There’s not a “one-size-fits-all” strategy to marketing. Some approaches work well within one industry, but have very low conversions in another. It’s important to customize your marketing strategy to suit your industry and audience, and marketing a law firm is no exception. Avoid a cookie-cutter strategy, and try these five ideas that keep your industry and audience front and center.
1. Create a website that reflects the professionalism of your firm.
Whether learning about your firm through advertising or a referral, the first stop a potential customer will make is your website. They are going to want to see what you’re about, and they are going to do that by Googling you.
Think of how you approach an in-person consultation or meeting. You dress to impress, you arrive prepared, and you always have a business card on hand. Your website is, simply put, an extension of you. That means you want it to look and read in the same professional manner in which you carry yourself.
“Investing in a well-designed and optimized website that also loads on mobile and tablet devices has been an integral part in growing the leads we see from the internet,” says Kensley Barrett, a lawyer based in Rhode Island.
Your homepage needs to be visually attractive, your content needs to be accurate and informative, and a call to action needs to be clear and strong. Your website should create trust when a visitor arrives. It should be able to answer any of the general questions they may have, and help them easily find the contact information they need to schedule an appointment.
2. Encourage referrals, don’t just expect them.
Just because your client has an amazing experience working with you it doesn’t mean they are going to tell anyone. Many law firms neglect to encourage referrals, missing out on an enormous and free form of marketing.
Asking for referrals doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s a simple email you can send once you’ve completed working with a client: “Thank you for choosing the Law Offices of Your Name. Please remember that the greatest compliment you can give us is your referral.”
Set up a referral strategy that feels natural and works. That might be a line in a client thank you email like suggested above, or a blog post to share with your social media followers. If you are making it known that you welcome referrals, you are more likely to receive them.
3. Focus more on your client’s needs and less on your services.
When choosing a restaurant, you want to know what’s on the menu. You already know you want to eat, now you are just looking for a place that serves what you’re craving. Applying that mentality to your law firm’s messaging will likely leave you with a list of all the things you do and all the services you provide.
But choosing a lawyer isn’t like choosing a restaurant. Sometimes your client won’t know they’re hungry, or more literally what they need. That being said, it’s to your benefit to communicate your client’s needs rather than the services you can offer them.
The difference is subtle, but powerful. For example, “We specialize in matrimonial cases,” focuses on your service. “Equip yourself with the support needed to navigate through the difficulties of divorce,” taps into the fear, annoyance, sadness or stress that a client experiences during a divorce. By reassuring them that your firm will support them through this difficult time, you’re addressing their needs while also communicating that you can meet them.
4. Differentiate yourself from the competition.
I don’t have to tell you that there are a lot of lawyers out there. The high competition makes marketing your practice online difficult and expensive. Your one challenge being that the cost per click is high (keywords like “lawyer” and “attorney” are some of the most expensive) so you can end up dumping a lot of money into PPC before you see any return. Furthermore, with so many other options you really need to differentiate yourself to even get that expensive click.
There are a few strategies that have proven to work well for law firms running paid search marketing campaigns.
- Do a competitive analysis to see what your neighboring lawyers are doing. Search the keywords you’re planning to use to get an idea of what your audience will see, and then determine how you can stand out from the competition. Highlight what makes you better or more qualified so that you win the click.
- Make sure you’re geo-targeting correctly. Don’t make the mistake of geo-targeting a large area that you can’t serve. Most people aren’t willing to drive farther than they need to, so if you don’t have an office in that location you shouldn’t be targeting it.
- You also want to ensure your ads are reaching clients at the right time. The timeframe of hiring a lawyer can be long, so it’s important that your ad is connecting with them at the right moment.
Keeping these tips in mind can improve your chances of getting those clicks, and converting them to paid clients.
5. Find a way to build trust before you meet in person.
In an industry like law where trust is so important, that face-to-face meeting is usually a game changer. Since you probably don’t get a lot of walk-ins, incorporating trust-building elements into your marketing strategy is the next best thing to meeting a potential client in person.
Get your face out there digitally by creating videos that help clients get to know you better, put a face to a name, and form a connection. Here you have the opportunity to talk to them (even if it’s one-sided) and tell them firsthand why they should hire you as their lawyer.
Encouraging your clients to call is another great way to build trust. A phone conversation can be just as validating as an in-person meeting. You can set up call-only campaigns in your paid search that push phone calls. (Just make sure you have a 24-hour answering service in place so you don’t lose those calls that come in after hours.)