Author: Sam Borrett | Date: 1 May 2020
Law Firm Marketing Strategy
Your Law Firm Marketing Strategy: What You Need to Know
A solid law firm marketing plan is the first step towards success, whether you’re starting out or looking to grow. Covering everything from analysis to implementation and review, your plan should help you to identify new customers, grow existing ones and potentially discover new markets.
What does a law firm marketing plan look like?
A steadfast legal marketing plan will comprise three main phases, which you can adjust based on the age of your firm, growth rate and changes in the market. These phases are:
- Analysis – understanding your brand values, USP, market conditions, market share, internal assets, customer base and competitors to power objectives.
- Strategy/tactics – implementing the actions needed to meet these objectives, for example, becoming established, approaching new markets or diversifying your services.
- Review – measuring the outcomes of these tactics and using the insights to adapt future plans.
Within these, we’ll discuss a number of different legal marketing strategies, for example online versus offline, or client growth versus client retention.
Phase one: analysis
To power a strong legal marketing campaign, first you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your firm. Often, the most fundamental elements are overlooked – we are too bogged down in sussing out our competitors to determine what our long-term goals are, and how we can utilise our assets. Your ‘situational analysis’ should comprise the following:
Internal assets: what can we offer?
Start by answering some very simple questions. Is yours a single service law firm, a multiple service law firm, or a multiple location law firm? The latter two will likely be larger with a greater breadth of skillsets and partners. This outlines your competitive positioning/value proposition. You can benchmark this against local and national competitors, and identify your unique selling points. For example, perhaps your firm is the only firm in the area with a specialist in immigration law.
Customer analysis: who are we selling to?
By identifying your customers’ wants, needs and pain points, you can position your law firm marketing strategy more appropriately. Create the ideal customer persona based on your most successful cases. You could categorise by industry, age or any other key metrics, like case value.
You should also focus on positioning. Where are your customers? Are they engaging on LinkedIn groups? Are they searching long-tail keywords on Google? There are multiple digital analysis tools (many of which are free, like Google Keyword Planner) to help you segment your customers. You can then micro-target these customers with paid ads, whitepapers, blogs and targeted landing pages.
You should be able to name your local competitors, though with more law firms cropping up all the time, these are likely to change. Start with a simple Google search – “solicitors near me” garners 40,000 UK searches a month – and look who appears first. Those with the best SEO strategies will appear higher up, so you should take a look at their websites to see how they’re managing content. (If you want to rank at the top of the local search results then check out our Local SEO service for law firms).
Likewise, you should look at the breadth of services, their clients and their other activity. Are they helping out in the local community? Do they generate PR off this? Have they won any awards? You can use all of these techniques in your own marketing strategy.
You’re probably familiar with the term SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The latter two are considered ‘external’ and may comprise changing market conditions. Some of these could be an opportunity – for example, a new industrial estate being built in your area, while others could be a threat, like new legislation. By identifying these, you can formulate ideas to capitalise on them or respond to challenges.
Phase two: implementation
With a clear view of your goals in mind, now is the time to put your legal marketing strategy into practice. Remember, all of your marketing goals should be SMART:
Let’s say you’ve identified three key goals. You’ve just hired a new immigration lawyer – the only one in the area – so you want to acquire new clients with this internal asset. You also have a history of success with your employment law clients, so you want to upsell and focus on client retention. Finally, in the future you’d like to expand with a new office further afield.
Like many law firms, you’ll likely categorise your goals into short-term and long-term, like quick wins through advertising, or slow expansion. We can meet these goals using online and offline tactics.
Online marketing strategies for law firms
First and foremost, your law firm website is your shop window to showcase your expertise. It needs to be optimised for search engines and should have relevant, up to date content that satisfies user queries. For example, a service page on family law isn’t enough. A blog that answers the query, “what to do if a loved one dies intestate” will satisfy your users’ informational queries, and link through to transactional pages e.g. services/contact us.
You also need to diversify your online presence with offsite techniques. Think Google reviews, LinkedIn testimonials, social media updates, guest blogs and directory listings such as the Legal 500. If you’re stuck for link building ideas, tools like Ahrefs and Majestic allow you to study competitors’ backlinks.
These techniques can be tailored with specific marketing campaigns and objectives in mind. For example, you may want to target new clients with informational blogs or ‘quick wins’ like PPC ads. Alternatively, you may want to convert ‘warm leads’ or re-engage previous customers with a testimonial.
Offline marketing strategies for law firms
Offline marketing is great for client retention as well as acquisition. For example, many solicitors work on a referral basis. Develop good relationships with your existing clients and refer them to any business contacts you might know. This will keep your firm in mind whenever they need legal services once again, while it can also help you procure new clients.
Don’t be afraid to diversify your offering. A simple catch-up phone call with a ‘case closed’ client may entice them to explore your other services. For example, you may have worked with a client on an employment tribunal – in future you could offer them HR training.
Alternatively, local press is a great way of building up geo-targeted brand awareness. Send press releases to your local paper about charity work or business acquisitions your firm has completed. You can even try print advertising in trade publications. Try a unique referral code so that you can measure the outcomes of offline campaigns.
Phase 3: review
No marketing campaign is worth all of this time and effort if it cannot be measured. Deming’s Plan, Do, Act, Check model follows the basic law firm marketing template – looking at what we can do, actioning the tasks and coming back to review them.
Make use of all the tools at your disposal, but don’t just use data for data’s sake. For example, if you’re monitoring page views in Google Analytics, what does this mean? Is it better to analyse the user journey flow and identify where users dropped off on your site?
Every marketing tactic, be it online or offline, should have a specific goal in mind that you can measure. Let’s say you wanted to generate five new inbound enquiries by the end of Q2. That’s a measurable goal, but how are you tracking this? Are your reception teams logging phone calls? Can you map the customer journey from awareness (clicking a paid ad) through to consideration (visiting the site) to conversion (hiring your services)?
Kaizen: continuous improvement for your law firm
Your review should be part of a continuous improvement plan. There’s no sense in having an unlimited law firm marketing budget. You need to be able to attribute an ROI to every technique you employ, whether that’s clear-cut like PPC campaigns or measuring leads off the back of a guest post.
Once you’ve established what works, revise your budgets and review your marketing plan for the next six months. Don’t forget to revisit that SWOT analysis – market conditions may have changed, or your internal assets may have grown.
Finally – make it personal!
As a solicitor, and an ambassador for your law firm, it’s crucial that you maintain a sterling reputation. The legal industry is built upon personal relationships, so make sure you intertwine relationship marketing with your online and offline strategies. This could be something as simple as catch-up calls or commenting on LinkedIn posts.
Encourage all your teams, marketing or otherwise, to promote the brand through their own channels. Start with a LinkedIn profile title highlighting their key talents and expertise. Attend networking events and encourage your contacts to meet new people. By coupling this with strategies like local PR and Google My Business, you’ll cement your online and offline presence.
Every business has its own long-term and short-term goals, and the internal assets to back them up. The best marketing strategies have contingency plans for changing environments and external threats, while capitalising on their internal assets.
The internal asset is absolutely crucial to the law firm. Clients depend on your expertise to solve their problems, which is why you should showcase this in every marketing campaign you run.
For the best results, busy solicitors should partner with a legal marketing agency. These third parties can take an unbiased approach to lead generation and marketing analysis, while helping to create content and optimise your online presence.
Keep it personal, but don’t be afraid to ask to help. For more guidance on content marketing strategies, contact Legmark today.