Are you looking for ways to improve your law firm’s online marketing? According to the data, building a strong reputation online is a key focus in most law firm’s marketing and advertising strategy. In this post, we’ll share data and examples of effective tactics in online marketing for law firms.
How Much Do Law Firms Spend on Marketing
The ABA Techreport on Websites & Marketing in 2019, which studied responses from 10,700 attorneys from U.S. law firms found that overall, under half (47%) of law firms have a firm budget for marketing and advertising. Large law firms with over 100 attorneys were the most likely to have a marketing budget (94%). The least likely were law firms with only one attorney (16%).
To get an idea of exactly how much to spend on marketing, Gartner surveyed 342 marketing executives at companies with over 500 million dollars in annual revenue. Over the last five years, these companies spent 10.5% to 12.1% of their annual revenue on marketing and advertising.
Data compiled from the CMO survey from Deloitte’s CMO Services, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association of 265 top-level marketing executives revealed that companies have spent 7.9% to 9.3% of their annual revenue on marketing and advertising since 2011.
Why Online Marketing for Law Firms is Preferred Over Offline
The growth rate for online marketing has always been higher than in traditional offline marketing since 2012. According to the CMO survey, the growth rate for digital marketing has been 8.2% to 15.1%. For traditional advertising, the amount of growth ranges from a loss of -3.6% to a peak of 0.6%.
Offline marketing provides reach across all age groups through billboards, direct mail, newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV. Thanks to technology, almost the same can be said about online and digital marketing. Pew Research Center’s fact sheets (updated in 2019) list that 90% of adults use the internet, 76% of US adults spend time on social media, and 81% of Americans own smartphones.
How Clients Find Lawyers
The reason for the slow growth of traditional advertising could be due to how clients find lawyers, and ultimately how law firms increase client acquisition. In Martindale-Avvo’s repot on Hiring an Attorney in 2019, clients who researched attorneys engaged with one or more of the following online resources prior to contacting them.
- Online review site and online directories (47%)
- Google search (43%)
- Attorney/firm website (36%)
- Social Media (10%)
This compares to the offline resources clients have used before 77% contacted up to three attorneys prior to making a decision.
- Referral from family and friends (43%)
- Legal services (16%)
- Print advertisement (9%)
- TV/radio (5%)
- Networking (4%)
What Clients Want to Know Before Contacting an Attorney
The top criteria that clients look for when researching an attorney can be included throughout your digital marketing and advertising campaign. This will increase conversions for your online marketing campaigns as well as your offline marketing campaigns. The following criteria are, based on 6,300 responses to the Hiring an Attorney report were as follows.
- Prices and fees (60%)
- Free consultation (58%)
- Speed of response (48%)
- Years of experience (48%)
- Online reviews & testimonials (42%)
- Location (39%)
- Recommendation from a family or friend (34%)
How Do Clients Choose an Attorney
Those who received referrals from family and friends went on to the following resources to research the recommendation.
- Read online reviews (46%)
- Contacted the attorney (46%)
- Read the attorney’s website (45%)
Only 36% would ultimately hire the recommended attorney.
Why Clients Choose Another Law Firm
There are specific items that clients discovered about an attorney and listed as a reason they did not choose them in the Hiring an Attorney report.
- Slow response (54%)
- Too expensive (51%)
- Negative reviews from former clients and staff (44%)
- Disciplined by the bar association (36%)
- No proof of success (27%)
- No online reviews (18%)
- No online presence (14%)
Your advertising campaigns cannot affect your rates or how quickly you personally respond to clients. There are online client acquisition tools you can use to give all prospective clients an almost instant reply. The rest of the deterrents can be managed by aligning your marketing and advertising, both online and off.
Online Marketing for Law Firms: 4 Top Tactics to Increase Client Acquisitions
Now you know that 47% of clients use online review sites, 43% use Google search, 36% use the attorney website, and 10% use social media to find attorneys. Here are the ways you can ensure you reach these clients and increase client acquisition from your online marketing campaigns.
Increase Visibility in Search Results
One of the main goals in online marketing and advertising is to increase your law firm’s visibility in search results. This goes beyond just Google search itself, but search results on online review sites, local directories, and social networks.
With this in mind, here are the foundations of successful online marketing for marketers.
- You need an online marketing campaign that is optimized for local search.
Your website is the foundation of your law firm’s online marketing. But optimizing your law firm’s online presence goes beyond just the SEO on your web pages. Your social profiles, review or local listings, and offline advertising campaigns (billboards, radio, and print) should be optimized just like your top web pages.
Aligning your offline ads with the top keywords your law firm ranks for in search, and you will ensure that everyone can find you. If your billboard campaign has discount injury lawyers, it’s more likely passersby will remember your keywords than your law firm’s name or phone number.
The people who see your billboard should be able to search for discount injury lawyers and find your website, social media, or professional listings appear at the top results. Expect to invest in pay per click advertising – the first three listings of many highly competitive keywords in the legal niche are the top bidders on Google Ads.
Remember that people could be on their favorite social network when they decide to research an attorney. Social media profiles that are optimized for search will allow you to attract audiences from social media search.
The same goes for people who may be on an online review site or local directory. Note that the same investment into PPC may be required. On Yelp, the first ten results for some legal keywords are Sponsored.
You can even use your top keywords to determine what questions to answer on the top legal Q&A networks.
This is why the keyword research phase of your online marketing is so crucial. The rest of your online marketing depends on the precise selection of the keywords most likely to attract potential clients. If you’re unsure where to start, look at the websites and social profiles for the top law firms in your area.
Hover over the tab to see the keywords and phrases each of your competitors are using in the SEO title of each page of their website. Or look at their description on social media. Use the keywords in Google Ads Keyword Planner to discover the most popular and profitable keywords to optimize your law firm’s online (and offline) marketing and advertising campaigns.
- You need active social profiles.
According to the 4th Annual Social Media Report by Attorney at Work, law firms found LinkedIn and Facebook are the most effective social media networks at driving new clients. Law firms regularly use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to increase brand visibility and authority. The ABA Tech Report noted that LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter were the top social networks preferred by law firms as well.
Whether you have one or a dozen social profiles, your focus should include being active in the communities where your potential clients are engaging. On Facebook and LinkedIn, this means that you are doing more than posting an update to your company page. It means that you are also using your page or personal profile to participate in groups that are relevant to your potential clients or those who can refer business to your law firm.
On Twitter, it goes beyond just tweeting to your followers. You can search for discussions from people who could be or refer potential clients to your law firm. On Instagram, it means posting quality images, videos, and stories that are location-tagged and include hashtags potential clients or client referrers are interested in.
In your status updates on all social networks, think of the top keywords you are targeting and post updates using those keywords. Make sure they include a strong visual and a link back to your website or a relevant blog post.
- You need completed listings on online review sites and local directories.
According to BrightLocal, local businesses need a specific number of citations (listings in online review and local directories) to earn a place in the Google Local 3-pack.
Legal practices have an average of 70 citations, but need at least 90 to be considered for the 3-pack. The median number of citations legal practices have is 153. The top sites legal practices get listings from include Facebook (83%), Yelp (81%), Yellowpages (81%), Mapquest (79%), Manta (78%), Yahoo Local (76%), Whitepages (73%), Superpages (72%), Avvo (72%), and Chamber of Commerce (64%).
The most powerful listings your law firm can get are on sites like Justia, Findlaw, Nolo, Wallethub, Lawyers.com, US Legal, and HG. These sites have high domain authority, meaning that they will be more likely to rank well in Google search results for their targeted keyword or keyword phrase. The high domain and strong relevance of links to your business from these sites will help increase your domain authority.
In addition to online review sites and local directories with high domain authority, create or claim your law firm listings on sites that appear on the first or second page of search results for your target keywords and phrases.
This will ensure that potential clients who click on these sites from Google search results will still be able to find your law firm, even if your law firm’s main website isn’t on the first page of search results. As you create and claim your listings, include your top keywords in your listing category, description, services, and other relevant listing fields.
If a particular online site or local directory appears on the first page of search results above you and your competitors, you may want to invest in advertising to ensure your law firm is at the top of the category or search results page.
Collect More Online Reviews and Testimonials
One of the best ways to boost your online conversions is to collect more online reviews and testimonials. As mentioned earlier, clients who want to hire an attorney are likely to analyze online reviews prior to contacting a law firm. Negative or no online reviews will send clients to your competitors.
To ensure you get the most positive reviews for your law firm, you need to promote your top listings with clients when your case is coming to a close. You can send them a text, email, or link to a web page that will direct them to the listing you want to boost with reviews.
You can also give specific steps on your web page to ensure that every client that wants to review your law firm can do so. Add a live chat box to your review page in case the client has questions.
Since Google reviews will affect your law firm’s ranking in the Local 3-pack, most law firms direct their clients to their listing on Google for reviews. But once your law firm gets more positive reviews and a higher star rating than competitors, it’s important to work on growing your reviews on networks like Facebook, Yelp, and Avvo.
Ultimately, this will help your law firm’s reputation in search results. When someone does a search for your law firm’s name, you want to have positive reviews and good ratings on any listing on the first page of search results to make a good first impression.
Optimize for Conversions
Using your website analytics and analytics from your PPC platforms, you can determine what pages receive the most traffic on your website. You can use this data to determine which pages need to be optimized for conversions.
Common conversion optimization techniques include the following
- Adding a contact form on your web page, or moving the contact form from the bottom of the page to the right of your introductory video.
- Updating the layout of the page to focus visitors on submitting a case consultation request or calling a 1-800 number.
- Changing the color of the background or the font size to improve readability.
- Editing the text to match keywords and phrases in your current online and offline advertising campaigns.
- Replacing old images or stock photos with high-quality images of your attorneys and your law firm.
- Improving page load time by optimizing all images, videos, and scripts on the page to use minimal filesizes, calls to the database, and calls to external resources.
- Testing multiple ads on platforms like Facebook and using the winning text, images, and calls to action on other PPC networks.
Improve Your Response Time
To ensure that you generate the most revenue from visitors from search, social media, and directory listings who convert into leads, you must improve your law firm’s response time. In the Hiring an Attorney report, the majority of your prospective clients want to connect with your law firm by phone (88%), email (84%), text (20%), or live chat (6%).
After hour call answering services, automated email and responses, and live chat agents on your website are the top technologies utilized by law firms. They give prospective clients the fastest response to their needs outside of your typical office hours. They ensure that your prospective clients aren’t wondering whether they called the right number or contacted the right law firm.
Many of these services can be customized to answer your prospective clients most commonly asked questions or set up a consultation appointment. Each can help your prospective client feel more like they are working with you.
Ready to improve your law firm’s online marketing? The best strategy to increase client acquisition from online marketing begins with increasing your law firm’s visibility in search through keyword optimization of your website, profiles, and listings. From there, collecting reviews and testimonials will bolster each of your top listings in search. Optimizing your web pages and ad campaigns for conversion will turn more visitors and clicks into leads. Improving your response time will ultimately lead to more clients and revenue for your law firm and higher ROI for your online marketing.