The Secret of Successful Marketing for a Boutique Law Firm

McCraw Law Group is a purposely small, boutique personal injury (PI) law firm based in McKinney, TX. We only accept cases from clients that we can genuinely help. We frequently decline potential clients who could get a better outcome without an attorney and refer out cases that are outside of our scope of PI. Although being selective does create unique challenges in terms of meeting our growth goals, we have still achieved positive growth numbers for each of the seven years our firm has been in existence.

My job is to be strategic with our marketing activities and budget to ensure we continue our annual growth trajectory. This article will share our marketing activities that have led to our success, including our drip campaigns to stay top of mind, our lower and upper funnel activities, and the typical client journey through our marketing process.


Because our firm is small, we can give each client the attention they deserve, and we have developed a reputation for providing great client service. We receive many referrals from past clients, industry peers of our firm’s attorneys, as well as family and friends of our staff members. To stay top of mind with the audience that already knows us and has a favorable opinion of our firm, we conduct several drip marketing initiatives.

First, we send direct mailings of quarterly newsletters. We have formed relationships with a tremendously talented graphic artist and a copywriter who assist in creating the content. Our mailing list includes past clients and anyone who has ever reached out to our firm and provided their address, other attorneys that our firm’s attorneys have built relationships with, as well as addresses we have gathered at the community events we sponsor (more on these later). To illustrate examples of our newsletters, we archive all past newsletters here on our website.

Second, we mail out birthday cards to all past clients. This just gives us additional touchpoints to stay top of mind and keep us in a position to earn future referrals.

We maintain a presence on social media via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We generally post two to three times per week, and this is helpful to maintain brand awareness with past clients, other attorneys, as well as family and friends of our firm’s team members who follow us.

Finally, we periodically send gifts to attorneys and our medical provider partners that have referred cases to us throughout the year (we usually send around the holidays, but ad hoc at other times as well). And since we are legally allowed to pay referral fees to other attorneys, our team is diligent at gathering the marketing source at intake and attaching referring attorneys to cases in our case management system to ensure they receive referral fees at disbursement.

Lower Funnel

Given our boutique size, it is imperative that our firm makes efficient decisions regarding the marketing budget. Therefore, the bulk of our work and budget are currently invested in lower-funnel digital efforts. Since the lower funnel includes people who are actively seeking an attorney and are close to converting, this is the easiest and most accurate set of marketing activities to track and measure. This area provides the highest trackable ROI.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the long game in digital marketing, as well as an important component of website traffic. For several years we have employed the work of an SEO agency that focuses exclusively on law firms. They employ numerous activities to ensure that we appear in search engines when potential clients search for terms relating to our areas of practice and the locations we serve. They manage and optimize our Google My Business listing to ensure we appear in map searches. They also provide community outreach services to generate backlinks to our website, which is an important ranking signal for all major search engines. They also have a team of copywriters and developers that keep both the mobile and desktop versions of our website updated and optimized. Additionally, they work with our attorneys to generate posts for our blog.

Of course, the quintessential lower-funnel activity is Google search ads, and we do invest heavily here. We also participate in the commonly overlooked Microsoft search ads. Microsoft search surprisingly has a decent number of users, and clicks can be bought at a bargain due to limited competition.

Additionally, we have been approved for Google Local Services (LSA) ads. Getting approval from Google requires some work on the front end. Google wants your lawyer license; they do a background check and more. But once the verification process is passed, your listing will have a green Google Verified checkmark. When clients search Google for a specific law practice in an area the firm serves, Google will present them with an LSA ad. They can click to call or type a message, which triggers the ad account to get charged for the ad.

Upper Funnel

Search Engine Journals states in the eBook “PPC Trends 2022” that search does not create new demand, it only captures the demand that is already there. Although the benefits from the lower funnel are numerous (i. e. low cost, easy to measure, high ROI), limiting marketing to only the lower funnel will create a glass ceiling for a firm’s growth. A growth-minded law firm must also play in the upper funnel to generate demand. While the upper funnel (buying awareness before clients realize they need an attorney) is needed for growth, it is more expensive and much more difficult to track than the lower funnel, hence a much lower provable ROI.

Being a small firm, balancing a limited budget with the upper funnel to generate growth can be challenging. The most cost-efficient upper-funnel activity we have found are newsfeed ads on Facebook and Instagram, where many thousands of impressions can be bought relatively inexpensively. This essentially works like a billboard in terms of impressions, only the cost per thousand (CPM) costs much less because very specific targeting can be set for who can view these ads. In terms of targeting, we also layer in a lower-funnel component into Facebook and Instagram ads by retargeting people who have visited our website.

Additionally, we sponsor several community events per year so we can be present in our community and interact with the public. We have a branded pop-up tent; we pass out swag with our logos; we typically offer a drawing for a valuable prize so we can gather addresses for our newsletter mailings. We have done many types of local community events, such as the Dia De Los Muertos in downtown McKinney, and Sons of the American Legion BBQ Cookoff. Sponsoring a charity fundraiser is a great way to give back to the community. Every year we sponsor a golf tournament organized by Direction 61:3, an organization that provides housing and education to children who are aging out of foster care and transitioning into adulthood.

While having a presence at the events is highly impactful, we are also able to generate a great deal of marketing value beyond the events, including social media posts before and after the event, YouTube video coverage of the event, content for the Community Events page of our website, and more.

We also maintain a YouTube channel, where we have created numerous videos for various purposes. While this is mostly upper and even mid-funnel, we have had clients tell us they initially found us on YouTube.

To meet our long-term growth goals, we must continue to expand our upper funnel presence. We have reached the point where we can no longer grow by capturing existing demand via search alone. We have experimented with radio, magazines, display ads across the web, ads in third-party email newsletters, and even the local Chinese yellow pages. We will continue to explore and learn from upper-funnel marketing via things like YouTube video ads, billboards, in-person networking events, anything that has a reasonable cost with a positive upside.

The Client Journey

Although many paths are possible, here is the typical journey a client goes through on their travels from awareness to entering our intake process. Note this is not the entire client journey, but only pertains to the marketing activities described in this article.

  1. The client hears about us before they need an attorney from our upper-funnel marketing activities (Facebook or Instagram newsfeed ad, community events, etc.). They are not yet ready to take any action.
  2. Client (or a client’s loved one) becomes injured due to someone else’s negligence and wants to learn if an attorney could help them.
  3. One of two scenarios usually happens at this point:
    1. The new client knows a past client or a friend of the firm and is referred directly to our intake process.
    2. The client visits a search engine to gather more information.
  4. When a client performs an online search, they either click on our paid ad at the top of the page, or in most cases will scroll past the ad due to a common distrust of paid advertising.
  5. They will then see our organic listing, and due to a very recent impression made by our paid ad they just scrolled past, as well as their familiarity with our brand due to our upper funnel activities, the client clicks on the organic listing.
  6. The client arrives at our website, where we have three goals: call us; submit a web form; or provide info via the chat widget on our website.
  7. Now the client has entered the intake process.

About the Author

Russell Bohannon is the director of marketing at McCraw Law Group, a personal injury law firm in McKinney, TX.

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