Is your law firm “getting found” online? If your online presence isn’t bringing clients to your practice, it’s time to reevaluate your legal marketing strategy. Creating a comprehensive law firm marketing plan is essential in today’s tech-based world if you want to attract potential clients, build brand recognition, and establish thought leadership.
Deciding how to market your law firm can feel a bit like staring into the Grand Canyon. The scope can be overwhelming, and it’s difficult to know where to rest your eyes first. This 10-step law firm marketing plan checklist brings order to the process, so you can pick a trail and set off on a successful digital marketing expedition.
How to Make a Law Firm Marketing Plan 101
If you’re wondering how to market your law firm on the Internet, you’re not alone. Get started with this handy law firm marketing checklist:
Before you begin these actionable steps, spend some time evaluating and discussing your law firm’s marketing goals, as well as available resources and budget. These factors are critical in determining how to market your law firm.
It is also important to begin with some baseline data and understand the firm’s current digital presence. Is your law firm website content appealing to search engines and useful to potential clients? Are you using search engine optimization (SEO) effectively? Does your legal marketing strategy reflect the culture and values of your firm? Find out by conducting a legal marketing evaluation before you begin.
Your current status and the answers to goal-oriented questions like these should guide your decisions as you work through the steps of creating a law firm marketing plan.
10 Steps to Create Your Law Firm Marketing Plan
Once you have established your law firm’s goals, available resources, and budget, follow these 10 steps to build a basic legal marketing plan and market your law firm on the Internet.
1. CLAIM OR UPDATE YOUR GOOGLE BUSINESS PROFILE LISTING
Google Business Profile provides companies with a free online business profile that appears in related search results. While missing out on free advertising should be enough to motivate a law firm to claim its Google Business Profile listing, it’s important to note that an unclaimed, incomplete listing for your firm can tarnish your online image.
The first step is to claim the listing and verify that you are the rightful owner of the business. Once this is established, you will be able to—and should—update the listing, check its accuracy (location, hours of operation), and learn how you can use it to engage people who are searching for you online. At a minimum, add pictures and your practice areas and begin to build a solid base of client reviews.
2. APPLY TECHNICAL SEO STRATEGIES
Right out of the box, ensure your law firm’s website is technically sound and secure with features like these:
- Mobile friendliness
- Secure sockets layer (SSL) technology
- Quick landing speed
Search engines, like Google, take hundreds of factors into account when determining what web pages to offer in response to a user’s query. Some of these ranking factors—like security and mobile-friendliness—are related to your website’s design and structure. Others are measures that seek to evaluate the quality, value, and nature of your content, like links, bounce rate, and keywords. Working with experienced law firm search engine optimization specialists who keep current on industry standards gives you the best opportunity to leverage SEO in your favor.
3. DEVELOP YOUR LAW FIRM WEBSITE CONTENT AND SET UP FREE GOOGLE TOOLS
Your law firm website represents you in the digital world. It should meet or exceed the standards you have set for the firm’s appearance in the physical world. It should be clean, appealing, and easy to navigate. And it should set the tone for the culture and personality of your firm.
Once the basic framework is in place, use additional pages and blog posts to elaborate on specific practice areas —when done correctly– provide useful information to potential clients and legal peers. In our experience, these additional pages and posts can drive traffic that eclipses nearly all other pages on law firm websites.
Online content must follow applicable rules of legal ethics. Spend some time developing appropriate disclaimers for your website. Anyone involved in creating and posting law firm website content should be educated in the ethics of lawyer advertising.
It’s also critical that you set up your free Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts right away. Doing this helps you troubleshoot problems with your website and allows you to track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
4. INCLUDE AND CULTIVATE LOCAL, INDUSTRY, AND LEGAL LINKS
Links to authoritative and recognized local sources—newspapers, professional organizations, and so on—tell search engines about your geographic location and are also helpful to readers. These can be included in blog posts and on your site’s informational pages, as appropriate.
Meanwhile, links to your website from reliable local sources boost your website’s reputation and improve your chances of ranking in local searches for your area. These can be cultivated through general relationship-building, but you can also consider local contests, sponsorships, and other interactions to establish these connections.
5. PUBLISH A LEGAL NEWSLETTER, IN PRINT OR ONLINE
Thoughtful newsletter articles, whether distributed by mail, email, or posted online, create an opportunity to engage with current and potential clients, and can be a valuable part of your law firm marketing plan. Give careful consideration to the questions and concerns of your target audience, then compose material that demonstrates your experience and leadership in the field. Be sure to include an appropriate disclaimer that covers legal advice, confidentiality, and attorney-client privilege.
6. PUBLISH LAW FIRM PRESS RELEASES AND ATTORNEY BIOGRAPHIES
Accolades or recognition of your law firm or its attorneys, announcing an additional practice area, or hiring new talent at your firm are all opportunities that merit notification of the media and those interested in your field of work. Press releases can be distributed in traditional ways, but they should also be included in your law firm website content as part of your law firm marketing plan for building brand awareness and inbound links.
Meanwhile, attorney and staff biographies provide visitors to your website a more personal, humanistic view of your firm. They are also often among the most-visited pages on legal websites, and offer an excellent opportunity for attorney SEO marketing.
7. EXPAND YOUR LAW FIRM’S REACH WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is a tool to connect your law firm website to the places people frequently visit online. LinkedIn is beneficial for business-to-business interactions and building thought leadership and referral business, while Facebook is a platform ideal for engaging with clients. Including like and share buttons on web pages and blog posts, and sharing articles through social platforms, can extend your reach and draw potential clients to your website.
If you don’t currently have the resources to manage social media profiles, it is still wise to claim and secure the names you plan to use if and when you have the capacity to engage via social media.
8. CONSIDER PAID CAMPAIGNS, MAYBE
LinkedIn and Facebook, among other social media sites, offer opportunities to boost content and get more views by a targeted audience at a very reasonable cost. And if your law firm is having trouble ranking organically for an important search term, Google Ads can play a short-term strategic role in placing you on a specific search engine results page (SERP) while you build your organic SEO material.
Paid marketing via Google Ads and similar products can also help establish brand recognition in a new market or get the word out for special events. But remember, paid ads are called “disposable” for a reason; once you stop paying, you no longer show up on page one. That’s why they should play a limited role in your law firm marketing plan.
9. EVALUATE ANALYTICS AND RESULTS, THEN ADJUST
Hopefully, you familiarized yourself with some of the analytics available to evaluate the effectiveness of your website and overall legal marketing strategy when you began considering how to market your law firm. Now is the time to review and compare current data to the baseline data you gathered earlier in the process. This comparison should provide insight into what is working, what needs improvement, and what can safely be discontinued.
10. CONNECT WITH POTENTIAL CLIENTS IRL
Our lives are so integrated with technology that there is an acronym for in-person interactions. Digital networking is essential in today’s business climate, but there is still plenty of value in making connections in real life (IRL).
Associating with others in the legal field can be great for referrals, but you also need to think about the places your potential clients are—and go there. This might involve local volunteering, speaking for a trade association, or various other forms of community and professional involvement.
How to Market Your Law Firm: Pulling It All Together
Familiarizing yourself with the steps and techniques above provides a framework for your legal marketing strategy. It’s important that you tailor these approaches to your law firm’s current position, goals, and needs to maximize the benefits and improve results.
For those who want to learn more about law firm website content, attorney SEO marketing, and other strategies, TOPDOG Legal Marketing offers consulting and coaching on an hourly basis.
Don’t have time to invest in becoming a marketing whiz? Let our attorney-driven team of publishing and SEO specialists create and execute your law firm marketing plan. Whether you need a new law firm marketing plan or a strategy for a well-established firm, we can help. We create a custom strategy and provide services tailored to each client’s goals. Contact us today by completing our online form.