Marketing for small law firms

January 12, 2020

I'm going to share with you my practical tips on how to market a small law firm. They’re practical because they’ve worked with other small law firms and can work with you.

As a small law firm trying to get new clients, it can be difficult balancing day to day legal work with business development. Many small law firms struggle with knowing where to start, what works, what doesn't and how much time and money to invest in delivering on your marketing strategy in order to see results.

Marketing Mistakes Small Law Firms Make

Most small law firms don't have the expertise when it comes to finding clients through marketing. This is because well they are solicitors and legal experts, not marketers. (In fact, lots of marketers don't have the skills and experience to help small law firms, but that's a different story).

Mistake 1

Do it yourself

Assuming that you can do it yourself as well as manage a busy caseload, manage staff and all the other things that go into running a busy law firm. It can take time know how to get legal clients. What works, what doesn't and how clients behave in the legal industry.

step 2

Intuitive heuristics

This is where you answer a difficult question with an easier answer because it suits you. 

For example a lot of law firms would invest in social media and social media content creation as a priority and then wonder why they aren't growing the business. This is because we all understand the idea of Facebook and Instagram.

But let's face it, there aren't too many people prepared to engage on Facebook with a law firm specialising in Criminal matters.

step 3

Not being patient

Strategies like SEO can take time so you'll have to be prepared to do it right and aim to see results within 3 or 4 months.

“Marketing results mean a return on investment of both time and money.”

Ultimately the only test of how well you've invested your time and money is how many paying clients you get for your marketing efforts. The beauty of using digital marketing to get your law firm more clients is that everything is measurable. 

Your Marketing Mindset

Small law firms tend not to have marketing departments. You may even palm it off onto a junior member of staff who has far better things to be doing  (and things that they are far better at doing).

Understand that your marketing is an important function. Invest more in it and you'll get more. 

How to market your small law firm

Here are some of the common mistakes that you should do or avoid when marketing your small law firm.

Do

  • Learn what works and what doesn't
  • Use experts that have proven track records
  • Focus on your ideal clients' intent
  • Invest in SEO for solicitors as a long term strategy
  • Focus on local SEO using Google my business
  • Advertise on Google, Youtube & social media
  • Measure the right things!

Don't

  • Publish social media content without an audience, month after month
  • Create content that you think is good without considering your audience
  • Pump money into advertising without measuring the results
  • Think that marketing will solve all your problems after a few weeks. It's a long term play!
  • Measure the wrong stats

Setting Targets

This bit is quite simple, and great fun if you like Maths. 

  1. 1
    Identify how many enquiries you currently get  from your digital marketing efforts. If you are unsure, that is fine. You could even do a small estimate or use the number of overall enquiries you get. 
  2. 2
    How many of those enquiries do you expect to convert into paying clients? Ideally you'll do this per department or service as the stats may vary wildly.  
  3. 3
    Use the above stats to work backwards and decide how many enquiries you need to get your ideal number of case opens.
  4. 4
    Now you know how many enquiries you need to get our desired number of case opens, you can figure out how many website visitors you need to get those enquiries. Let's say your website is well effective, you might convert over 10% of all visitors into enquiries. So if you get 1000 visitors per month, you'll get 100 enquiries.

5-10%

The average percentage of website visitors who go on to make an enquiry after visiting law firm websites we work with.

For example if your website is good enough, you may be able to convert 17% of all visits into telephone calls or enquiry forms submitted.

So if you know that you then convert 40% of all enquiries into Case Opens and your target of new clients per month is 60, then your targets might look like:

882 website visitors
150 enquiries
60 paying clients

So the key question is what is the most efficient way to get those 882 relevant visitors to come to your website (or other online channels where they'll make an enquiry). 

How Do Your Competitors Do It?

Review your local competitors. If you don't know who they are, you can use our old friend Google.

Google Solicitors in Bristol Mobile

Then you can make a few simple observations about how well they are marketing their law firm. 

  • How big are they?
  • What do they focus on
  • What are the unique selling points?
  • How often do they blog?
  • How is their website structured and how are they landing pages laid out? 

Asking these questions of your competitors is useful because it gives you an idea as to why customers might choose them instead of and you, and what you can do about it.

Reviewing competitors may also give you an indication as to where you sit in terms of price and other factors, such as are competitors are offering introductory offers on fees or initial consultations.

How and Where to Advertise

Google ads are a great way of targeting really specific audiences with your service, particularly in your local area. You can target by search term, content type, geography, device and have full control over your daily and monthly budgets.

Creating ads using Google ads allows you to show ads across Youtube and the Google display network, which according to Google accounts for over 90% of the global internet. 

google ads for solicitors

With Google ads you can send visitors to your website or encourage them to call directly from an ad. It's a fast way to get ahead of competitors, but be aware of how much you are spending and how competitive it is.

Reaching a Local Audience 

31%

The average amount of website traffic generated from google business pages. 

You can also measure how many calls you get a result of people interacting with your business profile. 

Once again it's not just about Google being also has a business option give you more visibility and potential traffic.

According to Google the increase in "near me" searches has increased by over %500. So think about how many people are searching for "solicitors near me", near you!

Referrals & Links

Referrals are a bit like networking if you're into that kind of thing. There's loads of online business listings for law firms that you could add your details too, giving your specialisms, your address your, branding and giving people an option to contact you on your website.

This is also a factor when it comes to SEO.  Having lots of relevant authoritative links back to your website can increase your rankings in search results. Linking from these business directories can help. The good news is that they are often also free.

If you partner with anybody, for example an insurance company or a mortgage provider, why not ask them to link to your website? It could be a simple as a relevant mention one of their web pages or you could provide some guest content that appears on their website and links back to yours.

This is another great opportunity and show Google that your website is authoritative.

Social Media

It's worth having a social media presence because it adds credibility. It's unlikely that you're going to get a review from someone raving about how you got them off a drunk drive charge, but for services such as conveyancing and Will writing it can help showcase your services. 

If you have a Facebook or Instagram account you can also create ads on these channels. 

There are often some cheap advertising opportunities on Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn.

For example we've had some success when it comes to family law from generating awareness during the lockdown period of family Law Services.

For this, your targeting can be anyone with kids or it could be income specific or it could even be specific to interest. This could be a really cost-effective way of getting in front of thousands of people in your local area and it generates awareness as well as engagement.

The most important marketing channel

I could be biased, but the central marketing strategy for most law firms we work with is SEO (search engine optimisation).  

You match your website's pages with popular searches and provide more value than competitors and you have a good chance of getting more long term traffic for free.

  • A well structured website that Google and website visitors can understand
  • Fast loading and easy to use on mobile
  • Provides better content than competitors
  • Authoritative - other websites link to it.

How do law firms attract clients?

Online marketing channels such as SEO, PPC, social media and website conversion optimisation are all cost-effective ways for law firms to attract new clients.

How do you create a law firm marketing plan?

Set a business objective and understand all the barriers to achieving it and how you can overcome those barriers. This will include looking at what it is that you want clients to buy and how this compares to your competitors in terms of service and cost.  

You can then assess the resource you need to deliver your strategy in terms of people and budget, as well as the channels you're going to use as part of your marketing mix. 

Find out more about marketing for law firms

How do law firms market themselves?

Law firms are well placed to market themselves as they have the industry expertise and can understand what customers want. These two things can help create a brand proposition that is better than competitors and give people a reason to choose you ahead of competitors. 

Do you want to find out what the best marketing strategy for your small law firm is? Make an enquiry now. 

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