What's in this article?
Marketing in the legal industry can be trickier than other services.
The American Bar Association has its own rules regarding legal marketing. You need to be aware of them before you start implementing your marketing strategy.
In addition to these rules, there is probably a bit of jargon that’s intimidating you. Alphabet soup acronyms like SEO or PPC.
You probably heard in the industry before, “You need SEO to get more clients.” But what does that mean, exactly?
Well, in this guide, I’m going to cover all of that.
First, I’ll start with the rules set in place by the American Bar Association regarding online legal marketing. Then I’ll break down the various strategies Kaleidico implements for all of our law firm clients.
You’ll get an understanding of what SEO means, what marketing regulations to follow, and how it can help your website generate more case inquiries.
How Do You Market a Legal Service?
Before you start moving forward with your online legal marketing plan, research the additional rules and regulations.
The American Bar Association has many rules regarding communications, advertisements, and marketing related to a lawyer’s legal services.
Rule 7.2: Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services: Specific Rules specifies the following:
- It’s prohibited to pay people to recommend your services to others.
- Lawyers can pay for print and online ads, including domain names, internet ads, TV ads, radio ads, online directories, sponsorship fees, and group advertising.
- Lawyers can give nominal gifts as an appreciation for recommendations or referrals (the gift cannot be more than a token item, and cannot have any promises, agreements, or strings attached to the gift).
- A lawyer can pay an outside agency to generate client leads online.
- A lawyer can pay the usual charges of a legal service plan, or a not-for-profit, or a qualified lawyer referral service.
- Lawyers can communicate that they do or do not practice in particular areas of law, and are generally permitted to state that a lawyer is a specialist, or concentrates in particular fields based on their experience.
- A lawyer’s communications must include the name of the lawyer or law firm, including a web address, telephone number, email address, or a physical office location.
Be sure to read up on the full set of rules list by Rule 7:2, as some of the rules deal with lawyer-to-lawyer referrals and other reciprocal arrangements to be aware of.
How Can Lawyers Advertise Online?
As we saw in the rules of professional conduct concerning communications, there are many forms of marketing for lawyers allowed.
Let’s look into some of the obvious marketing efforts, then go more in-depth on other legal marketing strategies to get your firm’s name out there.
Law Firm Websites and Domain Names
With websites comes the realm of digital marketing — SEO, PPC, and content marketing. This is sort of our bread and butter at Kaleidico.
Let’s break down some important topics regarding websites and how to make them easier to find in organic searches.
Attorney Bio Pages
Every law firm should have its own website.
Individual lawyers don’t necessarily need their own website unless they’re a sole proprietor.
However, every firm’s website should have a separate web page for each of its attorneys, complete with bio information, credentials, and a picture of their face. This way, when people Google your attorneys, your website appears in the results.
Search engine optimization (SEO) means making your website appear high up in Google search engine results pages (SERP), so that your website is positioned higher than your competitors. Everybody wants their website to be that first search result — search engine marketing is a competitive industry.
This is done through keyword matching primarily, and a million other things that are programmed into Google’s search algorithm (which is constantly evolving).
Google matches keywords or phrases in searches and compares them with words found throughout websites. The more matches there are between keywords and a websites’ content, the greater the match and the higher up the search result will be. (This is a grossly simplified explanation).
Remember keyword matching I talked about in SEO? Here’s the secret weapon: blogging.
Blogging, and other forms of content are basically free pieces of valuable information that you publish online in the hopes people will discover it while Googling for solutions to their problems.
Start blogging about topics related to your field of expertise, such as explanatory articles about how to handle specific legal situations.
For example, if you’re a criminal lawyer, write blogs about what to do if you’re being sued. Or if you’re a medical malpractice lawyer, write blogs about specific malpractice scenarios.
This way, when people are searching “how to beat a DUI” or “how to sue a doctor for malpractice” your articles will appear in the Google results, leading a visitor to go to your website and hopefully fill out a contact form.
Remember how I said everybody wants their website to appear first in Google searches? With Google Ads, you can pay to have your website at the top of the list.
Blogging and content are considered “organic” search results. Over time, the more articles you publish will help your website rank higher in Google. But this can take time, depending on the competition out there. This is why content and internet ads are used together to speed up progress.
Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, and LinkedIn Ads are the top PPC ad platforms available today. Each one of them has a ton of user information so you can target whichever highly specific target audience you’d like.
They’re pretty sophisticated and have a steep learning curve, in my experience, but it’s because they have so many targeting capabilities.
For instance, you can create retargeting ads, which place cookies in the browser of people who visit your website. Then you can show your ads specifically to these people at another point.
Additionally, you can geo-target your ads so that ads are only shown to people near your law firm’s physical location. Or, you can upload an old email list you’ve collected and only show your online ads to these people.
Ultimately, all these ads lead back to your law firm’s website, which leads to the next section.
Lead Paths, or Progressive Contact Forms
Once a visitor lands on your website, either from a blog post or internet ad, you’ll want a way to get their contact information.
Having a contact form on every page is a good idea.
A simple contact form may do the job, as long as you don’t ask for too much specific information that scares them off before finishing it. This is why we’re a huge fan of lead paths, or progressive style forms.
They’re more of a fun questionnaire than a contact form. These responsive questionnaires make it quick and easy to fill out important information without intimidating your prospective lead.
They can be designed to ask several different questions, but are smart enough to ignore redundant questions based on the answers given.
In short, they work. You’ll collect more leads with lead paths than traditional forms.
Lead magnets attract visitors to your page and encourage them to fill out their contact information, making them crucial for lead generation.
Usually, a lead magnet is a PDF eBook or helpful guide that people want to download so they can do more research later.
For instance, somebody Googles legal advice, sees a search result that says “download our free guide How to Get Full Custody” and clicks on the link.
Once they’re on your website, they click on a download button, and a pop-up appears saying “Thanks for downloading. Please submit your email address so we can mail your guide to you.”
Sure, many people might just leave your website. But personally, I’ve downloaded many lead magnets from various sites (and I still get their email too).
When a simple Google search isn’t cutting it, people head to lawyer search engines such as Avvo, Nolo, FindLaw, Lawyers.com, LegalZoom, or Justia to find qualified lawyers in their area.
The top websites on this list get millions of monthly visitors. These sites also benefit by having more lawyers join them, which makes them straightforward to join.
Plus, lawyers can give advice in forums on these sites, which can lead to nice referrals and generated leads coming to your linked website. (These types of referrals are allowed.)
What’s the Best Online Marketing Strategy for Law Firms?
Every law firm needs concrete marketing goals before they set their strategy. Or else, how would we know what you’re trying to achieve?
Let’s assume that every law firm wants to get more clients. That’s usually the main goal, of course.
So then we must ask, what types of clients do you want more of?
You’ll see that we can begin to narrow the search down further and further until a law firm specifically knows what kinds of clients they’re trying to attract. From there, a proper marketing strategy can be implemented.
To get philosophical here — asking questions is an important part of the discovery process.
General Overview of Marketing Strategy
- Focus on branding. Create or update a recognizable and respectable logo and style.
- Create, or update, the law firm’s website so that it looks contemporary, attractive, and has good site navigation. Basically, make it look legit so it doesn’t scare off visitors instantly.
- Create attorney bio pages, about us pages, mission statement pages, and landing pages for each of your law firm’s practice areas. This is to add more keywords to the website and improve its SEO.
- Begin blogging about related topics to your fields so your website gets more traffic.
- Create PPC ads on Google and Facebook to appear when people search for legal advice related to your firm
- Create social media pages for your law firm (Facebook is the best choice)
- Add smart forms, progressive lead paths, and lead magnets to the website to collect more lead information from contact.
- Create a lead management system so your team can contact your leads as soon as possible.
- Add your information to all the legal directories related to your field so you can get referrals from those sites.
- Work with an experienced agency that will get you real results (more on this in the next section).
Should Law Firms Market Themselves or Hire an Agency?
I was surprised to learn that many law firms don’t actually have a marketing department, not even one employee whose sole job is marketing.
Writing legal marketing advice requires me to look at several law firm’s websites, and many of them are quite outdated.
This leads me to believe that somebody at these law firms pushed for a website upgrade years ago, got it done, and hasn’t touched their website since.
Having a static website isn’t enough to generate traffic to be used to generate leads.
Sure, it costs money to hire an agency. But it’s a heck-of-a-lot cheaper than hiring a single new employee. Plus, an experienced agency can get you real results. For the price of that one employee, you’re getting a whole team of law firm marketing experts.
Writing a blog here and there on your own can bring more traffic to your firm’s website. But just imagine the results you could get from an experienced team of PPC, SEO, and content professionals.
These marketers know exactly which keywords to focus on, where your website ranks among your competitors and can create a detailed marketing plan to achieve your results. They can also show you measurable results and provide detailed reports explaining how your budget was spent and show the quantifiable goals achieved.
The rewards of hiring a marketing agency far outweigh the costs — the costs of missing out on new leads because your website can’t be found in Google searches, or having an outdated website that scares people away.
So should law firms market themselves or hire an agency? I’ve gotta say hiring an agency makes more sense.
Hire Kaleidico — An Online Legal Marketing Agency
Kaleidico is a lead generation agency for law firms, mortgage lenders, and fintech.
Have you been looking into revamping your law firm’s web presence to generate more case inquiry leads?
All it takes to start improving your law firm’s marketing is a simple conversation, which we call a Discovery session.
Contact us to start the conversation, and we’ll discuss what your goals and objectives are, and how we can help you meet them.
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