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Since small law firms typically have less resources than larger firms, small law firm marketing must be uniquely different. Although small law firms might be passionate about excellence and client service, they need some surefire ways to keep building a sustainable, growing business. Even without a heavy budget, small law firms can use the following simple and affordable steps to effectively gather consistent leads and more clients.
Keep a Laser Focus
Law firms that are successful in their advertising stay zeroed in on their niche and locality. Since no company can be an expert in everything, a focused mindset makes sense to any prospective client, and brings relief to any small law firm. Also, Google notices any efforts a business makes to stay hyper-focused on a narrow area of service and boosts its rankings. Some ways to market within your locality and niche include:
- Choose content keywords and phrases that include local landmarks
- Pick long-tail phrases that consumers would use
- Create content with your niche in mind
- Earn backlinks from local organizations
Enhance Your Small Law Firm Marketing Strategy
Any small (or large) law firm needs to understand its target audience. Magnify this even more by narrowing the focus down to your ideal client. This will allow you to spend your advertising dollars and efforts where you clients actually will notice you. Getting new leads can be challenging, but here are some ideas for both online and offline small law firm marketing strategies:
- Email newsletters
- Guest Posting
- Local Ads
- Strategic SEO
- Quality website content
- Relevant blog content
- Positive client reviews and testimonials
- Networking events
- Colleague referrals
- Voice search optimization
Build A Solid Website
A well-designed website includes thoughtful plans for the best user experience possible, along with strategies to attract an audience. To construct a powerful, engaging website that attracts an audience, consider the following:
- Use a reputable website builder, such as WordPress. It allows you flexibility and a variety of free plugins to customize your options.
- Employ a Mobile-first mindset. New tweaks in the Google algorithm will soon be putting mobile-responsiveness as an essential priority. Make sure your site does, too.
- Prioritize website speed. Test your website speed through Google Page Speed Insights and aim for a score of 80/100 or better.
- Keep tracking your metrics. Use call tracking and Google Analytics to track your traffic.
- Avoid bulky themes and awkward framework. These can bog down your website’s speed.
- Double check all website copy for: errors, broken links, and duplicate content.
- Add client reviews, images and testimonials for social proof.
An essential component of your marketing plan is solid keyword research. You want your website to rank for keywords in your niche, which will drive more traffic to your business. Tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs can assist with your keyword research.
Write Valuable Content
One of the most crucial elements of any law firm website is relevant content that adds value to visitors. Your content should answer the typical client questions you receive most often in your practice, along with helpful legal information written in simple, user-friendly terms. Crafting content that is relevant to your potential audience is critical to your long-term success, and it helps to have a game plan that includes:
- Following a consistent schedule
- Using a calendar with publishing date goals
- Writing evergreen content
- Repurposing content to be used on a variety of platforms
- Sharing content with audiences on the right social media platforms
Complete Your Google My Business Listing
Your Google My Business listing is free advertising, a great way to gain new leads and an ideal way to build trust. One way to build your reliable reputation as to ask for and display reviews on Google My Business. Positive client reviews are social proof that your services work and that you can be trusted. In addition to increasing your stash of client reviews, maximize your Google My Business listing by completing a full profile and remember to:
- Add at least five images
- Include consistent contact information
- Use appropriate business categories
- Frame your business accurately
- Include services in your listing
- Post law firm events and announcements
Optimize Your Online Presence
When listing a business online, many people do not realize how critical it is to include your contact information in the same consistent way every time. Your business description, name, address, phone number and location should appear the exact same way in every venue. Consider this as you list your small law firm in business and legal directories such as: Yelp, Avvo, Justia, and Findlaw.
Track Your Small Law Firm Marketing Goals
Utilize software tools to track your calls, contact forms, email submissions and live chats. Viewing the data can be eye-opening and help you to plan your future marketing campaigns. Some helpful tracking tools include: CallRail, Google Analytics and Gravity Forms (a WordPress plugin.)
Links that originate outside your site and lead a consumer to your website are helpful ways to build your site’s authority. Regular linking to your law firm website will assist your marketing efforts, because it tells the search engines that you have something valuable to share. Grasp opportunities to create links, think creatively and consider the following ideas:
- Write a guest post that links to your website in the bio section
- Use legal directory links
- Get listed in community directories and newspapers
- Host interviews and podcasts with links in the show notes
- Be involved with local events and non-profits
Manage Social Media
Social media attracts four billion or more individuals, so it is a crucial platform for your small law firm. A gold mine for sharing and referrals, social media offers a bunch of benefits. However, it is essential to choose your platforms wisely and settle in where your potential clients hang out. Avoid wasting your efforts by spreading yourself too thin, and try to repurpose your already written content when you post. Using social media shows your audience that you are accessible and relevant, and your content assures people of your authority in the field.
Email is not a hot new platform, but it is a tried and true way to bring your message to a laser-focused audience. Email reaches its target 90% of the time, is inexpensive and gives proven results. Use a regular law firm newsletter to stay in touch with your clients, since they are the best source of referrals. When contacting past and prospective clients through email, remember the following tips:
- Be concise. Most people browse emails, so skip the small talk and dive into your message.
- Stay focused. Keep your message direct, whether informing, commenting on recent events, sharing law firm news or requesting a review.
- Keep a mobile-first mindset. Make everything mobile-friendly, since a growing number of your audience will be viewing their email on a mobile phone.
- Bring value. Make your message count by offering value with your email, not clutter.
- Call the reader to action. Always provide a call to action, since this is the point of any marketing strategy. The call to action might be a referral, a visit to the office, writing a review or showing up for a sponsored event.
How Do You Promote a New Law Firm?
The American Marketing Association states that marketing efforts for all businesses involve developing strategies that help companies determine how they can meet the needs of their target audience, while also generating as much revenue as possible. This same principle also applies to small law marketing, which involves creating strategies that help small law firms meet client needs, and maximize their billable hours simultaneously. Learn more about small law firm marketing, and how you can promote a new law firm by considering these tips:
Focus on Personal Branding
The vast majority of visitors to law firm websites spend most of their time reviewing the profiles of the firm’s lawyers. When people look to hire a lawyer, they tend to make this decision based mainly on the individual lawyer’s experience, skills, and personal attributes, as opposed to the firm’s values, although they do also consider this to some extent. Due to this, it is a good idea to focus your small law firm marketing efforts on personal branding and to get each lawyer within the firm to promote themselves online so your website visitors can visualize what they are like as individuals.
With this in mind, create insightful and engaging bio pages for your firm’s lawyers, which include these details:
- Experience and credentials
- Keywords you want your firm’s website to rank for in search results
- A professional but personable photo
- Links to the lawyer’s social media channels and published work
- One or more CTAs encouraging visitors to complete an action after reading the bio, such as encouraging them to get in contact
Additionally, it is a good idea to ensure all the lawyers within your firm do the following on LinkedIn to develop their personal brand and boost your small law firm marketing efforts:
- Complete their profile in full, providing as much detail as possible.
- Include an interesting professional summary that outlines the lawyer’s experience, services, achievements, and professional background.
- Set a professional but personable image as their profile picture.
- Join relevant professional groups and actively contribute to group discussions.
Create Helpful Content
As part of your small law firm marketing, consider regularly publishing helpful content to encourage potential clients to visit your law firm’s website. Creating helpful content also makes it more likely for these individuals to remain on your site for longer, which can improve the site’s search engine ranking. Moreover, it is a great way of demonstrating that your firm knows its stuff, which is good for building awareness of your law firm’s brand.
Engage With Your Target Audience on Social Media
Alongside asking your firm’s lawyers to actively engage with others on their social media channels, make sure your law firm itself has active social media profiles as part of its small law firm marketing efforts. The main platforms to focus on include LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook.
Doing this helps you to directly connect with your target audience and other legal professionals. Furthermore, it allows you to promote your website’s content and encourage those who see your social media posts to visit your site and learn more about your firm and services. To carry out effective small law firm marketing, consider these social media tips:
- Complete the profiles in full.
- Use professional images that reflect the firm’s branding for your cover images and profile photos.
- Ask your firm’s employees to engage with your social media content and follow your firm’s accounts.
- Post regular, interesting updates that encourage your firm’s followers to visit your law firm’s website.
- Follow industry leaders, your competitors, and your clients.
- Participate in online discussions and cultivate professional relationships with your followers and prospective clients.
- Contact your existing and former clients, and encourage them to follow your social media channels.
Use Emails To Promote Your Firm
Optimizing your emails to promote your firm is another key element of a good small law firm marketing plan. To do this, add a signature with your firm’s contact details and company logo, include links to your firm’s social media channels, and have a call to action at the end of each email to encourage readers to visit your website. After making these changes to your own emails, encourage your firm’s employees to do the same to help promote your firm.
Consider Paid Advertising
Alongside focusing on SEO to improve your firm’s organic search rankings, you can also consider implementing paid advertising campaigns. Often, this includes pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, whereby your firm pays whenever someone clicks on the ad, which typically features at the start of search results for certain keywords that you bid on beforehand. Alternatively, this may involve social media ads, such as on Facebook or Instagram, which can help improve your firm’s visibility on these channels.
That said, it is usually better for firms to focus their small law firm marketing efforts on SEO, as this normally provides them with enhanced long-term benefits. For instance, many individuals who carry out online searches tend to opt for the first organic search ranking rather than sponsored results.
Many prospective clients prefer content that they can listen to and watch instead of reading, so creating videos for your website is a great way of catering to these potential customers. Moreover, making videos allows you to share this content and market your law firm on social media platforms where videos are the predominant form of content, including YouTube and TikTok.
As part of your small law firm marketing efforts, consider creating videos that answer common legal questions associated with your firm’s practice areas, or use them to provide viewers with insight into your firm’s values and services. For instance, you could discuss how you have previously assisted clients or talk about the firm’s work culture, both of which can make it more likely for prospective clients to form a personal connection with your firm.
Develop Local Community Relationships
In addition to your online small law firm marketing efforts, make sure you develop relationships within the local community. You may do this by participating in workshops, charity events, public speaking, networking or industry events, or other local community events.
If you decide to host an event, take lots of photos and video footage so you can use this as part of your social media content. Also, if someone else creates a social media post of the event, ask them to tag your firm in the post, as this encourages others to follow your social media channel. During these events, take the time to share your brand messaging and mention how you can assist prospective clients, whether you are engaging with potential customers or other industry leaders, as this can lead to more referrals.
Monitor Online Feedback and Respond
When implementing a small law firm marketing plan, remember to allocate time for monitoring online feedback and responding to these comments. Typically, if your firm has a Google Business Profile listing and listings on all the major business and legal directory websites, you can expect to receive an email notification when someone leaves your firm feedback. Additionally, you may want to periodically perform manual online searches to identify feedback left on websites where you do not have an active profile, or use an online service that sends you a notification whenever someone mentions your firm online.
After identifying the feedback, try to respond, even if it means making a new account on the website. Doing this can improve your law firm’s SEO, particularly when responding to Google reviews, and it also lets other people who find the review know that you care about your clients. Moreover, if the feedback is negative, responding can allow you to defend your firm and may result in the customer changing or removing the review if you effectively resolve the situation.
Remember Traditional Marketing Methods
In addition to digital marketing forms, it is also important to consider more traditional marketing methods as part of your small law firm marketing plan. While the effectiveness of these forms may depend on your law firm’s practice areas and location, some of these methods, such as print advertising and billboards, might be suitable for your firm.
However, if you do decide to adopt these marketing methods, remember to use them to complement your digital marketing efforts, instead of replacing them. Even if prospective clients learn about your firm by seeing a billboard, it is likely they may carry out online research on your firm before deciding whether to hire you.
How Do You Market a Small Law Firm?
According to the American Bar Association, it is imperative to communicate your firm’s values and brand messaging throughout your small law firm marketing efforts. This helps differentiate your firm from your competitors and outline the key ways you can meet client requirements. Below, you can learn about small law firm marketing and some practices to adopt when marketing a small law firm:
Think of Your Clients
As with other businesses, it is necessary for law firms to consider existing and potential client needs and wants throughout the customer experience, such as when they first encounter the firm or at the point when they are about to make a hiring decision. Clients now expect this type of tailored service as standard, so not adopting this approach to your small law firm marketing efforts may lead to your prospective clients opting for your competitors instead.
To adopt this approach, focus on the things that may potentially annoy your prospective clients and try to address these issues in your small law firm marketing efforts, such as by designing a fast, user-friendly website. Doing this helps you to build trust with your target audience by demonstrating that you care about your potential customers. Furthermore, when you gain any leads, if you respond to these promptly, you can improve your firm’s ability to convert these potential clients into actual customers.
Rather than trying to adopt multiple, unrealistic strategies as part of your small law firm marketing plan, focus on a handful of strategies instead. For instance, if you want to improve your social media presence, your firm may gain more positive results from focusing on just a few social media networks. Following this, you can then gradually increase this number over time, as opposed to trying to build this presence on all the social media networks at once.
Using this example, when thinking about the social media marketing strategies to implement, consider your law firm’s niche and business goals. Then, choose the most crucial networks to prioritize and set strategies you can realistically commit to by assessing your firm’s available resources.
Seek External Support
While you may have expert legal knowledge and skills, alongside some sound business attributes, you may not know a lot about marketing or have the free time to properly focus on your small law firm marketing efforts. If this is the case, you may want to ask one of your employees with previous marketing experience to assist so you can focus on other areas of the business instead. Alternatively, you may want to seek external support, such as from Law Quill, to see how you can improve your small law firm marketing.
How Profitable Are Small Law Firms?
As per the Chamber of Commerce, 40% of small businesses in the U.S. generate a profit. In comparison, many small law firms make profits between 7%-10%, and several of these firms make far more than this if they do not deduct partner earnings.
Because of this, the profitability of small law firms largely depends on their structure and other characteristics. Moreover, small law firms can improve their chances of making a profit by creating and implementing a carefully considered, sound small law firm marketing plan.
How Much Do Small Law Firms Spend on Marketing?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, marketing budgets for businesses can vary between 1%-12% of revenue, with the exact average depending on the industry and whether the business primarily sells to consumers or other businesses.
Generally, small businesses spend between 7%-8% of their revenue on advertising and marketing. In contrast, management consultants in the legal industry typically recommend that law firms allocate between 2%-5% to small law firm marketing. However, the exact amount to spend on this type of marketing depends on the firm’s individual circumstances, such as its practice areas, location, reputation, and several other factors.
How Law Quill Can Help Your Small Law Firm Marketing Strategy
Small law firm marketing strategy is uniquely different from the advertising strategies of big box law firms. However, even if your small law firm is restricted by a tiny marketing budget, there are powerful ways you can get your business name and brand out to your audience. When you start thinking creatively about the simple steps listed above, your small law firm can take big steps toward more clients and growing success.
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