It’s more difficult than ever to run a successful law firm. Attorneys must not only be experts in their specific field, but they must also excel with client intake, attorney marketing, and branding their firm. While many law firms are focusing on their client intake process and their advertising, the majority of attorneys neglect building their brand, which is a huge mistake.
Branding drives your law firm’s image, sets you apart from competitors, and often is responsible for your clients choosing your law office over other firms. So crafting an effective and innovative attorney branding strategy is one of the essential elements of running a law firm.
What is Attorney Branding?
Your law firm’s brand is the overlap of your firm’s reputation in the legal field, and your brand promise to your clients. Your law firm’s brand is the foundation of your legal practice and includes your client outreach, law firm marketing plan, and your firm’s mission and values.
Whether you run an established firm or are just getting started, attorney branding can seem overwhelming. Yet, the right branding strategy can help you distinguish your legal practice and grow your client base. To succeed in the competitive market, you’ll need to implement powerful digital marketing strategies, experiment with innovative law firm marketing ideas, perfect your sales process, and track your business goals and metrics.
Building Your Law Firm’s Website
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Yet for the majority of attorneys, the first impression their website makes is a bad one!
A bad website can cost the average personal injury attorney over $400,000 a year in lost cases. While some attorneys still don’t see their need for a great website, the majority of law firms understand the importance of an optimized site. The issue is, these law firms don’t know how to create a website that converts traffic into potential clients.
For an easy solution, many attorneys use legal website companies to create their site. These templated sites look professional, but they often use cheesy stock images and boilerplate content, resulting in a lackluster performance.
Instead, your website should be a reflection of the value your firm provides. For example, when we designed the website for Freedman Law, we focused on two sustainable competitive advantages they have: 300+ Google reviews and $1.25B they’ve won for their clients. This info is located entirely above the fold of the website, meaning there’s enough information at the top of the site so that their potential clients don’t even have to scroll down. New content was created, and photos were taken for this website project, and since it launched, it’s converted an additional 35% of their site traffic into a phone call or email inquiry.
In addition to investing a lot of time and resources into your home page, your “About Us” page is usually the second-most popular page on a law firm’s website. Your “About Us” page should explain your mission/values and tell the story of your firm’s brand. This is important because potential clients make decisions emotionally, then they justify them rationally. That is why it’s crucial that your homepage and About Us page outlines your sustainable competitive advantage, your values, and your extensive experience.
Additionally, add specific practice area pages that lists the legal services you offer and the type of law you practice, client testimonials, a blog, case studies, and a FAQ page to your website. Over time, create new content for your law firm’s website, such as videos, podcasts, and blog posts, to foster a relationship with potential new clients.
Digital Marketing for Law Firms
With over 1.2 million lawyers in the United States, integrating digital marketing into your law firm marketing strategy can help you promote brand awareness, build a loyal client base, and differentiate yourself from the competition.
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves optimizing your law firm website content and website design to help your website rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). When making your law firm website search engine-friendly, it’s crucial to consider numerous SEO strategies and best practices, including keywords, links, local SEO, and metadata.
If you’re new to SEO, write each web page as if you’re talking to your target audience. This approach can help you create high-quality content and rank higher in organic search results.
If your marketing budget allows, consider hiring a team of legal marketing experts to optimize your web design and help you create great content for website visitors. An experienced marketing company can help you create a mobile-friendly website design to optimize your website for mobile devices, build your brand identity, and take your SEO efforts to the next level by implementing a strategic SEO campaign.
Pay per click advertising (PPC) like Google Ads, are online ads that attorneys pay for when potential clients click on them. These ads are very effective because they only appear when your specific keywords are searched. So when someone clicks on your PPC ad, they’re actively searching for your service.
When using PPC ads, one vital thing to remember is that ads should always link to a designated landing page associated with the specific ad. In other words, your landing page should match what the ad offers. For example, if your PPC campaign was for personal injury services and clicking on your ad sent potential clients to a page about estate planning, you risk losing the business of a new client looking for a personal injury lawyer.
Social Media Ads
There are two main channels to consider with social media: organic posting and using their advertising platform to reach potential clients. For the majority of law firms, posting consistently on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t create a lot of clients. This is mainly because your organic posts on Facebook typically appear to only 1% of your fanbase. And how many people that used a personal injury attorney or a criminal defense attorney, plan on using them again?
In other words, when it comes to social media for attorneys, forget about continually posting on social media. It’s almost a waste of time. Instead, focus on utilizing social media advertising platforms!
With the Facebook/Instagram advertising platform, you can target people based on age, demographics, where they work, and where they live, to name a few. And when these people click on your ad, they’re pushed from Facebook to your website! This is a great way to cost-effectively build your brand by reaching your target audience multiple times a month, with various content focused on your sustainable competitive advantage, your mission/values, and your expertise.
Attorneys that invest in branding like this find that these efforts improve the performance of their other advertising channels, since they’re building trust.
Legal Online Directories
Listing your law firm in online legal directories and local directories can help increase your law firm website’s search engine rankings and help you build credibility in your practice area. Listings in some directories are free, while other directories, like FindLaw, charge a fee to list yourself.
Google My Business
Attorneys should also create a Google My Business profile. With countless prospective clients using Google to search for attorneys over legal directories, creating a Google My Business account for your law firm can help increase your online presence. Keeping your profile updated, responding to online reviews, and adding an FAQ to your listing are great ways to boost your SEO, increase your visibility in SERPs, and build your reputation.
Email marketing campaigns can help law firms attract new leads and concurrently build a robust referral process. Whether you send updates about your firm, recent cases you’ve won, or various ways you’re giving back to your community, email marketing can help your firm make an impression on potential clients and generate referrals from past clients.
This is another effective way to drive new business to your firm’s website. To start guest blogging, create a list of legal publications and blogs you’re interested in guest posting on, check the guest blogging policy, and apply to be a guest blogger. By doing this, it will help you build your website’s authority in Google’s eyes, and it builds credibility among your target audience.
Online reviews and testimonials are powerful SEO elements for attorneys. Although word-of-mouth referrals are essential to lead generation, many of your potential clients visit Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook to read reviews from former customers. Reviews from satisfied clients provide instant credibility and often result in new business.
Does Traditional Advertising Still Work?
Over the last ten years, digital marketing has taken the wind out of traditional advertising’s sails. Channels that were once very popular like billboards, TV commercials, radio, and newspaper ads, are now seen as expensive and not as targeted. Yet, while traditional advertising may have suffered, it is still a very effective way to reach a broad audience.
For example, if you’re a personal injury attorney, your target audience is very general since people can get hurt at any age. This makes targeting them both easy and hard. On the digital marketing side, it’s impossible to predict when someone will get injured and need your services. Google Ads is a great way to get in front of people once they’re injured and are searching for your services, but these ads are very costly.
This is why targeting a broad audience can be much easier by utilizing a traditional marketing channel like radio or a billboard. Sure, your ad appears to many people that do not need your services, yet, but over time, these kinds of traditional advertising channels build brand awareness and trust among your target audience.
While there’s pro’s and con’s to traditional and digital advertising, the most successful law firm’s use a combination of both methods of outreach to win more clients.
How to Measure Success
To measure the success of your marketing efforts, you must first define what KPIs (key performance indicators) you’ll be monitoring. The top KPIs are phone calls and emails from potential clients. But it’s essential to define other metrics of success that can lead to new clients, like dwell time (duration of time on site), where users clicked on your site (use Hotjar heatmaps for this), and how long they watched various videos on your website.
If you’re not sure where to start, use Google Analytics to track website visits, create SEO-specific goals that focus on increasing your page rank, and determine which type of content is trending on your website.
Once these KPIs are determined and your marketing campaign has launched, you must review its performance on a weekly or biweekly basis. Keep in mind that your goals may change due to new service areas your firm offers, an increasing number of new leads, new relationships within the legal industry, and growing awareness of your law firm’s brand.
Converting Visitors into Clients
Digital and traditional marketing can help you attract potential clients, but that’s only half the battle. The most successful law firms have invested thousands of hours into perfecting their sales process. This process begins by educating people with their marketing messaging and is reflected across the entire client intake process, all the way until the case is settled.
The Bottom Line
Crafting an effective legal marketing strategy and sales process takes time and effort, especially if you want to build a strong brand and distinguish your firm in the legal industry. If you don’t have the time or experience to devote to attorney branding, working with a professional SEO agency can help you achieve the best results. Whether you’re a new attorney or a partner in a large firm, an experienced marketing agency can help you navigate the branding process and create a strategic law firm marketing plan that ties into your sales process.