Have your law firm marketing efforts come to a standstill? Perhaps you’ve done some ‘random acts of marketing’ – a newsletter here, a Google ad there, and a business Facebook account that’s been dormant since 2015. Law firm marketing success takes more than throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. You need a strategic, measured approach that places your firm front and centre of your clients and referrers, ahead of your competition.
Where to start? Marketing for a law firm is a process. Following are 8 steps to help you formulate a plan that will help drive more leads to your business.
1. Get your contact list into shape
Successful law firm marketing starts with your audience. A well-maintained list of contacts is essential for communicating quickly and effectively with clients and referrers. You can use technology to extract contacts from different sources to compile a central marketing list in a simple format such as a spreadsheet. This list becomes your centrepiece for successful law firm marketing – it can be segmented and imported to email service providers like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor and ActiveCampaign.
A word of caution! Take time to review your list and set it up for optimum delivery. Remove anybody you don’t want to market to, make sure names and email addresses are correct, and the list is formatted so your emails can be customised. Personalised emails generally receive better open rates and can help your e-newsletters and messages stay out of junk folders. They can also help minimise issues with spam and unsubscribe rates.
Getting your law firm’s database into shape takes a little commitment, but once you set up the right process, it’s a simple matter of routine maintenance to grow your audience and exponentially increase your marketing reach.
2. Create content fit for a King
As online marketing grows, consumers are turning to content, rather than traditional ads to learn about brands.
Content comes in all shapes and sizes – blog posts, newsletter articles, e-books, case studies, videos, and infographics. Blogs and other useful content published on your website and shared via social media can help build your law firm brand and establish you as a leader in your areas of expertise.
Lawyers are good at writing letters of advice, crafting submissions, and preparing evidence. But the job of writing interesting or entertaining content for their websites often falls into the ‘too-hard’ or ‘not enough time’ basket. But would you invest time or money in creating or purchasing quality content if you knew that companies with blogs generally produce 67% more leads per month than those that don’t?
3. Give your website a make-over
Successful law firm marketing means having a website that looks great, is up to date, and easy to navigate. You want to be able to attract visitors and keep them there. If your law firm website is a bit tired, there are some steps you could take to improve it before considering a major upgrade. A mini make-over might start with:
- Reviewing pages to remove outdated or obsolete information.
- Adding a dedicated ‘news’ page to publish blogs, articles, alerts and community involvement.
- Updating your ‘about us’ page to make sure that new staff are featured, and to remove those that have said goodbye.
- Getting some professional photography done to refresh staff and other images.
- Adding social media icons and relevant links if they are not already there.
- Adding online enquiry forms, ‘get a quote’ forms or ‘start your will’ forms.
If after this, your website still doesn’t pass the test of a ‘good law firm website’ then investing in a professional upgrade or rebuild will be money well spent.
4. Tweak your website for search engine optimisation (SEO)
When it comes to websites, it’s not just a case of ‘build it and they will come’. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about giving your law firm website the best chance of being found by potential clients when they search the internet for the services you offer. Improving SEO generates more leads and means better business for your law firm.
Google’s algorithm is often associated with complexity and mystery, but taking steps to improve your SEO can be as simple as understanding a few basics and being smart about your words and labelling.
Understanding how search engines work and how ranking number one can drive 31.7% more work to your firm gives you a head start in devising an SEO plan appropriate for your law firm to help you get better rankings. In a nutshell, you’ll want to aim for:
- Good website structure, and navigation – the better the structure, the easier it is for web crawlers to crawl and index your pages so you can be found.
- Publishing regular content that is interesting, entertaining, and useful to your audience.
- Describing and labelling page titles and links accurately so Google and your visitors will understand what the content is about.
- Including internal links to other pages throughout your website so visitors can find things easily and are likely to stay on your site longer.
- Reliable, secure website hosting that offers ongoing technical support.
5. Start communicating with your clients, potential clients, and referrers
Great content should be shared. Whenever you send out an e-newsletter or share a link to an interesting article, you are reinforcing your brand, showing your contacts that you understand their needs and interests, and building trust and loyalty.
Sending regular e-newsletters is one of the most cost-effective ways to bring existing clients back to your law firm, initiate new enquiries, and promote your practice. Email marketing software like Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign can help you build templates, send newsletters, and keep track of your campaigns by capturing data and reporting on reader engagement.
Once you have an audience, it’s important not to abandon them, so remember to communicate often. If you don’t have the capacity to run a regular e-newsletter campaign internally, consider contracting out part or all of the process.
6. Supplement your law firm marketing efforts with a social media plan
Research shows that Australia has 20.5 million social media users, so if you haven’t considered the power of social media to market your law firm it may be time you did.
Social media helps build relationships and communities, providing a ready platform for you to get information out to potential clients and referrers. People do business with people. Getting in front of your audience and showing them who you really are is a fantastic way to build trust and brand awareness.
Our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing drills down into the benefits of using social media to market your law firm and provides practical tips to get you started.
7. Onboard your staff with your marketing plans
Your staff should be your allies when it comes to marketing your law firm – if they don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, how can they possibly help?
Involving your staff in your law firm marketing plans and getting their input can help build strong teams and gets everybody on the same page. That said, input is one thing but managing the process is another. We suggest appointing an appropriate team member to gather feedback, report and to coordinate your marketing efforts and a key decision maker to move forward with your plans.
8. Write your law firm marketing plan and put it into action!
Now that you know the steps involved to successfully market your law firm, it’s time to write them down into an actionable, measurable plan, relevant to your practice. Open a new matter, create a file, label it ‘marketing’, and get started.
When it comes to marketing for law firms, complacency can be dangerous. If your law firm marketing strategy has fallen off your to-do list, then the profitability of your practice could be at risk. Competition is tough and even if your caseload is full right now, will that be the situation next week, next month, or next year?
We are a law firm marketing agency. We formulate effective marketing strategies for busy lawyers to help them grow their practice through digital marketing, e-newsletters, and quality content. We build, host, and manage law firm websites for optimum performance and conversion with the visitor and user in mind. If you need assistance to get started with your law firm marketing plan, or need quality content for your website, call Peter on 1300 881 811 or email [email protected].
About the author
Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.