If you are here, you’re probably looking for best practices for marketing your law firm. Legal marketing is complicated, and as a lawyer, you are already incredibly busy meeting your clients’ needs, but tackling this, whilst simultaneously marketing your business, sounds like an Everest of a task. To be frank, you studied law, not marketing!
However, in this article, we will go over some pointers that you may not have considered yet. Here, we will assist you in making marketing decisions so that your law firm can efficiently make the best use of the time and resources you can offer. Importantly, you can spend more time concentrating on making your clients happy.
For starters, we recommend implementing a digital marketing strategy over traditional marketing. Whilst traditional marketing has its place, it can be a lot more costly, timely, and much harder to measure. With a digital marketing strategy,, we believe you are much more likely to be able to reach your relevant audience, who are more likely to want to do business with you. It is therefore a lot easier to obtain positive results which you can take on board for your subsequent marketing campaigns.
Having a robust digital marketing strategy in place is critical in today’s online world. No matter how big your firm is, mastering digital marketing increases the potential to bring in new clients whilst building trust and credibility with existing ones. The most common digital channels consumers use are: organic search (search engines such as Google/Bing), paid ads, social media, and email marketing, which are all great tools to target specific audiences with which you are more likely to resonate.
Marketing your law firm
First, before you set out a plan for reaching your specific digital marketing-related goal(s), we would like you to consider what could set you apart from your competitors. The digital world is noisy and crowded, and we are sure you already feel the fierce competition between you and other law firms. Considering what you do better than your competitors could help your law firm cut through. So, what is your USP (unique selling point)? What makes you superior?
To help you hone in on your USP, consider your branding. This is how your law firm is perceived in the mind of your consumers. It is more than just having a sophisticated logo; your business’s personality needs to be consistent throughout every touch point between you and your audiences. This will help you down the line when developing your strategy.
A great tool to assist your law firm’s branding is the Brand Onion. Think about how your law firm meets each section.
Vision – What is the vision of your law firm’s future?
Value – What are the core values of your law firm?
Personality – How do you want your law firm to be perceived?
Positioning – How is your law firm different to your competitors? Why are you better?
Consider conducting a competitor analysis. Who are your main competitors, and how do they compete through the price they offer, the type of service, their brand etc.
Who are your current customers, and how do they currently interact with your business and digital channels? Also, consider if it is worth building buyer personas for a few of your ideal audiences. For example, what is their age, what are their favourite channels they use, and what are their interests and behaviours? What is their gender, income, education etc? This will help you later on when targeting specific groups or segments.
Another great thing to complete before setting out your strategy is conducting a SWOT analysis of your law firm. It can help you to decide which route to take and what may affect your business and campaign. You may well have already heard of it: SWOT stands for strengths and weaknesses, specific to your business internally – what resources do you have, how is the structure and leadership panning out, how good is your marketing currently, and which areas need more focus. Marketing-focused businesses are usually strong because they know how to resonate with their audiences. Opportunities and threats are factors external to your business. Which opportunities could your firm take advantage of, and what threats could impact your business, from recession, to competitors offering lower prices.
Set SMART Objectives
Smart objectives help to structure your marketing campaigns, keep functional activities in line with corporate goals, encourage focus for decision making, and are accessible for the team to follow and refer back to.
Specific – Do not be vague. Be clear and straightforward to show precisely where you want to be. What is the particular marketing problem you are trying to solve?
Measurable – Can a quantitative or qualitative measure be applied to create a metric? This will help you later down the line when you assess the campaign’s success and how you can apply these learnings.
Actionable – Can it be actionable? Are you or your team going to be able to implement activities? If it doesn’t help assist performance, you should reconsider the objective.
Relevant – Is the objective relevant to your specific marketing problem?
Time-bound – Set timings for different periods for targets to reach and progress to be reviewed.
Segmentation, Targeting, And Positioning (STP)
Seriously considering your STP marketing as a part of your strategy can massively increase the likelihood of improved customer engagement and ROI.
Segmentation – Define different groups within your target audience based on their needs.
Targeting – Which segments are you going to focus your marketing activity on?
Positioning – How you position your law firm in the eyes of the specific segment.
So, you have your goal and direction. Next up: how are you going to get there?
You need to decide which of the aforementioned segments you’ll focus your resources and time into targeting. How will you adapt your positioning within your law firm and services to the segment that will most likely appeal to them?
It might be a good idea to target locally. Is there any point in targeting the whole country when consumers are more likely to go to firms closer to them? Make it easier for yourself by only competing and targeting locally. Unless you are an industry giant where clients from all over the UK seek your services, this could be too challenging for a smaller firm. It doesn’t mean this cannot be a future goal in the long term. It will take some time to grow and reach that level.
What will your activities look like?
Social Media – Build a social media community, create great content, and perhaps you can share industry tips that could further position your firm as experts. Some of these may be ongoing, but when implementing a campaign, think again about what content will most appeal to your target audience. Share testimonials from happy clients (with their permission). Real life feedback could help the credibility of your firm and instil confidence in potential clients.
One great thing about social media is that it can be automated. On a day where you have a rare quiet period and no meetings with clients, you can schedule content to go out when best suits you for the next few weeks – or even months. Your company’s Facebook page could be posting whilst you are speaking in a courtroom.
The specific social media platform that you share most content on will require some consideration. Facebook is the market leader, but is it the most relevant to your audience? LinkedIn is a great social CRM and professional alternative to Facebook.
Your content on Facebook and Instagram could look very different from what is best suited to LinkedIn. Instagram and Pinterest are primarily considered best for visually engaging content. Twitter is great for instant news, updates and real-time conversations. However, on Facebook and Instagram, you can use paid ads to target a very niche audience.
Email marketing – A form of direct marketing, emails and newsletters can be used within legal marketing to keep in touch with current clients and provide an avenue to reach new ones. Encourage clients and audiences to sign up on an email list. It will assist with direct contact and conversations and make consumers aware of available promotions and services. This doesn’t mean spam. A monthly top-quality newsletter or email can have an equal impact to regular comms.
Remember when planning email content, who do you want to talk to, why should they be interested, what will make them open the email, and what is the objective? A great email marketing management tool is Mailchimp.
Websites, SEO, and Google My Business – This is especially common with all firms and businesses: you want to be found and for people to know you exist.
Your website is often the first touch point for many clients. Your website is the home of your online presence, and optimising should be one ongoing high priority. Make sure your website looks the part and reflects your brand’s personality – but not at the expense of functionality. Implement Google Analytics, and Google Search Console, which are both critical free tools that you must use. Google Analytics allows you to measure advertising ROI, your visitors’ behaviour, and much more. Google Search Console helps you to optimise your website and make sure it works, sees where traffic comes from and guides you towards your search engine optimisation (SEO) goals.
Here are a few quick tips to assist in the optimisation of your website:
- Does it load fast? Slow websites will make it more likely that the viewer will leave before interacting and contribute to your bounce rate, which you certainly don’t want.
- Make it easy to navigate. Can the user quickly find their way around, and can they find your contact details with zero effort? Your consumer needs to know you can meet their needs quickly.
- Ensure your website has a consistent design, theme and colour scheme.
- Your clients are not lawyers. They are unlikely to know the terms and the jargon. Write in plain English and ensure your online content is easy to understand. User experience is essential: your website should be designed for your users, specifically.
SEO cannot be neglected and is an ongoing activity. Do you want to be found online? Good SEO increases the likelihood that your website will be displayed at the top of search engine results pages (SERPS) and achieve higher rankings.
Take time to conduct some keyword research. What is your audience searching for? Answerthepublic can help you to generate ideas, while Moz can help you clarify them. Then, you need to create great content that answers your audience’s searches. This can be achieved through informative blogs, for example.
Create and optimise a Google My Business page. GMB will further help you to be found. It creates a single space to combine all of the critical information about your law firm, such as contact details, opening hours, reviews – in addition to appearing on maps. Google will place your business page in search results for your firm, contributing to your credibility and brand.
What will you need to make that happen?
At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if you were hyper aware of how marketing activities can stack up. But don’t fret! We recommend creating a plan on a spreadsheet in the style of a Gantt chart. Gantt charts should showcase all activities and set clearly who is responsible and when actions/projects need to be done. Work management platforms such as Monday and Trello are also a helpful way of organising your digital marketing workload!
What will success look like?
You need to be able to track the progress of your digital activity. This will lead you to be able to crucially analyse what worked well and what didn’t – with the aim naturally being to do more of what worked well next time. These are where your key performance indicators, commonly referred to as KPIs, come in.
The specific goal and tactic will determine the best KPI to measure performance. Make sure the KPIs tie back to your primary objectives. Monitor often to ensure you stay on track.
If your main aim is to drive awareness, then the best KPI could be post reach, follower count, and impressions (how many times your content appears on someone’s screen). For further information on the correct KPI to choose, Hubspot goes into great detail on all the KPIs you could use to measure success.
A key KPI is your engagement rate: the percentage of viewers who engaged with your content, such as through a like, comment or share.
For your email marketing, standard metrics are open rate (people who open your email) and CTR (click-through rate, people who click on an action). This also can apply to your social ads. You can compare it to how many people your ad reached and how many of them clicked through.
When to hire help?
Everything above covers the tip of the iceberg; so much goes into a top digital marketing strategy. If you are thinking, “how on earth am I supposed to do all that whilst running a law firm?!”, you are certainly not alone! It can feel overwhelming, especially if you do not have an in-house team who can dedicate all their working hours to marketing activity. Hiring help can come in many different forms. Some firms invest in an in-house team, while some firms will hire a single in-house marketer. Another option is through procurement and hiring a freelancer. An alternative – which, naturally, we recommend! – could be hiring a digital marketing agency whose sole purpose is providing expert marketing to businesses of all shapes and sizes.