Do you some new and improved law firm marketing tactics to increase new client acquisition and the number of new cases? Each year, the marketing landscape changes. If you haven’t caught up on the latest studies and trends, you might invest your budget on last year’s tactics that aren’t going to get you the results you want this year. To prevent that from happening, we’ve compiled the trends and tactics law firms need to know in 2020.
The Search Engine Landscape of 2020
According to studies published by Search Engine Land, organic search drove over half of the website visitors to thousands of B2B and B2C websites in 2014 and 2019. 15% of website visitors in the 2019 study were from paid search.
Google still remains the top search engine. Statcounter Global Stats shows Google with 86.02% of the search market share followed by Bing with 6.25%, Yahoo with 3.36%, Baidu with 0.83%, Yandex with 0.8%, and DuckDuckGo with 0.61%.
To put it into perspective, SimilarWeb estimates that Google receives 81 billion visits per month from desktop and mobile users, 27.34% of which are from the United States. Comparatively:
- Bing receives an estimated 970 million visits, 33.56% from the United States.
- Yahoo receives an estimated 3.5 billion visits, 51.85% from the United States.
- DuckDuckGo receives an estimated 569 million visits, 46.63% from the United States.
Most search engine optimization strategies are done with Google as the search engine of focus because of its popularity. Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo still receive a significant amount of traffic from the United States.
Optimizing websites for Google search will ultimately help increase their visibility in all search engines. But if you want to ensure that your website is getting traffic from each search engine, you’ll have to check your website’s health on each search engine from time to time.
The Local Search Landscape of 2020
Local search marketing is an important part of organic search engine marketing for local businesses. For law firms, it specifically involves claiming and maintaining profiles on local search networks, review sites, and professional directories that:
- Appear on the first page of search results for your law firm’s name on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. You will have to check all three to see which sites each search engine values most.
- Are popular with the top personal injury law firms in your market. This means you will have to search for your competitors by name on the top search engines.
- Are important for improving your rankings in the Google local search 3-pack.
For 2020, these networks, sites, and directories include Google, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, Facebook, Avvo, Martindale, Superlawyers, HG.org, LawTally, Super Lawyers, and your local chamber of commerce. They also may include directories specific to your city and state from a local magazine, newspaper, or other local sources.
Your performance as a law firm for your clients isn’t enough. Additional star ratings that may appear on the first page of Google search results include Indeed, Glassdoor, and similar job networks. Ratings from these networks are from your employees as opposed to your clients.
The Social Media Landscape of 2020
Facebook is still the number one social network according to Statcounter Global Stats. Facebook receives 60.15% of the social media market share, followed by Twitter with 15.48%, Pinterest with 10.46%, Instagram with 8.73%, and YouTube with 4.2%.
To put it into perspective, SimilarWeb estimates that Facebook receives 26 billion visits per month from desktop and mobile users, 22.24% of which are from the United States. Comparatively:
- Twitter receives an estimated 5.4 billion visits, 27.10% from the United States.
- Pinterest receives an estimated 909 million visits, 46.29% from the United States.
- Instagram receives an estimated 4 billion visits, 18.29% from the United States.
- YouTube receives an estimated 33 billion visits, 19.93% from the United States.
- LinkedIn (notably missing from Statcounter’s list) receives an estimated 967 million visits, 33.75% from the United States.
In addition to these long-standing platforms, you have social networks like Snapchat and TikTok for younger audiences. These require even more attention as they have content that expires or moves quickly through the news feed. While only a few social networks prove to be valuable for marketing, it’s important to be familiar with the nuances of all of their features for evidence and other uses.
The Advertising Landscape of 2020
If you want to reach more clients in 2020, you can use a variety of advertising platforms to push your law firm’s message to targeted audiences. According to Marketing Charts, spending on online media will decrease in 2020, but still, stay steady. Here are a few examples of ways you can reach targeted audiences through paid platforms.
- Google Ads allows you to pay for ads that appear in Google search results, YouTube videos, websites, and apps in the Google display network, and Gmail.
- Facebook Ads allows you to pay for ads that appear throughout Facebook (news feed, videos, the marketplace, and stories) as well as Instagram (news feed, videos, and stories).
- Outbrain and Taboola allow you to pay for ads that appear on major news outlets like CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Business Insider, Bloomberg, USA Today, and similar publications.
Law firms also have an array of offline advertising options to reach their local community. Marketing Charts predicts an increase in certain areas of offline media spending including, but not limited to, the following.
- TV ad spending for 2020 seems to be increasing. This is especially true for advertisers targeting digital and streaming TV viewers.
- Direct mail advertising – expected to grow this year – allows law firms to get into your targeted audience’s mailbox. At a time when junk email is more of an issue than junk solicitations, your message will have a better chance of reaching its intended recipient.
- Newspaper and magazine advertising, an area that everyone is constantly decreasing their spend in, still may hold some value for certain law firms whose clients may read specific local and industry publications. Most of these outlets also have online advertising options available.
- Traditional outdoor ads, like billboards, have gone digital. You can get digital advertisements and video on billboards in some cities along major freeways. You can also get them placed on trucks that will drive alongside crowds during popular events.
Of course, what works for marketers and advertisers in other industries isn’t going to necessarily work for your law firm marketing plan. So let’s find out what will.
What Law Firms Say is Effective
First and foremost, we have to go with what we see is effective based on our own data. Organic search is by far the most important thing you can do to improve results from your law firm’s online marketing strategy. Based on the work we have done with our own clients, we have found that organic search engine optimization can result in:
- 400% more cases and $170,000 increase in revenue per month from search engines,
- 300% more cases and 47% increase in phone calls per month from search engines, and
- 3,400% higher traffic and 50% increase in leads from the websites per month from search engines.
The American Bar Association’s Websites & Marketing Technology Report for 2019 surveyed over 10,000 lawyers from solo practices to large law firms. According to the survey:
- 47% of law firms have a dedicated marketing budget.
- Of all marketing channels, lawyers from firms of all sizes reported email (41%), Facebook (30%), and direct mail (19%) as the topmost effective.
- 90% of all law firms have a website, but only 57% of solo practices have one.
- 56% of large law firms have incorporated video into their marketing and advertising campaigns.
- 30% of law firms maintain a blog.
- Over 80% of law firms maintain a social media presence, with 79% using LinkedIn, 54% using Facebook, 38% using Martindale, and 23% using Avvo.
Probably the most terrifying statistic of them all: only 38% of law firms say they have access to or monitor their website analytics. This means over half of law firms may not even know what is working towards generating more website traffic, leads and revenue!
Attorney at Work also surveyed 406 legal professionals, including 183 lawyers (25% from solo practices) in their 4th annual Social Media Marketing Report. Their results found:
- LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter were rated the most used social networks for marketing.
- LinkedIn (34%) and Facebook (32%) were considered the most effective social networks for bringing in new business.
- Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Passle, SproutSocial, and Clearview Social were the top tools used by lawyers to manage their social media.
- Facebook (36%) and Google Ads (22%) were considered the most effective advertising options.
Of course, what works statistically for law firms in other sectors and personal injury law firm marketing can differ. It’s important to remember with all marketing plans that it takes time, effort, and analytics to see what efforts are generating the best results.
Your Marketing Plan for 2020
Based on what we know about personal injury law firm marketing, this is what we can suggest for your law firm’s marketing plan in 2020.
Where You Are Currently
Start with where you are currently. You will want to start by running some website analytics reports to see how much traffic you are receiving, what source is generating the most traffic, and where you are getting the most leads from.
If possible, you will also want to know how much revenue your law firm generates from your website. If your website analytics is tracking conversion goals, you may be able to track down your leads/revenue from specific traffic sources such as organic search or a particular advertising campaign.
This data will be your baseline. Once you begin implementing your marketing and advertising strategy, you will be able to look back to this data to see what changes your tactics have had on your traffic, leads, and revenue.
If you are one of the 43% of solo practices without a website or one of the 62% of law firms that does not have website analytics installed, then you will need to start there. Most marketing and advertising strategies rely on your law firm’s website to be the home of your campaign’s landing pages and lead generation funnels.
In essence, if you are just starting out, you will need a website, website analytics with conversion goals set up, and your law firm’s social presence built on Facebook, LinkedIn, and similar networks.
Where Do You Want To Be
The next question is where do you want your law firm to be in the next year? In the next five years? With any marketing plan, you need to set SMART goals – goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, you could easily say that you want your law firm to create a marketing plan that increases your law firm’s cases by 25% from the website within the next year using organic search engine optimization. You plan to implement Google Analytics to track leads from your website through the use of conversion goals. It’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
This is much more specific than saying you want to create a marketing plan that gets more traffic and increases revenue for your law firm. It’s important to set not only realistic goals, but very specific goals that you have a way to measure. Once you can measure your success, you can work towards it effectively.
8 Types of Law Firm Marketing That Increase Cases
Now that you have an idea of where you are and where you want to be, here are some of the many effective law firm marketing tactics used to generate more client leads online.
Search Engine Marketing
Organic search engine marketing is the foundation of most law firm marketing strategies. It’s important that your website is optimized for your law firm’s main keyword phrases as well as for your local market to ensure that you are getting the most traffic from organic search from the beginning.
Many of the things you do throughout your marketing strategy will benefit your organic SEO, but only if you have the base elements set in place from the beginning. This includes having a landing page for every main keyword phrase you are targeting for your law firm.
For most law firms, this means having a website with the following pages.
- A homepage, which serves as a flashy landing page for your law firm. Most law firm homepages begin with bold photos overlaid with calls to action, followed by trust badges, testimonials, a listing of the law firm’s practice areas, and additional text.
- The law firm’s about us page with a mission statement, general history of the law firm, and other details.
- Individual bio pages for each attorney.
- An overview of your law firm’s practice areas.
- Detailed pages for each of your law firm’s practice areas.
- A memorable phone number.
- A contact us page for each of your law firm’s offices.
Each page would have text and media dedicated to a specific keyword phrase. Based on the page content, Schema and other markups would also give search engines additional information about the page to display in search results.
Of course, organic search engine marketing doesn’t stop there. There are additional tactics that ensure your law firm’s top pages rank well in search engines. Without the acquisition of quality links and the continued creation of new content, your law firm’s website may not get the attention it deserves from search engines.
Content marketing goes hand in hand with organic search marketing. The more content you produce on your website, the more content search engines have to crawl, index, rank, and serve to your potential clients when they search for your targeted keywords. In addition, when you produce content for websites other than yours, you get the chance to earn a quality link back to your own.
Blogging isn’t the only content marketing tactic. In addition to blogging, you can create FAQs, a glossary of legal terms, an explanation of specific legal codes that apply to your practice areas, and similar types of content. The goal is to create content that can be optimized to match the keywords you are targeting in search.
If you’re not comfortable writing, video-based content is more popular than ever. You can create high-quality content for YouTube instead of blog posts. To get the most out of your video, you can use transcription services to transcribe your videos and turn them into written posts for your blog.
For those who are in-between writing and video, podcasts could be the answer. Podcasts are simply online radio – you can record them, upload them to several different platforms (iTunes, Stitcher, etc.) and share them on your website once transcribed.
Social Media Marketing
Both the ABA and Attorney at Work survey respondents listed social media marketing as an effective way to get business. It’s not just about creating a social media profile or page and posting updates just to keep your profile updated on a daily basis.
Each network has a specific set of features you can take advantage of to reach the most amount of people. Some social networks, like Twitter, are simple. You create your law firm’s profile and tweet text, links, photos, and videos with hashtags, location tags, and username mentions to ensure they reach the right audiences.
Instagram may not be on the list of most effective networks for law firms, but it is still one of the simpler ones compared to LinkedIn and Facebook. Like Twitter, you simply create your law firm’s profile and post images or video with hashtags, location tags, and captions. You can also post stories that expire in 24 hours.
Networks like LinkedIn are a bit more complex. You will manage a personal profile and company page, both of which have multiple sections that can be optimized for LinkedIn search. Using your personal profile, you can publish blog posts and create or participate in groups. You can publish updates with text, links, photos, and videos with hashtags, location tags, and username mentions to ensure they reach the right audiences.
Facebook takes available features to the next level. You can manage a personal profile and company page. You can use profiles and pages to create and participate in groups, publish updates, publish blog posts (notes), live stream, create events, and create stories (posts that disappear in 24 hours).
If you enable reviews on your Facebook page, you can turn it into another source of testimonials for your law firm. It can also help boost your overall rankings in local search results if you continue to get positive star ratings.
Facebook also offers the Messenger service, which allows your law firm to talk privately with clients who visit your page. You can even partner with a Facebook developer who can create a bot that takes your Facebook page visitors through the steps of signing up for a free consultation or contacting your office.
All three social networks allow you to advertise so you can reach targeted audiences through sponsored posts in the newsfeed. Facebook’s ad platform will also get your ads through to the Instagram news feed, Messenger users, and websites/apps in the Facebook Audience Network (similar to the Google Display Network).
Along with Martindale and Avvo, interacting on these top social networks will allow you to increase your brand’s visibility while driving social referral traffic back to your website. You also give the people who want to recommend your business the chance to through social sharing.
Live Chat Marketing
Speaking of Messenger, live chat has become a popular form of marketing in the recent years. In addition to Messenger bots, which can answer basic questions and interact with visitors who come to your Facebook page, you can set up live chat on your website to engage with website visitors.
Live chat “agents” allow you to be available to your website visitors 24/7 to answer common questions when no one is in the office. For your personal injury law firm, they could be another way to your visitor’s contact information to schedule free consultations and case reviews.
The idea is to make visitors feel like they are interacting with someone in real time. Similar to a call back service at your doctors office. It’s like a digital third-party call service for your law firm.
Email ranks as one of the most effective marketing channels according to the ABA’s websites and technology report in 2019. An email opt-in on your website is a great way to capture visitors who are not ready to convert at the initial visit.
To convert more website visitors into email subscribers, use the least number of form fields, such as just the first name and email address fields. To get the most qualified email subscribers on your list, use fields that would help you learn more about the website visitor and how likely they would be to hire you in the future. Or use additional fields to see what topics they would most be interested in learning from your law firm – if you have multiple interest lists and advanced email service.
As you capture email addresses for your list, you have a few options. You can send out a regular weekly or monthly newsletter that keeps them up to date on your latest blog posts, news, case settlements, and other interesting items.
Alternatively, you can create a more personalized email marketing system. For example, if your personal injury law firm handles lots of types of cases, and a website visitor subscribed to your email list after reading a post about Uber accidents. You could add them to a segmented part of your email list that is catered to email updates specifically about rideshare drivers and the types of legal issues they may face.
That way, if that visitor were to need a lawyer for an Uber-related case, the law firm that always sends them rideshare-related legal information is going to be the first law firm that comes to mind.
This is the power of email. It doesn’t get lost in the newsfeed – it gets your message delivered right into your potential client’s inbox. And when people are ready to share your message with others, they can forward it directly into another potential client’s inbox.
Word of Mouth Referral Marketing
Through personal and professional networking, every attorney brings word of mouth referral marketing potential to your law firm. Lawyers gain clients through referrals from:
- Family, friends, and casual acquaintances. Never shy away from the conversation when people ask what you do for a living. Or jump in with interesting things are going on (that you can talk about).
- Former classmates and alumni. The people you may know features on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn can connect you with former classmates, dating back to elementary school. Even if you moved away, you never know when you might discover someone from your high school who now lives 15 minutes away and needs legal advice. To activate this feature, add the schools you have attended to your social profiles. This will automatically link you to your former classmates. In addition to directly connecting with classmates, you can look for groups for your school, graduating class, and specific organizations you joined while in the school on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Former coworkers. The same feature on social networks that can connect you to former classmates can also connect you to former coworkers. To activate this feature, add the companies you have worked for to your social profiles. This will automatically link you to your former coworkers in social search and people you may know suggestions.
- Past and current clients. After you’ve won a case for a client, there are a few ways they can benefit your law firm’s marketing. One is by posting reviews and ratings on networks like Google, Yelp, Avvo, and similar. Another is by telling their friends and family – online or offline – about their results. This word of mouth marketing can lead to more clients for that attorney and your law firm.
- Other lawyers. Lawyers who can’t take cases based on their current caseload, location, conflict of interest, or other reasons often have to refer cases to other attorneys. If no one at the firm can take the case, being the lawyer that other lawyers call can win you lots of cases.
- Fellow members of professional organizations. If you’re not overloaded with clients – but want to be – join organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, and other networking groups to mix with other professionals owners. Or go industry-specific if your clients are in one industry. Remember they are there to market and sell too, so expect it to be a give and take environment.
- Fellow members of personal organizations. Are you a member of a tennis league? Do you attend your kid’s PTC? You don’t have to do high-pressure sales. Just be sure to introduce yourself. Be helpful at events. The rest will fall into place.
So how do you get all of these people to become ambassadors for your practice? You have to create content to appeal to these groups of people on your social media and on your website. This will increase the chance that your law firm is the one that comes to mind when someone in your network needs a personal injury attorney or has a connection who needs one.
In addition, encourage all attorneys (that need a boost in clients) to attend local networking events. For those that started with a small address book, it can be a solid way to boost their list of contacts and potential referrals. Even if they are personal but related to a specific industry, it can be a good way for your attorneys to practice their elevator pitch and sales tactics on a regular basis.
But most importantly, you have to ask. When you do a great job on a case, you have to ask your clients to write you a review, record a testimonial for your website, and recommend you to their friends and family. While some of your most satisfied customers will do it for you without asking. More people will naturally complain before they compliment – some just need that gentle nudge.
Public Relations Marketing
To further extend the reach of your law firm and its attorneys, you can work towards getting your name in the media through PR. There are free ways of doing this, such as signing up as a source for Cision’s Help a Reporter service. It allows journalists to work on a story and connect with expert sources in a particular industry.
For example, if someone was working on an article about a legal case, they might want an attorney’s perspective or review. While most inquiries are from smaller publications, you could get a chance to offer your insight to outlets like Reuters, Time, Wall Street Journal, and other publications that have millions of readers.
The key to taking advantage of an opportunity that lands in your inbox is to reply quickly and with the details requested by the journalist. If you’re the first attorney to respond with the right information, you’re likely going to be the one chosen to be included in the article or news segment.
Even if an inquiry isn’t from a top news outlet, this service gives law firms the chance to be featured in smaller news outlets, local affiliates, and niche media sites. It allows law firms to gain more visibility as well as valuable links back to their website in certain cases.
This is another way to raise your law firm’s reputation as a thought leader or an expert in your area of practice. Each time your insights are published, it increases the odds that you’ll be invited to share your expertise on more stories. If your attorneys build a strong enough reputation, they won’t have to read emails anymore – they’ll get more requests from journalists than they can handle.
Events & Sponsorships
Local meetups, professional conferences, and industry events are great ways to get your law firm’s name out in front of potential clients. Most events will allow you to promote yourself to their attendees through one or more levels of sponsorship. Or you could get your law firm’s name out there by speaking at these same events.
Before each event, check your website, social profiles, and printed marketing materials to make sure they are fully up to date with your latest wins, your top attorneys, and your best reviews put forward. That way, when people look you up later or look at your materials in their conference bags, they will get the best impression possible of your law firm.
In addition to the actual on-site marketing options, if you are going for sponsorship, you will want to look for in a package that allows you to get the attendees’ contact information. That is the ticket to being able to market to all of the attendees after they have gone home on the last day. You will want to be able to send them emails or advertise to them in the future.
What are your law firm marketing goals for the second half of 2020? Let us know in the comments!