You’ve got some of the smartest, most hard-working people on the world in your office. You’ve worked with high-profile clients and major corporations. Your work has saved (or won) millions of dollars for clients. Your partners are the hands down best minds in the legal industry.
Whether this is true or just your imagination… it doesn’t matter if no one knows your law firm exists. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s true, in the digital age it doesn’t matter how great your team is or how many clients success stories you have—having an inbound marketing strategy for your law firm is essential to growth and future success in our current world.
In this post, we’ll break down a few key things to remember specifically for Legal organizations to understand how to successfully execute on an inbound marketing strategy for your firm. However, if this is your first time reading about Inbound Marketing—I suggest you read some of our recent posts including “CliffNotes on Marketing” or “4 Easy Steps to Inbound Marketing” these will help set the stage for what you’re about to read and provide context of some of the key terms and strategies that you need to know.
Why Inbound Marketing Matters for Your Law Firm
Your firm should have a digital strategy in place, period. “50% of Law Firms claim they are not ‘organized enough’ to get the most out of their marketing spend.” These are excuses that aren’t acceptable today. If you want to increase your revenues, gain thought leadership, and establish a dominance over your segment—the BEST way to do this is with Inbound Marketing.
Quick Facts about Law Firms digital presence:
- 95% of potential clients looking for legal advice use the internet to find answers first
- 70% who start their search for legal online, contact a law office by phone
- The most likely people to use internet search to find legal services are those earning over $150,000 per year
- Online Rating is the most important factor used by consumers to judge a law firm
Legalities of Digital Marketing for Law Firms:
So you may already be aware of the 1977 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350, which free up advertising for the legal industry. The Bates decision was a protection of First Amendment rights that allowed for legal firms to advertise under the basis that you’re providing information to any prospective clients on the cost and availability of your legal services.
You should (if based in California especially) be aware of “California Rules of Professional Conduct”, Rule 1-400 and Business and Professions Code sections 6157-6159.2. Rules 1-400(A) and (B) are important because it creates a distinction between the terms “communication” and “solicitation.” Communications are permissible so long as they do not meet the definition of solicitation.
It is important to understand the differentiation of those terms and how your language needs to be framed as to not step over any boundaries. For a deeper dive on this see a post here.
*One way that legal teams can make sure they are following the rules & regulations properly is to work with a qualified digital marketing agency, by having an experienced team on-board it can help you navigate these waters with confidence.
3 Major Reasons you NEED Inbound Marketing for Your Law Firm
- Content creation and distribution is what builds trust.
- Digital presence and search ranking is the new ‘word of mouth’.
- You’re selling yourself, inbound marketing creates the ‘digital brand’ for your firm
If you’re not ‘the boss’ or maybe you’re not even a partner yet…if you help your organization implement (or hire a team) to run a digital marketing strategy—you will be remembered and rewarded. Inbound marketing strategies for law firms are no longer an option—they are the norm. The sooner you implement one, the more effective it will be, inbound marketing is for the long haul and will pay off more over the course of years, not days or weeks like outbound marketing (see below).
Inbound Marketing VS Outbound Marketing for Law Firms
We’ve all seen it, on the back of a bus/bench/billboard, a phrase like “Injured? Call 1-800-555-2020 to settle your case today.” This is outbound marketing…it’s intrusive, a bit annoying, and (sorry if you’re a bus ad kinda firm) just tacky. The clients you will get off these ads are not you’re A+ leads, at best these are C- leads that could waste time and money from your firm’s marketing budget. Outbound marketing is great for product companies, but as a law firm your needed over time for different matters, you don’t want a ‘flash in the pan’ approach to marketing you want a sustained effort over time.
Inbound Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
Focusing on Inbound Marketing means setting a framework on social media, blog posts, e-books, webinars, SEO optimization, and more are the efforts of Inbound Marketing for your law firm that pay dividends. When you’re marketing your law firm, you are selling your experience and expertise—you are essentially a service provider. What is most important with any service provider is consumer trust. People hire attorneys because they cannot navigate these complicated matters themselves, inbound marketing establishes YOU as the best option they will find and distances you from the FaceBook banners or ‘bus bench attorneys’.
How to Get Started with Inbound Marketing for Your Law Firm
Create & Share Content:
- Start by creating a blog—we would suggest you use WordPress or HubSpot.
- Write blog posts, it is what a customer will read first—this lets potential customers know what you’re and expert and is almost a ‘Free Trial’ for your services
- Explain the nuances of your previous cases (that you can) so that others prospective clients know you’re the right choice for their similar issue.
- Have active social media, it builds credibility by giving tidbits of advice through Twitter, or re-tweeting important content both by your firm and others.
- But pick your channel, no one is following you on Pinterest or Instagram
- You should publish your content in multiple places: Medium, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. All these link back to your website, pushing your reach and discoverability.
- Consistency is key, if your team is too busy to write/create new content, then you should consider hiring a Digital Marketing Agency like 310 Creative to help you!
Optimize your website:
- SEO drives high-quality leads and is usually the best ROI (it’s essentially free!) of any marketing efforts. A quick ‘Google Search’ either places your firm in the top search results or buried deep on page 9 never to be clicked.
- Use the right titles and terms for your content, think about what people put in the search bar and then work from there “What to do after a DUI” or “Best divorce attorney in Los Angeles”—this will make you relevant to organic searches.
- 40% of searches for legal help start on mobile—so be optimized for the handheld screen
- You’re creating all this content, it’s worthwhile but only if people can find it when they visit your site or search for related articles
Turn your Traffic into Leads and Leads into Customers:
- One of the most important things to do, is create a Target Persona. This is the ideal customer you want to bring in, the better your persona definition the higher likelihood your marketing spend will return on investment.
- Track your website visitors (HubSpot is a great tool to build your site for this) collect their basic information, and turn this anonymous visitor into a lead!
- Use web forms or ‘call to action’ buttons that help you get the information you need such as name, phone, email, message or legal needs. But keep it short and simple, the easier to fill, the more likely they do!
- Now that you’ve got these leads you need to aggregate them into lists and nurture them from traffic, to lead, to hiring you!
- Get in contact with any leads who send a message IMMEDIATELY, if they don’t send a message or just leave their info, you should add them to an emailing list for continued follow up via digital marketing or email campaigns.
To Sum it Up:
According to research conducted at the Law Firm Marketing Summit almost 50% of legal firms have already increased their marketing budgets by 5-10% this year, with many firms seeing much higher spends. This is not a trend…this is a must-do for your firm to stay relevant in the 21st century.
A lot of new clients only start looking for a firm when they are in need: a divorce, patent needs, starting a business, or criminal case. Even larger organizations are seeking out firms, just like yours, on a daily basis for their long-term legal needs. And today, most of these searches begin with a quick Google—this means that your inbound marketing strategy. If you don’t have a digital presence you won’t even be an option that exists—building an inbound marketing strategy will grow your leads, clients, and revenues!
Inbound marketing allows you to nurture relationships with potential leads all the way along the various stages of the buying cycle. You can automate your messaging early in the cycle for the shoppers, then spend your resources more carefully on interacting with those who are in the later stage of ready-to-buy.
Have patience! Use tracking tools to determine the right content for your firm, and allowing you to bring in the high-quality leads to your attorneys.
Stand out from the competition—anyone can pay for clicks…but real users can see past those paid placements. Organic searches, lead by good SEO and proper content are what will make your firm standout and create the valuable trust that matters most when weighing you vs the competition.
Stay up to date! Inbound marketing for your law firm isn’t a ‘one and done’ strategy… search engines are constantly re-ranking with their algorithms. If you post a ton of content at once it will put you at the top, but only for a little while, you have to plan a strategy that allows you to push content on a regular basis and stay consistently highly ranked.
Inbound marketing is hugely important (if we haven’t gotten that across already) but we understand most firms don’t have the time, resources, or in-house talent to do it on their own.
We love scaling inbound marketing programs and lead generation campaigns in support of boosting lead conversion and ultimately driving profitable customer activations. Let’s talk and see how we can boost your marketing ROI and increase revenue.