Has your firm been focusing more on marketing lately? If so, you’re not alone. Law firm marketing spending is surging right now compared to last year, according to Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor data. While the numbers are still significantly below pre-pandemic levels, it’s clear that many firms are beginning to look to the future with sustained marketing investment.
The researchers note that much of this growth is focused on digital marketing, where lawyers have traditionally lagged behind other professions.
As you refresh your law firm marketing strategy, you’re focused on getting the most out of your investments. Here are 6 ways to make sure your marketing efforts lead to more and better leads:
1. Refocus your language on the client’s perspective
Advertising is self-promotion, so of course you’re trying to show how great you are. But that doesn’t mean it’s all about you.
One of the best ways to revamp your marketing tools is to refocus on the client’s perspective. Instead of leading with “our firm has won a bunch of awards,” lead with the potential needs, pains, or hopes in your clients’ experience. Inform your content with an aspirational vision of who the client could be, once they receive your help. In addition to showing how you understand their pains and worries, present their potential to be more confident, powerful, liberated, or secure.
Your accolades and metrics can then powerfully back up your authority in offering this vision.
2. Make your website more accessible
Accessibility isn’t just an issue of justice and equity — it’s also smart design.
There are many aspects of accessibility you can consider. Make sure your fonts are legible and improve the color contrast on your site. Check your site’s keyboard navigation, which allows users to reach different parts of the site through the Tab key. There are a number of free accessibility testing tools that can help you diagnose problem areas on your site.
Accessibility goes beyond consideration of disabilities. Include landing pages that are in the languages your clients speak. Also, even if you work with a sophisticated clientele, cut out legal jargon or complex phrases that might confuse readers. Try to keep your website copy at an 8th-grade reading level.
Simpler language is bolder. And it fits our penchant to scan through websites, rather than read them thoroughly.
3. Go with mobile-first design
An increasing percentage of internet use is through mobile phones. If your site is difficult to read on a tiny screen, potential clients will move elsewhere.
Mobile-focused design can also help you be concise and bold in your designs. When you cut out extra words or confusing clutter, you make your website more compelling from a computer screen as well.
4. Give useful answers to improve your site’s rankings
In the early days of the internet, you could sort of hack your way to better online search rankings. That’s why we saw so many websites with absurd levels of hyperlinks, nonsensical repetition of keywords, and blog posts that looked like they were composed by a robot.
The algorithms have improved to an astonishing level since then, and we’ve all benefited. At this point, the best way to ‘sneak’ your way to the top of the search results is to provide genuinely useful content that people want to see.
As you create your own content, focus on your unique abilities and expertise. What can you speak to without googling it? What are the most common questions clients have? Can you present your content in a manner that’s more clear and engaging than what’s already out there?
The 3 qualities most prized by search engines are expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. With useful, original content coming from your area of expertise, you’ll build your search rankings organically.
5. Create a chorus of good reviews
You can talk all day about the quality of the service you provide, but potential clients will find online reviews more persuasive.
When you have a good experience with clients, ask them to leave reviews so others like them will be able to find you. Once reviews are posted, respond respectfully to them, thanking them for leaving the review.
What about negative reviews? You might feel tempted to fight back, especially if someone is misrepresenting what happened. Always resist that temptation. Not only does it always make a bad review look worse, it can even ruin your career.
Recently, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility published a formal opinion specifically on the issue of responding to online criticism. They firmly stated that lawyers are prohibited from disclosing information about their clients in a response, even if they feel they’re being unfairly maligned. Lawyers have been reprimanded and suspended for arguing the facts with former clients.
The ABA committee notes that permissible responses include requesting that the reviewer contact your office to discuss the issue privately or indicating that professional considerations preclude a response. It’s also permissible to request that the site hosting the review remove a review. But remember that potential clients are largely aware that everyone has a few negative reviews. They just want to see that you’re constantly listening and maintaining respect and a level head.
6. Claim your free online profiles
While you’re working hard to create an online presence for yourself, others have been doing it for free. Make sure you claim all of your online profiles, so you can improve their design, keep them accurate, and help more leads find you.
The most popular online profile is Google My Business, the listing that shows up on Google Maps when someone’s looking for an ‘attorney near me,’ for example. Make them more compelling by adding high-quality photos, keeping your hours up to date (especially over holidays), and adding a Q&A section and other content to build rapport with your audience.
You should also claim your profiles in Avvo, Yelp, Apple Maps, and Bing Places. Whether or not you have an active Facebook marketing campaign, keep your Facebook account updated so people can use the ‘recommend’ feature to send others your way.
There are many more ways to have a strong online presence. But these 6 steps will help you move forward in generating the leads that will help your firm remain productive and profitable.