According to the American Bar Association, less than 1 percent of all law school graduates choose to begin their own legal practices.
But whether you’re a litigator with a flare for courtroom drama or a shrewd corporate negotiator, there’s a problem that every lawyer runs into:
You need to know how to get more clients as a lawyer. Without those people coming to your office and paying you to advise them, your law firm is doomed to fail.
The good news is that it’s more than possible for you to own a brand-new BMW, pay off your student loans, and generally live well as a solo practitioner or a partner — you just need to understand marketing.
Want the inside scoop on marketing your firm? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide. Keep reading to learn more about how you can get legal clients on autopilot.
Establishing a Foundation
Before you start assessing your marketing channels, you’ve got to ensure that your firm is in a position to succeed. The last thing you want to do is spend a ton of money for publicity only to get subpar results. Here are some important pre-marketing steps you’ll want to take:
1. Pick Your Practice Areas
In many ways, lawyers are the grown-ups of society.
They’re the people defending people against criminal charges. They’re the one person who can say “You can’t do that!” to the CEO without getting any pushback. And, if you think about it, what are judges if not a bunch of extremely experienced lawyers?
Despite all of this knowledge and assumed maturity, however, many aspiring legal practitioners tend to struggle with a pretty common high school issue:
They aren’t sure what kind of lawyers they want to be.
Some practice law in small towns. Others get into real estate. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking a minute to find yourself, successful law firms have a solid understanding of their service offerings. This, in turn, makes it easier for them to answer the question, “Who would benefit the most from my services?”.
But we’ll talk more about that later.
Whether you’re planning to do estates, corporate litigation, criminal defense, or some other combination, you can’t begin to market your firm until you understand the basics of what you’re offering.
2. Figure out Your USP
In 2019, the American Bar noted that there the country had 1.3 million lawyers.
Although the profession has a certain amount of prestige, the numbers don’t lie. There are probably dozens of lawyers in your area who practice the same areas of law that you do.
Commercials are constantly showing up on primetime TV. You probably drive past multiple billboards and law firms on your commute home.
As a lawyer who’s working hard to get new clients, you need to understand your Unique Sales Proposition or USP. Or to put it another way, you need to know why your future clients would choose your law firm over the one down the street.
Maybe you’re fluent in Mandarin and Spanish. Maybe you have a talent for winning cases on appeal. Maybe your grandma got concussed after slipping on a wet floor and now you’re passionate about helping personal injury victims get the compensation they deserve.
In a world where firms are often all seen the same, these details can help you stand out. Your USP can really help your firm with establishing and expanding a client base.
3. Put Together a Client Persona
In marketing, buyer personas are considered an essential part of building a successful campaign. Why? Because these tools help businesses figure out who their ideal customers are.
Think about it.
A company that sells zero-calorie drinks may get sales from people who like to drink soda. But unless the recipe is out of this world, the healthy drink will likely sell best if the marketing team focuses on health-conscious individuals who want to consume less sugar. Essentially, the question is, “Who would benefit the most from this product?”.
Believe it or not, law firms will often have to perform a similar type of analysis.
If your firm specializes in commercial real estate transactions, for instance, your ideal customer will likely have:
- Deep pockets
- Regular closings
- A well-established reputation
When a solopreneur who’s barely making $100,000 a year wants your help with a real estate deal, you’ll be able to assess the file and say, “This person doesn’t seem like a candidate for our commercial real estate practice.”.
You’ll likely need multiple personas as you work through the different practice areas. But once you understand who your law firm is in a position to help, the marketing materials will practically write themselves.
4. Find a Way to Package Your Services
At this point, you know who your clients are. You understand what makes you different from all the other lawyers in your area. In addition, you know your practice areas better than the back of your hand.
Now you’re ready to start thinking about pricing. And you’re also ready to begin packaging your services.
Here’s an example of how this might look in practice.
Let’s say you’re a lawyer who specializes in helping startup founders get their businesses up and running. You could rattle off a list of things you do, like:
- Advise on employment matters
- Draft contracts
- Assist with mergers and acquisitions
But you’re asking your future clients to put two and two together themselves. And because these startup founders have businesses to run and a couple dozen firms to assess, there are no guarantees that your list will receive the attention that it deserves.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to this. You can commoditize your services.
Going back to our startup example, you can put together the exact same service list we provided. But when you’re directing future business owners to a “Startup Package” page that features a reasonable all-inclusive fee, many entrepreneurs will give you points for speaking their language.
This business model, along with your demographic and general information, will make a huge difference to your marketing prospects.
5. Create the Assets You’ll Need
What’s the quickest way to convince people not to visit your site? Have a site that takes too long to load. According to Google, having a page that takes three seconds to load instead of one can increase the odds of people bouncing by 32 percent.
And if we’ve learned anything about modern consumers, it’s that they care a lot about the customer experience. In addition, while someone who desperately needs your services might be willing to deal with a slower website, weak copywriting and shaky marketing materials could lead your prospects to go with someone else.
On the one hand, you could try to write and design a top-notch website yourself. But you have to wonder if a self-designed web presence will support the strong, capable, and professional image you’re trying to present.
Partnering with a law firm website design company can save you time while giving you next-level results. In the same way that your clients depend on you to give them legal advice, you can rely on an agency like ours to deliver the kind of marketing assets that will have clients tripping over themselves to do business with you.
Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve done the worked out a solid foundation for your business, it’s time to think about how you plan to get your name out there. As a general rule of thumb, the marketing options available to law firms fall under a few broad categories:
- Social Media
- Site Advertising
- Offline Methods
We’ll go through each of these in turn.
According to statistics, Google fields 6.9 billion searches per day. Chances are that within the last 24 hours, you’ve contributed to that number. And when you think about all the people in your region who may be entering search terms like:
“How can I find a lawyer in my city?” or “Tax lawyer in X”, SEO is a fantastic way to get potential leads to your client-grabbing new website in a hurry.
That being said, however, legal clients are extremely high value. A single one can generate over $5,000 for your firm in a year. If you’re working in a more corporate area of law, that number can shoot up to five or six figures over the course of your working relationship.
Compared to say, a clothing brand, that is a move that’s an insane lifetime customer value. And when you throw in the fact that SEO is free to implement, it becomes clear that legal SEO is extremely competitive as it stands.
For this reason, a law firm SEO company can do a lot to help you get results. They’ll know exactly which keywords to target and what on-page and off-page strategies to pursue for maximum results.
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
SEO may be a free marketing strategy, but it comes with a serious drawback:
It can take months to start seeing organic traffic. In addition, legal SEO is notoriously competitive when it comes to getting a slot on the first page of Google.
However, unless you’ve got a huge nest egg to fall back on, you probably want to sign at least a few clients right away. A pay-per-click strategy can get people to your site within minutes.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say your dream clients are finding new lawyers through Google. And while you could do the whole organic follower thing, you’ve got a legal practice to run and you don’t have time to waste. So you take out some ads.
Just like that, you’ve put yourself at the top of the search engine results. Thinking back to your own searches, how many times have you gone past the first few search results when you’ve googled something?
PPC advertising is a fantastic way to skip the line and catch the attention of prospects right away. If you want to get a bit more bang for your buck, an experienced law firm internet marketing company will know exactly how you to approach your advertising efforts.
3. Social Media
If we’ve learned nothing from the explosion of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, it’s that people love to socialize online. Whether they’re into entrepreneurship, sports, or adorable pet photos, there are entire communities built around their topics of interest.
Thanks to the growth of these platforms, lawyers like you have a genuine opportunity to establish themselves as experts in their field. For instance, it’s not unusual for people to rely on YouTube to help them figure out how to do things. And much like SEO, social media posts are typically free.
For people who grew up before the internet existed, the whole idea of social media stars may seem strange. But if you can hop on to a trending news topic or post a video that’s extremely helpful to your potential clients, you’ll be surprised at what these platforms can do for your business.
4. Third-Party Sites
In the legal field, there are so many directories and legal encyclopedias on the web that third-party sites are a subject worth discussing if you want to market yourself effectively.
People are becoming increasingly skeptical of what they see online. Legal SEO is extremely competitive. And PPC keywords can often cost you a pretty penny.
Directories and other third-party sites can give you another chance to be seen at a relatively low cost.
Think about it.
When people are googling their latest medical issue, it’s not unusual to see the likes of Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and WebMD duking it out with Wikipedia. In that search engine landscape, small local clinics don’t stand a chance.
Legal sites and directories are often already ranking for the keywords your clients would be looking for. By putting an ad or an entry up on these websites, you can put yourself in front of people who might not have otherwise seen your site. If you play your cards right with this one, you could get a steady stream of clients in less time than you might think.
5. Offline Methods
Even though it seems like digital marketing is winning out the day, there’s something to be said for getting clients for a law firm through networking, referrals, and face-to-face meetings.
In your personal life, when you’re looking to try out a new restaurant or thinking about purchasing a new set of clothes for court, you probably ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations. Legal clients will often do the same for each other.
However, that’s not the only benefit of going offline. It’s also possible for you to partner with local organizations who can give you a steady stream of clients.
Here’s an example of how this might work:
Let’s say you’re an immigration lawyer who happens to be fluent in Spanish. There are probably business associations, student groups, and religious groups who know people that need help immigrating. One or two connections in these places can give you a steady stream of new clients every week.
Plus, because these connections are based on personal relationships, there’s significantly less competition.
Many law firms will choose to mix and match the approaches we’ve just listed here. But a healthy offline marketing component can do a lot to help you expand your client base with relatively little effort.
How to Choose a Marketing Plan for Your Firm
We’ve gone over five common advertising methods for law firms. But even so, not all legal advertising methods are created equal. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a marketing plan:
1. Your Budget
Remember what we said before about how legal SEO can be extremely competitive for lawyers? It turns out that a lot of those comments can also be applied to third-party site advertising and PPC. And the end result is that although these methods can get you clients quickly, the costs associated with running campaigns can take a serious toll on your finances.
Like any business owner, you’ve got a bunch of fixed costs and startup expenses to consider when it comes to your firm. Not only do you need to cover rent and office space, but you’ve also got printers, computers, and filing systems that need to be covered.
In these circumstances, no one will blame you for wanting to maximize your marketing dollars. After all, advertising in the legal field is notoriously expensive.
For the most part, if you’ve got money to spend, PPC advertising and third-party sites can bring in people fast. But even if you’ve got a smaller working budget, there are still online and offline advertising options available to you. It’s just a matter of choosing the combinations that make sense for your budget.
2. Your Schedule
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most full-time lawyers put in over 40 hours of work each week. When you’ve got your legal practice on the one hand and family obligations on the other, your time is both valuable and limited.
In these circumstances, you might not have time to sit down and come up with an end-to-end marketing campaign on your own. And even then, it might not be possible to build a marketing plan around time-consuming or labor-intensive strategies.
Of course, when your firm is new, time management might not matter as much. But because successful marketing campaigns often come down to consistency, you’ll want to make sure that your client-attracting strategies will be able to accommodate your time constraints as your practice grows.
3. Your Client-Getting Timeframe
At this point, you may want to take a look at your current assets. Why? Because you need to work out an answer to the question, “If I’m not able to land a client soon, how long will my firm survive?”.
When you’ve got a healthy nest egg, you might be able to keep the lights on for several months. If you adopt an extra lean business model, you might even be able to last the better part of a year. But sooner or later, you’ll need to build your book of business while establishing a healthy roster of one-off or part-time clients.
Some law firm marketing methods will generate fast results. Others are a bit of a slow burn. You have to weigh the pros and cons of each approach against the potential implications for your business.
As a company, we specialize in helping law firms create, build, and develop a strong online web presence. Or to put it another way, we help law firms attract clients with top-notch web design.
We’ve found that many law firms do best when they’re relying on a mixture of short-term and long-term advertising strategies. This, in turn, makes companies like ours an invaluable resource to your law firm’s marketing efforts.
4. Your Lifetime Customer Value
As we touched on before, law firms differ from your local grocery store in one major way:
Clients are extremely valuable. Depending on your area of practice, a single client could be worth over $100,000 to your firm.
However, this doesn’t necessarily apply to all clients. In criminal defense, for instance, it’s not unusual for clients to pay a couple thousand dollars on the higher end.
From a business standpoint, if you knew that paying $10,000 for a service would make you $100,000, making that investment would be a no-brainer. However, you wouldn’t spend that kind of money on a lower-paying client, would you?
Having a rough estimate of your lifetime customer value is important because these factors can have a direct effect on the marketing options at your disposal. For clients that tend to pay out on the lower end, free and lower-cost promotional strategies will likely make the most sense.
However, when you know that you’re attracting clients who are prepared to pay handsomely for your services, suddenly PPC, SEO, and all the other hyper-competitive online spaces just make sense.
5. Your Partnerships
You’ve got a ton of website traffic coming in, but nobody seems to be visiting your “Contact Us” page. In fact, people are loading the front page and leaving within seconds. What’s likely to be the problem?
You’ve got your ad account up and running. And while you’re getting clicks, you can’t shake the feeling that your conversion rates should be significantly better. What can you do to drive more consultation calls?
An experienced marketer would be able to look at these scenarios and make a few suggestions. But when you’re a lawyer who would rather be reviewing files than hashing out marketing problems, these issues aren’t just minor annoyances — they have the potential to cost you time and money.
A law firm marketing company isn’t like any other vendor you may be familiar with. They know exactly how to help you get more clients.
Most advertising campaigns aren’t set-it-and-forget-it affairs. You have to monitor performance. You need to track results. And you have to advertise in a way that’s compliant with both the platforms you’re using and the expectations of your local bar association.
Partnering with an experienced legal marketing agency will give you access to a ton of expertise for a single fee. If there are any hiccups in the campaign or if there’s a more affordable way to put yourself out there, you know that the team will be on it. This, in turn, makes it possible for you to focus on the day-to-day work of satisfying clients and finishing up deliverables.
Law Firm Marketing Best Practices
Let’s assume for a minute that you’re all in on advertising. You’ve decided to market yourself and your firm. And you’ve even got a couple of strategies rolling around in the back of your mind.
Is there anything you can do boost your results? The answer to that question is, “Yes.”. Here’s a short list of best practices that you can use to get more out of your advertising efforts:
1. Try Networking
In modern times, networking and sales have developed an unfortunate reputation. All people have to do is hear the words “network marketing” and images of MLMs and used car salespeople immediately start coming to mind. But the truth is that lawyers can network with class.
Think about the non-legal associations that you’re a part of. Look for groups that are full of your target demographic and think about how you might be able to help them.
For instance, if you’re aiming to do wills and estates, it’s worth asking the question, “Who would benefit the most from this offer?”. On a basic level, the client persona will likely be older people with significant assets to distribute.
There are probably financial planners in your city who would be a natural fit for your service. But because you haven’t contacted them or arranged to do lunch, you haven’t been able to get those regular referrals.
And interestingly enough, this marketing element can become even more important when the client is the person you’re trying to network with. They say that 95 percent of professionals see face-to-face communication as an essential part of doing business in the long run.
Even though lawyers will often spend their days poring over documents, researching legal issues, and going over case law, networking can be an asset to your marketing goals. Not only will it help you get more clients, it can also make it easier for you to keep the clients you do have.
2. Think Outside the Box
Have you ever seen a fad and thought, “My goodness, people will buy anything!”? For many folks, the Pet Rock phenomenon was a stunning example of this concept in action. Even though this toy is exactly what it sounds like, the inventor became a millionaire.
As a law school graduate, you’ve been trained to approach problems in a particular way. Everything, from your pleadings to your ability to file arguments, has likely relied on precedents up until this point.
However, with so many other lawyers competing for space in all the regular advertising channels, you stand to gain a lot from being creative.
Can you put your own spin on that YouTube channel concept? Is it possible to blend people’s love for adorable cat videos with some actual legal insight? For all you know, you could be just a few workday lectures away from gaining new clients with ease.
To be clear, you don’t want to deceive anyone or make people think that your practice is something it isn’t. But sometimes, being a trailblazer can make a world of difference to your employment prospects.
3. Partner With an Excellent Marketing Firm
We’ve talked briefly about the benefits of working with a legal marketing firm. For one, you’re free to focus on practicing law instead of designing websites and fixing bugs. And for another, these firms can give you a sense of the advertising options at your disposal.
However, there is one way that hiring a legal marketing agency can backfire:
You could lose serious money if you hire the wrong one.
Does this agency have experience in the legal field? Do they sound like they know what they’re talking about over the phone?
Take it from us. Not all legal marketing agencies are created equal. And as an aspiring legal practitioner who has an entire practice on the line, you can’t afford to waste time with dealing with amateurs.
From legal web design to SEO campaigns and digital marketing rollouts, we’ve been helping lawyers attract clients for quite some time now. Our team has what it takes to get your law firm marketing up and running. All you have to do is give us a call.
4. Try Not to Grow Too Fast
Lots of law firms will say that they’re ready to take on new clients. But behind the scenes, they’re not actually able to take on more clients.
Maybe there’s not enough legal support and administrative work being done. Perhaps the internal firm processes need a bit of refining. It could even be the case that you literally don’t have enough offices to accomodate new lawyers or new clients.
When most people talk about business failure and companies that fail to go all the way, they often picture organizations with subpar marketing plans or a lack of customers. But in reality, rapid growth can be just as dangerous to a growing firm.
As a result, you don’t want to look at the dollar signs associated with new clients without factoring in the additional costs. Whether your clients need you to save them from jail or work out the details of their custody agreement, the stakes on their end are high. If you’re stretched too thin and taking shortcuts, you could find yourself compromising on work product.
And in an industry like law, where reputation is everything, it’s important to pace yourself and your growth as much as possible.
5. Think About Your Firm’s Branding
A lot of people think that lawyers are mostly interchangeable. But in reality, every firm has its own unique culture.
Some are traditional and formal. Others are fun and casual. Depending on your branding and the kind of legal practice you want to have, you could find yourself attracting a very different type of clientele.
On the internet especially, it’s not unusual for sites to say anything in the hopes of generating fast clicks. And while you don’t need to market yourself as a hyper-serious legal professional, you do need to think about the story that your marketing campaigns are trying to tell.
If you’re a serious firm that has won a bunch of important cases, you’ll want to put that front and center. If you need your clients to understand that you’ve got an excellent bedside manner and a knack for finding compromises, you’ll want to reflect that detail in your advertising.
In many ways, your marketing efforts should be an extension of the positioning you’re looking to establish for your firm. You need to make sure that your campaigns make sense for the reputation you’re trying to cultivate around your legal practice.
6. Have Metrics for Success
What do law and marketing have in common? They’re both areas where everyone has theories and opinions on how it should work. But finding people who actually know what they’re doing isn’t so simple.
That’s why you’ll want to create benchmarks and standards for what a successful marketing effort will look like for your firm.
When you’ve got radio ads going out every week along with SEO campaigns, PPC ads, and a bunch of other promotional tactics, it’s easy to find yourself paying for advertising strategies that aren’t generating the return you hoped they would. And even when you’re working in an industry with a higher-than-average customer value, there are still limits to how much you can spend on acquiring clients.
In a company setting, it’s hard to imagine a CEO being happy to hear that the marketing department spent $20,000 to sell a $20 product even if the campaign sold to hundreds of people. And as you focus on getting more clients, your law firm will need to have similar standards when you evaluate the results of your marketing campaigns.
If getting clients is taking too much time or is otherwise costing you more than it should, don’t be afraid to ask questions. When you understand what success looks like for your marketing efforts, you’ll be well on your way to developing a strong long-term strategy.
7. Be Prepared to Change Tactics
In a perfect world, getting clients to your firm would be a set-it-and-forget-it affair. After all, there are lawyers who have built entire practices without paying a cent in advertising costs.
When you’re dealing with a new file or preparing for trial, you may find yourself changing tactics as the facts change on the ground.
Maybe the witness you thought was going to win the case didn’t perform as well as expected on the stand. Perhaps new details have come to light during the deposition process and now your medical malpractice lawsuit has taken an unexpected turn.
In other words, you’ve often had to adjust your legal strategy to get an optimal outcome for your clients.
Believe it or not, you may have to do similar work with your marketing efforts. People can get ad fatigued or the local face-to-face opportunities in your area may be running out for the year as people plan their summer vacations.
If the results are starting to wind down, you shouldn’t hesitate to mix things up within reason.
You might need to blog more or to promote your successes more heavily. Perhaps your campaign needs to go from saying, “I’m a lawyer.” to helping future clients understand why they need your services.
If you work with a law firm marketing company, you’ll have experts in your corner who can try new things on your behalf. Either way, however, here’s the bottom line:
Marketing campaigns are more fluid than you might think. If one technique isn’t getting clients as effectively as it used to, you can change up your approach.
This Is How to Get More Clients as a Lawyer
Owning your own practice has all the standard benefits associated with being your own boss.
You get to set your own schedule. You can pick and choose your files. And, you get to keep more of the profits.
Before you can enjoy the perks of putting up your own shingle, however, you need to figure out how to get more clients as a lawyer. In law, clients are your ticket to achieving success.
As a company, we specialize in law firms grow through online marketing. And we can help you. Book your free consultation today.