variations available to you when setting up paid/sponsored ads in Ads Manager (Facebook owns Instagram, so you can elect to have your ads shown there as well). You can drive engagement on the ad itself, drive website traffic, optimize for video views, fish for more likes on your page, and more.
Depending on your firm’s digital goals, it is crucial that you take your time and set everything up correctly. If you utilize Google Analytics for your website, ensure that you are using UTM codes in your desired landing page URL to track your campaign’s effectiveness. You also want to make sure your audience is clearly defined for each campaign, and that each campaign is hyperlocal if you ware in multiple markets/states.
For example, if your firm’s focus is bicycle accidents, and you practice in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, you should have a different audience in each state, and within each audience, make sure you are targeting the right people through interests, likes, and look-a-like audiences. Facebook has innumerable resources and help articles available to you, and it’s worth the time to read through these to best optimize your campaigns to ensure you are targeting users that will take action on the ad. You should have both static images and video assets in your ads, as Facebook will auto-optimize what assets get served to each person. Once your ads are up and running and you are garnering post likes, comments, shares, etc., be sure to invite those people to like your page. This will help grow the number of people who like or follow your page and now they will see your organic posts.
Are you or your firm listed on directories such as Martindale Nolo, Lawyers.com, Superlawyers, Avvo, or Find Law? These listings can be very expensive, especially in competitive markets and practice areas. Directories expand your firm’s online presence and help your site gain domain rating through highly rated backlinks, boosting your authority score in Google’s eyes. Directories can also provide leads from potential clients who are comparing lawyers within the directory’s online ecosystem. It is important that you are paying close attention to how many clicks and leads you are getting from these directory ads and compare that CPC (cost per click) to your other online advertising vehicles to make sure you are getting a similar ROI. Don’t forget to ask satisfied clients to review you on these directories, as lawyers/firms with many positive reviews are more likely to get more leads. Finally, just like your social media page, it’s important that you keep all info within these directories up to date (email addresses, phone numbers, years of experience, awards, bar info, etc.).
A strong stream of online press is a great way to stay top of mind and reach audiences you may not otherwise reach through your other targeted marketing channels. Did your firm hire a new attorney? Write a press release and submit it through a distribution medium like EIN Presswire. Did your firm win a prestigious award? Write a press release and brag. Did your firm make a donation to a cause? Write a press release explaining why. Did your firm achieve an outstanding verdict for a client? Write a press release explaining how. You should also be reaching out to local news stations/reporters if there is a particularly important case that the public should know about.
Establishing a strong email marketing strategy for your firm consists of two parts. First is acquiring the right email addresses and creating a clean email database, further segmented by lists. For example, separate lists for former clients, prospective clients, referral attorneys, and so on. Each list can be further segmented into location, practice area, gender, age, and more. The more targeted your lists are, the better your open and click rate will be. The second part of a strong email campaign is the content. On average the typical consumer spends 10 seconds reading branded emails, so your message must be concise, impactful, and relatable to the person. Be sure to link to your website within the email. How often you send emails is also important. A good benchmark would be two emails per quarter, as you don’t want to be flagged for spam or get mass unsubscribes.
Unless you or an employee in the firm is experienced with Google AdWords, this marketing channel can be quite intimidating. Also, the legal space is very competitive for PPC (pay per click) which means this marketing channel can be expensive. Generally speaking, you want your PPC campaigns to be hyper-local, have extremely honed-in keywords, sensible negative keywords, a defined audience, actionable ad extensions, appealing creative assets, and a responsible budget. If you are not comfortable setting up these campaigns, numerous agencies can assist for a fee, or a percentage of ad spend.
Do you have video assets? Upload them to your YouTube channel. Have a YouTube channel? Make sure you are constantly uploading new videos/content. Cross-market your YouTube channel on your other social media channels to get more views and subscribers. You can even embed your YouTube videos on your website, which will drive up engagement and time-on-page, and likely will reduce your bounce and exit rate. Your cell phone shoots video in 4K, so there isn’t really a need to hire an expensive video production company anymore. Buy a tripod, set it up in your office or conference room, and away you go. Make videos that are both short in length (under 15 seconds) and longer in length (over a minute) as you will be able to use those videos in various other digital marketing tactics like Facebook ads.
You might be asking, “How is community service digital marketing?” The act itself might not be, but the digital tactics before, during, and after most certainly are. Post beforehand about why your firm is doing the community service and how the public can get involved. Show your local market that you care about the community as a whole, not just the people that need your legal services. During the event, consider going live on Facebook or Instagram, and at tahe minimum be sure to take pictures and post. After the event, do a recap and submit a press release. You can also ask the charity to post the press release on their website with a backlink within the post to your site, thus increasing your site’s domain rating.
Just like any industry, no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy will increase your leads and case generation. There are too many variables to consider and too much nuance involved in crafting a strong digital marketing strategy to have a cookie-cutter approach. If a marketing agency promises they have the “magic formula to triple your leads in three months” proceed with caution. It’s crucial that you analyze each campaign’s effectiveness monthly or quarterly to ensure you are getting a positive ROI, and you’re investing in the marketing channels that are garnering the most/highest quality leads that turn into signed cases and eventual revenue from those cases. It might seem daunting to start your firm’s digital marketing journey, but if you carefully come up with a strategy for each digital marketing channel, execute efficiently, analyze the data, and optimize each campaign, it will pay dividends in terms of acquiring more leads, cases, and revenue for your firm.
About the Author
Evan Moshinsky is the director of marketing and operations at Senior Justice Law Firm.