Standing out can be a daunting task for today’s law firms.
Google’s algorithms are getting trickier, and people are tired of digital advertising. For firms lacking in know-how, marketing their services can feel like operating on a wing and a prayer. The good news is, you can DIY build a solid online presence and let clients come to you from there.
Why do law firms need digital marketing?
In an age of digital marketing, the legal sector has to work harder to maintain its customer retention rate as clients are more inclined to shop around. Back in the day, clients used to stick around for life. True, customer retention has always been the key to success in every industry. However, this development presents an excellent opportunity for law firms that can increase their retention rate.
Understanding your clients and their preferences is one of the best ways to grow a successful practice. Beyond that, a sound digital marketing strategy is one of the fastest. Here’s how.
By creating content that establishes trust, you can generate awareness for your brand and win more clients, not to mention stay fresh in the minds of existing clients.
Although many marketing decisions will depend on your firm’s practice area and size, as a rule, modern marketing is personal, and digital marketing prizes quality over quantity
Once you’ve determined your goals and budget, as well as understood your client persona and your own unique strengths, start implementing these five tips to really make your law firm stand out in a digital landscape.
1. Invest in your website’s UX
Your website is your firm’s home base. Therefore, clients’ experience navigating it should be your number one priority. An optimized website with a clean, responsive design will improve your firm’s authority online and help it to show up higher on a search engine results page (SERP).
Page load speed is essential, as is using alt text—short written descriptions of images for accessibility. It is equally important to optimize your website for the growing number of mobile devices consumers use (oh, how cellphones have changed our lives!).
Your site should include details on operating hours, giving clients plenty of ways to contact you with a simple call-to-action on every page.
A landing page may suffice if your site’s needs are simple. Website builders—Squarespace and Wix, for example—are a quick and easier option for many of the less technologically minded. To offer a seamless experience that is pleasing to clients, you can integrate your landing page with your other digital tools like a sentiment analysis tool, used for opinion mining.
2. Be accessible on social media platforms
It’s hard to overstate how important social media is for digital marketing. Social media levels the playing field. Every major channel holds the same potential for building your digital presence, regardless of your law firm’s size.
The biggest audience, with billions of daily users. Its algorithm prioritizes content from friends and family, but most law firms still stand to benefit from being active on Facebook unless their practice area is pretty specialized.
Twitter is an excellent source for legal news.
What it lacks in users relative to the other social media juggernauts, it makes up for by being home to legal influencers whom you can cultivate informal relationships with. This platform is especially useful for niche practice areas such as sports and entertainment law.
This professional networking channel works well for firms that serve professionals or companies. Practice areas such as compliance and corporate law can benefit immensely from using LinkedIn. Get involved in online discussions and share industry stats, data, or trends to gain new followers and pique interest.
Test the waters of different social platforms’ algorithms to see what gets results. It’s absolutely vital to carve out a virtual presence on the channels where your target audience is most active. There, you can showcase your values and expertise and manage your firm’s reputation. Using social listening tools to track mentions can help your firm to take a proactive approach in responding to questions and reviews.
It’s not a bad idea to use an editorial calendar and leverage tools to schedule posts. But don’t let scheduling replace direct interaction on social media platforms with potential clients. Be mindful of following wrongheaded vanity metrics like impressions and “likes” too closely when measuring your social media marketing’s success.
3. Commit to SEO
You can follow a clear roadmap for a successful SEO strategy, but it takes time and effort.
Say a law firm partner interested in streamlining how they process new queries Googles “chatbot customer service.” The search engine will consider hundreds of factors before ranking the results. These factors include how well you’ve optimized your web design, whether you have well-written code, the quality of your site content, and how many good quality inbound links the website boasts.
How does one develop a winning SEO strategy? Start by working backwards, researching the keywords clients search for to find your legal advice. Then, begin to incorporate organic keywords relevant to your region and practice area to maximize your reach. You can create a keyword list with the keyword toolbox from Google or other free tools. It might also help to check the Google Search Console to discover which keywords are already driving qualified leads to your firm.
Effective SEO means building your audience around a few targeted content topics. Google wants to provide users with the best answers to the questions they’re asking, so make sure to craft content that provides the solutions your clients need to improve your rankings.
Besides your site’s content, focus on your off-page SEO via backlinking and local SEO, which you can do by creating a Google My Business page to get set up on relevant listings.
4. Leverage online ads
Results from your other marketing efforts typically take longer to bear fruit. While you’re busy working on client cases, you can drive traffic to your website quickly by investing in pay-per-click (PPC) ads. It’s a fantastic tool for launching a new service. However, exercise caution, since returns on these ads are usually speculative.
Take your time getting to know online advertising platform options such as Google Ads. Spend a little money and see what gets traction—if you begin to see results, you can always double down.
More than anything, it’s imperative to build ad campaigns that convey what your law firm brings to the table. Putting thought into designing a core message helps get clients to take the action you want. You might even perform a competitor analysis to uncover potential opportunities for your law firm—as well as to see what keywords other firms target and the unique selling propositions they offer. A clear understanding of the digital landscape you’re operating in is a top priority if you want to be heard through the noise.
Finally, you can measure your ads’ performance for valuable insights into your website traffic. Hook up your Google Ads Account to Google Analytics and make the necessary adjustments to spend your budget wisely.
5. Utilize email marketing
Email marketing is a cost-effective digital marketing method for law firms. Most of us are tired of our clogged inboxes, but they’re proof positive that this channel works. Not to mention, a list of email subscribers is a serious asset for your firm.
Start by thinking about the response you’re hoping to elicit. Perhaps your goal is to keep clients in your network—those who have ongoing legal requirements or upcoming cases—onside. Or maybe it’s promoting your legal services, lodging your firm at the forefront of clients’ minds when they need to entrust someone with their legal needs.
Whatever the case, the key to success is making it easy for clients to see the benefits they’ll get when they open your email.
Of course, it pays to know how to send email like a startup to drive your bottom line. But the takeaway here should be to share valuable or newsworthy content that recipients will find engaging, rather than overwhelming your email marketing list with promotional emails.
The trick is to think about the value that your message offers potential clients. Newsletters are having a moment, but webinars, industry articles, and other free resources are also ideal for building connections and nurturing leads.
Get clear from the beginning on what metric matters most, be it open rates, click rates, or conversions. That way, you can both shape your next email campaign and measure its effectiveness.
Play around with A/B testing to gain insight into the best times to send your emails and leverage analytics to dig deeper into your clients’ journey on your website. Then, segment your audience to target them with more resonant messages.
Ready for digital transformation?
Successful law firms are built on loyalty and trust. Digital marketing can help you gain recognition for your practice, acquire more clients, and much more.
Times are changing, and it’s important to be comfortable with that, and stay open to learning new things.
Start by coming up with a realistic plan, give readers something they value, and check your progress at regular intervals.