The online marketing space for law firms is one of the most competitive there is – and the reason is not hard to see.
There are lots of lawyers – around 1.3 million in the United States, 150,000 in the United Kingdom and plenty more in all the other major jurisdictions.
So it is not difficult to understand that with all that competition legal advertising to claim those sought-after page one rankings is highly competitive.
That’s one point and the second is that they have money.
Mostly, anyway. And to garner new clients they will spend that money on the best online marketing they can.
Successful digital marketing plans can unquestionably create the best results for obtaining new clients and even building a successful law firm.
Law firm online marketing requires a combination of a well thought-out marketing plan, a well established idea of your target market and a well executed online marketing program.
All of which means you, and let’s say you are a small law firm seeking to build your practice areas and gain potential clients through the magic of the search engines we all rely on today, are left with a problem.
Instead of looking at all of the various elements to online marketing in details, much of which have been written about on LawFuel here and here, let’s look at how to build your online law firm marketing plan.
Remember that a recent survey showed that almost 60 per cent of those seeking a lawyer did so on their own and most of them search online.
And also what are some of the best law firm marketing companies you might consider using.
First, the key areas of law firm marketing that you need to think about.
Key Online Marketing Considerations
You ideally want first page listing, to be on the first page of Google.
You should anyway, because 75 per cent of searchers will be looking at the first page of search engine results and the vast majority of that percentage will stay with the top 3 listings.
If you’re on page 2 or beyond you are, effectively, in the search engine Siberia.
So lets consider what you need to know.
- Organize who your target audience is.
- Undertake a competition analysis to know exactly who your competition is
- Make sure your firm’s vision and brand values are clear
- Know exactly what your marketing goals will be
- Know how to measure your marketing goals to determine the success or otherwise of your campaign
- Know your budget
- Develop a timeframe or calendar to work out how your marketing plan will work
The Cheaper Way To Gain Online Traction
There are a number of digital marketing strategies that can be used to generate targeted traffic to a law firm’s website which you can do relatively easily and inexpensively.
Use Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (GBP) was previously Google My Business and it is a key and simple way to generate high organic search results.
Given that Google have around 92 per cent of search engine traffic, you can’t avoid using this key service to build your online visibility and to use as a cornerstone of your law firm internet marketing.
You can check our reference to GBP here. This is local SEO that will work with great precision and power if used properly.
Use Google Reviews
Like GBP, getting top online reviews is another simple, effective and powerful way to generate new business and to build your online business and reputation
Use the link here to see about getting top positive reviews for your business, but also how to deal with bad reviews, which is equally as important.
Create Great Content
Using great content in your site is one of the best ways to create quality, qualified leads for your website and create genuine ‘legal help’ that will generate authority and business for your firm.
Writing high-quality content, well written, useful and genuinely helpful to your target audience is the most powerful way to build organic traffic and
Remember that a major component of creating top content is great keyword research. The proper use of keywords is both art and science. You can read more about keyword research for content marketing here.
There appear to be tools that appear every day promising all sorts of benefits, but you just need to look at a couple of things here:
- write about the areas of law that your are knowledgeable about and want to focus upon
- write with a smart use of keywords, which should also be included in your reviews too
Focus on one social media strategy initially.
You don’t need to master every form of social media marketing for your marketing efforts. By mastering one area – Facebook ads, content marketing, LinkedIn or Instagram – you can build up you business effectively.
Make sure your law firm website is working properly
You need to make sure your website is optimized for first page listings and that it is mobile-friendly.
Being mobile friendly means your site can be used across multiple devices and will increase engagement as users increasingly use mobile devices to access the Internet.
Make sure your website is fast
Too many law firm sites are old fashioned and slow. Your site should be fast (an absolutely vital ingredient today)
You need a fast-loading site given that users are increasingly used to and expect a fast website. A slow sight will see you achieve a poor user experience ranking (along with other factors, but speed is a key one) and your site will be bounced around and left alone.
Don’t let that happen.
The Online Marketing Business Plan
Developing an online marketing plan for your law firm requires some brainstorming, but also some reference to key factors that you need to keep front-of-mind.
A useful resource is from Inbound Marketing, which provides an outline of the considerations you need to use in building digital marketing plans.
Whilst gaining new clients is a fairly generic approach to building an online business plan, you should also look more specifically at the key elements of your business plan.
What do you need to consider?
One useful online business plan references the need to define your SMART goals, being specific, measurable, achievable and time-bound.
Part of that exercise involves identifying your audience (potential clients) and doing the necessary market analysis to determine the market gap for your legal services.
These sort of analyses involve considering precisely what demographic and market you are aiming for.
For many law firms this may be to simply build upon existing expertise and authority and you may know what your target audience is, but for others the necessary market analysis will help build an effective marketing plan that works.
Consider also what is happening around your locality, region, the world. What trends are occurring, what are the current issues that are being dealt with and how can your plan fit into them?
This will also involve a competition analysis when preparing a marketing plan so you know who you’re up against, which is a process that will be helped by a SWOT analysis.
Overall, your marketing plan should consider –
>> Building an area of expertise that is new or already established so that your law firm marketing is focused on that
>> Developing a brand that is authoritative, but also accessible and recognized
>> Aligning the messaging and branding of your firm so that they are consistent
>> Co-ordinating digital marketing efforts to reflect your firm brand and your firm’s ‘public face’
And when you launch your marketing, detail your plan so that the main steps are outlined with all the aspects required to be completed.
That will involve the digital marketing issues, the online advertising (Google ads, Facebook ads etc), the use of public relations, press releases, video content and all aspects of y9our law firm’s website and social media profiles.
Your overarching marketing strategy should be sufficient to guide your digital advertising and marketing with a clear focus and with clearly defined steps leading to the achievement of your measurable goals.
Some Top Rated Law Firm Marketing Companies
There are a large number of law firm marketing companies that will willingly handle your legal marketing.
But before diving into that sort of decision, you should ask some key questions for yourself and, at the next step, of them.
And don’t just go for the top-ranked online or the results from your ‘best digital marketing agency’ search. You need an agency that fits your firm and your requirements.
And, for starters, that means an agency that is familiar with the legal industry and the provision of legal services.
Here are six key questions to ask your digital marketing or market research agency:
What is your previous experience?
You need to know what the agency has previously has done for law firms or legal agencies. When they explain, you need to check testimonials, case studies and any other information they have.
What is regarded as successful in your plan?
Knowing what the success plan is will be important as you both need to be working from the same song sheet in this regard. Make sure your idea of what is successful is the same. You need to know the metrics that will be used to measure success and what digital marketing strategy they will be principally using.
Who will be work with?
You need to know who will work on your account and whether any of it will be outsourced. Some digital marketing agencies and PR companies have substantial operations and you can be landed with marketing team members you’re not comfortable with in terms of their expertise, communication or other factors.
Make sure you know who will be working with you, what their track record and capability is and that the measurable goals you establish will be supported by the agency.
How long will the contract be?
You need to know how long you will be contracted for to determine the financial obligations you have and what ‘out’ clauses you have in the event that the agency fails to provide you with the results you’re looking to achieve. You need to know what ongoing costs might be involved.
The digital marketing plan can be open-ended, but you do not want to be contracted for an indefinite period in an open-ended manner.
What is the requirement and responsibilities for each of the parties both now and later?
The best way to develop a good relationship with your marketing agency is to know exactly what you are both expected to do and what your respective responsibilities are.
What social media platforms will principally be used?
We know there are plenty of social networks to work with and how they all have different advantages and disadvantages.
You need to be comfortable that marketing your law firm and law firm website will involve a social media platform that you feel comfortable using and that your prospective marketing agency has experience with.
Some law firm digital design Agency
There are a growing number of digital design agencies in the United States, UK, Asia, Australia and elsewhere that will happily provide digital marketing services for your law firm.
You can see an outline of agencies at links like those here and here.
It is clearly important that as a law firm you provide appropriate due diligence on your agency and know what they are going to do (as outlined above in the queries you can make of them).
The general breakdown of work undertaken by a digital marketing agency will include the following –
- Content Marketing
- Local SEO
- Web design
- Video production
- Social media marketing
There are any number of agencies who will offer you the world – and some will do so – but check which you prefer based on the criteria we have outlined. Ask questions, ask about costs, check the metrics you will be using and, most of all, ensure you are aligned with the goals you will be using to confirm your definition of success.
Once you’re happy, then take the leap. But do your homework first.
We will be listing some of the leading law firm digital marketing agencies on our LawFuel Directory so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, you can see some of the leading agencies at listings like these and these.