Do you have a digital marketing strategy? 78% of consumers go online to find a lawyer.
Most marketing managers of law firms we talk to operate on a tactical level and usually give us a blank stare when we ask them about their planning. And, as Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
The right firm marketing plan strategy is critical in generating new clients and, therefore, increasing revenue for any law practice.
You always make a plan before you go into a courtroom to fight for a client, don’t you? So why overlook marketing planning?
How to Create a Law Firm Marketing Agency Plan?
- Define your business goals.
- Choose a target audience for your law firm.
- Which digital marketing tool you need to find your ideal client.
- What is your investment in digital marketing?
- How are you going to check your progress?
Why Does Your Law Firms Need a Sound Digital Law Firm Marketing Strategy
One of the common and most expensive mistakes lawyers make is treating their firm as a law practice and not some business or company. A practice usually amounts to a job for the owner with a few support staff people. A practice is not worth much without a lawyer, and it can’t be sold for much when he/she decides to retire. A high-caliber law firm’s marketing plan is the key to increasing attorney income.
If we try and look at it with some analysis, the answer lies from way before. This is when some of the law schools already began to churn out more bar exam passers than ever before. Because of these events, there was a larger influx of new lawyers. Along with it, the competition for the best clients has become particularly fierce, even ten years down the line. All the while the demand for legal services has decreased, the number of lawyers employed by law firms has increased.
You can also see that there was also more legal work than ever was going to in-house legal departments or non-traditional legal service providers. In those cases, there were quite a lot of services law firms provide that were also being downright eliminated or at the very least redefined by advancing technology.
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Consider this fact: a median income for attorneys in the US is $120,900, that’s after going through really tough law school and working for many years. Yet, the top earners make $500,000+.
What’s the difference? It is certainly not because the former have invested less money in their education or less marketing effort in their careers. It is in having a high-performance firm marketing agency system in place, the foundation of which is a solid plan.
The Must-Have Law Marketing Strategies for Any Attorney
In fact, marketing is the only aspect of your law firm watch business responsible for attracting potential law firm business clients, which makes it the #1 factor shaping your income and the value of your business.
Having said this, we are well aware that writing a marketing plan is a headache, and if you don’t know how to approach it, it could turn into a total waste of time. This is why we’ve created a simple law firm SEO framework to make things a lot easier.
How to Create a Marketing Strategy For Law Firms
Marketing strategies for law firms can be incredibly complex, but it is the simple ones that are usually successfully implemented. So, we created a very easy-to-follow process for creating a law firm SEO marketing strategy.
Whether you decide to do this in-house or are working with a digital marketing agency, answering the 7 questions below will result in a marketing plan for your law firm.
1. What are Your Business Law Firm Goals?
In most cases, the goals of law firms we talk to relate to growth: they want more law firm clients and higher revenue. But that’s not enough! You should measure this growth goal financially and attach a time frame to it, which would make it a SMART one: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
For example, instead of saying you want more money, say you want your gross revenue to increase by $500,000 within the next 12 months.
A successful law firm marketing plan should always lead to setting and achieving a “SMART” goal.
Setting up your goals with the help of a lawyer marketing agency helps to know the 3 crucial marketing services factors you should ask about. They could help you predict whether you will actually be able to achieve that marketing law firm goal or not.
2. Who Does Your Marketing Plan Want to Serve?
First, think of who, exactly, your type of clients are. Based on that answer, you can then start to hone your law firm’s marketing strategy to target those particular types of people. Even if you think you know who you want to serve and who your ideal lawyer clients are, sit down and put it in writing. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get a better grip on your “buyer’s persona” — which is what we call ideal lawyer clients in marketing:
- Where are they based?
- How old are they?
- What problem(s) do they want you to help them solve?
- How are they most likely to look for a solution to the problem?
- What questions or concerns are the most likely to have before hiring you?
Understanding your audience is crucial to reaching the people you want as clients.
3. How Do You Find Your Ideal Clients, and/or How Do You Want Them to Find You?
Ideally, you wouldn’t have to find them: you would make sure they find you when they need you. A marketing strategy for a legal lawyer website should include tools specially tailored to attract your potential clients.
Either way, the answer to this question should be a list of marketing channels to focus on. While traditional marketing for lawyers still works to a limited extent, we recommend investing most of your budget and efforts in online marketing (according to Clio’s 2018 Legal Trends report, a combined 78% of consumers look for lawyers online). It is more effective and makes it easy for you to see the specific results from your investment strategies.
If you practice law where you serve consumers directly, like criminal defense, personal injury, estate law, and others, make sure you put Google and YouTube on that list of marketing channels strategies. This is where most of your clients go to look for every answer to their questions and to choose an attorney to work with.
4. What are You Going to Say to Your Ideal Marketing Clients?
The right marketing strategy for your law firm also depends on your law firm websites’ content and expertise. Now that you know your audience and you defined who you will attract them to, you should focus on crafting your message. The best way to go about it is by answering the questions you get asked most often by prospective clients. You’re probably answering them over the phone, by video, by e-mail, by image, and even at every dinner party.
What kind of on-site information would help your legal marketing strategy?
Don’t overlook questions, the answers to which may seem simple and obvious to you. Your clients don’t have your expertise. List everything you can think of, and you should end up with at least two to three dozen frequently asked questions. Next, think about the process your potential clients go through before they reach out to you. When they visit your website, they want to know that you have solved similar strategies problems to the one they’re having. They may be intimidated by the process of hiring a lawyer (it is expensive, after all). They don’t know how to choose the best lawyer you want (hopefully, they choose you over your competitors).
When you know what information they need, you can make sure to provide it on a high-performance website and through your content law firm marketing strategy. As long as you answer your prospects’ questions and calm their fears, you’ll be able to turn more of them into clients.
5. How Much are You Going to Invest in Law Firm Marketing Strategies?
Budgeting for marketing can be difficult for law firms as there are no clear guidance strategies most of the time. Here is what’s important for you to know before you decide on a marketing budget:
Why will a bad lawyer marketing strategy be more expensive in the long run?
Cheap marketing is always expensive. It may be tempting to hire a cheap marketing agency ($500 -$1,500 per month), but not only will you waste interest money (an agency cannot deliver many referral services for this little money), you’ll lose individual opportunities.
That’s right, your competitors, who have hired proficient marketers, will attract and get the communications clients you wanted. And, considering the compound effect of having this happen month after month, this can be incredibly expensive.
On the other hand, a top digital marketing strategies company for lawyers may seem expensive to you. Still, it usually comes out free because it actually generates a strong return on investment.
So, hire a proficient marketing agency, and invest a reasonable amount to achieve your growth leads goal; typically, 7 to 11% of your gross revenue.
Make sure that a portion of your marketing budget is allocated to marketing client retention. This is what will get you recommendations and repeat areas business from people who have already used your law firm’s services, so it’s like picking the low-hanging marketing goals fruit.
6. What Needs to Be Done for You to Achieve Your Marketing Goals?
Planning is a great thing, but plans must be acted on to achieve marketing results. Go through all the steps we’ve discussed by now and write down what you need to do and in what order you need to do it so that you start seeing law firm’s marketing results.
Business law firm goals are also key in making the right marketing plans.
For example, you probably need to schedule a meeting with your referral partners to decide on your specific goals and a budget. You may also have to do some brainstorming to understand who your ideal clients are, write down what legal marketing problems keep them awake at night, and then answer those legal marketing questions.
Of course, the best thing to do is to retain a mobile experience digital marketing agency, especially if you’re working in a high software marketing digital competition area like Chicago, where the wrong marketing decisions will really cost you. Don’t forget that you never stop doing public audience marketing, its like exercising. You will need to continue to market update the tactics with changing new technologies.
7. How will You Monitor, Report, and Continuously Improve Law Firm Marketing Results?
Marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of deal. To see the results you want, you need to look at how your law firm marketing strategies campaigns perform and adjust as needed.
If you are working with a digital marketing agency for lawyers, they should explain how they do this. If they can’t, or won’t, it’s best not to hire them or to end your contract with them asap.
Here are just a few reasons why constant monitoring and adjustment of your marketing approach is necessary:
- Some marketing channels work better than others. A good example of this is the use of online platforms for lawyers to boost visibility. While Avvo is the largest platform for lawyers and gets the most traffic, this doesn’t mean that it is the best platform source for your firm marketing law. Depending on where you are based and your software law practice, something else may work better. This is why we always test various platforms with our legal marketing clients before getting to the one that consistently produces good results with practice areas.
- The competition never sleeps. Say you’re in the top three organic results (the unpaid results below the ads) on Google for a certain keyword. You may think you’re done with SEO, but a competitor will sooner or later dethrone you if you stop working on it. Getting the top spot on Google is difficult, keeping it — especially for the most competitive keywords and most competitive mobile areas in the country — is even more difficult. Google digital software technology constantly updates the results based on the digital authority need of each digital website, plus they also regularly update their algorithms, meaning that what you’ve done to get a higher ranking sourch yesterday may not even be valid today.
- Accumulating positive reviews. Online digital reputation is important for any business but is absolutely crucial for lawyers. We live in an age when you can’t escape getting some online reviews, and chances are they will be negative. Why? Because people tend to share their problems more often than they share their positive experiences. Luckily, there is a way for you to get more positive reviews, and you should start working on that as soon as you can. Just like with SEO, your law firm’s competitors are probably already doing as much as they can to get their clients to leave positive online referral sources reviews on the online web, so it’s a constant public battle. Law firm’s thing is that if a client sees a law firm with 50 reviews and a 4.5-star online rating (out of 5), they’re much more likely to choose that firm over another with 3 five-star online reviews. The more, the better.
So, all you have to do now is to work on web answering the 7 questions above, and, to make your life easier, we have provided a simple Successful Law Firm Marketing Plan template. Need to use to speed up your strategy write-up process.
If you decide to hire a digital marketing agency to work for you, it’s important to know how to choose the right marketing plans and what exactly they would be doing, or you may end up wasting hours of time, money, and opportunities.
Want to speak with a law firm marketing expert?
Mach 1 Design is a Dallas-based digital marketing agency that specializes in website design and marketing for attorneys. Read more about our content marketing service for law firms. Contact [email protected] or call us at (469) 536-8478.