Are you looking for ways to improve your small law firm marketing strategy? No matter how large – or small – your marketing budget is, solo and small law firms can utilize some of the same marketing tactics large law firms to attract and convert prospective clients. In this post, we’re going to share data and strategies to help you improve your small law firm marketing.
How do Small Law Firms Get Clients – Law Marketing Statistics
The 2019 ABA Techreport lists email (40%), Facebook (26%), and Avvo (25%) as the top marketing channels used by solo law firms. Firms with 2 – 9 attorneys favor Facebook (39%) and print (33%). Email (41%), Facebook (30%), and direct mail (19%) were the most used marketing channels for law firms of all sizes.
A survey of 1,000 attorneys by Martindale-Nolo revealed that clients used online directories and review sites (47%), Google search (42.7%), and referrals (41%) to find legal assistance. Survey respondents listed referrals (45%), lead generation services (23%), organic and paid search engine marketing (17%), social media (9%), and TV/print (3%) as the top-performing marketing and advertising methods. Overall, 40% stated that online advertising was most important for attracting clients to their firm.
In a separate survey of 6,300 consumers who needed to hire legal services, 42% analyzed online reviews and client testimonials, 17% viewed Q&A answers, and 7% read articles written by the attorney prior to making a decision. They also noted that a slow response (54%), negative online reviews (44%), no reviews (18%), and no online presence (14%) as reasons they did not hire a particular attorney.
How Much Should Small Law Firms Spend on Marketing – Small Business Statistics
For small businesses that generate under $5 million dollars in annual revenue, the Small Business Administration recommends allocating 7 – 8% of revenue to brand development and promotion via marketing and advertising. The actual amount that the average small business spends, according to an analyst from Abrigo (formerly Sageworks), an enterprise risk management company for banks, is 1% of its revenue on advertising.
Of course, these numbers vary by industry, revenue, and company size. Participants in the February 2020 CMO Survey from companies with fewer than 100 employees and less than $25 million dollars in annual revenue reported that their average marketing spend was 14 – 16% of their company’s revenue.
Based on the 2019 ABA Techreport, only 17% of solo law firm practices and 31% of practices with 2 – 9 attorneys have a dedicated marketing budget. This is compared to 61% of law firms with 10 – 49 attorneys and 94% of law firms with 100+ attorneys, which makes it difficult for small law firms to compete.
How Do You Market a Small Law Firm – The Foundation of a Successful Marketing Strategy
Based on the data, it’s easy to see why small law firms have a more difficult time getting in front of prospective clients than larger law firms. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways small law firms can apply the budget they have to work with to make a positive impression on consumers. Here are the foundations of a successful marketing strategy.
Launch your firm’s website.
The first step in building a solid foundation for your small law firm marketing strategy is launching your firm’s website. While there are legal website marketing companies that will bundle your website development, hosting, and additional marketing services into a monthly subscription fee (typically $200+ a month) with a one-time setup fee, there are many ways of creating a website at a lower cost.
One way is by choosing the most used CMS (content management system) across the internet – WordPress. To get your website started with WordPress, you will need the following:
- A domain name (yourlawfirm.com) – $12 to $20 per year
- A website hosting company – $3 to $30 per month (WordPress recommends Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround)
- WordPress software – free
- WordPress theme (design for your website) – free to $30 and up (browse the WordPress theme directory or marketplaces like ThemeForest)
Once you have configured the basic WordPress setup and installed your theme, you can add your website content. Most law firms will need the following:
- An about page for the firm
- About pages for each attorney
- Practice area overview page
- Detailed pages for each practice area
- Contact page for each office location
- Case results page
- Client testimonials page
- Honors and Awards page
In addition to your main pages, you can create a blog with informational posts related to your practice areas, the latest news about your law firm, and anything else that can help you inform and win over prospective clients.
From there, you will want to optimize your website for search engines. Free tools like the Google Ads Keyword Planner can help you discover the best keywords for your law firm.
Each main content page and post on your website should include one focus keyword or keyword phrase. It should appear on the page or post’s title, content, and image filename and ALT attribute. This will tell Google and other search engines what each of your pages and posts is about, allowing Google to index your page and serve it to people who search for those keywords or keyword phrases.
In addition to keywords and keyword phrases like personal injury attorney, be sure to include location-based keywords as well. Both are key in assuring your website appears in search results for prospective clients in your area.
Prior to launching your website (or now, if you haven’t already), you will need to install website analytics. Google Analytics is a powerful (and free) solution for most businesses, as they provide comprehensive data about who your visitors are (demographically, without sharing private, identifiable information), where they come from, where they go on your website, and what actions they take.
After installing the basic Google Analytics code on your website, you will also need to set up goals inside your admin dashboard. You can use goals to track specific actions that visitors take on your website, such as submitting your free consultation form or subscribing to your law firm’s email list. It will allow you to see which traffic sources, pages, ad campaigns, and other marketing tactics lead to the most conversions on your website.
Google Search Console is another free tool you can use to monitor your website’s performance in Google search. It will tell you if Google search is having trouble accessing any of your content, offer suggestions on how to better optimize your website, and show you how many impressions your web pages receive in search results for specific search queries.
Build your firm’s presence on the top social networks.
The 2019 ABA Techreport showed that 80% of law firms have a presence on social media, with LinkedIn (79%) and Facebook (54%) being the most popular platforms. Survey participants (67% in law firms with 1 to 5 attorneys) in the Attorney at Work’s 4th Annual Social Media Report also named LinkedIn (34%) and Facebook (32%) as the most effective social networks for generating business. In addition, 51% maintain a presence on Twitter, 25% on Instagram, 19% on YouTube, and 6% on Pinterest.
To get the most benefit out of each social network, your law firm will need:
- A business page, profile, or channel for the law firm itself
- A personal profile for each of the attorneys (primarily on LinkedIn and Facebook)
This will allow you to post status updates for your followers, fans, and prospective clients. You can also search for and participate in relevant discussions from other pages, profiles, and groups (LinkedIn and Facebook). In addition, you can collect reviews and testimonials on your Facebook page.
72% of U.S. adults use social media – 73% use YouTube, 69% use Facebook, 37% use Instagram, 28% use Pinterest, and 27% use LinkedIn. By creating pages and profiles for your law firm and its attorneys, you will make it easier for your prospective clients to find you on the networks they use most.
Claim or create your firm’s online review and local directory listings.
Listings on online review networks and local directories play an important role in a consumer’s decision-making process. If you want to offer the best impression of your law firm online, you will need to claim or create listings on the top networks and directories.
In addition to having a place where satisfied clients can go to leave a positive review, your listings will play an important role in helping your law firm rank well in search engines for both your practice areas and your local community. They are referred to as citations for your business.
According to BrightLocal’s analysis of 25,091 legal practices found using 5,347 related keywords, law firms and other legal service businesses have an average of 77 citations but need 90 – 154 citations to rank in the local 3-pack.
The top places to receive citations for lawyers besides Google (via Google My Business) are Facebook (83%), Yelp (81%), Yellowpages.com (81%), Mapquest (79%), Manta (78%), Yahoo Local (76%), Whitepages.com (73%), Superpages.com (72%), Avvo (72%), and Chamber of Commerce (64%).
Which listings should you make a priority for creating a comprehensive listing and collecting reviews beyond the ones listed above? When you do a search for your law firm’s focus keywords, look at the networks and directories that come up on the first page of search results. These are the ones your prospective clients are clicking on when researching the right attorney for their needs.
For example, when you search for personal injury attorneys in Chicago, the first page of search results include listings from Findlaw.com, Superlawyers.com, Justia.com, and Expertise.com. Different regions have their own directories too, such as Myazlawyers.com.
Encourage clients to leave reviews and testimonials.
As mentioned earlier, 42% of consumers analyzed online reviews and client testimonials before contacting an attorney. 44% of consumers who found negative online reviews and 18% who found no reviews went on to choose another law firm.
This is why your law firm needs to focus on a strategy to collect reviews and testimonials from clients beyond those on your website. Most review networks and local directory listings do not want you to offer incentives for clients who leave a review on their network. They also want you to give everyone an equal opportunity to review your law firm, as opposed to only offering the option to your most satisfied clients.
With that said, there are ways to ensure that your law firm receives the most favorable reviews possible. You can start by creating a specific page for the collection of online reviews and testimonials on your website. When you are finishing up on a case, you can send them the link to it. Make sure the page gives them multiple networks and or directories to choose from, as well as the option to collect testimonials for your website.
You can send an email or text to your clients upon completion of their case. Includes the links to the top listings you want to build a strong reputation upon. You can also include the option to reply directly back to you if there were any problems or other unresolved issues with their case.
One thing to keep in mind: reviewers don’t just consider the results of their case when leaving their thoughts. They may include everything, from the cleanliness of your firm’s office to how polite the receptionist was when they walked in. Hence, everyone at your law firm plays a role in the customer service that leads to a positive (or negative) online review.
Take advantage of free ad credits.
When you purchase a new domain, set up a website hosting account, create a social media page for your firm, or create an online review or local directory listing, you may receive free ad credits. Take advantage of free ad credits for Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Yelp, and other services to drive prospective clients to your website.
When you use your ad credits, monitor the results of each ad campaign in conjunction with your Google Analytics. This should ultimately allow you to make the best decision on where you should spend your law firm’s advertising budget. If you set up goals in Google Analytics, you will be able to identify which traffic sources and ad campaigns generated traffic, leads, and phone calls for your law firm.
While small law firms often work off a smaller budget, all size law firms can take advantage of the same marketing channels as large firms to acquire clients. Start your small firm online marketing strategy with an optimized website, active social profiles, listings with positive reviews, and free ads. As your law firm’s revenue grows, learn how to identify the top channels with the most conversions, and focus each budget renewal on the best performing platforms.