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Is there anybody at your law firm who’s solely in charge of marketing?
Usually, this marketing role falls into a junior partner’s lap, or is spearheaded by an attorney who heard a long time ago “you need SEO to get more online leads.”
Researching lead generation for the legal industry can lead you down a rabbit hole of marketing-speak that when skimmed, doesn’t mean a whole lot of anything.
Additionally, there are certain rules lawyers must follow regarding advertising legal marketing services.
In this guide, I’ll break down digital marketing laws, strategies, and tactics you should be aware of, so you can start generating more case leads for your law firm.
Can a Lawyer Legally Advertise Their Services Online?
We get asked this a lot.
Yes! Lawyers are legally allowed per the American Board Association to advertise or to pay for another company to advertise their services.
This also includes paying a marketing agency or service to generate leads to be legally paid for by the attorney or law firm.
The ABA’s Rule 7.2 explains further ethical and legal regulations regarding advertising a legal service online.
Below are few things that stand out in Rule 7.2:
- A lawyer may communicate information regarding their services through any media (including traditional media and online media).
- A lawyer can’t compensate or make promises to a person in payment for a recommendation.
- Lawyers are allowed to pay reasonable costs of ads and communications, or pay the charges of a legal service plan.
- A lawyer is allowed to refer a client to another lawyer, but there are additional rules about this I won’t get into.
- Lawyers can only state they are an “expert” or “specialist” in a field that’s been approved by an appropriate authority.
- Lastly, the name of the lawyer or lawyer’s organization must be clearly identified in the communication.
For what it’s worth, I am not a lawyer. Please read 7.2 for yourself to fully understand regulations regarding advertising a legal service.
For all intents and purposes — yes, you can absolutely advertise your law firm online.
How Do Law Firms Market Online to Generate Case Leads?
It all starts with a discovery session — a chat between your law firm and a digital marketing agency to determine what your goals and objectives are.
From there, a strategic plan and its tactics will follow.
Let’s look at how Kaleidico begins working with a law firm to generate more case leads.
Legal Marketing Strategy
Be careful not to confuse your strategic plan with the marketing tactics.
Anybody can tell you to create a social media page to improve your law firm marketing efforts. And it’s not bad advice, but it’s not very scientific or targeted. And that’s what a strategic marketing plan is — a detailed road map of your marketing goals and objectives, including timelines for important milestones, and specific budgeting information.
Ask yourself these questions to help you determine your strategic marketing plan:
- Who is my ideal customer?
- Who are our competitors?
- Where do our customers spend their time online? What websites or apps do they use?
- How does the public view our brand?
- Do people visit our website? How many do we need to generate more leads?
- How many monthly leads are we generating from online sources?
- What number of leads can we realistically handle and follow up with?
- How many leads do we need to meet our business goals?
- How much does it cost to acquire a new client lead?
- What kind of content is the most popular with our target audience?
- Where are our marketing efforts falling short?
- Where are our marketing efforts succeeding?
- How many people are on our email list? What’s the open rate for our emails?
- How much is our monthly budget for ad spend? What’s the return on ad spend (ROAS)?
Market Research Tools
Some of these questions may be easy to answer, while others will take detailed research using tools such as:
- Google Analytics, which measures all aspects of your website’s traffic
- Google Ads, which measures interactions with your online ads
- WordPress, a website builder that’s easy to customize and integrate with Google Analytics
- Google Keyword Planner, a tool that measures how often keywords and phrases are searched monthly on Google
- Email Marketing Automation, such as MailChimp or Drip that can automate mass emails to your email list, and measure open rates, click rates, and other information
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software, which keeps track all of your client’s contact information
After you’ve done the research, you can fully understand who your target audience is, and better understand the competitive and market analysis.
From there, you can begin crafting the core message of your marketing, coming up with catchphrases, slogans, and style guides that will dictate the tone behind your messaging.
Once you have the strategic road map, next will come tactics, such as web design, PPC, content marketing, SEO, and an email marketing campaign.
A lot of lawyer’s websites are pretty cliched, or plain outdated, which is a shame because it instantly turns visitors off from the website, resulting in a high bounce rate.
You probably know what I mean. Tons of stock photos of the scales of justice, lady justice wearing her blind fold, or gavels upon gavels.
Or how about websites that have endless pop-up ads and chat boxes with really loud audio notification noises? Those work, right? Not so much.
At Kaleidico, we really believe in giving your website the bare essentials it needs to perform its job — which is to quickly inform your audience of your key practice areas, answer any immediate questions related to their Google search, and get them to fill out the contact form.
All the other stuff is just extraneous junk that will do more harm than good. Some stock photography is okay, when used correctly!
Let’s look at some features your law firm’s website absolutely needs.
A homepage with a clear mission statement reassuring your visitor they’re in the right place to keep them from bouncing immediately.
An about page, so you can share your firm’s history and mention high profile cases you’ve worked on.
A team directory page, so every lawyer can have their own individual bio page and show their phone number and email address.
A blog page, so visitors can stay engaged with your site longer.
A contact page, in case visitors don’t want to fill out a form, but want a specific email address.
Contact forms and calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout the website. Each page should have a CTA to encourage the reader to message you, no matter if they’re reading a blog post, or reading a lawyer’s bio.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google’s mission is to find the best answers to their users’ questions.
Each one of those pages I mentioned, the homepage, about us page, etc., makes your website easier to find in a Google search, which is the basis of search engine optimization (SEO).
Google’s search algorithm considers many factors when picking which search results to show for a particular search.
A few things that influence a Google search result include:
- Keyword matching between the user’s search phrase and a website’s content, including blogs, image file names, embedded video file names, headers, and subheadings
- How often a website updates its content or adds new blog posts to determine the site’s relevancy. (Attorney websites that don’t blog often won’t have good law firm SEO ratings.)
- Metadata, which are text descriptions about the contents of a page (again, more keyword matching)
- Backlinks to other sites — blog posts should link to outside websites to establish more credibility and trust, improving its ability to attract links from other websites, making it more visible.
These are the main things Google’s search algorithm searches for, however, there are a million other tiny things that influence a website’s SEO ranking, and the search algorithm is constantly evolving.
This is usually referred to as blogging, although blogging is only one part of the greater content marketing umbrella.
Content marketing is about creating free, useful guides or content that offers advice or answers to search queries.
For instance, when somebody searches “does custody always go to one parent” or “do I have a medical malpractice case?” they’ll find hundreds of blog posts written by law offices in Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
Once they click on this blog post, if it’s well-written and answers their questions, they may decide to fill out a contact form to start their case.
Will writing a blog put your website first into Google’s search results? It depends on how specific your blog post is and what keywords you chose to focus on.
But as we stated before, your website needs to be blogging in order for Google to determine its relevance. So regardless, you should be blogging!
Then you can be more scientific to target specific keywords to write articles about, and do competitive research to see what kinds of articles attract the most visitors.
Besides blogs, you can create other free forms of content that live online such as:
- Videos, using Vimeo, YouTube, or Facebook videos
- Lead magnets, which are eBooks, PDFs, and free guides that people submit their email address to download. (This way you can add those emails to your email list).
- Webinars, which are free online seminars that your audience can attend
- Infographics that can be uploaded to Pinterest, social media, or attached in emails
- Email campaigns
The beauty of content marketing is its shareability. Perhaps somebody stumbling upon your content doesn’t need it, but they can easily forward it to somebody who does.
When you put all this content into the internet, it will ultimately lead back to your website, where you can generate a new qualified case inquiry to fuel your business.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads can be purchased through Google ads, Facebook, Bing, or LinkedIn. These services will be able to reach just about anybody in the world, thanks in part to their large networks and treasure troves of user data.
You can create search ads, which are text based ads that appear at the top of Google’s searches. Or you can create banner ads, which are picture-based ads that sit on the side of several website’s sidebars.
You can even pay to have your law office’s physical location pinned to the top of a Google Maps search based in your area.
Online PPC ads are a sophisticated digital strategy, and their capabilities are growing every day. My examples above are only a few ways you can use PPC ads to drive visitors to your website.
Like content marketing and SEO, PPC ads are keyword based. This means you’ll have to do additional keyword research to determine search volume for your related field and practice areas in order to compete in this race.
When starting out with PPC ads, keep your budget relatively low, because it’s easy to make costly mistakes! Then once you’ve set up your campaigns, let them run a while to produce results before you start doing heavy tweaking.
Everybody uses email. At least the people you’re trying to target.
This is why email marketing is a no-brainer to connect with your leads. Plus it’s pretty cheap for all of its capabilities.
Those who work in sales know that you must keep following up with a lead, and that a lead is only dead if you stop following up with it.
Email marketing lets you automate this process so you can send reminders, newsletters, and re-engagement campaigns to your growing email list so no case leads slip through the cracks.
As soon as a lead fills out the form on your website, you can automate a drip campaign to automatically enroll your lead into a predetermined series of emails.
Let’s check out some of the rules set forth by the FTC regarding their CAN-SPAM act, just to make sure your email marketing isn’t illegal.
Below are the rules you need to follow in your email marketing campaigns:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Your email must be sent from an email address that isn’t misleading or false.
- If your message is an ad, it must be clearly labeled as an ad.
- Your email must include a valid physical postal address.
- You must give your email recipients the ability to “opt-out” or “unsubscribe” from your emails.
- You can’t continue to email people who have unsubscribed.
- If you hire an outside agency to handle your email marketing, both you and that company may be held legally responsible for misleading or illegal emails, so be careful choosing your legal marketing agency.
Choose Kaleidico for Your Law Firm Marketing
Kaleidico is a full service marketing agency for law firms, mortgage lenders, and financial tech companies.
We can help your law firm’s website attract more traffic that converts into potential clients and cases to fuel your business.
We’ve created a proven framework to help law firms generate more leads that combine web design and development, content marketing and SEO content, email marketing, PPC ads, branding, and graphic design to generate considerable case inquiries.
Get started by downloading our free 90-Day Law Firm Marketing Plan or by emailing our CEO Bill Rice directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.