What's in this article?
Welcome to my quick start sales and marketing plan for law firms!
This framework is the actual template that I start with when designing a digital strategy for a new law firm client.
I use this proven framework as a mental model to ensure that I have all of the proven best practices, from Kaleidico’s 15 years of experience, baked into every new law firm client’s legal marketing strategy.
Feel free to leverage this in building your unique digital strategy.
If you’d rather reach out to us instead, we’d certainly be willing to answer any questions to lead you through the process.
Any new strategy has to begin with your ideal outcomes.
What are you expecting to accomplish in your legal marketing? What do you need to complete to consider the system a success?
For most law firms, the highest level answer to these questions is often, “We need to generate new cases from the website.”
As you drill deeper, you will probably uncover additional motivations, such as:
- The desire for a more sophisticated or refined online brand
- The desire for a more modern and updated look to the website
- A shift in practice areas and case focus
- The presentation of partners and attorneys needs to be better online
- A better mobile experience. (You would be shocked at the number of attorneys that hate their seemingly good website because they only see it through their iPad or mobile phone, and that experience is atrocious.)
In this section of our digital plan, we’re trying to determine and document the following:
- Why is digital marketing important to the law firm?
- What are their key performance expectations?
- What do they expect to get from this sales and marketing strategy when it works?
This section should contain clear performance expectations.
Key Drivers of New Business
From this point, it’s crucial to determine what’s generating cases today.
Ironically, we often find that many of their cases are attributable to the website, as frustrating and confusing as that user experience often is on many neglected law firm websites.
The following are the typical leading drivers of new case inquiries in order of frequency and potential case volume:
- Informational searches around a particular case type — Generally, these are plaintiffs and defendants who are trying to make an early assessment of their situation and if they “have a case.”
- Professional referrals — Recommendations made in the course of providing other services to individuals that might become involved in a legal matter
- Attorney visibility — Awards, publications, talks, and case results
- Case results — Media visibility and PR
Our digital strategy will seek to leverage each of these sources of cases and make the user experience frictionless to ensure that these case inquiries make it to the law firm’s attorneys.
Digital Asset Inventory
Now that we know what the law firm wants from digital legal marketing, and we’ve confirmed what drives their business today, we only have one more area of research to conduct.
What raw materials do we have to start? What digital assets can we leverage to build our refined sales and marketing strategy?
Some of the digital assets that we often look for within a law firm include:
- Website — Law firm websites usually have some relevant web traffic (web visitors). Often these are searches for the name of the law firm and a few select attorneys.
- Legal Directory Listings — Some of the firm attorneys have been listed in some of the more popular online legal directories, like SuperLawyers.
- Email — Attorney contact databases, often linked to their email client (i.e., Microsoft Outlook), can be rich with digital marketing opportunities.
- Social Media — Honestly, this is a rare opportunity, but occasionally you will find an attorney in the firm that effectively uses social media.
In auditing each of these areas, we are looking to discover platforms to gather and nurture audiences around – audiences that can turn into sustainable sources of new case leads.
Audience Development & Traffic Generation
Now that we have a good insight into what the law firm wants to do, what it has done in the past, and the platforms and data available to support a new strategy, it’s time to build that legal marketing strategy.
Our process begins with audience development. We need to “stock the pond” with people that need our services or will provide referrals.
Our starting point should be an agreed-upon positioning statement. A clear message that defines where we fit into the market – who we serve and why.
The most basic formula for a position statement includes:
- What do we do? This is our target market need.
- How do we do it? This is our differentiation strategy
- Who do we do it for? This is our target market.
- Why do we do it? This is our reason to believe we’re different from our competitors.
This can come together in a short positioning statement template:
For [target market] who [target market need], [brand name] provides [what we do and how we do it – differentiated value statement] because [why we do it – a reason to believe we’re different].
With a clear understanding of who we need to be talking to and how we need to be sharing our unique value proposition, it’s time to design our lead generation plan.
Using our positioning statement, our lead generation plan is designed using this framework:
- Where does our audience get their information?
- What kind of information will they need to make a decision?
- How and through what means will they engage an attorney?
For a law firm, the answers to these questions guide our marketing channel and tactics.
Legal Marketing Channels & Tactics
Where do they get their information?
- Google Search — Google Ads, SEO campaign(s) using practice area and case type landing pages as well as keyword targeted blog content
- Social Media — Facebook Ads
- Referral — Google Ads, SEO campaign(s) using attorney profile landing pages on the website
What kind of information do they need to make a decision? And, how do we make that information easy to get?
- Practice Area and Case Type landing pages
- Do I have a case?
- What do I have to document or prove?
- How does the legal process work?
- Contact Page and Calls to Actions (CTAs)
- How much does it cost to get an attorney?
- How much does it cost to talk to an attorney?
- Attorney Profile landing pages
- Who will represent me?
- Do I feel like my attorney will help me win?
How and through what means will they engage with an attorney?
- Your website — This where most clients will first engage you, even if they’re referred to you. This channel gives them the most control over a situation that is often intimidating.
- Phone call — This is where your urgent requests for representation are likely to come in.
- Email — This is where personal referrals are likely to originate. Email and text messaging often become the preferred medium for follow-up, but rarely are they the source of the initial contact.
The Lead Generation Plan
In my experience, all of this understanding of client psychology and behavior boils down to the following high-level lead generation plan.
- We get our best new case inquiries from people doing Google searches, which we capture and funnel into our website using Google Ads and SEO.
- Ideally, we are funneling these people to relevant Practice Area or Case Type landing pages or occasionally Attorney Profile landing pages if the person searched an Attorney’s name.
- Once these folks land on our landing pages, we need to give them the confidence that the next best thing they should do is contact an attorney.
This leads us to conversion optimization. How do we get new case leads?
Converting a web visitor to a lead is a blend of art and science.
The art is getting our visitors emotionally confident to ask their question and seek the counsel of an attorney. Most new case leads have never talked to an attorney, and they are often intimidated and anxious.
Our number one goal is to provide that potential client with simple, straightforward information about their circumstance and possible case type. Our mission is not to give them legal advice on the website but rather provide them with confidence that people in their situation often have a case and therefore should consult an attorney as soon as possible to understand their rights and maximize their potential for a favorable outcome.
Now for the science part. The internet and most websites are confusing and overwhelming to the people we hope to serve.
Conversation Rate Optimization is the science of cutting through that noise to help a prospective client start a conversation with you.
Here is what all this means in straightforward terms.
- We do our best to get visitors to a particular and relevant landing page
- On that page, as high as possible, we encourage them to contact one of our attorneys. This should be a clear call to action, a web contact form, and a phone number.
- After this initial call to action, proceed to educate your web visitor about their potential case, the process, and again why it is crucial to start a conversation with an attorney.
- Closeout every page with another solid encouragement for contacting an attorney.
One of the biggest mistakes I see from law firms and attorneys on their landing pages is slipping into the trap of writing a legal brief instead of an encouragement to contact the firm.
Keep in mind that increased conversion rates and leads are always a function of how clearly you’re articulating to web visitors that their best source of legal information is an attorney advising on their specific circumstances.
That’s pretty much how to build your lead generation system in a nutshell.
Our final step in the process is to track and monitor our legal marketing plan to determine if it’s working. This brings us to our final step – performance metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Performance Measurement & KPIs
You can get crazy with metrics.
For all but the most complex programs and most significant budgets, you can use these simple tools and KPIs.
- Use Google Analytics for all of your metrics.
- Monitor and grow your traffic (visitors to your website)
- Get more pages indexed and ranking in Google searches
- Monitor and improve your page conversion rates
- Monitor and increase your new case leads
Once you begin producing new case leads, it’s wise to start a regular feedback loop between your case intake reps and the marketing team. They will give you invaluable insight for improving lead quality and volume over time.
Do you have questions about legal marketing? Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you want help implementing a lead generation program for your law firm?
Kaleidico can help you generate more case leads. Schedule a discovery call to discuss how we can quickly get this process started for your law firm.