Securing new clients is important for any law firm—especially so for legal marketers. So, what is legal marketing? If billboards or late-night infomercials come to mind, think less traditional advertising and more carefully-crafted communications.
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne.
Marketing is about building relationships by providing value to prospective customers. The only difference with legal marketing is the customers are your law firm’s clients. Unless you went to business school before pursuing law, chances are you wouldn’t consider yourself a marketing professional. However, you’re likely already carrying out marketing activities at your law firm. That’s because anything that builds awareness about your business is marketing.
Legal marketers are an important hire for your firm. However, if you’re a small firm not quite ready for that step yet, there’s lots you can do on your own. Read on to learn more about legal marketing.
The basics of legal marketing
If you’re a law firm operating today, you need a website. An engaging law-firm website will help you stand out in a competitive market. Clients are often stressed, scared, or both when searching for legal support. Notably, the 2019 Legal Trends report found that 57% of those looking for legal help searched for a lawyer independently. Approaches such as using an online search engine (17%) and visiting a lawyer’s website (17%) were the most common techniques. Meaning, if your law firm doesn’t have a user-friendly website, you’re making it hard for potential clients to find you.
If there’s only one takeaway from this blog, it should be to invest in a website that’s easy for users to navigate. Your law firm’s website should have clear paths for users to contact your firm via email, phone, or even chatbot.
But prioritizing a seamless website experience is only part of what makes a good legal marketer. Getting your website to rank when users are searching via Google for legal services is another challenge. The good news is you can leverage search engine optimization (SEO) to get your website in front of prospective clients. Learn and practice SEO 101 by reading SEO for Lawyers: The Basics.
Whether you’re leveling up your website or starting from scratch, our law firm website round-up will give you the inspiration you need.
What is a legal marketer?
Generally, legal marketers manage marketing operations and activities for law firms, legal clients, and/or solo attorneys. They might have specialized education in law or experience working in the legal sector. These individuals succinctly understand the needs of clients seeking legal advice.
How to become a legal marketer
Legal marketers traditionally have educational or work experience in marketing. Many legal professionals take alternative career paths and might pursue legal marketing after being introduced to it as a lawyer. And of course, many solo attorneys have multidisciplinary skills. Legal entrepreneurs—or solo practitioners— often take on the role of marketers, accountants, customer service reps, and more.
Developing marketing skills as a lawyer—whether you run your own firm or not—will undoubtedly help you provide client-centred legal services. Taking free marketing courses online through HubSpot, Udemy, or watching marketing webinars for lawyers will also help you become a legal marketer. To get started, here are six tips for becoming a successful legal marketer.
How do I market myself as a lawyer?
The possibilities are endless. However, necessities for marketing yourself as a lawyer include having an online presence. This could be via a website, social media accounts, Google My Business page, and enticing digital content—such as blogs—that captures your prospective clients’ attention.
6 Tips for Legal Marketers
1. Don’t underestimate the power of referral marketing
When it comes to legal marketing, referrals are crucial. Many law firms rely on referrals from other legal professionals and past clients for new business. Legal professionals in other practice areas can be one of the best sources for referrals. As mentioned previously, when potential clients are looking for legal support, they’re often under time and pressure. They’re likely not concerned with finding a lawyer in the specific area they need. Alternatively, prospective clients might not even be aware of the various legal practice areas. They just know they need a lawyer.
Furthermore, when you get requests for legal advice outside of your area of practice, you should have a law firm in mind to send these clients to.
Now that you understand the importance of referrals, you should prioritize making genuine connections with lawyers outside of your practice area. If making new connections intimidates you, our blog post on networking tips for attorneys can help.
You can put lawyer referral marketing into practice by reading our article Lawyer Referral Marketing: A How-to Guide.
2. Keep your branding consistent
Branding is more than your logo. It includes your website, social media, Google My Business Page, letterheads, business cards, emails, and more. Creating consistency across all of your marketing materials is integral to creating a brand.
As explained in our law firm branding blog—a brand has a two-prong definition:
- The intangible perceptions in a prospective client’s mind about your legal service.
- A promise that is made to clients that then sets their expectations of you and your law firm.
There are material parts to your law firm’s brand, like your logo, font, photos, etc. That’s the easier, or at least more obvious part to manage. The intangible parts of assembling your brand are more challenging—these include your message and your presence.
Learn more about brand building via our Lawyer’s Guide to Online Marketing.
3. Research your audience and know who they are
Do you know who your audience is? Knowing and understanding your audience are fundamental to legal marketers. Creating buyer (or, in this case, client) personas can help you fully understand your prospective clients’ behaviour and therefore understand how they’ll find you. You can use Hubspot’s free tool to bring your prospective clients to life.
Once you understand who your audience is, you can pursue marketing activities with confidence. For example, if you’re a divorce attorney, Facebook might be the best social media tool to leverage.
While it’s hard to do, focus on what’s relevant to your audience instead of simply following the latest marketing trends. If your audience isn’t on TikTok, don’t make a TikTok account for your firm.
Dialing into your audience’s needs, desires, and fears will help you develop clear value propositions which address their pain points. If your audience includes busy working moms, consider posting photos of kid-friendly waiting rooms and testimonials from similar past clients on your social media . Providing this information will help build trust in your target audience and potential clients. They need to know you see them and want to help them.
4. Stay on top of marketing laws and regulations
Legal marketers should be aware that each jurisdiction has different laws and regulations to protect client privacy. For example, California’s CCPA act is strict. This privacy act requires you to let prospects and clients opt out of marketing communications clearly and easily.
5. Content marketing is essential
Content marketing is one of the best ways for legal marketers to create value for prospective clients. You can start by considering the questions your audience has when searching for legal advice. You can help them by creating blogs that answer your target audience’s common questions thoughtfully and clearly.
By putting yourself in your prospective clients’ shoes, you’ll likely think of the questions they might type into Google when searching for an injury lawyer. Help them out by giving them the answers and your contact information. This will position those at your firm as experts in this practice area. If you’re struggling to come up with blog topics, take a look at these evergreen content marketing ideas for law firms.
For more blog tips read our Complete Guide to Law Firm Website Content.
6. Don’t stop learning
Trends come and go but legal marketing as a practice is constantly evolving. Trust your audience insights but don’t be afraid to try new creative approaches. So long as you track the results you’ll be able to learn and pivot if needed.
While the world of marketing is exciting, it’s important to practice patience, test and track different strategies, record data, and draw logical conclusions.
The best legal marketers are constantly learning, taking workshops, courses, networking, and are open to new ideas.
Legal marketing is part art, science, and business. The good news is, there’s no one way to achieve success—there’s only the best way for you and your firm. Remember, everything comes back to providing the best possible experience for your clients. If you’re committed to adopting a client-centered mindset, you’re already a legal marketer in the making.